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Amnesty International vs. Internet Censorship

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the something-to-think-about dept.

287

An anonymous reader writes "Amnesty International has a new online campaign against governments which censor websites, monitor online communications, and persecute citizens who express dissent in blogs, emails, or chat-rooms. The website, Irrepressible.info contains a web-based petition (to be presented at a UN conference in November 2006) and also a downloadable web gadget which displays random excerpts of censored material on your own website."

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287 comments

official? (0, Redundant)

Aperculum (881549) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420188)

Tell me, why I can't find any mention of this in Amnesty International's campaign list? Suspicious... also, why .info?

Re:official? (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420193)

Tell me, why I can't find any mention of this in Amnesty International's campaign list? Suspicious... also, why .info?

You mean besides the:

Stop internet repression

Chat rooms monitored. Blogs deleted. Websites blocked. Search engines restricted. People imprisoned for posting or sharing information. The internet is a new frontier in the struggle for human rights. Governments, with the help of some of the world's biggest IT companies, are cracking down on freedom of expression. Join the irrepressible.info [slashdot.org] campaign to show that the human voice and human rights cannot be repressed.


Right smack dab in the middle of their homepage?

Re:official? (1)

Medieval_Gnome (250212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420227)

Feel free to call me blind, but all I see in the middle of their homepage [amnesty.org] is a purple box talking about the state of the world's human rights. And searching on their page for the phrase "Search engines restricted." [from your quote of them] doesn't return any results.

If you could give us the URL where you saw that, I (along with many others) would greatly appreciate it!

Re:official? (1)

user24 (854467) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420242)

additionally, a search on amnestry.org for "irrepressible" returns 0 documents.

Re:official? (3, Informative)

user24 (854467) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420250)

found it: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/ [amnesty.org.uk]

Re:official? (1)

Aperculum (881549) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420292)

hmm, great good. I was wrong for once. I was watching .org site instead of .org.uk

Re:official? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420408)

Don't feel bad. Apparently .UK is supposed to be the defacto standard now, and we're all idiots for not going there first.

I mean, isn't the first thing you think of when you think "Amnesty International" is "Non-international Web Address"? I know I do.

Re:official? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420429)

I mean, isn't the first thing you think of when you read a story "RTFA"? I know it is for me.

Re:official? (1)

Dasch (832632) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420737)

You must be new here. I'm Daniel.

Re:official? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420541)

Only on Slashdot can you get rated up for posting the same link found in the article write up.

Hey ;) (2, Funny)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420598)

I found a good site on Amnesty International's campaign. Check it out here [irrepressible.info] .

Re:official? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420264)

Amnesty's site [amnesty.org.uk] Notice the huge image to the left that says "irrepressible.info" .. I think that's a sure sign it's officialy sponsored.
Whois:
Registrant ID:tuX9qGlGSJx5L46v
Registrant Name:Mel Herdon
Registrant Organization:Amnesty International UK
Registrant Email:mel.herdon@amnesty.org.uk
Pretty cut and dry if you ask me.

Re:official? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420206)

If you click the link to go to Amnesty International's website (found up in the article write-up), the Irrepressible.info link is right there with a nice embedded graphic. Were you looking somewhere else?

Re:official? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420212)

First post moron.

Paranoia (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420271)

Why don't you just call Amnesty's Mel Herdon and ask him yourself? I don't get your post
<ecode>Registrant Name:Mel Herdon
Registrant Organization:Amnesty International UK
Registrant Street1:17-25 New Inn Yard
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:London
Registrant State/Province:
Registrant Postal Code:EC2A3EA
Registrant Country:GB
Registrant Phone:+44.2070331642
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:mel.herdon@amnesty.org.uk
Admin ID:tuX9qGlGSJx5L46v
Admin Name:Mel Herdon
Admin Organization:Amnesty International UK
Admin Street1:17-25 New Inn Yard
Admin Street2:
Admin Street3:
Admin City:London
Admin State/Province:
Admin Postal Code:EC2A3EA
Admin Country:GB
Admin Phone:+44.2070331642
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:mel.herdon@amnesty.org.uk
Billing ID:tuX9qGlGSJx5L46v
Billing Name:Mel Herdon
Billing Organization:Amnesty International UK
Billing Street1:17-25 New Inn Yard
Billing Street2:
Billing Street3:
Billing City:London
Billing State/Province:
Billing Postal Code:EC2A3EA
Billing Country:GB
Billing Phone:+44.2070331642
Billing Phone Ext.:
Billing FAX:
Billing FAX Ext.:
Billing Email:mel.herdon@amnesty.org.uk
Tech ID:tuX9qGlGSJx5L46v
Tech Name:Mel Herdon
Tech Organization:Amnesty International UK
Tech Street1:17-25 New Inn Yard
Tech Street2:
Tech Street3:
Tech City:London
Tech State/Province:
Tech Postal Code:EC2A3EA
Tech Country:GB
Tech Phone:+44.2070331642
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:mel.herdon@amnesty.org.uk
</ecode>

Re:official? (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420278)

The whois record for the site seems legit.

