Censorship Archives

Sad Day For Net Users In NZ As Goverment Internet Filter Goes Live

According to an article on Scoop Independent News New Zealand has joined the ranks of nations with really aggressive, secret internet filters operated by the government.

Apparently two NZ ISPs, Maxnet and Watchdog, have already implemented the filter and three more, Telstra Clear, Telecom and Vodafone have stated that they will be implementing it.  Only three ISPs, Orcon, Slingshot and Natcom have said that they will not be using it.

Another blow to freedom of speech on the internet as net filtering by governments becomes more and more prevalent.  First China, North Korea and Iran, recently Australia and now New Zealand.

The US government has recently spoken out against government filtering of the internet, with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton saying that “Those who disrupt the free flow of information in our society, or any other, pose a threat to our economy, our government and our civil society.” She then said that the US is committed to helping people to circumvent government internet filtering.

One can only hope that this isn’t just more of the same meaningless hollow drivel that the currently way too liberal US government is famous for and that it will lead to some real support of technologies that are designed to prevent internet censorship such as TOR, Freenet and Anonymous Remailers.

Technorati Tags: new zealand, internet filter, freenet, remailers, censorship, tor

EFF Calls On FCC To Close Net Neutrality Loopholes

As the FCC continues to work on it’s Net Neutrality rules, the issue of loopholes was inevitable.  Sooner or later it had to turn up.  The EFF has filed comments with the FCC urging them to address this before it gets out of control because if it does, the RIAA, MPAA and Hollywood’s big content machine will end up having way too much ability to censor and control internet content.

“The central goal of the net neutrality movement is to prevent ISPs from discriminating against lawful content on the Internet,” said EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick. “Yet the FCC’s version of net neutrality specifically allows ISPs to make those discriminations — opening the door to widespread Internet surveillance and censorship in the guise of copyright protection and addressing the needs of law enforcement.”

This makes about as much sense as the manufacturers of skin care products suddenly being able to outlaw the use of homemade acne remedies.  Of course, to be honest, I think that the skin care industry has more sense than the RIAA and “big content” in general anyway.  At least THEY understand that they’re not the center of the universe, even if they are very important to some people’s lives.

However “big content” is a monster of unprecedented proportions that MUST be made, as in forced, to realize that this is the 21st century and things just are not the same as they were back in the1930’s when they controlled everything that had anything to do with content.  “big content” needs to understand that there are now millions of “little content” types out there and that we the viewing, listening and reading public don’t NEED “big content” anymore.

Take a second and Tell the FCC: Don’t Let Hollywood Hijack the Internet.  It’s free, takes about 30 seconds, and will help make a difference.

Technorati Tags: net neutrality, eff, riaa, mpaa, hollywood, big content, fcc

Here’s Your Chance To Tell The FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission has recently proposed net neutrality rules to ensure that the Internet is free from blocking, censorship and discrimination by telecom companies Cable companies and large ISP’s.

In a nutshell, Net Neutrality means that Internet providers should treat all Internet traffic the same and forward data packets on a first come, first served basis with no regard at all for what those packets contain.

However some of these companies don’t see it that way and would rather have their say or outright control over what you can publish or access on the internet.

I’m sure you remember hearing about the backlash caused when Comcast was caught sending fake reset packets to interfere with people using bittorrent applications to access popular video & music content in spite of the fact that most (if not all) of that traffic involved perfectly legal content.

How about when Verizon Wireless was caught blocking text messages between a pro-choice reproductive rights group and its members?  I personally don’t believe in abortion but I DO believe in the rights of “pro-choice” (or any other) organizations to communicate with their members. It’s called “Freedom of speech”.

Speaking of freedom of speech, how about the time Pearl Jam’s lead singer made some anti-bush comments during a concert?  Comments that AT&T censored.  Again, I may or may not agree with what you’ve got to say, but you HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY IT AND BE HEARD!

Some of these big corporate entities would much rather squash content that they don’t agree with or that simply attempts to compete with them in some way.

Tight Net Neutrality rules would be a step toward preventing them from doing this.

Right now the Big Telecom companies are lobbying like crazy trying to stop the FCC from acting to make net neutrality the rule of the internet.

Don’t let the lobbyists for large (and mostly evil) corporate “entities” win.  NOW is the time to let your voice be heard!

Take a stand for Freedom of speech on the internet and click this link to sign the petition.  Then, take a couple more seconds to tweet it, share it on Facebook or blog about it.

