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The Internet sees censorship as data, and feeds on it

In a scientific study of Chinese online state censorship, Harvard researchers not only gathered large amounts of social media in real time from within the country but created a large amount themselves to see what got through and what was removed. Through this method, they reverse-engineered what they describe as "the largest selective suppression of human communication in the recorded history of any country". The results, to use a popular term, will surprise you. [more inside]
posted by Devonian on Aug 28, 2014 - 31 comments

Wikipedia and state censorship

Under the new “right to be forgotten” law Google is forced to remove search results for certain pages. Of the 328,000 links that Google has so far been coerced into removing, more than 50 were to Wikipedia (*nyt). The Wiki Media Foundation has created a dedicated page where they will be posting notices about attempts to remove links to Wikimedia. They include Gerry Hutch, Tom Carstairs in concert (image) and the rest Italian and Dutch articles. A new front in the Wikipedia deletion wars has opened. Wikipedia swears to fight 'censorship', and Wales calls the law 'deeply immoral'. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Aug 6, 2014 - 83 comments

The *first* revelation this week, at least

This week's Glenn Greenwald revelation is that Britain's GCHQ JTRIG intelligence organization offers its agents and planners tools with abilities to increase the search ranking of chosen web sites, “change outcome of online polls”, “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries”, and accomplish “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jul 16, 2014 - 54 comments

"And the world is full of people running about with lit matches."

"Why I'm sending 200 copies of Little Brother to a high-school in Pensacola, FL." [boing boing] "The principal of Booker T Washington High in Pensacola FL cancelled the school's One School/One Book summer reading program rather than letting all the kids go through with the previously approved assignment to read Little Brother, the bestselling young adult novel by Cory Doctorow. With Cory and Tor Books' help, the teachers are fighting back." [VIDEO RESPONSE]
posted by Fizz on Jun 10, 2014 - 61 comments

Peak Advertising and the Future of the Web

"Advertising is not well. Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 3, 2014 - 173 comments

Animated mouse shown to destroy cels when exposed to Ecstasy.

Disney Studios censors Miyazaki collection, pulls Studio Ghibli compilation. "On Your Mark" a video directed by Hiyao Miyazaki, and produced between early January and late May, 1995 by a team of over fifty animators at Studio Ghibli, in cooperation with other studios, is being censored from the upcoming 13-disc "Collected Works of Director Hayao Miyazaki" collection. Disney is also stopping shipments of a 2005 Ghibli Shorts collection, which features the video, along 22 other shorts that Studio Ghibli produced over the course of decades. The rationale?! Nineteen years after the video's release, one of the members of the band that did the music for the video has been arrested, along with a female acquaintance, after police found MDMA at his home. The musician was arrested Saturday, but has not been charged or convicted, as yet. Both he and the woman he was arrested with claim to be innocent.
posted by markkraft on May 21, 2014 - 73 comments

A Monstration In St. Petersburg

In Russia today, it's illegal to engage in "homosexual propaganda", and "anti-Russian propaganda" can attract ugly attention. So on May 1, there was a "Monstration" in St Petersburg. Absurd signs and costumes had no prosecutable meaning, but the message was unmistakable. In Novosibirsk, a little further from the Kremlin, the message was more direct. [more inside]
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard on May 2, 2014 - 32 comments

Short sci-fi film about a meteor heading to Hong Kong, blocked by China

香港將於33年後毀滅 (Hong Kong will be destroyed after 33 years) is a near-future sci-fi short film about a fictional meteor that is headed for Hong Kong and expected to impact in 2047, but the public at large does nothing to address this impending doom. It might seem like an innocuous enough film, but China thought there was more to the story than that, and State Council Information Office requested that websites immediately remove video, text, etc. that advocates the short sci-fi film about Hong Kongers “saving themselves” titled Hong Kong Will Be Destroyed in 33 Years. The Diplomat has a bit more information about the film's not entirely coincidental use of the year 2047, the year in which China's Special Administrative Region (SAR) agreement with Hong Kong is set to expire, possibly bringing an end to one country, two systems.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 13, 2014 - 8 comments

