Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The EU link tax is still on the table during the trilogue

Cory Doctorow reminds us of the problems with the EU proposed link tax in a recent article
Many observers feel that the link tax would not affect content creators outside of the EU unless they have an unusual reason to link to a European (probably foreign language) site, although I can think of subject matter that would justify it. (How about right-wing authoritarianism and populism in some countries?)
It’s still unclear if smaller sites would be affected, and how many words of text would need to be quoted – or would it be a flat ban on hyperlinking without a license?
It’s interesting, and perverse, how Spain, on its own, tried “protectionism” for its traditional publishers by refusing to allow publishers to lowball each other.   Spain is one of the countries more active in the past on “the right to be forgotten”.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

PA attorney general wants to hold Gab (maybe other social media) responsible for attack, but Section 230 would be in his way

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General is reported to have considered legal action against Gab in conjunction with the shootings Saturday at the Temple of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh.  Reuters had contributed to this report

But the story totally ignores Section 230 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. 

Section 230 would not apply to actual illegal conduct – planning a terror attack online.  Gab says it would take down content that actually breaks the law.

Rather, the circumstances where Gab said it would censor only technically illegal speech created a climate (by default in comparison to other platforms) where some alt-right extreme figures would join, and over time, they would skew the content on the site.  This is a big practical problem for tech companies.  The practicalities were much easier to manage with radical Islam than it is with homegrown extreme right wing extremism (that is, including white supremacy) for which there is more populist domestic support than most of us were aware – even for all the years of Obama’s presidency -- as Trump's behavior made the built-up anti-intellectual resentment (from inequality) crawl out of the woodwork.

Requiring social media platforms to remove "hate speech" is flawed because defining so much of it is subjective.  True, some of it you know when you see it -- with respect to religion and race and sometimes gender or sexuality issues, especially with slurs. But then it gets messy.  Is saying that there are only two basic biological genders hate speech?  Some people think it is.  The problem is the way intersectionality, as an ideology, has taken over much of the Left. 

By way of comparison, the Oklahoma City bombings by Timothy McVeigh (a right wing terrorist) occurred before user generated content on the Internet had become widespread (but at that time Section 230 was not yet passed – after it passed in 1996, America Online quickly, by October 1996, opened up its platform for user content with multiple text files and multiple images, and later videos. )

Section 230 reflects a moral bias in our legal system to localizing guilt for crimes as closely as possible with the perpetrator only (“personal responsibility”). Many, especially on the political Left, disagree with this bias and think things should be more as they are in Europe  -- largely because of systemic inequality with deflects the incentive for many people to play by the rules and within the law.

The US First Amendment, which protects the content of speech, such not be construed as automatically guaranteeing a right to broadcast one's speech without gatekeepers.  The First Amendment explicitly protects assembly, petition, and religion, and the established press -- but not the actual process of or infrastructure for  broadcasting amateur speech.  This is bound to come up before SCOTUS again.  For example, you could imagine requiring a non-partisan community license (or else a legitimate transactional business) to have Internet broadcast privileges, earned by community service.  If you're on the Left and feel this way about shared responsibility, then propose it.  It sounds a bit like "skin in the game". I wonder if it would get anywhere. 

Section 230 was weakened already by FOSTA, the Backpage bill.  It will surely come up again in Congress as the result of this incident. 
 Some bloggers are suggesting getting familiar with some blockchain-and-token based platforms (like Civil and Steemit), which I have started looking into. It appears that digital currency is used for audience upvote, which might be used to decide who stays on later. The conventional lobbying so far on issues like net neutrality and FOSTA has not been able to stop deterioration of the Internet's respect for self-broadcast.  

Monday, October 29, 2018

Social media regulation is coming like a runaway train

Tim Pool discussed the inevitability of more social media regulation tonight.

He says that Facebook is more neutral in enforcing its rules than Twitter (despite the confusion of the Purge on Oct. 11). For example, Facebook will suspend for attacking white people as a group just as for attacking black people;  it does not follow the idea of a legally protected class literally.

