Bird nonpologizes: "we accidentally sent you a threatening letter"

Last week, our lawyers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation sent a reply to Bird, the scooter company, which had sent us an intimidating letter seeking to censor this post on Bird conversion kits, which let you unlock the hundreds of Bird scooters that are auctioned off by cities after Bird fails to claim them from their impound lots. Read the rest

Angry Christians riot and throw firebomb at a museum that exhibits 'McJesus' sculpture

Hundreds of angry Christians protested at a museum in Haifa, Israel, demanding that the museum remove an exhibit that featured a "McJesus" sculpture. The sculpture – Ronald McDonald crucified on a cross – is part of a larger exhibit commenting on society's worship of capitalism, but after photos of the crucified clown were shared on social media, a group of Christians became irate.

They rioted by throwing a firebomb at the museum and stones at police officers, injuring three of them. Police then used tear gas and stun grenades against the crowd.

According to NBC:

Church representatives brought their grievances to the district court Monday, demanding it order the removal of the exhibit's most offensive items, including Barbie doll renditions of a bloodied Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

Museum director Nissim Tal said that he was shocked at the sudden uproar, especially because the exhibit — intended to criticize what many view as society's cult-like worship of capitalism — had been on display for months. It has also been shown in other countries without incident.

The museum has refused to remove the artwork, saying that doing so would infringe on freedom of expression. But following the protests it hung a curtain over the entrance to the exhibit and posted a sign saying the art was not intended to offend.

"This is the maximum that we can do," Tal said. "If we take the art down, the next day we'll have politicians demanding we take other things down and we'll end up only with colorful pictures of flowers in the museum."

Read the rest

China has a very Orwellian reason for banning typing "1984" on social media, while allowing people to read Nineteen Eighty-Four

Chinese internet users can't type the numbers "1984" into social media, but Chinese bookstores freely sell copies of Orwell's novels, including Nineteen Eighty-Four, as well as other books whose titles are banned on social media. Read the rest

Bird Scooter tried to censor my Boing Boing post with a legal threat that's so stupid, it's a whole new kind of wrong

Last month, I published a post discussing the mountains of abandoned Bird Scooters piling up in city impound lots, and the rise of $30 Chinese conversion kits that let you buy a scooter at auction, swap out the motherboard, and turn it into a personal scooter, untethered from the Bird company. Read the rest

Inside China's censorship factories, where young censors learn to erase history

The censorship industry in China is big business. Read the rest

Podcast: Don't let the EU ruin the internet for everyone else!

On the latest Copy This podcast (MP3) (previously), the amazing Kirby "Everything is a Remix" Ferguson talks to Paul Keller about the new EU Copyright Directive, which will impose mandatory copyright filters on all online platforms, opening the door to rampant censorship and ensuring that only the biggest (American) tech companies will be able to afford to operate in the EU. Read the rest

Sony won't let you post "crap recordings" of a few seconds of your own Beethoven piano performance

Back when Sony's fraudulent copyright claims resulted in a 47 second recording of pianist James Rhodes playing Bach, apologists argued that Sony and Youtube's copyright bots couldn't be expected to tell the difference between a highly skilled Bach performance and the ones in their own catalog. Read the rest

Internal sources say googler uprising has killed Google's plans to launch a censored, spying Chinese search engine

The employee uprising over Google's secret "Project Dragonfly -- a plan to release a censored, surveilling search engine for use in China -- has reportedly attained its goals: some of the engineers on the covert team Project Dragonfly team have been re-tasked to other projects, and the remainder have been denied access to the critical data-set that made the project possible. Read the rest

Videos from the University of Chicago "Censorship and Information Control" seminar

This year, I helped University of Chicago science fiction writer and renaissance scholar Ada Palmer and science historian Adrian Johns host a series of interdisciplinary seminars on "Censorship, Information Control, & Revolutions in Information Technology from the Printing Press to the Internet."

Read the rest

Poland rejects the EU's copyright censorship plans, calls it #ACTA2

In 2011, Europeans rose up over ACTA, the misleadingly named "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement," which created broad surveillance and censorship regimes for the internet. They were successful in large part thanks to the Polish activists who thronged the streets to reject the plan, which had been hatched and exported by the US Trade Representative. Read the rest

Malware authors have figured out how to get Google to do "irreversible takedowns" of the sites they compete with

When a rightsholder complains to Google about a website infringing its copyright, Google will generally delist the site, but allow the site's owner to contest the removal through a process defined in Section 512 of the DMCA. Read the rest

The Death of Tumblr

Tumblr will ban 'female-presenting nipples' and other content beginning December 17, 2018. Photographer and writer Nate 'Igor' Smith is a longtime Tumblr user whose work straddles the boundaries of art, editorial, and adult. Here, Nate explains why Tumblr's decision to censor is devastating for the Tumblr's longtime users, and the rest of us. — XJ

THERE WAS A TIME when Tumblr was my favorite place to post photos. It was a social network that you could customize in so many ways that you could create a blog or a mood board or hide a secret project behind a password protected gate. It was used by so many people in so many different ways. You could posts .gifs on Tumblr before they worked on Twitter and you could post uncompressed images that looked good on desktop or smartphone without having to know any code.

I used it as a great place to post images that I could then send to Twitter to get around Twitter’s terrible compression and constantly flowing feed. I used it as a place to organize my images because of Tumblr’s tagging system. I could search for a person or subject or send someone a link to just a specific tag so they could see all my favorite photos of juggalos for example. It was a fantastic tool and my most popular social network until Instagram really exploded. Read the rest

We don't know how much Village Roadshow paid to buy Australia's new censoring copyright law

Australia just passed into law one of the world's most censoring copyright law, which allows the country's media giants like Village Roadshow to use one-sided administrative process to get court orders to censor any website whose "primary effect" is infringement, then use those orders to force search engines to delist any site so blocked, and then recycle those orders to block for any site or service that "provides access" to a blocked site or service. Read the rest

The top AI scientist who quit Google over Chinese censorship plans details the hypocrisy that sent him packing

Jack Poulson is the former Google Research Scientist who quit the company's machine learning division over Project Dragonfly, the company's secret plan to build a censoring Chinese search engine designed to help the country's spies surveil dissident search activity. Read the rest

Google engineer calls for a walkout over China censorship and raises $200K strike fund in hours

Liz Fong-Jones is a Site Reliability Engineer for Google's cloud division; she took to Twitter after reading today's story in The Intercept in which ex-Google security engineer Yonatan Zunger and three current, unnamed Google Security and Privacy staff describe how they were sidelined and deceived in the rush to ship Project Dragonfly, Google's secret, censored, surveilling Chinese search engine. Read the rest

Google's secret project to build a censored Chinese search engine bypassed the company's own security and privacy teams

Google's Project Dragonfly is a formerly secret project to build a surveilling, censored version of its search engine for deployment in China; it was kept secret from the company at large during the 18 months it was in development, until an insider leak led to its existence being revealed in The Intercept. Read the rest

Amnesty will stage global protests over Google's spying, censoring Chinese search engine plan

For years, a secret Google team planned a Chinese search-engine that would censor search results and spy on users for the Chinese state authorities; when the existence of this plan was leaked, thousands of googlers objected to the plan, senior staff quit (then others followed), and things have only gotten worse since, with the company being outed for lying about the project when they claimed it was just a pilot program and nowhere near launch. Read the rest

More posts