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Category Archives: Free Speech

As Calls to Ban Books Intensify, Digital Librarians Offer Perspective

Internet Archive Blogs: “From Texas to Virginia to Pennsylvania, there is a growing movement to challenge books in schools that some suggest are inappropriate for students. Concern goes beyond explicit content; it now includes opposition to LGBTQIA material, the history of racism, and material that may cause discomfort to readers. While efforts to ban books are not new, the solutions to counter censorship are—thanks to technology that is used to create access for all.  The Internet Archive’s Open Library (https://openlibrary.org) does not face the same local pressures that many school districts or school libraries do. At a time when students and teachers may be encountering limited access to content in their local community, the Internet Archive acquires and digitizes material for its online library, and lends a wide array of books for free to anyone, anytime…”

Librarians, Educators Warn of ‘Organized’ Book Banning Efforts

Publisher Weekly – “…New headlines virtually every day tell the story: across the country, there is an unprecedented spike in attempts to ban books from schools and libraries. And while efforts to remove books from schools and library collections are not uncommon, librarians and freedom to read advocates warn that this current spike in challenges… Continue Reading

Global State of Democracy in 2021 Report

“Democracy faces perfect storm as the world becomes more authoritarian Many democratic governments are increasingly adopting authoritarian tactics, accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic, while autocratic regimes are consolidating their power. The world is becoming more authoritarian as autocratic regimes become even more brazen in their repression. Many democratic governments are backsliding and are adopting authoritarian… Continue Reading

We’re Making the Facebook Papers Public

Gizmodo – Here’s Why and How – “Independent experts from NYU, UMass Amherst, Columbia, Marquette, and the ACLU are partnering with Gizmodo to responsibly publish this historic leak. In one of Silicon Valley’s largest leaks, a former Facebook product manager slipped financial regulators stacks of documents containing thousands of confidential memos, chat logs, and a… Continue Reading

Public Libraries Are Under Attack. Here’s How You Can Help

Harpers Bazaar – “Former librarian Angie Manfredi on the freedom to read and what you can do to support your local libraries from encroaching censorship…Nationwide, public and school librarians, along with teachers, have been under constant siege from this tide of complaints and objections, often from people who have never read the books they are… Continue Reading

Study Warns of ‘Educational Gag Orders’

Inside Higher Education: “A new report from PEN America, “Educational Gag Orders: Legislative Restrictions on the Freedom to Read, Learn, and Teach,” says that in the first nine months of 2021, 24 state legislatures introduced 54 bills that would restrict the teaching and training of subjects including race in K-12 schools, higher education or state… Continue Reading

The First Amendment Does Not Protect Replicants

Lessig, Lawrence, The First Amendment Does Not Protect Replicants (September 10, 2021). Social Media and Democracy (Lee Bollinger & Geoffrey Stone, eds., Oxford 2022), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3922565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3922565 “As the semantic capability of computer systems increases, the law should resolve clearly whether the First Amendment protects machine speech. This essay argues it… Continue Reading

Freedom on the Net 2021 – The Global Drive to Control Big Tech

“In the high-stakes battle between states and technology companies, the rights of internet users have become the main casualties. Key Findings: Global internet freedom declined for the 11th consecutive year.  Governments clashed with technology companies on users’ rights. Authorities in at least 48 countries pursued new rules for tech companies on content, data, and competition over… Continue Reading

Freedom in the World 2021 Democracy under Siege

 Freedom in the World 2021: “As a lethal pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict ravaged the world in 2020, democracy’s defenders sustained heavy new losses in their struggle against authoritarian foes, shifting the international balance in favor of tyranny. Incumbent leaders increasingly used force to crush opponents and settle scores, sometimes in the… Continue Reading

Former Harvard Law Dean Who Wants Government to Save the News Business

Washington Monthly – “In an interview, Martha Minow argues the constitution doesn’t merely allow government to keep journalism outlets afloat, but requires it…In her new book, Saving the News: Why the Constitution Calls for Government Action to Preserve Freedom of Speech, Harvard Law professor (and former dean) Martha Minow argues that government policies to keep… Continue Reading