How to communicate if the government shuts down the Internet, according to: 1) Wired (wiki) 2) PC World
Is Google willing to censor? After a December announcement, Google has quietly begun filtering piracy- and torrent-related terms from its Autocomplete and Instant services. While much of the content is arguably illegal, and results will still appear in Google's traditional search, one of the affected search terms is "ubuntu torrent."
Brazil won't extradite an Italian writer convicted for political murders in the 1970s, so a Venetian official wants his books out of libraries. Not only Cesare Battisti's works, but also those written by Italians who supported him through petitions.
The Wu Ming group is on the case (English translation), fearing this will worsen and spread to the rest of Italy. [more inside]
The Wu Ming group is on the case (English translation), fearing this will worsen and spread to the rest of Italy. [more inside]
I'm still not sure why it's the list for 2011 when we're still not out of 2010 yet, but here's the latest from Project Censored of 25 under-reported stories.
The British Government wants to ban porn from the internet. The move would force ISPs to block all pornographic content unless users had 'opted in' (providing a handy list of people who wish to view pornography) and is said to be motivated by a desire to combat the early sexualization of children. There is no word on how 'porn' is to be defined.
Localfilter: Today in Tokyo, legislation passed that will further restrict manga and animation "glorifying or exaggerating illegal sexual acts." Ten of the biggest comics companies are protesting the Tokyo International Anime Fair, sponsored by the city, responding that a focus on their mode of expression is unfair. Blogger Dan Kanemitsu reports.
Robert Rodriguez's Machete ( Previously) started out as a joke, and went on to be a rather successful film. However, Texas Governor Rick Perry feels the movie doesn't portray Texas positively and has revoked the productions tax breaks. possibly at the cost of Texas's film industry.
Bowing to pressure from right-wing critics, the National Portrait Gallery has decided to remove David Wojnarowicz's film "A Fire in My Belly" from its groundbreaking exhibit "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture". [more inside]
The Complaints Choir phenomenon, started by the Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, has spread all over the world since last we paid it any attention, from Birmingham to Helsinki, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Poikkilaakso, Bodø, Penn State, Canada, Juneau, Gabriola Island, Sointula, Jerusalem, Melbourne, Budapest, Malmö, Chicago, Florence, Copenhagen, Vancouver (2), Philadelphia, Sundbyberg, Milano, Åland, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rotterdam, Basel, Umeå, Ljubljana, Gdansk, Arizona State University, Washington, DC, Horace Mann School, Durham-Chapel Hill, Auckland, Toronto theatre students, Kortrijk, Cairo (2), St. Pölten, Maribor, Port Coquitlam, Ústí nad Labem, Columbus & Kauhajoki (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). For more information, including a 9 step guide to forming your own complaints choir, go to the Complaints Choir website. Finally, here's the Singapore Complaints Choir, whose performance was banned by the Singapore government.
In Gitmo Opinion, Two Versions of Reality. "When Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. ordered the release of a Guantánamo Bay detainee last spring, the case appeared to be a routine setback for an Obama administration that has lost a string of such cases. But there turns out to be nothing ordinary about the habeas case brought by Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, a Yemeni held without charges for nearly eight years. Uthman, accused by two U.S. administrations of being an al-Qaida fighter and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is among 48 detainees the Obama administration has deemed too dangerous to release but 'not feasible for prosecution.' A day after his March 16 order was filed on the court's electronic docket, Kennedy's opinion vanished. Weeks later, a new ruling appeared in its place. While it reached the same conclusion, eight pages of material had been removed, including key passages in which Kennedy dismantled the government's case against Uthman."
The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) has started to be fast-tracked through the legislative process. This bill would create two blacklists (without due process) of domains which ISPs would be forced to block, based on alleged copyright infringement. The RIAA claims that such websites put Americans at risk (but doesn't state exactly what the risk is). Wired Magazine calls it the "Holy Grail of intellectual-property enforcement." The EFF has started an online petition against it and is encouraging internet engineers to speak out against it. [more inside]
Just in time for Banned Books Week, the Bridwell Library at SMU presents "Heresy and Error": The Ecclesiastical Censorship of Books, 1400-1800.
Not the commercials you'd expect for the 2010 Utah State Fair. Check out those hamhocks and don't for get to grab a corndog while you're there. The TV commercials have since been yanked by the fair's board. The director of the ads, Jared Hess of Napolean Dynamite fame, claims racism.
The Haystack application aims to use steganography to hide samizdat-type data within a larger stream of innocuous network traffic. Thus, civilians in Iran, for example, could more easily evade Iranian censors and provide the world with an unfiltered report on events within the country. Haystack earned its creator Austin Heap a great deal of positive coverage from the media during the 2009 Iranian election protests. The BBC described Heap as "on the front lines" of the protesters' "Twitter revolution", while The Guardian called him an Innovator of the Year. Despite the laudatory coverage, however, the media were never given a copy of the software to examine. Indeed, not much is known about the software or its inner workings. Specialists in network encryption security were not allowed to perform an independent evaluation of Haystack, despite its distribution to and use by a small number of Iranians, possibly at some risk. As interest in the project widens and criticisms of the media coverage and software continue to mount, Heap has currently asked users to cease using Haystack until a security review can be performed.
