Youtube copyright trolls Adrev claim to own a homemade MIDI rendition of 1899's Flight of the Bumblebee

Chris Knight recorded a video of the bees in his backyard and wanted to accompany it with a rendition of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's 1899 composition "The Flight of the Bumblebee." Read the rest

The lawyer who caught UNC giving $2.5m to white nationalists orders the white nationalists to create a $2.5m fund for Black students or face a lawsuit

T Greg Doucette is the lawyer who put the pieces together on the University of North Carolina's $2.5m handout to the white nationalist group the Sons of Confederate Veterans, then found and published a smoking gun in the form of a "victory letter" written by the SOCV's "commander" Kevin Stone, which Stone and the SOCV used a fraudulent DMCA notice to censor. Read the rest

UK's oldest ISP blames DoS attack on attempt to suppress human rights report about West Papua (read it now!)

Greennet (previously) is the oldest ISP in the UK, tracing its origins back to Fidonet, where it was a hub for radical progressive political movements, which has attracted retaliations (in the form of DDoS attacks by repressive states) and surveillance (Greennet was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against GCHQ over surveillance activities that ended with the spy agency "admitting clandestine hacking activities"). Read the rest

Online freedom of expression hits a ten-year low

Pam Cowburn from Article 19 writes, "Our new report shows that digital freedom of expression – defined as our ability to speak freely online – is at a ten year low. The report states that this decline is due to a rise in digital authoritarianism with governments taking control of internet infrastructure, increasing online surveillance and controlling content." Read the rest

Opendemocracy: the Libdems tried to censor our article about their sale of voter data, then used a forged email to intimidate us

There's not really any dispute that the UK Liberal Democrats party sold voter data for £100,000 to the Remain campaign in 2016, though the Information Commissioner's Office tried to suppress that revelation until after the coming election; the Libdems say they did nothing wrong, but when Opendemocracy's Jim Cusick approached the party for a statement ahead of an article, he got no reply. Read the rest

White nationalists who got a $2.5m payout from UNC abuse the DMCA to censor lawyer's trove of documents about it

T. Greg Doucette is the North Carolina litigator who sleuthed out the incredible, bizarre details of the decision of the University of North Carolina's Republican-appointed governors to hand a group of white nationalists $2.5m to build a Confederacy museum. Read the rest

Genetic Evasion: using genetic algorithms to beat state-level internet censorship

Geneva ("Genetic Evasion") is a project from the University of Maryland's Breakerspace ("a lab dedicated to scaling-up undergraduate research in computer and network security"); in a paper presented today at the ACM's Conference on Computer and Communications Security, a trio of Maryland researchers and a UC Berkeley colleague present their work on evolutionary algorithms as a means of defeating state-level network censorship. Read the rest

BBC launches a Tor hidden service mirror to help people evade their countries' censoring firewalls

If you're in China, Iran or some other country whose national firewall blocks BBC News, you can still access it over the Tor network at bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion, which mirrors the main BBC News site as well as BBC Mundo and BBC Arabic. Read the rest

Disgraced ex-cop's bullshit libel case has nearly destroyed the newspaper that outed him for sexual predation of teen girls

In 2017, Carroll, Iowa police officer Jacob Smith resigned from the force after a disciplinary investigation regarding sexual encounters between Smith and teenaged girls. Read the rest

Podcast: False Flag

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Green European Journal short story about the terrible European Copyright Directive which passed last March, False Flag. Published in December 2018, the story highlights the ways in which this badly considered law creates unlimited opportunities for abuse, especially censorship by corporations who've been embarassed by whistleblowers and activists.

The crew couldn’t even supply their videos to friendly journalists to rebut the claims from the big corporate papers. Just *linking* to a major newspaper required a paid license, and while the newspapers licensed to one another so they could reference articles in rival publications, the kinds of dissident, independent news outlets that had once provided commentary and analysis of what went into the news and what didn’t had all disappeared once the news corporations had refused to license the right to link to them.

Agata spoke with a lawyer she knew, obliquely, in guarded hypotheticals, and the lawyer confirmed what she’d already intuited.

“Your imaginary friend has no hope. They’d have to out themselves in order to file a counterclaim, tell everyone their true identity and reveal that they were behind the video. Even so, it would take six months to get the platforms to hear their case, and by then the whole story would have faded from the public eye. And if they *did* miraculously get people to pay attention again? Well, the fakers would just get the video taken offline again. It takes an instant for a bot to file a fake copyright claim.

Read the rest

Apple told TV Plus showrunners to avoid plots that might upset Chinese officials

In early 2018, Apple SVP of internet software and services Eddy Cue and SVP of internet software and services Morgan Wandell instructed TV creators it had commissioned to produce content for Apple TV Plus to avoid plots and scenarios that held China and the Chinese state up in a critical light. Read the rest

Georgia college students started burning books because someone called them white

Latina author Jennine Capó Crucet recently spoke to students at Georgia Southern University about her novel Make Your Home Among Strangers, about an Hispanic girl who feels out of place at a predominantly white college. According to the student newspaper The George-anne, the conversation was quickly derailed by angry college students who think it's racist to point out when things are racist:

"I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged," one respondent said into the microphone. "What makes you believe that it’s okay to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught. I don’t understand what the purpose of this was."

For the record, Georgia Southern University has about a 6 percent Hispanic population.

After the event, several students called the author out even more explicitly on Twitter (although those tweets have been deleted, The George-Anne still has the screenshots). Then they gathered together outside of a dormitory and did what awful mobs throughout history have always done: they burned books.

College kids do dumb stuff sometimes. Read the rest

CBC sues Canada's Conservative Party for using short debate clips in campaign materials

Canada's Conservative Party is terrible, and it has terrible policies, and it will be terrible for Canada if they are elected. I already voted against them with my mail-in ballot. That said, the CBC is 100% wrong to sue the Tories for copyright infringement over the inclusion of short debate clips in Conservative campaign websites and tweets. Read the rest

After banning working cryptography and raiding whistleblowers, Australia's spies ban speakers from national infosec conference

Australian politics are a revolting mess of unstable governments dominated by xenophobic, climate-denying far-right oligarchs, and the only check on their power is the fact that Australian governments are so riven by internal strife and unhinged authoritarianism that they tend to collapse on a quarterly basis, triggering new elections and/or leadership contests. Read the rest

Europe's highest court Facebook verdict hits a new low for technomagical thinking

In 2016, a Facebook user called the Austrian Green Party politician Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek "a corrupt oaf," a "traitor" and a member of a "fascist party." Glawischnig-Piesczek secured an Austrian court verdict that held these remarks to be libellous, and Facebook took them down for Austrian users. Read the rest

CN Tower's management company claims that any picture of the landmark building is a trademark violation

The CN Tower is a giant radio antenna and tourist attraction on Toronto's lakeshore; it's an iconic part of the city's skyline, and has been since it was built at taxpayer expense; today, it's owned by a Crown Corporation that insists that any reproduction of the Tower is a trademark violation. Read the rest

Tiktok's internal policies are both weird and terrible

Tiktok bills itself as apolitical, despite the fact that is both a de facto arm of Chinese political propaganda (and, weirdly, for Uyghur human rights activists). Read the rest

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