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Thread: Anti-Cybercrime Law

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  1. #91
    'Cyberfucked'

    by Paolo Villaluna

    Posted on 03/16/2014 7:29 PM | Updated 03/17/2014 8:09 PM

    There are many and varied reasons why people fuck. These reasons, despite the preachings of the pure and the just, are not limited to procreation. The reasons may be immoral to some moralities, depraved to other sensibilities, but for as long as both parties – or all parties, however many are involved – are of legal age and actively consent, the law considers sexual activity a personal choice.

    I always believed that my democratic government supported that choice. My bedroom is my bedroom, but unlike the generations before me, my bedroom is not limited to the 12 by 12 foot space my P6,000 a month rental affords me. My bedroom spans the depth and breadth of the universe; my bedroom is as large or as small as I choose. My bedroom is cyberspace.

    It is difficult to understand why cybersex is such a terrifying concept to so many. Cybersex is sex on the Internet. It’s virtual sex. It’s private among consenting adults. It’s cybersex when you’re an overseas worker stripping over Skype in front of your Filipino wife. It’s cybersex when you use SnapChat and exchange nude pictures with your girlfriend. It’s cybersex when you jack off after creating avatars with oversized dicks on Second Life.

    Unless you belong to some sect espousing celibacy, sex is basic to human expression. It is true there are many dangers involved in the sweaty reality of sexual intercourse. Online sex in fact limits those dangers, affording anyone with a DSL connection sex that doesn’t deal with unwanted pregnancies, awkward mornings after, stained bed sheets and a slew of deadly diseases.

    There are as many apps for cybersex and dating as there are available motel rooms in the back streets of Pasig. It’s an alphabet soup of possibilities for every mobile preference – Alikewise, Badoo, Cloud Girlfriend, Cupid, EHarmony, Kik, Grindr, Tinder – as well as the whole range of messaging platforms like FaceTime, Yahoo! Messenger, Viber, Line, What’s App and the old reliable of Facebook private messaging. As long as you’re of legal age and consenting, your pursuit of happiness is only a matter of logging in.

    You get aroused, you get your kicks, you get your orgasm, you call it cybersex. Cybersex is sex. It is not pornography. It is not public. It is a choice.

    The criminalization of sex

    All of these make it difficult to understand why the Supreme Court upheld Congress’ declaration that the act of cybersex is a criminal act deserving of 6 years in jail or P200,000 in penalties.

    Section 4 (c) (1) of the Cybecrime Act of 2012 lists cybersex along with child pornography, cyber libel and identity theft as a criminal offense. It is a blanket declaration whose absoluteness would have been funny had it not been so dangerous. Cybersex with a minor should be illegal. Cybersex with a prostitute should be illegal. Cybersex using someone else’s identity should be illegal. But cybersex as a criminal act among consenting adults is as ridiculous as handcuffing a married couple indulging in a Valentine’s Day celebration.

    Even setting aside the wholesale criminalization of cybersex as an act, it is crucial to understand what the honorable gentlemen of Congress mean when they say cybersex. They may claim to only target certain and specific acts, but their definition carelessly covers all acts.

    Congress calls cybersex “the willful engagement, maintenance, control or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration.”

    This is not a definition of cybersex. This is a definition of all sexual acts, illegal or otherwise, written by people who do not know what cybersex is, who lump free and consensual sex with child trafficking and prostitution, who in the process of attempting to punish criminals are now punishing the rest of the country. It’s a treatise of what cyber experts call the fear of the mythical dark web: the imaginary underbelly of a virtual world for drug dealers and human traffickers where virtue is for sale and laws have no power.


    This could mean the creation of an online police. This could mean an official ban on pornography. This could mean your Tumblr account where you collect naked art shots is illegal. This could mean you could be sanctioned for the half-naked photos on your Instagram account because you demand favor in the form of likes. This could mean that every time you Google words like cock, vagina, blowjob, cum and sex, an error 404 will greet your stunned face. This could mean a new dark age.

