- Germans want greater state control of internet
- Website logs 158 reports of racism since summer (Ireland)
- Google breaks Dutch privacy laws, says data protection watchdog
- The Googlization of the Far Right
- Ministers will order ISPs to block terrorist and extremist websites (UK)
- Can virtual reality be used to tackle racism?
- Twitter User in Troms is Arrested on Racism Charge (Norway)
- Croatian ‘Fascist’ Chant Footballer Gets Facebook Support
- Twitter adds more security to thwart predators – and government agencies
- 'Norwegian racism' triggers Twitter storm
- The tweet that sparked a debate over racism in Norway
- Ukrainian video game has players kill Jews
- Italian police launch crackdown on neo-Nazi Internet group Stormfront
- Bay Area link to anti-Semitic website
- Anti Cyberbullying Video by YouTube
- Argentina anti-Semitism drops overall, grows online
- Hungary - on the commemoration day of the Kristallnacht - they are burning Jewish books again
- Online auction site eBay sparks outrage after Holocaust memorabilia items are listed for sale
- No action in migrant tweet probe (UK)
- Every day Dutch police check 200 threatening tweets
- Click ‘LIKE’ Holocaust denial
- A Clash of Cultures: Hate Speech, Taboos, Blasphemy, and the Role of News Media (report)
- Council of Europe calls for prosecution of online racist comments (Malta)
- Protesters: Facebook OK with anti-Semitic postings (USA)
- How the Web spreads anti-Semitism (opinion)
- French blogger sentenced, heavy metal musician indicted
- Norwegian neo-Nazi goes on race hate trial in France
- UN Day of Thematic Discussion: “Racist Hate Speech”
- Lampedusa, Racist Comments And Why Facebook Is Forever
- Romea.cz reports Facebook group "Gypsies to the Gas Chambers", Facebook sees no problem
- European ruling spells trouble for online comment
- Hundreds set to protest Facebook over anti-Semitic hate pages(USA)
- More than a million British youngsters being bullied online every day
- Twitter's Week of Reckoning
- YouTube Comments Are Finally Getting Better
- French man arrested for 'provoking' terror online
- Far-right trolls tweet rape, murder threats to French left-winger
- Social Democrat sacked over 'Negro' Facebook post (Sweden)
- Facebook Under Fire for Allowing Hate Speech Against Jews to Proliferate Online
- Racists take over Internet after new Miss America crowned
- Gay Man In Russia Apparently Raped By Vigilantes On Video
- EU to ban roaming charges, internet throttling
More than half of Germans want greater state control over websites, but about the same share are worried about surveillance of their own online activity, a survey on Tuesday revealed.
4/12/2013- Many users are concerned about the threats they face online, above all from computer viruses (72 percent), surveillance of their browsing activity (57 percent) and the misuse of personal data (50 percent), the survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute for the German Institute for Trust and Security in the Internet showed. But in a seeming contradiction, a considerable majority (61 percent) also believed there should be greater state controls on internet site providers, while 57 percent called for the German government to introduce stricter controls on website content. Moves have already been made in Germany to increase state control over the web – most notably through the introduction of German-only email systems.
In the wake of revelations on NSA data surveillance, many Germans switched to German email providers and demanded encryption. In October state communications giant Deutsche Telekom reacted by proposing a secure national email network, based on a data security initiative called "Email made in Germany". Other email providers GMX and Web.de joined Telekom’s initiative, ensuring that all data transferred between the three firms was encrypted and never left German servers. But Tuesday's survey showed that many people understood that individual countries could not effectively control the internet on their own. Almost 50 percent accepted it was impossible to effectively control the internet and its content.
“This shows a certain fatalism,” said director of the Allensbach Institute Renate Köcher. "Lots of people support state intervention but in practice are suspicious of internet surveillance. You have to recognize that people contradict themselves." The study suggested that Germans were more concerned by the online threat posed by companies than by the state. Two thirds of those surveyed complained about companies misusing personal data to offer internet users products they did not want. State control was only considered an infringement to personal freedom by 49 percent of Germans.
Internet users were particularly concerned about the exploitation of data because many were unaware how companies use their personal information. Köcher said firms should better explain how they use this information. But such concerns were outweighed by the internet’s many advantages, most people asked agreed, with the main positives being fast information, contact with other users and the ability to compare prices when shopping online.
© The Local - Germany
A website that logs reports of racism has said it has received 158 reports since it launched on Jul 11, including 22 reports of online racism.
2/12/2013- The site, iReport.ie, is operated by ENAR Ireland (Irish Network Against Racism) and sets out to log instances of alleged racism reported to it. Its first quarterly review is to be launched next month but initial figures indicate that the number of racist incidents it is told about exceeds the number of reports made to gardaí.
Of the 158 reports the site has received since it launched in July:
* 129 incidents involved interpersonal racism or racism targeted at an individual;
* 29 cases involved allegations of institutional racism and discrimination;
* 15 reports of the total 158 involved allegations of racism against Travellers;
* Nine cases involved alleged racism against Roma.
The data indicates 22 reports were made since July regarding online racism: 11 allegedly racist comments were made on Facebook, with seven claims linked to websites and message boards, and three of the reports made related to Twitter. One was an email. It is understood that one of the Twitter reports involved a comment made by World Champion racewalker Rob Heffernan. He subsequently apologised. ENAR director Shane O’Curry said under-reporting was still commonplace. “Only a small percentage of incidents are reported to Gardaí, usually less than 15% of incidents,” he said.
© The Irish Examiner
29/11/2013- The Dutch data protection agency CBP has accused internet service Google of breaking Dutch privacy laws with its revised privacy rules which were introduced in March. The CPB says Google has not made it clear enough to users what it is doing with all the information collected by various Google services and does not ask for their consent. ‘Google spins an invisible web of our personal data, without our consent. And that is forbidden by law,’ said authority chairman Jacob Kohnstamm in a statement. By combining information taken from its services such as Youtube, Streetview and its search engine, Google has access to sensitive information such as viewing habits, location and surfing behaviour. But Google has ‘has failed to put adequate safeguards in place to ensure the combining of data is strictly limited to what is necessary in the context of legitimate purposes and that the data subject’s right to protection of their privacy prevails.’ The watchdog has now invited Google to attend a hearing before deciding what action to take.
Read an English summary of the report
© The Dutch News
Google, the tech giant supposedly guided by its “don’t be evil” motto, has been funding a growing list of groups advancing the agenda of the Koch brothers.
28/11/2013- Organizations that received “substantial” funding from Google for the first time over the past year include Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union (best known for its CPAC conference), and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation that led the charge to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act: Heritage Action. In 2013, Google also funded the corporate lobby group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, although that group is not listed as receiving “substantial” funding in the list published by Google. U.S. corporations are not required to publicly disclose their funding of political advocacy groups, and very few do so, but since at least 2010 Google has chosen to voluntarily release some limited details about grants it makes to U.S. non-profits. The published list from Google is not comprehensive, including only those groups that “receive the most substantial contributions from Google’s U.S. Federal Public Policy and Government Affairs team.”
What Google considers “substantial” is not explained -- no dollar amounts are given -- but the language suggests significant investments from Google and, with a stock value of $330 billion, Google has considerably deep pockets. Google has a distinctively progressive image, but in March 2012 it hired former Republican member of the House of Representatives, Susan Molinari as its Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations. According to the New York Times, Molinari is being “paid handsomely to broaden the tech giant’s support beyond Silicon Valley Democrats and to lavish money and attention on selected Republicans.”
New "Substantial" Right-Wing Google Grants in Past Year
CMD examined the information released by Google for the years 2010 to 2013. The voluntary disclosures indicate that the following groups are either new grantees of Google since September 2012, or have been listed as having received a “substantial” Google grant for the first time:
American Conservative Union
Americans for Tax Reform
George Mason University Law School Law and Economics Center
National Taxpayers Union
R Street Institute
Texas Public Policy Foundation
Detailed information on each of these groups can be found at CMD’s Sourcewatch website.
Google Funding for Anti-Government Groups
Sen. Cruz, speaking at a Heritage Action event in August 2013Heritage Action, the tea-party styled political advocacy arm of the Heritage Foundation, is perhaps the most surprising recipient of Google’s largesse. More than any other group working to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Heritage Action pushed for a sustained government shutdown in the fall of 2013, taking the country to the brink of a potentially catastrophic debt default. Laying the ground for that strategy, Heritage Action held a nine-city “Defund Obamacare Town Hall Tour” in August 2013, providing a platform for Texas Senator Ted Cruz to address crowds of cheering tea party supporters. For Cruz, increasingly spoken of as a 2016 Presidential candidate, the government shutdown helped raise his profile and build his supporter -- and donor -- base.
Notably, Heritage Action received $500,000 from the Koch-funded and Koch-operative staffed Freedom Partners in 2012. It is not yet known how much Heritage Action received in 2013 from sources other than Google. Perhaps surprisingly, Google has a history of supporting Cruz. Via its Political Action Committee – Google Inc. Net PAC – the PAC provided the “Ted Cruz for Senate” campaign with a $10,000 contribution in 2012. Additionally, despite being five years out from the freshman Senator's next election, Google's PAC has already made a $2,500 contribution to the Cruz reelection campaign for 2018, the largest amount that the PAC has given so far to any Senate candidate running that election year according to disclosures made by Google. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), the anti-government group run by Republican operative Grover Norquist, was another new recipient of funding from Google in 2013. ATR is best known for its “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” and for its fundamentalist attacks on any Republican who might dare to vote for any increase in taxes. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, ATR received 85% of its funding in 2012 ($26.4 million) from the ultra-partisan Karl Rove-run Crossroads GPS, another dark money group.
ATR President Grover Norquist infamously said that he wants to shrink government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." Google’s position on the relative size of government versus bathtubs is not known, but according to a Bloomberg analysis of Google’s U.S. corporate filings, it avoids approximately $2 billion dollars globally in tax payments each year through the use of creative tax shelters. Bloomberg reported in May 2013 that in France alone Google is in the midst of a dispute over more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes that have been alleged. An August 2013 report by U.S. PIRG – “Offshore Shell Games” -- found that Google is now holding more than $33 billion dollars offshore, avoiding taxes on these earnings in the United States. National Taxpayers Union, headed by former eleven-year American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Executive Director Duane Parde, has a similar anti-tax, anti-government agenda, and it also received funding from Google in 2013.
Google Sponsor Event Honoring Justice Thomas
Google also recently sponsored a gala fundraiser in Washington DC for the Federalist Society, a network of right-wing judges and lawyers that includes Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas was the guest of honor at that event, for which Google was listed as a top-tier “gold” sponsor. Google names the Federalist Society on its list of groups receiving its most substantial grants in 2013. The company is also funding state special interest group operations. The Center for Media and Democracy, which publishes PRWatch, recently posted a major national report on the State Policy Network (SPN), a network of right-wing think tanks, with at least one organization in every state in the country. SPN groups typically promote a pro-corporate agenda, often at the expense of the interests of ordinary working people.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), which is part of SPN, also received money from Google in 2013. As Progress Now's state affiliate and CMD have documented, the legislative agenda promoted by TPPF includes opposing renewable energy, blocking access to affordable healthcare, and opposing state minimum wage laws. Google, which did not respond to a request for comment, may argue that it simply funds groups on both sides of the political spectrum, providing other grants to organizations that advocate on behalf of values more closely associated with the corporation’s progressive image. Since Google does not release details of all its grantees and the dollar amounts, it is hard to judge this, although they do disclose providing funding to some progressive groups including the American Constitution Society, People for the American Way and the NAACP.
Although Google has funded both "conservative" and "progressive" groups, it does not disclose the relative proportions given to each, beyond the superficial symmetry, and the degree to which the groups tilt to the right or left in their agendas. However, as noted by CMD's Executive Director, Lisa Graves, "there really aren't two proportionate sides to the facts about the climate changes that are underway, as to whether working people should be paid a living wage, and whether corporations should have to pay taxes just like working people do. By funding extreme groups on the right under the guise of a false equivalency, Google is enabling groups that seek to undermine government."
Google Membership in ALEC, Funding of CEI
Since CMD launched ALECexposed.org in 2011, revealing the complete agenda of that corporate front group that was secretly voted on by corporate lobbyists and state legislators behind closed doors, corporations have been running to escape association with the group. At least 50 corporations are known to have dropped funding since 2011, including Walmart, Coca Cola and Pepsi. Google – along with Facebook and Yelp – is bucking that trend having quietly joined in 2013. Google does not list ALEC as being a recipient of one of its largest grants, instead it separately names ALEC as an organization to which it has become a member.
