- Nazi gets Spain's first Islamophobia jail term
- Google: let us know about violations
- FA urges social media to combat racist abuse of black footballers online (UK)
- Drive to unmask cyber cowards (UK)
- Poland launches anti-racism website
- Peru: Racism on social media sites continues to draw attention
- Facebook petition urges Zuckerberg to act on anti-Semitism
- Google must remove all “Innocence of Muslims” videos from YouTube, appeals court rules (USA)
- Study: In Germany, anti-Semitic hate mail doesn’t come from right
- Racism On Twitter, By The Numbers
- French judge orders Dieudonne to cut controversial video
- How anti-gay groups use 'Russian Facebook' to persecute LGBT people
- Polish prosecutor general pledges to get tough on anti-Semitism
- Italy plans crackdown on internet hate
- Safe internet day: How youngsters can avoid online risks
- Complaint filed against Dutch group for ‘Jews control Internet’ article
- The Challenge of Cyberhate (opinion)
- Cyber border controls to stop extremist videos hosted abroad being accessed in the UK
- Istanbul clashes over Turkey's new internet laws
- Internet antisemitism a ‘mortal danger,’ say MKs (Israel)
- Hitler 'Resurrected' on the Web (Israel)
- Twitter:10,000 English language Tweets a Day Contain Racist Epithets
- ADL to Facebook: Remove Blatantly Anti-Semitic Page (USA)
- Why is Facebook Enabling Anti-Semites? (opinion)
- Hoax message by far-right group about missing 'Amy Hamilton' reaches thousands (UK)
- Two West Bank settlers charged with incitement over racist website
- How should we prepare our children for racism? (UK, comment)
- Kosovo Online Media Urged to Curb Hate Speech
- French Jews take YouTube to court over ‘year of quenelle’ video
- Online anti-black racism cases double after Zwarte Piet debate (Netherlands)
- Social media driving racism (Australia)
- Facebook shuts vile Aboriginal memes page, despite earlier claiming it didn't constitute 'hate speech' (Australia)
- Pope: Internet is a 'gift from God' for dialogue
- Football star Stan Collymore: ‘Twitter is not doing enough to combat homophobic hate’(UK)
- Politician's anti-neo-Nazi speech becomes YouTube hit (Germany)
- 13 House Democrats offer bill demanding government study on Internet hate speech (USA)
- Net Neutrality Isn’t Quite Dead Yet (USA)
- Strengthening the EU's response to radicalisation and violent extremism (press release)
- Mother has no regrets over exposing her daughter as a cyber bully (UK)
- Mein Kampf Sales Surge in Online E-Book Format
- Erdogan pushing Internet censorship forward (Turkey)
- Facebook blocks more than 100 users for posting photo of two men kissing
- Google Blocks Anti-Islam Dutch Politician
- Official Lib Dem LGBT website blocked by TalkTalk’s ‘porn filter’ (UK)
- Macedonian Church Retreats From Facebook Ban
- The Swedish group that blew the lid on hateful online comments
- Prosecution rejects MEP’s criticism over authorities not shutting down far-right website (Hungary)
- Anti-racism movement starts online, many call for restraint against xenophobia (Singapore)
A web administrator who was handed Spain's first prison sentence for running a homepage inciting race hatred against Muslims could escape jail if he attends a human rights course.
5/3/2014- A court in Barcelona found Jaime T. guilty of inciting violence and hatred against a religious group and inciting ideas of genocide, Spanish daily El Periódico reported on Wednesday. Denunciascivicas.com, which has received at least 21,240 visits, contains material praising the Third Reich in Germany. It also encourages readers to carry out similar crimes against Muslims. Police arrested the IT administrator in March 2011 and seized all kinds of xenophobic paraphernalia, such as photos of Adolf Hitler and swastikas, along with numerous videos from his computer which show him making anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim speeches. But the man's two-year sentence judgement — the first for Islamophobia in Catalonia — may be suspended if the defendant participates in a course or program on human rights and does not commit a new crime within three years. Figures from the Islamic Andalusí Observatory state there are currently 427,000 practicing Muslims in Catalonia. In 2013, the region's government announced plans to control the wearing of burqas and other face-covering attire in public spaces "for reasons of public safety".
© The Local - Spain
5/3/2014- When users ask us to remove content: We work hard to respond fairly and accurately to legal and community concerns. That's how we maintain vibrant communities, while staying true to our commitment to free expression.
Growing concern over the widespread racist abuse of black footballers online has prompted the Football Association to call on social media networks to up their game and do more to tackle the problem.
2/3/2014- This comes on the eve of a documentary being broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday night which reveals how racism and homophobia persist in top flight football despite years of campaigning to try and clean up the game. Last year the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, backed by the Football Association, promised to tackle “..all forms of abuse in football, be it in the stands, or on our computer screens.” Yet an undercover investigation for the C4 Dispatches Hate on the Terraces documentary highlights how even after this pledge, racist and homophobic chanting continues in the grounds of some of the biggest clubs across the country. In one incident fans shouting deeply offensive racist abuse in front of police officers escaped unpunished. And the problem is not just physical. Racist abuse is posted on fan forums linked to the official websites of clubs such as Manchester United and Everton, on YouTube videos and social networks such as Twitter. At least 40 per cent of the 150 black players in the Premiership have suffered racist comments over the last two years.
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, Tottenham striker Adebayor, Liverpool defender Glen Johnson and Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are among those who have been targeted. Another, former Premiership striker Jason Roberts, who played for Blackburn, Wigan, and West Bromwich Albion, said: “I’m on Twitter myself and some of the abuse that I get is horrific really. You can’t believe that people feel that way but actually will take the step to go and sit in front of a computer and type it and send it.” He described the type of comments he has been sent: “Black this, black that, slavery, your family, you know, I hope you die and the N word used everywhere. Again it’s one of those things you learn to try to deal with it. So you hope that the authorities will take action and there will be arrests made and people will be made examples of.” Darren Bailey, the FA's director of governance and regulation, commented: “Clearly abuse on social media is something we're mindful of. We have collaborated with the DPP on social media guidelines. But I think in this space, Twitter itself, and other forms of social media, could be doing more.” He added: “Social media has brought many positives to the game, but has also unleashed unintended consequences. We would welcome and support more robust interventions which help counter discrimination.”
The level of online abuse is getting worse, with a 43 per cent increase in reports of discriminatory remarks being posted on social media in the last year, according to Kick It Out. And former striker turned pundit Stan Collymore deactivated his Twitter account earlier this year, in response to repeated racist abuse. Dealing with the problem is difficult, according to senior police officers. Andy Holt, deputy chief constable, South Yorkshire Police, and the lead on football policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers, admitted it’s not easy to bring people to justice. “If they are making comments, hosted through an internet provider that’s based in China or the Far East or whatever, tracking them down with the cooperation of some of those, is actually sometimes quite difficult.” It is “quite a substantial problem” and “policing the internet presents its challenges,” he added.
© The Independent
Avon and Somerset Police at Yeovil station move to tackle hate crime
2/3/2014- Police say social media will not act as “a cloak of anonymity” enabling abusers to go undetected. That was the warning following the launch of a film, screened in Yeovil for the first time on Saturday, to raise awareness of hate crime. Volunteers, police and public figures gathered at the Methodist Church Hall in Vicarage Street to watch Everyone is Different and learn how to combat incidents in Somerset. The film will be shown in schools to warn against the impact of such crimes. Renata Dudek, hate crime co-ordinator for East Somerset, based at Yeovil police station, said the growing use of social media has seen a rise in cyber bullying. She said: “We now use the internet so much now. Social media is brilliant if it is used properly. But quite often you can get drawn into conversations you might not normally take part in. Writing can sometimes take away insecurities in how we express our thoughts. It’s not about making people afraid to give their opinions. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion but we also have to respect each other. Saying something online is not anonymous and the police can detect and investigate the culprit.”
This is just one strand of ‘hate crime’, a name that refers to any incident motivated by hostility or prejudice against race, origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. It occurs when someone bullies a victim, damages or steals their property, and verbally or physically abuses them. Mrs Dudek said: “Sometimes people may not know they are a victim, or that their actions mean they are a perpetrator.” Between April 2013 and January this year between 93 and 117 hate crimes were reported in the East Somerset area and spanned all age groups. In comparison, in the same period more than 600 were reported in Bristol alone, and 112 reported in West Somerset. Mrs Dudek said: “This is a slight increase but it is no cause for alarm. I would like to think it’s because people are more confident in reporting hate crime and there is a good support network. Often speaking about it is a huge relief for people.” She said recent court cases and reports published after Stephen Lawrence’s murder have brought the subject to the forefront of policing. Mrs Dudek said: “As soon as a hate crime is reported, the duty inspector is informed because we take it very seriously.”
Repercussions, depending on the severity and nature of the incident, can vary from a community sentence to time in jail. She urged people to seek support immediately if they felt they might be a victim of hate crime. She said: “A victim could become withdrawn, or aggressive and could become a perpetrator too. People should avoid reacting to the incident, and report the crime. “The problem with crime is that it affects us very deeply. We can feel it’s our fault and shut ourselves away from people we trust. If you feel something is not right it’s important to talk about it. We want to encourage people to come and ask for support and re-build their lives. I feel very patriotic about Yeovil. There are a lot of positive things happening here.” She added: “It’s unusual for Yeovil to have this sort of event but I hope we will have more. These types of events have been successful in other parts of the county for other forms of policing. It brought the community together and got people out of their comfort zone. It was a success and and an excellent way of celebrating diversity. “There was total silence when the film was being shown and for some there were tears in their eyes. It is very moving.”
Case studies from the film, which are based on real incidents in Somerset:
1. Cecylia recently moved to England and knows little English. She is insulted at school by a group of girls because of this. The group also pick on her because they believe she shouldn’t be in ‘their’ country. It even leads to physical violence. Her story focuses on hate crime between different races and how she overcomes this problem with support, building a strong group of friends and integrating in society.
2. Jack suffers from Autism. He struggles to be sociable and some boys make fun of him. They manipulate him because of his strive to be neat and other habits he has.
3. Adam is the victim of gossip and rumours at school because he is gay. He is a victim of cyber bullying which leads to self-harming. He learns to tackle this and comes out in the open. This story looks at sexual discrimination and bullying.
© The Western Gazette
1/3/2014- A website with advice to foreign racism victims in Poland went live on Friday and is part of a new government campaign against racism. Besides a Polish version, the www.reportracism.pl site is available in English, Russian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, Armenian, Chinese and Turkish. Interior Ministry spokesperson Pawel Majcher explained that the website advises racism victims on institutional steps and informs about the appropriate bodies which they can turn to with their cases. Leaflets about the campaign will be available in Police stations, universities and government offices. From March, a related video spot will be aired in the Warsaw underground and public transport vehicles in Lublin, Szczecin, Krakow, Bialystok and Lodz. The campaign, which will last until June 30, is cofinanced from EU funds. According to the Polish General prosecution, the number of racism cases has been on the rise since 2009 but the detection rate is going down from year to year.
© The Shanghai Daily
Racist jokes on Twitter in the wake of the death of a famous singer have caused Peruvians to wonder if they’re doomed to deal with discrimination online forever.
6/3/2014- Last Saturday, Perú woke up to the news of the death of Edita Guerrero, singer and founder of the Cumbia group Corazón Serrano. And [Perú] also witnessed the blossoming racism on Twitter, one of the web’s most popular social media sites, sparked by Guerrero’s death. A number of racist tweets appeared as soon as news broke of the artist’s death. The backlash to these tweets also came quickly, also on Twitter. Messages rejecting the derogatory tweets multiplied, and some of the perpetrators even deleted their accounts because of social pressure. “We’ve seen intolerable insults on these social media sites against the singer, Edita Guerrero. These aren’t isolated acts. They’re the tip of the iceberg of a reality that threatens the development of our society,” says Eduardo Vega, acting ombudsman in Perú. Vega adds “Racism is entrenched in Perú.”
In our legislation, discrimination is all its forms, including racial and ethnic discrimination, is considered a crime since 2006. Discrimination via internet can be punished thanks to article 323 of the Informatic Crime Law (30096), which was published last 22nd October. This article specifies a punishment of no less than two, but no more than three years in jail if one discriminates against someone because of their ethnic identity, religion, sex, age, social class, and other reasons. And what’s more, if this crime is committed by a functionary, he or she could be punished with up to four years in prison.
However, according to Rocío Muñoz, the general director of Intercultural Citizenship in the Ministry of Culture, her department has yet to receive a single criminal report of racism on social media, a requirement to begin a court case. “Our challenge is to raise awareness in the population so they can report these acts, that are damaging to human dignity, through our platform Alerta contra el Racismo (Vigilant against Racism). We do not have the authority to punish [perpetrators], but we can advise victims to enable them to file charges with the National Prosecutor’s Ministry,” said Muñoz, speaking to El Comercio. Muñoz adds that racists hide behind the anonymity of the internet and burner accounts to do their dirty business.
For a case of legal discrimination, there are three factors that must be present: unequal treatment, a prohibited motive (for example, one cannot inhibit the free movement of a person on national property), and affected rights. Sources from the ombudsman’s office informed us that there is an ongoing legal debate about whether or not racist insults on social networks are illegal discrimination, as they do not prohibit the victim from accessing or doing anything. Another school of thought holds that the different treatment [insults] affect a person’s dignity, which, they say, is enough to constitute a crime. “The Ministry of Culture should follow up on cases until they arrive at punishment,” says vega.
