An anonymous reader writes "Martin Gräßlin, maintainer of the KWin window manager, writes an informative blog post about his experiences with the less favorable pockets of the Free Software community. Quoting: 'Years ago I had a clear political opinion. I was a civil-rights activist. I appreciated freedom and anything limiting freedom was a problem to me. Freedom of speech was one of the most important rights for me. I thought that democracy has to be able to survive radical or insulting opinions. In a democracy any opinion should have a right even if it's against democracy. I had been a member of the lawsuit against data preservation in Germany. I supported the German Pirate Party during the last election campaign because of a new censorship law. That I became a KDE developer is clearly linked to the fact that it is a free software community. But over the last years my opinion changed. Nowadays I think that not every opinion needs to be tolerated. I find it completely acceptable to censor certain comments and encourage others to censor, too. What was able to change my opinion in such a radical way? After all I still consider civil rights as extremely important. The answer is simple: Fanboys and trolls.'"
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Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia's government, after banning Viber within the kingdom, is poised to prohibit at least two other such communication apps: Skype and WhatsApp. Says the article: "Conventional international calls and texts are a lucrative earner for telecom operators in Saudi Arabia, which hosts around nine million expatriates. These foreign workers are increasingly using Internet-based applications such as Viber to communicate with relatives in other countries, analysts say." With fewer legal options, a wide-scale Internet censorship regime would be easier to implement, too.
An anonymous reader writes "Parental filters for pornographic content will come as a default setting for all homes in the UK by the end of 2013, says David Cameron's special advisor on preventing the sexualization and commercialization of childhood, Claire Perry MP. Internet service providers will be expected to provide filtering technology to new and existing customers with an emphasis on opting out, rather than opting in."
Bennett Haselton writes "After initial abuse reports failed to shut down some anti-women and pro-rape pages on Facebook, a wider lobbying campaign succeeded in prompting a Facebook policy change. This has been alternately hailed as a vindication of the campaigner's cause, or derided as proof that Facebook can be cowed by humorless feminists. In reality, the success of the campaign was most likely the outcome of a mostly arbitrary and random process that required a lot of luck, just as the initial abuse reports didn't succeed because they didn't have the necessary luck on their side. Neither result should be taken to reflect on the merits of the campaigner's actual points." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.
ObsessiveMathsFreak writes "Ireland's own SOPA Act has finally struck home. Today, the Irish High Court ordered all ISPs to begin censoring the The Pirate Bay. After earlier attempts were struck down, this case was brought by EMI, Sony, Warner Music and Universal music under new copyright laws brought in last year. This follows the largest ISP Eircom already having voluntarily blocked the Pirate Bay after previous legal action. Despite some early indications that some ISPs would appeal the decision, it now appears that like Eircom, they have quietly given up. Pity; IT was one of the few industries Ireland was getting right."
An anonymous reader writes "The Greek government shut down broadcasting of all TV and radio channels operated by the state-owned broadcaster ERT at midnight local time, with police ejecting journalists and other employees occupying the building. The above link is a prominent Greek economics professor's (and Valve's in-house economist) analysis of the political motivations for the move."
The established regime in Turkey (not to mention many other countries: take your pick) may not like any-to-many communications, but luckily established regimes don't always get the final word. An anonymous reader writes "Lahana is my little side project to help people access the Internet and Tor via Amazon EC2 free tier-based VPNs. It's a couple of scripts that set up a new VPN in a couple of minutes that automatically tunnels everything through Tor. It's easy to share credentials with groups of people and for most people is free to set up and use. I built it with Turkey in mind, but it no doubt has other uses."
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Turkey's prime minister on Sunday rejected claims that he is a 'dictator,' dismissing protesters as an extremist fringe even as thousands returned to the landmark Istanbul square that has become the site of the fiercest anti-government outburst in years. With Turkish media otherwise giving scant reports about the protests, many turned to social media outlets for information on the unrest. 'There is now a menace which is called Twitter,' Erdogan said. 'The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.' 'The people are finally standing up, speaking up and fighting for their rights,' said Hakan Tas, a deputy for the Left Party in Berlin's local assembly, who took part in the protest."
New submitter thomas8166 writes "The Taiwanese Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) recently proposed draft legislation that would empower it to block foreign websites that it deems infringing. The proposal has been likened to SOPA, and has drawn heavy criticism from website operators such as Wikimedia Taiwan. The TIPO stresses that it will only target well-known infringing sites, but Taiwanese netizens are concerned that this power can potentially be abused for political purposes."
An anonymous reader writes "Search engines such as Google should do more to restrict access to online pornography, a government adviser on child internet safety has said. John Carr said increasing the number of sites automatically blocked by search engines would make it more difficult for paedophiles to get images of abuse. It comes after Mark Bridger was found guilty of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones in Powys." It sounds like a continuation of the blocked-by-default porn white-listing plan that's been going around in the UK for a few years now.
An anonymous reader writes "Currently ranked 149th globally in terms of press freedom, alongside Iraq and Myanmar, the Singapore government has chosen to further tighten its grip on the media instead of letting up. The Media Development Authority (MDA) announced yesterday that 'online news sites' reporting regularly on issues relating to Singapore and have significant reach among readers here will require an individual license from the MDA. Under the regime, website operators have to comply within 24 hours with any directives from the MDA to take down content that breaches standards. These sites also have to put up a 'performance bond' of S$50,000. The Government also plans to amend the Broadcasting Act next year, to ensure that websites which are hosted overseas but report on Singapore news are brought under the licensing framework as well."
