EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

12.31.13

Internet Censorship is Expanding Worldwide and We Need Free Software to Fight Back

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software at 10:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tower bridge

Summary: As the United Kingdom follows Chinese leadership in censorship we find ourselves dependent on freedom-respecting software that bypasses aggressive filters

Censorship is a fight against freedom of speech and it is also a symptom of society growing oppressive. Once we lose our ability to speak out (or broadcast particular views) we lose our ability to criticise and push oppressors away.

GNUnet 0.10 recently came out, announcing the release in GNU sites and also some Linux-oriented sites like Phoronix [1]. To quote Michael Larabel, GNUnet enables “censorship-resistant file-sharing services, VPN services, the GNU Name System as a decentralized and censorship-resistant replacement to DNS, and GNUnet Conversation for encrypted VoIP support.”

This may sound like a tool one would need in Iran or China, but given what we’re seeing the West, we now need it everywhere in the world.

As a quick roundup of some disturbing developments (mostly from this month in the UK), British politicians want to ban satirical messages [2] and they also want to ban some of the press [3] (although they don’t say it like that). British groups like ORG warn about UK blocking and filtering [4], noting that that British censorship itself is becoming invisible (almost censored, a recursive issue of sorts) [5]. Here in the UK we are basically following the route of Orban in Hungary [6], limiting the media’s free speech and censoring whatever the officials deem “inappropriate” (in Hungary, the racists too are burning books [7]). This is tyranny. The British filters already prove to be a farce by banning the gay and trans Internet [8], civil liberties Web sites [9] (perhaps for mentioning the “F” word, freedom), etc. The British Pirate Party is concerned [10] because by the time the politicians ban a lot of alternative voices there will be nobody left (with a voice) to speak out about it. Remember when Amazon (now CIA-connected) banned Wikileaks for no apparent reasons, essentially kicking it out after pressure from politicians? Many people still remember it [11]. This was censorship at hosting level, never mind Web filters. Here in the UK we already learn that WordPress bloggers were blocked by TalkTalk (large ISP) [12], demonstrating the threat of over-blocking [13]. In France, the government goes further than censorship and even fines people for expressing themselves [14], so in some sense we’ve not gone as far as the French.

David Cameron is no better than a Chinese dictator when it comes to censorship [15] (he also brags about buying censorship equipment from China, as reported by the BBC). The BBC says that his filter blocks education Web sites now [16]. It’s nothing to do with porn and copyrights anymore [17] (if it was ever about those to begin with). Those were pretexts, and each is softer a pretext than “terrorism” and “paedophiles”. The UK shows not only its contempt for journalism these days [1, 2, 3] but also for free speech. We need Free software like Tor and GNUnet to bypass this kind of tyranny.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GNUnet 0.10 Drops Its Use Of RSA 2048

    GNUnet 0.10.0 is now available as a major update to this open-source secure, peer-to-peer networking stack designed to protect the privacy of its users.

    The GNUnet framework allows censorship-resistant file-sharing services, VPN services, the GNU Name System as a decentralized and censorship-resistant replacement to DNS, and GNUnet Conversation for encrypted VoIP support.

  2. ‘We need to watch that’: David Blunkett calls for satirical TV shows such as Mock the Week to be reclassified as ‘current affairs’
  3. Cameron warns UK press: sign up to royal charter or else

    David Cameron has warned the press that it runs the risk of facing “hideous statutory regulation” in the future if the Independent Press Standards Organisation declines to seek recognition under the terms of the new royal charter.

    In an interview with the Spectator’s editor, Fraser Nelson,, a strong campaigner against the royal charter, Cameron said a “less liberal, less enlightened government” of the future could impose statutory controls unless the press acted now.

    The prime minister spoke out a few weeks after 90% of national newspapers and most regional publishers announced that they would join the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso). The body, whose members include the Telegraph Media Group, Associated Newspapers, News UK, Trinity Mirror and Northern & Shell, is declining to seek recognition from a panel that is to be established under the terms of the royal charter.

  4. Help ORG monitor UK blocking and filtering

    This weekend showed that the debate on blocking is getting serious and worrying. We aren’t being given any of the information we need to check what is happening as a result of new filtering tools. We don’t know what, how or why sites are blocked. We need to know, and you can help.

  5. O2 pulls blocked URL checker as wave of new customers activate their phones
  6. 84-Year-Old Philosopher Rallies Opposition to Hungary’s Hard-Line Government

    Mr. Orban has been criticized by the European Union and human-rights groups for limiting freedoms of expression, among other controversial political moves

  7. Once again, books are burning in Europe

    Many more Hungarians are looking to ‘reclaim’ Hungary’s Nazi past; not only the extremists who publicly burn the works of Jewish writers to cheering crowds.

  8. Filter firms are destroying the gay and trans internet
  9. The UK “Porn” Filter Blocks Kids’ Access To Tech, Civil Liberties Websites
  10. Web blocking. The Collateral Damage.