    Welcome to the dark ages

    I may have less faith in a congress that spends most of its time battling back corruption charges and proclaiming adobo as the national food, but forgive me if I expected more from the High Court.

    Only two justices struck down the cybersex clause as unconstitutional for its vagaries, two of fifteen in a recent decision. The rest upheld the criminalization of cybersex, claiming that it is clear from congressional deliberations that the clause is only against “illegal cybersex.” The point is to “punish cyber prostitution, white slave trade and pornography for favor and consideration.” (READ: Cybersex, media, privacy and the cybercrime law)

    Nowhere in the law is it clear. Nowhere does it say “illegal cybersex.” The one clear thought in the clause is that the law says cybersex is a crime. Certainly it would have been possible to directly criminalize cyber prostitution, but Congress was careless and the High Court appeared willing to cover the government’s collective asses.

    The law “invites us to go beyond the plain and ordinary text of the law and replace it with deliberations in committees that prepared the provision,” as Justice Marvic Leonen writes in his dissent. The provision, he says, is “too sweeping in its scope.”

    “The majority is not clear why the tighter language defining the crimes of prostitution and white slavery was not referred to clearly in the provision.” He argues that the law fails to justify “the state’s interest in prohibiting intimate private exhibition.”

    This is not a philosophical argument arguing semantics and paranoia. The law is as it is, and any limitations should be in the law itself, not in some presumed intention a policeman holding a copy of the law will see.

    The public may be free to fight criminal prosecution, but they shouldn’t be compelled to fight at all, shouldn’t be chilled by fear and made to live in dread when they choose to jack off with a partner online.

    The court majority appears to be satisfied applying archaic values to sex. It presents a dilemma between generations. The rules are different today from they were twenty years ago. There are no bars here or romantic dinners. Sex online by virtue of its nature is both limited and expanded by its virtuality—a date can be an imaginary picnic under tangerine trees and marmalade skies just as well as it can be a naked exhibition over Yahoo! Messenger. The Internet is not to blame here, any more than motels charging P599 for three hours can be penalized for being the site of sexual encounters.

    The burden of proof

    The Internet has created a new language, a new social order, one that is still private, still free, still driven by personal choice. Adding the word cyber to sex doesn’t make sex pornographic, much less, criminal. All over the world all things cyber will become as conventional as smart phones are today, from Google glass to Ocular Rift’s virtual reality, and many of these will be platforms for cyber sex. Virtual will be social and teenagers will lose their virginities online.

    “We think that everything must be so much worse because of technology," says Danah Boyd, the leading authority on teenage interaction with technology. "The funny thing is that we’ve had these moral panics for every generation. Comics were ruining everybody, rock and roll was ruining everybody, MTV was ruining everybody we’ve had this in many different iterations.”

    It appears that the defenders of the new law are insisting on immortalizing their single moral code. It would be easy to blame it on age, but perhaps it is simply the arrogance of the technologically ignorant imposing puritanical norms on what they perceive are incomprehensible evils. Values are changing. Homosexuality is protected, marijuana is gaining acceptance, the Church is taking responsibility for its crimes, and even Amnesty International is supporting the legalization of prostitution. You may not agree with these values, it means there are a multiplicity of beliefs, and that multiplicity is where freedom lies.

    The truth is that it is not necessary to justify cyber sex. It is necessary to justify to us why it is wrong.

    I do not know which is more dangerous: the legal imposition of an older generation’s morals on a new generation, or that my lawmakers do not know the difference between cybersex and cyber prostitution.

    Between righteousness and idiocy, the result is clear—the next generation will be breaking a law every time they want to fuck. – Rappler.com

    Paolo Villaluna is an Urian award-winning filmmaker whose full-length films have gained international acclaim. He is the co-creator the documentary show Storyline, and also makes television commercials. He claims his half-naked photos in his Instagram account are not lascivious. Instagram @pvillaluna, Twitter @paolovillaluna

  2. #92
    Sowing Mayhem, One Click at a Time

    DEC. 14, 2014

    David Carr

    THE MEDIA EQUATION

    The Internet has given us many glorious things: streaming movies, multiplayer games, real-time information and videos of cats playing the piano. It has also offered up some less edifying creations: web-borne viruses, cybercrime and Charles C. Johnson.

