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Category Archives: Free Speech

International Attitudes Toward the U.S., NATO and Russia in a Time of Crisis

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought war to Europe at a scale unseen since the 1940s. In response, the United States and its NATO allies have supplied Ukrainian defense forces with weapons and training, while millions of refugees have fled into neighboring countries. The war has been the center of international attention for months, and as a new 18-nation Pew Research Center survey shows, it has had an impact on public opinion.   Ratings for Russia, which were already negative in most of the nations surveyed, have plummeted further following the invasion. In 10 countries, 10% or less of those polled express a favorable opinion of Russia. Positive views of Russian President Vladimir Putin are in single digits in more than half of the nations polled. Attitudes toward NATO, in contrast, are largely positive, and ratings for the alliance have improved in several nations since last year, including Germany and the U.S., as well as nonmember Sweden. Swedish attitudes toward NATO grew increasingly positive over the course of the survey’s field dates. Meanwhile, overall ratings for the U.S. are largely positive and stable. A median of 61% across 17 nations (not including the U.S.) express a favorable view of the U.S. Still, there have been some changes since last year, with favorable opinions increasing significantly in South Korea, Sweden and Australia, while declining significantly in Greece, Italy and France. Over the past couple of years, our surveys have found strong concerns in advanced economies about the health of American democracy. In 2021, more than half in most nations surveyed said democracy in the U.S. used to be a good example for other nations to follow, but that it no longer is. This year’s survey reveals a consensus about America’s divisive politics: Large majorities in nearly all the nations polled say there are strong conflicts between people who support different political parties in the U.S…”

A Supreme Court speech showdown is coming, and nobody knows what to expect

The Verge: “The US Supreme Court is poised to consider a question with seismic consequences for online speech. Over the past year, laws in Texas and Florida have set up a legal battle over whether the First Amendment protects social networks’ right to curate user-generated content or whether these sites should be treated more like… Continue Reading

Confronting Misinformation in the Age of Cheap Speech

LawFare: “In 1995, Eugene Volokh published a law review article in which he predicted that the rapidly growing internet would “dramatically reduce the costs of distributing speech” and that “the new media order that these technologies will bring will be much more democratic and diverse than the environment we see now.” The concept, which Volokh… Continue Reading

The next book ban: States aim to limit titles students can search for

Washington Post: “Republican lawmakers across the country are proposing legislation that would target online library databases and library management technology — tools built by a half-dozen large companies that catalogue millions of books, journals and articles that students peruse for assignments. These bills — already enacted in Utah and Tennessee, on the verge of becoming… Continue Reading

12 Legitimate Uses for the Dark Web

MakeUseOf:  “The dark web has many legitimate and legal purposes, despite its sinister reputation. A mention of the dark web usually conjures up ominous and sinister imagery. While the dark web is certainly home to some questionable content, it also has a number of legitimate uses, from helping citizens circumvent government censorship, to adding an… Continue Reading

EveryLibrary launches the Banned Book Store

“EveryLibrary is excited to launch the Banned Book Store at bannedbookstore.co as the most comprehensive list of currently banned and challenged books in the United States.  Many of the book challenges come from individuals who have never read the books and who have been encouraged by national right wing organizations to present excerpts out of context… Continue Reading

In the dark – Censored Planet

Seven years, 60 countries, 935 internet shutdowns: How authoritarian regimes found an off switch for dissent: “…Russia is a pioneer in the use of these tools but not an outlier. The technologies it uses are proliferating, creeping into internet infrastructure all over the world, helped by multinational companies that have turned censorship into an off-the-shelf… Continue Reading

How Democracies Spy on Their Citizens

The New yorker: “The inside story of the world’s most notorious commercial spyware and the big tech companies waging war against it.” By Ronan Farrow – April 18, 2022. “…Commercial spyware has grown into an industry estimated to be worth twelve billion dollars. It is largely unregulated and increasingly controversial. In recent years, investigations by the… Continue Reading

Propaganda, Mis- and Disinformation, and Censorship: The War for Hearts and Minds

how to save the world – Dave Pollard: “…But perhaps equally-important in this century are the non-military wars battling for the “hearts and minds” of citizens — fights over votes, seats, laws, ideologies and tax dollars rather than land. It is hard to deny, for example, that the US is engaged in a so-far-non-military civil… Continue Reading

Book banning efforts are inspiring readers to form banned book clubs

CNN: “Book banning — or at least, book banning attempts — appears to be having a resurgence. The American Library Association recorded 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, the most since the organization began tracking those attempts in 2000. While that might seem low overall considering the approximately 99,000… Continue Reading