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Category Archives: Free Speech

NYT – Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web

The web is not as open as it once was, with nation-states exerting their power over the internet: “…Facebook encapsulates the reasons for the internet’s fragmentation — and increasingly, its consequences. The company has become so far-reaching that more than two billion people — about a quarter of the world’s population — now use Facebook each month. Internet users (excluding China) spend one in five minutes online within the Facebook universe, according to comScore, a research firm. And Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, wants that dominance to grow. But politicians have struck back. China, which blocked Facebook in 2009, has resisted Mr. Zuckerberg’s efforts to get the social network back into the country. In Europe, officials have repudiated Facebook’s attempts to gather data from its messaging apps and third-party websites…”

Paper – Freedom of racist speech: Ego and expressive threats.

Freedom of racist speech: Ego and expressive threats. Mark H White, University of Kansas; Christian S Crandall, University of Kansas. J Pers Soc Psychol 2017 Sep 17;113(3):413-429. Epub 2017 Apr 17. Department of Psychology, University of Kansas. “Do claims of “free speech” provide cover for prejudice? We investigate whether this defense of racist or hate… Continue Reading

Implementation of facial recognition technology widens across the world

The Economist: “…Technology is rapidly catching up with the human ability to read faces. In America facial recognition is used by churches to track worshippers’ attendance; in Britain, by retailers to spot past shoplifters. This year Welsh police used it to arrest a suspect outside a football game. In China it verifies the identities of… Continue Reading

Online Employee Idea Forum at State Dept. Closed Down

Government Executive: “At the end of August, State Department employees will lose access to the in-house employee online forum called Sounding Board, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s staff announced in a departmentwide email on Aug. 17. Employees were told to archive any previous discussion items of interest because the past content will not be archived,… Continue Reading

Perspectives on Harmful Speech Online

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University – “This collection of essays includes perspectives on and approaches to harmful speech online from a wide range of voices within the Berkman Klein Center community. Recognizing that harmful speech online is an increasingly prevalent issue within society, we intend for the collection to highlight… Continue Reading

Sunlight Foundation – On Trump, transparency and democracy

“In this report, we offer a comprehensive but not exhaustive accounting of the Trump administration’s record on open government to date…In the following report, organized into sections we consider the record to date, in context. Six months from now, we will compare and contrast the Trump administration’s progress — or further regression — with the… Continue Reading

EFF Sues DOJ For Records on Procedures for Ending National Security Letter Gag Orders

EFF news release:  “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Justice Department today to obtain records that can shed light on whether the FBI is complying with a Congressional mandate that it periodically review and lift National Security Letter (NSL) gag orders that are no longer needed. The FBI has issued as many as 500,000… Continue Reading

Non profit Knight First Amendment Institute threatens to sue Trump over blocked Twitter critics

Poynter – “The Knight First Amendment Institute, a nonprofit advocacy group based at Columbia University, threatened to take legal action against President Trump if he does not unblock critics on Twitter. The demand, made in a letter to President Trump, was sent on behalf of Holly O’Reilly and Joseph M. Papp, two Twitter users who… Continue Reading

Americans Divided on Whether Recent Science Protests Will Benefit Scientists’ Causes

“In the wake of last month’s marches for science and climate in Washington and around the country, Americans are divided in their support of the events’ goals and their sense of whether it will make a difference. In particular, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that most Democrats and younger adults are convinced that… Continue Reading

Freedom of the Press 2017 – Press Freedom’s Dark Horizon

Key Global Findings 2017 “Global press freedom declined to its lowest point in 13 years in 2016 amid unprecedented threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies and new moves by authoritarian states to control the media, including beyond their borders. Only 13 percent of the world’s population enjoys a Free press—that is, a… Continue Reading

Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2017

World Bank – “The Atlas is built around World Development Indicators 2017 – the World Bank’s compilation of statistics from over 200 economies about global development and the quality of people’s lives. For each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, selected indicators have been identified and visualized to analyze trends and challenges, and to stimulate… Continue Reading