    His name came out of nowhere and now seems to be everywhere. When the consumer Internet first unfolded, there was much talk about millions of new voices blooming. Mr. Johnson is one of those flowers. His tactics may have as much in common with ultimate fighting as journalism, but that doesn’t mean he is not part of the conversation.

    Mr. Johnson, a 26-year-old blogger based in California, has worked his way to the white-hot center of the controversy over a Rolling Stone article about rape accusations made by a student at the University of Virginia. His instinct that the report was deeply flawed was correct, but he proceeded to threaten on Twitter to expose the student and then later named her. And he serially printed her photo while going after her in personal and public ways.

    In the frenzy to discredit her, he published a Facebook photo of someone he said was the same woman at a rally protesting an earlier rape. Oops. Different person. He did correct himself, but the damage, now to two different women, was done.

    Before that, his targets were two reporters for The New York Times who, he said, revealed the address of the police officer in the Ferguson, Mo., shooting. (They didn’t. They published the name of a street he once lived on, which had already been published in The Washington Post and other media outlets.) Before that, he attacked the victim of the shooting, Michael Brown.

    Before that, he attacked Senator Cory Booker, saying the lawmaker did not live in Newark when he was the city’s mayor; BuzzFeed wrote that Mr. Johnson not only was wrong, but had worked for a political action committee that opposed Mr. Booker. He also wrote a series of Twitter messages that suggested President Obama was gay. He offered money for photos of Senator Thad Cochran’s wife in her nursing home bed. Before that, well, it doesn’t really matter; you get the pattern.

    He is not without some talent — he effectively ended the career of the rising foreign policy analyst Elizabeth O’Bagy after exposing her conflicts of interest and fudged academic credentials. In general, he has a knack for staking an outrageous, attacking position on a prominent news event, then pounding away until he is noticed. It is one way to go, one that says everything about the corrosive, underreported news era we are living through.

    In a phone call, he made it clear that he sees himself as part of the vanguard of Internet news, although he did add that some of what he is up to is a response to a lifetime of slights.

    “I’m basically one of those kids who was bullied all his life,” he said. He’s now extracting payback, one post at a time.

    Much of what he publishes is either wrong or tasteless, but that matters little to Mr. Johnson or his audience, which responds by forming mobs on Twitter or using the personal information to put fake ads on Craigslist to chase after the targets he points to.

    After watching him set off a series of small mushroom clouds, it struck me that he might be the ultimate expression of a certain kind of citizen journalism — one far more toxic than we’re accustomed to seeing. Once a promising young conservative voice who wrote for The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Daily Caller and The Blaze, Mr. Johnson has a loose-cannon approach that alienated many of his editors. There was a time when that would have been the end of it, but with Twitter as a promotional platform, he has been able to build his own site called GotNews.

    His most vociferous critics are on the right because they think his outrageous tactics bring disrepute to the conservative cause. But many — like the studios in Hollywood who have stood by watching the cyberattack on Sony unfold without emitting a peep — do not want to speak on the record for fear they will end up in his gun sights. (One exception was a Daily Caller contributor, Matt K. Lewis, who called out The Washington Post for what he characterized as a “romanticizing” profile of Mr. Johnson.)

    On Thursday, Mr. Johnson told me he was going to sue many of his media tormentors, but all considered, it has been a pretty good run of attention for the once obscure blogger. When I spoke to him, he was feeling a bit hunted and fighting off a cold, but cheerful in the main, saying his grandiose plans to become the next Matt Drudge — or Joseph Pulitzer or William Randolph Hearst, two others he mentioned — were humming along smoothly.

    “I’m in talks with investors right now, and I think we’ve already got the deal set up,” he said. “Basically I’m building a crowd-sourced, crowd-funded media company that is going to take all the people like me — autistics, researchers, nerds, ex-law enforcement, whistle-blowers — and we’re going to give them an opportunity to make money on the information that they have.”

