More European Union, Australian government internet censorship


This 20 December 2018 video says about itself:

Article 13 – Is this how Europe will censor the net?

With Article 13, the European Union are about to make massive changes to a fundamental part of society (the internet) without clearly comprehending what they’re doing and this is incredibly frightening. This is like a bad first draft of a bad proposal. This is not just “this is a bad bill that went through a comprehensive process and I disagree with it.” This is an utter mess. It keeps shifting, it has vague and contradictory definitions, it tells companies to wave magic wands, and tells companies not to let the very thing the law compels actually happen. This is not regulating. This is why the public hates regulators.

By Justus Leicht and Johannes Stern in Germany:

European Union intensifies internet censorship

27 March 2019

Two months before the European elections, the European Parliament has voted to massively escalate internet censorship. Yesterday, the majority of MEPs voted in favour of a directive which, under the guise of copyright reforms, would enforce the use of so-called upload filters in social media, thus further restricting the internet.

According to Article 17 (formerly Article 13) of the Directive, internet platforms must now ensure that works protected by copyright are not uploaded without permission. This could only be enforced through upload filters, which automatically filter and censor content. The consequences are clear: internet giants such as YouTube and Facebook, which cooperate closely with the secret services and governments and already censor left-wing and progressive content on a massive scale, are being urged to delete articles, videos or other postings even before they are uploaded.

So far, platforms such as YouTube and Facebook have had to delete copyrighted works from their sites as soon as they receive a complaint. According to Article 17 of the new directive, operators must ensure that copyrighted works are not uploaded without permission. Alternatively, they must seek licences for the material uploaded by third parties and, in principle, develop mechanisms to prevent works from being made available in the first place where the rights holders have proven their claims.

In practice, given the amount, variety and speed with which new content is uploaded, this could only be achieved by automatically scanning and filtering all content in advance. Anyone who inserts images, excerpts from texts, videos or music to their own content, or modifies such content to create new content from it, can fall victim to the upload filters just as much as someone actually violating copyright law. In addition, upload filters can be politically manipulated so that, for example, texts or videos that are directed against austerity, militarism and war, report on labor disputes and strikes or contain terms such as socialism or “Marxism” are censored.

None of this is the result of an oversight, but is the real purpose of the “reform”.

The European governments and giant tech companies fear growing social opposition and are already censoring left-wing and progressive content on a massive scale. Facebook regularly deletes accounts that oppose war and police violence. In Germany, tens of thousands of posts have been deleted since the so-called Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) came into force. Google, in consultation with German government circles, has modified its search algorithms in order to suppress left-wing and progressive websites—including, above all, the World Socialist Web Site.

Faced with the “Yellow Vest” protests in France, the mass protests in Algeria and the growth of class struggle internationally, the ruling class is feverishly seeking ways to suppress all independent opposition. Already last autumn, the EU agreed to intensify internet censorship and threatened opposition parties with sanctions and punishments. This most recent authoritarian measure has been pushed through in direct opposition to the expressed will of the population.

On the weekend before the vote, more than 100,000 across Europe took to the streets against the new directive and the infamous upload filters. More than 40,000 people demonstrated in Munich on Saturday and more than 10,000 in Berlin. Further protests took place in Malmö, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Krakow, Lisbon and Thessaloniki. An online petition on change.org, “Stop the censorship machine—Save the internet”, was signed by more than 5.1 million people. Last Thursday, the German Wikipedia site went offline for a day in protest.

Immediately after the vote on Tuesday evening, spontaneous demonstrations with several hundred participants each took place in Cologne, Karlsruhe, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Dresden and Leipzig. Further protests are planned for the next few days. The directive must be approved by the European Council before it can officially enter into force. According to media reports, this will take place in a vote on 9 April.

The MEPs who voted against the reform—including the majority of SPD, Linkspartei and Green MEPs from Germany—fear above all the growing radicalisation among students and young workers. Julia Reda, a member of the Green/European Free Alliance (EFA) parliamentary group, warned that the directive would “rob an entire generation of confidence that politics will represent the interests of the population.”