Domain ID:D13225976-LRMS
Domain Name:IRREPRESSIBLE.INFO
Registrant Name:Mel Herdon
Registrant Organization:Amnesty International UK
Registrant Street1:17-25 New Inn Yard

Also, the IP address is owned by Soda Creative - the company mentioned on the site so I think it's safe enough to remove the foil hat and sign the pledge.

Re:official? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420290)

Tell me, why was this rated up? Did anyone bother to verify Aperculum (881549)'s implicit claim? (Two prior posts already point out that Amnesty's home page at amnesty.org.uk has a link to Irrepressible.info right on it.)

Re:official? (1)

emmadw (768195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420303)

I think that's because it was launched in the UK this morning; it's certainly only the UK Amnesty site; the launch article was in today's Observer (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/amnesty/story/0,,1 784721,00.html and other articles). I didn't know this before reading that article, but Amnesty was originally founded after an article in the Observer in 1961, discussing some Portuguese students that had been arrested for raising a toast to freedom. Given the international nature of the Internet, you'd have thought that the US based site for Amnesty would have at least had a link to the UK site & its campaign, but they probably didn't think about it! While I see that others have commented that online campaigns don't always have much of an impact, I suspect that they are using the online as a start; and hoping that people will get more involved locally, with letter campaigns etc. As to the "why info", I was going to guess that irrepressible.org was already taken, but it doesn't seem to be. So, not sure why they've gone for info - unless it's because they really just want to have info there & then get people to their local Amnesty.org sites to do something other than provide information to them. Dunno!

Re:official? (1)

onemillionbricks (894421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420331)

So, not sure why they've gone for info - unless it's because they really just want to have info there & then get people to their local Amnesty.org sites to do something other than provide information to them. Dunno!
But where's your poet? Read the url out loud: "irrepressible info". That's what the site's about. I think it's kinda perfect.

Re:official? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420354)

Mod down this retard quick.

Re:official? (2, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420374)

I've inspected the web gadget, it seems useless. To see the quotes try this:

fragments.irrepressible.info/data/current/*-180.ht ml

where "*" is from 0 to 70.

It includes some quotes, but they are just few words, taken out of context, no author or place of origin is given, basically makes no sense. Some of them are Arabic as well.

Let's hope it's not some scam, otherwise you can expect those quotes to turn into cheap C1aL1s offers and affordable mortgage deals when they gain some mass ;)

Re:official? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420380)

also, why .info?

Irrepressible.info -> "irrepressible information" -> "information [that] [cannot|should not] be repressed" (or similar).

Besides that, given that it's the website for a campaign, rather than an organisation or similar, what domain fits better?

Re:official? (1)

Demerara (256642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420385)

This campaign is out of Amnesty's UK branch. If you visit www.amnesty.org.uk, you'll see the Irrepresible campaign highly featured. Each country (indeed each Local) Amnesty is free to start campaigns. As AI was founded in the UK, it is hardly surprising that the UK AI is the biggest and most active.

And perhaps the AI Worldwide webmaster is based in the US and therefore on a long weekend? Occams Razor?

Petition vs. Solution (1, Insightful)

crhylove (205956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420189)

What we need isn't a petition that corporations and governments will ignore. What we need is a working FreeNet, and not in java, but in some truly open source language.

Everyone pray to the FOSS infrastructure gods! That'll more likely help than any petition ever will.

rhY

Re:Petition vs. Solution (5, Interesting)

packetmon (977047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420241)

By now most people should know what will end up happening with this "Free(dumb)Network". Governments will disallow under harsh penalties usage of such a network. They will all claim security takes precedence over privacy. The problems with this current infrastructure aren't the lack of available tools to ensure privacy (PGP, SSL, S/MIME, VPN, etc), the problem is with the people who 1) don't understand the underlying need for privacy, 2) lack of standardization in implementing these tools. How niche would it be to create a "Secure ISP" based service where everything was encrypted on the wire before it left your network? Wouldn't be all that difficult but most common people wouldn't understand the need for it if it slapped them in the face.