    He can now push the button on almost anything that has heat, a scent of scandal or the ability to activate his base of angry, conspiratorial readers, who believe the republic is being overwhelmed by criminals, feminists and the politicians who enable them. And then the rest of the journalistic establishment — including me — points a crooked finger at the naughty young man who is using his mouse to sow mayhem.

    In that sense, Mr. Johnson shares some common characteristics with the so-called mood slime in “Ghostbusters II,” which lived underneath New York City and gathered strength by feeding on the anger coursing through the streets above it. He would be just one more person hurling invective from a basement somewhere if not for all of us — his fans, his enabling social media platforms and his critics in the news media — who have created this troll on steroids.

    Although he was temporarily suspended from Twitter for publishing the personal information of others, he’s back on that site preaching to anyone who will listen. I’d ignore him if I thought he would go away, but I get the feeling he won’t.

    In conversation, Mr. Johnson is prone to narcissism, not uncommon in media types, but he has his own special brand of it. He sees himself as a major character in a great unfolding epoch, dwelling on his school-age accomplishments and his journalism awards and vaguely suggesting that he has strong ties to many levels of law enforcement. Like what, I asked?

    “Have you ever read the book or heard of the book ‘Encyclopedia Brown’?” he asked, referring to a series about a boy detective. “That’s the capacity in which I help them. I don’t go out of my way to discuss the kind of, shall we say, clandestine work I do, because the nature of the work has to be clandestine in order for it be effective.”

    O.K.

    He intimated that he had experienced some blowback and that he now felt under threat. “People are trying to kill me and my family members,” he said.

    In view of that, I asked him about publishing the home addresses of two Times journalists after erroneously claiming they had reported the address of the Ferguson policeman who shot Mr. Brown. “I didn’t say they published his address,” he said. Yes he did. He said that reporters “published the address of Darren Wilson in The New York Times so here are their addresses.” Moving on, he said that before releasing their personal information, he contacted some friends in law enforcement and told them, “We got to make sure these guys are protected in Chicago and elsewhere, but this is what I’m going to do.” Gee, thanks for that.

    The reporters and their families were forced to vacate their homes after facing threats of robbery and rape. I asked what he thought about that.

    “It doesn’t feel great, I’ll be honest with you, but I also don’t see it as fundamentally my fault,” he said.

    “Look, a lot of people are upset with me,” he said, adding, “my batting average is very, very good. Have I got up to the plate and either hit the ball wrong or swung and missed? Yeah, absolutely, but I take risks that other people won’t take because I think the story requires it.”

    Those are very noble words arrayed over some nasty handiwork.

    My worry is that people who have made it this far in the column will click over to GotNews to see what all the fuss is about.

    What they will find is a clear look into the molten core of a certain mind-set, a place where conspiracies are legion, victims are portrayed as perpetrators and so-called news is a fig leaf on a far darker art.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  3. #93
    Sowing Mayhem, One Click at a Time

    DEC. 14, 2014

    David Carr

    THE MEDIA EQUATION

    The Internet has given us many glorious things: streaming movies, multiplayer games, real-time information and videos of cats playing the piano. It has also offered up some less edifying creations: web-borne viruses, cybercrime and Charles C. Johnson.

    His name came out of nowhere and now seems to be everywhere. When the consumer Internet first unfolded, there was much talk about millions of new voices blooming. Mr. Johnson is one of those flowers. His tactics may have as much in common with ultimate fighting as journalism, but that doesn’t mean he is not part of the conversation.

    Mr. Johnson, a 26-year-old blogger based in California, has worked his way to the white-hot center of the controversy over a Rolling Stone article about rape accusations made by a student at the University of Virginia. His instinct that the report was deeply flawed was correct, but he proceeded to threaten on Twitter to expose the student and then later named her. And he serially printed her photo while going after her in personal and public ways.

    In the frenzy to discredit her, he published a Facebook photo of someone he said was the same woman at a rally protesting an earlier rape. Oops. Different person. He did correct himself, but the damage, now to two different women, was done.