According to Diana Zorilla, the director of operations at Quantico Trends, a company that monitors activity on social media sites, it’s hard to get an exact count of racists tweets or posts, as it’s a subjective issue. “On social media, you’re not physically in front of another person, or several people, which, unfortunately, pushes many people to reveal their hatred through off-color statements. Definitely, there’s an element of cowardice in all of this. And keep in mind, you can report racist accounts to social media sites so they can be banned,” says Zorrilla.
To report online racism in Perú, go to Alerta contra el Racismo on Twitter or Facebook.
© Peru This Week
Online initiative launched by Swedish Jew gets nearly 17,000 signatures.
28/2/2014- An online petition urging Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to help stamp out anti-Semitism on the social networking site had garnered nearly 17,000 signatures by Friday. The petition is the brainchild of Anna Berg, a Swedish Jew who told Maariv newspaper this week that she has long been battling anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in the Scandinavian country. "Anti-Semitism is once again on the rise in our society," the petition reads. "Jews are attacked everywhere and Facebook is no exception. The number of anti-Semite (and anti-Zionist) pages are growing by the minute. Despite the option to report these pages, most reports are ignored." The petition goes on to say that the anti-Semitic pages and photos that are posted on Facebook "are vile, horrific, hateful and filled with classic anti-Semitism and Jewish stereotypes." It says that by not removing such pages, Facebook is "actively supporting the spread of anti-Semitism." The petition is demanding that Zuckerberg and Facebook change the site's community standards and "stop the hate NOW!"
Facebook's community standards say that, "Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition." Berg's initiative began only several weeks ago, but she told Maariv that it has gained momentum quickly. "Every ten hours, we get 1,000 signatures," she told the daily. "The goal is to force Facebook to keep track of the content that is posted and to take the subject seriously." Berg also told Maariv that she organized a pro-Israel rally in Sweden about a year and a half ago, but has focused her efforts mainly on Internet activism of late. The online petition was to be sent to Facebook headquarters in California's Silicon Valley on Friday.
In an unusual copyright decision that raises free speech questions, the 9th Circuit has ordered Google to remove all copies of a video and to prevent future uploads.
26/2/2014- A California appeals court on Wednesday ordered Google to take down all copies of a controversial anti-Islamic movie, granting an injunction to an actress in the film who had filed a copyright claim after being subjected to global death threats. In a 2-1 ruling, the court ordered Google to remove all copies of the 14-minute film, titled Innocence of Muslims, “from YouTube and any other platforms within its control and to take all reasonable steps to prevent further uploads.” The obscure film, produced in 2012, touched off a global uproar that included riots and an Egyptian cleric’s fatwa calling for everyone involved to be put to death, including the actress, Cindy Lee Garcia. Garcia, who received $500 for acting in the film, claimed she was tricked and that the producer dubbed offensive lines into the Arabic version of the film like “Is your Mohammed a child molester?” In response to the ongoing turmoil, Garcia claimed she had a copyright in the film in an attempt to force Google to remove it from YouTube. Google steadfastly refused the request and, in 2012, a federal judge sided with the company and refused to grant Garcia a temporary injunction.
In Wednesday’s ruling, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, writing for the majority, makes a series of unusual copyright arguments to explain why Garcia has rights in the film. While actors typically don’t have an independent copyright in their performances, Kozinski states that Garcia’s role was not a work for hire. The opinion also states that Garcia had given the producer an implied license to use herperformance, but that his subsequent conduct went beyond the terms of the license — meaning that she ultimately retained the copyright and could use it against YouTube. The dissenting judge, however, declared that this was a strained interpretation of copyright and noted that the court had never made a similar finding. He added that “these facts may constitute a prior restraint of speech under the First Amendment” and found that the public interest sided with Google. Google will challenge the ruling. A spokesperson said by email: “Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an actress in the Innocence of Muslims trailer may have a copyright claim over her five-second appearance in the video. As a result the court ordered Google to remove the video from our services. We strongly disagree with this ruling and will fight it.”
YouTube Innocence of Muslims Ruling
More than 60 percent comes from educated Germans, with only 3 percent coming from ultranationalists.
25/2/2014- Over months, Prof. Monika Schwarz-Friesel read 14,000 letters, emails and faxes sent to the Israeli embassy in Berlin and the Central Council of Jews in Germany. She was looking for an answer to a question that had preoccupied her for some time: What does anti-Semitism look like in Germany at the start of the 21st century? “I wanted to find out how modern anti-Semites think, feel and communicate,” said Schwarz-Friesel, a linguistics professor at the Technical University of Berlin, in an interview with Haaretz. Previous studies of anti-Semitism didn’t satisfy her, nor did public opinion surveys, questionnaires or the annual reports put out by various agencies on anti-Semitic incidents round the world. “I wasn’t satisfied with the methodology of asking in a survey, ‘Do you think that Jews are ...,” she explained.
So she decided to search for data in another source that had never before been studied so systematically and comprehensively. She asked the Israeli embassy in Berlin and the local Jewish community to send her all the hate mail they received over a 10-year period, from 2002 to 2012. They gave her 14,000 letters, to which she added 2,000 letters from other Israeli embassies in Europe. Her approach to these institutions was made easier by the fact that her husband, Prof. Evyatar Friesel, once served as Israel’s state archivist. “In the end, I had a unique collection of information that enabled me to understand how modern anti-Semites think in the 21st century,” she said. Her research partner was Prof. Jehuda Reinharz, a historian and past president of Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Together with a few research assistants, they read and analyzed all the letters. “We were helped by modern technology that enabled us to sort them better than in the past,” Schwarz-Friesel said.
Their findings were detailed in a book published in Germany last year, “The Language of Hostility toward Jews in the 21st Century.” Next year, it will be published in English.
What they discovered is that more than 60 percent of the letters were sent by educated Germans, including university professors. The proportion sent by right-wing extremists was negligible – about 3 percent. “At first, we thought that most of the letters would be sent by right-wing extremists,” Schwarz-Friesel said. “But I was very surprised to discover that they were actually sent by people from the social mainstream – professors, Ph.Ds, lawyers, priests, university and high-school students.” She was also surprised to discover that most of the letter writers had no qualms about giving their names, addresses and titles. “Twenty or 30 years ago, that wouldn’t have happened,” she said. Still another surprise was the fact that there is no significant difference between the extreme right’s anti-Semitism and that of the educated mainstream. “The difference is only in the style and the rhetoric, but the ideas are the same,” Schwarz-Friesel noted.
“It is possible that the murder of innocent children suits your long tradition?” one letter said. “For the last 2,000 years, you’ve been stealing land and committing genocide,” said another. “You Israelis ... shoot cluster bombs over populated areas and accuse people who criticize such actions of anti-Semitism. That’s typical of the Jews!” declared a third. Certain key phrases kept cropping up in letter after letter. For instance, many letters sent to the Central Council of Jews in Germany said, “The Jews are doing to the Palestinians exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews.” Schwarz-Friesel’s training as a linguist helped her identify anti-Semitic motifs even in letters that at first glance seemed innocent. An opening such as “I’m not an anti-Semite, but ...” is liable to be a substitute for a general statement about “Jewish” traits, which in itself has anti-Semitic elements.
About 80 percent of the hate mail was anti-Israel. Surveying these letters led Schwarz-Friesel to an unambiguous conclusion: “Today, it’s already impossible to distinguish between anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. Modern anti-Semites have turned ‘the Jewish problem’ into ‘the Israeli problem.’ They have redirected the ‘final solution’ from the Jews to the State of Israel, which they see as the embodiment of evil.” The study’s bottom line is gloomy. “Anti-Semitism is embedded very deeply in Western society, even after the Holocaust, all the learning of its lessons and the memorialization,” Schwarz-Friesel said. “For 2,000 years, they fashioned the image of the Jews as the enemy of Christianity and of humanity. That’s not a simple thing that can be erased in 60 years. It’s etched too deeply into the collective memory. Thus people who see themselves as humanists and are familiar with the lessons of the Holocaust permit themselves to express themselves in an anti-Semitic fashion even afterward.” Now, Schwarz-Friesel is busy with a new study of modern anti-Semitism on the Internet. “It hasn’t been confined to extreme right-wing sites for a long time now,” she said. “It’s also on fairly ‘ordinary’ sites.”
Roughly every 9 seconds, someone sends out a potentially racist tweet.
14/2/2014- A new study from the British think tank Demos offers the first in-depth look at racially-charged language on Twitter, finding some 10,000 tweets per day that use language that might be considered offensive. But as it turns out, many of those tweets may not be derogatory. For example, roughly half of the tweets involve "white boy," which isn't always racially charged. Others are potentially racist words used in a non-derogatory way, including "appropriated" words. That's when a hateful word is used by members of the group it's directed against to describe themselves as well as their friends and other members of the community." As a result, up to 70 percent of the tweets that use racist language may not be derogatory, and only between 500 and 2,000 tweets per day are directed at an individual and clearly abusive.
"While there are a lot of racial slurs being used on Twitter, the overwhelming majority of them are not used in an obviously prejudicial or hateful way," study author Jamie Bartlett told the Daily Mail.On the other hand, some tweets might be called racist without actually using racially-charged language -- and those would escape the study. Or, as the report puts it: "Language does not require the use of slurs in order to be hateful." Twitter told the Mail that it does not screen content or remove anything potentially offensive, and that only tweets that violate its terms of service, such as direct threats, are removed.
You can download a PDF of the study here.
© The Huffington Post
A judge in Paris has ordered French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala to remove two parts of a YouTube video deemed insulting to Jews.
12/2/2014- The judge said the two segments, which were specifically related to the Holocaust, could incite racial hatred. Dieudonne, who already has convictions for hate speech, was also given a 1,500 euro ($2,045; £1,230) fine. He has caused controversy in recent months, with one of his shows banned over concerns of anti-Semitism. The comedian has already been convicted six times of hate speech against Jews, and already owed 65,000 euros in fines before this latest conviction.
The video in question is called "2014, year of the Quenelle". In one of the clips that the judge ruled as insulting to Jews, Dieudonne referred his audience to the French academic and Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson when asked about whether the gas chambers existed. A complaint was lodged by the Jewish Student Union, which called for the online video to be removed altogether. Last week, Dieudonne was acquitted over the dissemination of another video in which he called for the release of a man who tortured and murdered a Jewish man in 2006. On that occasion, the court ruled it could not prove he was behind the video's release. His trademark "quenelle" gesture has been described by his critics as an "inverted Nazi salute". But Dieudonne says it is an anti-establishment gesture, and denies that he is an anti-Semite, saying he is anti-Zionist.
Dieudonne is also linked to an anti-Semitism row involving the West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka. Anelka, 34, has been charged by the FA for performing the "quenelle" gesture after scoring against West Ham United in December. In January, France's highest court upheld a ban on Dieudonne's one-man show The Wall, which contained sketches including the performer miming urination against the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Earlier this month, Dieudonne was banned from entering the UK. The Home Office said it banned individuals if there were "public policy or public security reasons".
© BBC News
With Sochi under way, we look at widespread homophobia across VKontakte – and what little is being done to stop it
11/2/2014- It is known as the Russian Facebook, and it is the 8th biggest social networking site in the world, with over 239 million registered users and 55 million active daily. It is VKontakte (VK), and it is host to videos of rapes, threats to kill, and the humiliation of gay people. While the world tunes in to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, hundreds of gay, lesbian, and transgender Russian citizens will be persecuted and attacked; the result of plots formed online by homophobic groups buoyed up by Putin’s anti-gay propaganda laws. “Occupy Paedophilia” was one of the leading groups to feature in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme, broadcast last Wednesday, which exposed the extent of the violence faced by the LGBT community. The group has a prominent presence on VK, with over 90,000 followers – as well as other local factions pulling in more supporters. Occupy Paedophilia use the site to connect with gay men, posing as potential love interests, before luring them into situations where they will be attacked, a process they refer to as “safaris” using “bait”.
Uploaded regularly to the site, films show victims being violently attacked and humilliated. This is content that is easily available to view, and is “liked”, passed around, and shared on the site, seemingly without impediment. The leader of Occupy Paedophilia, Ekaterina Zigunova, has posted screenshots of abuse she has received from UK television viewers after the airing of the Dispatches investigation, in which she featured heavily. Despite the group claiming on screen that they are not neo-Nazis, but rather upholding a moral obligation to rid Russia of paedophiles (whom they conflate with homosexuals), the VK pages of Occupy Paedophilia and other similar groups are littered with Nazi insignia. So what is VK doing about the profiles and groups which organise and post evidence of the criminal activity (although not recognised as hate crime under Russian law) which has brought so much widespread international criticism and resulted in calls for a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics?
When contacted by the Guardian, George Lobushkin, VK’s press officer, pledged to delete the content. “We do our best to remove the content that violates our terms of service, as fast as possible. Videos of violence and abuse are forbidden,” he said. “We also block and delete communities where users call to violence or illegal actions against gay people or any other people. Please note that we are the only Russian social network that lets its users select a same-sex person when specifying their relationship status. “But it is very important for VKontakte to be an independent company, equidistant from any ideological position or belief. People can express themselves freely, as long as they don’t commit illegal acts or call others to those.” VK is not the only social network site on which Occupy Paedophilia is operating. YouTube returns over 23,000 search results for the gang, and hate propaganda from Russian fascist groups is tweeted often.