The Left wants to regulate free speech in order combat oppression at the group level – and the groups keep growing.  The Right wants freedom of speech because it is better for localism and some conservative ideas (and libertarian).  The alt-Right may want a tribal patriarchy (as Umair Haque claims all capitalism wants), but generally the mainstream right is more like Reagan – family values but with a lot more flexibility today than in the past.

Pool made a comment that people could be banned on Twitter for insisting the gender is binary.  The Left regards this as an existential issue for some people, and right simply sees it as a political issue. I have often written about the reason for gender conformity in the past – like when we had a male-only draft.  It would sound like a straw-man argument to ban me for reminding everyone of this history (like it could renew the threat of the draft needlessly) but maybe that is possible.  The most reputable science (as on the LGBT blog Oct 22, in response to the Trump administration’s plan) says that gender in higher mammals (primates and probably even carnivores) is not strictly binary.  (It isn’t in some invertebrate animals, also.)   How you deal with this in the military is then a policy issue.  (By the way, even the Left SJW’s overlook that Selective Service requires registration by birth biological male gender – why doesn’t the Left lobby on that issue? – you may not be able to define birth male gender as precisely as the law assumes).

The other big news of the day continues to be the fallout from the no-platforming of Gab. However, at least one “Christian” site, Life Site News, claims it was kicked off. It seems to have made a temporary arrangement (maybe running its own server).  I found the original story on Breitbart, and went to the site.  I have serious questions about the factual credibility of some of what I saw, so I am trying to have some large media outlets do some fact checking (no major news sites have reported it).

However, it appears that there may be an effort to smear and ban a few “homophobic” sites, such as happened to a site in New Zealand as early as 2011.  Even as a gay man, I do not want to see this happen.  Westboro Baptist Church was still up the last time I looked.  It is not a threat to my safety.  

I’ll keep tabs on this and give links when they are credible enough.

By the way, if a site is de-platformed by a webhost, running its own server may be possible.  People have done this from their own homes, even apartments.  But you can’t have a domain name without the approval of a registrar, which then has to follow the policies of a TLD provider (like Verisign), which can be vulnerable to political pressure given all the online abuses around 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Gab, an alternative microblogging platform, apparently shut down by hosting provider after Pittsburgh incident

During the afternoon Sunday, news has flowed in that the alternate speech platform Gab is being denied hosting from its main provider Joyent, after Paypal and Stripe had also cut them off.  The actions took place after suspect Robert Bowers had written an inflammatory post on Gab warning that he was going to respond to immigration in a violent way,  The Daily Beast has a brief story here.   Gab says it is working on finding another provider and provided all records of Bowers’s activity to law enforcement.  Gab's Medium page has been suspended (I just checked). 

Off the bat, it’s apparent that no social media provider could prevent a specific post like that.  Other visitors could have called law enforcement.

However Gab has produced cutoff notices that suggest their terms of service required them to monitor for hate speech or threats and had failed to do so.

Gab had also had difficulties with Microsoft in August (Verge story

Some news accounts, like on the UK independent, indeed give graphic accounts of some of Gab's users. 

Various stories portray Gab as a platform favored by the “alt-right”.  That would be because the Austin TX company says it will not suspend users or censor them for speech.  Some high-profile people said to be associated with white supremacy have accounts.  But I know of libertarian speakers who prefer Gab because they fear censorship on Twitter for much more moderate statements for circumstantial or “implicit content” or "strawman" reasons. I do not have an account with Gab. Unlike Twitter, you cannot see public content on Gab without setting up an account. 
Tim Pool has a strongly worded video today in which he explains that Gab had tried to create a competitive platform where censorship would be less likely.  But he doesn’t believe that the current political climate, with pressure now on web hosts, allows this to be done.