    Before that, his targets were two reporters for The New York Times who, he said, revealed the address of the police officer in the Ferguson, Mo., shooting. (They didn’t. They published the name of a street he once lived on, which had already been published in The Washington Post and other media outlets.) Before that, he attacked the victim of the shooting, Michael Brown.

    Before that, he attacked Senator Cory Booker, saying the lawmaker did not live in Newark when he was the city’s mayor; BuzzFeed wrote that Mr. Johnson not only was wrong, but had worked for a political action committee that opposed Mr. Booker. He also wrote a series of Twitter messages that suggested President Obama was gay. He offered money for photos of Senator Thad Cochran’s wife in her nursing home bed. Before that, well, it doesn’t really matter; you get the pattern.

    He is not without some talent — he effectively ended the career of the rising foreign policy analyst Elizabeth O’Bagy after exposing her conflicts of interest and fudged academic credentials. In general, he has a knack for staking an outrageous, attacking position on a prominent news event, then pounding away until he is noticed. It is one way to go, one that says everything about the corrosive, underreported news era we are living through.

    In a phone call, he made it clear that he sees himself as part of the vanguard of Internet news, although he did add that some of what he is up to is a response to a lifetime of slights.

    “I’m basically one of those kids who was bullied all his life,” he said. He’s now extracting payback, one post at a time.

    Much of what he publishes is either wrong or tasteless, but that matters little to Mr. Johnson or his audience, which responds by forming mobs on Twitter or using the personal information to put fake ads on Craigslist to chase after the targets he points to.

    After watching him set off a series of small mushroom clouds, it struck me that he might be the ultimate expression of a certain kind of citizen journalism — one far more toxic than we’re accustomed to seeing. Once a promising young conservative voice who wrote for The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Daily Caller and The Blaze, Mr. Johnson has a loose-cannon approach that alienated many of his editors. There was a time when that would have been the end of it, but with Twitter as a promotional platform, he has been able to build his own site called GotNews.

    His most vociferous critics are on the right because they think his outrageous tactics bring disrepute to the conservative cause. But many — like the studios in Hollywood who have stood by watching the cyberattack on Sony unfold without emitting a peep — do not want to speak on the record for fear they will end up in his gun sights. (One exception was a Daily Caller contributor, Matt K. Lewis, who called out The Washington Post for what he characterized as a “romanticizing” profile of Mr. Johnson.)

    On Thursday, Mr. Johnson told me he was going to sue many of his media tormentors, but all considered, it has been a pretty good run of attention for the once obscure blogger. When I spoke to him, he was feeling a bit hunted and fighting off a cold, but cheerful in the main, saying his grandiose plans to become the next Matt Drudge — or Joseph Pulitzer or William Randolph Hearst, two others he mentioned — were humming along smoothly.

    “I’m in talks with investors right now, and I think we’ve already got the deal set up,” he said. “Basically I’m building a crowd-sourced, crowd-funded media company that is going to take all the people like me — autistics, researchers, nerds, ex-law enforcement, whistle-blowers — and we’re going to give them an opportunity to make money on the information that they have.”

    He can now push the button on almost anything that has heat, a scent of scandal or the ability to activate his base of angry, conspiratorial readers, who believe the republic is being overwhelmed by criminals, feminists and the politicians who enable them. And then the rest of the journalistic establishment — including me — points a crooked finger at the naughty young man who is using his mouse to sow mayhem.

    In that sense, Mr. Johnson shares some common characteristics with the so-called mood slime in “Ghostbusters II,” which lived underneath New York City and gathered strength by feeding on the anger coursing through the streets above it. He would be just one more person hurling invective from a basement somewhere if not for all of us — his fans, his enabling social media platforms and his critics in the news media — who have created this troll on steroids.

    Although he was temporarily suspended from Twitter for publishing the personal information of others, he’s back on that site preaching to anyone who will listen. I’d ignore him if I thought he would go away, but I get the feeling he won’t.

    In conversation, Mr. Johnson is prone to narcissism, not uncommon in media types, but he has his own special brand of it. He sees himself as a major character in a great unfolding epoch, dwelling on his school-age accomplishments and his journalism awards and vaguely suggesting that he has strong ties to many levels of law enforcement. Like what, I asked?

