Internet Censorship

Tumblr Adult Content Ban Will Chill Free Expression Online

By |2019-05-01T11:37:37-04:00December 19th, 2018|Blog, News|

On December 17th, Tumblr permanently banned adult content from its platform. Under the new community guidelines, any image that depicts sex acts, real-life human genitalia, or (with a few exceptions) female nipples will be hidden from public view. Despite the company’s claims, the new guidelines will not create a “better, more positive” Tumblr.

Teens Win Censorship Battle Against Sony Over “Read It” Video

By |2019-03-07T23:32:17-05:00November 29th, 2012|Blog|

Lansdowne public librarian Abbe Klebanoff came to us last week, dismayed over Sony's censorship of a video she and her students had made to encourage teens to read. The video takes Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and transformed the song into "Read It", with a dance to boot. When the kids tried to upload the video to YouTube, Sony sent them [...]

Protect IP Act Raises First Amendment Concerns

By |2019-03-15T17:03:51-04:00June 7th, 2011|Blog|

Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) has introduced the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP)  to replace last year’s failed Combating Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). Supposedly a new and improved version of COICA, the PROTECT IP act is aimed at denying access to "pirate" or "rogue" websites "dedicated to infringing activities,” [...]

Voluntary Surveilance, Crowdsourced Censors

By |2019-03-07T23:29:47-05:00April 1st, 2011|Blog|

On Wednesday we featured an RSAnimate video about mutual knowledge as an essential element of dissent, as demonstrated by Wikileaks. Today we feature an RSAnimate on how authoritarian regimes can leverage dissent on the Internet for their own end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk8x3V-sUgU The speaker, Evgeny Morozov, notes a few phenomena of interest. First, in China, how blogs critical of local governance are [...]

Victory Over Transnational Libel Case Brought Against Book Review

By |2019-03-07T21:50:57-05:00March 8th, 2011|Blog|

In a victory for academic freedom, the Tribunal de Grand Instance de Paris has ruled against a libel case brought against Prof. Joseph Weiler for  GlobalLawBooks.org's review of The Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court. ICTY and ICTR Precedents, by Dr Karin N. Calvo-Goller. The judge ruled that Calvo-Goller engaged in forum shopping by selecting France as the venue [...]

NCAC Censored!

By |2016-01-15T10:36:57-05:00December 8th, 2010|Blog|

Censorship incidents on the web are more and more common, but it's still rare when they happen to an anti-censorship organization like the NCAC. Network Solutions, a company providing web services, has threatened to remove TheFileroom.org, an interactive archive of worldwide censorship cases administered by the National Coalition Against Censorship, unless a photograph of two naked children by Nan Goldin, [...]

Internet Freedom Under Threat

By |2019-03-14T18:09:40-04:00March 8th, 2010|Blog|

The United States has a tradition of generally broad protection of freedom of speech, which has persisted in the Internet age.  Thus American courts have struck down most laws attempting to limit content on the Internet, including provisions of the Communications Decency Act restricting indecent speech on the Internet (in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U.S. 844 (1997)) [...]

Consequences of the Google China conflict: Hillary Clinton for an open Internet

By |2019-03-14T17:36:41-04:00January 26th, 2010|Blog|

In an impassioned speech at the Newseum in Washington on January 21, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attacked countries who limit the free circulation of peaceful dissent and religious ideas on the Internet and those who use the Internet for the "darker purposes" of promoting violence and making sexual advances on minors. She also spoke about the increasing concern over [...]

Niche-Niche: Wikipedia refuses to remove content contrary to German lawyer’s cease and desist letters

By |2019-03-07T21:50:44-05:00January 7th, 2010|Blog|

The First Amendment provides American-based websites with the freedom to report on newsworthy events, including those that happen in other countries to citizens of other countries. Yet, the global nature of the Internet opens it up to legal challenges from countries with more restrictive speech regimes. Last fall, for instance, lawyers for the convicted murderers of German actor Walter Sedlmayr [...]

The Chamber of Commerce Should Not Be Immune to Political Satire

By |2019-03-15T15:29:54-04:00October 29th, 2009|Blog|

On Monday, October 19th, the Yes Men, a group of artist/political activists, set up a mock website that looked like the Chamber of Commerce’s, and held a mock press conference where they announced that the Chamber was shifting its opposition to serious efforts to address global warming. Major news sources were fooled into reporting the story. In response, the Chamber [...]

Website tracks online censorship reports

By |2019-03-13T18:19:29-04:00August 6th, 2009|Blog|

Having trouble accessing a website?  Suspect it might be more than just a faulty connection or technical malfunction? Visit Herdict.org, a website designed to track reports of censored web sites around the world.  There, you can report  anonymously that a site is inaccessible and see if other people are having the same problem.  There is no way to determine whether [...]

AT&T Blocks (then Unblocks) img.4chan.org

By |2019-03-13T18:19:12-04:00July 27th, 2009|Blog|

This morning NCAC woke up to a mailbox full of hundreds of complaints against AT&T’s blocking access to img.4chan.org. The mass outrage over AT&T’s action had by that time also reached the company and led to the rapid unblocking of the site. AT&T denied any attempt to censor based on content and issued the following statement justifying the block as [...]

Skirting responsibility: Google CEO Eric Schmidt on internet censorship

By |2016-01-15T10:14:12-05:00July 1st, 2009|Blog|

On Monday, The Telegraph reported on Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s talk at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. In it, he chastised censorious governments, saying completely effective internet censorship was unattainable and governments trying to do so were doomed to fail. Schmidt’s comments neatly skirt Google’s complicity with governments’ censorship by claiming that they warn governments that internet censorship can fail, [...]