My comment to this Timcast video is here.  Pool says that analysis of Gab v. Twitter shows that the percentage of posts that would be "hate speech" are pretty close and comparable. 
On my own blogs, the only user generated content is comments.  These are monitored automatically for spam.  The remaining volume is quite small so, yes, I can monitor them for content issues. 
Let me add, I don’t report content I find online for censorship (unless it is fraudulent and would involve me).  On a few occasions (all before 2006) I have reported emails sent to me to authorities for suspected criminal activity. I do not publish classified information if it arrives (it may have on one or two occasions).

Update: Oct. 29

Kevin Roose of the New York Times also reports that Godaddy pulled domain name registration. But the site does resolve Monday morning to a site that says Gab is under attack. 

The Roose piece also makes the interesting point that tech companies fear that if their platforms allow everything, in time the content will shift to the most outrageous and extreme and become unusable for more civil customers. 

The Washington Post (Ian Shapira et al) has a similar story, calling Gab a de facto "white supremacist sanctuary". 

Vox "explains" Gab pretty well in an article by Jane Coaston.  But the objection to Gab seems to center on what "groups" it attracts, not so much on actual individual user behavior.  We're back to the idea of coordination inside groups and which groups should be allowed to organize -- which because of world history, is very difficult to face. 

Here is Gab's tweet.  I'm a little confused:  it refers to Joyent as the new hosting provider? Was Godaddy the provider before??  Is the NYTimes completely correct on the facts on how it has been hosted?  Gab also has the "share this everywhere" tweet promising to return. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

EU Copyright Directive could become less extreme as Italy and perhaps other countries want to soften it; also, Facebook's copyright filters now

Danny O’Brien writes for Electronic Frontier Foundation that the EU Copyright Directive is now deep into its “trilogue” phase., where the Parliament in Brussels negotiates with all the member countries on how to implement it in each country. 

A sizable minority had opposed Articles 11 and 13, believing it was driven by facetious, turf-driven ideology and would be harmful in practice. Now Italy has joined the fray, and there is some reasonable hope that the articles could become much weaker when implemented next year.

Spain already had the strongest version of the link tax, and did not allow publishers to opt-out, fearing that some publishers could deliberately lowball others. Despite Google’s pulling its news service out, Spain still has the law.  Spain seems to want all content to come from local publishers, a kind of caricature of Trump’s MAGA thinking.

Also, there is more to report on how copyright filters work in the US.  Facebook has been pulling live videos with background music at demonstrations.  Apparently major copyright holders like Sony already have filters installed into Facebook (Article 13 style) to stop uploads now. This seems even more pro-active than Google’s Content-ID.  I’ve previously discussed a situation where a video of mine was flagged for background music at the Smithsonian, but it did not result in a copyright strike.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Mashable uses stories of Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones to justify regular de-platforming

I found a slightly older story on Mashable (from August) with the catchy headline, “Alex Jones’ future will look a lot like Milo Yiannopoulos’ “  and later states that “de-platforming hate-mongering Internet celebrities actually works”. 

It's important to remember that de-platforming on large social media works differently from de-platforming through domain registrars or webhosts.  Most discussions on this topic ignore that fact. 

Milo is still on Facebook and his “Dangerous” site is still up and he seems to ask for subscriptions at $3.95 a month. Obviously he has taken a huge hit, financially and in terms of credible influence, but beyond that any specific guesses as to how much would be speculation.

The Mashable article summary of Milo’s history, while largely correct on the surface, may be a little misleading as to how some details are interpreted.  I read an reviewed his book (and Pam Geller’s, which he helped publish) and found both a lot more reasonable than public rumors admit. Some of his metaphors do go over the line for some people, admittedly.  When I read their work, I don’t find any plan to implement something like “white supremacy”.

What seems to be at issue, in large part, is Milo’s unusually graphic criticism of the far Left’s (and radical Islam's) combativeness, and reducing all debate to stopping oppression of any intersectional group that can be construed as a “people”.  The Left is right in wanting to question the misuse of unearned wealth and in noting that the extreme capitalism in the US in the past two decades has left more people of average means behind. The Left contradicts its own moral sense in over focus on intersectional groups. But it is possible to discuss policy remedies in terms of what out to be expected of individuals who are better off, regardless of what group(s) or tribe(s) they belong to.