Outside of that, what would end up happening with a "niche provider" would be the interaction with a "non niche" provider who wasn't providing security. They overlap and that will forever be a problem. Here in the US as we all have seen, what will likely happen in one of these Free(dumb)Networks is, the gov will spew the catch phrase Osama and all things terror and knock this notion down the drain. I'm a huge privacy advocate and believe in security to the fullest, but even I feel there is no need for an all inclusive "SecureNet". The typical network transaction does not warrant the network and application overhead needed. I do know however that when I need something said securely, processed securely, transacted securely, I don't rely on any protocol, person or program. Rather I rely on myself which is the main and most fundamental point on the security food chain.

As for the notion of a petition, it will go nowhere with this crapaganda of things terror related. To an extent I agree with some portions of governments pickings when it comes to security and privacy, but I also know governments' current actions are likely to create smarter criminals. This is evident in the computer security industry where viruses are now utilizing encryption schemes to hide themselves and their actions... Imagine clusters of terrorists doing the same... So to a degree I empathize with governments... They just don't have a clue, but at the same time their actions will be their stepping blocks.

Re:Petition vs. Solution (4, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420387)

You've got it mixed up. The boogeymen of the internet are the paedophiles. Terrorists are the boogeymen of the airports and courts.

Re:Petition vs. Solution (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420507)

The problems with this current infrastructure aren't the lack of available tools to ensure privacy (PGP, SSL, S/MIME, VPN, etc),


How do these protect against an oppressive government?

As far as I know, Freenet is the only way to publish something, and for everyone else to view that something, without the government being able to tell who published it and who's viewing it.

2) lack of standardization in implementing these tools.


And then you complain that Freenet is too standard?

How niche would it be to create a "Secure ISP" based service where everything was encrypted on the wire before it left your network?


And then decrypted at the ISP before it leaves their network? Seriously, what does that buy you? And why couldn't the government come in and demand the ISP's records?

The point of Freenet is, unless the government comes out and says you can't do it, no one can control it. Once it's widely implemented, the ISP is literally unable to turn over records of your activity to the government.

the gov will spew the catch phrase Osama and all things terror and knock this notion down the drain.


I don't think they could. Most of the population wouldn't buy it -- we don't like wiretapping, either. All we need is enough content on the network that most people want to use it, and that could be much more successfully bootstrapped if it weren't for the performance issues -- Freenet sucks down as much bandwidth and CPU as you throw at it, and is still much slower than browsing the web over VNC on half-speed dialup.

Now, it may prevent other countries from adopting it so quickly, but imagine if the US, Canada, and Europe put so much content on Freenet that it essentially became The Internet. China would have to let it through or effectively be cutting their country off from any Western content at all.

The typical network transaction does not warrant the network and application overhead needed.


That's the point. So, when the vast majority of freenet traffic is "typical", it's that much more impossible to find the atypical.

Hope they stop insanity (2, Insightful)

kanzels (975208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420190)

I hope somebody can stop insanity like tracking all e-mails or even paying taxes per e-mail as suggested in EU.

Re:Hope they stop insanity (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420381)


Well...

I would actually like to be able to read the headers of emails I get. So will quite a few other people. Helps weed out at least some minor fraudsters out there.

Similarly, I do not see anything wrong with paying for bandwidth, services, etc on a per item or per Kb basis.

After all, let's get real. Internet is now a utility. We are reaching the point where governments are contemplating to make broadband access an essential service which is a right and Telcos are supposed to guarantee that 100% of the population is covered. Essentially it is on its way to become an essential service like phone or electricity.

A connection to any other utility carries with it responsibilities. If the water pipe between the street and your house bursts you have to pay for the repairs and any damage to other properties. If you have a broken appliance which uses electricity without your knowledge, you pay per KW/h used. If you use a phone you pay for any premium services you have used. So on, so fourth.

Frankly I do not see why Internet is supposed to be any different. I personally do not mind paying for my connection on a per Kb basis. Neither will 99% of the consumers if they are provided with clear, well defined and understandable billing criteria and billing information.

Re:Hope they stop insanity (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420524)

"I personally do not mind paying for my connection on a per Kb basis."

You will when someone decides to dump a few thousand dollars worth of unasked for traffic your way.

Re:Hope they stop insanity (1)

diablomonic (754193) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420542)

you dont seem to understand the actual situation (assuming the following situation is what you are talking about, I could be entirely wrong).