Apple has suddenly reversed their stance on 3rd-party tools for iOS development. (From the horses's mouth.) This means that programmers will be able to use Adobe Flash (and other tools) to make iPhone (iPad, etc.) apps. It does NOT mean that Flash apps (swfs) will be able to run in iPhone or iPad browsers. That is still verboten. It means that developers won't be stuck using just XCode (Apple's code editor/compiler) and the Objective-C language. Alternatively, programmers will be able to use Actionscript (Flash's language) or some other language. Apple will allow cross-compiled apps to be sold in their app store. Meanwhile, porn is still not allowed. Responses: 1, 2, 3.
"Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh on making art about sex and politics in the Middle East..." and how they fled and what they're up to now. More images here.
Artist Georgia Sagri says she wasn't there and maybe performer Ann Liv Young wasn't either. [both links nsfw] [more inside]
Massive Right-Wing Censorship Of Digg Uncovered. "A group of influential conservative members of the behemoth social media site Digg.com have just been caught red-handed in a widespread campaign of censorship, having multiple accounts, upvote padding, and deliberately trying to ban progressives. An undercover investigation has exposed this effort, which has been in action for more than one year."
Shin Sang-ok (1926 - 2006) was a Korean movie writer, director and producer, who studied film in Japan and returned to South Korea, where he gained fame and became the uncontested leader of the film industry in the 1960s, in a time when regulations on the industry limited other studios. In the 1970s under the Fourth Republic of South Korea, the film industry was even further limited, which lead to Shin's studio being closed. Things went from bad to worse, when "the Orson Welles of South Korea" was kidnapped by request of Kim Jong Il, the son of North Korea's dictator, Kim Il Sung. The reason? Kim Jong Il wanted the nation's film industry to promote the virtues of the Korea Workers' Party to a world-wide audience. After being imprisoned for four years, Shin was reunited with his ex-wife (who was also a captive of North Korea) and the given relative freedom, producing seven films in North Korea. While setting up a distribution deal to share Kim Jong Il's vision with a broader audience for a Godzilla-like monster movie, Shin and his wife escaped and sought political asylum in the United States. Their freedom was possible because of that last film for Kim, entitled Pulgasari. But Shin's life in movies was not over yet. [more inside]
Joyce’s Ulysses Banned Again—by Apple, Not the Government. According to Sarah Weinman at the Daily Finance; she says that a Webcomic adaptation of the book, Rob Berry and Josh Levitas' Ulysses Seen, (previously seen here on Mefi), has been banned from iPads and iPhones because of cartoon nudity. Here is the image that is causing all the controversy. Warning: Contains crudely illustrated male genitalia. via Slate.com. And this isn't the first time. Read about the original censorship and legal battles regarding Joyce's Ulysses..
There's a new sing-a-long version of Grease coming out... pity there's a few things missing from it.
New Scientist Special Report: Living in Denial. Includes articles by Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine [more inside]
The Great Firewall just got a little taller. Starting next month, all geo data about China must be stored on servers inside China. This is much more that a snub of Google for moving its data out of the mainland, it is a power play aimed at controlling a type of data about which China is very sensitive, as shown in recent border disputes, and the discovery of secret military installations. [more inside]
Salo has been discussed before here in the blue, but last week the Australian Classification Review Board determined that the DVD release can be classified R18+ (available, but with sale restricted to adults), if it includes 3 hours of additional material proposed by the potential distributor, Shock. In the decision, the Board notes that the additional material "facilitates wider consideration of the context of the film." While this decision is a win for anti-censorship campaigners and film buffs, it may not be the final chapter. The film has had a checkered history in Australia. The Board's media release is here (PDF).
The creators of South Park were threatened (or "warned") by Muslim extremists (cached, scroll down for article including photo of dead Theo VanGogh) not to depict the Prophet Mohammad. Parker and Stone thought they'd be able to air the episode by putting Mohammad in a bear suit, but Comedy Central censored the episode due to the threats. The clip in question is not hosted at South Park's website, but exists elsewhere online. This is not the first time South Park has dealt with censorship of Mohammad's image. (previously)
Does the immediacy of the internet tend to make people more bad-tempered and ill-mannered than they would have been otherwise? Theodore Dalrymple seems to think so, but is comment moderation the answer? (via) [more inside]
An Israeli journalist, Anat Kam (23), has been under secret house arrest since December on charges that she leaked up to 1,000 highly sensitive, classified military documents suggesting the IDF breached a court order against assassinations in the occupied West Bank, to Ha'aretz reporter Uri Blau. A court-imposed gag order first proposed by the Israeli government and now apparently supported by Kam's lawyers is preventing media investigation and coverage of both her arrest and the charges of espionage and treason against her in Israel. Blau is reportedly now self-exiled in London, and negotiating his return with Israeli authorities. [more inside]
Al Jazeera English's "Listening Post" on the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a proposal that could turn Iceland into a "journalism haven."