But even in terms of these remedies, the idea of having ungated or unregulated access to a world wide megaphone can (in comparison to how the Internet grew, especially with the help of Section 230 in the US) be tied to external behavior of those with more privilege, more proof of giving back, more community engagement.  But that also makes supporting “de-platforming” such as “dangerous” (Milo’s own word) idea indeed.
See the Timcast on the TV Blog Sept 5, 2018.  As for the embed above, I make no apologies. But – No, Alex, David Hogg is not an alien from 125 light years away. Nor is Mark Zuckerberg.

Update: Oct. 27

I want to add - I will often link to provocative articles by people like Milo and others to rebut them or even point out the partial truths. Besides myself, a number of other bloggers and vlogger channels (some of them tend to be "conservative") do this; my own audience can tell which other commentators I watch a lot.  Yet, a significant "combative" minority of the public thinks this practice is gratuitous and actually puts others in danger (possibly myself, family, others in oppressed groups) because most visitors will not understand the point of any argument I make, they will feel merely presenting him again validates him,.  Yes, there is an Internet literacy issue here -- that drove many of the problems of Facebook.  But many on the far Left, at least, and maybe some conservatives, think someone like me should take his turn subservient to others in the soup line and have to experience what everyone else experiences -- before being allowed a platform at all.  This Marxist thinking is getting more common and is plain dangerous.  I could say this might follow the line of Umair Haque's columns on Eudaimonia Medium.  Or you could put a "conservative" spin on it and invoke Nassin Nicholas Taleb's "skin in the game".  For someone like me, who doesn't compete very well on social groups or tribes, lowballing or outflanking them online is just irresistible.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Steemit, which uses blockchain and cryptocurrency, could provide an answer to politically-driven deplatforming

I wanted to introduce on this blog the concept of a blogging platform that uses blockchain, specifically Steemit.  At this point, I’ll keep the remarks general.

The basic link for the site is here, but there is a different url for the introduction to the blockchain.

The basic link will take you to various lists of hot topics.  From these, you may sometimes navigate to material that may be very controversial and have been deplatformed somewhere else.  For example, here is a page about Alex Jones and it leads to more material on Bitchute.  (Let me add something personal:  When Alex Jones went after David Hogg, he went after a sharp-witted teenager  who could defend himself and come out stronger.  But that should have become its own deterrent not to try this again.)

The site offers the possibility to earn cryptocurrency from user accolades for posts, or to earn by supporting the posts of others in some circumstances.
 Here's a downloadble paper (by Usman W. Chonan) with some constructive criticism of how the site works and of possible unintended vulnerabilities. It would be possible to become concerned about the usual downstream liability questions for the site (like Section 230 being weakened, DMCA Safe Harbor). 
The site does appear potentially useful to any party that could fear deplatforming from the Internet if driven by political ideology. Once entered into the blockchain, material would be undeletable. But it does not look particularly easy, at first glance at least, to store a huge number of posts to the site just to protect them.  It sounds feasible to store complete book text there, such anything bad happen in the self-publishing world (the “pay its own way” concept I have been talking about).

The best way to get started may be with a novel, hard-hitting essay to get upvotes.  Maybe it could be a follow-up on my Medium article on power grid security (August 30, 2018 here).  Maybe it could (with some irony) be an article on politically-driven deplatforming. 

I could wonder if somebody could create a splash with a controversial novel (maybe sci-fi, like evacuating Earth to O’Neill cylinders and hand-picking the survivors by meritocracy, something the Left would find objectionable), getting accolades and earning cryptocurrency, maybe getting enough buzz to get an indie movie made. This could become a viable way to make content pay its own way, as I discussed here Oct. 19 as possibly a coming expectation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Combined paywall subscriptions could help users, and reduce the fake news and bot problems; maybe there is a "catch" though

There have long been combined magazine subscriptions by mail.  I remember trying them back in the 1970s as I started my working life as an adult. People even earned commissions by selling them.