Kirill Maryin is a teenager in Novosibirsk, Russia’s third largest city, who has set up the Twitter account, @ru_lgbt_teen. The profile’s name is simply Gay Teen from Russia, with a picture of an SOS sign, and the bio: “World, help us! I plead you! History must not happen again!” Kirill tweets about the everyday discrimination that he faces, as well as coverage of Russia’s politics, authorities, and how Russia’s homophobia is being covered by external news outlets. He told the Guardian he started the account to help the world understand the struggles of the LGBT population in Russia from the viewpoint of a teenager on the ground, rather than a celebrity campaigner. “General information about gay life in Russia has come from Nikolai Alekseev and his project GayRussia in the past few years. “I wanted people who live abroad to hear the true story of life for LGBT teenagers from Russia. I have no husband in Switzerland, I do not live in the ECHR, I do not organise Gay Pride in Moscow. I am an ordinary LGBT teenager, and in this country, that is incredibly dangerous. “Gays have become targets of crimes and human rights violations. The Russian state uses LGBT as a shorthand for ‘internal enemies’. Homophobia is very much prevalent in our society.”
The time Kirill feels the impact of homophobia the most is at school. “I have been insulted and humiliated, and the teachers pretend that nothing is happening. I am called ‘motherfucker, fag, cock, a non-entity, a mistake of nature’. “Once they told me I should move to the Netherlands because that country is for fags. I hate my school, my class and my teachers. I have no friends there, and I dream of it ending. “I am not considered a person. I have low self-esteem. Psychologists cannot do anything, and they are often also homophobic. Honestly, I cannot see an end to this problem.” As Lobushkin points out, the site does have LGBT groups. I ask Kirill if thse help him. He tells me that although he has an account and has added many LGBT groups, he limits his activity and he does not openly identify as gay on the site because he could be targeted. “I would like them to remove all the fascist calls and actions. I do not feel free there.”
Children 404 is one of the biggest LGBT support groups on VK. The 404 element is a reference to the internet error message – ‘404 not found’ – because gay people feel isolated and ignored, and because Russian authorities like to pretend that gay individuals do not exist. Or as the group’s founder Lena Klimova explains: “they believe LGBT people arrived from Mars”. Klimova is 25 and lives in Nizhny Tagil, in the Urals area of Russia. She is openly gay and works as a journalist. Children 404 focuses on helping gay teenagers. “I saw that they needed help, at least this kind of help – the possibility to tell other people about themselves, the chance to speak out and possibly get some advice, to form a community online. “Homophobic harassment is very common on VKontakte, as in real life. And you don’t necessarily have to be openly gay, or a gay at all. The harassment hits everybody who is speaking out in favour of gays, everybody who looks like they might be gay, and everybody who does not conform to the standards of a “real man” or a “real woman”.
On Wednesday, the same day as Channel 4’s Dispatches programme aired, Klimova was charged under Putin’s new gay propaganda laws. She has been told her court hearing will be in a couple of weeks, and she faces a large fine. Lena was pursued after Children 404 was investigated by Vitaly Milonov, a prominent politician in St. Petersburg. “I am depressed. I feel very sad, hurt and bitter. LGBT people are experiencing harsh oppression: they are living in fear, they fear being fired, being beaten up, being killed just without any reason. In Russia such harassment isn’t considered hate crime. It is terribly frightening.” Despite pledging to remove the violent content and deleting the relevant accounts, five days after the Guardian’s enquiry only one video had been removed, turning a blind eye to the thousands of videos still hosted on VK; men looking into the camera with their eyes full of fear, while members of Occupy Paedophilia grab them by their necks and punch them, and Zigunova laughs.
© The Guardian
The foreign minister and his wife have reportedly been maligned some 2,500 times on the Internet.
11/2/2014- Polish Prosecutor General Andrzej Seremet said this week the country would drop its lenient policy toward anyone making hateful statements against foreigners and Jews. Seremet sent a letter to the Warsaw prosecutor demanding that the latter cease his soft stance on anti-Semitism and investigate insults on the Internet of the foreign minister and his wife. The Warsaw prosecutor reportedly agreed with the policy, although according to his spokesman, the prosecutor general does not have the authority to enforce his opinions on prosecutors in the field, and the new policy is merely a request. The Warsaw prosecutor has reportedly not investigated around 2,500 libel cases on the Internet against Poland’s foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski. Sikorski is married to Washington, D.C.-born Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer Prize winner for her 2004 book “Gulag: A History.”
The Warsaw prosecutor’s office had said it “did not find any public interest in the matter.” Anti-Semitic statements include “I’m angry at Adolf Hitler for not finishing his work in the gas chambers; if he did, Sikorski’s wife wouldn’t be alive today,” and “Sikorski isn’t Polish, he has a Jewish wife, and he does anything the [Jews] tell him.” According to another Internet comment, “Sikorski is a two-faced Jewish dog who wants to destroy Poland.” Sikorski has unsuccessfully appealed decisions against the opening of investigations. To do so, he hired attorney Roman Giertych, former head of the national youth movement and deputy prime minister in the former right-wing government led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s Law and Justice Party. Investigations have been avoided despite a court order that the phenomenon be perceived as a public danger. Prosecutors had also said there was no need to continue investigations because it was impossible to identify the authors. Still, investigators have identified at least 100 computers used for publishing anti-Semitic statements, and many authors have not concealed their identities.
According to one Polish newspaper, a 71-year-old woman from Bialystok did not deny that she wrote that she “does not participate in elections … because it’s no secret that the Polish politicians all have Jewish origins. Not a single party in our country wasn’t started by Jews. If the Internet has a long list like this, then that’s the reality. It’s not only me who believes it; most of the public has the same opinion.”
Politicians from the Democratic Party (PD) will this week propose a new law to tackle internet hate speech, following high-profile attacks against leading politician Laura Boldrini.
10/2/2014- The new proposal is due to be put forward this week by MPs Alessandra Moretti and Francesco Sanna, with backing from other PD members, La Stampa reported on Monday. The aim of the bill is to strip the online sphere of content that is “detrimental to our own dignity”, Moretti was quoted by the newspaper as saying. If successfully passed by Italy’s lower house and Senate, the law would impact newspaper websites, blogs and individuals’ social media accounts. “It is a necessary intervention. But I would like to specify one thing: it is not a gag for the internet,” Moretti said. “On the contrary, I think that this text can be improved, therefore I would like to open it up to bloggers for their contribution.” In its current form the proposal would enable authorities to ask for content to be removed if it is inaccurate or damaging, La Stampa said.
It could also affect old posts which are traceable through online search engines; a move which would impact newspaper archives as well as old blogs and posts on social networks. The proposal comes just days after Boldrini, president of the Chamber of Deputies, was the victim of abusive comments online including some calling for her to be raped. The offensive posts were responses to Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), posing the question "what would you do if you found Boldrini in your car?" online. Boldrini responded by saying Grillo’s post was an “instigation of violence” and called those who responded “potential rapists”.
© The Local - Italy
11/2/2014- Children’s perceptions of online risks and problematic situations may greatly differ from those of adults. What adults perceive as problematic does not necessarily result in a negative or harmful experience for children. And when it comes to sexual content, both male and female teenagers suggest that it is up to the girls to take responsibility in avoiding sexy pictures being shared. These are some of the conclusions of a new report from the EU Kids Online project coordinated from the Czech Republic (Masaryk University). Published on Safer Internet Day 2014 (11th of February), these new findings result from the qualitative analysis of 57 focus groups and 113 personal interviews with children aged 9 to 16. In total, 349 participants from nine different European countries$1 were invited to explain what they perceive as problematic or harmful online, and what they do to prevent this from happening.
No clear distinction between positive and negative experiences online
Researchers revealed that youth’s online problematic experiences are related almost to all contexts of their development, such as exploring their identity and sexuality, building relationships with peers or romantic relationships, but also to moral and ethics development. While parents, teachers or other adult caregivers may feel that exposure to certain online content or communication is risky, youngsters perceive this very differently. For example, posting sexy pictures and receiving flirty comments can be flattering and exciting. However, sharing of sexy pictures can turn also into traumatic experience, for example, when youths receive very bad comments or when these pictures are shared with too many people. David Smahel (Masaryk University) explains: “The line between online positive and negative experiences is very thin. The outcome depends on the context of the situation and the children’s awareness of problems they may encounter on the internet. Even same situation can be perceived differently by different children. While some children are very cautious about for example their personal information, others believe that nothing bad will happen to them, regardless of what they disclose online.”
«Girls to take responsibility for sexual pictures”
In situations of unpleasant sexual issues, some children do not perceive limiting their online activities as useful. Unpleasant sexual content or communication is often being avoided by turning away from the situation or making sure one does not get involved. Measures such as scrolling further, clicking away, or simply not taking sexy pictures nor undressing oneself in front of the webcam are frequently mentioned. Surprisingly, male and female teenagers suggest that it is up to the girls to take responsibility in avoiding incidents with sexy pictures being shared.
Most of problematic situations occur on social networking sites
The majority of interviewed children expressed a range of concerns and online issues that sometimes bother them. Clearly, the worst risks in children’s eyes are online bullying and harassment, misuse of personal information, unwelcome or sexualized contact from strangers, but also commercial content. Looking at the media platforms where these incidents occur, about half of unpleasant online experiences happen on social networking sites such as Facebook. This shows that children acknowledge the potential risks of social networking sites, which does not necessarily mean they will do something to avoid the risk. Even if they are aware, some children simply don’t care much about potential risks.
Report: ‘Preventive measures - How young children avoid online risks’
Report: ‘Net Children Go Mobile: risks and opportunities’
© The Malta Independent
10/2/2014- Two Dutch anti-racism groups filed a criminal complaint against a pro-Palestinian organization that featured a conspiracy theory about Jewish control of the Internet on its website. The complaint was filed with Dutch police on Feb. 7 against Stop the Occupation, an organization run by the pro-Palestinian activist Gretta Duisenberg, widow of the first president of the European Central Bank. It concerned the publication three months ago on the group’s website of an English-language article titled “The Jewish hand behind Internet, Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Yahoo!, MySpace, eBay.”
The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, called the text “offensive to Jews” and filed the complaint along with the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet, or MDI. The article, written in 2009 by the California-based Freedom Research Foundation, surveys what the text describes as “the Jewish penetration of the Internet” by describing alleged Jewish affiliations of each Internet giant mentioned in the title. “The Jews — contrary to the ‘liberal’ views they officially say they profess — in their suppressive acts practically demonstrate that they always seek to dominate the information flow, they don’t tolerate any dissent,” reads the article, which is still accessible on the website.
The Netherlands, like many European countries, has laws against disseminating material with intention of inciting hate or discrimination. Duisenberg, founder of the pro-Palestinian group, told JTA her assistant placed the text online three months ago. She does not consider the text anti-Semitic but her organization is not guilty of incitement to hatred anyway because it only reproduced the text, she said. “We have made it clear that material placed on the website does not necessarily reflect our point of view,” Duisenberg said. “We didn’t write the text. If they want to go to the police, fine. It’s propaganda, it’s a trick. I won’t remove it because why should I?”
© JTA News.
By Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League
This article originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post on February 11, 2014
11/2/2014- Earlier this week the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee held a hearing on online hate speech. ADL and other organizations were invited to present their views on the best ways to effectively combat the growing presence of anti-Semitic and other hate filled content on the Internet. The hearing was timely, and the issue warrants even greater public attention. The Internet is a magnificent, enormously powerful tool, and it has been a tremendous positive force for scientific research, for medicine, for scholars of all kinds, for educators, for journalists, for artists – for most of us. But the Internet also has a sinister side, and for an organization like ADL with a mandate to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of hate, that sinister side is cause for considerable concern.
Today, all Internet users, including children who lack the critical judgment to recognize and understand hate, are regularly confronted with it. They can access hate music on iTunes, watch videos produced by anti-Semites on YouTube, easily and unwittingly wind up on Holocaust denial pages on Facebook, and find themselves in gaming environments where on-screen violence is coupled with the real-time bigotry brought about by instant communications with strangers. Add in the surge in cyber-bullying, the power of smartphones to access online content, and the ubiquity of texting, and our kids are more vulnerable than ever before. Today’s technology has also enabled terrorists and haters to spread their messages more broadly. If the hate were contained within the virtual world, it would, of course, still be a cause for concern. But even more alarming is how the dissemination of hatred on the Internet spawns violent real world behavior. Extremists are using new technologies to recruit and to plan rallies, gatherings and terrorist acts, and they are able to coordinate their activities in ways unimaginable even a few years ago.
It might be tempting to look to the law to address the broad problem of Internet hate, but the international nature of the Internet makes that option largely impractical. Hate speech is hard to define, the line between hate speech and honest dissent is blurry, and any laws passed in an attempt to limit hateful content on the Internet would be virtually impossible to enforce. However, parliaments and legislatures can play an important role by holding hearings which provide forums to highlight the dangers to society from the unbridled spread of hate on the Internet and to learn from experts in civil society and the internet industry about the tools available and best practices being developed to stem the proliferation of hatred on the Internet.