First time accepted submitter Aaron B Lingwood writes "As reported by TorrentFreak, Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate have all asked Google to take down links pointing to the Pirate Bay documentary 'TPB-AFK.' The film, created by Simon Klose, is available for no cost and has already been watched by millions of people. The public response to this free release model has been overwhelmingly positive, but it's now meeting resistance from Hollywood, TPB's arch rival. Pirate Party Australia opines 'Hollywood is using takedown notices to censor Pirate Bay doco, is it incompetence or malice? Always hard to tell.' Whichever the answer, the system is definitely broken."
An anonymous reader writes "The Australian government has secretly censored over 1,000 web sites through a hitherto-unused internet censorship law. In April the Melbourne Free University was blocked without any explanation. Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act allows the government to close web sites without warning to "uphold laws, protect public revenue and safeguard national security". This is open to abuse as Australians only have limited free speech rights which already make it difficult for the press to report corruption."
An anonymous reader writes "Remember how the Australian Government tried to enact a big bad Internet filter on the population? Well, that effort failed, but now there's a new initiative in place. At least one government agency, the country's financial regulator, has quietly started issuing legal notices to ISPs requesting them to block certain types of websites deemed illegal. There's no oversight or appeals process, and already a false positive event has resulted in some 1,200 innocent websites being blocked from Australians viewing them. Sounds ideal, right?"
itwbennett writes "We've all had a chuckle over Google's autocomplete results for various search queries. But one German businessman had a less funny experience when he searched for his name on Google.de: The autocomplete suggested search terms where his name was tied with 'Scientology' and 'fraud' (in German, of course). This was back in 2010. In 2012, a German court ruled that the autocomplete terms did not infringe the plaintiff's privacy. Now, a year later, the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe has overturned that ruling and ordered that Google remove offensive search suggestions when notified."
An anonymous reader sent in this excerpt from Moxie Marlinspike's weblog: "Last week I was contacted by an agent of Mobily, one of two telecoms operating in Saudi Arabia, about a surveillance project that they're working on in that country. Having published two reasonably popular MITM tools, it's not uncommon for me to get emails requesting that I help people with their interception projects. I typically don't respond, but this one (an email titled 'Solution for monitoring encrypted data on telecom') caught my eye. ... The requirements are the ability to both monitor and block mobile data communication, and apparently they already have blocking setup. ... When they eventually asked me for a price quote, and I indicated that I wasn't interested in the job for privacy reasons, they responded with this: ' I know that already and I have same thoughts like you freedom and respecting privacy, actually Saudi has a big terrorist problem and they are misusing these services for spreading terrorism and contacting and spreading their cause that's why I took this and I seek your help. If you are not interested than maybe you are on indirectly helping those who curb the freedom with their brutal activities.'"
New submitter phrackthat writes with news that California State Senator Leland Yee (D-S.F.) says he wants regulations to track who owns and uses 3-D printers. Yee's comments come in response to the recent news of Defense Distributed's successful test-firing of a 3-D printed gun. "He's concerned that just about anyone with access to those cutting-edge printers can arm themselves. 'Terrorists can make these guns and do some horrible things to an individual and then walk away scott-free, and that is something that is really dangerous,' said Yee. He said while this new technology is impressive, it must be regulated when it comes to making guns. He says background checks, requiring serial numbers and even registering them could be part of new legislation that he says will protect the public. Yee added, 'This particular gun has no trace whatsoever.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A recurring theme in comments on Slashdot since the 9/11 attacks has been concern about the use of government power to monitor or suppress political activity unassociated with terrorism but rather based on ideology. It has just been revealed that the IRS has in fact done that. From the story: "The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election . . . Organizations were singled out because they included the words 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said. 'That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review,' Lerner said . . . 'The IRS would like to apologize for that,' she added. . . . Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. . . . she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice. Tea Party groups were livid on Friday. ... In all, about 300 groups were singled out for additional review. . . Tea Party groups weren't buying the idea that the decision to target them was solely the responsibility of low-level IRS workers. ... During the conference call it was stated that no disciplinary action had been taken by those who engaged in this activity. President Obama has previously joked about using the IRS to target people." So it's not how they choose cases for review (except when it is), and was not motivated by political bias (except that it was). Also at National Review, with more bite.
First time accepted submitter He Who Has No Name writes "While the ATF appears to have no open objection to 3D printed firearms at this time, the Department of Defense apparently does. A short while ago, '#DEFCAD has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it up with the Secretary of State' appeared on the group's site, and download links for files hosted there began to give users popups warning of the DoD takeover." Well, that didn't take long. Note: As of this writing, the site is returning an error, rather than the message above, but founder Cody Wilson has posted a similar message to twitter. At least the Commander in Chief is in town to deliver the message personally. Update: 05/09 21:17 GMT by T : Tweet aside, that should be Department of State, rather than Department of Defense, as many readers have pointed out. (Thanks!)
An anonymous reader writes "A Methusen, Mass. high schooler, who goes by the rapper name 'Cammy Dee' has been arrested after posting lyrics that police felt were 'communicating terrorist threats.' This wouldn't be the first time rap lyrics were investigated, but if formally charged for 'communicating terrorist threats' this would a set a chilling low bar for terrorist investigations."