ISP's (at least here in australia) charge end users either set fee's for supposedly unlimited access at a maximum data rate, or fees based on how much they download. big wensites like google pay other isp's (or set up their own equipment) fees based on how much bandwidth is used by the website. in this setup, it should be obvious that any costs for users bandwidth should be covered by the fees charged them, NO MATTER THE CONTENT BEING VIEWED (its all just bits to an ISP), and beyond paying the bandwidth costs incured by its webhosting company (plus extra for profit of course), a website should not have to pay any other isp for data transfered through that isp's net:

They are ALREADY being payed for it by the end user downloading said data.

any arguments of "unexpectedly heavy bandwidth use" are rediculous, implying(and this is in fact generally true) that the ISP is engaging in a kind of false advertising, whereby you pay for an "unlimited download x mb/s connection" but are infact recieving an "x mb/s maximum, not garaunteed, download limited depending on how other people are downloading/ how overloaded our pipe is/ any other reason we pullout our &%$&.

The situation is analogous to signing a contract for unlimited electricity usage at a maximum 4 KW with a power company (no i've never heard of such a contract either), only to find that your entire street of 20 houses (on similar contract) only has a 6KW powerline supplying it, so if you and your neighbours both try to run a 4KW airconditioner your screwed. the power company then wants the airconditioner manufacturer to pay them as well for using too much power. Its rediculous, any costs incurred in supplying the electricity should be covered by the contract, and if they arent, thats the power companys (or ISP's in the real world) own bad luck for bad business planning (and signing a contract they never inteded to honour).

I have no problem with the isp charging users a cost per kb, if thats the obvious upfront deal (and if they can get users to sign up) but this cost and this alone should cover the isps costs for supplying this user. They should not expect a webservice provider not directly connected to them to pay them simply because the data travels over their net, THATS WHAT THE END USER IS PAYING THEM FOR!.

anyway apologies if this is not what you were talking about.

Are they genuine or hypocritical? (3, Interesting)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420209)

"Amnesty International has a new online campaign against governments which censor websites

So, are they also going after all those "enlightened" governments that censor "hate speech" and neo-Nazi crap, or are they selectively enforcing their policy?

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420252)

mod insightful - don't hold your breath waiting for everyone to get equal protection/treatment. do you recall the band Art? erase from earth all of the nazis so you can build the master race.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (1)

Guuge (719028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420254)

I have a feeling that they won't be defending anyone's "right" to post death threats online. Hypocritical or not, that's actually a good thing. They ought to be going after those who censor political speech on a large scale.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (2, Insightful)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420328)

First they defined hate speech as "posting death threats online," and I did not speak up because I didn't post death threats online. Then, they defined hate speech as "racist material" and I did not speak up because I wasn't a racist. Then, they defined hate speech as "Islamophobia," and I did not speak up because I wasn't against Islam. Then, they defined hate speech as "anti-Christian material," and even though I really hated Christians, I did not speak out because I knew the consequences. Finally, they defined hate speech as "not swearing complete and utter loyalty to the current ruling class," and there was nothing that could be done as the entire apparatus of speech and thought suppression was already well established.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420351)

Hey we can all play this! First they defined murder as premdeditated killing and I did not speak up because I don't plan out my killings. Then they defined murder as being really really mean to people and I didn't speak out because I hate those mean people. Then they defined murder as eating fried bananas. Moral: It shouldn't be illegal to kill people because if it is then something else might be made illegal later!

Oh wait, I've just realised, this whole line of reasoning is totally fucking stupid.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420404)

Actually, you just said a great truth.
Because of the slippery slope that you despise so much, they have recently jailed a guy in my city who shot and killed in self defence, with a legitimately owned and registered gun, during a robbery where he and his fathers were attacked.
The reasons why he was jailed are, of course, political. I'm not entering the details because they are not relevant now. But it goes to show that "this whole line of reasoning is totally fucking" APPROPRIATE.

Rating service (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420544)

Good use of the "I'm not entering into details" line that prevents anyone verifying what you say or assessing its relevance. Some people may find this tactic overused, but the classics are often worth a revisit.

Excellent use of the "political prisoners in America" concept. A lesser troll would have blown everything by saying the guy was sent ot Guantanamo or something. Your post shows the subtlety and restraint of a true artist. And this of course supporting your underlying "maybe murder shouldn't be illegal" theme.

I was a little disapointed that you didn't manage to get in any reference to the murderer's appetite for bananas, but in fairness that might have been too good a fit.

Overall I'm going to give you a 9 (nine!) for artistry, equal to the top scores I've given.