In fact, the vote showed that all the establishment parties support censorship and the construction of a European police state. Representatives of all factions—from the … Liberals (ALDE), Social Democrats (S&D) and Conservatives (EPP and ECR) to the extreme right (ENF and EFDD)—voted in favour of the new censorship law.

In implementing their reactionary plans, EU politicians are resorting to bald-faced lies. A few days before the vote, conservative European politician Daniel Caspary (CDU) denounced the anti-censorship protests in the Bild newspaper as “bought demonstrators” who would “endanger democracy”. EU Justice Commissioner Věra told Netzpolitik that upload filters and short deletion periods for online platforms could have prevented the right-wing terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand and the radicalisation of the perpetrator.

Dr Ms Jourová: the self-styled fascist mass murderer of Christchurch was not ‘radicalized’ by lack of censorship; but by face to face metings with Australian extreme right people; British extreme right people; French extreme right followers of Marine Le Pen; Austrian extreme rightists; and extreme right fellow members of his Christchurch gun club. And by hate speech by politicians like the most powerful man of the world, Donald Trump, ‘leader of the free world’. And by the never ending wars, with Islamophobia and anti-Semitism as poisonous byproducts, promoted by the corporate media.

She wanted “100 percent certainty” that “terrorist content… would not remain on the net.”

Such statements turn reality upside down. It is not the internet and demonstrators who are responsible for attacks on democratic rights or the radicalisation of right-wing terrorists like Brenton Tarrant, but EU politicians like Jourová herself. She is a member of the Czech governing party ANO 2011, which advocates a restrictive immigration policy and denounces Muslim refugees as potential terrorists. How openly and shamelessly leading European politicians are tying in with Nazi traditions was demonstrated by a statement made by the head of the conservative EPP parliamentary group, Manfred Weber (CSU), at the beginning of 2018. “The central European issue” was “the final solution to the refugee question”, he declared.

One year later, European governments openly consider fascistic methods to implement their reactionary policies. Ahead of protests by the “Yellow Vests” last weekend, the Paris military governor announced that the soldiers of an elite unit were ready to open fire on demonstrators with live ammunition if necessary.

Workers and youth must draw the necessary conclusions. The struggle against internet censorship—as well as the struggle against social inequality, fascism and war—requires a political struggle: that is, the mobilization of the international working class on the basis of a socialist program.

This December 2017 video says about itself:

20 Video Games That Are Banned or Censored in Australia

From start to finish, Australian games are suffering from heavy conservative censorship in the name of protecting everyone, even adults. This doesn’t make sense at all. Nanny state and conservative values has been running rampant in Australian society.

By Oscar Grenfell in Australia:

Australian government exploits fascist atrocity in New Zealand to push online censorship

27 March 2019

The Liberal-National Coalition government … is cynically using the March 15 fascist massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand to escalate long-standing moves to censor social media and suppress political discussion.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison summoned the Australian representatives of major social media companies, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, to a meeting in Brisbane, where he outlined a series of draconian measures aimed at forcing them to rapidly remove content.

Morrison flagged legislation that would compel the platforms to delete whatever the government deems to be “abhorrent violent material”. It would be a criminal offence for the companies to fail to comply with a government directive, punishable by massive fines. Financial penalties would increase, based on the length of time that the material was publicly viewable.

In an unprecedented move, the government has also stated that the legislation, which is still being drafted, will contain provisions for the criminal prosecution and potential jailing of social media executives and office holders who do not obey its dictates.

Following the meeting, Attorney-General Christian Porter declared that the response of the social media representatives had been “thoroughly underwhelming”. “There was unfortunately nothing in that room that would discourage the government from looking at a legislative solution to try to ensure that much, much quicker action is taken”, Porter stated.

All of the official parties and the corporate press have presented the proposed measures as an attempt to stop “hate speech” and prevent the public being exposed to “offensive” and “violent” material. They have cited the dissemination on social media platforms and websites of the Livestream video of the shooting produced by the fascist terrorist Brenton Tarrant.