How Reader's Digest Became a Chinese Stooge

How Reader's Digest Became a Chinese Stooge Larkin was delighted when Reader's Digest said it would take her work for one of its anthologies of condensed novels. Thirst would reach a global audience and – who knows? – take off. Reader's Digest promised "to ensure that neither the purpose nor the opinion of the author is distorted or misrepresented", and all seemed well. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Mar 30, 2014 - 38 comments

I Have a Chinese Banknote That Everyone in China Is Scared Of

In China, there are certain "bad notes" that frighten people and are refused as legal tender. Why?
posted by reenum on Jan 16, 2014 - 77 comments

The United States versus The Spirit of '76

Inspired by Griffith's Birth of a Nation, costume company owner Robert Goldstein decided to make an inspirational, patriotic movie about the Revolutionary War. May 1917 proved to be wrong time to debut his film. [more inside]
posted by dances_with_sneetches on Jan 14, 2014 - 20 comments

Why Russell Brand is banned in Guantanamo Bay.

Clive amuses himself (and me) by testing what the censors will let through.
I have been cleared to leave here for over half of my time behind bars – first by the Bush administration in 2007 and then by the Obama government in 2009 – and yet I remain here. - Shaker Aamer.
posted by adamvasco on Dec 19, 2013 - 21 comments

GitHub removes anti-feminist satire from code repo

In the wake of a questionable article about feminist programming languages, a group of trolls leapt on the idea to create a parodic implementation. GitHub promptly removed the code repository, as did BitBucket, but the latter restored it amid the controversy. More commentary from Slashdot and Twitter.
posted by vira on Dec 18, 2013 - 138 comments

Specifically, cunnilingus

Why is Hollywood so afraid of oral sex? Why is oral sex hard for Hollywood? Evan Rachel Wood slams MPAA for censoring sex scene in her new film.
posted by crossoverman on Dec 1, 2013 - 82 comments

Sexy Times

Sales of digital comics have soared in the past three years. Readers love the look of comics on the iPad screen and they also love the convenience of in-app purchasing, which allows consumers to buy and store their comics within a single app. So it’s a big deal when Apple bans a comic—usually because of sexual or mature material or nudity—and it has happened to at least 59 comics this year. - Are comics too hot for Apple? Publishers Weekly looks at Apples role as Gatekeeper in the wake of their rejection of Sex Criminals #3 and retroactive removal of Sex Criminals #1 from the iOS marketplace. Strangely the books remain available via iBooks. This is not the first time Apples policies have been confusing or raised concerns of censorship, such as with the Saga of Saga #12 earlier this year, and before the rise of comixology with the banning/unbanning of Ulysses Seen (previously).
posted by Artw on Nov 22, 2013 - 42 comments

Instrument Lights Made the Beads of Sweat Twinkle on His Dark Skin

In 1956 EC Comics attempted to re-publish the pre-Code comic Judgement Day, originally published in 1953 in Weird Fantasy #18, prior to the founding of the Comics Code Authority. The CCA "objected to" the story because of "the central character being black.".
posted by exogenous on Sep 24, 2013 - 13 comments

the bleep is a literal demonstration of First Amendment principles

"Curses! The birth of the bleep and modern American censorship" by Maria Bustillos
"The bleep of censorship invariably draws attention to the material it was intended to conceal; circles it, if you like, by loudly omitting it. Bleeping also serves as proof that there is a watcher: someone looking out for us in advance. In the bleep lies the evidence that you are being “protected” — but by whom? Why? And from what?"
posted by andoatnp on Aug 27, 2013 - 15 comments