However, you've only received one response, and that from a troll rating service! I'm afraid this gives you a measly 1 (one) for technical achievement.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (4, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420360)

By now, you should have realized that society at large is not ready for a "personal responsibility" framework. I have found that people will go to great lengths (in both denial and self-harm) in order to ignore the possibility of there being such a thing as responsibility for what you do.
Until this changes, they will be more than happy to sponsor censorship-happy governments. The more the gov't handles, the less responsible they will be. Then, when something bad happens, they just wish to fix it with extreme prejudice, lock it away, try to forget about it, and pass more legislation: apparently we're not forbidding enough things.
And why the hell are you a nazi anyway? Why do you support pro-nazi speech? Don't you think of the children? ;)

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (2, Insightful)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420376)

If the world really were that black and white, things would be a lot simpler.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (0, Flamebait)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420379)

"Hate speech" and "Neo-Nazi crap" is not the same thing as "death threats". It is perfectly possible to be a non-violent bigot.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420412)

True, but being a "non-violent bigot" is also not the same as being a "neo-nazi".

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420520)

Depends on the circle you're in. Opposing the expansion of settlements in the West Bank is the same as being a "neo-nazi" to some people.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420581)

I have a feeling that they won't be defending anyone's "right" to (post death threats, oppose the war, blaspheme, defame democracy, aid the terrorists) online. Hypocritical or not, that's actually a good thing. They ought to be going after those who censor political speech on a large scale.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420299)

"Sticks and Stones.."

If you are looking for intolerance you just have to look at mainstream media corporations who have a predominant web presence. The influence of neo-nazi web sites on average surfer is next to nil. People who are willing to buy into white supremacy crap will probably not need a web site to sway them one way or the other. Sorry.. i just don't feel the "nazi threat".. mainstream media has much more of a dangerous influence on public opinion. Should we censor them too?

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (2, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420310)

Our bias is your thought crime.

KFG

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420358)

Show some respect. Assuming bad faith without any evidence is not the way to do this.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (1)

Demerara (256642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420423)

Could you be more specific? Which countries and which hate-speech and neo-nazi crap are being repressed. If you can give examples, we can determine whether AI are active or not.

If they're not, then your rhetorical question is answered.If they are, well...

Being selective is *not* hypocritical! (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420451)

A non-government lobbyist organization has no obligation to being fair, just to effective. Being effective means taking up the most popular cases. If they start defending the right to publish pedophile fantasies, to take a non-political example, that will be used against them and make the entire campaign inefficient.

Re:Being selective is *not* hypocritical! (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420552)

A non-government lobbyist organization that claims to be fair has an obligation to be fair though.

Re:Are they genuine or hypocritical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420559)

Let me guess - you are from the USA and think your government doesn't censor.

Yes, it does. A lot of USA citizens have a funny definition of speech. It's "speech that isn't directly harmful".

Why do you have this funny definition? Because it allows your government to censor speech that you all consider harmful (fire in a crowded theatre is the canonical example), yet it allows you to keep worshipping your freedom of speech as if it were without limit.

Once you throw out the bogus definition, and concede that there are some forms of speech that are harmful and that is good to decide, as a society, to censor some forms of speech that are harmful, you realise the real question is not whether a government censors, but where it draws the line.

Some governments go as far as censoring shouting fire in a crowded theatre. Some governments go as far as censoring people telling others to set all Jews on fire. The latter is not a fundamentally different form of censorship than the former, and the USA is not anything special when it comes to freedom of speech. In fact, Reporters Without Borders ranks the USA as 44th in the world for press freedom, behind some countries that censor hate speech.

From the summary : (2)

KitesWorld (901626) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420210)

"Amnesty International has a new online campaign against governments which censor websites, monitor online communications, and persecute citizens who express dissent in blogs, emails, or chat-rooms."

Emphasis mine. Every government does that, and it's unlikely that any petition will end that. Why? Because not all of that monitoring is done with 'Evil Intent'. I'm not going to complain because the police are watching IRC rooms as part of operation Avalanche or whatever. I'm not going to complain when they shut down some idiots website telling someone to go poison the water supply.

This may not be a popular view with the yanks, but not all censorship or eavesdropping is inherently bad. The problem is making sure there are controls in place, so that that power can't be abused. The other problem is trust.

Re:From the summary : (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420225)

>Because not all of that monitoring is done with 'Evil Intent'.

Not all serial killers are actually killing with 'Evil Intent'.

Re:From the summary : (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420238)

The problem is making sure there are controls in place, so that that power can't be abused.

Impossible, which is exactly why any reasonable person opposes these things. You passed the "thought" test, next week you can try the "form your own conclusion that is identical to that reached by thousands of others" test. Congratulations.

Re:From the summary : (0)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420240)

More so not a popular view on Slashdot. This place has as many liberals as a deomocratic convention. If the government wants to censor child pornogrophy, terrorist websites, and related things, it's fine with me. As long as there are controls to make sure they don't take it too far, I'll support it.

