A report from the Christchurch Call, where the future of "anti-extremist" moderation was debated at the highest levels

This week's Christchurch Call event in Paris brought together politicians, tech execs and civil society to discuss means of "countering violent extremism" online; it was convened by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the wake of the deadly white supremacist terror killings in Christchurch last March. Read the rest

Facebook's "celebration" and "memories" algorithms are auto-generating best-of-terror-recruiting pages for extremist groups

Facebook isn't very good at selling you things on behalf of its advertisers, so the company has to gather as much data as possible on you and use it keep you clicking as much as possible in the hopes of eventually scoring a hit with its targeting system, and that means that it often commits unwitting -- but utterly predictable -- acts of algorithmic cruelty. Read the rest

Big Tech is deleting evidence needed to prosecute war crimes, and governments want them to do more of it

War crimes are among the most grisly and difficult-to-prosecute crimes; and yet, ironically, the criminals have made it easier for prosecutors, by uploading videos celebrating their atrocities to Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Youtube, where they can act as recruiting tools for terrorists and extremists. Read the rest

Human Rights Watch reverse-engineered the app that the Chinese state uses to spy on people in Xinjiang

China's Xinjiang province is home to the country's Uyghur ethnic minority and other people of Turkic Muslim descent; it has become a living laboratory for next-generation, electronically mediated totalitarianism; up to 1,000,000 people have been sent to concentration/torture camps in the region, and targets for rendition ot these camps come via compulsory mobile apps that spy on residents in every conceivable way (naturally, war criminal Eric "Blackwater" Prince, brother of billionaire heiress Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is into this stuff up to his eyeballs, as are other American collaborators). 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

The Chinafication of the internet continues as the UK proposes blocking any service that hosts "illegal" or "harmful" material

Last year the US Congress passed SESTA/FOSTA, an "anti-sex-trafficking bill" that has resulted in the shuttering of all the services formerly used by sex workers to vet their johns, massively increasing the personal physical risk borne by sex-workers and reinvigorating the dying pimping industry, as sex workers seek out protectors. Read the rest

New Zealand's domestic spies, obsessed with illegally surveilling environmental activists, missed a heavily armed right-wing terrorist

New Zealand is one of the Five Eyes countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, NZ) who collaborate on mass surveillance, and it has a notoriously off-leash, invasive surveillance apparatus that has been caught spying on NZ Greenpeace, the NZ Green Party, the Mana Movements and anti-TPP activists; the state was also caught giving private corporate spies access to its national surveillance data to help them hunt down and neutralize activists; unsurprisingly, the NZ police also abused these records, accessing them without a warrant on thousands of occasions (NZ also recruited the NSA to spy on kiwi activists). Read the rest

Gunman kills 49 in New Zealand mosque shootings

A white man in his 20s was taken into custody after killing 49 and wounding dozens more at two Christchurch mosques, reports the BBC. Authorities described him as an "extremist right-wing terrorist"; he live-streamed one of the attacks on the internet.

The attack, which came around the time people were attending the mosques for Friday prayers, was the deadliest in the nation's history.

A gunman live-streamed footage of his rampage to Facebook, filmed with a head-mounted camera. The footage showed him firing indiscriminately at men, women and children from close range inside the Al-Noor mosque.

Police called on the public not to share the "extremely distressing" footage online. Facebook said it had removed the gunman's Facebook and Instagram accounts and was working to remove any copies of the footage.

He's been named by some media as Brent or Brenton Tarrant. A 74-page anti-immigration manifesto posted online and attributed to the killer rants about "white genocide".

The 74-page document, called The Great Replacement, consists of a rant about white genocide and lists various aims, including the creation of “an atmosphere of fear” against Muslims.

The document, which suggests an obsession with violent uprisings against Islam, claims that the suspect had “brief contact” with the Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik and that Breivik gave a “blessing” for the attack. ... In a question-and-answer section of the manifesto, the author claims he was not seeking fame and was actually a “private and mostly introverted person”.

He describes himself as an ethnonationalist and a fascist.

Read the rest

Machine learning hucksters invent an AI racist uncle that predicts your personality from your facial bone structure

Phrenology (the fake science of predicting personality from the shape of your cranial bones) is like Freddy Kruger, an unkillable demon who rises from the grave every time some desperate huckster decides they need to make a few extra bucks. Read the rest

Quiet Skies: Air Marshals are following thousands of random Americans through airports and on planes, for no articulatable purpose

Federal Air Marshals are furious that they have been tasked to follow thousands of Americans who are not on any watch-list and not suspected of any crime; they shadow these people (who are selected for surveillance on the basis of flimsy criteria like once having visited Turkey) and send minute-by-minute updates to the TSA, noting whether their targets are sleeping, using more than one phone, waiting until the last minute to board their planes, observing boarding areas from a distance, and other innocuous behaviors. Read the rest

Al Shabab declares plastic bags to be unislamic, bans their use in jihadi-controlled Somali territory

Al Shabab (previously) is an Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group whose use of child soldiers, brutal murder, and attacks targeted at civilians have allowed them to carve out a jihadi-controlled territory in Somalia. Read the rest

Canadian border guards have secret access to a US "anti-terror" database of 680,000 names

Canadian border guards' terminals give them secret access to Tuscan, a database maintained by US spy agencies of suspected terrorists; the database has some 680,000 names in it and if you match one of those names, Canadian border and immigration officials are empowered to "detain, interrogate, arrest and deny entry" to you. Read the rest

Police say the Austin bomber killed himself as they closed in on him

five bombs have gone off in the Austin area this month (a sixth bomb was defused); they seemed to target people of color. Read the rest

RIP Anna Campbell, a British woman who joined an all-woman Kurdish Protection Unit in Syria

Anna Campbell, from Lewes, England, has died fighting in the Kurdish Women's Protection Units ("YPJ") in Syria; she was likely killed by a Turkish airstrike. She was 26. Read the rest

Local UK governments say identifying buildings with Grenfell cladding would be a gift to arsonists and terrorists

The lethal fire at Grenfell tower had many proximate causes, not least the defeat of a bill in Parliament that would have required landlords to render their properties safe and habitable, voted down by Tory MPs who are overwhelmingly landlords themselves. Read the rest

Austin bombings: literal American carnage meets with Trumpian indifference

Remember when Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to make Americans safe, and promised an end to "American carnage" at his inauguration? Yeah, neither does he. Read the rest

Charles Stross's "Dark State": transdimensional, nuclear-tipped mutually assured destruction by way of a first-rate spy novel

Dark State is the sequel to Empire Games, a reboot/latter phase of Charles Stross's longrunning, excellent economic science fiction/high fantasy Merchant Princes series.

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