After decades of selling tampons and "sanitary products" with ads containing nebulous, euphemistic images and language, Kotex launched a new product line, 'U by Kotex' and a 'Declaration of Real Talk Campaign' to encourage girls and women to speak about menstruation without embarrassment. Ironically, their ad was rejected by the major US television networks for mentioning the word 'vagina'. Here's the 'safe for the viewing public' version. / YT channel. [more inside]
In January, Google Australia agreed to take down links to the Encyclopedia Dramatica. The Australian Human Rights Commission has now written to the owner of the ED threatening legal action. [more inside]
The Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.) Lab is an organization dedicated to enriching the public domain through the research and development of creative technologies and media. You may know them from such projects as How to build a fake Google Street View car, public domain donor stickers, internet famous class, the first rap video to end with a download source code link, or their numerous firefox add-ons (such as China Channel, Tourettes Machine, or Back to the future). FAT members have been hard at work standardizing various open source graffiti-related software packages, including Graffiti Analysis, Laser Tag, Fat Tag Deluxe and EyeWriter [previously] to be GML (Graffiti Markup Language) compliant. Fuck Google. Fuck Twitter. FuckFlickr. Fuck SXSW. Fuck 3D. FAT Lab is Kanye shades for the open source movement.
Put some clothes on that snow-woman, say police. Folks passing through Rahway, NJ last weekend were treated to a sculpture of a snow-nude, and, shortly thereafter, a lovely bikini-and-sarong affair. [previously]
The charges and retaliations seem reminiscent of so much cold war bluster, and indeed this encounter could be the first great clash of the 21st century’s two emergent superpowers—Google and China.
Rejoice, parents of Southern California! Your classrooms are now free of...dictionaries.
Official Google Blog: In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different ... ... we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists ... ... We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all.
For those with enough time and attention to detail, the Where's Waldo puzzles hold some strange and lurid images. In fact, the book has made banned lists in the past despite the fact that it doesn't contain the word scrotum once (previously on MeFi).
The Australian Federal Government has decided to implement legislation filtering web content at the ISP level, despite ongoing criticism that the filter will do nothing to protect children and is diversion of funds from more fruitful policies, and is fairly simple to circumvent, and ignores peer-to-peer traffic completely. In light of March's leaked ACMA blacklist, many are understandably concerned about the list becoming a political tool. [more inside]
When the Jessamine* County Public Library acquired a copy of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, two library workers conspired to keep it out of the patrons' hands, checking it out for an entire year. After an eleven-year-old girl put a hold on the book, they removed the hold; upon discovering this, the library director fired them. [more inside]
Military Censorship of Photographs in World War I: "During the course of World War I, tens of thousands of photographs were withheld from publication by the U.S. military. These included images that might have revealed troop movements or military capabilities, pictures that were liable to be used in enemy propaganda, or those that could adversely affect military or public morale. The development of military controls on publication of photographs during WWI was described in a 1926 U.S. Army report (15.75MB PDF) that is illustrated with dozens of images that had been withheld, with a description of the reasons their publication was not permitted."
The ever-oddly dated Project Censored has released its list of undercovered and ignored stories for 2010.
Douglas Crockford, who oversaw the porting of Maniac Mansion to the NES, would like for you to know how the game changed in the porting process and why.
Banned Books Week, held annually on the last week of September, emphasizes the importance of intellectual freedom and the threat of censorship. [more inside]
Rammstein's Pussy (video, really NSFW, SLnYT) gets right to the point. Youtube has taken down uploads. Facebook has taken down links (though not Links). Here's a fan-created censored version (NSFW lyrics). [more inside]
Chinese news site dispense with user anonymity. Includes an updated list of sites China actively blocks, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (?!? - both links work only outside of China). prev
A new documentary chronicles the rise and fall of Insex.com, one of the early websites. (NSFW) Co-directors Anna Lorentzon and Barbara Bell look at Insex, the people behind it, and the forces that ultimately brought it down. The stuff that Insex did tends to make even hardcore kinksters flinch a bit. However, as one reviewer points out, they at least put the activities into context, showing the performers both in the scenes (which include drowning and suffocation--some of this stuff may really hit some triggers for some people), as opposed to the notorious anti-porn documentary, The Price of Pleasure, which showed sex and kink without exploration of the performers' lives offscreen. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is that they ultimately were shut down not by obscenity laws, but by federal authorities who used the PATRIOT Act to claim that hardcore porn funded terrorism.
Caijing (财经) is an independent, Beijing-based magazine devoted to reporting on business in China. The publication's title means "Finance and Economics." [more inside]