And there have been book clubs, and publications like Reader’s Digest, that consolidate the literature widely available in periodicals and sometimes newspapers, the way you learned about them in English class when I was growing up.

And we’ve seen most city (even small town) newspapers put up paywalls, and even many periodicals online have them now.  By and large, only the network and local televisions station news sites are “free” now.

It seems like common sense that one could propose a combined subscription service where the user could pick a certain number of city newspapers and periodical sites for one subscription.  The combined media billing company would collect a small commission and send the rest to each periodical with automated payments and collections systems, familiar to me in my own mainframe IT career (which placed a heavy emphasis on billing systems).

It might become practical to add other sites, like some independent media, to the mix, in time.  One could imagine that such a company, if it monopolized the market, could wind up as being very powerful and become a “gatekeeper” of what got widely read. But the mechanism would encourage people to search in credible sources again and largely solve the problem of foreign bots stilting social media echo chambers, even leading to the recent Facebook and Twitter purges.

Such a system would have to be sophisticated, and would probably require 50-75 technical people to run, and cost something like $15 million a year to operate, so it would need some scale to work and be profitable and attract capital.  Many publications would be either major periodicals (on the East coast), regular news papers, and entertainment and technology pubs, mostly in California.  I sort of like Dallas as a good location.

A Swedish company called Readly already does something like this.  It seems to be aimed at mainly mobile use, but it also offers downloading for offline reading, somewhat like a Kindle. I don’t know how practical it is with a laptop or desktop, like what I use for research.

Business Insider has an article by Tom Turula, and calls it “Spotify for Magazines”.  So it would need to expand tremendously.  It is looking for more investment money now.   Could it do something like all this in the U.S.?
Presumably the company is prepared to deal with the legal complications, at least in the EU, that will develop from Articles 11 and 13. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Facebook now removes ads that mention identity groups, possibly hindering legitimate medical material

Now Facebook is reported to have taken down ads mention identity groups, such as “African-American”, “LGBT”, etc. claiming these ads are “political”  Jessica Guyun has a story on USA Today Oct. 17, here

Many legitimate ads, especially medical ones, do identify some groups as more susceptible to certain diseases than others.  African-Americans may have more high blood pressure and certain cancers.  This is particularly true of pancreatic cancer, for which Stanford University senior Jack Andraka (himself white) invented a new diagnostic test for a science fair project. Alyssa Frankin recently died of pancreatic cancer.

It’s also true that gay men are more likely to acquire HIV, although the relative difference has dropped a lot since the 1980s. But African Americans within the gay community seem to have higher incidence today.

Facebook is also having trouble, as I found, with issue ads that are non-partisan but perceived as skewed to one party (my concern over power grid security is definitely non-partisan but is perceived as a “conservative” or Fox-News-like cause).   Monitors understandably would have difficulty proving that an article wasn’t foreign-sponsored. That’s why Facebook is a lot more comfortable with ads that sell products – but some of these products can be more popular with one group than another.
I am not a believer in identity politics and am pretty anti-tribalist myself, but this new policy seems even more self-defeating by FB.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Panel discussion today on independent media after Facebook, Twitter purges

Today Ford Fischer of News2Share shared an hour long panel discussion (apparently in Washington DC today, maybe JCCDC) including Mint Press, GeoPolitics Alert, and Anti-Media on “independent media and covering anti-war activism in the era of social media censorship”. Here is the link.  There will probably a more permanent one on the site or on YouTube soon.

Here is Ford’s Patreon link

There is discussion of the situation in Syria.

There was an incident where Ford filmed a policeman at a demonstration in the Capitol and posted it on YouTube, which asked Ford to edit out the face of the policeman for his privacy!  There had been an earlier incident where Facebook took down a live stream of Ford’s in a dispute over what is a valid proprietary livestream.  This problem (livestream interruption) seems to have reoccurred Thurs. Oct. 11 when Ford was filming at the same time that the Facebook Purge was happening.