Censorship Doesn’t Just Stifle Speech—It Can Spread Disease

The Saudi Arabian government has been tight-lipped about the spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), a disease first discovered in 2012 that has "killed more than half of those who contracted it", "responding slowly to requests for information and preventing outside researchers from publishing their findings about the syndrome. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Aug 24, 2013 - 13 comments

Down By Law

ISPs often don't say why a website is blocked and court orders are rarely voluntarily published. So when sites are blocked, it's really hard to find out why. 451 Unavailable is here to help ISPs make it clear why websites are blocked and to encourage courts to publish blocking orders. [more inside]
posted by jenkinsEar on Aug 15, 2013 - 30 comments

"I am absolutely clear that the state has a vital role to play."

Online pornography to be blocked by default in the UK, announces Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech today. Internet users will have to contact their ISPs to opt out of the filter. Possession of pornography depicting rape will also be illegal. Here is the full text of the speech. Coverage by The Independent, the Telegraph, and a shortened video of the speech at the Guardian. [more inside]
posted by Drexen on Jul 22, 2013 - 154 comments

Why I banned a book

How censorship can impact a learning community
posted by episodic on Jul 19, 2013 - 18 comments

I've got 99 Flowers; My Man Mitch ain't one

The AP has obtained e-mails showing that Mitch Daniels sought to censor academic materials while in office. [more inside]
posted by dubusadus on Jul 17, 2013 - 41 comments

'My kids were in your library before me. I was really interested.'

Burma's Lucky Bibliophile
When the Ministry of Information’s director general visited Ye Htet Oo’s library in 2010, it could have been disastrous. Ye Htet Oo, then a recent college graduate, was running his new library in downtown Rangoon on the sly, without approval from the former military regime, and was told he could face three months in jail for every book he lent without permission from the censorship board. Unable to get a library license from the government, which saw libraries as a way to spread subversive ideas, he fronted his operation as a bookshop but kept a collection of unapproved library books hidden in a back room. Then one day, unknown to the young bibliophile, the ministry’s director general—who has since become the deputy minister of information and President Thein Sein’s spokesman—entered the “bookshop” and walked straight into the secret room.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 5, 2013 - 14 comments

Don't Fuck With The Saints!

The upcoming game Saints Row 4, an over-the-top open world action game that features weapons like a Dubstep Gun, has been refused classification (banned) in Australia. The new R18 classification for games was supposed to make this less common, but Saints Row 4's (trigger warning) 'alien anal probe' weapon and 'alien narcotics' have caused it to fall afoul of the new guidlines. Developer Deep Silver said they'll resubmit Saint's Row 4 to the reclassification board, while The Guardian sees this as evidence of Australia's conservative culture. Saints Row previously.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Jun 25, 2013 - 94 comments

"You never know what will happen next."

As the plane descended into Rangoon's international airport, I noticed a slight change in my heartbeat. I felt calm, but also excited, knowing that I was about to return to Burma for the first time in 24 years. Former student dissident and exiled journalist Aung Zaw spends Five Days in Burma. [more inside]
posted by seemoreglass on Jun 10, 2013 - 4 comments

No longer sci-fi: world's first 3D printed (almost) all-plastic firearm.

Defense Distributed, creators of the controversial printable AR-15 receiver, have now released CAD files and video of the first firing of the Liberator, a real plastic pistol capable of firing between one and 10 .380 calibre rounds before exploding. [more inside]
posted by MoTLD on May 7, 2013 - 257 comments

“It seems absurd to me that the clip is censored.”