There are many good reasons for brand conscious corporations to stay away from ALEC. For example, its legacy of Stand Your Ground gun laws and bills to make harder for Americans to vote, its work to repeal renewable energy laws and the ability of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, and its efforts to privatize almost everything, are just a few of its extreme measures. ALEC is a corporate funded lobby group, and the businesses that fund ALEC do so hoping to move a legislative agenda. An ALEC publication sent to corporate members in 1995, celebrated its legislative agenda to members as a “good investment”, stating clearly “nowhere else can you get a return that high.” As CMD's Lisa Graves has said, "It's a pay-to-play operation."
Google joined ALEC just this year, and stepped up funding to groups such as ATR, Federalist Society and Heritage Action in 2013, but under the radar it has been funding a handful of other right-wing groups for several years. In 2013 Google provided a reported $50,000 sponsorship check to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), another group trying to thwart efforts to address climate change, but it has previously funded “Google Policy Fellows” at CEI for several years, and has listed the organization as one that it has supported financially on its “transparency” pages for at least three years. Google states that its fellows “work closely with CEI scholars to research and promote innovative, pro-consumer solutions to the public policy challenges of the information age.” Whatever projects Google fellows end up working on at CEI, the Google brand is now tied to an organization that has a reputation strongly connected to the denial of climate change.
"Political spending for corporations is purely transactional. It is all about getting policies that maximize profitability," Bob McChesney told CMD. “So even ostensibly hip companies like Google invariably spend lavishly to support groups and politicians that pursue decidedly anti-democratic policy outcomes. It is why sane democracies strictly regulate or even prohibit such spending, regarding it accurately as a cancer for democratic governance." Professor McChesney co-founded the media reform group Free Press in 2002, and this year authored How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy.
The policies advocated by some of the Google’s grantees are in stark contrast with the progressive image that Google has worked to promote. It has publicly committed to invest more than $1 billion dollars in renewable energy projects, reduce the use of cars by its employees, power its offices with renewables and otherwise green its buildings. The contrast between these promises, and Google’s funding of groups that deny or challenge the reality of climate change – groups motivated by funding received from fossil fuel companies – has led several organizations to launch campaigns calling for Google to stop funding climate change deniers. Forecast the Facts has a “Hey Google! Don't Fund ALEC's Evil!” petition, and Sum of Us has a petition calling on Google to “never fund climate change deniers again." ALEC is holding its next conference in Washington DC from December 4th through the 6th. A Google lobbyist will likely be there, celebrating ALEC’s 40th anniversary alongside legislators and other lobbyists. CMD will report on the events of the conference through the week at PRWatch.org.
© PR Watch
PM favours model used to successfully police online child abuse, but broadband companies are wary of infringing free speech
27/11/2013- The government is to order broadband companies to block extremist websites and empower a specialist unit to identify and report content deemed too dangerous for online publication. The crime and security minister, James Brokenshire, said on Wednesday that measures for censoring extremist content would be announced shortly. The initiative is likely to be controversial, with broadband companies already warning that freedom of speech could be compromised. Ministers are understood to want to follow the model used to crack down on online child abuse. The Internet Watch Foundation, which is partly industry-funded, investigates reports of illegal child abuse images online; it can then ask service providers to block or take down websites.
The prime minister, David Cameron, is understood to favour a similar model for terrorist content. A government-funded body, possibly within the counter-terrorism referral unit, will order companies including BT, TalkTalk, BSkyB and Virgin Media to block websites, according to industry sources. "There are freedom of speech issues," said one source. "For extremist material the government needs to ensure there is a process in place to test what is illegal." Following the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, Cameron vowed to "drain the swamp" in which he said Islamic extremism was being allowed to breed. Action against websites inciting terrorist acts was one of a series of measures announced by the PM in June, with others including extremist groups on campuses and in prisons, support for madrasas promoting tolerance and helping mosques expel extremists.
Broadband companies and the search engines Google and Bing have already agreed to help police child abuse material, by blocking content and posting warnings and links to watchdogs and advice sites. From next year, all customers of the major broadband companies will be asked whether they wish to install filters that block violent or adult content. But broadband companies are reluctant to be labelled as the watchdogs of the web, and want to be sure they are following the law before agreeing to block material that some customers may feel entitled to access. "There is always a concern about mission creep," said a second internet service provider source. "When it comes to incitement it's not as clear cut as child exploitation. If there is a robust appeals process, that could potentially overcome some of those concerns."
An announcement on government action on extremist websites had been expected this week, but officials have not yet formally laid out their plans to broadband companies. Speaking at the Internet Service Providers Association conference in London on Wednesday, Brokenshire said an update was imminent. Policing the internet is shifting from a reactive process, where authorities are alerted to illegal content, to a proactive one, where public funds could be spent seeking out banned material. The Internet Watch Foundation is piloting a change in its methods that would see its agents actively search the peer-to-peer networks of the so called dark web to identify abusive images. Cameron is also pushing for a formal collaboration with the US on illegal online activity. On 9 December the UK policing minister and the US assistant attorney general will co-chair the first meeting of the taskforce to combat online child sexual exploitation crimes.
© The Guardian
It's an uncomfortable truth but scientists say most people have an ingrained racial bias. Now a team has shown that a short stint in a virtual world could reduce it, but could this have a longer lasting effect?
28/11/2013- Racism is an issue that still pervades many societies. In England and Wales, there have been 106 fatal racist attacks since the killing of teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993 according to the Institute of Race Relations. It also reports thousands of racist incidents recorded by the police each year. The issue is complicated by the fact that many biases are ingrained over long periods of time. Scientists have now found that this ingrained racial bias was reduced when participants were immersed in a virtual body of a different race.
To test their implicit racism, a team led by Mel Slater at the University of Barcelona gave participants what's called an implicit association test several days before the experiment. They were given the same test again after their experience in virtual reality. It was only the participants who had been placed in a dark virtual body that showed this decrease. Another unrelated study had similar results. A team found that when a dark rubber hand was stroked at the same time as the participant's own (out of sight) hand was touched, implicit racism subsequently decreased. This work was led by Manos Tsakiris at Royal Holloway University of London. Both teams say it's promising that two separate experimental settings show this effect.
It might be surprising to some white people that they show preference for white faces over black faces in the implicit test. This could be for a number of reasons, says Prof Slater. It doesn't mean someone is explicitly racist, he says, rather it reflects how their brain has been wired based on the society in which they grew up. If the media frequently reports negatively on a given "out-group", for example, then somehow the brain picks up these associations which are reproduced in the implicit bias test. He refers to virtual reality as an "empathy generating machine" to give people experiences they can't have in any other way.
The question remains whether or not these findings could ever be applied in the real world. Prof Slater believes they could: "If the effect is shown to be long-lasting this might provide tools for serious immersive games that attempt to foster pro-social behaviour and empathy," he argues. Prof Tsakiris agrees. He believes that achieving similar results could even be possible without an experimental set-up. "It's about the idea of sharing sensory experiences with people that might be different from you. This sharing - especially when there is some kind of synchronicity between people's bodies - it can bring people closer together. "Doing things with others seems to function as a social glue. The obvious thing would be to have no segregation in society, not to have any schools dominated by one ethnic group," Prof Tsakiris adds.
It is still unclear how long-lasting these effects would be. Prof Slater says this will be hard to pin down, but rolling the technology out into the real world in the first instance is a possibility. "It may be used to help people who have these implicit biases, to recognise they have them but also to reduce them." But Antony Greenwald, at the University of Washington in Seattle, says it's still too early to be optimistic because the negative associations measured by the implicit racism test "are pretty durable". "The best interpretation is that this makes some sort of temporary change in how a person represents the categories [of race]. "We live in a world in which we are surrounded by things that cause us to develop associations that produce stereotypes. It's like the air we breathe; we can't help talking it in," Prof Greenwald adds.
However, Ziada Ayorech, from King's College London says the research shows that a negative racial bias could be detuned over time and could even become positive. "When we think of something as implicit racial bias you think that it's already ingrained and there's nothing you can do, but in reality these studies show that by simply having people relate to someone with a different ethnicity - you can already change that. "New associations will be built. It's a stepping stone, for sure." But outside an experimental setting, tackling ingrained racism remains difficult, especially because it's hidden, says Neil Chakraborti, a criminologist at the University of Leicester who works with victims of racist attacks. "Precisely because it is almost impossible to label it as an offence, latent racism is rarely reported. You see people normalise these kinds of experiences; it's become a routine part of being different," he says.
This issue of prejudice is something Dal Babu feels he has experienced in the police force - an organisation he says should be representative of the society it aims to protect. He was one of the UK's top ethnic minority officers at the Metropolitan Police, and was critical of the lack of black and Asian recruits and how few were in senior positions. "The irony and most commonly quoted phrase by Sir Robert Peel (founder of the Met Police) is that the public are the police and the police are the public," he says. But despite his efforts, the majority of senior police officers "remain stubbornly white", Mr Babu adds. It's clear that there is no one simple way to tackle an issue as complex as racism. Until researchers find that reducing an innate bias can be reproduced and sustained, an awareness of it seems a crucial first step. And while
'Preconceived expectations of black culture'
by Ziada Ayorech
I moved from Uganda to Prince George, Canada - a really small town. I was the first black person that most of my friends had met. They had all these expectations of what black people are, what black culture is, and how a black person should behave. Biases are learnt from a young age and children are very inquisitive. I've had a child ask me, "do you have chocolate on your skin or are you dirty"; to which their parents react in horror, which is where the learning begins because the child sees that response. Instead, it's important to show children that I'm just from a different place. Opening up that dialogue will make a change.
Testing implicit bias
To establish an implicit bias, researchers ask participants to respond quickly to black and white faces paired with positive or negative words
An implicit bias is deduced if participants assign positive attributes more quickly to white faces and negative attributes to black faces
Harvard University's implicit association test indicates that most Americans have an automatic preference for white over black faces
Take the race implicit association test
© BBC News
The twitter user named @NegerJeger (Negro Hunter) was arrested by police on Friday in Northern Norway.
26/11/2013- The man, who is in his 20s, was arrested by Troms police on Friday. He is charged with violation of Penal Code section 135a, ie racism, writes TV 2 The man was questioned and released the following day. Last week, the twitter account had aroused strong reactions in Norway. The owner of the account has made declarations of support for terrorist Anders Behring Breivik in addition to racist and offensive twitter messages and images. In the field where the twitter user describes themselves, @NegerJeger writes, "# White Resistance Telling the truth about muslims / niggers / leftists." The profile picture is a drawing where Breivik kills African and Muslim children. The account also publishes racist messages about Muslims and people of African origin in Norway as well as supporting twitter messages for Anders Behring Breivik.
© The Nordic Page
Over 150,000 people have joined a Facebook group backing Josip Simunic, who was fined for leading a chant associated with the Fascist Ustashe movement at an international match.
25/11/2013- The Facebook group entitled ‘Support for Josip Simunic’ had gathered more than 155,000 members by Monday morning as some Croatians rallied around the defender who caused controversy by shouting “For the homeland”, one of the slogans of the Nazi-backed WWII-era Ustashe regime, after the national team’s World Cup play-off win over Iceland last week. “Anyone who does not like Croatia being a country of national awareness and patriotism can leave the country and go wherever he feels comfortable,” one comment on the group’s page said. Simunic was fined 25,000 kunas (3,200 euros) last week by the Croatian state attorney’s office in Zagreb for “spreading racial hatred”, while football’s world governing body FIFA has also begun disciplinary proceedings against the player. “Proceedings were opened against Simunic for his own behaviour and other proceedings were opened against Croatia for improper conduct of the spectators,” a FIFA spokesperson told the BBC.
The player has denied any intention to stir up ethnic hatred but has insisted that he is blameless. “Some people have to learn some history. I’m not afraid. I did nothing wrong. I’m supporting my Croatia, my homeland. If someone has something against it, that’s their problem,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. Slogans from the pro-Nazi regime in Croatia were also chanted at a match on Sunday night in Split, between Hajduk Split and Osijek. According to Croatian media, the home club could also get fined for this incident. Meanwhile a series of rights groups including the Civic Committee for Human Rights, Documenta and the Serbian Democratic Forum have called on FIFA’s disciplinary committee to show “zero tolerance”. “We strongly believe that, in the spirit of FIFA’s fight against racism and discrimination, it is crucial that this case is handled with great caution,” they said in an open letter.
© Balkan Insight
Company joins Google and Facebook in using 'perfect forward secrecy' to protect data of its 218 million users.
23/11/2013- Twitter has announced a significant increase in its data security as it moves to protect users from attacks by the "apex predators" of the internet. An internal team of security engineers has spent several months implementing "perfect forward secrecy", which adds an extra layer of security to the widely used https encryption deployed by banks online, by retailers and, increasingly, consumer web services. Google, Facebook, Dropbox and Tumblr have all implemented forward secrecy already, and LinkedIn is understood to be introducing it in 2014.