One member of the audience encouraged readers to donate or subscribe to independent outlets, don’t count on it being free (I discussed this issue with respect to my own setup yesterday’s post, and there are issues).

The question of “peer review” came up.  There is a big difference between opinion pieces and first-hand accounts or live streams.

A commenter suggests consolidation of donations into a company that supplies an independent media app. 
Fischer said that there are not practical alternatives to Facebook and Twitter right now. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Okay, I will announce how to put my "Skin in the Game"

Time to take another strategic checkpoint again.

Recently I had a meeting with another independent news agency about the weakening of support for free speech and the sudden purging of many independent presses on Facebook and (in apparent blackballing sometimes) Twitter. I thought blackballing violated ant-trust laws, but back to getting on topic.

I’ve covered the ongoing fiasco with Facebook over trying to get my post on the power grid(s) boosted, and I haven’t been banned (yet), and I do have different circumstances from the publishers who were targeted – but I am concerned.

My situation is that, in retirement, my blogging platforms are self-funded and I don’t need to beg for money, donations, or other support because they cost very little to maintain.  I could get into legal trouble if I used money in “trust” accounts for this, but there is plenty of cash easily in my own name to cover this.  But, true, the money from ads and from book sales does not cover the costs.  I do it in part because I want to and can afford to.  In the past few months, a couple of providers have actually asked me about this over the phone. You can see an uneasiness coming down the pike. 
I am not “popular” in terms of demonstration follower or comment counts.  But I have plenty of evidence that over the years the content of the blogs and books has been very effective in influencing political debate and even outcomes, such as the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” in 2011, and various issues involving “family values” and downstream liability in tech. It’s not about volume or popularity, it’s getting the “right people” to read it and acknowledge it. And they do.

There are people who think this is wrong.  That could particularly be the case with respect to some areas of campaign finance law (actually issue advocacy), even given Citizens United and McCuthceon (the “soft money” case).  Very little has been said publicly about these problems, but a lot of chit chat goes on more privately.

One perception is that if what I do is OK, more people (supporting kids with their writing) will lose their jobs, to put it bluntly. The big L-word – “layoffs” is like any other bad word.  Or perhaps I function as the "I told you so" guy .. but "they" don't need to get their bad news from me. 
Let me take a moment to reiterate what I think all my content “is good for”.  I could say it’s “keeping them honest” (but that’s AC360’s trademarked phase).  It sounds like a reiteration of the title of my book series “do ask, do tell” (and I get plenty of complaints from my publishers that I don’t try hard enough to sell copies, don’t push them on bookstores, don’t travel on tours, etc – with books now several years old – because their employees need the income, and bookstores need the income, even if I don’t).   I would say what I do is “connect the dots” --  a favorite phrase right after 9/11.

I keep putting before “your” eyes all the inconvenient truths you don’t want to talk about (besides Al Gore’s).  Many of these problems involve hidden coercion, or causing possibly sudden sacrifices from people (for the "common good") without their full understanding or consent (the usual libertarian gripe, to be sure).  Case in point:  I’ve talked about filial responsibility laws.  In 2012, I saw my traffic spike while I was in California when suddenly there was a big media story about a case in Pennsylvania on these rare implemented laws which can bite adult children with aging and long-lived parents. (I once had gotten an email asking me not to talk about this because they were afraid states would find my stuff and start enforcing the laws!)

Many controversies, like mandatory paid family leave, for example, would run into the idea that childless people would wind up supporting other people’s children with gratuitous unpaid overtime.  Is this OK?  Nobody wants to talk about it.  But I keep this idea out in circulation.

Or how about the fact that we still expose young men to registering for the draft, while we want to shut down abortion (yup, the Kavanaugh controversy).  Yet some people would say, if you keep bringing it up, we’re more likely to really have a draft some day, when “you” are too old to be affected.

See how combativeness works?  That’s just a tip of it.

