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Category Archives: Censorship

The Capitol riot and its aftermath makes the case for tech regulation more urgent, but no simpler

TechCrunch: “Last week and throughout the weekend, technology companies took the historic step of deplatforming the president of the United States in the wake of a riot in which the US Capitol was stormed by a collection of white nationalists, QAnon supporters, and right wing activists. The decision to remove Donald Trump, his fundraising and moneymaking apparatus, and a large portion of his supporters from their digital homes because of their incitements to violence in the nation’s Capitol on January 6th and beyond, has led a chorus of voices to call for the regulation of the giant tech platforms. They argue that private companies shouldn’t have the sole power to erase the digital footprint of a sitting president. But there’s a reason why the legislative hearings in Congress, and the pressure from the president, have not created any new regulations. And there’s also a reason why — despite all of the protestations from the president and his supporters — no lawsuits have effectively been brought against the platforms for their decisions. The law, for now, is on their side…”

House watchdog details extensive meddling with CDC Covid-19 reports

New documents show political appointees sought to influence at least 13 reports as they ignored warnings from career officials: “The House panel probing the Trump administration’s coronavirus response released new documents detailing political appointees’ extensive efforts to modify or scuttle scientific Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, as it also ordered top Trump health… Continue Reading

Archive, Historians, CREW Sue White House, Seek to Preserve Presidential Records During the Transition

National Security Archive – “The National Security Archive, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the American Historical Association, and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington today filed suit against President Donald Trump in his official capacity, seeking to enforce the Presidential Records Act and prevent any destruction of records during the… Continue Reading

At every turn the distortion of data has been central to the U.S. government’s disastrous response to the coronavirus

Highline – HuffPo – “This is an accounting of the damage…The administration has failed on so many different fronts in its handling of the coronavirus, creating the overall impression of sheer mayhem. But there is a common thread that runs through these government malfunctions. Precise, transparent data is crucial in the fight against a pandemic—yet… Continue Reading

‘Extremely aggressive’ internet censorship spreads in the world’s democracies

“The largest collection of public internet censorship data ever compiled shows that even citizens of what are considered the world’s freest countries aren’t safe from internet censorship. The University of Michigan team used its own Censored Planet tool, an automated censorship tracking system launched in 2018, to collect more than 21 billion measurements over 20… Continue Reading

Proposal to install spyware in university libraries to protect copyrights shocks academics

Coda Story – “A recent proposal recommending the deployment of surveillance software in order to monitor those accessing academic material has drawn fire from digital rights advocates and scientists. The plan was outlined on October 22 during a virtual webinar hosted by a consortium of the world’s leading publishers of scientific journals, featuring security experts discussing the threats posed… Continue Reading

Growing Discomfort at Law Firms Representing Trump in Election Lawsuits

The New York Times via MSN – “There was Big Tobacco. There was the Bin Laden family. There was even the hated owner of the Cleveland Browns football team as he moved the franchise to Baltimore. Now Jones Day is the most prominent firm representing President Trump and the Republican Party as they prepare to… Continue Reading

Trump administration buries dozens of clean energy studies

InvestigateWest [in collaboration with Grist] – “…Dan Simmons of the U.S. Department of Energy doesn’t appear to fully support renewables. In fact, he has presided over his agency’s systematic squelching of dozens of government studies detailing its promise. One pivotal research project, for example, quantifies hydropower’s unique potential to enhance solar and wind energy, storing… Continue Reading

How to return your mail-in ballot without using the postal service

Popular Information: “There are 44 states that don’t require any reason to vote by mail or allow concerns about COVID-19 as a valid reason. All 44 states provide alternatives to the USPS to return your mail-in ballot. The details of these alternative return methods are listed below. Six states — New York, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi,… Continue Reading

Trump Issues Order Giving Him More Leeway to Hire and Fire Federal Workers

The New York Times – “President Trump signed an executive order this week that could substantially expand his ability to hire and fire tens of thousands of federal workers during a second term, potentially allowing him to weed out what he sees as a “deep state” bureaucracy working to undermine him. The executive order, issued… Continue Reading

The Problem of Free Speech in an Age of Disinformation

The New York Times – The First Amendment in the age of disinformation. “…The United States is in the middle of a catastrophic public-health crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus. But it is also in the midst of an information crisis caused by the spread of viral disinformation, defined as falsehoods aimed at… Continue Reading

Internet Freedom Has Taken a Hit During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Freedom on the Net 2020: The Pandemic’s Digital Shadow – “The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating a dramatic decline in global internet freedom. For the 10th consecutive year, users have experienced an overall deterioration in their rights, and the phenomenon is contributing to a broader crisis for democracy worldwide. In the COVID-19 era, connectivity is not… Continue Reading