Users may not immediately notice any difference, other than a barely perceptible time lag as they use the service across desktop, mobile and through third-party services, but for Twitter the move asserts its credentials as a company fiercely protective of its users' data. That data includes not only messages that users choose to publish publicly, but also direct, private messages, protected tweets and data on what users say, who they comment on and who else they read. Collectively, large datasets, such as those of Twitter's 218 million users, can be analysed to identify connections between people, locations and interests. Announcing the new implementation, which has been running as a trial since 21 October, a detailed post on Twitter's engineering blog encouraged other sites to "defend and protect the users' voice" by implementing https and forward secrecy.
Documents released by Edward Snowden, a former contractor to the US National Security Agency, have shown that the agency and its affiliates are storing vast amounts of encrypted consumer data so that it can later attempt to decrypt it, either by accessing unencrypted data or by using specific court orders to force data owners to hand over the private SSL keys. But forward secrecy means data would still be secure, even if the agency obtained the keys to the encrypted data. First developed in 1992, perfect forward secrecy creates a new, disposable key for each exchange of information, which means the key for every individual session would have to be decrypted to access the data.
Twitter engineer Jacob Hoffman-Andrews said implementation on Twitter was complex because of its scale, which meant that extra work was done to ensure the process did not slow the site. He wants to encourage smaller sites to introduce forward secrecy and said it could take just two weeks to implement. "We are trying to create a new norm for what it means to be a secure website," he told the Observer. "It makes it harder for anyone attempting a large-scale cryptographic attack, but this is not just about the NSA. There's more than one apex predator on the internet, including terrorists and groups outside of government – anyone well funded could use the same techniques."
Fellow engineer Jeff Hodges said Twitter's policy of asserting its users' right to privacy marked it out from other services, and that the Snowden revelations had an impact inside the company. "It was a surprise, and it inspired a lot of work," he said. "There's a gap to be bridged between what developers know to be the correct thing to do next, and that becoming policy at companies so that they invest the time to make it happen. But that process is percolating up."
Chester Wisniewski, senior security adviser at software security firm Sophos, said that several mainstream consumer sites have moved to improve security of user data in the wake of the Snowden revelations, but doubted that the move was due to consumer demand. "This is good news for Twitter users," he said. "Not many companies of this scale are using perfect forward secrecy and this is good news for privacy advocates. Even if Twitter is compromised or compelled by a government to disclose its private keys, user communications that were intercepted on the wire will remain safe."
Wisniewski said that the technical community is exploring how to establish web standards that will make encryption of web traffic a default. He said: "Most of the movement towards improved security and privacy is long overdue. For a couple of years, Google redesigned parts of its networks to offer https encryption for all of its services, and Yahoo! announced it will begin using [the secure protocol] https everywhere it can from 2014. The public pressure is welcomed by those of us who are concerned about the privacy of the average individual. It is simply unfortunate that it took a leak like this for companies to do the right thing."
© The Guardian
Norwegians with ethnic backgrounds have flooded Twitter with personal stories of racism after a 23-year-old medical student tweeted a moving post with the hashtag #Norskrasisme.
19/11/2013- The hashtag, which means "Norwegian racism", became the country's most trending topic on the micro-blogging service on Monday, according to the Twitter monitoring service Trendinalia. Warsan Ismail, a 23-year-old medical student of Somali origin, said she had never expected such a response when she started the tag. "I'm as surprised as everybody else," she told The Local. "I suppose that many people with minority backgrounds realized that they had an opportunity to share their stories." Ismail wrote about how she had returned from nursery school to find her mother surrounded by police. The family's neighbours had set their dogs on her, before hurling racist abuse at her. "Luckily, the severe incidents are very rare," she said of racism in the country. "But I've experienced a lot of non-severe incidents, especially when people are a bit drunk when they get out of the subway and start asking where you come from. Just because you're drunk doesn't mean you can get racist." She said second generation immigrants like her generally found it easier to get by in the country. "I'm lucky, I'm young. I'm fluent in Norwegian and I've lived here all my life. But my impression is that the less time you've lived in Norway, the less fluent you are in Norwegian, the more often you will meet prejudice." She said that the response showed that Norwegians were not afraid to discuss the problem of racism in their country. "What's surprising is that many people who are ethnic Norwegians also shared stories from people in their circles who have uttered racist comments."
© The Local - Norway
A simple tweet from a university student of Somali origin in Norway has triggered a big debate in the country over racism.
22/11/2013- It started with a tweet. On Sunday evening, medical student Warsan Ismail began to list a series of everyday examples of racism she and her family have experienced in Norway. She began with the story of how, when she was just five, her neighbours set a pair of dogs after her mother. In 140 characters, she continued with anecdote after anecdote - each one tagged with the hashtag #norskrasisme, or "Norwegian racism". Within minutes, many others tweeted similar stories. By the end of the evening, it was one of the top trending terms on Twitter in Norway. Ismail was soon interviewed by major newspapers and on Norwegian TV. To date, there have been more than 6,000 tweets using the hashtag - and it's still on the up.
"I love my country, I wouldn't live anywhere else but Norway - but still this is an issue we need to debate," says Lubna Jaffery, a former Norwegian politician of Pakistani descent, who also joined the Twitter discussion. An example she gave was when a woman called her and her three-year-old daughter "disgusting" as they were getting off a bus. There are laws in Norway against racism in the workplace, she says, but "on a bus or in the street you don't have any chance to defend yourself". "We have a self-image that we are post-racist, or above racism in Norway," says Gunnar Helliesen, an IT specialist who has tweeted 22 times using the hashtag. Helliesen feels particularly attuned to the subject as his wife is Caribbean-American. Norway is not necessarily more racist than a country like the US, he says - but when there is racist abuse in public, Americans will pipe up, while Norwegians tend to look the other way.
Some of the tweets using the hashtag have been from white Norwegians, expressing concern about the level of immigration. A few have been quite inflammatory. Ismail told the BBC that she is delighted the issue of racism is being debated, but for now, she wants to step out the limelight.
+ "Several times, I've experienced people making monkey noises and comments about my skin colour on public transport late at night" - Warsan Ismail via her account @somalieren
+"When they called me the n-word in kindergarten and told me we were going to make n-word buns #scaredtodeath5yearold #norskrasisme" - @nyamburaah
+"The problem with #norkrasisme is our absolute certainty that there isn't a large problem, and thus that it isn't worthy of debate" - @andersskyrud
© BBC News
In online ‘Nationalist simulator,’ users strafe the motherland’s ‘enemies,’ including Jews, gays, Russians, Americans and communists
21/11/2013- If you were a kid between the late 1970s and the early ’90s, chances are you’ve played Space Invaders, while the more adventurous among us have also tried Papers, Please. Now, a Ukrainian website features a throwback to those games with one that challenges players to defend the motherland against Ukraine’s enemies: gays, Russians, Americans, communists and Jews. Egged on by occasional chants of “Kill, kill!” in English and an unrelenting stream of invective in Ukrainian, players move a small Ukrainian flag icon armed with an AK-47 and fire on successive waves of targets. The objective of the game is to shoot the rainbow flags, Russian flags, American flags, red balls and Jews, who are represented by orange circles adorned with yarmulkes and sidelocks. If you let too many enemies pass by unscathed, the game, titled “Nationalist Simulator — Defend Ukraine,” is over. One Twitter user remarked that no matter how hard he tried, he found it impossible to defeat the unending wave of Jewish icons in the game. A Russian Twitter user asked, “God, why had no one come up with this amazing game?” Another Russian Twitter user called it “a masterpiece.” According to information about the site on Wolfram Alpha, the website’s servers are hosted in Berlin, Germany.
© Times of Israel
14/11/2013- Italian police launched a widespread operation against the neo-Nazi Internet hate organization Stormfront. On Thursday, police searched the homes of 35 people aged 17-51 in more than 20 towns and cities up and down the Italian peninsula on suspicion of spreading ideas on the Internet “based on racial and ethnic hatred and incitement to commit acts of discrimination and violence for racist and ethnic reasons.” Police also uncovered weapons and a swastika flag in the home of a man in Mantova, and they confiscated at least one anti-Semitic video, according to reports.
“This is a dangerous organization under an ideological profile that finds its roots in a historical period that apparently seems distant,” prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo told a news conference. “We must deal with the ideological extremism that is stirring in Europe.” Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, issued a statement expressing “warm thanks” to the forces of order for the “massive” crackdown. Thursday’s operation came one year after another widespread operation against Stormfront in which police blocked the Italian version of the group’s website and arrested four people on charges of inciting racial and ethnic hatred and anti-Semitism. They also raided the homes of 17 others, confiscating fascist and neo-Nazi material.
© JTA News.
14/11/2013- There's been a disturbing upsurge of extremism and anti-Semitism recently in the former communist country of Hungary. A political party called Jobbik, which rails against immigrants, Gypsies and Jews and whose rallies are protected by a black-clothed militia called the "New Hungarian Guard," is the third-largest in the Hungarian parliament. Verbal abuse directed at Gypsies, "foreigners" and Jewish Hungarians is commonplace, on the streets and the Internet. A website whose domain is registered by a Healdsburg businessman, and whose server is listed in San Francisco, has quite a bit to do with it. Kuruc.info, described by Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban as a "focal point of Hungarian anti-Semitism," regularly disputes the Holocaust ("Holohistory," "Holoparasites"), organizes hate campaigns against Hungary's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and Roma communities, and last year published photographs, home addresses and phone numbers of demonstrators protesting outside the Budapest home of an accused Hungarian Nazi collaborator, Laszlo Csatary, who sent thousands of Hungarian Jews to their deaths in World War II.
The website, whose writers and editors are in Budapest, is registered in the United States by Bela Varga. Varga, 50, was well known around Healdsburg, having worked for a couple of Napa Valley wineries. He once owned a shop on Healdsburg's main drag, the Red Paprika, which sold imported foodstuffs and other Central European items. That was until stories about his relationship to Kuruc.info began appearing in the local press last year. The Red Paprika closed, and Varga has been rarely heard from since. "He was a really nice guy," said Edie Bradley, who works at the B&B Lounge, next door to Varga's former store. "But it seemed he wasn't getting the traffic." "Oh, the Nazi guy," said a waitress over the road at Bear Republic Brewing Co., when asked whether she knew Varga. No one answered the door at his last known address in Healdsburg this week. Phone calls and e-mails were not responded to on Wednesday. A call to a cell-phone number I had been given was answered quickly with a "wrong number."
In September, Varga, who came to the United States from Hungary in 1988, acknowledged to the Healdsburg Patch that he had registered the Kuruc.info domain and opened a bank account for the website as a favor to friends. "I helped them out in 2008, when the government closed them down and they couldn't open a bank account," he said. Varga said he had nothing to do with the site's content but allowed that some of its writers "leaned toward Nazism. In a healthy society," he added, "we have to tolerate differences." Others have questioned Varga's hands-off assertion, pointing to reports that Kuruc.info offered a $340 bounty for every demonstrator outside Csatary's house courtesy of "our Comrade Bela Varga who lives in America." Varga registered Kuruc.info with Domains by Proxy, a company that specializes in anonymous domain registration. The server, according to IP Tracker, belongs to CloudFlare, a website performance and domain-name server company in San Francisco. Questions to the 3-year-old company about the server and whether CloudFlare is aware of Kuruc.info's content did not receive a response on Wednesday.
But why does a Hungarian website need to be registered and have its server located in the United States? The official answer: Hungary outlaws Holocaust denial and other forms of hate speech, which therefore cannot be transmitted from there. "To avoid the measures of the Hungarian government, (Kuruc.info) fled to the United States and has been conducting disgraceful activities from there. If this problem were to be resolved, then the Hungarian forces of anti-Semitism would be severely weakened," explained Orban in a letter to Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., last year. Yet, Kuruc.info's offices in Budapest appear to operate quite openly, as do other purveyors of hate and Holocaust denial, including a member of the far-right Jobbik party (with which Kuruc.info has very close ties), who recently called on the government to compile a list of Jewish members of parliament who pose a "national security risk." "I'm so terribly angry at the Hungarian government for doing so little," said Eva Balogh, a former professor of East European history at Yale University, who writes the Hungarian Spectrum blog.
Orban's comments about Kuruc.info were part of a response to a letter from 50 U.S. lawmakers, including Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, to come out more strongly against the activities of Jobbik and the extremist policies it espouses. "This kind of despicable hate speech denigrates, intimidates and scapegoats minorities in Hungary and has no place in any society," said the letter. Well said, but some attention closer to enablers at home might also be in order. Although there are no equivalent hate and Holocaust-denial laws in the United States, Facebook did its part in July, quietly removing Kuruc.info's page, which had 70,000 followers, after receiving complaints from the Anti-Defamation League and other organizations. "It violated our standards on hate speech," said a Facebook spokesman.
