Late in September, in observance of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s 13 Necessary and Proportionate Principles on Surveillance, NCAC noted thematic links between the NSA’s far-reaching surveillance tactics and those of public schools in the country. There, we observed that the underlying impulses behind surveillance on the national level and on the local level were uniform. This need to monitor and [...]
To outsiders, 21st century Britain must look like a pretty liberal country. We don’t imprison people for their political opinions. We no longer seek to ban so-called “obscene” novels, as the authorities tried to do with D.H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” when the unexpurgated version was first published in 1960. We got rid of our blasphemy laws in 2008. The British Board of Film Classification now okays the cinematic release [...]
NCAC has proudly signed onto the list of 13 Necessary and Proportionate principles, part of a global effort led by our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, on mass surveillance. This week marks the one-year anniversary of the drafting of the principles. The list of principles proposes a set of guidelines that governments around the world should adhere to if [...]
Is symbolic behavior a crime when it may offend religious sensitivities? A 14-year-old boy could be facing up to two years in juvenile detention for posting lewd, crass, yet ultimately innocuous photos on Facebook this past July. The problem: the photos featured him suggestively posing with a sculpture of Jesus. While traipsing the lawn of a local religious organization known [...]
I joined NCAC on the first day of the ninth Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which took place in Istanbul last week. Central to IGF – an event mired in controversy, given Turkey’s startlingly abusive Internet controls – was the topic of youth digital rights. Turkish academic Kursat Cagiltay commented that 42% of Turkish youth condoned government censorship of the Internet. He [...]
The undersigned organizations, former government officials, and members of Congress write to express their concerns over the US government's surveillance activities conducted under the authority of Executive Order 12333. NCAC shares the concerns of many that these surveillance activities will "undermine the fundamental rights of internet users everywhere" by implementing an unnecessary assemblage of users' personal information. The letter calls [...]
You still have time to add your voice to the FCC's general comment period on Net Neutrality! Hundreds of thousands of concerned netizens have submitted comments so far, but there's still something missing: You! The Electronic Frontier Foundation has provided an easy, online form at DearFCC.org to add your comment in favor of a neutral Internet. You can also comment [...]
Free Expression Network member EFF have posted "The Top 5 Claims That Defenders of the NSA Have to Stop Making to Remain Credible" and it's a scathing takedown of anyone relying on these old chestnuts to prop up an argument for continued mass surveillance.
Blog and post to your tumblr, Twitter and Facebook and then join the live, digital teach-in with NCAC, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and MIT's Center For Civic Media at 3pm ET to learn more about what you can do to help stop internet censorship in libraries and schools.
Mark your calendars! On April 4th NCAC will be celebrating 404 Day, a day dedicated to the issue of internet censorship in public schools and libraries. Along with 404 Day partners the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the MIT Center for Civic Media, we are spreading the word and calling on You to share your stories!
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas today filed a motion to dismiss 11 charges against Barrett Brown in a criminal prosecution that would have had massive implications for journalism and the right of ordinary people to share links. EF...
Similar legislation has been introduced in 12 states. From Truthout.org: On Tuesday, January 28th, a transpartisan group of four Vermont state representatives introduced legislation that would block some of the practical effects of mass data collection by the National Security Agency (NSA). Rep. Teo Zagar (D-Windsor-4-1), along with co-sponsor Reps. Susan Davis (P/D-Orange-1), Patricia Komline (R-Bennington-Rutland) and William Stevens (I-Addison-Rutland) [...]
Responses to recent disclosures about official surveillance of private communications and activities are rolling in. The most recent is from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which today released a Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The PCLOB is an independent [...]
In a 2-1 ruling today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals effectively ended net neutrality, striking down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order. The FCC's order was intended to keep broadband providers from interfering with traffic on the Web. The issue of who should regulate internet access has been the subject of much debate in the last decade. NCAC believes net neutrality allows [...]
Fifty-four civil liberties and public interest groups sent a letter to Congressional leadership today opposing S. 1631, the FISA Improvements Act. The bill, promoted by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), seeks to legalize and extend NSA mass surveillance programs, including the classified phone records surveillance program confirmed by documents released by Edward Snowden this summer. From EFF’s blog post on the [...]
On Monday, NCAC joined with other organizations on an friend of the court brief (.pdf) to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Barnes v. Zaccari, an important case involving the speech rights of college students. The case began in 2007, when Hayden Barnes was expelled from Valdosta State University in Georgia over his vocal criticism of [...]
April 8, 1998 The following letter was sent to the members of the Senate Commerce Committee and other key senators. The complete list of recipients follows the text. I am writing to express concern about legislative efforts to restrict access to the Internet in schools and libraries, and particularly about S. 1619, the Internet School Filtering Act, which would [...]
