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Category Archives: Free Speech

Leaked Google presentation shows company grappling with censorship and free speech

The Verge: “A leaked research presentation [note – the Verge includes a link to the entire presentation posted on Scribd] put together by employees of Google shows the extent to which the search giant is grappling with decisions around freedom of speech and censorship. The presentation, leaked to Breitbart News this week and published in full by the organization, is titled “The Good Censor,” and it’s a mix of findings and insights based on interviews and contributions from a number of journalists, academics, and cultural critics. The aim, according to the first slide of the presentation, is to “reassure the world that [Google] protects users from harmful conduct while still supporting free speech.” The slides are a rare and stark look at Google’s ongoing struggles, which are mirrored by many Silicon Valley tech platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, that now moderate a large swath of human conversation. Essentially, the company is asking itself whether it’s possible to protect against the negative aspects of free speech — violent threats, fake news, bots, trolling, propaganda, and election interference, to name just a few — while promoting a platform that gives everyone a voice. Google says in the presentation that the internet was founded on “utopian principles of free speech,” and that Silicon Valley was largely built under the guiding principles of those ideals…”

How to Register to Vote: Deadlines for Each State

The New York Times: “Election Day is Nov. 6, but voter registration deadlines in many states are well before that. Deadlines have already passed in Alaska and Rhode Island. Many more are close. Here’s a list of each state’s voter registration deadline. The mail deadlines are when the applications should be postmarked, unless stated otherwise.… Continue Reading

Protecting Free Speech and Academic Freedom in Universities

Cram, Ian and Fenwick, Helen, Protecting Free Speech and Academic Freedom in Universities (September 2018). The Modern Law Review, Vol. 81, Issue 5, pp. 825-873, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3245459 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2230.12366 “Restrictions on speaking events in universities have been created both by recent student‐led efforts at ‘no‐platforming’ and by Part 5 of the Counter‐terrorism… Continue Reading

AP – EU proposed to give internet firms 1 hour to remove extremist content

Via ABCNews.com: “European authorities are planning to slap internet companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook with big fines if they don’t take down extremist content within one hour. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a speech Wednesday that the Commission is proposing the new rules as part of efforts to step up the bloc’s… Continue Reading

Securing the Vote Protecting American Democracy 2018

The National Academies of Sciences: “During the 2016 presidential election, America’s election infrastructure was targeted by actors sponsored by the Russian government. Securing the Vote: Protecting American Democracy examines the challenges arising out of the 2016 federal election, assesses current technology and standards for voting, and recommends steps that the federal government, state and local… Continue Reading

The Role of Scholarly Communication in a Democratic Society

Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication (Vol. 6, No. 2): The Role of Scholarly Communication in a Democratic Society was published online today (August 31, 2018). “Why has the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication produced this special issue on the role of scholarly communication and democracy? The pillars of a democratic society (equity, a… Continue Reading

ADL Unveils First of-its-Kind Interactive Map Pinpointing Extremism and Hate Across U.S.

“ADL H.E.A.T. Map is the first-of-its-kind interactive and customizable map detailing extremist and anti-Semitic incidents around the nation. ADL experts in its Center on Extremism developed this unique visualization with data points extracted from information sources including news and media reports, government documents (including police reports), victim reports, extremist-related sources, Center on Extremism investigations and… Continue Reading

A Surveillance State Unlike Any the World Has Ever Seen

Spiegel Online: “In western China, Beijing is using the most modern means available to control its Uighur minority. Tens of thousands have disappeared into re-education camps. A journey to an eerily quiet region… Nowhere in the world, not even in North Korea, is the population monitored as strictly as it is in the Xinjiang Uighur… Continue Reading

Map of non voting people in the United States 2016

Amateur cartographer Phllip Kearney created a map using US Census Bureau American Community Survey Data that he titled the United States of Apathy. He subtitles his map – “2016 U.S. Presidential election results if abstention from voting was counted as a vote for “Nobody.”  The results, and the lessons that Kearney is teaching us with… Continue Reading

Hearing – Facebook, Google and Twitter: Examining the Content Filtering Practice

“House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today delivered the following statement during the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on “Facebook, Google, and Twitter: Examining the Content Filtering Practices of Social Media Giants.” …Today, we continue to examine how social media companies filter content on their platforms. At our last hearing, which we held April, this… Continue Reading

NYT – How conservatives weaponized the First Amendment

How conservatives weaponized the First Amendment: “…The Citizens United campaign finance case, for instance, was decided on free-speech grounds, with the five-justice conservative majority ruling that the First Amendment protects unlimited campaign spending by corporations. The government, the majority said, has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters responded that the First Amendment did not… Continue Reading

Germany Acts to Tame Facebook, Learning From Its Own History of Hate

The New York Times: A country taps its past as it leads the way on one of the most pressing issues facing modern democracies: how to regulate the world’s biggest social network. “Spread over five floors, hundreds of men and women sit in rows of six scanning their computer screens. All have signed nondisclosure agreements.… Continue Reading