Friday, January 27, 2012

Sit Down and Shut Up---Or Else

Twitter's New Censorship System and International Internet Law

This little change that Twitter has made to the way that it censors tweets tells us something really quite important about the way that international and national law affects what we do here on the internet.

Twitter has refined its technology so it can censor messages on a country-by-country basis.

The additional flexibility announced on Thursday is likely to raise fears that Twitter’s commitment to free speech may be weakening as the short-messaging company expands into new countries in an attempt to broaden its audience and make more money.

But Twitter sees the censorship tool as a way to ensure individual messages, or tweets, remain available to as many people as possible while it navigates a gauntlet of different laws around the world.

Before, when Twitter erased a tweet it disappeared throughout the world. Now, a tweet containing content breaking a law in one country can be taken down there and still be seen elsewhere.

This is an important point and one that I’ve been banging on about for years. Sadly, all too few seem to understand it even so. The law that guides what we write or say upon the internet is not the law of the jurisdiction in which we write or say it. It is also not the law of whatever jurisdiction hosts the material.

No, we are covered by the law of whatever jurisdiction the material is read in. We’re all liable to the laws of all the countries in which tweets can be (or are) read.

Yes, all 190 odd members of the United Nations, all 250 odd legal jurisdictions around the world. If France has a law against insulting bureaucrats (it does) and you insult a French bureaucrat on the web then you have, at least arguably, just committed a crime in France.

It really is the World Wide Web and we’re subject to the world’s laws on it, not just our own local ones.

Just to give you a direct example. I’m in Germany at the moment writing this. It will be published in the US, by Forbes. I am English and I normally live in Portugal. But the law which governs whether this post is libellous, slanderous etc is not German, English, Portuguese or American. It is the law wherever you are as you read it.

Which is a pretty scary thought really...Read More at Forbes

See the interactive map of internet censorship...By The Guardian

Here’s a new bumper-sticker, prepared by one of the many thousands of activists demanding that Australia’s Government STOPS trying to introduce mandatory Internet censorship.

Internet censorship bills postponed

Congressional leaders announced Friday they would postpone the two bills aiming to prevent online piracy, after several top Internet websites protested.

The senate bill, Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the house bill, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) were created to stop illegal downloads of copyrighted material, such as movies and music. The bills are supported by Hollywood studios and music recording companies who are losing money because of illegal downloads...Read More at North Wind


Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Censorship is the only way Marxists can stay in power.

Scott said...

Just as it is with radical Islam...What the Progs see as democracy is actually censored propaganda and pure chaos underneath it all.