ADL's mantra has always been that sunlight is the best disinfectant and the best response to bad speech is more speech – counter-speech. That requires education, with an emphasis on critical thinking. We must teach our children to approach content they encounter online with the same careful consideration they would use in the “real world”—and we must empower them with the tools they need to respond, sometimes by reporting it, sometimes by responding online themselves, and sometimes both. The need for such tools prompted us to create a Cyber-Safety Action Guide that provides links to the relevant Terms of Service of all of the major Internet companies, and makes it easier to file complaints. Because the volume of content is so enormous, most of the major companies depend upon their community of users to flag offensive content. For that reason, it is vitally important for people to flag offensive content they encounter online, to speak out, and to applaud positive messages.
We have also been working directly to encourage Internet companies to pursue stricter enforcement of provisions in their Terms of Service. The bad news is that the virus of bigotry is proving to be as pernicious online as it is in the real world, and finding an effective treatment remains elusive. The good news is the industry seems finally to be coming to grips with the scope of the problem and showing a willingness to explore strategies to confront it. Civil society and governments should continue to encourage Internet companies to develop and expand those strategies.
© The Anti-Defamation League
Home Office in talks with to block violent videos 'at a network level' * 21,000 illegal terror videos and sites have been removed since 2010 * But material hosted in the Middle East and US is difficult to remove * Instead computers in the UK would be prevented from accessing it
10/2/2014- Extremist videos which help to radicalise impressionable young men are to be blocked from the internet in the UK. The Home Office is in talks with web companies to refuse access to violent films hosted overseas 'at a network level', MailOnline can reveal. The plans for what will effectively be ‘cyber border controls’ have been drawn up by James Brokenshire, promoted to immigration minister at the weekend. Ministers have been spurred into action by the growing threat from jihadists in Syria. Around 2,000 Europeans are thought to be fighting in Syria, including at least 200 known to the British security services. It is feared that fighters returning to the UK will seek to radicalise young men in particular to launch terror attacks at home and abroad.
Anti-terror police and the Crown Prosecution Service can currently demand that vile videos posted on UK websites be removed. Since February 2010, the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) has taken down more than 21,000 pieces of illegal terrorist online content. If the CTIRU and prosecutors deem material to be illegal it can be blocked from parts of the public sector, including schools and hospitals but this does not extend to domestic users and filters can be turned off. It has also been difficult to act against sites hosted abroad, both in the Middle East and in the US where sites plead the Fifth Amendment which protects freedom of speech.
The Extremism Taskforce is examining how to further restrict access to illegal content hosted overseas, which would be much more effective in ensuring people in the UK were unable to access it. If videos, photographs and texts is found to be illegal under the Terrorism Act, but hosted overseas, the security agencies will act to restrict access to it. Mr Brokenshire, who became immigration minister on Saturday following the resignation of Mark Harper, said the new controls could also be used to block access to sick child pornography. He told MailOnline: ‘Terrorist propaganda online has a direct impact on the radicalisation of individuals and we work closely with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas.
‘Through proposals from the Extremism Taskforce announced by the Prime Minister in November, we will look to further restrict access to material which is hosted overseas - but illegal under UK law - and help identify other harmful content to be included in family-friendly filters.’ However, Emma Carr, deputy director of Big Brother Watch, was unhappy at the move. She said: 'Politicians and civil servants should not be deciding what we can see online. 'If content is to be blocked then it should be a court deciding that it is necessary and proportionate to do so. 'As people riot on the streets of Turkey over freedom of speech online and Government censorship this issue must be handled in a way that cannot be exploited by oppressive regimes around the world.'
Search engines like Google and Yahoo came under fire last year for not doing more to shut down hate-filled sites in the wake of the Woolwich attack on Drummer Lee Rigby. Thousands of videos which help to radicalise impressionable young men are easily available on YouTube. Today a search for beheadings on YouTube, which is owned by Google, brought up 129,000 results. In October, Facebook bowed to pressure from David Cameron and child internet protection campaigners by taking down a graphic video of a woman being beheaded in Mexico.
The Prime Minister had accused Facebook of irresponsibility after it lifted a ban on users posting videos of beheadings - and demanded the social networking site explain its decision to parents. Critics accused the firm of ‘taking leave of its senses’. Facebook had said that while the images must not be posted for ‘sadistic pleasure’ they should be available for those who wish to condemn them. The Home Office also wants to make it easier for people to report extremist content online. Officials are working with industry to ‘help them identify harmful extremist content to include in family-friendly filters’.
© The Daily Mail
Turkish riot police have fired water cannon and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators marching in Istanbul in protest at new laws tightening government control of the internet.
8/2/2014- Demonstrators threw fireworks and stones at police cordoning off Taksim Square, the city's main square. The president is under pressure not to ratify the legislation. It includes powers allowing authorities to block websites for privacy violations without a court decision. The opposition says it is part of a government attempt to stifle a corruption scandal. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denied accusations of censorship, saying the legislation would make the internet "more safe and free". The Turkish parliament approved the bill last week. As well as allowing Turkey's telecommunications authority to block websites without first seeking a court ruling, it will also force internet providers to store data on web users' activities for two years and make it available to the authorities.
'Scourge' of Twitter
Internet access in Turkey is already restricted and thousands of websites blocked. Mr Erdogan has been openly critical of the internet, describing Twitter as a "scourge" and condemning social media as "the worst menace to society". Both Twitter and Facebook were widely used by anti-government protesters to spread information during demonstrations last year. The corruption scandal broke in December with the arrest of businessmen close to the prime minister and three ministers' sons. Since then, Mr Erdogan's government has sacked hundreds of police officers and executives from banking and telecoms regulators and state television. Mr Erdogan says the scandal is an attempt by a US-based cleric with influence in the police and judiciary to unseat him. The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, denies this.
© BBC News
Stakeholders from government and non-governmental organizations testify in Knesset hearing on matter.
10/2/2014- Anti-Semitism on the net is “like a tsunami wave,” Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee chairman MK Yoel Razbozov said during a Sunday hearing on online hate speech. Razbozov called for countries to enact legislation restricting online hate, and warned that if Jews will not act to combat the spread of anti-Semitism online, they will eventually “find themselves in mortal danger.” Representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, the Israeli Internet Association and the Anti-Defamation League, among other bodies, testified regarding the dangers of online hate and discussed methods of combating disinformation about Jews and Israel. The Anti-Defamation League testified regarding its ongoing relationship with Internet hosting company GoDaddy to take down anti-Semitic websites, citing some 30 sites it said were taken down by the American company. Facebook has also been working with the ADL, its representative said. “Facebook is coming around, they just need time,” Ronald Eissens of the International Network Against Cyberhate added.
The World Zionist Organization established a communications center for combating hate online and is beginning two pilot courses for training Israelis to engage in this struggle, WZO Department for Countering Anti-Semitism chief Yaakov Hagoel told lawmakers. “I don’t see us winning the battle but at least we are putting up a fight,” he said. While combating disinformation with facts and taking anti-Semitism offline were both tactics discussed during the meeting, only the former will have any substantial impact, committee member MK Dov Lipman told The Jerusalem Post. “I fear that we are fighting a losing battle,” he said. “I am convinced that our focus should be on getting Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and urge websites to remove anti-Semitic materials and not with setting up our own sites and pages to negate the anti-Semitism. I will present this proposal to the chairman of the committee and will push hard for this to be the government’s direction.”
© The Jerusalem Post
10/2/2014- The Committee for Immigration, Absorption and the Diaspora, headed by MK Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid) discussed today (Monday) the progressive anti-Semitism spreading on the Internet. "Anti-semitism is spreading on the web like a tsunami wave coming to wash over us, and if we don't get up and do something about it, the Jews of the world will find themselves in mortal danger," warned MK Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid). "And in the US I was once spit on," added MK Nissim Zeev (Shas). Ronald Eissens, from the International Network Against Cyber-Hate (INACH), stated that "40% of all hate materials from Europe on the web are anti-Semitic in content. We find this alarming. We used Twitter for research, and found that over the last 30 days, there were over one million tweets, in English, about Israel, and 62% of them were negative."
© Arutz Sheva
More than 10,000 Tweets a day contain racist words, a major study of users' timelines has found.
7/2/2014- Analysts found one racist slur in every 15,000 Tweets when they went through more than 125,000 English language ones with a fine-tooth comb. Researcher Demos said the most common jibes were "white boy", "paki", "white boy", "nigga", "spic", "crow", "squinty" and "wigga". Twitter's policy on racism and freedom of expression has come under the spotlight in the wake of high profile users questioning its guidelines. Prominent amongst them is ex-footballer and radio host Stan Collymore, who has re-tweeted some of the vile abuse he has received from followers. Collymore has accused Twitter of not doing enough to tackle illegal content and tweeted: "In the last 24 hours I've been threatened with murder several times, demeaned on my race, and many of these accounts are still active. Why? "I accuse Twitter directly of not doing enough to combat racist/homophobic/sexist hate messages, all of which are illegal in the UK." Although the study reckons 70% of the slurs were not used to cause offence, it concluded that at least 3,000 users sent a tweet indicating genuine racial or ethnic prejudice. Twitter has previously said it targeted abuse which contravened its rules and had processes to help police investigate.
© The International Business Times - UK
5/2/2014- The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on Facebook to remove a “Jewish Ritual Murder” page that has been the subject of public criticism.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
The “Jewish Ritual Murder” page on Facebook perpetuates age-old anti-Semitic propaganda, and it should be removed immediately. It is profoundly offensive, has no socially redeeming value, and adds nothing to any legitimate marketplace of ideas. This page targets all Jews, and Facebook’s position that it technically does not violate their Community Standards because it does not target individuals is an unacceptable excuse. We do not believe that Facebook intends to send a message that they are insensitive to the enormous harm the blood libel has caused throughout Jewish history, and the easiest way for them to make that clear would be to exercise the discretion they certainly have to remove the page.
We have appreciated the responsiveness and sensitivity Facebook has shown on many other occasions, and we urge them to act quickly to address this situation.It appears Facebook doesn't plan to remove the page because it says it doesn't violate community standards. Despite Facebook's position, the ADL still believes the page should be pulled. "We do not believe that Facebook intends to send a message that they are insensitive to the enormous harm the blood libel has caused throughout Jewish history, and the easiest way for them to make that clear would be to exercise the discretion they certainly have to remove the page," Foxman said. ADL is known for going after Facebook and Twitter pages it believes perpetuate anti-Semitism and hate speech. In 2011, it successfully campaigned to get Facebook to remove a page calling for a Palestinian intifada.
© The Anti-Defamation League
By Dexter Van Zile
4/2/2014- Father Coughlin is alive and well. He resides in an underground bunker he shares with Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh. The trio works for Mark Zuckerberg, responding to complaints about anti-Semitism on Facebook. When the three aren’t doing their job (which is most of the time), they’re collaborating on a “new and revised” edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They’re shopping it around and are having a tough time finding a publisher. Pluto Press said no and it’s not looking too good even at Pilgrim Press, so the troika is thinking of going the self-publishing route. What I just told you is a big fat lie (or actually a whole bunch of them), but it’s still the best I can do to explain why Facebook does such a terrible job dealing with anti-Semitism on its website.
Here’s what happens:
Anonymous (and sometimes not-so-anonymous) lunatics post hateful pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic stuff on Facebook. People dutifully complain about the stuff they see. Facebook responds by telling people that the imagery does not violate the company’s community standards, (which includes bans on hate speech and the promotion of violence). Who at Facebook sends out these messages? Really! If it isn’t the trio of Coughlin, Ford, and Lindbergh, then maybe Facebook has farmed out the job of enforcing its community standards to Islamists in Pakistan or Iran. Or maybe they’ve contracted with a joint venture that includes the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.
A while back, somebody from Bulgaria posted an image of a group of Nazi soldiers in the middle of massacring a group of Polish civilians. Underneath the photo the Bulgarian Facebook user photoshopped the Nike Swoosh with the trademark phrase, “Just Do It.” After I saw the image, I clicked the proper buttons to tell the good folks at Facebook that the image needed to be taken down. I figured Facebook would take it down immediately, but instead, I got a message back from Facebook that said that the image “doesn’t violate our Community Standards.” Being an Internet activist without peer (I work for CAMERA, mind you!), I wasn’t going to take no for an answer so I did the next necessary thing: I blogged about it! And then I got really serious and reached out to the folks at Nike and said something like, “Um, folks, somebody is using your trademark to promote Nazism.” That seemed to work. (I can’t take all the credit, because I’m sure that it occurred to other people that Nike wouldn’t want their trademark used in such a manner.) In any event, the image eventually came down and the user’s account was deleted from Facebook. Huzzah! The good guys won! And a huge victory it was! Antisemitism was forever banned from the pages of Facebook!
But alas, the battle continues.
Recently, my correspondents have alerted me to another page on Facebook. The end of the URL includes the phrase “The Truth About Jews” and the page itself promotes Blood Libels against the Jewish people. It’s titled “Jewish ritual murder.” The page has all the stuff you’d expect on an anti-Semitic Facebook page. It has 248 “Likes” and includes anti-Jewish libels from all over the world. The page includes a disclaimer that is simply bizarre: “Comments that are offensive, obscene, vulgar, irrelevant to this page or classified as spam will be removed.” The entire page is offensive and obscene. And the page, which has been in existence since March 2012, is an exercise in vulgar anti-Semitism. Yes, people have complained about the page. And yes, Facebook has responded with messages indicating that the page does not violate the company’s community standards. Will the page eventually be removed? Probably. But why doesn’t Facebook delete this stuff when first apprised of its presence on their website? Why should it take any more than one complaint for Facebook to do the right thing?
Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA).
© The Algemeiner
3/2/2014- A hoax message appealing for the return of a ‘kidnapped’ six-year-old girl has already reached thousands of people on social media sites. The poster, the work of Britons Against Left-wing Extremism, claims a girl named Amy Hamilton ‘is believed to have been kidnapped by an Asian grooming gang’. It continues, describing Amy – whose photograph is actually a painting taken from an artist’s Flickr page – as 6-years-old and last seen in the Croydon area of London wearing a pink top and blue jeans. However, no child named Amy Hamilton is missing from the London region or anywhere else in the UK. The group responsible for the hoax is a far-right group who also publish material via a blog called The Daily Bale. A tweet from their account bragged about the post and how many people had been fooled by it, saying: "An amazing 5000 people shared our Amy Hamilton, Missing poster on Facebook. “Let’s hope they catch the Asians responsible for taking her."
© The Staffordshire Newsletter
'Hakol Hayehudi,’ based in the West Bank settlement Yitzhar, called for violence against Arabs.
2/2/2014- In a rare move, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has approved an indictment against two West Bank settlers for racism and incitement to violence, for their work on the website “Hakol Hayehudi,” which has praised violence against Arabs. “Hakol Hayehudi” (“The Jewish Voice”) was established by Yitzhar residents as a weekly pamphlet in 2003, with support from Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, under the tagline “News for Happy Jews.” Later, the pamphlet became a website featuring news and other articles, updated several times. The website advances Ginsburgh’s agenda on many subjects, including spiritual matters and relations with Arabs. The website advocates a policy of employing only Jews and features many articles supporting that position. “Hakol Hayehudi” has been a bother to the Shin Bet security service almost since the website’s inception, as a since-discontinued weekly feature that revealed some of the organization’s operating protocols. The website is widely believed to encourage youth to engage in “price tag” attacks against Palestinians.
In an indictment issued on Sunday by the Central District Court prosecutor, Yitzhar residents Yehoshua Hass, 41, and Avraham Binyamin, 29, were charged with incitement to violence and racism. Hass and Binyamin are listed as the founders of and primary contributors to “Hakol Hayehudi.” According to the charge sheet, they “systematically included content that incited to violence and racism against Arab Israelis and Arab Palestinians … including remarks labeling them as abhorrent, murderers, violent, wild, unruly, evil, obnoxious, terrorists, cruel, abusive, criminal, hostile and enemies.” The indictment includes 36 images of pages from the website. One article from March 2010 read: “In [the Jerusalem neighborhood] Pisgat Ze’ev, three Arabs were beaten while walking around the neighborhood. Thank God, the righteous people of Pisgat Ze’ev are hard on the abusive Arabs, and they created a Facebook group called ‘something must be done about Arabs going around with Jewish girls.’”
In July 2010, an article on the website read: “He came for entertainment, and in the end he was used for entertainment himself. A young Arab went this week to have a good time in [the Jerusalem neighborhood] Neve Ya’akov. The Arab’s hair was combed and gelled. A few happy Jews came along with clubs, fixed up his hair, and some other body parts too.” Another article dated November 2011 read: “How must we treat the enemy? A proposition for a practical plan … 1. Defining an enemy: An enemy is a people that sends individuals to engage in hostile activities against us. If that people, or their leadership, want to appear as if they’re unconnected from the fighting, they must prove that by taking active steps and extraditing these offenders. Any other action is actually a show of support of fighting against us, and that defines the entire population as an enemy. And, of course, an enemy we must fight.”
An article from 2012 entitled “Why I understand activists in favor of mutual responsibility” read: “Why harm Arabs? Once we understood that there is anarchy here, we see that the actions of the government against Jews are not done by rule of law, but they are part of the anarchy. Activists against these actions are meant to be a signal both for the Arabs, and for the institution as well: If the public decides to be violent and win through anarchy, then that goes both ways.”
The number of children seeking counselling from Childline for racist bullying increased by over two-thirds in 2013
By Yasmin Gunaratnam
31/1/2014- A recent report on racist bullying by ChildLine and a commentary by the teacher and black feminist Lola Okolosie on her experiences of ‘intra-racism’ among minority ethnic pupils have reinvigorated discussions prevalent in the 1980s and 90s about racism in schools. The ChildLine report showed that the number of children seeking counselling from the charity for racist bullying had increased by over two-thirds in 2013, rising to 1,400 reported incidents. Islamophobia was highlighted as a particular concern, with Muslim children being called “terrorists” and “bombers” by classmates. Other children were bullied because of their looks or because they were recent migrants. In a ChildLine counselling session, a girl of 13, described the slow erosion of her confidence. “I used to be proud of my roots until I started getting bullied at school because I look different to everyone else in my year. They tell me to go back to where I came from and that I’m ugly or horrible to look at. I know they’re trying to make me feel bad about myself and it’s starting to work.”
For Lola Okolosie, as a teacher in London, there is also another side to racist bullying – how racism can be a part of the mortar of everyday intimidation and aggression between pupils. “Walk into any multicultural school in our large cities and you will find that black and brown students will readily take part in racist bullying against each other’ Okolosie writes. As chilling as these examples are, such experiences are only part of the problem of childhood racism. An issue that is rarely talked about is how racism affects parenting. For anyone who is the parent of a child who is racially marked in some way because of their colour, or cultural and faith difference, it is almost impossible not to have thought about how our children will negotiate their way through a world of varying racist heat. Should we protect them for as long as we can from an awareness of racism? Should we practice a version of psychological inoculation – exposing our children to racism in the hope that it might build future resilience?
As a parent, researcher and former school governor I have come across both approaches - and parents often vary their strategies according to a child’s age or disposition. The writing of the black feminist and poet Audre Lorder is strewn with autobiographical accounts of her parents’ protective dissimulation in the face of racism in the streets, on public transport and in restaurants when she was growing up in the 1940’s US. In one account, Lorde recalls how her mother always carried small pieces of newspaper in her purse to wipe-off salvia spat at them at ‘random’ on the street. “It never occurred to me to doubt her. It was not until years later once in conversation I said to her: “Have you noticed people don’t spit into the wind so much as they used to?” And the look on my mother’s face told me that I blundered into one of those secret places of pain that must never be spoken of again.”
For Lorde, this shattering of the warm security of a childhood world, was more than the loss of innocence and exile that we all experience when early memories are recast. Seeing hatred and violence wrapped around her family’s everyday life was an existential as much as a political jolt in adulthood. In a research study on the transition to first time motherhood in the East End of London, I also came across the psychological inoculation approach to dealing with Islamaphobia among Muslim mothers of Bangladeshi heritage. Some mothers felt that if they didn’t educate their children about racism, particularly when they experienced abuse in the street, it could be a more devastating shock in later life. One mother linked the difficulties of these childhood experiences to the Islamic concept of Jihad as struggle, seeing it as a responsibility to educate her children about religious and racist intolerance. She told me “I’d like them to be out there and struggle to actually practice their religion, and see others, and have that respect back, rather than being cushioned.”
Racism blights and complicates childhood and parenting and we actually know very little about the corrosive damage or long term reverberations that living with racism inflicts upon children and parents. A paradox is that greater awareness of racism in the form of the diversity curriculum or perhaps through parents sharing their experiences does not necessarily help with promoting mental wellbeing or resilience. The Martinique-born psychiatrist and post-colonial scholar Franz Fanon believed that living with any consciousness of racism is to live in a ‘constellation of delirium’, forever bordering on madness. It is certainly true that as you gain more knowledge about what racism is and how it works, you are likely to encounter more aggression, denial, guilt and the most perverse of all: hurt innocence – ‘I never meant it like that’, ‘I don’t know what you mean’, ‘Are you sure?’ Life can become more fraught and difficult; more choices have to be made, costs and benefits need to be taken into account. Do you recognise and challenge racism? Do you let it go?
At this time of increasing intolerance these are questions we all need to think about.
© The Independent
An NGO in Pristina has urged online media outlets to ban readers’ comments that are flagrantly offensive and incite hatred - saying very few of them now exercise any such control.
31/1/2014- The Youth Initiative for Human Rights said a large number of online media in Kosovo permit "offensive, denigrating and humiliating language, which potentially incite hatred”. After monitoring nine Kosovo websites in 2012 and 2013, the NGO concluded that most portals "do not filter comments at all, allowing hate speech through insulting expressions, denigration, humiliation and often also calls for violence against certain persons or groups. “Expressions like ‘shkijet’ (an offensive term for Serbs), ‘maxhup’ (an offensive term for Roma), ‘pedera’ (an offensive term for gays) are common in portals, with some exceptions”, the organisation said it its report, “In the name of freedom of expression”.
Alma Lama, a lawmaker, harshly criticized Kosovo's news portals, claiming that “most are part of someone’s political agenda and serve political parties. I am not talking just about parties which are fundamentalist and want Sharia law, I am also talking about other parties,” she said. Lama was attacked in various news portals after she criticized the speech of a Muslim cleric on the role of women in society. “These media do not obey the law,” she said. Incitement to hatred is a criminal offence in Kosovo, punishable by a fine or imprisonment up to ten years. However, Adriatik Kelmendi, an editor at TV KohaVision, said censorshop was not the answer. “This problem cannot be solved by closing comments or detaining people,” he said. “There is a need to educate and raise awareness among the media. On the other hand, the media have to become more determined [to address the matter].”
The Press Council of Kosovo, one of the main bodies responsible to tracking the print media, has no power to fine media outlets, but advocates obedience to a code of conduct for the media. The code, based on international standards of journalistic practice, is intended as the foundation of a system of self-regulation that should be considered binding on reporters, editors, owners and publishers of newspapers and periodicals. Imer Mushkolaj, deputy head of the board of the Council, said online media are responsible for the comments they publish, "just as they are responsible for the news articles they print”. The annual report for 2012 of the Independent Media Commission, IMC, said 83 radio and 21 TV stations were operating in Kosovo in 2012 alongside eight daily newspapers. There are no figures on the number of news portals operating in the country.
© Balkan Insight
31/1/2014- A Jewish student group petitioned a French court to order the removal of a YouTube video in which the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala celebrates the quenelle. The petition filed this week with the Paris Court of Grands Instances by the Union of Jewish Students of France, or UEJF, concerns a video posted Dec. 31 by Dieudonne, who has been convicted seven times for inciting racial hatred against Jews. In the video, Dieudonne declares that 2014 will be “the year of the quenelle.” The quenelle is the name invented for a gesture Dieudonne devised in which an arm is extended over the chest while pointing downward with the other arm. France’s interior minister, Manuel Valls, said in December that the gesture was a “salute of anti-Semitic hatred.” Some practitioners of the salute say it is simply an anti-establishment gesture.
A preliminary ruling on the union’s petition is scheduled to be handed down on Feb. 12, the French Liberation daily reported Wednesday. More than 3.5 million viewers have seen the video, the paper reported. Last year, UEJF won a legal battle against Twitter, requiring that the American social networking site divulge details about users who violated French laws against hate speech with anti-Semitic statements. Earlier this week, the Jewish community of Annecy in eastern France filed a complaint with police against unidentified individuals who painted a swastika on a memorial plaque commemorating Jewish children who were murdered in the Holocaust. Members of the Jewish community found the graffiti at the entrance to the Quai Jules Philippe School in the town.
© JTA News.
28/1/2014- Anti Black “online” racism doubled last year, according to the annual report of the Hotline Internet Discrimination, a division of the Magenta Foundation, which was recently published. The Hotline thinks the Black Piet debate caused a spike in racist comments online. With 193 registered complaints about racist comments, of which 103 punishable acts, online anti-black racist comments doubled compared to 2012. Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic complaints still take first and second place, same as in 2012 and the year before. Anti-black racism however doubled, and went from 5th place last year, after discrimination based on different nationality on third, and discrimination against Moroccans on fourth, to third place in 2013, due to the Black Piet discussions.
© The NL Times
Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner has rung the warning bell on cyber racism, saying networking sites are increasingly being used to air racist sentiments.
27/1/2014- In Perth to address University of WA students on race and patriotism, Tim Soutphommasane expressed concern about what he said was a "very marked increase" in cyber-racism complaints. Complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission citing racial hatred rose 59 per cent in 2012-13, fuelled in part by a surge in cyber-racism complaints. Cyber racism accounted for 41 per cent of the racial hatred complaints, up from 17 per cent the previous year. "These are all reminders we cannot be complacent about racism," Dr Soutphommasane told The West Australian. "While over the long run we have done very well and we have been an open and generous country, we cannot take this for granted. "We see a lot of racism now being aired on Facebook or through YouTube. This adds a new dimension to the challenge of fighting racism. "There was a very marked increase in cyber-racism complains in the past year. It's still too early to know whether it's a definitive trend … but there's enough there to suggest we have to take care and monitor it."