Jailed for a Facebook post: 19-Year-Old Justin Carter, State Sensitivity and the Half-Million-Dollar Bail
Justin Carter, 19, was jailed for a Facebook comment Have you ever lost your temper and said something in the heat of the moment you later came to regret? Did you end up waiting 5 months in jail for a trial because your family couldn’t make your half million dollar bail? That’s exactly what Justin Carter’s family and [...]
The nation is abuzz this week following Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s comprehensive (and fully unconstitutional) surveillance program (Click here for the Guardian’s live feed of Snowden-related news). Those of us who spend our time protecting civil liberties are appalled at the behavior of this administration and its intelligence and security agencies, and perhaps even more disturbed by the rhetoric [...]
In the coming weeks we will be featuring posts from our smart and savvy summer interns. This post is by programs intern Eli Siems. Eli is a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz with a degree in English. He is passionate about literature in all forms, particularly poetry, and his love of letters has led him to join the fight to protect [...]
So You Heard About the SAGA/Apple/ComiXology Flap, and You Want to Know More About Digital Gatekeepers?
We can help with that! NCAC is concerned with censorship in all its forms, even those instances where private enterprises are within their legal rights to marginalize or ban content based on a point of view. Users engage with the Internet as a democratizing public square but, in reality, most of the online channels we rely on are controlled by [...]
One part the internet, one part kids... mix and the result is a recipe for parental anxiety, mixed opinions from professionals and politicians, and overreaching attempts to control access to information. (See: Harlem Shake meme) This week the ACLU of Rhode Island released a report, "Access Denied," showing that the use of internet filtering software is pervasive in R.I. schools and [...]
Organized by Reporters Without Borders, World Day Against Cyber Censorship pays tribute to the fight for internet freedom and to the citizens who have been arrested, harassed or affected in some way by government attempts to control information. Learn more about internet censorship and which countries are doing the most damage here.
Early in February, we wrote a letter in response to reports that the public library in Paterson, NJ had banned the playing of video games on their public computers. While the policy was conceived with children in mind, it ostensibly applied to anyone. Despite reports to the contrary, as soon as we sent them a stern letter, the library back-pedaled, claiming [...]
The effort in New York State to combat bullying in schools is "deeply flawed", according to the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), which has urged New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo not to sign the recently passed S.7740/A.I0712 bill into law. In a letter sent after the announcement of the bill's passage, NCAC praised the goals of the bill but warned of language so vague and overbroad that it "will likely create more problems than it solves."
The company’s threat to close the accounts of online booksellers who sell works that include descriptions of rape, incest and bestiality would have a chilling effect on the sale of books that adults have a legal right to buy
As Facebook continues to dominate the social media sphere, new competitors emerge to challenge the weaknesses apparent in its design. One of the most recent of this breed is the social networking site Pidder. Drawing on fears of data-mining and even “social media background checks”, Pidder focuses on privacy protection to a user-unfriendly extreme. After using Pidder we concluded [...]
In late June the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the international body that oversees the Internet address system, announced that it approved new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs). There are currently 22 general top-level domain names (.com, .org, .net, etc.), however this vote means that there will be an indefinite number. One of the myths [...]
The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that two students who both created fake MySpace profiles parodying their school principals had been unfairly disciplined by their respective school districts.
On Monday, June 13th 2011, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that two students who both created fake MySpace profiles parodying their school principals had been unfairly disciplined by their respective school districts. In both cases, the Court found that the schools had not shown that the students’ actions were sufficiently disruptive of school activities to justify disciplinary [...]
Social media has reached a level of pervasiveness that cannot be ignored - and corporations are paying very close attention. Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs received flak for banning Facebook at work while investing $450 million in the company. Perceived hypocrisy may have played a role, but acknowledging the chilling effect that corporate 'social media policies' have on free speech is another [...]
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,” [...]
While paying lip service to the fact that fair use is the way in which the inherent tensions between the First Amendment and copyright law may be resolved, Judge Batts’s recent decision for the Southern District of New York in Cariou v. Prince preserved fair use protection for only those works that comment on or criticize the original copyrighted [...]
In his article "The Challenge of Developing Effective Public Policy on the Use of Social Media," John Palfrey, co-director of Harvard Law's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, discusses the problems that American youth face in the wake of increased online social media presence in his article. One of Palfrey's concerns is balancing the desire to encourage “...digital-era youth media practices (for instance, [...]
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 [...]
The National Coalition Against Censorship signed onto a letter circulated among U.S. government officials urging restraint in the aftermath of WikiLeaks. The letter was signed by 30 organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Library Association, New America Foundation, among others.
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, [...]
After 37-year old video work from artist Susan Mogul was removed from YouTube, NCAC and the Electronic Frontier Foundation joined together in the following letter requesting once more that YouTube instate a viable appeals process and include an exception for nudity in art in its community guidelines.