These claims are a lie. They are aimed at covering up the responsibility of the political establishment and all of the major parties for the Christchurch attack and utilising the massacre to crack down on the democratic rights of ordinary people.

Tarrant’s attack was not the product of free speech or the internet. The Australian-born fascist was a highly conscious political operative with links to extreme right-wing networks in Australia and across Europe. His political outlook, based on murderous hostility to immigrants and an intense hatred of socialism, mirrors the nationalism and jingoism that has been promoted by Australian governments and all of the official parties for decades.

For the past 30 years, … governments have transformed Australia into a world model for the persecution of refugees fleeing imperialist war and oppression. They have vilified asylum-seekers, while detaining them indefinitely in concentration camps in the Pacific.

The major parties and the press have demonised Muslims since 2001, as part of the bogus “war on terror”, aimed at legitimising predatory US-led military interventions and erecting the foundations of a police state. They have stoked nationalism and anti-Chinese xenophobia to divide and disorient the working class amid a deepening social crisis produced by their pro-business policies, and to legitimise Australia’s integration into US preparations for war with China.

Morrison himself was installed as prime minister in a political coup within the Liberal Party last August, spearheaded by far-right forces. He and his colleagues have sought to transform the Liberal Party into an alt-right-style movement, modelled on Trump and based on extreme nationalism, xenophobia …

In reality, the calls for a crackdown on social media are directed against the mass opposition of workers, students and young people to the ruling elite’s agenda of war, austerity and authoritarianism.

Since 2017, the major social media companies, working in collaboration with the US intelligence agencies, have introduced a series of algorithms to dramatically reduce traffic to socialist, progressive and anti-war websites. Facebook and Twitter have deleted hundreds of pages and accounts exposing US wars and military intrigues, and the domination of official politics by the banks and corporations.

Morrison has made clear that his government’s measures are of a piece with these international efforts to suppress freedom of speech online. In the immediate wake of the Christchurch attack, he floated the possibility of a ban on all social media livestreaming.

This would prevent ordinary people from broadcasting significant social and political events and airing their views to a live audience online. Livestreaming has been used in the US, Australia and internationally to document police violence and state attacks on protests and to broadcast political demonstrations to a global audience.

Even if the government legislation does not ban live-streaming, statements by senior Coalition ministers have signalled that it will be used to crack down on political opposition. It is entirely possible, for instance, that footage of police attacking ordinary people or prison guards brutalising detainees could be deemed “abhorrent violent material” and proscribed.

Moreover, the threat of financial and legal penalties is clearly intended to pressure the social media companies, which are already implementing online censorship, to carry out the broadest removal of content, including to protect their own lucrative operations.

Already, in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch attack, major Australian internet service providers blocked access to websites which had hosted Tarrant’s video, even if they had subsequently removed it. …

These measures will inevitably be followed by attempts to suppress left-wing and progressive pages and opposition from the working class. Morrison, and Peter Dutton, the minister for home affairs, set the stage for this, by declaring last week that it was necessary to oppose “extremism” of the “left” and the “right”.

A federal Senate hearing on social media in November last year underscored the real target of online censorship.

Journalists from corporate media outlets, including Chris Zappone, the online foreign editor for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, warned that social media threatened “social cohesion” and was fuelling “growing distrust between the population—the citizens—and the leaders of that country.”

Dr Michael Jensen, of the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, a government-funded think tank, said that online discussion would likely be used to weaken “the Five Eyes alliance”—the international surveillance network led by the United States, which monitors the communications of millions of ordinary people and is integral to the preparations for war. He warned of online support for Julian Assange, who is being persecuted for his role in WikiLeaks’ exposure of US war crimes, mass spying and illegal diplomatic intrigues.

The drive by the entire political establishment, in Australia and internationally, to social media censorship and other authoritarian measures, underscores the importance of the International Coalition of Socialist, Antiwar and Progressive Websites, initiated by the World Socialist Web Site in 2017 to fight back against these attacks on freedom of speech and democratic rights.

Australian government sets global precedent with online censorship bill: here.

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9 thoughts on “More European Union, Australian government internet censorship

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