    The move to have web blocking by default from the major ISPs was presented as a victory for the moral majority and no different to the TV watershed. Of course we, and many others, pointed out the dangers and inevitability of under- and overblocking. But we, and everyone else who actually know something about this issue, were dismissed with an argument along the lines of “We put a man on the moon. Technology is brilliant. Something must be done. Or are you no longer the Making-It-Done people?”

  11. Cloud fallout continues from Amazon-WikiLeaks kerfuffle

    When one director of IT looks back at the cloud market, he still hears echoes of the unresolved Amazon-WikiLeaks cloud controversy from three years ago.

  12. Why WordPress bloggers were blocked by TalkTalk, and what it tells us about Internet filtering

    At the end of November a number of WordPress blog admins complained on WordPress forums that they were having problems accessing their accounts. It appeared that TalkTalk subscribers who had WordPress blogs could not access their administration pages over https, and so couldn’t write and publish new blog posts.

  13. Ten recommendations to ISPs for dealing with over-blocking

    We started looking closely at internet filtering by mobile networks a couple of years ago. We knew that we could try to learn lessons from the way their default-on systems worked that could be helpful if and when systems for domestic ISPs were rolled out. We found that it was hard to understand what was blocked and why and that over-blocking was a serious problem. We also found that it was hard to get the Government or ISPs to take it seriously. We published a report in May last year, jointly with LSE Media Policy Project, setting these things out.

  14. French far-right politician Jean Marie Le Pen fined for racist Roma remarks

    Jean Marie Le Pen, the former leader of French extreme-right group the National Front, has been fined €5,000 for suggesting Romanians were “naturally” inclined to steal.

  15. David Cameron: Stop Sleepwalking the UK into Censorship
  16. Porn filters block sex education websites

    Pornography filters used by major internet service providers are blocking websites offering sex education and advice on sexual health and porn addiction, the BBC has learned.

    The four major internet companies have started to roll out so-called porn filters to their users.

  17. ISP Blocks For Copyright And Porn Denying Access To All Sorts Of Important Information

    Just as copyright maximalists are declaring victory in claiming that there’s no problem at all with having ISPs censor the internet, reports are flowing in concerning all sorts of serious problems. Over in the UK, ISPs have begun implementing the mandatory porn filtering that Prime Minister David Cameron has been pushing, and the results are about what you’d expect: all sorts of non pornographic sites are being blocked, including important sex education sites and, more troubling, rape and sexual abuse information sites (while plenty of porn is getting through).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. The Moral Depravity of the European Patent Office Under Battistelli

    The European Patent Office (EPO) comes under heavy criticism from its very own employees, who also seem to recognise that lobbying for the UPC is a very bad idea which discredits the European Patent Organisation



  2. Links 26/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC8, SuperTux 0.5

    Links for the day



  3. What Insiders Are Saying About the Sad State of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Anonymous claims made by people who are intimately familiar with the European Patent Office (from the inside) shed light on how bad things have become



  4. The EPO Does Not Want Skilled (and 'Expensive') Staff, Layoffs a Growing Concern

    A somewhat pessimistic look (albeit increasingly realistic look) at the European Patent Office, where unions are under fire for raising legitimate concerns about the direction taken by the management since a largely French team was put in charge



  5. Patents Roundup: Accenture Software Patents, Patent Troll Against Apple, Willful Infringements, and Apple Against a Software Patent

    A quick look at various new articles of interest (about software patents) and what can be deduced from them, especially now that software patents are the primary barrier to Free/Libre Open Source software adoption



  6. Software Patents Propped Up by Patent Law Firms That Are Lying, Further Assisted by Rogue Elements Like David Kappos and Randall Rader (Revolving Doors)

    The sheer dishonesty of the patent microcosm (seeking to bring back software patents by misleading the public) and those who are helping this microcosm change the system from the inside, owing to intimate connections from their dubious days inside government



  7. Links 25/9/2016: Linux 4.7.5, 4.4.22; LXQt 0.11

    Links for the day



  8. Patent Quality and Patent Scope the Unspeakable Taboo at the EPO, as Both Are Guillotined by Benoît Battistelli for the Sake of Money

    The gradual destruction of the European Patent Office (EPO), which was once unanimously regarded as the world's best, by a neo-liberal autocrat from France, Benoît Battistelli



  9. Bristows LLP's Hatred/Disdain of UK/EU Democracy Demonstrated; Says “Not Only Will the Pressure for UK Ratification of the UPC Agreement Continue, But a Decision is Wanted Within Weeks.”