Quebec director Xavier Dolan's music video for "College Boy" (NSFW) by French band Indochine has stirred up some controversy for its gruesome portrayal of bullying.
posted by jeffen on May 5, 2013 - 16 comments

How Censorship in China Silences Collective Action

How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression Researchers at Harvard University (Gary King, Jennifer Pan, and Margaret Roberts) have conducted the first large scale analysis of internet censorship in China. Their findings? Criticism of the state is not censored. What is censored, however, are any comments that support collective action or social mobilization. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on May 3, 2013 - 24 comments

Free Speech on the Internet

The Delete Squad: Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech.
posted by homunculus on Apr 30, 2013 - 27 comments

Using the F-word in PG-13/12A movies

Den of Geek looks at the MPAA rule that a PG-13 movie can contain only one utterance of the word "fuck".
posted by reenum on Mar 24, 2013 - 57 comments

On Chicago Public Schools Censoring Persepolis's Images of Torture

Suffice it to say, Persepolis is quite a work. It’s a testament to the power of the graphic novel. The art’s simple linework helps the story feel unpretentious and direct. Persepolis was adapted as a 2007 French animated film, written and directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Among other honors, it was nominated for an Academy Award. Why would someone want to ban such a book?
posted by Artw on Mar 16, 2013 - 33 comments

Watching the watchmen

Weibo, China's most popular microblogging website, is manually censored for "impropriety" and political content. By observing the time taken for censored posts to disappear, researchers have exposed some of the the working patterns and methods of the censors. [more inside]
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show on Mar 13, 2013 - 17 comments

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.”

The Turn Against Nabokov [newyorker.com]
"The author, whose novels thrum with ironic recurrences, might have been perversely pleased with this: thirty-six years after his death and twenty-two years after the fall of the Soviet Union with all its khudsovets, Vladimir Nabokov is, once again, controversial."

posted by Fizz on Feb 28, 2013 - 44 comments

Prisoner X didn't exist until two years after his death.

In June 2010 a news story briefly appeared on the Yediot website about Prisoner X in solitary confinement in an Israeli jail. His jailers did not know who he was, did not share a word with him, no one came to visit him. No one seemed to know he was there. They didn’t even know what crime he had committed or how he came to be in the prison. His prison cell was completely isolated from other prisoners and he couldn’t communicate in any way with them. ABC News Australia has broken the News that Prisoner X was an Australian citizen suspected of Mossad links and who commited suicide two years ago in an Israeli jail. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Feb 13, 2013 - 96 comments

The Bowdlerization of bande dessinée

Europe has a long-standing comic tradition, at least equal to that of America. Beyond Tintin and Asterix, there are hundreds of fantastic titles with astonishing art, most of which never see the shores of the USA. However, when a lucky title does get the nod, something bizarre happens when European sensibilities face American censors. [more inside]
posted by themadthinker on Jan 4, 2013 - 39 comments

"Governments should be afraid of their people."

Television viewers in China were shocked last Friday when state broadcaster CCTV aired V for Vendetta unedited in prime time. Previously, Chinese search engines would not even return results for the anti-totalitarian 2006 film; CCTV-6 did at least harmonize the title by translating it as "V Special Forces", rather than the more common translation given in pirated DVD editions, "V the Revenge Killing Squad". [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Dec 22, 2012 - 53 comments

A Quiet Opening - North Koreans in a Changing Media Environment

As this research report will show, North Koreans today are learning more about the outside world than at any time since the founding of the country. North Korea is consistently ranked by Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders as the country with the least free media in the world. This ranking reflects the country's complete lack of an independent domestic media, its legal restrictions against accessing foreign media and the harsh punishments it metes out against citizens who violate those restrictions. Yet, since the late 1990s the information environment in North Korea has undergone significant changes. Although the media environment remains extremely restricted by international standards, North Koreans' access to outside media has grown considerably over the past two decades. Many inside the country continue to develop new ways to access information while avoiding the ever-present risk of detection and punishment.
posted by DiesIrae on Dec 11, 2012 - 13 comments

THR & The Blacklist

After 65 Years The Hollywood Reporter addresses its role in the hollywood blacklist, including an apology from W.R. Wilkerson III, son of THR founder Billy Wilkerson whose "A Vote For Joe Stalin" editorial named writers such as Dalton Trumbo, Lester Cole, Howard Koch and John Howard Lawson as communist sympathisers.
posted by Artw on Nov 21, 2012 - 8 comments