One Facebook page dubbed "completely inappropriate" by then communications minister Stephen Conroy for its racist depictions of Aboriginal people, was posting again this month despite all but shutting down in 2012 after bad publicity and an online petition that got more than 20,000 signatures. Yesterday, the Royal Australian Navy confirmed it was investigating allegations some of its members belonged to a Facebook group called Australian Defence League, which claims to protect the rights "of all people to protest against radical Islam's encroachment into the lives of non-Muslims". Dr Soutphommasane said Australia should not forget it had "been a tremendous success as a multicultural society". "We have absorbed millions of migrants into our national community without social fragmentation, certainly without the kind of social fragmentation that you've seen in Europe, but racism remains, and the need to combat racism should continue to be a priority when we consider our social cohesion," he said.
© The West Australian
FACEBOOK has shut down a racist Facebook page which vilified Indigenous Australians with revolting jokes and illustrations, despite earlier telling a complainant the page was acceptable under its 'community standards' policy.
27/1/2014- The Aboriginal Memes 2014 page was today shut down after a query from News Corp about why it failed to be classified as 'hate speech' under the social networking site's community standards policy. It featured so-called jokes referencing the Stolen Generation and poverty among other issues too inflammatory to reference. Facebook supplied a statement yesterday that said: "We remove content that is reported to us that violates our policies. Our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that everyone agrees to when they create an account and which are linked to throughout the site explains what is and is not permitted on the site and explicitly prohibits hate speech." But earlier the site had responded to a complainant with a statement that said: "We reviewed the page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards."
The action by Facebook today was similar to the site's response in 2012, when the social network shut down the page "Aboriginal Memes" when the Australian Communications and Media Authority announced it would investigate it after repeated complaints failed to have it closed. And late last year, Facebook shut down Centrelink Memes following inquiries into why the page had been cleared of violating the social network's hate speech guidelines. All three pages used similar graphics and text. The latest Facebook racism controversy comes a day after footballer and anti-racism campaigner Adam Goodes was named Australian of the Year for his work combating racism. In 2012, the Aboriginal Memes page become international news, with the Facebook page reported to be the work of a then 16-year-old Perth teenager.
The Online Hate Prevention Institute has been leading the campaign against the online attacks on indigenous Australians, releasing a report in 2012 into the Aboriginal Memes site. The institute report highlighted the unwillingness of Facebook to recognise comments as hate speech. Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute, said Facebook should be congratulated for addressing the problem quicker than in the past but it was concerned that initial response to complaints about the page was to reject it. "Rejecting reports of racism sends the wrong message to both users reporting the hate and to those who promote hate. It sends a message that such content is acceptable," he said. "OHPI's data shows that the person behind this latest page was involved in multiple hate pages and is cooperating with people running a wider network of hate pages against multiple ethnic communities. "As a result the Aboriginal Memes 2014 page was promoted across a range of pages which are still carrying some of the same content; one such page is Aussie Bogan Memes which has almost 3000 supporters."
© News Australie
23/1/2014- The Internet is a "gift from God" that facilitates communication, Pope Francis said in a statement released Thursday, but he warns that the obsessive desire to stay connected can actually isolate people from their friends and family. Francis made the observations in a message about Catholic Church communications, meditating on the marvels and perils of the digital era and what that means for the faithful going out into the world and interacting with people of different faiths and backgrounds. In comments that will likely rile the more conservative wing of the church, Francis suggested that in engaging in that dialogue, Catholics shouldn't be arrogant in insisting that they alone possess the truth. "To (have a) dialogue means to believe that the 'other' has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective," Francis wrote. "Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the pretense that they alone are valid and absolute."
According to church teaching distilled by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Catholic Church holds the "fullness of the means of salvation" — a message that has long been taken to mean that only Catholics can find salvation. Church teaching also holds that those who don't know about Jesus but seek God can also attain eternal salvation. Pope Benedict XVI was a strong proponent of engaging in interreligious dialogue, but Francis has offered a softer approach in his sermons and gestures. In one famous off-the-cuff homily, he suggested that even atheists can find salvation. He also riled some conservatives when he washed the feet of two Muslims during the Holy Thursday re-enactment of Christ washing the feet of his apostles. Archbishop Claudio Mario Celli, the head of the Vatican's social communications office, said he didn't think Francis was making an official policy statement on interreligious dialogue, noting that the message was merely a reflection, "not a conciliar or dogmatic text." But he acknowledged that Francis is shaking things up in much the same "providential" way Pope John XXIII shook up the church in launching the Second Vatican Council.
"We are realizing that there are sensations of, I wouldn't say difficulty, but of discomfort sometimes in certain circles," he said. "I think step by step we must rediscover a sense of the path, of what the pope wants to tell us." In his message Thursday, Francis said the Internet offers "immense possibilities" to encounter people from different cultural and traditional backgrounds and show solidarity with them. "This is something truly good, a gift from God," he wrote. But he warned: "The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbors, from those closest to us." He called for communications in the digital era to be like "a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts" and for the church's message to not be one of bombarding others with Christian dogma. "May the light we bring to others not be the result of cosmetics or special effects, but rather of our being loving and merciful neighbors to those wounded and left on the side of the road," he said.
© The Malta Independent
Former footballer Stan Collymore has accused Twitter of “not doing enough” to combat racist and homophobic comments on the social media platform.
22/1/2014- Police have confirmed they are investigating a series of offensive messages directed at the ex-England striker, which were sparked after the footbal pundit suggested Liverpool striker Luis Suárez cheated by diving during last Saturday’s match against Aston Villa. Mr Collymore said: “In the last 24 hours I’ve been threatened with murder several times, demeaned on my race, and many of these accounts are still active. Why? “I accuse Twitter directly of not doing enough to combat racist/homophobic /sexist hate messages, all of which are illegal in the UK.” He added later: “Several police forces have been fantastic. Twitter haven’t. Dismayed.” The football pundit said he had been contacted on Twitter by gay people who have received “horrific abuse” and warned Twitter had a responsibility to act on illegal tweets. He said he wanted to use Twitter to debate subjects including football.
“If we disagree… absolutely fine, but I shouldn’t be racially abused for it, I shouldn’t have somebody that tweets me two days ago saying, ‘I’m going to turn up at your house and murder you’,” he said. “I mean this is just sheer lunacy and Twitter at the moment, I don’t think they know what to do.” West Midlands Police confirmed on its Twitter page that Staffordshire Police were investigating “alleged abusive tweets to Stan Collymore” and urged people to block and report abuse at www.report-it.org.uk A Twitter spokeswoman said the company was unable to comment on individual users. However, she pointed out that targeted abuse was against its rules and the site had recently made it easier for users to report abusive messages to them.
© Pink News
A young Social Democrat politician spoke out against xenophobia at a rally of Germany's right-wing NPD party. The video of his speech became a YouTube favorite, even though - or because - the NPD is trying to ban it.
18/1/2014- Patrick Dahlemann has more than 5,000 Facebook friends - and that number is growing by the hour. He's become a hero in a matter of days since he posted a video that's been giving the right-wing National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) party a headache. The video shows him delivering a fervent speech against xenophobia and the NPD's policies and makes a heartfelt plea for more humanity.
Here's how it happened.
The NPD held a rally in late July against plans to set up a home for asylum seekers in a small town in the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. A few NPD members and supporters had planted themselves in front of the estate that was supposed to be converted into the asylum-seekers' home. The NPD is stronger in eastern Germany than the rest of the country and especially strong in smaller towns and rural regions. Stefan Köster, the state's NPD leader, was there chanting the party's xenophobic slogans. The 25-year-old Social Democratic Party (SPD) member Patrick Dahlemann was in the audience and wanted to refute Köster. Astonishingly, the NPD politician gave the microphone to Dahlemann. Ignoring the heckling from the audience, Dahlemann made a plea, "Please don't fall for what these neo-Nazis are telling you." The whole thing was filmed and Dahlemann has used excerpts from this video to make his own short film. It shows the Social Democrat's own speech and parts of Köster's speech. Dahlemann commented on the NPD politician's statements and also talks to a police officer who confirmed that Köster's slogans were xenophobic. The film's goal is to educate and sensitize people to the NPD's far-right propaganda.
Fight against the Hydra
Dahlemann recently uploaded the film to his YouTube channel. The video became popular quickly and garnered 180,000 clicks in just a few days. But then it was suddenly gone. The NPD managed to convince YouTube to delete the clip. Their reason: the party owns any pictures or videos of their events. Viewers looking for the film on YouTube only got the message that the video was not available anymore because of copyright issues involving the NPD. But the right-wing party hasn't reacted quickly enough. Many users have uploaded the clip to YouTube themselves. It seems that as soon the NPD has one link deleted, two others pop up. "The NPD is trying to ban this video from the Internet," one YouTube user wrote. "Me and many other people are trying to prevent that from happening. That's why I, too, posted the video on YouTube and Google+." Dahlemann's speech is not the first video that's causing trouble for the NPD. In 2007, Germany's famous transvestite Olivia Jones reported from the NPD party convention for a German TV channel and asked attendees why people should vote for the NPD. Hardly any party members were able to answer the question. Jones and her camera crew had plenty of time to show up the rightwing xenophobes. A satire magazine uploaded the video online and it has become an instant hit with more than 2 million hits.
"He should run for chancellor"
Dahlemann's efforts weren't about ridiculing the NPD, but exposing how the NPD tries to lure in new voters. That has made him German Internet users' new favorite politician. "Awesome, great, he should run for chancellor," one user wrote. Another proclaimed: "I am really excited by this kind of commitment. To stand up in front of a crowd of neo-Nazis is truly impressive." Dahlemann said he is happy about all the support and shrugged off the inevitable threats from the right. He announced on his Facebook page that the short film "can be found on numerous sites and video platforms." Facebook users have also showered him with praise and support: "Respect! This is the right way to deal with these people. Fantastic. Stick to your guns."
© The Deutsche Welle.
16/1/2014- Thirteen House Democrats have proposed legislation that would require the government to study hate speech on the Internet, mobile phones and television and radio. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and 12 other House Democrats, would look at how those media are used to "advocate and encourage violent acts and the commission of crimes of hate." The Hate Crime Reporting Act, H.R. 3878, is meant to update a 20-year-old study from the National Telecommunications
Jeffries says the NTIA needs to see how hate speech is transmitted over the various new modes of communication that have sprung up over the last two decades. "The Internet is a wonderful vehicle for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship," he said. "But it can also be used as a platform to promote hate and target vulnerable individuals. "This legislation will mandate a comprehensive analysis of criminal and hateful activity on the Internet that occurs outside of the zone of the First Amendment protection." His legislation requires the NTIA to update its report to examine how the Internet and mobile phones can be used to encourage and commit hate crimes based on race, gender, religion and sexual orientation.
The NTIA would also have to recommend a way to address these actions "while respecting the important protections of the First Amendment." The NAACP supports the bill, and says more information is needed about how people commit or encourage hate crimes online. "As the use of the Internet and the ever-expanding variety of social media tools used by these groups continues to grow and evolve, we need to have a better idea of what they are doing and how they are doing it," said Hilary Shelton, the director of the NAACP's Washington Bureau.
The National Organization for Women also supports the bill. "We hope that the study will address continuing hate speech that vilifies women seeking reproductive health care as well as websites that encourage violence against healthcare providers at women's clinics which we believe have led to the injuries and death of clinic personnel and volunteers," NOW said in an official statement.
© The Hill
16/1/2014- On Tuesday, a federal appeals court issued a ruling (PDF) that’s largely being described as a big setback for open Internet advocates and users, in general. The court ruled against a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate that Internet service providers must treat all web traffic equally. The move is largely being discussed as a death blow to the Internet as we know it—the place where you can log on and go to any website without your ISP putting you in a slow or fast lane and where communities of color, in particular, have been able to flex their economic and political muscle. The decision came in response to Verizon’s vehement objections to the FCC’s 2010 decision that all Web traffic, at least on landline computers, must be treated equally. But it was a decision that didn’t make anyone happy. Critics accused the FCC of meddling to fix a problem that didn’t exist, while even open Internet advocates argued that it left enough wiggle room for some ISP’s to unfairly charge users (which MetroPCS quickly exploited).
Mignon Clyburn, a commissioner who would later work as acting chair, said as much after the ruling.”The commission has worked tirelessly to offer a set of guidelines that, while not as strong as they could be, will nonetheless protect consumers as they explore, learn and innovate online,” Clyburn said, according to The Hill. Shortly thereafter, Verizon appealed the decision, which led to this week’s ruling. The company challenged that the FCC’s mandate was too vague and that its classification of the company was an overreach in first place. U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel wrote for a three-judge panel that the FCC tried to regulate Verizon and other broadband companies under the wrong legal framework. “Given that the commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the commission from nonetheless regulating them as such,” Tatel wrote. “Because the Commission has failed to establish that the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules do not impose per se common carrier obligations, we vacate those portions of the Open Internet Order.”
Translation: The FCC has not classified broadband service providers as “common carriers,” like landline telephone providers. So the commission cannot legally regulate them as such. In an e-mailed statement, current FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote that the FCC will consider appealing the court’s decision.
Who Can Help the FCC? The FCC
For many observers who were following the case closely, this week’s court ruling did not come as a big surprise. For them, the ruling is the expected outcome of what happens when an agency tasked with oversight relies instead on piecemeal, middle-of-the-road policymaking. Currently, broadband Internet is not classified as a communications service under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Instead, it’s considered an information service, which is subject to more lenient oversight. The push the reclassify broadband was an integral part of the battle leading up to the FCC’s 2010 decision, but then-chair Julius Genachowski instead opted for a “third way” compromise that eventually left reclassification off the table.
Amalia Deloney of the Center for Media Justice says that she’s confident that the commission will now move toward rectifying their approach. “I think [reclassification] is imminent,” Deloney tells Colorlines. “We have tried this third [way] that Genachowski first proposed and it did not end well. As technical as it might be, this is the way that we’re going to be able to create real change.” The good news is that the commission recognizes that reclassification isn’t a radical move. In fact, Genachowski moved toward reclassification back in 2010 before deciding against it. In an town hall meeting in Oakland, Calif. last week, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler said that he would be willing to move reclassification forward.
Users of color
The issue is a particularly pressing one for communities of color, which have been adopting new technologies at a faster rate than most anyone else in the country and have used that access to engage in political action. “Latinos and other people of color have long faced discrimination at the hands of mainstream media,” says Jessica Gonzalez, the executive vice president for the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “Over the open Internet, we have been able to push back against this discrimination, tell our own stories fairly and accurately, and even earn a living. Today’s court decision jeopardizes this Internet freedom. It is up to Chairman Wheeler and the FCC to assert its authority to preserve Internet equality.”
Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange (and a board member of Colorlines’ publisher, Race Forward) added similar sentiments.”Our communities rely on the free and open Internet to speak and access information without a corporate filter,” Robinson said in a statement. “The court’s decision today gives a handful of major corporations — the Internet service providers we’re already paying too much to each month due to the lack of competition — license to determine for us what we can see and do online. Black folks’ ability to be heard is in real danger, and we urge the new FCC chair to take this opportunity to take a strong stand for the public he represents.”
© Color Lines
15/1/2014- Terrorist and violent extremist activities have evolved and are a growing, significant threat within the EU. These activities are carried out not only by organised groups but increasingly by smaller groups or lone actors, now being driven by a wide range of sources. The use of online tools for recruitment purposes and to spread propaganda is increasing, in turn making violent actions harder to predict and detect. Furthermore, an increasing number of Europeans travel abroad to train and to fight in combat zones, becoming more radicalised in the process, and could pose a threat to our security upon their return.
Today the European Commission adopted a Communication identifying 10 areas in which Member States and the EU are called to reinforce their actions to prevent all types of extremism that leads to violence, regardless of who inspires it. Proposed measures include the creation of a European knowledge hub on violent extremism, the development of training for frontline practitioners and financial support for projects making use of modern communication tools and social media to counter terrorist propaganda. Member States are also asked to establish programmes making it easier for members of extremist groups to abandon violence and the underlying ideology. The ten recommendations are the result of two years of work in the radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), founded by the Commission in 2011, gathering 700 experts and frontline practitioners from all over Europe.
"No country is spared from the scourge of violent extremism. But still far too few EU Member States are facing up to this rising threat. We need strong, preventive measures to counter extremism in all its forms. Our aim is to boost Member States efforts against radicalisation and extremist violence, and to provide a toolbox for preventive action in Europe", said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
Protecting citizens against these threats requires an approach that involves a broad range of partners at local, national, EU and international level. To support Member States' efforts to tackle radicalisation, the Commission is focusing on 10 areas of action:
+ Develop comprehensive national strategies. Member States are encouraged to put in place adequate frameworks, involving non-governmental organisations, frontline workers, security services and experts in the field, to facilitate the development of measures to prevent violent extremism and terrorism more effectively.
+ Create a European knowledge hub next year to establish and disseminate the best practices and shape the research agenda. It will provide input to EU, national and local policymakers, and coordinate prevention initiatives inside and outside the EU. The Commission will earmark up to 20 million EUR between 2014-2017 for the "Knowledge Hub" and other prevent-related and centrally managed activities including activities of the RAN and support to exit programmes in Member States.
+ Build upon the work of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) to strengthen its role, and ensure that it can provide practical guidance to Member States where requested.
+ Develop and facilitate training for frontline practitioners working with individuals or groups at risk, addressed not only to law enforcement and prison staff but also to e.g. social workers, educators, and healthcare workers, developing their understanding of the process of radicalisation and how to respond to it.
+ Provide dis-engagement and de-radicalisation support programmes to members of extremist groups ("exit strategies") in every EU country. Despite their effectiveness, such programmes are not available in the vast majority of EU Member States at present. This type of work is often best done in cooperation between several actors, across sectors, in particular families and community members close to violent extremists. The Commission provides guidance in establishing exit programmes where requested and setting up training for local practitioners involved in the exit work. In the past, the Commission has spent around 10 million EUR under the ISEC Funds for de-radicalisation projects. Through the ISEC Fund, the Commission has funded a large number of projects to increase the knowledge of the radicalisation process and expertise in how to design effective prevention measures.
+ Cooperate more closely with civil society and private sector to address challenges faced online. Extremist material and propaganda is easily accessible online through discussion sites, social media, blogs, etc. Efforts must go further than prohibiting or removing illegal material, and include the development of counter messages to de-construct extremist narratives. Community groups, citizens, victims and former extremists can carry out strong messages. The Commission proposes to set up a forum with key players in the industry to discuss opportunities for closer cooperation and supports the production and dissemination of counter-narratives.
+ Empower victims. Victims' voices are a powerful tool for prevention and de-radicalisation, but only if victims feel comfortable with sharing their story and have the necessary support available. The Commission will support victims groups and networks, including through the funding of projects, to facilitate communication activities and to increase awareness.
+ Encourage critical thinking amongst young people about extremist messages. Education and youth exchanges are key areas to help young people to think critically about extremists' views and discourses and expose the flaws of such propaganda. The Commission will support local communities and groups working with former violent extremists and their victims, as they can best describe the realities of war and terrorist training camps for instance.
+ Increase research into trends in radicalisation. EU funding will continue to be available to explore how and why people radicalise or de-radicalise, and on the roles played by, for instance, ideology, internet-based recruitment techniques and role models.
+ Work more closely with partner countries outside the EU. Vulnerability to radicalisation does not stop at EU borders. The Commission and the High Representative will continue working with third countries to prevent radicalisation, through the use of EU funding for training or supporting the media and other grass root preventive initiatives. Strategies to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism should also be incorporated into development cooperation tools and instruments.
Furthermore, the Commission is publishing today a Collection of approaches and practices to prevent and counter radicalisation developed by the RAN. It presents a set of eight practitioners’ approaches in the field of prevention of radicalisation, each of them illustrated by a number of selected practices and projects. This collection is intended to further support actions proposed in the Communication.
Since 2005, efforts against radicalisation have been guided by the EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment (last revised in 2008). While recognising EU Member States' authority as security-providers, the strategy contains joint standards and measures that aim at preventing terrorist radicalisation and recruitment, grouped under three key headings:
+ Disrupt the activities of individuals and networks that draw people into terrorism;
+ ensure that voices of mainstream opinion prevail over those of extremism;
+ promote security, justice, democracy and opportunities for all more vigorously.
Today's Communication is following up on the Council conclusions of June 2013 and will contribute to reviewing the EU Strategy in the course of 2014. The European Commission is already supporting Member States' efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism. Recognising that radicalisation can be best contained at a level closest to the vulnerable individuals in the most affected communities, the Commission launched in September 2011 the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network. The RAN supports first-line local practitioners involved in preventing radicalisation and violent extremism across the EU, and facilitates the exchange of experiences and best practices amongst them. The RAN is gathering the leading experts and practitioners in the field into 8 working groups, dealing with police and law enforcement; voices of victims of terrorism; internet and social media; prevention; de-radicalisation; prison and probation; health; internal and external dimension (MEMO/13/40).
© EUropa Press Room
A mother has defended her decision to name and shame her daughter as a cyber bully.
14/1/2014- Cara Schneider came under fire when she made her daughter, Hailey, pose for a photo with a handwritten note saying she was selling her iPod as punishment for her actions. She uploaded it to Facebook but it was later shared on the social news site reddit where some commentators accused her of being a bully by ‘humiliating’ her daughter. ‘This is terrible parenting,’ one person said. ‘This will only make her behave worse out of spite.’ However, Ms Schneider, from North Carolina, said she was forced to take drastic action as Hailey had refused to respond to other punishments such as performing manual labour or being grounded. ‘I’m not worried about the negative that has been said about her punishment,’ she wrote on her Facebook page. ‘I am her mother and I did what I thought was best given the circumstances. I’ve tried other punishments, and this fit the crime. I don’t regret a thing.’ Other reddit users supported her parenting choices, the Examiner reported. The iPod is to be sold to to raise money for the charity Beat Bullying.
© Metro UK
No Shame for Web Buyers of Infamous Adolf Hitler Nazi Tract
10/1/2014- Sales of the ebook edition of Adolf Hitler’s infamous Mein Kampf are surging, prompting concern from Nazi-hunters and those who track online hate. The late Nazi leader’s ebook memoir has hit the bestseller charts of Amazon and iTunes, claims Boston journalist Chris Faraone. He wrote that “more than a dozen free English-language versions of Mein Kampf have been downloaded in excess of 100,000 times from the nonprofit Internet Archive alone.” At the same time, sales of its print edition have remained stagnant for years, selling only a few thousand copies. Some have attributed the memoir’s ebook success to the privacy that the digital medium has afforded readers, noting that people might be embarrassed to read the book in public. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the of the Simon Wiesenthal Center says the surge might represent greater anti-Semitic trends globally. “It’s a little bit complicated,” he said. “The argument has always been that it’s a part of history and people want to know what Hitler said… but there could also be people with more than just curiosity but an ideological commitment to it.”
The intellectual curiosity of Western history-buffs might not be reason for concern, but according to Cooper, we don’t actually know where the ebooks are selling. And given the low costs and easy access, it’s likely that the books could be ending up in the hands of actual anti-Semites. “You have people all over the globe downloading it,” he said. In places like Germany, where the late Nazi leader’s memoir has long been banned, the internet has made the book not only widely accessible, but also very affordable. The memoir’s ebook version can be purchased on sites like Amazon for only 99 cents. Though many might read it due to historical interest, in some countries across Europe and the Middle East, Cooper claimed, the late Nazi leader has become a source of inspiration. “It’s a combination of many different ingredients, and I’m not particularly shocked,” he said.
© The Forward
The Turkish government plans to further tighten its firm grip on the Internet by monitoring user activity and blocking sites for "privacy violations." Activists are calling this a reaction to anti-government protests.
10/1/2014- Turkey's Family and Social Policy Ministry submitted a bill to parliament this week that would allow authorities to block specific websites and keep a record of users' Internet activities for up to two years. This represents the latest attempt of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to curb web freedoms. "Previously, there were a limited number of types of alleged illegal content that could be blocked in Turkey," said Yaman Akdeniz, a professor of law at Istanbul's Bilgi University. "For example, child pornography, obscene materials, gambling-related content, encouragement of suicide or encouragement of prostitution and escort websites," Akdeniz told DW. Akdeniz explained that now, the government is trying to extend this block to include violations of personal rights and also privacy.
"That could include defamation, for example," he said. If undesired videos featuring parliamentarians of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) were leaked, this new law could be used to block them. "They are going to argue that if it's not permitted by the person appearing on the video, it will be a violation of privacy," Akdeniz said. If for example someone were to hypothetically leak a video involving the prime minister, "certainly that video is going to be subject to a blocking order," he explained. This proposed law comes after Turkey has been hit by a huge corruption scandal, with Erdogan sacking hundreds of police officers and seeking tighter controls over Turkey's judiciary.
Strict controls since 2007
Turkey already has strict web controls in place. In 2007, a law came into force that banned YouTube for 18 months. In 2012, the European Court of Human Rights found the law incompatible with article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression. Activists estimate that currently, some 40,000 websites are banned in Turkey. According to data released by Google last month, Turkey is the country that has been submitting the highest number of requests to the search engine for removal of content. In the first six months of 2013, Turkey asked Google to remove 12,162 items - a tenfold increase compared to the previous six-month period.
Although the government claims it is protecting children from harmful content, activists say this is simply being used as a pretext. "They are using the 'save the children' card," Turkish Internet activist Ahmet Sabanci told DW. The government is attempting to justify its censorship as efforts to protect children from drugs, terrorism and the like, he said. But the government has actually been seeking to limit people from expressing their opinions on the Internet since last year's protest at Gezi Park - and in light of the corruption scandal that continues to brew, Sabanci said. Since the Turkish government already exercises a tight hand over Turkey's traditional media, they are now trying to gain control of social media platforms and blogs as well, he said.
Broad new powers
The new legislation would allow the government to store data such as IP addresses, activity logs and e-mail headers for up to two years. Akdeniz explained that the director of Turkey's Internet regulatory agency would be allowed to act immediately and unilaterally "in case of emergency." After 48 hours, those decisions would theoretically have to be approved by a judge. Under the new law, the government would also be allowed to block individual URLs instead of entire websites. "They can block one specific Facebook profile or just one specific Twitter user," Sabanci said. This would make censorship a lot easier, he added. Erdogan has publicly called social media a "menace to society." Internet providers would have to join a state-controlled association in order to continue doing business.
"And they are also going to be compelled to block alternative access to sites already blocked," Akdeniz said - which means that a number or all proxy websites would be inaccessible. Erdogan's AKP holds the majority in parliament, so passing this law is essentially "a done deal," he added. The Republican People's Party (CHP) warned that the AKP government was trying to put down the free press, as well as silence critical voices online. "They rather hurriedly chose to release this so-called legal regulation which is obviously in conflict with both [Turkish] and EU laws," CHP's Vice President Emrehan Halici wrote in a message to DW. The opposition warned the government after the Gezi protests not to take away people's freedom of expression, he added.