© SF Gate
13/11/2013- Cyberbullying awareness video #DONTRETALIATE marks the beginning of our global education and awareness campaign for all forms of cyberbullying. We will be continuing the campaign with a series of communications activities designed to focus on several key areas of advice and guidance, all aimed at different areas of the problem. The film imparts an important and compelling message to not retaliate when being cyberbullied through the harrowing story of a young girl who becomes the target of online bullying, a story that has become all too common in recent times. In fact during production of this short film, there were three cyberbullying related suicides in the UK alone.
We hope that this powerful film will be well supported and reach the people that need it most, with it's simple yet potentially life saving message of don't retaliate when being bullied online. Do not retaliate is the single most important piece of advice that we can give any victim of cyberbullying. If followed, this advice can help reduce anxieties and allows for clearer thinking at a time when somebody is making a very real, life or death level decision. If this film saves one life, it has all been worthwhile. We would like to thank everybody involved with this film including the actors/actresses, production company Rattlingstick, BozBoz Digital Agency and The Digital Fairy, we couldn't have done it without you guys!
© JTA News.
9/11/2013- This call was published on several extreme-right movement websites today:
“On November 9th 2013, we will organise a targeted attack against the forces of darkness! All over the country at eight o'clock tonight, flickering flames will light up and we will continue our fight with the power of light for a better world and a better life! Be a fighter for the truth! Collect the poisonous items of your life and cremate them on the Purification Night! Immoral, pornographic publications, brochures promoting abortion, hateful banners and all objects which carry the Zionist spirits, GET RID OF THEM! We will burn all publications, objects that have been disparaging our life, our people and our nation, and perverted and humiliated our culture and our past.”
The call says that the action will take place all over Hungary at 8 PM. Hungarian source: http://jovonk.info/megtisztulas-ejszakaja
This is a shocking reminder of the hate-filled groups that infect and threaten the fabric of society. We urge everyone to continue commemorating the victims of the Shoah, to stand up against all elements of hate, and to ensure that the world never experiences such horrors again. We further call on the Hungarian authorities to take action against the spreading anti-Semitism and racism in the country.
Read about the Kristallnacht
Read about the Hungarian extreme-Right
Get involved with the No Hate Speech Movement
EBay has since apologised and removed some 30 items of memorabilia relating to the Nazi Holocaust from sale
3/11/2013- The hugely popular online auction site eBay has sparked outrage after a British newspaper found 'dozens' of items related to the holocaust listed for sale on the website. EBay has since apologised and removed some 30 items of memorabilia relating to the Nazi Holocaust from the site. The company has also made a donation of £25,000 to charity. According to the Mail on Sunday among the items listed on site was a uniform said to belong to a Polish baker who died at Auschwitz. It was on sale for £11,200, the paper said. Other items listed included a toothbrush, said to have belonged to a concentration camp victim, and Star of David armbands that were used to mark out Jews for persecution. Within hours of being alerted to the listings the site had removed them from sale and said it was conducting an immediate investigation.
The auction site uses a filter system to screen out unsuitable items, however, the screening process had apparently failed to detect these items. In Germany, France and Austria the sale of holocaust memorabilia is illegal. It remains legal in the UK. In a statement a spokesman for eBay said: "We are very sorry that these items have been listed on eBay and we are removing them. We don’t allow listings of this nature, and dedicate thousands of staff to policing our site and use the latest technology to detect items that shouldn’t be for sale. We very much regret that we didn’t live up to our own standards. We have made a donation to charity to reflect our concern." Approximately six million Jewish people were killed in acts of genocide during World War II. They were murdered along with Soviet prisoners of war, Polish and Soviet civilians, Romany Gypsies, disabled people and homosexuals.
© The Independent
A councillor who tweeted to say a violent revenge film showed how "immigration issues" should be dealt with will not face prosecution.
30/10/2013- Danny Mayzes was suspended from Tendring District Council's Conservatives and faced a potential criminal investigation over the remark. He tweeted "now that's how you DEAL with immigration issues lol" after watching a film called Machete. An Essex Police spokesman said no action would be taken. "Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, there will be no police action taken against a Clacton councillor who conveyed views on Twitter about immigration," the spokesman said.
Mr Mayzes, 25, from Clacton in Essex, has since deleted his Twitter account. "I sent the tweet, there's no denying that," he said. "It's a hands up thing, a silly mistake. "Of course, I regret doing it. It wasn't a very sensible thing to do and doesn't reflect my character. I feel buoyed by the many comments from people who have said that." He became Tendring District Council's youngest chairman last year but stood down from the role in May. The council's Conservative group ruled on Tuesday that Mr Mayzes should remain suspended from the party until the new year. The party found that Mr Mayzes was in "breach of sufficient group rules" for his suspension from the party to continue.
Peter Halliday, leader of the council's Conservatives, said: "It was therefore formally proposed by myself and agreed by the group that councillor Danny Mayzes would remain suspended from the group until next year. "It was further agreed - with the agreement of Danny - that he would refrain from Twitter and Facebook for the same period of time." Mr Mayzes added: "I will hopefully come back as a better councillor who clearly understands the repercussions of silly errors. The lesson to young councillors out there is that technology can be dangerous. It's a new thing and it can come back to bite you." The council declined to comment.
© BBC News
31/10/2013- Every day some 35,000 threatening Tweets are sent in the Netherlands and 200 are so serious that the police take a closer look, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday. Someone is arrested or given a warning about a threat made via social media almost on a daily basis, says Martine Vis, interim Rotterdam police chief and responsible for social media within the national force. 'You used to have to buy an envelope and write a letter and then post it,' she said. 'Now you type in a couple of words and make a threat. It is very easy and it happens a lot.' Many are teenagers but others are members of interest groups or 'radicalised' individuals. For example, last week two teenage girls were called in for a chat with the police after posting a tweet threatening to blow up a school chemistry lab, the Volkskrant says.
Blow up the school
The police define threatening tweets as ones which involve threats of violence against a person, building or a posession, such as 'I'll kill you' or 'I'll blow up the school', the Volkskrant said. Between four and five million tweets are sent every day in the Netherlands and some 40 officers are constantly monitoring them for threats. They include experts in slang. Outside experts are also brought in to clarify definitions and words, including those in foreign languages. The 10 regional police forces now have a special system known as a Real Time Intelligence Center which couples tweets regarded as threats with other information such as whether or not the sender is known to the police. Once this has been established, the police decide whether or not to take action.
© The Dutch News
Our message to Facebook should be clear – if you’re not taking it down, you’re endorsing it. If you’re endorsing it, you’ll be held accountable.
By Ido Daniel
30/10/2013- The annual conference of INACH-International Network Against CyberHate, an international umbrella organization which brings together NGOs involved in the combat against cyber-hate directed at minorities, was held last week in one of Uppsala University’s halls in Sweden. The meetings weren’t supposed to make headlines. However, the speakers, all representatives of respected organizations, began weaving a disturbing cross-sector picture regarding the dimensions of hatred being spread on the Internet. Students from France and Sweden told how it is to get up every morning and find dozens of hate messages and death threats in their Facebook inbox. Reports from other parts of the world revealed what was already known: Facebook is becoming a hothouse of incitement against ethnic and religious groups, women, homosexuals and others. For example, in the Czech Republic there’s a Facebook page calling to “Gas the Gypsies” which is operated undisturbed.
During all the sessions, there was one woman who sat and listened impassively to these remarks. She is the person responsible in part for the user policy of the popular social network. She later explained the company’s strict principles regarding the manifestations of hate and incitement, and the need to protect Facebook’s users. Facebook’s anti-hate “reporting wars” are well known. No Jew or Israeli has not encountered this anti-Semitic phenomena and tried to report it, only to encounter a virtual brick wall, since such things don’t violate Facebook’s user policy. When it was time to take questions from the crowed I got up and asked the Facebook rep a simple question: Why does Facebook pointedly ignore reports of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial on its own website? As an example I started reading out loud a random post Facebook refused to remove a few days ago claiming it didn’t “violate the community standard on hate speech”: “Do you know how dangerous the Jews are? How much power they have in banks, governments and food industry? People of satanic rituals, pedophiles, rapists and murderers, sacrifices of non-Jews victims for Passover,” etc.
Further, the poster has also written a well-known Holocaust denial argument, which states that the Jews sacrificed the Holocaust victims during WWII in order to get global sympathy. The woman’s reply shocked the crowd: “Facebook’s policy allows content of Holocaust denial because it is a legitimate historical debate.” Since I was still holding the microphone, I displayed on my tablet screen one of the vilest images on Facebook, comparing Auschwitz children with Palestinian workers at a checkpoint. “Does this one look legitimate as well?” I yelled at her. In recent report, The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) situated in Australia confirmed that Facebook has become the main distribution method for anti-Semitic incitement and racism worldwide. To add to the embarrassment, OHPI stated that Facebook does not really understand anti-Semitism and has trouble recognizing some very wellknown types of it. The result is tens of thousands of pages and profiles daily spread even greater amount of disturbing hate speech.
Under the guise of Facebook’s policy and atmosphere, no wonder that the very existence of Nazi death camps and gas chambers has become a “legitimate academic discussion.” However, Facebook will soon discover that choosing to ignore this can cost it dearly. A few days ago hundreds of people gathered outside the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California, to demand a strong and uniform policy against anti-Semitism being distributed on the social network. Last year, The Union of Jewish Students in France took Twitter to court in a lawsuit worth $50 million that stunned the new-media world. The reason: allowing anti-Semitic incitement against the French Jews under the hashtag #UnBonJuif (“A good Jew”). The union retracted the suit after Twitter agreed to transfer to the French government personal details of the agitators. A few months later France witnessed what happens when hate is pumped out of computer screens when a terrorist attacked a school in Toulouse, killing Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two oldest children Aryeh and Gabriel, and eight-year-old Miriam Monsonego. During the murders, the terrorist wore a webcam so he could publish the videos online.
Our message to Facebook should be clear – if you’re not taking it down, you’re endorsing it. If you’re endorsing it, you’ll be held accountable. Recent history has proven that hate does not stay on computer monitors, but goes out and collects its human victims. Not-so-distant history teaches how indifference to hatred can cause catastrophe.
The author is the Program Coordinator of the Students Combating Online Anti-Semitism Program in The National Union of Israeli Students.
© The Jerusalem Post
Freedom of expression: the right to say what you want and what you believe, no matter how much others might disagree or be offended
By Jane Sasseen, freelance editorial consultant who has worked with a number of major non-profit and media organizations in recent years.
3/10/2013- To most Americans working in media–indeed, to most Americans–there are few more fundamental rights. The ability of individuals to openly speak their minds is a core principle not only of American journalism, but also American democracy. Even when speech is insulting or disrespectful to others–speech that might run a foul of hate speech laws throughout Western Europe or be banned outright in much of the rest of the world–it is generally permitted in the United States. But the rise of the Internet and the instantaneous global communications it enables have raised a host of new questions about how to handle hate speech and other potentially offensive speech when it can be seen by audiences in other countries that do not share those values.
As the violence that occurred when the video Innocence of Muslims was widely disseminated in the Islamic world in late 2012 demonstrated, different countries and cultures have wildly divergent standards for what content is acceptable to air. In much of the West, the film was seen as the work of an obvious crank: offensive, but hardly worth noting. In many Muslim countries, however, it was taken as a grievous insult and led to days of rioting, more than 50 deaths and many more injuries.
Governments throughout the Islamic world sought to ban the video, some of them successfully. The furor set off an intense international debate on freedom of expression versus the rights of countries or communities outside of the United States to restrict speech that they consider offensive. In many cases, content that is permissible to publish in the United States or other Western democracies is strictly off-limits in other countries–either legally, or simply due to cultural or religious sensitivities–yet it is readily available online. In other instances, governments have tried to ban locally created content that allegedly violates national laws, only to be stymied when the U.S. technology companies whose platforms house the material have refused to comply. “This is a borderless issue; what is acceptable in one culture may be anathema in another,” said Daya Kishan Thussu, professor of international communication and co-director of the India Media Centre, University of
Westminster in London. “These disagreements are growing, and they are not going away. Read the full report
© the Center for International Media Assistance
Report highlights case of Facebook user who was convicted in 2011 for using racist expressions online.