The Tweet Heard Around the World: Thwarting Censorship in Iran, One Proxy-Server at a Time

By |2019-03-13T15:05:45-04:00June 17th, 2009|Blog|

The Iranian government, never a proponent of free expression, has ramped up its practice of filtering its citizens’ access to social networking websites following Friday’s election and the ensuing protests.  For instance, the Iranian government has blocked access to Twitter from servers located in Iran. The Iranian government’s efforts, however, have been thwarted by a complicated network of non-Iranian proxy [...]

Confronting Censorship with a Flowchart

By |2019-03-07T22:41:30-05:00May 19th, 2009|Blog|

The ACLU and the ACLU of Tennessee  filed suit in Federal Court  against two Tennessee school districts, charging the schools are unconstitutionally blocking students from accessing online information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.  NCAC was involved in an initial response and has been following the case.  Now see the story in flowchart form: See it in full effect [...]

Knoxville to Students: No LGBT Websites

By |2019-03-15T16:22:28-04:00April 20th, 2009|Blog|

In February 2009, NCAC and the ACLU of Tennessee jointly responded to a situation at a Knoxville, TN high school where internet filters are currently blocking constitutional protected material on the web, specifically sites that provide political and educational content around LGBT issues. The censorship was discovered by Andrew Emmitt, a senior at Central High School: When I found out [...]

If you don’t see something, say something.

By |2019-03-07T14:00:32-05:00February 13th, 2009|Blog|

Recently NCAC was contacted by a high school student who was having difficulty accessing particular LGBT websites from his school. Upon further investigation this student uncovered the likely culprit- an internet filtering policy that includes the blocking of “Sites that provide information, promote, or cater to gays, lesbians, swingers, other sexual orientations or practices, or a particular fetish.” The policy [...]

Nipplephobia – Facebook and beyond

By |2019-03-07T13:49:11-05:00January 14th, 2009|Blog|

The latest scandal around Facebook's ban on images of nursing mothers, which show a glimpse of the areola or nipple, only presents us with the latest case of nipplephobia - an extreme panic reaction at the view of the female nipple (to my knowledge the male nipple fails to exert such power). Facebook's action was a misguided enforcement of its [...]

The First Amendment and the Internet

By |2019-03-12T18:24:57-04:00January 9th, 2009|Blog|

Gene Policinski of the First Amendment Center sheds some light on the topic of internet censorship in a recent article in the North Country Gazette. He argues that, while the first amendment does not apply to private companies, privately owned internet companies have an unprecedented amount of control over the speech of large groups of people. For hundreds of millions [...]

Will lawsuit over negative Yelp review chill online speech?

By |2019-03-20T14:27:31-04:00January 8th, 2009|Blog|

UPDATE: Earlier today, Yelp users were protesting the lawsuit by posting a rash of negative comments about Biegel on Yelp. Since then, these negative comments have been removed, presumably by Yelp, which, according to its terms of service, "reserves the right (but has no obligation) to remove or suppress User Content from the Site at its sole discretion for any [...]

On the significance of LOL cats

By |2019-03-12T18:25:37-04:00January 1st, 2009|Blog|

Ethan Zuckerman, who founded Global Voices Online, has an excellent talk in which he explains how web 2.0 services (that allow people to socially network, share LOL cats, and organize politically) play a critical role in getting around government censorship.  You can read it here, with images he used at the talk. One gem, which is helpful demonstrates how porn [...]

UK push for Internet ratings, “cinema-style”

By |2019-03-14T17:32:47-04:00December 30th, 2008|Blog|

The UK culture secretary Andy Burnham has recently spoken out about making the internet safer by adopting a rating system similar to the movie ratings. His take on the web: “quite a dangerous place.” According to the Telegraph: His plans to rein in the internet, and censor some websites, are likely to trigger a major row with online advocates who [...]

Cyberbulling, free speech. Yep, the Lori Drew case.

By |2019-03-12T18:29:31-04:00December 4th, 2008|Blog|

Slate’s Emily Bazelon has a piece today on the Lori Drew case. The terrible backstory: in 2006, Drew, her daughter, and her assistant, created a fake Myspace profile of a 16 year old boy and sent messages to a teen neighbor, Megan Meier. After exchanging flirtatious messages, the “16-year-old” then wrote, “The world would be a better place without you.” [...]

Internet Censorship

By |2019-03-12T18:32:45-04:00November 7th, 2008|Blog|

From Good Magazine. A beautifully-made video on international internet censorship. Two of the companies cited for supporting internet censorship systems - Microsoft and Google - have joined other companies and organizations to support the Global Network Initiative: The Initiative is founded upon new Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy – supported by specific implementation commitments and a framework for [...]

Coming Soon to Your Library – Culture Wars – The Sequel

By |2017-06-08T12:52:10-04:00February 3rd, 2000|Blog|

by Joan E. Bertin In Holland, Michigan, a small town near Grand Rapids, there’s a pitched battle over Internet censorship in the library. It’s only one salvo in what promises to be another long, drawn-out culture war. On February 22, voters in Holland will be asked to decide whether the city should withdraw funding from the district library if the [...]

Good News: Library Filters Rejected

By |2017-06-08T15:53:40-04:00February 1st, 2000|Blog|

Holland, Michigan On February 22 the community defeated, 55 to 44, a proposal to require filters on all Herrick District Library computers. For an article in The Holland Sentinel, click here. Background (Posted January 2000): On February 22, 2000, Holland, Michigan, will vote on a proposal to force the city to withdraw funding from the Herrick District Library unless the [...]