    Without even consulting the British public or the European public (both of whom would be severely harmed by the UPC), the flag bearers of the UPC continue to bamboozle and then pressure politicians, public servants and nontechnical representatives



  10. Released Late on a Friday, EPO Social 'Study' (Battistelli-Commissioned Propaganda) Attempts to Blame Staff for Everything

    The longstanding propaganda campaign (framing staff as happy or framing unhappy staff as a disgruntled minority) is out and the timing of the release is suspicious to say the least



  11. Links 23/9/2016: Latest Microsoft and Lenovo Spin (Now in ‘Damage Control’ Mode)

    Links for the day



  12. White Male-Dominated EPO Management Sinks to New Lows, Again

    Benoît Battistelli continues to make the EPO look like Europe's biggest laughing stock by attempting to tackle issues with corny photo ops rather than real change (like SUEPO recognition, diverse hiring, improved patent quality, and cessation of sheer abuses)



  13. Journalism 102: Do Not Become Like 'Managing IP' or IAM 'Magazine' (the Megaphones of the EPO’s Management)

    Another look at convergence between media and the EPO, which is spending virtually millions of Euros literally buying the media and ensuring that the EPO's abuses are scarcely covered (if ever mentioned at all)



  14. Journalism 101: Do Not Believe Anything That Benoît Battistelli and the EPO's Management Say (Also Don't Fall for the UPC Hype)

    A survey/review (or an overview) of recent articles about the EPO and why they're wrong (mostly because they parrot the official lies from Battistelli's department)



  15. Patent Law Firms, David Kappos, and IAM 'Magazine' Still Shelter Software Patents by Cherry-Picking and Lobbying

    Amid the gradual collapse of software patents in the United States there are disingenuous efforts to bring them back or maintain a perception that these patents are still potent



  16. Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Going Places and Suing Microsoft Rivals, Microsoft Wants More 'Linux Patent Tax'

    Microsoft-connected patent trolls like Larry Horn's MobileMedia are still attacking Microsoft rivals and Microsoft wants more money from Korea, after it attacked Linux with software patents over there (notably Samsung and LG)



  17. Links 22/9/2016: Linux Professional Institute Redesign, Red Hat Upgraded

    Links for the day



  18. Links 22/9/2016: Red Hat's Latest Results, GNOME 3.22 Released

    Links for the day



  19. The Patent Law Firms in the US Relentlessly Lobby for Software Patents Resurgence by Placing Emphasis Only on Rare Outcomes

    Decisions against software patents continue to be ignored or intentionally overlooked by patent law firms, which instead saturate the media with the few cases where courts unexpectedly rule in favour of software patents



  20. Links 21/9/2016: Lenovo Helps Microsoft Block GNU/Linux Installations

    Links for the day



  21. Like Big Tobacco Lobbyists, Benoît Battistelli and Team UPC Are Just Chronically Lying and Manipulating Politicians With Their Lies

    Benoît Battistelli and Team UPC continue to meddle in politics and mislead the public (through the press) about patent quality as well the UPC, which is now in effect sunk inside the ashtray of history



  22. The EPO's 'Investigative' Function is Totally Out of Control and Continues to Get Bigger, Whitewashed by So-called 'Review'

    An update on the situation which still causes great unrest at the European Patent Office (EPO), namely abuse of staff by the so-called Investigative Unit (Eponia's equivalent of unaccountable secret services)



  23. Microsoft and Patent Law Firms in the United States Can't Stop Writing About McRo in a Coordinated Push to Resurrect Software Patents

    Microsoft is pursuing more Linux 'patent tax' (using software patents) and patent law firms are preoccupied flooding the media with their shameless self-promotion which is also software patents promotion



  24. For Abuse Like Plagiarism and Malpractice, the US Patent System is Still World Champion

    Low patent quality, abusive litigation (e.g. by patent trolls) and various other elements that globally discredit the USPTO are only symptoms of a wider problem, which is a greedy system motivated by neo-liberal values rather than professionalism and servitude



  25. Links 20/9/2016: GNOME 3.22 Preview, Absolute 14.2 Released

    Links for the day



  26. Links 19/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC7, KDevelop 5.0.1

    Links for the day



  27. Patents Roundup: Disclosure Requirements, Mobile Patents, Patent Lawyers' Plagiarism, USPTO Getting Sued, and Corporate Domination of the Patent System

    The unwanted elements of the patent system (as it stands at present) illuminated by very recent news and patent court cases



  28. With or Without the UPC (Which Will Probably Never Happen) Battistelli is Crushing the EPO and Ejects Experienced Staff, a Future Without Examination Possible

    A pessimistic but probably realistic take on what is happening at the European Patent Office (EPO), which is undergoing a silent transformation so wide-ranging that stakeholders deserve to know about it



  29. When EPO Liar-in-Chief Benoît Battistelli Defamed His Staff in Parliament, Comparing Them to Nazis and Criminals

    A reminder of the audacity of Benoît Battistelli, who in his capacity as a politician -- a problem in its own right -- slanders EPO staff



  30. After McRO v Namco Case (at CAFC) the Patent Microcosm Works Overtime to Produce Pro-Software Patents Propaganda, Smear the Supreme Court

    Increasingly desperate to convince people to pursue software patents and/or use their software patents to initiate growingly risky lawsuits (high risk of losing), the patent microcosm hugs McRO v Namco while distorting the complete record of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on this subject


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts