• F*** Yeah! Supreme Court Tosses Out “Vague” FCC Indecency Fines Against Fox And ABC

    F*** Yeah! Supreme Court Tosses Out “Vague” FCC Indecency Fines Against Fox And ABC

    Public airwaves may be one step closer to becoming an indecent wasteland of swearing, nudity, and violence—a victory for First Amendment-lovers everywhere. Yesterday, the Supreme Court unanimously threw out fines against Fox and ABC for airing brief expletives and nudity, arguing that the FCC’s rule against “fleeting” indecency was too vague.┬áThe narrow decision… Read More

  • Google Transparency Report: U.S. Content Removal Requests Increased 103%

    Google Transparency Report: U.S. Content Removal Requests Increased 103%

    For the last two years, Google has been releasing data about requests to remove content and hand over user data from government agencies around the world. Late last night, the company released the latest set of this data, which covers the second half of 2011. In it, Google notes that it received 187 content removal requests from U.S. government agencies, asking for the removal of 6,192… Read More

  • Ethiopian Government Bans Skype, Google Talk And All Other VoIP Services

    Ethiopian Government Bans Skype, Google Talk And All Other VoIP Services

    The Ethiopian government, Al Jazeera reports, has criminalized the use of Skype and other VoIP services like Google Talk. Using VoIP services is now punishable by up to 15 years in prison. This law actually passed last month, but mostly went unnoticed outside of the country. Ethiopian authorities argue that they imposed these bans because of “national security concerns” and to… Read More

  • Twitter Puts Its DMCA Takedown Requests Up For All To See

    Twitter Puts Its DMCA Takedown Requests Up For All To See

    Yesterday’s announcement that Twitter would be selectively censoring tweets based on country was not well-received. But part of that announcement was the assurance that the process would at least be transparent. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. They also mentioned that they were working with Chilling Effects to make notices and orders sent to Twitter publicly available. At… Read More

  • Twitter Changes The “Contours” Of Censorship With Country-By-Country Blocking

    Twitter Changes The “Contours” Of Censorship With Country-By-Country Blocking

    Twitter has announced in a blog post a glorious new ability: “the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world.” At last! There are two ways of looking at this new “ability,” one optimistic and one pessimistic. One is that Twitter is now more able to effectively tailor itself to the… Read More

  • Social Censorship in India: Much Ado About Nothing

    Social Censorship in India: Much Ado About Nothing

    Another year, another attack on the Internet. Lately, though, it’s not a loose collective of individual hackers sitting in dark rooms trying to wreak havoc. This time, stronger forces and vested interests are stepping into the game. In a matter of a few weeks, the world’s most powerful democracy and the world’s largest democracy engaged in their own specific battles over… Read More

  • Fukushima Robot Operator’s Blog Deleted – Internet Steps In

    Fukushima Robot Operator’s Blog Deleted – Internet Steps In

    An anonymous blogger known only as S.H. has been posting detailed daily descriptions of the robot-based disaster response effort at Fukushima. The blog included technical details and personal anecdotes, but nothing sensitive to national security. In early July, however, the blog was discontinued and later deleted altogether. The videos S.H. had uploaded to YouTube were made private. The origin… Read More

  • RIM Agrees To Filter Pornographic Content On Indonesian BlackBerrys

    Another day, another example of RIM having to buckle to governmental pressure in order to stay in business. It has emerged that RIM has agreed to filter pornographic content on Indonesian BlackBerrys as a direct result of a government request. While this isn’t the first time that RIM has had to accommodate various government requests, it does represent the first time that RIM has greed… Read More

  • Internet Control Issues: It's Not Just China

    Internet Control Issues: It's Not Just China

    Fighting international cyber-terrorism isn’t easy, but it’s a mission on which we can all agree, right? Not so fast. Russia has been pushing a proposal in The United Nations agency for information technology, which describes the greatest cyber-threat not as hacking or stealing but as using the Internet to spread ideas that might undermine a country. Russia wants any such use of… Read More

  • StarCraft II to be censored for South Korean release

    When I read this headline, I thought there must have been some mistake. I mean, as we all know, StarCraft is the life-blood of South Korea. How can Blizzard release a gimped version of the game over there? 1up calls it “heavily edited,” and perhaps “censored” is as much an overstatement as “heavily edited” is an understatement. The game was given a… Read More

  • What's up with Australia's planned Internet filter?

    Man, what’s up with Australia? I think we’ve touched on the country’s plan to block all sorts of unwanted content from reaching the country’s computers, but now Google and Yahoo have officially come out against it. Surely Google knows a thing or two about battling state-sponsored Internet censorship. Read More

  • Left 4 Dead 2 may be sold in Australia after all

    Good news everyone! Turns out that Left 4 Dead 2 will most likely be sold in Australia after all. If you remember, we told you a few weeks ago that the governing body in Australia that rates game had in fact banned the new L4D game on the grounds that it was just too violent for people between the ages of 15 to 18. Well, Valve decided to work with the ratings board to try and resolve the issue. Read More

  • World of Warcraft is back in China, but censored (cue ominous music)

    Rest easy, friends, since the World of Warcraft-in-China saga has come to an end. Yes, the game is now up and running once again. Unfortunately, I guess, there’s a bit of censorship to contend with. Read More

  • The Umbrellas of Tiananmen

    Chinese police are now holding umbrellas up on Tiananmen Square to prevent folks from shooting video or taking photos of the square during this, shall we say, delicate 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. Chinese Twitterers are trying to break through the censorship by coding their reports of protests. Chinese censors are called “river crabs” and the even… Read More

  • China isn't the only country that likes to censor the Internet

    Yesterday’s revelation that China blocks access to YouTube should not have come as any surprise, but did you know that other countries censor the Internet in their own special ways? (Happy families are all alike!) For example, did you know that India’s Computer Emergency Response Team’s has the power to block Web sites wily nilly? Ostensibly it was set up to help… Read More

  • Australia to test Internet filtering (read: censorship) this month

    Australia looks to be moving ahead with its plan to censor Internet content on a country-wide level, and will test its array of filters later this month. To refresh your memory, the Australian government wants to block access to illegal material on the Internet, be it genuinely awful material like child pornography or something more controversial like terrorist Web sites. (Who’s a… Read More

  • Australia looking to become Internet censor (just like China)

    Australia looks set to join China as a state-mandated Internet censor. The measure is primarily aimed at combating online child pornography, but an open-ended statement from the government’s communications minister sounds ominous: …we are talking about mandatory blocking, where possible, of illegal material. “Where possible”? That seems pretty capricious. The… Read More

  • China now recording all internet cafe customers

    So much for the new, friendly China. Apparently the “Great Firewall of China” has been replaced, following a brief interval during the Olympics when internet restrictions were eased. Now the bricks are being re-laid, and with fewer gaps to boot: they are now requiring internet cafes to photograph all customers. Not quite to the extent suggested by my inflammatory photoshop job… Read More

  • Skype President: "I SRY FR SPYING ON U, CHNA!"

    TOM, Skype’s local partner in China, was censoring and tracking Skype chats, flagging conversations that could have been embarassing to the ruling junta. Originally, TOM filtered by keyword and threw out objectionable material – a good comprimise – but now it seems TOM was also storing and reporting bad messages to certain Communist Parties. Not so good. They also discovered… Read More

  • The excessive violence of Silent Hill: Homecoming is why it's banned in Australia

    Silent Hill: Homecoming, which is only getting so-so reviews (which stinks because it’s my favorite game series; Silent Hill 2? Now there’s proper narrative in a video game), is effectively banned in Australia because of its over-the-top violence. But what, exactly, is the reason why the game won’t be coming out down under? How about this: drilling into and severing body parts. Read More