Tanzania's independent websites, podcasts and video channels have gone dark as the country's new blogger tax goes into effect

As of this Friday, anyone operating an independent online presence in Tanzania will have to pay a licensing fee equivalent to an average year's wages, and submit to a harsh set of censorship rules, as well as an obligation to unmask anonymous posters and commenters, with stiff penalties for noncompliance. Read the rest

The EU's terrible copyright proposal will "carpet bomb" the whole world's internet with censorship and surveillance

There's one week to go until an EU committee votes on a plan to "transform the internet into a tool for surveillance and control," that will permanently cement the place of American internet giants like Google and Facebook, freezing out smaller internet companies (and even large nonprofits like Wikipedia) who lack the tens of millions of dollars that complying with the rule will require. Read the rest

70+ internet pioneers to the EU: you are transforming the internet into a "tool for automated surveillance and control" SHARE THIS!

In one week, an EU committee will vote on a pair of extreme copyright proposals that will ban linking to news articles without permission, and force internet platforms to spy on all the pictures, text, video, audio and code their users post, sending it to AIs designed to catch copyright infringement and automatically censor anything that might violate copyright. Read the rest

On June 20, an EU committee will vote on an apocalyptically stupid, internet-destroying copyright proposal that'll censor everything from Tinder profiles to Wikipedia (SHARE THIS!)

The European Union is updating its 2001 Copyright Directive, with a key committee vote coming up on June 20 or 21; on GDPR day, a rogue MEP jammed a mass censorship proposal into the draft that is literally the worst idea anyone in Europe ever had about the internet, ever. Read the rest

South Koreans explain how they get around government porn censorship

When a person in South Korea tries to visit a porn site, they discover the government's National Police Agency Cyber Bureau has blocked it. Read the rest

Uganda's unenforceable social media tax is augmented by a biometric requirement for SIM card purchases

Uganda's social media tax may be an unenforceable mess, but that doesn't make it harmless (it opens the door to selective enforcement and invites programs of censorship and mass surveillance in the name of fighting "tax evasion") but that's only half of dictator Yoweri Museveni's plan to control the internet. Read the rest

Uganda enacts unenforceable, ridiculous anti-"gossip" internet tax

At the urging of Uganda's corrupt dictator Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan parliament has enacted legislation imposing a daily tax on anyone using social media platforms; Museveni said the measure would curb "gossip," while Matia Kasaija claimed it would fund security and electrification efforts. Read the rest

Telegram: ever since Russia's blocking demand, Apple has prevented us from updating our app

Last April, the Kremlin ordered a ban on the private messaging app Telegram, blocking millions of IP addresses that formed Amazon and Google's clouds in order to prevent users from accessing the service; not only was it an ominous moment in the evolution of the internet as a system for oppressive control, it was also an object lesson in how internet concentration has made the internet more susceptible to censorship and control. Read the rest

Futuristic designs for products the EU's stupid new copyright law would kill

The Polish thinktank Centrum Cyfrowe commissioned designers to come up with "speculative designs" for products that could be enabled by a European approach to copyright reforms that favored a more equitable balance tilted towards creators and the public and away from large corporations -- even as the EU is preparing to kill this future by passing an extreme, corporate-aligned copyright regime that runs on censorship and mass surveillance. Read the rest

Texas high-school principal fires award-winning, nationally famous journalism teacher to rein in critical student newspaper reporting

Dallas-Fort Worth's Prosper High School has an excellent student paper, the Eagle Nation Online, with a most excellent advisor, Lori Oglesbee-Petter, a journalism teacher with 34 years of experience, whose students won 175 state and national journalism awards last year alone. Read the rest

Game platform Steam set to ban sexy toons

Steam is reportedly cracking down on "scantily clad cartoon women" in its online gane platform. Publishers of adult-themed anime visual novels say they've been told to remove offending titles or leave town.

"It's an anime titty holocaust," HuniePot, the developer of HuniePop, a match-3 puzzle game where players also chat up busty anime girls, said in a tweet. Thursday night, HuniePot tweeted that it received an email from Valve, the company that operates Steam, saying that HuniePop, "violates the rules & guidelines for pornographic content on Steam and will be removed from the store unless the game is updated to remove said content."

MangaGamer, a company that localizes and publishes several Japanese visual novels, told Motherboard in an email that it received a notice from Valve Thursday morning for its game Kindred Spirits.

Steam is, in other words, panicking and excluding a genre from its platform without explanation. It's allegedly warned at least one publisher over material they don't even publish on Steam.

These seems to be a general unwillingness to directly address two facts at hand:

1. Much of the material in question depicts childlike characters in sexual contexts.

2. Some of the people selling it are misogynists and some of the adjacent fandoms are tinderboxes of rage and entitlement.

Instead, we have vague objections to vague policies. This enables Steam to push out anything superficially similar, a pattern that could later be used to push out sexual and political minorities and anything else that might make trouble in the serene walled gardens of content. Read the rest

Britain's Great Firewall blocks access to official Disney sites, internet safety guides, VPNs, and coding sites for kids

In the decade since the UK rolled out its Great Firewall, the project of somehow dividing the entire internet into "good" and "bad" (or even "all-ages" and "adult") has run into a series of embarrassing gaffes, blocking rape crisis sites while letting through all sorts of ghastly porn -- and at every turn, the Conservative government's response has been to double down on internet censorship, expanding it from a parental filter to an opt-out porn filter, whose biggest backers have repeatedly demonstrated their technical incompetence. Read the rest

Amazon orders Signal to stop using AWS to defeat censorship

Repressive autocracies like Egypt, Oman, and the UAE ban Signal and other encrypted messaging apps, using national firewalls to try to block their traffic; Signal evades these blocks by using "domain fronting," in which the service's cloud provider shows up as the origin of its traffic, forcing countries to block Google or Amazon to get at a single service hiding behind them. Read the rest

The predictable dystopian trajectory of China's Citizen Scores

China's Citizen Score system combines surveillance of your social media and social graph with your credit report, your purchase history and state spy agencies and police files on you to produce a "trustworthiness" score -- people who score low are denied access to high-speed travel, financial products, and other services like private school for their kids. Read the rest

Russia's fumbling, heavy-handed Telegram ban is a perfect parable about the modern internet's promise and peril

Russia tried to get the creators of the private messaging service Telegram to create a back-door so its cops could spy on Telegram users; Telegram refused and Russia banned Telegram in retaliation. Read the rest

Russia blocks Google & Amazon IP addresses, saying they're used by Telegram app Putin just banned

Russia's communications regulator says it has blocked IP addresses owned by Google and Amazon because Moscow claims the internet addresses are used by the Telegram messaging service that was banned by Putin's regime this week. Read the rest

Cities' emergency sirens will play anything you send them over an unencrypted radio protocol

It's been a year since someone hacked all 156 of Dallas's emergency tornado sirens, setting them off in the middle of the night, and the security picture for cities' emergency PA systems keeps getting uglier. Read the rest

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