Re:From the summary : (1)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420281)

Censorship is not a liberal vs. conservative thing. It's a authoritarian vs. libertarian (or classical liberal) thing. It's also a big government vs. small government thing (not that you, as an alleged "conservative" would know anything about that).

Re:From the summary : (5, Insightful)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420298)

Thank you for providing an example of doublethink. Now go back to 1984 please.

If the government wants to censor child pornogrophy, terrorist websites, and related things, it's fine with me.

So tell me who gets to define "child pornogrophy [sic]" and "terrorist websites" for the purposes of this censorship that is fine with you. Is Slashdot a terrorist website because of all the free thinking liberals that post here?

Re:From the summary : (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420431)

free thinking liberals

don't you mean "thinking-free liberals"?

-john

Re:From the summary : (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420484)

don't you mean "thinking-free liberals"?

You're a funny guy.

Re:From the summary : (5, Insightful)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420312)

You're making the assumption that we who don't believe in Internet censorship all believe there should be child porn on the web. Not true at all.

Child pornography is a crime. It is illegal in every industrialized society that I know of, and shutting down these websites is merely an extension of the enforcement of said laws. Similarly, a website clearly made to recruit terrorists is in violation of International Law. Again, shutting down this website is merely enforcing a law already in place. No one sane is going to complain when a website for black market goods is shut down.

But when they shut down a website that merely criticizes a government, posts unpoplar opinions, or some other legal content, that is when a problem arises.

Re:From the summary : (5, Insightful)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420320)

P.S. I hate to respond to my own topic, but I needed to add, as the poster above me stated, How do we define said websites? Suppose someone takes a picture of their newborn baby which is, naturally, naked? Is that child porn? What about tasteful nudes of children, or children from a country where nudity isn't an issue at all? Is this porn? What about a website that says "I disagree with Al Qaeda's methods, but I do think they have a legitimate reason to be angry?" Is this a terrorist sponsoring site?

Re:From the summary : (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420476)

It is against Chinese law to criticize the government. Shutting down these websites is merely an extension of the enforcement of said law. So it seems your alalogy falls apart. The real issue is that we don't like their laws.

Re:From the summary : (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420609)

As long as there are controls to make sure they don't take it too far, I'll support it.

And how will you know when they've taken it too far? How will you find out what's been hidden from you 'for your own protection'?

Censors can't be made accountable to the electorate, because revealing what was censored would mean it was no longer censored. Maybe censors could be monitored by another government body, but then that body couldn't be made accountable to the electorate, because revealing what was censored would mean it was no longer censored.

As far as I can see, censorship is not compatible with truly democratic government.

Re:From the summary : (2, Insightful)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420253)

Every government does that, and it's unlikely that any petition will end that.
For at least one government, however, it is actually illegal to censor websites due to their constitution. If you have any proof of them doing so, you can sue them.

This may not be a popular view with the yanks, but not all censorship or eavesdropping is inherently bad. The problem is making sure there are controls in place, so that that power can't be abused. The other problem is trust.
Great, another "enlightened" "nuanced" individual. We can argue about eavesdropping as eavesdropping can be framed as a method of information aggregation which does not suppress information dissemination. Censorship, on the other hand, purposely suppresses the dissemination of information. You're right about one thing, it is a matter of trust, and if you, as an adult (I assume), are willing to let bureaucrats and politicians, each with their own personal bias and agenda, control what you see, hear, or read, you are being quite "trustworthy."

Re:From the summary : (1)

philmck (790785) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420551)

"not all censorship or eavesdropping is inherently bad..."

Granted, and of course fomenting dissent that might bring down a government and destabilise a country may not be a good thing, even if the government is evil.

However, Amnesty are quite specifically targetting censorship that almost everyone except the perpetrators would agree is 'bad' - censorship that protects a few powerful individuals against the interests of the majority. You have to start somewhere. I think this could be an effective way of raising awareness and I've added the box to my own homepage.

Re:From the summary : (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420573)

...governments which censor websites, monitor online communications, and persecute citizens who express dissent...

Emphasis mine.

Ok, then... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420574)

Who watches the watchers?

Re:Ok, then... (2, Funny)

mrogers (85392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420629)

The National Watcher-Watching Agency (and its regulatory body, the National National Watcher-Watching Agency-Watching Committee).

Re:From the summary : (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420620)

This may not be a popular view with the yanks, but not all censorship or eavesdropping is inherently bad. The problem is making sure there are controls in place, so that that power can't be abused. The other problem is trust.

