Tag Archives | Freedom of Speech

China Criminalizes Spreading False Rumors Online That Go Viral

online rumorsWill the jails of the future be filled with those condemned for trollcrimes? ZDNet reports:

Online users in China who share false information that is defamatory or affect national interest will face up to three years in prison if their posts are viewed 5,000 times or forwarded 500 times.

This is a new judicial interpretation issued Monday by the country’s Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate, which defines the criteria for convicting and sentencing offenders who spread rumors online that defame, blackmail or provoke, China Daily reported.

The judicial interpretation also states that profiting from helping people delete posts is illegal, and anyone who gains more than 20,000 yuan (US$3,270) through this practice will see their case treated as “serious”. So far, prominent Chinese venture capitalist Charles Xue Biqun, investigative journalist Liu Hu, and Weibo users Yang Xiuyu and Qin Zhihui have been arrested and detained for fabricating online rumors.

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California Man Could Face Decade In Jail For Writing Anti-Bank Slogans In Chalk

chalk protest

The local government is acting on instructions from a “high-ranking bank security manager.” KMFB San Diego reports:

A North Park man is looking at more than a decade behind bars for using washable chalk to protest the banking industry. Jeff Olson is being charged with 13 counts of vandalism for writing anti-bank slogans on sidewalks outside three Bank of America branches.

A surveillance camera caught Olson in the act, writing on the sidewalk in front of a Bank of America in North Park. Olson admits it: “I wrote ‘No thanks big banks,’ I wrote ‘Shame on Bank of America,'” he said.

But the city attorney’s office — after receiving multiple emails from a high ranking bank security manager — decided to charge Olson with 13 counts of misdemeanor vandalism.

Olson’s attorney argued in motions Tuesday morning that this is free speech written in easily cleanable chalk, but Judge Howard Shore disagreed, saying this case has nothing to do with free speech.

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Adam Kokesh Released

Via Infowars.comkokeshpapers

May 24, 2013 Political activist Adam Kokesh was released from jail this afternoon. Kokesh was arrested last Saturday for exercising his First Amendment right at a protest. He called for a “new American revolution” to begin on July 4 with a march on all 50 state capitols. The release was announced on his Facebook page with the following message and photograph: Released 130524 with felony charges reduced to citations which I refused to sign. Played hardball. Won. Talk to you Monday.

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“Obey”: A Brutally Honest New Film By British Filmmaker Temujin Doran

I could call this film many things:

“A chilling view of the future”

“A harrowing tale of what we may become”

Based on the book The Death of the Liberal Class by Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, “Obey” brutally conveys our present reality, perhaps in the hope that we may finally wake as a united humanity.

We have been lulled into a state of being in which we are not confronted with monolithic decisions where we choose Liberty or Death; instead we are fed a steady diet of mini-compromises in our lives that we often choose wrongly upon.

I myself and totally guilty of this, but the overall result is a total compromise of every single piece of our dignity and personal sovereignty.  So say that things are as they truly are is a radical notion that may get you shot in the face with a gas canister, like the military veteran of the Oakland Occupy protests or thrown into prison indefinitely like Bradley Manning.… Read the rest

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Headliner Lupe Fiasco Kicked Off Stage At Pre-Inauguration Concert After Making Antiwar Statements

Watch as security guards swarm the stage, cutting short Lupe Fiasco's set at Washington D.C.'s Hamilton Live Theater Sunday night. The rapper had been invited to headline the concert celebrating Obama's second inauguration. The offending lyrics likely were: "Gaza Strip was getting bombed / Obama didn't say shit / That's why I ain't vote for him / I'm part of the problem / My problem is I'm peaceful"
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Hollywood Now Needs Censorship Consultants In China

Two of the booming occupations of the future: government mole who weeds out and reports dangerous movies and cultural works, and consultant who helps creators navigate censorship standards. The Atlantic Wire writes:

China’s censorship has become a huge headache for Hollywood lately, as movie studios struggle to break in to the world’s second largest film market. Every single film bound for Chinese theaters has to make it past China’s all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) whose guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable is more or less subjective and entirely unpredictable. All the studios can do is hire consultants who are familiar with the ins and outs of censorship in China and hope for the best.

Bringing in consultants does help movie studios frame projects in a censor-friendly manner, but after filming begins the filmmakers have to be very careful not to deviate from the plan. SARFT sends spies to the set to make sure everything is going as planned.

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Federal Court Affirms Constitutional Right To Give Cops The Middle Finger

Via the Huffington Post, the most cherished of liberties has been defended. Use it freely and often:

A police officer can’t pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday. In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the “gesture…is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”

John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York’s disorderly conduct statute.

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Under Proposed Law, Masked Canadian Protesters Could Receive Ten Years In Jail

In surveillance states, concealing one’s face will be considered a significant crime. Via Russia Today:

Canadian lawmakers weren’t exactly in the Halloween spirit when they approved a new bill on Wednesday. The legislation makes it illegal to wear masks during riots and protests. If it becomes law, mask-wearers at riots face up to 10 years in jail.

Parliamentarian Blake Richards, who sponsored the bill, says the measure is aimed at targeting the “growing threat” of vandalism and violence. Lawmakers are particularly targeting the Blak Bloc anarchist group, whose members dress in black and hide their faces with glasses, scarves, and hoods. The group engaged in violence during the Quebec student protests earlier this year.

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Greek Magazine Editor Arrested After Publishing List Of Swiss Bank Accounts

The right to free speech trumped by the right of the powerful to keep their Swiss bank accounts a secret, the New York Times reports:

The Greek police arrested and then quickly released the owner and editor of a respected investigative magazine on Sunday morning hours after he published a list of more than 2,000 Greeks who were said to have accounts at a bank in Switzerland, throwing new controversy into a scandal over whether the government is actively pursuing suspected tax cheats.

Mr. Vaxevanis posted a message to his Twitter account early Sunday saying that 15 officers had surrounded the home of a friend with whom he had been staying “like Greek storm troopers in German uniforms.” The Greek news media reported that the charges concerned the violation of the privacy of those on the list.

Mr. Vaxevanis’s arrest raises questions about freedom of the press in a country that frequently reminds its European Union partners that it is the birthplace of democracy.

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“Weev” Auernheimer on Free Speech versus Exploitation

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

Via The Internet Chronicle

Andrew Auernheimer, an American gray hat hacker better known as “weev,” tells The Internet Chronicle that his indictment in a New Jersey district court over a June 2010 AT&T data breach is at its root an important free speech issue. Speaking to Chronicle.su’s Gray Phone, Mr. Auernheimer, a 27-year-old associate of Goatse Security, claims he made certain AT&T was aware of the breach in time to patch it, he never sought financial gain from what was in effect the the extraction of 114,000 iPad users’ email addresses, and that he never personally possessed more customer data than enough to communicate that the breach was bona fide. While prosecutors imply Mr. Auernheimer’s actions and statements may constitute computer fraud and foreknowledge of possible insider trading, he and his fellow Goatse Security associates saw themselves as merely tarnishing a company’s reputation due to its own reckless mishandling of customer data.

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