18/10/2013- A report by the Council of Europe's Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has highlighted, inter alia, the lack of any co-ordinated attempt by the Maltese authorities to monitor online discussions for cases of incitement to hatred and violence, and recommends an "an independent body" empowered to impose sanctions in cases where racist language is used. No actual examples were provided in the report published Monday, which was limited to the pre-December 2012 scenario. However, the CoE report alludes to anonymous interlocutors who allege that "most racist comments made online, particularly comments to news articles, go unpunished". "ECRI notes that... there have been very few investigations opened for breach of the criminal law provisions in force against racism... Article 82A [which stipulates prison sentences for incitement to racial hatred] has been applied only once in 2008 in the context of a judgment against Norman Lowell, head of a political party called Imperium Europe [sic]".
The report also highlights the case of a Facebook user who was convicted in 2011 for breach of Article 6 of the Press Act, for having used racist expressions online. Two other reports are currently being investigated by the police. For all this, ECRI criticises the fact that "there is no authority which monitors comments on newspaper websites made in reaction to their articles". As a result, "it is not infrequent that comments to articles reporting on migrants, asylum seekers and refugees express racist views or use racist discourse". The CoE report therefore recommends the adoption of legislation to "suppress public financing for those parties whose members are responsible for racist acts", and to set up new structures (or amend existing ones, such as the Broadcasting Authority) in order to clamp down on racist discourse in the media.
Also issued as an appendix to the report was an exhaustive, point-for-point reply by the Maltese government. In response to the above calls for legislative amendments, government issued a stark, one-liner reply to point out that "the House of Representatives determines its programmes and procedure without interference from outside bodies". Elsewhere in its response to the CoE report - issued on March 20, 2013, three weeks after the election - the Malta government complained that many of the individual points had been based on intelligence acquired from 'anonymous sources'. Among the issues highlighted by the report are claimed incidents of racially motivated violence, exploitation of vulnerable persons by employers, and alleged cases of mistreatment associated with detention.
The findings at a glance
Exploitation: The CoE report confirms earlier findings that exploitation of foreign workers remains rife. Citing a study published by the General Workers' Union, the report notes that "many of these workers [i.e., refugees, persons granted humanitarian protection and immigrants] continue to be employed in the informal economy and are exploited by their employers, particularly in the construction sector. The report cites allegations that individual migrant workers were paid only 25c for a full day's work, when they had been promised €25. In many cases, such workers are routinely denied access to the same conditions enjoyed by regular employees, and basic health and safety standards are often disregarded. Government's reply was to point towards subsidiary legislation 420.07, which contains safeguards against exploitation. "It is therefore considered that this recommendation is already being implemented".
Racially-motivated violence: The report reiterates earlier findings that 29% of respondents to a survey (all immigrants from Africa) claimed that they had been victims of racially motivated assault. An estimated 50% or more of such cases are not reported to the police. The response by government was to question the source of such complaints: the ECRI report cites the 2009 EU-MIDI report, which relies on dubious methodology, and on anonymous sources. Discrimination in conferment of citizenship: ECRI pointed out that Malta's Citizenship Act leaves a large margin of discretion in decisions on naturalisation, and also there is no right to appeal. "Under Article 10 of the Citizenship Act, a person seeking naturalisation 'may' be granted citizenship if the authorities are satisfied that she or he, amongst other requirements, is of a good character and would be a suitable citizen of Malta." ECRI noted that these two criteria leave a very wide scope of appreciation to the authorities and are not based on objective and measurable criteria. On its part government 'took note' of these observations.
No discussion: ECRI also decried the fact that Malta has so far stopped short of discussing racism in Parliament, although the report acknowledges that discussion has taken place in other fora. Moreover, ECRI argues that a national action plan against racism and xenophobia was developed, but never been adopted or published by the authorities. Government however rebuts such criticism: "In their interventions relating to migration and asylum, government officials already raise awareness in relation to the human rights dimension. Moreover, information is provided on the circumstances leading to the arrival of asylum seekers in Malta and other countries."
© Malta Today
17/10/20013- A small group of activists accusing Facebook of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism online staged a protest outside the social media giant’s Menlo Park headquarters on Oct. 14. The protest was organized by Michael Mendelson, a 45-year-old electronics salesman from Miami who has been working for two years to get Facebook to remove pages and groups he believes are anti-Semitic or hateful against Jews and Israel. In an email, Mendelson said he received support from the Zionist Organization of America and Stand With Us, and that “over 400 attendees” had signed up online and would be at the protest. The actual number was about 15. Mendelson claims he collected 112,000 signatures on a petition he presented to Facebook, and his “Help Report Hate & Anti-Semitic Pages” Facebook page has been liked more than 12,000 times.
“It all started when I saw a Facebook page called “F-ck Israel,” he said. “Since then, I’ve been reporting hateful page after hateful page, but even if one gets taken down, it pops right back up in no time at all.” The son of parents he termed Holocaust “refugees,” Mendelson accuses Facebook of practicing a double standard: carefully removing content that is hateful toward gays, blacks, and other ethnic and minority groups, but blatantly allowing material that is virulently anti-Jewish to stay visible in newsfeeds. Those who showed up to the protest waved blue and white signs with messages such as “Facebook=Hatebook,” “Social Media Holocaust” and “Demand Facebook take anti-Semitism seriously.” Phillip Pasmanick said he traveled from his home in northern Israel to support Mendelson’s efforts. Retired from the Israel Defense Forces after 30 years, he now runs an Israel advocacy website. “I, too, have worked for a long time to fight anti-Semitic pages and have alerted others about them so they can help me get the links taken down,” he said. Pasmanick, who wore a large Israeli flag as a cape, blamed Facebook’s algorithms for allowing hateful material to stay online.
Matt Steinfeld, manager of policy communications for Facebook, refuted Pasmanick’s claim. “An individual reviews each reported page and measures it against the standards on Facebook’s community standards page,” he said. With 1.2 billion users and 3.5 billion posts per day, Facebook maintains that the only “scalable way” to handle complaints is through its online reporting protocols, and by engaging with community organizations to address various concerns. One of those community organizations is the Anti-Defamation League, which said in an official statement that it is “routinely in contact with the leadership at Facebook to raise concern about anti-Semitic and other problematic content published to their pages.” While the ADL does not always agree with Facebook on what constitutes inappropriate speech and thinks the company could do even better in making its site a hate-free zone, it said it has found Facebook to be a willing partner in responding to problematic material brought to its attention.
“One good example involved a Facebook page created by a virulently anti-Semitic Hungarian group that was conveying direct threats and inciting violence against Jews,” said Todd Gutnick, ADL’s director of media relations and public information. “While Facebook does not remove every page we have called to their attention, they often remove specific content on those pages that crosses the line.” As for protests like the one at Facebook headquarters, Gutnick said, “We do not believe they are an effective tactic, and we do not support them.” The individuals holding signs up outside Facebook headquarters disagreed. “It’s up to us to do something,” contended Jody Ferrill, who traveled to the protest from Sacramento. Although he doesn’t discount the work of the ADL and other like organizations, Art Liberman of Palo Alto thinks the direct protest approach is needed, as well. “Only direct action brought the American public’s attention to the atrocities that were happening to Jews during the Holocaust. It’s history repeating itself,” he said as he tried to get Facebook employees to read his sign as they drove their cars into the company’s parking lot.
All the protesters said they had seen anti-Semitic content on Facebook and felt the time had come to do more than just report it online. “I reported a comment, posted on a Jewish news page, wishing that Hitler would return,” protester Joanna Zimmerman of Sunnyvale said. “I was very disappointed when Facebook said it found nothing wrong with the comment.” Masha Merkulova of Redwood City said she came to the protest on behalf of the members of Club Z, a Zionist program for high school students on the Peninsula she coordinates. “It’s the teens who brought these anti-Semitic and anti-Israel pages to my attention,” she said. “They asked me why Facebook wasn’t doing anything about it.” She said couldn’t answer the teens’ question, but she did tell them that she was going to try to do something about the problem.
© Jewish Weekly News
By Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
Editor's note: Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's book "The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism," was just published by Little, Brown. A former Harvard professor, he is also the author of the "Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust."
18/10/2013- Anti-Semitism, arguably the most enduring and murderous ethnic prejudice in human history, has always adapted to the prevailing social, political and technological conditions. In our global age of international flows and world politics and communication, anti-Semitism has become global, and it is in no small measure due to digital technologies: the Internet and satellite television. Anti-Semitism now reaches vast parts of the world where there are no Jews. And the people who rely most on the Internet, the young, are the most innocent and susceptible to believing the prejudices they come across. Digital technology has become a game changer for anti-Semitism, and for prejudices and hatreds in general, including against African-Americans.
Never before has prejudice toward Jews been so widely present around the world in places where the hated people are present and especially where they don't even live, as a Pew Global Attitudes Survey of 24 countries reveals. Jews form .2% of the world's population, with the vast majority in just two countries, Israel and the United States. Yet in Europe, where Germans and many other Europeans slaughtered 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, a shocking amount of anti-Semitism still exists.
Across the Arab world there is almost uniformly poisonous anti-Semitism, including instances of Arab leaders, imams, and ordinary people saying that Jews are the children of apes and pigs. More amazing is that in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia, anti-Semitism is widespread. Fifty percent of Brazilians, 43% of Nigerians, and 55% of Chinese surveyed by Pew said they had an unfavorable opinion of Jews, even though in Brazil Jews form .05% of the population, and in the other countries there are barely any Jews at all. Even in the United States, where anti-Semitism is lowest among major countries, according to the Anti-Defamation League's index of anti-Semitism, "15 percent of Americans fall in the most anti-Semitic cohort."
Digital technology has critically contributed to the explosion of anti-Semitism in five ways:
While before a person had to be personally exposed, through people or perhaps a book, to vile characterizations of Jews, today anti-Semitism is prominently available everywhere anytime -- to those seeking it out or to the innocent person just looking for information. Typing "Jew" into Google or Bing returns a top site (sometimes No. 2) called JewWatch, which is a vast emporium of anti-Semitic accusations and hatred claiming 1.5 billion pages in support of its mission to defame and eliminate Jews and their supposed power. This is but one of tens of thousands of anti-Semitic hate sites, which include a growing alternative to Wikipedia, called Metapedia, which seeks to create (currently in 18 languages) an anti-Semitic informational universe.
Second, while before new anti-Semitic accusations and initiatives traveled slowly if at all, today they can spread like wildfire over entire regions or the world, picked up by news or community websites coursing through the Internet and beamed to viewers on national, regional, or international television networks. This can be true of blood libels such as that Jews harvest Palestinian organs, of alleged plots to conquer and colonize Patagonia, or--more routinely--false accusations of Israeli atrocities. It is true of the frequent speeches by political and religious leaders urging the annihilation of Jews.
Third, you now have for the first time international and virtual communities of anti-Semitic hatred. Through digital technology, anti-Semites find validation from and communion with anti-Semites elsewhere in their own countries and around the world. Everything we know about prejudice shows that when it is shared in communities, and especially when political or religious leaders openly express hatred of a group, such bigotry is powerfully sustained and spread.
Fourth, the Internet and digital technology has integrated different streams of anti-Semitism into a global anti-Semitic amalgam. Muslim anti-Semites adopt anti-Semitic Christian motifs (to win Christians to their cause), regularly depicting in speeches and political cartoons the Palestinians as the modern crucified Christ! Leftist anti-Semites, neo-Nazi anti-Semites, old fashioned Christian anti-Semites, and, of course Arab and Islamic anti-Semites share common cause in their demonization of Israel.
Fifth, digital technology has also lifted all anti-Semitic restraints. With the anonymity of the Internet, and with the total lack of anti-Semitic inhibition coming from the Arab and Islamic worlds -- its commonplace demonizing and dehumanization characterizations of Jews and calls for the extermination of Jews around the world -- what anti-Semites say and see as thinkable action goes well beyond, in ferocity and murderousness, even Nazi Germany's profoundly anti-Semitic discourse. Not just the Jews of Israel but Jews everywhere are endangered.
Digital technology has transformed anti-Semitism into an essential part of the substructure of prejudice around the entire world. To become inundated with it, all you have to do is, innocently or not, enter the word "Jew" into your browser, and then start clicking. But this surge in anti-Semitism also shows the way to combating it, by using legal means and political pressure to get Internet providers, social media sites and search engines to adhere to their own terms of usage, and to the laws of democratic countries -- especially forceful in Europe -- which prohibit hate speech.
18/10/2013- In a trial last week, a Paris criminal court sentenced the French blogger Boris Le Lay to eight months in prison and gave him a $670 fine for posting material that “incites discrimination, hatred and violence against Jews” on websites he administers, according to French daily Le Telegramme. Additionally, he is to pay $2,000 in damages to associations he had targeted, the court ruled. Prosecutors in Correze in southern France indicted a 40 year-old Norwegian heavy metal musician named Kristian Vikernes for inciting hatred and other charges linked to his alleged anti-Semitic and xenophobic blog posts. The trial was set for June 2014 after his lawyer asked for more time to read documents and prepare his defense, the BBC reported on Thursday. In Norway, Kristian is a well-known neo-Nazi and former associate of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian militant who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.