    “Have you ever read the book or heard of the book ‘Encyclopedia Brown’?” he asked, referring to a series about a boy detective. “That’s the capacity in which I help them. I don’t go out of my way to discuss the kind of, shall we say, clandestine work I do, because the nature of the work has to be clandestine in order for it be effective.”

    O.K.

    He intimated that he had experienced some blowback and that he now felt under threat. “People are trying to kill me and my family members,” he said.

    In view of that, I asked him about publishing the home addresses of two Times journalists after erroneously claiming they had reported the address of the Ferguson policeman who shot Mr. Brown. “I didn’t say they published his address,” he said. Yes he did. He said that reporters “published the address of Darren Wilson in The New York Times so here are their addresses.” Moving on, he said that before releasing their personal information, he contacted some friends in law enforcement and told them, “We got to make sure these guys are protected in Chicago and elsewhere, but this is what I’m going to do.” Gee, thanks for that.

    The reporters and their families were forced to vacate their homes after facing threats of robbery and rape. I asked what he thought about that.

    “It doesn’t feel great, I’ll be honest with you, but I also don’t see it as fundamentally my fault,” he said.

    “Look, a lot of people are upset with me,” he said, adding, “my batting average is very, very good. Have I got up to the plate and either hit the ball wrong or swung and missed? Yeah, absolutely, but I take risks that other people won’t take because I think the story requires it.”

    Those are very noble words arrayed over some nasty handiwork.

    My worry is that people who have made it this far in the column will click over to GotNews to see what all the fuss is about.

    What they will find is a clear look into the molten core of a certain mind-set, a place where conspiracies are legion, victims are portrayed as perpetrators and so-called news is a fig leaf on a far darker art.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  4. #94
    Is there any recourse for victims of online photo memes?

    By Leanne Italie (Associated Press) |

    Updated March 19, 2015 - 10:42am

    NEW YORK — Those pilfered, captioned and shared photos that make us either cringe, rage or laugh out loud are as old as the Internet itself, but in these wild online times, is there any recourse for their victims?

    Memes, by definition viral little beasties, are everywhere, sometimes building over several years. And they have many heads — shaming wrongdoers, bullying innocents and poking fun at an awkward facial expression, twerk attempt, family portrait or school photo.

    "When one of these mobs fixes on you it's like a Lovecraftian horror," said James Grimmelmann, a professor at the University of Maryland who specializes in Internet law. "Only madness awaits. It can be beyond the power of individuals to do a lot about it."

    Kyra Pringle knows that firsthand.

    The South Carolina mother of a 2-year-old with a grim life expectancy from a rare genetic disorder happily posted a picture on Facebook from her daughter's recent birthday, only to have the image rudely captioned and spread — sometimes gruesomely Photoshopped — thousands of times and her ill child compared to a monster, alien and leprechaun due to her unique facial features.

    "This is bullying. This is not right. She's fought for her life since she got here," Pringle told NBC affiliate WCBD-TV near her Summerville home. "She's not a monster. She's not fake. She's real. She's here."

    Pringle's mom, Linda Pringle, had equally strong words for those who memed her little granddaughter and do the same to the images of other unsuspecting strangers without context or backstory and with seemingly little thought beyond their own amusement and that of their friends and followers online. Some sites have since taken down memed images of the impaired toddler after word of her real-life story spread.

    "If you're out there and you're doing these things, and you think that it's funny, it's not funny. This is actually a human being, this is a child, this is a baby," Linda Pringle told the TV station.

    Private companies that own social media streams and channels juggle a broad range of take-down demands and other content issues such as copyright infringement, high-stakes privacy invasion and online harassment. But it can be difficult to eradicate viral content like photo memes altogether.

    "We don't tolerate bullying or harassment on Facebook and Instagram, and remove content that appears to purposefully target people with the intention of degrading or shaming them," the company said in an email when asked about memes.