Menace(s) to Society

During the Golden Age of Hollywood and until 1967, mainstream movie studios were banned by the Production Code from depicting taboo topics like drug addiction, explicit murder and venereal disease, or even showing explicit nudity. But in the 1930's and 1940's, films marketed as "educational" could and did fly under the radar, and three of the best known 'educational' propaganda exploitation films are: Sex Madness (1935), Reefer Madness (1936) and The Cocaine Fiends (1938). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 15, 2012 - 30 comments

This will sell us another 25,000 copies for sure.

Tomorrow is the end of Banned Books Week. It's been 30 years. The American Library Association has a list of frequently challenged books. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 5, 2012 - 48 comments

A New Kinda Satellite State

The satellite man is typically young, with an entrepreneur’s zeal and a sense of adventure, often from the mercantile district of South Tehran, trained by colleagues in the black-market niche of satellite TV installation...
posted by Chipmazing on Sep 30, 2012 - 11 comments

One way to deal with hostile media...

US calls Assange 'enemy of state'. The US military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States - the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency. Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with "communicating with the enemy", a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death.
posted by jaduncan on Sep 26, 2012 - 234 comments

Male nipples are OK, female nipple bulges are not

Nipplegate: Why the New Yorker Cartoon Department is About to be Banned from Facebook [more inside]
posted by asnider on Sep 11, 2012 - 124 comments

Indian cartoonist jailed on sedition charges

Indian cartoonist jailed on sedition charges An Indian cartoonist detained on sedition charges for his satirical drawings highlighting widespread corruption among India’s political elite has been jailed for two weeks, rekindling a fierce debate on freedom of speech in the world’s largest democracy. In India the Enemies of Free Speech Find a "Symbolic" Means to Attack Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Sep 10, 2012 - 13 comments

Only in Israel

The Dealers is a new Israeli crime comedy, released here this weekend. The poster features the film's central players sitting around a table loaded with booze, weed, bongs, joints and other drug paraphernalia. For the stricter populace of Jerusalem, a modified version of the poster was prepared, one which removes all trace of... You guessed it: Women. The pot and booze? Untouched. [more inside]
posted by Silky Slim on Jul 22, 2012 - 47 comments

Transparency is a core value at Google.

Government requests to censor content ‘alarming,’ Google says Google has received more than 1,000 requests from authorities to take down content from its search results or YouTube video in the last six months of 2011. In its twice-yearly Transparency Report, the world’s largest web search engine said the requests were aimed at having some 12,000 items overall removed, about a quarter more than during the first half of last year. [previously]
posted by KokuRyu on Jun 18, 2012 - 21 comments

La République Islaïque de Tunisie

This week's riots (WaPo) in Tunisia started last Saturday, when a mob of hardline Salafists, after trying to disrupt an art exhibition deemed offensive to Islam, were booed off ("dégage!") by the crowd. They came back a few hours later to destroy the works: here are the artworks, before and after the attack at the Abdellia Palace in La Marsa, Tunis.
posted by elgilito on Jun 14, 2012 - 27 comments

HTTP 112 – Emergency. Censorship in action.

Does HTTP need a status code for censorship? Perhaps [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jun 10, 2012 - 99 comments

"Everybody that I've taught anything other than Tor to is in jail."

An anti-censorship software package Simurgh, aimed towards aiding dissidents in Iran and Syria, has been circulated with a backdoor that reports keystroke logs back to a server hosted in the U.S. but registered with a Saudi Arabian ISP. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jun 1, 2012 - 5 comments

"No-Thing will come of No-Thing. Think again."

"This is the final victory of the censor: When people, even people who know they are routinely lied to, cease to be able to imagine what is really the case." Salman Rushdie, On Censorship.
posted by davidjmcgee on May 16, 2012 - 48 comments

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