The subtitle of my 2014 book, “Being Listened to Is a Privilege” does indeed lead in to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s “Skin in the Game”, which is certainly affecting ethical thought.  In this day of self-published "asymmetric" journalism, speakers often don’t take the personal risks that the people affected by the issues they write about are exposed to. 

Furthermore, low-volume and low-cash-flow but “deep” political commentary runs the “long tail” risk that Taleb talks about, inherent in today’s digital world.  (Taleb’s actual commentary since on journalists seems mixed – he doesn’t talk about “enemy of the people” -- but he is very much about “doing” instead of “talking” – the “no spectators” idea of Burning Man.  His theory about SIIG certainly sounds like a way to tackle inequality starting at the personal level  -- because inequality often involves a wide spread in personal exposure to risk.)
The bottom line is that platforms right now are much more comfortable supporting real businesses (that actually sell things to consumers with many small transactions – the franchise model) than gratuitous “free speech” that is born in ideology that gets back to personal self-worth as an individual and as a member of a tribe.  And there is indeed a lot of tension right now between “introverts” (often speakers, sometimes slightly schizoid or with some borderline autism, as James Damore talks about it) who are not very tribal, and “extroverts” (doers) who do operate through tribes.

I do get a lot of flak, from Facebook, on why I won’t post other people’s fund raisers on my pages – that seems to be playing ball with them – and I say that’s my picking winners and losers.  I want to give you a link to read and you decide. But others see my reluctance to offer explicit support to the “disadvantaged”, either as individuals or especially as members of “oppressed classes” (where the Left keeps choking on its own ideology) when I speak “gratuitously” to my own choir, as an indirect way of bullying them, which ought to be “banned”.  This is a rapidly evolving viewpoint and scary, especially on the far combative Left. 
Yes, the tactics attacking free distribution of speech could be viewed as a way to compel more solidarity and signing up -- from people who were socially unwelcome in the past. Yet goading someone like me to wear "your" uniform in public and pimp "your" message won't work -- but it could result in permanent silencing -- and that is chilling.  This does get into ideas like "compelled speech" or bargained speech, as well as implicit content.   And it gets into personal values about "people as people" (as my father used to say), especially after (risk-related) adversity, but that leads to other disturbing discussions. But "personal fascism" (when it comes to relationships) can invite the political kind, or be met with outright Marxism. 
And I could have an issue over the multiplicity of my sites, which evolved over time – because that can play into the “multiple admin” or link-farming problem partly behind the recent Purges.
So the best I can do is announce some detailed plans soon as to how I will monetize.  Later on today I expect to do that, on my “doaskdotellnotes” blog which supports book development.

Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bizarre case involving anonymous contributors to potential sexual predators' list tests anonymous speech

Aaron Mackey of Electronic Frontier Foundation discusses a lawsuit that challenges several conflcting values:  protecting anonymous speech, protecting downstream liability limitations (Section 230), and putatively identifying possible sexual predators. 

The lawsuit was brought by a writer named on the list.  The lawsuit apparently tries to track down others who anonymously added to the list.
Anonymous speech seems to be even more important overseas.  But as I've noted recently, there are at least some theoretical considerations, even now (after Citizens United and McCutcheon) that it, when political, can run afoul of campaign finance laws in the US. But now a conservative Supreme Court might well side with the First Amendment concerns protecting anonymity. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

EU Article 13 will affect US users of social media (EFF explanation)

Electronic Frontier Foundation offers an update on the European Union Article 13 implementation, by Cory Doctorow, predicting “EU Internet Censorship Will Censor the Whole World Internet” 
Doctorow gives an example with Twitter and interactions of several individuals in different countries. But it’s also possible to maintain that the really big social media companies may not have much trouble with the actual pre-screening (although it is to include text as well as images and video).  
The rollout is expected to take about a year or two after another vote in early 2019, and it can lead to different implementations by country.  Spain, for example, already has the strictest link tax, predicated on not allowing publishers to lowball one another out of collecting it. 
A big question would be how it affects web hosts operating in multiple countries.