© JTA News.
Neo-Nazi writer and musician Kristian Vikernes, who has been convicted of murder and of burning churches in his native Norway, goes on trial in France Thursday, accused of glorifying war crimes and crimes against humanity.
17/10/201- A Norwegian neo-Nazi accused of inciting racial hatred is due to go on trial in France on Thursday. “Black Metal” musician Kristian Vikernes was arrested in July in France's central Corrèze region on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks after his wife, a licensed gun-owner, bought shotguns and other weapons. He will be tried for “provoking racial hatred” and “glorifying war crimes” after police found allegedly anti-Semitic and racist material on his computer and his blog. He is also charged with “glorifying crimes against humanity”, for which he could face up to five years in prison. Vikernes, who was released on police bail after his arrest, has stated that he will attend court in order to “defend Europe against Judeo-Christianity”. He accuses Christians of being the “worst destroyers of culture, tradition, peoples and races” while calling for a return to a “pagan Europe”.
Vikernes, 40, is known in his native Norway as a black metal musician who set fire to churches and killed rival musician Øystein Aarseth in 1993. After his release from jail in 2009 he moved to France where he became a self-styled “survivalist”. Intelligence services suspected Vikernes of sympathising with Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who murdered 77 people in a shooting spree in Norway in 2011. Vikernes admits that he downloaded Breivik’s ‘manifesto’ but has written that he disapproved of the mass-killer’s actions. “He’s very clear on this,” his lawyer Julien Fressynet said when Vikernes was arrested. “There is absolutely no link between him and Breivik.” Vikernes himself claims he is victim of a “campaign of terror at the hands of the [French] Socialist government” targeting him and his family. He has vowed to sue the French state.
© France 24.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (hereafter, ‘CERD’ or ‘the Committee’) is to be commended for the sense of vision and purpose that it has shown in organising a Thematic Discussion on “Racist Hate Speech”. This represents a determined attempt to engage frontally with a particular, virulent strain of hate speech. Racist hate speech shares many of the characteristics of hate speech simpliciter. It is, for instance, a vexed notion. It means many things to many people and inevitably some of those meanings are contestable and contested. It is also a recalcitrant notion. Neither the term nor the types of expression it denotes are likely to go away in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, racist hate speech is, politically - speaking, a highly - charged notion. There is notable divergence across constitutional, legislative, political and socio-cultural approaches to racist hate speech at the national level. Such divergence can prove frictional in particular circumstances (e.g. high-profile controversies with a transfrontier character) or contexts (e.g. the drafting of the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (hereafter, ‘ICERD’)
Link: De nieuwe General Recommendation
Link: McGonagle's paper: 'The troubled relationship between free speech and racist hate speech: the ambiguous roles of the media and internet' (pdf)
© INACH Research
It only takes two minutes to gather enough material to make a person squirm or provoke them to pick up the phone to call a lawyer. Two minutes to see that racism flourishes not only on the fringes but also in the heart of our societies, in the minds of philosophy students and doctors.
11/10/2013- A quick scroll through the comments on many newspapers’ Facebook pages before they’ve been moderated reveals racist messages posted on almost every article about the Lampedusa disaster and the more than 200 people who died. All you need is a Facebook name and a few minutes on a search engine and you can often find someone’s address, telephone number, level of education, membership of various clubs, dates for presentations and much more. It’s not difficult to refine your search. There are websites that specialize in searching social networks, while Facebook and Twitter themselves offer tools that allow users to apply highly specific information filters.
It’s a paradoxical phenomenon. On the one hand, users make their profile settings as private as possible so that no strangers can see what they do and like. On the other hand, these same users post inflammatory comments on the Internet that are available for virtually all to see. For example, there is the doctor who objects to refugees because he thinks they are all Islamists who oppress women. Or the atheist who posts a rigorous and thoughtful discussion about whether the state must remain strictly secular. But when he writes about the refugees killed in the Lampedusa disaster, his primary concern is that the political left will exploit the tragedy for its own ends.
There is also the former philosophy student — now a teacher — who writes texts and gives detailed presentations about racism. He often meets and helps migrants in his daily life. But on Facebook he writes that refugees are potential enemies of the state who may find it difficult to adjust to German culture and sooner or later express their grievances through violence.
In your permanent file
These examples are just a taste of the wide range of prejudiced or unsavory comments on the Internet. They are the kind of statements that are sometimes uttered over dinner or at the pub. But many people don’t seem to consider the fact that the virtual world retains permanent traces of these comments and doesn’t differentiate as to whether the writers have thought long and hard about the subject or simply poured their rage out over the keyboard. On Facebook a person’s comments are forever linked to their name.
The way Facebook is set up gives many users the impression that they are not being watched. The profile page is a clearly defined space where each user can decide how much he or she wants to give away. Comments are only partly public: Although other people can read them, they are not collected together and are soon enough lost in the sea of content. In 2012, however, it became clear what happens when the profile page set-up is altered. Facebook introduced the new timeline function, which allowed users to scroll down and view historical comments and actions as well as the exact date when they were posted, right back to the moment when the account was set up.
Shortly after this change, Facebook users suddenly began complaining that their private messages were being published on their timelines. There was no proof, however, and Facebook strongly denied the claims. It is far more likely that users had simply changed their social networking habits and that before the introduction of the timeline they had interacted more openly and freely. “Impression management” — i.e., can my boss see the pictures from that weekend party? — was not yet a concern. Facebook is continuing to refine its search function with the “graph search.” In the future it will be possible to generate more exact results and search through comments to see what friends are saying. This means that all comments will be collected and ordered. For the moment, Facebook comments remain a jumble. But never forget that they are visible.
© World Crunch
7/10/2013- The Czech administrators of the Facebook social networking site must really like racism. How else can their refusal to close a group named "Gypsies to the Gas Chambers" ("Cíkáni do plynu") be explained? News server EuroZprávy.cz was the first to report on the issue. Another Facebook group making fun of racism was promptly taken down by the Czech administrators after complaints. The full name of the group is "Gypsies to the Gas Chambers! Fags!" ("Cikáni do plynu !buzeranti!"). It is set up as a "closed" group with only six members. EuroZprávy.cz reports that some of the members are publishing openly racist commentaries. User "Wilson Gabriela" is one of them. Her own Facebook page includes the following commentary (our translation): "I don't tar you all with the same brush I don't mind gypsies but their behavior that's why I don't tar them all with the same brush but I would throw them all into one giant gas chamber, I know that what I am writing here is what everyone thinks but no one says out loud..."
When the page was reported by other users for its hate speech and symbols, administrators refused to remove it. According to the administrators, the material does not violate Facebook's rules. News server Romea.cz also reported the page as hateful and received the following response: "You have reported the page "Cikáni do plynu !buzeranti!" for containing hate speech or symbols. The group has not been removed." Facebook has, on the other hand, repeatedly removed the pages of the satirical group "Stop Czechs" ("Stop Čechům"). That group attempted to use humor to point out the dangers of racism and xenophobia by showing Czechs what it would be like to be a minority, but the administrators believe that page is an example of racism and xenophobia.
10/10/2013- An alarming judgment has been issued by the European Court of Human Rights that could seriously affect online comment threads. The judgment in the case Delfi AS v Estonia suggests that online portals are fully responsible for comments posted under stories, in apparent contradiction of the principle that portals are “mere conduits” for comment and cannot be held liable. Further, the unanimous ruling suggests that if a commercial site allows anonymous comments, it is both “practical” and “reasonable” to hold the site responsible for content of the comments. The ruling concerns a case against Estonian site Delfi.ee. In 2006, Delfi ran a story about a ferry operator’s changing of routes. This story lead to some heated debate in the comments thread, with, according to the judgment “highly offensive or threatening posts about the ferry operator and its owner”.
The owner sued in Estonia, and in 2008, a court found Delfi responsible for defamation. Delfi appealed on the grounds the the European eCommerce Directive suggested it should be regarded as a “passive and neutral” host. The case eventually ended up in Strasbourg. Today’s ruling contains several alarming lines for anyone who runs a website with comments. For example, the court suggests that:
Given the nature of the article, the company should have expected offensive posts, and exercised an extra degree of caution so as to avoid being held liable for damage to an individual’s reputation.” This is curious: any moderator will tell you that controversial comments can appear in the unlikeliest of places.
The judgment goes on:
The article’s webpage did state that the authors of comments would be liable for their content, and that threatening or insulting comments were not allowed. The webpage also automatically deleted posts that contained a series of vulgar words, and users could tell administrators about offensive comments by clicking a single button, which would then lead to the posts being removed. However, the warnings failed to prevent a large number of insulting comments from being made, and they were not removed in good time by the automatic-word filtering or by the notice-and-take-down notification system.”
This seems to suggest that Delfi’s attempts to make to filter vulgar content and remind commenters of their liability have actually been used against them. Even the reporting system is not enough for the court. Perhaps most worryingly, the judgment delivers another severe blow to online anonymity:
However, the identity of the authors would have been extremely difficult to establish, as readers were allowed to make comments without registering their names. Therefore many of the posts were anonymous. Making Delfi legally responsible for the comments was therefore practical; but it was also reasonable, because the news portal received commercial benefit from comments being made.”
It is difficult to see how any site would allow anonymous comments if this ruling stands as precedent. This would appear to be truly troubling judgment for website operators and moderators. The ruling is not yet final and may be subject to further review.
© Index on Censorship
4/10/2013- Over 400 people have said they will participate in a live protest at Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters at 10 a.m. on Oct. 14, according to an email sent to Examiner.com Thursday by David R. Usher, president of the conservative Center for Marriage Policy. The protest, according to organizer Michael Mendelson, was sparked by Facebook's refusal to remove anti-Semitic hate pages aimed primarily at Jews, Jewish Americans and supporters of Israel. In an article at tlvfaces.com, Mendelson said that while Facebook routinely monitors and removes pages targeting gays and African-Americans, the social media giant has turned a blind eye to pages that attack Jews. "Ironically," Steven Alan Green wrote, "the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is Jewish himself."
In response to the onslaught of anti-Semitic pages, Mendelson created "Help Report Hate & Anti-Semitic Pages" in an effort to fight fire with fire. The page currently has over 12,000 supporters and describes itself as a "a boulder rolling down the hill, picking up speed, getting bigger and bigger and bigger." “Just as there is only so much one can do to supervise their children’s use due to technology, you can’t stop these hate groups," Mendelson said. "They keep popping up like cockroaches or weeds. Fortunately for the African American or Gay American, when enough people complain to Facebook, the pages are red-flagged and removed. All we’re asking for is the same respectful treatment towards the Jewish People, and implore Facebook to remove anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate pages. It’s astonishing to me they still exist and flourish on Facebook. And, it’s something that parents of young teens need to be made aware of. Our children’s minds are precious and should be protected from such poison, whether it’s a personal or racial or religious attack. They are, after all our children.”
Mendelson told Examiner he doesn't believe Facebook fully understands their site is being abused to foment hate. Moreover, he said, the issue is one of life and death. "Just as more than one unfortunate and confused teenager who committed suicide as the result of hate pages targeting them on Facebook, hate pages targeting minority groups do hurt individuals in equal measure. Targeted groups are made up of individuals. Allowing vitriolic and targeted hate group pages such as 'F*#k Israel' to stay up online is nothing less than a bureaucratic abomination. We want them taken down immediately. This is our message to Facebook,” he said in a statement issued in late September. “As far as I’m concerned, this is nothing less than an online Holocaust," he added. "Let’s do something before it’s too late.”
Mendelson's protest is scheduled to take place one day after another -- somewhat noisier -- protest being planned by the patriot group Truckers to Shutdown America. That group, upset with seeing their page taken down after administrators posted "Godspeed" and "God Bless America," announced in September it plans to hold a convoy at the company's Menlo Park office from Oct. 11-13. Mendelson believes that by allowing the hate pages to remain live, the social media site has effectively given a "de facto endorsement of anti-Semitism," which he calls "a shame for Facebook.” “Until changes are implemented, Facebook will be known as ‘ShameBook,'" he told Examiner. "We’re confident once they pay attention, they will do the right thing.”
© The Examiner
Charity behind survey calls for thorough regulation of social network sites
2/10/2013- More than a million young people are subjected to extreme online bullying every day in Britain, according to the biggest survey of internet abuse. The explosion of social networking sites means seven out of 10 13-22 year-olds have now been cyber-bullied, a survey by the national anti-bullying charity Ditch The Label has found. The growing problem now affects an estimated 5.43 million young people, with girls and boys equally likely to be targeted. Facebook was the most common place for it to occur, with young people twice as likely to be bullied there than on any other social network. More than half of its users said they had been victimised on the site at some point, compared to 28 per cent of Twitter users and 26 per cent of those on Ask.fm.
More than 10,000 young people were asked about their experiences of abuse over the internet and asked to rate its severity. One in five said they experienced bullying every day at a level which they rated eight or more out of 10. Liam Hackett, who founded the anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label after being a victim of bullying himself, said: “Historically bullying went on in the classroom and it stopped when you got home, but now there’s no escape for young people.” He added: “Cyber-bullying is seriously damaging the self-esteem and the future prospects of young people and is an issue we cannot afford to overlook. Social networks have a moral obligation and a duty of care to their users to implement tight mechanisms of flagging and reporting systems for cyber bullying, although we all have a responsibility and an opportunity to help fix this.”
The results follow the deaths of two teenagers over the summer who were bullied over the internet. Hannah Smith, a 14-year-old schoolgirl who was found hanged at her home in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, after apparently suffering months of internet abuse on social network Ask.fm. Daniel Perry, 17, from Dunfermline, Fife, killed himself after footage recorded on Skype was used to blackmail him. Helen Goodman, shadow minister for Culture, Media and Sport, with a responsibility for media reform, said: “Cyber-bullying is a horrible new problem facing some of our teenagers. It is vital that adults, including companies and the Government, take responsibility for making sites safe. She added: “We have repeatedly called on the Government to introduce legislation to deal with this epidemic of cyber-bullying, but David Cameron is failing to stand up to the internet giants. Over a million young people in the UK face extreme cyber-bullying each day and in recent weeks we have seen the tragic deaths of two young people as a result. How can there be a stronger call to action than that?”
Ditch The Label believes the Government needs to make social networks more thoroughly regulated to protect young people from further abuse. Mr Hackett said: “There needs to be greater governance of social networks. Especially with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, we feel there should be greater legal obligation to do an annual external audit which would tell us how much abuse had been reported and what the response had been.” More than two thirds of those who completed the survey, which was circulated on the teenage social network website Habbo Hotel, were British. Of the rest, 4 per cent were Australian, 12 per cent were from the USA, and a small number were from elsewhere. The results give an indication of the global scale of the problem. Ian Rivers, a psychologist and professor of human development at Brunel University, said that better education was needed to deal with the problem. “If so many young people are experiencing this then there must be a degree of reciprocation. I think we need to teach ‘netiquette’ in schools because learning how to communicate with each other properly is a really important way to prevent bullying.”
The children’s counselling service ChildLine is appealing for more volunteers to help work on its online support team as it struggled to cope with the demand from distressed young people on the internet. Some 59 per cent of contacts from children are now online – rather than on the original phone line – and the charity says it needs more volunteers to man computers. ChildLine carried out 4,507 counselling sessions with children and young people who were concerned about cyber-bullying in the year to 2013, an increase of 87 per cent in a year. The Government updated its bullying guidance to schools in July, so that teachers can have specific powers to confiscate mobile phones or other devices that might be used in cyber bullying.
Responding to the research, Facebook pointed out that all its users have access to reporting tools they can use to block others and report things that make them uncomfortable. A spokesman for the website said: “We don’t tolerate bullying on Facebook and that’s why we provide the best tools and support in the industry for people to report bullying to us or to someone else who can help them.” A Government spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has called for responsible behaviour from website owners. The Government expects all social media to have simple mechanisms for reporting abuse, to take actions promptly when abuse is reported and to make it easier for users to turn off anonymous posts. “Through the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, the Government is challenging social networking sites to improve their reporting procedures and safety features.”
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “The best people to help schools deal with bullying are the experts – that is why we have given almost £3m to Beatbullying, the Diana Award, Kidscape and the National Children’s Bureau to provide state-of-the-art anti-bullying – including cyber bullying – materials and support for schools.”
Case study: ‘The bullying made me extremely depressed. I tried to take my life’
Becky Owen, 22, from Honiton, Devon, was cyber-bullied as a teenager
I was around 14 when it started. I joined Bebo and I put up a picture of myself at a relative’s party. I thought ‘Oh I look nice in that, I’ll share it with friends’. A girl from school commented underneath and said ‘You look really ugly, you skanky bitch’. I didn’t realise I hadn’t adjusted the privacy setting and people from school who already bullied me started sending me messages saying I was a ‘dirty skank lesbian’ who needed to sort my life out. “I was too scared of them to say anything, but I changed my privacy settings. That didn’t stop them though. Instead, they created fake profiles and added me on the site. I didn’t have many friends so I thought it would be nice to have a few new ones to talk to, but then it would turn out to be them.
“I was insecure about my sexuality and came out to someone I thought was my friend, but she told the girls who were bullying me and then they did it more. I told my head of year and the ringleader was suspended, but in the end I had to leave the school because the other girls were still being mean. “It made me extremely depressed. I self-harmed and I attempted to take my life a couple of times. I still struggle with depression and now when I get a Facebook message, I still have a fear that it will be horrid. I’ve moved around the country a lot because since those bullying days I find it really hard to settle and trust people.”
© The Independent
One major social media service isn't keeping up with its peers in dealing with designated terrorists.
1/10/2013- The Westgate mall siege by al-Shabab has once again raised red flags about terrorist use of social media thanks to the al Qaeda affiliate's brazen use of Twitter to promote its attack and threaten Kenyan civilians, during and after the bloody massacre. Twitter stepped up its game in response to al-Shabab's live-tweeting in support of the attack, showing more resolve against terrorist abuse of its service than ever before. But its efforts still fell well short of an ideal response, and in the wake of the crisis, the social media service has returned to studied indifference about the content posted by its users, allowing threats of further violence against Kenyan civilians by al-Shabab, after a brief crackdown during the crisis itself. That's a mistake. Twitter has suspended at least four accounts used by al-Shabab since Sept. 1, but none of the suspensions was initiated by the company. Each followed at least one abuse report, and in some cases, Twitter did not act until multiple reports had been filed -- despite headlines blaring about al-Shabab's use of its service.
Twitter made no visible effort to stop the single user behind these accounts, despite the existence of tools that should allow it to do so. While complete interdiction is likely impossible, Twitter has a suite of tools that it uses very aggressively to target spammers and that could be applied, perhaps with modification, to a designated terrorist organization in the midst of a lethal attack. Twitter has devoted substantial resources to stemming the flow of sex spam on its network. It should devote a fraction of that energy to its growing terrorism problem. Since the attack ended, Twitter has scaled back even its minimal efforts, failing to respond to multiple abuse reports and once again allowing the Somali terrorist group to issue threats of violence that it clearly intends to fulfill. All of this suggests that Twitter is more concerned about bad publicity than creating a safe, coherent online environment. Once the headlines stop, the attention stops.
I sent the company a list of questions about its broad policy on terrorist content. A spokesman named Nu Wexler responded, "We don't comment on individual Twitter accounts, for security and privacy reasons." I wrote back and pointed out that none of my questions pertained to an individual Twitter account. Nu never got back to me. This lazy, tone-deaf approach might fly for a private company, but Twitter recently announced it will hold a public offering of stock. Future shareholders may not be as indifferent about the problems created by the company's lax policing of violent content. Twitter's policies on violent and terrorist content are light-years behind those of industry peers Facebook and YouTube. While those social media services are far from perfect, both offer reporting tools that make it easy to flag terrorist content, and both take a proactive approach to the problem, aggressively seeking out offenders and crafting terms of service that provide significant latitude for dealing with terrorist abuses.
In contrast, Twitter allows violent terrorist users without any discouragement written into its terms, allowing designated terrorist groups -- including self-professed and legally designated al Qaeda affiliates in Somalia, Iraq, the Maghreb, and Syria -- to establish "official" accounts (often announced to reporters in email blasts from known spokesmen) that accrue substantial numbers of followers over long durations, all while chronicling their terrorist activities. Designated terrorist groups still use Facebook and YouTube, but they don't maintain official accounts over long periods of time because Facebook and YouTube don't allow it. Twitter makes it easy, so that's where you find the official terrorists.
Twitter may imagine itself a global public square and a champion of free speech, but it's a business operating under American laws, which prohibit knowingly providing services to designated terrorist organizations. The gap between Twitter's practices and industry standards is large enough to raise the specter of negligence -- a word that should strike fear into the hearts of future shareholders worried about liability. If Westgate survivors and victims' families aren't already calling lawyers, the victims of the next attack just might. And it's not just the pain and suffering caused by allowing the gloating threats of al-Shabab either. If would-be extremists follow al-Shabab, Twitter's recommendations system will actively direct them to online terrorist forums, where they can learn to make bombs and meet al Qaeda recruiters.
Rather than wait for an ugly lawsuit, Twitter needs to get its act together and catch up to the minimum standards implemented by other major social media services:
Implement a simplified reporting system.
Respond faster to reports of abuse.
Add terrorism to the list of prohibited activities on its terms of service.
Take action against account holders who use Twitter to facilitate criminal and terrorist activities.
Implement methods to monitor and restrict repeat offenders who have demonstrated clear links to designated terrorist organizations.
Fix its recommendations algorithm to minimize its role in directly facilitating radicalization.
Twitter may not care about doing the right thing by victims of terrorism, but I'm pretty sure it cares about the feelings of its future shareholders.
© Foreign Policy
24/9/2013- YouTube comments are about the worst thing on the Internet. Sure, you could probably dig up some awful subreddit or visit 4chan to see the worst the Internet has to offer, but YouTube comments remain everybody’s reminder that humanity is awful. Now, there’s nothing you can do about humans being awful, but YouTube can do something about its commenting system. YouTube announced today that it’s finally revamping the way people see comments under videos. As you would expect, Google+ is going to play a large role in the revamp effort. That means that you’ll see more comments from user’s Google+ profiles with links to said profiles.
Now, YouTube comments wouldn’t be that improved by just integrating Google+ into the comments. Thankfully, YouTube is taking it a step further by adding discussion threads. No more will you see a random comment that was made in response to another. You’ll see the original comments and all replies will file in after it. Another big change is how themselves are presented. Currently, comments are separated by Top Comments, Author Comments and everything else. As the new commenting system improves, users will start to see the kind of comments they care about rise to the top. In other words, you’ll start to see more comments from friends, subscribers and creators instead of the comments that make you want to give up on life.
All the above apply mostly to users, but creators will be getting their own set pf tools with the new commenting system. These new tools will allow creators to moderate comments before they’re posted, block comments that contain certain words and auto-approve comments from certain fans. In short, creators can make sure that the undesirables are never heard from again. A change to the way we comment on YouTube has been a long time coming, and most of the change is positive. Some will no doubt be skeptical about Google+ further encroaching on YouTube, but it was going to happen sooner or later. At least users and creators still aren’t being forced to merge their YouTube accounts with their Google+ account.
© Web Pro News
The 26-year-old webmaster of an al Qaeda-linked website has been arrested by French security forces in Normandy, northern France, on charges of "provoking" terrorism.
20/9/2013- France has arrested the webmaster of a jihadist site on charges of "provoking" terrorism, prosecutors said Thursday, just as the government warned that hundreds of homegrown Islamist militants were signing up to fight in Syria. The 26-year-old, identified as "Romain", was detained Tuesday for his role as administrator of the Ansar al Haqq website, a "reference" for the radical Islamist movement, and as a translator of magazines put out by militant group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Paris prosecutors said. The announcement comes as French Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned that more than 300 French nationals or residents were either fighting in Syria's devastating civil war, planning to go or had recently returned from there. Most of them were young men, often with a delinquent past, who had become radicalised, he said. "This is a phenomenon that worries me because they represent a potential danger when they return to our soil," Valls said. "We have to be extremely attentive."
Detained by intelligence officers in his native Calvados, a region in northern France, Romain said he converted to Islam when he was 20, prosecutors said. The Ansar al Haqq website that he manages "has more than 4,000 members including 685 that are active" and Romain published statements from Al Qaeda's north African branch AQIM on it, they added. They said an investigation also found that the suspect had "an active role in the translation into French and the distribution of the 10th and 11th editions of the magazine Inspire." Inspire is an English-language propaganda magazine published by AQAP that offers theological support and praise for jihadists. Romain’s wife told France Inter radio on Friday that she could not understand why her husband had been arrested. “He was simply giving people the other side of the story, which the mainstream media don't provide,” said the woman, who was not named in the broadcast. “He’s not a radical Islamist, and in any case there is no difference between moderate Islam and radical Islam. There is only Islam,” she added.
© France 24
A French left-winger received a deluge of threats of death and rape on her Twitter account after taking part in an anti-fascist demonstration in Marseille last weekend. Julie Del Papa, 22, intends to launch legal proceedings, despite an initial refusal by police to open a file on the hate campaign.