Maybe as a Yank, I have problems with eavesdropping.

For one... It is just inconsiderate. Secondly, it implies guilt. Lastly, it gives government too much power.

I'd rather have an ineffective and idiotic government than one that is strong and all knowing.

I don't care if it for "good", because we might have good people in office, but one day those tempted by power and greed might happen to be in a position of authority because all that power of the state is quite a target by those who would commit evil.

Keep the government weak and ineffective and those people will stick to running corporations or just doing evil on a local scale.

Crime can be prevented by local means and without using eavesdropping or monitoring. If they have a good reason, they can get a warrant and target specific suspects. Otherwise... They need to not be monitoring.

Javascript! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420211)

The widget is javascript, I'm sure an oppresive regime would never use a browser exploit to glean information from the people they're censoring.

Technically useless. (2, Interesting)

user24 (854467) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420213)

I must say, I admire their motives, copying censored content all over the web to make it effectively impossible to censor. But their implementation is totally flawed; From the site:
"If you have a website, myspace page or blog, help us spread the word and undermine unwarranted censorship by publishing censored material from our database directly onto your site."

.. but then they invite you to include a javascript file from a central server - what happens when that server gets blocked by a censoring country? All the copies go offline.
Great, amnesty, really great. The cynic in me just wants to say that all amnesty want is to have people "spread the word and undermine unwarranted censorship by driving more people to our website, not by publishing censored material"...

Re:Technically useless. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420337)

Of course they want people directed to their site; why is it cynical to suggest that? Amnesty's purpose in life is to make a noise for those who can't. The point of the campaign is to spread awareness of the extent to which censorship is still going on. The publication of these random excerpts is symbolic: a show of solidarity and, yes, an attention-grabber; it's not an attempt to actually circumvent censorship. Anyone trying that would probably be a little more covert about it.

Amnesty's ultimate goal is to stop the censorship, not help people get around it.

Re:Technically useless. (4, Insightful)

EvilCrony (917413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420339)

The purpose of this website is to raise awareness about internet censorship and get people to act upon it. Adding the javascript to your website is all about directing people to Amnesty's for more information. Amnesty is not trying to hide that fact. I don't think that's cynical at all.

Re:Technically useless. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420567)

I wonder if someone could run this on the server side... Anyway, it doesn't help at all, because the government could just as easily block specific words or phrases.

Wow - it's getting serious then... (2, Insightful)

tyroneking (258793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420230)

... if an organisation like Amnesty is getting involved in this way then internet censorship is a real threat that we should all be concerned with.
Amnesty really is the hardcore of moral activism.
From blood diamonds to the arms trade, from violence against women to the death penalty, and not forgetting the letter writing campaigns, Amnesty doesn't concern itself with minor issues like Microsoft vs Linux or Google taking over the world.
I think I might actualy do something to contribute this time ...

Re:Wow - it's getting serious then... (2, Insightful)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420251)

Especially when you involve 2 of the most ineffective forms of bringing change: web petitions and the UN

Re:Wow - it's getting serious then... (0, Troll)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420348)

Well - AI is also getting involved in supporting abortion. Perhaps they are just trying to expand so they can get more donations?

Re:Wow - it's getting serious then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420718)

Boy I sure wish post-natal abortions were legal so your parents could do something about you!

Needs more blantant anti-US content (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420237)

Come on people.

We all know that the US is the worst when it comes to censorship and human rights violations.

So why, when I visit that site, do I see a quote from a Syrian site?

Come on people, prioritize.

-john

Re:Needs more blantant anti-US content (1)

FusionDragon2099 (799857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420268)

Not worst does not necessarily mean best.

Amnesty International (1)

Viriatus (886319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420267)

should be more concerned with the crimes comited against mankink by Bush. The death penalty and the Guantanamo prison should be in the top priority list.

Useless (2, Funny)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420324)

Oh, yes. Let's just forward that petition straight to China.

UN: Please don't censor your people, China.
China: We have nuclear weapons, stupid.
UN: Oh, damn.
UN: Hey, Iran. Please don't censor your...
Iran: Uranium, uranium, uranium. Stick it up uranium, UN.

No need for Nukes (1)

linumax (910946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420391)

Dunno about China but Iranian gov't does not need nukes to protect itself against human rights violation accusations. Iran has OIL!
We (Iranians) have beed silenced long before Iran started its nuke program

Re:No need for Nukes (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420667)

Unfortunately, that oil is proving to be more of a vulnerability than a strength with the current US administration. Any country that supplies a lot of oil to the US...

(Reads a top-15 US oil importers [snipurl.com] statistic)...

...um, maybe I should load up on supplies and move to the back woods of Manitoba before Dubya realizes who is really buttering his bread. I'll be sure to stock up on Canadian Bacon [imdb.com] .

But it's not censorship! (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420350)

In China, it's state security and public stability. In the EU it's anti-racism, who can oppose that? And in the United States it's nothing short of making America safe for democracy through "campaign finance reform." What kind of commie bastard opposes public safety, supports racism and is in favor of letting others (special interests) run our government?

Re:But it's not censorship! (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420384)

The kind of commie bastard who wrote in my country's constitution that it's forbidden to be or simply to promote fascism.
The kind of commie bastard who is so against racism that he has anti-white laws passed. But hey that's not racism because I'm white and I'm supposed to suck it up and die.
That kind. Satisfied, you commie bastard?

Slashdot? (1)

Kangie (975603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420352)

And if Slashdot were to be censored, how many of you would then be concerned?

Re:Slashdot? (1)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420370)

First, they came for Fark, and I said nothing because I wasn't a Fark-er. Then, they came for SomethingAwful, and I said nothing because I wasn't a goon. Then they came for Gamespot, and I said nothing because I wasn't a Gamespotter. And at last they came for /. and there was no one left to help me.

Re:Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420378)

>And at last they came for /. and there was no one left to help me.

They could come for /. first, wouldn't make any difference. Slashdotters are nerds. Even a fly-swatter would be overkill in dealing with them.

Re:Slashdot? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420396)

And if Slashdot were to be censored, how many of you would then be concerned?

If that were to happen, my useful productivity would probably increase dramatically. ;-)

Re:Slashdot? (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420449)

My old high school filtered it.

MySpace (1)

ThomS (866280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420386)

Despite claiming to work on myspace, the increasingly more stringent myspace html control doesnt allow the content to be added, censoring if you will the information boxes.

Anti-censorship...as long as you say what we like (2, Insightful)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420563)

Oh thank god. Amnesty International involved! Great, now the anti-censorship lobby will have childish name-calling, double standards on freedom of speech, and glossy leaflets on their side. How I have waited for this day.

I'm a supporter of the anti-censorship side of this debate, but having an organisation that believes in censorship of opinions they dislike really means little. I know this is going to stir people up, but consider this quote (from Wikipedia);

However, the right to freedom of expression is not absolute -- neither for the creators of material nor their critics. It carries responsibilities and it may, therefore, be subject to restrictions in the name of safeguarding the rights of others. In particular, any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence cannot be considered legitimate exercise of freedom of expression. Under international standards, such "hate speech" should be prohibited by law.

Now, as much as nationalists, racists and religious extremists are scum, the fact of the matter is that they all have the right to a voice, just like everyone else. One shouldn't ban political opinions you dislike. When people use bigotry as an excuse to commit force or fraud, it is the act itself which is the crime, and deserves punishment, not the motive behind it.

Good luck with that UN thing... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420565)

During the last UN conference on the internet, held in Tunisia, Robert Mugabe, dictator of Zimbabwe, got up and said, "There is too much freedom of speech on the internet" and received huge applause from the assembled thugs and potentates.

The UN has a lot of evil members. Don't forget that.

fine, but... (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420575)

didn't they notice that the German Democratic Republic from the country list doesn't exist anymore?! [wikipedia.org]

Re:fine, but... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420653)

I think they were being semantic. East Germany (the region that is) has more problems with rascist attacks than the West German territories. Even though they are one state now, they still have quite a difference socially and economically.

Re:fine, but... (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420725)

Even though they are one state now, they still have quite a difference socially and economically.

Yes indeed, but there's no such thing as the "GDR" anymore, so semantically, it is plain wrong to list it. By your reasoning, shouldn't they list Switzerland three times, once for each language spoken there?

They just used a ~20 year old list of countries in the "Sign this pledge" form, that's it.

Does Amnesty go after the Wikipedia? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420602)

Does Amnesty International include the Wikipedia in its list of those censoring dissenters?

Because I and others have been prevented from telling the truth there several times.

AI ain't what it use to be. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420657)

Silent about genocide, subjugated poverty and terror; up to and including denial of distribution of UN medicine to children resulting in the deaths of 100K+ under 18 because of political alliances.

Should really clean house before going abroad.

"German Democratic Republic"? (1)

magerquark.de (466363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420734)

When trying to sign their "pledge [irrepressible.info] ", I discovered that they allow me to select the "German Democratic Republic" (GDR for short) as a country.

The GDR [wikipedia.org] was merged 1990 with Western Germany.

Where is AI they buying their country- and address lists from?
 
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