How Wechat censors images in private chats

Citizen Lab has expanded its analysis of how censorship and filtering work on Chinese social media (previously). In (Can’t) Picture This 2 An Analysis of WeChat’s Realtime Image Filtering in Chats , researchers probe and document how Wechat complies with Chinese state censorship policies in private chats. Read the rest

London police official warns journalists not to publish leaks on pain of imprisonment

After a leak revealed that the British Ambassador to the USA had called Trump "inept, insecure and incompetent" (leading to the ambassador's resignation and a round of Twitter insults between Trump and senior Tory officials), London's Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu publicly warned journalists not to publish government leaks, threatening to imprison them if they do: "The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause may also be a criminal matter. I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty's Government." Read the rest

French politicians want to add an ag-gag rule to the country's sweeping online hate speech proposal

One of the arguments against hate-speech laws is that once the state starts dividing expression into "allowed" and "prohibited," the "prohibited" category tends to grow, in three ways: first, because company lawyers and other veto-wielders err on the side of caution by excising anything that might be in the "prohibited" bucket; second, because courts respond to these shifts in the discourse by finding more and more edge-cases to be in violation of the law; and finally, because lawmakers are tempted to shovel any speech they or their campaign donors don't like into the "prohibited" bucket. Read the rest

UK ISP Association, spies, censorship organsation jointly condemn Mozilla for supporting secure DNS because it breaks UK internet censorship rules

ISPs in the UK are required to censor a wide swathe of content: what began as a strictly limited, opt-in ban on depictions of the sexual abuse of children has been steadily expanded to a mandatory ban on "extreme" pornography, "terrorist content," copyright and trademark infringement, and then there's the on-again/off-again ban on all porn sites unless they keep a record of the identity of each user and the porn they request.. Read the rest

UK government quietly cancels "age verification" system that would have compiled a database of every Briton's sexual fantasies

Since the days of David Cameron, the UK has been pressing ahead on a plan to force every British person who wants to see pornography to register as an adult through a private-public partnership (administered by a Canadian porn monopolist that pretends to be a Luxembourg company) before they could see sexy times on the internet. Read the rest

People who document evidence of violent extremism are being shut down in Youtube's crackdown on violent extremism

Yesterday, Youtube announced that it would shut down, demonetize and otherwise punish channels that promoted violent extremism, "supremacy" and other forms of hateful expression; predictably enough, this crackdown has caught some of the world's leading human rights campaigners, who publish Youtube channels full of examples of human rights abuses in order to document them and prompt the public and governments to take action. Read the rest

European legal official OKs orders that force Facebook to globally remove insults to politicians like "oaf" and "fascist" (as well as synonyms)

Austria has incredibly broad libel laws -- so broad that they prohibit disgruntled voters from calling politicians "oafs" or "fascists." Predictably, this gave rise to a legal dispute between an Austrian politician and Facebook, when the former ordered the latter to remove a comment containing these two insults, and the whole mess ended up before the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the EU -- a person whose decisions are not binding, but are incredibly legally influential. Read the rest

Poland has asked the European Court of Justice to overturn the #CopyrightDirective

The government of Poland has filed a complaint with the European Court of Justice, arguing that the recently passed Copyright Directive amounts of a form of censorship, "forbidden not only in the Polish constitution but also in the EU treaties." Read the rest

Alex Stamos on the security problems of the platforms' content moderation, and what to do about them

Alex Stamos (previously) is the former Chief Security Officer of Yahoo and Facebook. I've jokingly called him a "human warrant canary" because it seems that whenever he leaves a job, we later learn that his departure was precipitated by some terrible compromise the company was making -- he says that he prefers to be thought of as "the Forrest Gump of infosec" because whenever there is a terrible geopolitical information warfare crisis, he's in the background, playing ping-pong. Read the rest

Report: China now blocks Wikipedia in all languages

China is blocking Wikipedia in every language, reports the Tor Project, expanding its censorship to cover editions other than Chinese.

measurements show that many of these Wikipedia domains were previously accessible, but all measurements collected from 25th April 2019 onwards present the same DNS anomalies for all Wikipedia sub-domains. The few DNS anomalies that occurred in previous months were false positives, whereas the DNS anomalies from April 2019 onwards show that Wikipedia domains are blocked by means of DNS injection. Most measurements were collected from China Telecom (AS4134).

Wikipedia, of course, blocks edits from VPNs. Read the rest

Just look at this banana-based feminist protest movement in Poland.

Just look at it. (Thanks, Matthew!) Read the rest

Chuck Tingle's Muellerporn: "Redacted In The Butt By Redacted Under The Tromp Administration"

Chuck Tingle (previously) has leapt into action with some of the most trenchant analysis of the Mueller Report yet seen: Redacted In The Butt By Redacted Under The Tromp Administration covers all the most significant details through an exquisitely crafted tale of gay pornography. Read the rest

Effective July 15, British porn consumers will be required entrust their sexual tastes to private companies' badly secured databases

Back when David Cameron was Prime Minister, he took advice from Patrick Rock (later revealed to be a a trafficker in images depicting the abuse of children) on how to stop children from seeing internet pornography. Read the rest

Starz abuses the DMCA to remove EFF's tweet about Starz abusing the DMCA

Torrentfreak published an article disclosing the fact that screeners of American Gods had leaked online ahead of their air date (they did not make the screeners available, nor did they link to any of the places where the screeners could be downloaded from) and they tweeted about the story. Read the rest

French officials call Project Gutenberg archive, 15 million ebooks, Grateful Dead recordings and Prelinger Archive "terrorism," demands removal from Internet Archive

In the past week, the French government's L’Office Central de Lutte contre la Criminalité liée aux Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (OCLCTIC) have sent 500 "terrorism" takedown demands to the Internet Archive demanding the removal of tens of millions of works: the entire archive of Project Gutenberg; an archive of 15 million texts, the entire Grateful Dead archive, the Prelinger Archive of public domain industrial films (much beloved by the MTV generation as they were the source of the channels classic interstitial animations), and the Archive's collection of recordings from CSPAN. Read the rest

After Christchurch shooting, Australia doubles down on being stampeded into catastrophically stupid tech laws

Australia leads "developed democracies" in the adoption of poorly thought-through, dangerous tech laws, thanks to its ban on working cryptography, rushed through in late 2018; now, with no debate or consultation, the Australian Parliament has passed a law that gives tech companies one hour to remove "violent materials" from their platforms with penalties for noncompliance of up to 10% of annual global turnover. Read the rest

Moderators for large platform tell all, reveal good will, frustration, marginalization

Alex Feerst, Medium's head of trust and safety, conducted a long, wide-ranging interview with senior content moderation staffers with experience at Dropbox, Google, Facebook, Reddit, Pintrest, and many unnamed platforms; the interview is very frank and reveals a group of people with a deep, real-world commitment to protecting users as well as defending free speech. Read the rest

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