20/9/2013- Far-right trolls tweeted threats to gang-rape and kill Del Papa, a leading activist with Jean-Luc Mélenchon's Left Party, after picking up her tweets from the protest against a national meeting of Marine Le Pen's Front National in the southern port city on Saturday. Some claimed to know where she lives and be able to follow her movements. When fellow anti-fascists started sending tweets to support her, fake tweets purporting to be threats by her started appearing on the microblogging site. On Monday police in her home town, Avignon, refused to open a case against her persecutors but the police station has since invited her to return and she is currently compiling a dossier to back up her case.
The Left Party, which claims that a number of its members have been threatened by the far right, has written a letter of protest to Interior Minister Manuel Valls at the initial refusal. Front National representative, Stéphane Ravier, dismissed the hate campaign as "digital assault", telling regional paper La Provence that party activists had been "insulted and terrorised" by "flesh and blood" individuals. Paris police arrested 38 anti-fascist protesters after a rally in tribute to murdered Greek activist Pavlos Fryssas on Thursday evening. A group of far-left demonstrators were heading for a bar frequented by members of the Printemps Français movement, which was born during this year's anti-gay marriage protests, police said, claiming that they were looking for a fight.
About 10 anti-fascists were arrested in Paris last Saturday after clashes with far-right activists. Police had banned several demonstrations - one in honour of left-winger Clément Méric who was murdered last June and one in support of his killer.
A local Social Democrat politician from central Sweden has been forced out of office after he published a racist Facebook post about when it might be appropriate to run over a "Negro".
20/9/2013- At the weekend, Fredrik Norén, who sat on the local council of Norra municipality near Örebro in central Sweden, posted a link to a text-based graphic on his personal Facebook page that had his Social Democrat colleagues seeing red. "When Africans say that Swedish girls only have themselves to blame if they get raped because they are so scantily clad. Is it then okay to run over a Negro if it's dark out," reads a translation of the text, which was written in Swedish. Norén prefaced the text with the following statement, visible on a screenshot of the post published by local news website i24.se, which first reported the story. "No, better dressed girls and reflectors for negros!! :-) One can joke, but there is something in this text." In comments below the original Facebook post, a fellow Social Democrat was quick to criticize Norén's post. "Low...so bloody low. I expected a higher level of debate from by party colleagues," the angry Social Democrat wrote.
In subsequent comments, Norén attempted to defend the argument presented in the text. When contacted for comment by i24.se, Norén expressed his regret over the post, which he has since erased. "These are unfortunate circumstances and a lack of knowledge about how one manages Facebook," he said, adding that he made the comment as part of his efforts to raise awareness about the importance of wearing reflectors and reflective clothing during Sweden's dark winter months. Norén went on to explain that "at my house Negro isn't a bad word" and that Sweden has "a society where people still talk about Negro balls (negerbollar )", referencing a colloquial term that has recently fallen out of fashion in many parts of Sweden and which refers to a small, spherical, coconut-covered cake more commonly referred to as a "chocolate ball". He also asserted he is not a racist. "It's nothing I stand for. The absolute last thing I stand for is for being racist or denigrating people," he said.
Despite his apologies, Norén's political career with the Social Democrats has come to a halt following the incident. On Wednesday night he posted on Facebook that he was resigning from all of his political responsibilities with the party. His resignation was confirmed in a press release issued by the party on Thursday morning. Gerd Erlandsson, chair of the Social Democrat chapter in Norra, told local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda (NA) that Norén's "misguided Facebook posts" prompted the party to take action. Norén said he accepted the decision, emphasizing again that he "doesn't have a racist bone in his body". "I think it's a shame they didn't ask me to come and explain myself," he told NA. "It was a misinterpretation and I only have myself to blame."
© The Local - Sweden
17/9/2013- Facebook, Inc. came under fire on Tuesday for allowing hate speech against Jews to proliferate in its online community. A group called “Remove Hate From FB” said the online site has gone far in blocking pages denigrating other minority groups, but attacks against Jews are allowed to linger online. “Why is Facebook routinely and automatically removing hate group pages which target African Americans and the Gay Community, but when it comes to hate group pages that target Jews, they seem to turn an anti-Semitic blind eye?” asks organizer Michael Mendelson. Remove Hate From FB has called for an”offline” protest at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on October 14. Separately, the Zionist Organization of America issued a statement calling for Facebook “to enforce its own guidelines on ‘Community Standards’ and shut down several anti-Semitic hate sites that clearly violate Facebook’s own guidelines.” Facebook’s Community Standards page prohibits hate speech, which it defines as “attack[ing] others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.”
Mort Klein, ZOA National President said, “Facebook hosts a number of viciously anti-Semitic sites, like ‘The Untold Story,’ a Sweden-based anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying site run by a group called the European Knights Project and partnered with the Institute of Historical Review, one of the leading international purveyors of Holocaust denial. A report in the Algemeiner Journal notes that the site ‘offers all of the anti-Semitic greatest hits: Jews control America and want to control the world; the Holocaust never happened; Jews exploit the Holocaust myth for money; the Allies did far worse to the Germans, Japanese, and Japanese-Americans than the Nazis did to the Jews; Hitler was a great guy who was just standing up for Christian civilization; Communism is a Jewish tool; Israel is the source of all evil in the world; 9/11 was a Mossad job; etc.’”
Klein said, “Facebook has permitted various toxic hate sites to proliferate on Facebook, but has also taken down a number of them, following protests. We are puzzled and outraged at Facebook’s bland response to notification of new hate sites and its evident unwillingness to enforce its own guidelines regarding such material. Failure by Facebook to act will send the message that Facebook lacks the will to enforce its own standards on the content it permits. This will be a disaster that will encourage more extremists, racists and anti-Semites to organize violent campaigns on Facebook. We urge Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg: close the ‘Third Intifada’ page by closing new hate sites as they emerge.”
Remove Hate From FB compiled a list of some 1,200 pages that it considers in breach of Facebook’s ‘Community Standards’ guidelines. The list includes The Untold History, I do hate ISREAL!, Hate Israel, I Hate GEO (Jew) News, I Hate Israel, Hates Zionism, I Hate Israel FaceB, I Hate America Israel-India, We Hate AMERICA And Israel, Hitler2016 and killing2013.
© The Algemeiner
16/9/2013- The second the new Miss America was announced, the Internet did what it sadly does best -- let the racists out of the woodwork. The new Miss America is Nina Davuluri, a 24-year-old Indian-American who is the first Miss America of Indian descent. Her talent was performing a Bollywood fusion dance. Just checking the official pageant facebook page after the crowning, the comments were immediate, questioning why a person who seemed so foreign to them could possibly be named Miss America. Many posts put their support behind Miss Kansas Theresa Vail, who became an Internet sensation herself this week when she became the first contestant to openly celebrate her tattoos. Vail is in the Army National Guard and there's a four-panel image of her with the words "Loves her country," "Loves hunting," "Loves tattoos" and "Real Miss America."
Twitter wasn't as kind with tweets calluing Davuluri out as an Arab (which she isn't), disgust with the choice being so close to the Sept. 11 anniversary and mean-spirited comments about 7-Eleven and other narrow-minded idiocy. A selection of the posts were captured by Buzzfeed. For her part, Davuluri, who ran on a platform of "celebrating diversity through cultural competency" said in a press conference after her crowning, "I'm so happy this organization has embraced diversity. I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America. "I have to rise above that. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American." And the Internet isn't lying down amid the racist posts. There's a lot of support for her.
On her facebook page, one person writes, "On behalf of all sane Americans I would like to apologize for the racist and ignorant response to you winning. Please know that for every person that hated on you there are hundreds more that are happy for you and that support you. Congrats on your achievement." One wonders what the Internet would have been like 30 years ago when Vanessa Williams became the first black woman to be named Miss America.
© The Orlando Sentinel
13/9/2013- A video depicting a man being raped with a bottle has surfaced on social media, in what appears to be the latest assault on Russia's beleaguered homosexual community. The series of short clips, making the rounds on the mobile phone application WhatsApp show the victim, who seems to be an ethnic Uzbek, being bullied into confessing that he is gay. He is asked to identify himself and is stripped of his clothes, which are later burned. He is then handcuffed, beaten, insulted, and threatened with a gun. Ultimately, he is forced to sodomize himself by sitting on a bottle, which is then pushed with a bat. The man, visibly terrified, weeps throughout much of the ordeal. Viewers on WhatsApp overwhelmingly praised the violence as a well-deserved punishment.
RFE/RL was able to track down a man who claimed to have taken part in the attack. The Uzbek-speaking source, speaking from Russia, confirms that the victim was targeted because he is gay. "We made him sit on a bottle so that he repents for his sins and comes to reason," he told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service. "We did this to protect the dignity of Uzbeks. We live and work here, we are in contact with people of different nationalities. There will be no respect for us otherwise." According to the purported assailant, the attack took place on September 11 in Novosibirsk, where he himself is a student, and all the participants were ethnic Uzbeks. He says the man was first detained by a group of Russian antigay vigilantes who lured him to a fake date through a social-networking website.
The vigilantes then allegedly handed him to the city's Uzbek community. "Russian guys caught him and called us to say they had a gay Uzbek," the self-proclaimed author of the video said. "We then questioned him and he confessed to everything. There were six or seven of us. The Russians told us he was a pedophile, which he denied. But he confessed that he was gay." RFE/RL has seen the video, but was unable to independently verify its authenticity, or the identities of those involved.
Police in Novosibirsk say they are not aware of the case. A police spokesman for the Novosibirsk region told RFE/RL no such attack had been reported in the past. The assault, however, takes place against the backdrop of an aggressive campaign directed at members of the LGBT community -- lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender -- in Russia. Although Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, homophobia is still rampant in the country and attempts to hold Gay Pride parades in Moscow have been brutally crushed by both police and antigay activists. A recent law banning the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors has triggered a fresh wave of assaults, both verbal and physical, on LGBT people. A new bill proposes to take children away from homosexual parents.
In August, a video similar to the one apparently shot in Novosibirsk emerged on VKontakte, Russia's biggest social-networking website. It shows four Russian men viciously beating up what appears to be a transgender woman and attempting to make her sit on a bottle. The victim ultimately manages to break the bottle and run away. In this case, too, the clip drew overwhelmingly favorable comments from viewers.
11/9/2013- The European Commission on Wednesday (11 September) put forward plans to ban charges for incoming calls when abroad, but allowing internet providers to charge more for high-quality connections. Under the proposal, which remains to be tweaked and approved by the European Parliament and member states, charges for incoming calls when travelling in another EU country will be banned from 2014 on. Charges for outgoing calls when in another EU country will also drop, as customers will be able to get short-term contracts with local providers in order to pay the same per minute as if they were at home. "We need to push roaming premiums out of the single market, not just reduce them," telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes said, following the commission's adoption of her telecom laws reform.
The changes also contain a controversial provision on "net neutrality." Kroes says her proposal - which was heavily lobbied by telecoms and internet providers - defends the principle of an open internet for all and specifically bans throttling the connection, or even severing it, for customers who do not subscribe to a premium service. "Our proposed regulation means no blocking, no slowing down of service, no matter what subscription you have," Kroes said. The regulation does not ban "prioritisation" - users or companies with bigger data volumes being given priority over regular content, such as private emails - however. "We want to support a thriving app economy and possible new internet industries in Europe. Therefore companies are still able to provide 'specialised services' with assured quality - such as IPTV, video on demand, apps including high-resolution medical imaging - so long as this does not interfere with the internet speeds promised to other customers," Kroes explained.
Some internet experts are sceptical.
For his part, Jeremie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net, a French NGO promoting internet freedom, called Kroes' bluff on net neutrality. "Allowing prioritisation of traffic voids any net neutrality provision which bans throttling or blocking of communications, as in practice these deals for discriminating communications, only accessible to massive actors such as Google, will amount to de-prioritising everything else," Zimmermann told this website. With an ageing infrastructure and no incentives to invest in costly broadband cables, internet providers have developed a business model based specifically on prioritisation of traffic.
Ben Scott, a former advisor to the US state department on internet matters and currently based in Berlin with the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung think tank, noted that, for over 10 years, internet providers have refined their capacity of analysing what goes through their routers and offered priority treatment for companies who pay more. "Is the internet a public good or a commercial service? This is still not clear. So instead of net neutrality, we have net uncertainty," Scott said on Monday at a technology fair in Berlin. He warned that if policy makers decide that internet is a public good, a lot of investments will have to be carried by taxpayers, because telecom companies do not have "that kind of money" to expand broadband infrastructure on nation-wide levels.
© The EUobserver