Technorati Tags: petition, fcc, enforce net neutrality, freedom of speech, net neutrality, censorship

Kaspersky CEO Wants To End Online Anonymity

I just saw this little gem on Slashdot this morning:

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of well-known computer security
company Kaspersky Labs, is calling for an end to the anonymity of the
Internet, and for the creation of mandatory ‘Internet passports’ for
anyone who wishes to browse the Web

The very first thought I had after reading this and the articles on The Register and ZDNet Asia that it referred to was “This guy must have had an overdose of diet pills and they’ve caused his brain to shrivel up into something the size of a piece of buckshot.”  Then again of course there’s reason for him to think like that.  Just looking up the Wikipedia entry on him gives the first clue:

Kaspersky graduated from the Institute of Cryptography, Telecommunications and Computer Science, an institute co-sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Defence and the KGB in 1987

Given his history, I suppose it’s no wonder that he wants to eliminate anonymity but it’s obvious to me that he’s not thinking quite clearly here.  You see, while it is true that there’s a lot of people that abuse anonymity either to harass people or for criminal purposes that number is actually a small but extremely vocal minority.  Those who most need to make use of anonymity are, by definition, absolutely not interested in being noticed.

I’ve seen it said many times “If you’re not doing anything illegal then you have nothing to worry about.” or words to that effect and to that I respond Bullshit!, some things are just nobody’s flipping business!

Anonymity is necessary in order to have true freedom of speech.  It is the one way that unpopular speech can truly be protected and lets be clear about something.  Just because something is unpopular doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or that somebody doesn’t have the right to say it.  They do however, have the right to express themselves without fear of reprisal from oppressive governments, corporate entities, or just plain crazy people who might decide to oppress their speech with a shotgun if they knew their identity.

Everything is NOT everybody’s business.  That old reporter’s saw “The people have a right to know everything about everyone” is a damned lie straight from the pits of hell.  I myself frequently use both anonymity and encryption tools to conceal some of my activities online, not because I’m doing (or planning) anything illegal or that I’m being an ugly troll on some message board or blog, instead it’s but because what websites I visit, whom I communicate with and what I say to them is quite simply none of anybody’s business but mine and I want to keep it that way.

Others require anonymity in order to be safe from retaliation because they made the mistake of telling the truth about what some governments have been up to.  A very good read on the subject is “Dissent Made Safer: How anonymity technology could save free speech on the Internet.“.  You can also find more on the TOR website’s “Who Uses TOR?” page, the TOR Overview page also goes into detail about Why we need Tor and the Electronic Frontier Foundation is another source of plenty of reasons why anonymity is important.

“Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind.” Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60, 64 (1960). Great works of literature have frequently been produced by authors writing under assumed names.  Despite readers’ curiosity and the public’s interest in identifying the creator of a work of art, an author is generally free to decide whether or not to disclose his or her true identity. The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic or official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one’s privacy as possible. Whatever the motivation may be…the interest in having anonymous works enter the marketplace of ideas unquestionably outweighs any public interest in requiring disclosure as a condition of entry. Accordingly, an author’s decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions concerning omissions or additions to the content of a publication, is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.” — US Supreme Court McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm

In closing I’ll say that I actually found it quite entertaining to read the comments on Slashdot about this story and I don’t doubt that Mr. Kaspersky has quite probably signed the virtual death warrant of his company because I have no doubt at all that this will inspire many sysadmins and IT people to look elsewhere for their security software solutions.  I know *I* will never buy his stuff.

Technorati Tags: fear of retaliation, not your business, kaspersky, anonymity, freedom of speech, oppressive governments, privacy, tor

TI Upset Because Hobbyists Cracked The 83+ OS Signing Key

Texas Instruments (TI) calculators have for a long time been a subject of hobbyist interest.  In particular is the TI-83.  However TI has long been known to be very uncooperative to say the least.  Recently news came out that somebody has managed to crack the RSA signing key for the programmable calculator’s operating system.

This development means that it will now be a LOT easier for people to load new custom operating systems into the calculator.  Unfortunately, TI seems to have a problem with this.  According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, some TI execs have decided from the comfort of their fancy barcelona chairs that this is not tolerable and they have since been issuing DMCA takedown notices in an effort to suppress any mention of or links to the keys in question.

Fortunately for TI hobbyists, those keys are going to be very difficult to suppress.  Not only have preserved on Wikileaks and other sites, they have also been posted on a Freenet 0.5 “freesite” the URL to which is:

(*note* you must be running Freenet 0.5 on for this link to work.)

Even if TI manages to get those keys totally suppressed and removed from Internet sites, which I think it’s already too late, They’ll never get it removed from Freenet, If only because once something is inserted into Freenet you CAN’T delete it, ever.

Technorati Tags: ti 83 calculator, texas instruments, ti signing key, signing key cracked

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