Move toward China?
Critics fear that Turkey is moving in the direction of censorship-savvy China. A spokesperson for AKP rejected such comparisons, saying "Turkey is not China and will never be like China in this manner." The spokesperson added that it should be possible to have "some laws about social media and Internet media." According to the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Turkey also continues its tough handling of journalists, having incarcerated 40 in 2013. Turkey is "a country that jails journalists in a greater absolute number than any country in the world," CPJ's Internet Advocacy Coordinator Geoffrey King told DW. By way of comparison, China imprisoned 32 journalists in 2013. Sabanci has vowed to bring another case to the European Court of Human Rights if the proposed legislation passes parliament.
© The Deutsche Welle.
Facebook has been accused of blocking scores of users from posting an innocuous image of two men kissing because it “violates” the social networking platform’s “community standards”.
31/12/2013- According to the administrators of the Have A Gay Day page, more than 100 users have been blocked from logging into Facebook and banned from posting photos for up to 30 days. In a statement, Have A Gay Day said: “The only thing visible was lips touching”. The photo has been posted numerous times in the past without problems. The caption ironically read: “Did this picture offend you? Did you ever think, maybe your opinion is offensive?” This is the message that the Facebook page administrators say that they were sent: We've Removed Something You Posted
In January 2013, Facebook apologised for deeming that a photograph of a mixed-race gay couple was “offensive”. Murray Lipp, the manager of the Facebook page for Gay Marriage USA, was told that he would be banned from posting content on the Gay Marriage USA page for a week after violating Facebook’s “policies and community standards”. The social networking platform eventually reversed the decision. PinkNews has approached Facebook for comment regarding its decision to ban users on the Have A Gay Day page.
© Pink News
28/12/2013- Google has deactivated the mail account of Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders following complaints that the anti-Islam politician was using it to spread anti Islam initiative. “Unbelievable; Google just blocked the account. It seems Mohammed Rabbae’s complaint was successful,” Wilders tweet was quoted by NL Times on Friday, December 27. Wilders’ was referring to the complaint presented by Rabbae on behalf of the National Council of Moroccans at Google that Wilders was abusing its service. Rabbae’s move followed many other complaints that were lodged against Wilders after he came out with his anti-Islam sticker a week ago; it read “Islam is a lie. Mohamed is a criminal. The Qur’an is poison.” The politician claimed the sticker was not meant as an action against Muslims. After Google’s move, Wilders launched a new account where people may order his sticker.
Wilders is notorious for his rants against Islam and Muslims. He has also called for banning the Noble Qur’an, describing the Muslim holy book as “fascist”. In 2008, Wilders released a 15-minute documentary accusing the Qur'an of inciting violence. Wilders’ visit comes amid tension in Australia over a recent protest by Australian Muslims against a US-made film mocking Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), which degenerated into violence.
© On Islam
Hours after leading internet provider TalkTalk apologised for blocking an LGBT charity’s website, it has emerged that the company’s porn filter is also blocking the Liberal Democrat’s official LGBT+ group’s website.
20/12/2013- The website is hosted on a subdomain of the Liberal Democrat’s website at http://lgbt.libdems.org.uk. YouTube user John Fraser has posted a video showing the website being blocked while connected to his TalkTalk broadband. Among the content blocked is a feature about Nick Clegg’s most recent article for PinkNews. Adrian Trett, Chair LGBT+ Lib Dems, told PinkNews.co.uk: “That the blocking of our own website shows that The “Great Firewall of Britain” is turning out to be the disaster many of us warned it would be. Reports are rife that these filters don’t block lots of porn, but do block legitimate support and health sites. As it turns out, it is also blocking our own political website, which has absolutely no content of this nature and therefore as feared. LGBT resources are targeted disproportionately, then ISPs are probably exposing themselves to legal challenge under the Equality Act too as well as possible criminal liability for blocking a political web site during an election period.” He added: “It is completely unacceptable and it is why at Liberal Democrat Conference in Glasgow, LGBT+ along with other interested parties referenced back any motion with regards filters because we knew the LGBT+ community would be disproportionately affected by these actions.”
Conservative Vice Chairman Michael Fabricant joked to PinkNews.co.uk “I can think of many reasons why I would like to block the Liberal Democrats, but I never guessed that hosting porn on their website might be one of them!” A TalkTalk spokesperson has confirmed that the internet provider is looking into why the Liberal Democrat website has been blocked. The Labour LGBT and LGBTory websites are not affected by the block. On Thursday, London Friend Chief Executive Monty Moncrieff told PinkNews.co.uk: “London Friend was informed today that access to our website has been blocked by the internet service provider (ISP) TalkTalk when using their safe-search filters. “For some reason it seems we’ve been classed as pornography! This was a concern we know many LGBT organisations had when the filter system was announced.” In response, a TalkTalk spokesperson said to PinkNews.co.uk: “Over 400,000 families have already activated our HomeSafe parental controls and they tell us they value having a free tool that helps them stay safer online.
“We are pleased other providers are now introducing similar systems. Sadly there is no silver bullet when it comes to internet safety and we have always been clear that no solution can ever be 100 per cent. It requires all of us to play our part. “We continue to develop HomeSafe and welcome feedback to help us continually improve the service. We apologise for these instances of incorrect categorisation. “This is why we have established really clear reporting mechanisms so that this can be addressed. We are working with our filtering partner to ensure we learn from these cases and continue to develop the service to reduce the risk of this happening.” In August, several LGBT charities called on the government to reconsider supporting mandatory default web blocking for ISPs as it could restrict legitimate access to non-pornographic LGBT websites – such as London Friend. Several ISPs, including TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin, introduced web filters this year ahead of David Cameron’s endorsement of the proposal.
But according to a BBC Newsnight investigation, as well as blocking access to several non-pornographic websites, on multiple occasions the filters have allowed access to pornographic websites – thus failing in their primary aim.
© Pink News
The Macedonian Orthodox Church, MPC, said it will review a ruling banning priests from using Facebook, which proved controversial.
16/12/2013- Macedonia's main church says it will review a ban on priests using Facebook and similar networking sites next year. “Having in mind the public reaction to the decision, we will additionally define ways in which this social network may be used,” the Macedonian Orthodox Church said. Instead of an all-out ban on Facebook, which met opposition from within the Church, it will in future advise clerics simply to use such sites with caution. A Church spokesman said all priests have already been urged to practice “reasonable” use of Facebook. The decision to ban clerics from posting on Facebook was announced in October by Bishop Petar of Prespa-Pelagonija diocese, who, on behalf of the Church, threatened clerics with penalties if they did not comply. “There are inappropriate things going on there... unworthy material, including pornography,” Bishop Petar explained. But the ban annoyed some clerics, including some of the bishops. Pimen, Bishop in charge of the European diocese, an active Facebook user, said the ban would impede with with young people. “We strive for better contact with believers, especially with the young. We wish to hear their thoughts. Why should we then drop out of Facebook?" he asked. Some saw the move as an attempt to silence voices within the Church that were active in commenting on social or political issues.
© Balkan Insight
A small group of Swedish investigative journalists helped expose thousands of anonymous commenters espousing online hate, prompting resignations and renewed debate, making the Research Group our pick for Swede(s) of the Week.
12/12/2013- On Tuesday, Swedish tabloid Expressen made waves with a report they had identified the people behind more than 6,000 anonymous accounts tied to a number of far-right websites. Among those outed were several members of the Sweden Democrats, one of whom resigned immediately, with Party Secretary Björn Söder warning that more members of the populist, anti-immigration party could be purged as a direct result of their racist and xenophobic comments. While Expressen received the lion's share of the spotlight for the report, the tabloid's revelations were only made possible by the efforts of the Research Group (Researchgruppen), a group of journalists who take seriously what its members call "the journalistic tradition of examining power". "We saw an opportunity to find the truth about who was leaving all these hateful comments," Martin Fredriksson, the Research Group's publisher (ansvarig utgivare) tells The Local. The group, which now consists of about 16 journalists, started to form in 2009 when working together on a story about the online activities of a convicted neo-Nazi after his release from prison.
Since then, the debate in Sweden about online comments and internet bullying has continued to flourish, further piquing the interest of Fredriksson and his colleagues. "There was this huge discussion going on about the impact of internet hate and how these comments were shaping the climate of debate in Sweden," Fredriksson explains. "But no one was really looking at who these anonymous commenters were." Work on the project that led to Expressen's articles this week began in earnest back in February 2013. Taking advantage of features provided by popular comment-moderation service Disqus, the Research Group started downloading user comment data from Disqus servers, something anyone can do.
"We wanted to perform a statistical analysis of the comments to learn more about how many comments people were leaving and what sort of comments they were," Fredriksson explains. But he and his colleagues soon realized that the comment data also included metadata that made it possible for them to find the email addressed linked to the accounts - in other words, not just to analyse the comments but find out who was leaving them.
The group then set to work focusing on comments linked to a number of websites linked to Sweden's far-right, although the researchers also obtained data on Disqus accounts from a number of other news sites that use the service. "The hate sites were interesting to us. We really wanted to reveal these internet haters and clear up the mystery behind all these anonymous comments," says Fredriksson. He adds that the Expressen reports have helped bring the group "out of the shadows". "For the first time we've become known to the general public," he says, welcoming the praise – as well as the donations – the Research Group has received in the wake of the reports. The group's financing is almost non-existent, says Fredriksson, explaining that "we have no money, so any money we get is big money". Much of the time he and his colleagues put into the Research Group is voluntary, with donations, lecture fees, and fees from news organizations who want to use the data as their only income, although he was unable to provide any concrete figures on the costs of the operation. "Our expenses are much higher than our income," he says.
The Research Group's grasp of how to find and utilize data has earned comparisons to the hacker heroine Lisbeth Salander of the famed Millennium crime novels by Stieg Larsson. "It's fun to be compared to an anti-hero like Salander. She does things her own way, and so do we," said Frediksson, who emphasizes that the Research Group doesn't engage in hacking to obtain data. The Expressen expose has also resulted in the Research Group being the target of various threats, as well as accusations that their work constitutes a violation of people's privacy. Fredriksson is quick to point out that it was Expressen, not the Research Group, which published the names of the people behind racist and hateful comments on the far-right sites. "These sites spread hate, reveal the identities of others, and advocate violence," he explained, agreeing that the hateful anonymous commenters now have to deal with getting a taste of their own medicine. "They shouldn't expect not to have to be faced with the consequences of what they've written," he says, while at the same time defending anonymous online comments in general. "They should be allowed. In many case anonymity is important. But nowhere does that mean people can express whatever they want like hate speech, threats, and slanderous accusations."
© The Local - Sweden
12/12/2013- The Chief Prosecutor’s Office has rejected critical remarks by MEP Tamas Deutsch, which suggested that Hungary’s law enforcement authorities have so far failed to ban “Nazi sleaze website” kuruc.info. Prosecution spokesman Geza Fazekas said that Deutsch’s charges, published on Wednesday, were not true and insisted that his office had initiated several procedures against the editor of kuruc.info, even after the US had turned down a Hungarian appeal to seize the website’s server, under stipulations ensuring the freedom of the press in the US constitution back in 2007. On his Facebook page, Deutsch, who sits as a Fidesz delegate in the EP, had said that kuruc.info was a daily humiliation to “all honest and well-wishing Hungarians”, and suggested that the website’s activities were undisturbed by Hungary’s authorities. He said that the website violated the constitution and other laws, and the prosecutor’s office, in its “appalling impotence” had been unable to identify the people managing kuruc.info. Deutsch also gave the prosecution 72 hours to crack down on the website and threatened a protest in front of their offices should they fail to do so.
© Politics Hungary
Singaporeans shared feelings of shock and disbelief at the events in Little India on Sunday night. Negative comments made their rounds on the Internet even before the riot was contained. But many other voices are calling for restraint, and at least one movement against racism has started online.
9/12/2013- Singaporeans shared feelings of shock and disbelief at the events in Little India on Sunday night. Negative comments made their rounds on the Internet even before the riot was contained. But many other voices are calling for restraint, and at least one movement against racism has started online. As events exploded in Little India late on Sunday night, questions and comments simultaneously flooded the online space. First reactions were shock, disbelief, and confusion. But soon, negativity and racism reared their heads, and they did not go unnoticed by netizens. Many others spoke up against what they called "stupid xenophobic remarks".
Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin was the first office-holder to call for calm online, and others including the prime minister soon followed. One day on, Little India returns to a semblance of normalcy, but the incident has gotten Singaporeans thinking. Paul Robson, an accountant, said: "I don't think it was very unexpected because foreign workers have tended to congregate in certain areas of Singapore." Patricia Lua, a homemaker, said: "Don't take it that... all these Indian workers, they come here to work and create problems. It is not (like that). But I believe everybody would feel upset if their loved one or their own people were knocked down by a car." Early Monday morning, a Facebook page called "SHUT Racism UP SG" sprang up, calling on Singaporeans to stamp out racism -- and it is steadily gathering likes. Another story is also making rounds: netizens are cheering a video of a man in a checkered shirt, seen in the heat of the incident trying to stop angry rioters.
© Channel New Asia