The details of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to destroy Net Neutrality are out. And they’re even worse than expected. Our lawyers and policy experts are reviewing the reports and gathering details about Pai’s plan. This is our first read on the most important details you need to know about this proposal. We will update this post as new details emerge.
Censorship is the foe of freedom. It comes in many forms. The choking grip of control silences dissent. The bullhorns of propaganda blare out lies and fictions of consent. The maddened clench of greed stifles outlets for a diversity of expression, creativity, opportunity, and invention. The lurking spies of mass surveillance send chills down once-fearless spines. The data collectors of corporations mine our lives for ways to shrink-wrap our worldviews into commoditized sales pitches.
The Department of Justice has required RT America to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), an anti-propaganda law from the 1930s. “On Contact” host Chris Hedges discusses whether such a requirement will have a chilling effect on the First Amendment’s freedom of the press with RT America’s Ashlee Banks.
Internet privacy and net neutrality would become things of the past if the secret Trade In Services Agreement comes to fruition. And on this one, the secrecy exceeds even that shrouding the two better-known corporate giveaways, the Trans-Pacific and Transatlantic partnerships. Continue reading →
In the US, the Bill of Rights maps out the fundamental privileges each citizen has in the country, but is it time to draft an Internet Bill of Rights? Congress has attempted to implement legislation that could stop online freedoms, but a group of online advocates are pushing lawmakers to sign the Internet Bill of Rights to allow the freedom of expression, access, openness, innovation and privacy. Aaron Swartz, founder and executive director for Demand Progress, joins us with his take. Continue reading →
In recent weeks the general public has mobilized to face US legislative threats to Internet freedoms. Far from a conclusive victory, however, the death of SOPA and PIPA only highlight the latest in a series of measures that are seeking to create a legal framework for government-administered Internet censorship.
I arrived in Times Square around 9:30 on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. A large crowd was transfixed by the huge Jumbotron screens. Billows of smoke could be seen on the screens above us, pouring out of the two World Trade towers. Two planes, I was told by people in the crowd, had plowed into the towers. I walked quickly into the New York Times newsroom at 229 W. 43rd St., grabbed a handful of reporter’s notebooks, slipped my NYPD press card, which would let me through police roadblocks, around my neck, and started down the West Side Highway to the World Trade Center. The highway was closed to traffic. I walked through knots of emergency workers, police and firemen. Fire trucks, emergency vehicles, ambulances, police cars and rescue trucks idled on the asphalt.
How does political censorship work in liberal societies? When my film, Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia, was banned in the United States in 1980, the broadcaster PBS cut all contact. Negotiations were ended abruptly; phone calls were not returned. Something had happened. But what? Year Zero had already alerted much of the world to the horrors of Pol Pot, but it also investigated the critical role of the Nixon administration in the tyrant’s rise to power and the devastation of Cambodia.
I am writing to you and a number of other friends mostly in the US to alert you to the extraordinary banning of my film on war and media, ‘The War You Don’t See’, and the abrupt cancellation of a major event at the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe in which David Barsamian and I were to discuss free speech, US foreign policy and censorship in the media.
The internet is increasingly becoming an echo chamber in which websites tailor information according to the preferences they detect in each viewer. When some users search the word “Egypt,” they may get the latest news about the revolution, others might only see search results about Egyptian vacations. The top 50 websites collect an average of 64 bits of personal information each time we visit—and then custom-design their sites to conform to our perceived preferences. What impact will this online filtering have on the future of democracy? We speak to Eli Pariser, author of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. “Take news about the war in Afghanistan. When you talk to people who run news websites, they’ll tell you stories about the war in Afghanistan don’t perform very well. They don’t get a lot of clicks. People don’t flock to them. And yet, this is arguably one of the most important issues facing the country,” says Pariser. “But it will never make it through these filters. And especially on Facebook this is a problem, because the way that information is transmitted on Facebook is with the ‘like’ button. And the ‘like’ button, it has a very particular valence. It’s easy to click ‘like’ on ‘I just ran a marathon’ or ‘I baked a really awesome cake.’ It’s very hard to click ‘like’ on ‘war in Afghanistan enters its 10th year.'” [includes rush transcript]
Many of you realize that the news is censored here in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Some censorship is carried out by governments, and some censorship is initiated by the corporations that sponsor different news channels, and some censorship is brought to you by the news networks themselves.
There are many reasons why news is censored, but the bottom line is that any form of censorship is a violation of human rights!