    While community standards and guidelines do exist on many sites, including newly spelled-out rules on Facebook, routine photo meming may not include outright threats, hate speech or behavior that draws the attention of those in charge, such as a pattern of stalking or harassment targeting individuals identified by name, location or through other revealing details or leaks of Social Security numbers, phone numbers and street addresses, some Internet watchers said.

    "It's not that there isn't an ethical problem, and a real problem as a society we should wrestle with, but law just wouldn't intervene and the First Amendment would say we don't stop it," said Danielle Keats Citron, a research professor of law at the University of Maryland and author of the book "Hate Crimes in Cyberspace," out Sept. 22 from Harvard University Press.

    But a movement in Europe has taken hold in defense of the so-called "right to be forgotten" that has free speech and privacy activists alike paying attention. The European Court of Justice appeared to support the legal concept for people who want to force the removal of old, irrelevant or false material determined to infringe on their right to privacy.

    The court, the highest in the European Union, sided last year with a man in Spain who had asked Google to eliminate from its search index information about some long-paid debts. It ruled that Google can be compelled to take that step, but the company so far has limited removal in the specific case to its Spain service, leaving the material readily searchable worldwide.

    The ruling has broad implications in the tightrope walk between online privacy and free speech across the EU and around the globe, particularly in the United States, where free speech protection is deeply ingrained.

    "It's very hard. We've had unauthorized use of photographs since we've had photographs. It's much easier to go after somebody who uses pictures for clearly commercial purposes, but once you get outside of the commercial realm, when you're talking about political or artistic expression, in this country we get a lot more reluctant to intervene," Grimmelmann said.

    Not all photo meming is tragic and not all sharers are evil-doers. Some subjects or initiators take it as good fun, embracing — or trying to, at least — their accidental Internet celebrity.

    Nearly three years ago, Kasey Woods in Waldorf, Maryland, put up a photo of her smiley baby daughter in a pink top and huge afro wig that was left over from Halloween. Woods posted it first to Facebook, when her page was set to public, then put the same image on her public Instagram feed a year later.

    Friends started alerting her last year that the photo was catching on. It continues to pop up at least two or three times a week somewhere, including one version with a caption that reads: "Have a Blacknificent Day."

    The image has been liked, shared and commented upon several thousand times. Some comments Woods has read have not been kind and she has since locked down her Facebook page.

    "Some people are bashing me for being a bad mother because they think that's her hair every day. It's pretty intense with, 'What kind of mother would put a child in a wig?' and this and that," she said. "I'm taking it well because her name wasn't attached to it."

    Clarinet Boy, aka PTSD Clarinet Boy, was all grown up when he innocently enough submitted to Awkwardfamilyphotos.com an old school picture. He's in a marching band uniform and there's a double exposure, a full-body image of himself, projected onto the side of his head in the same uniform as he holds a clarinet.

    That was 2009. It was titled "A Beautiful Mind" and the site encouraged readers to guess what he might have been thinking. So they did. The image of the redheaded boy made its way around the Internet and onto meme generator sites, including one that came up with stories in captions of Vietnam War vets suffering from post-traumatic stress, looking back on childhood.

    "I left for Vietnam as a boy. I came back as a monster," reads one.

    No one knows exactly how many versions are out there, but it's many thousands, as opposed to millions for other memes. Mike Bender, co-founder of Awkwardfamilyphotos, said he and his partner know the real Clarinet Boy.

    "He's a teacher in Texas," Bender said. "His students think he's a hero."

  5. #95
    When trolls and propagandists occupy the Internet

    There is a lot of manipulation happening online. The Internet has transformed into a lawless arena where gladiators compete for our likes, shares, eyeballs, clicks.

    Senator Bam Aquino

    Published 11:28 AM, January 14, 2016

    Updated 11:28 AM, January 14, 2016

    My name is Bambi and I am a young street dancer awakened by the twerking movement of the 70s… That is, according to Wikipedia before we changed the text back to my true, albeit less vivacious, biography.

    Apparently, I have what is now known as an Internet troll changing my Wikipedia page regularly.

    My troll made me a Ninja Turtle a few times in the past and, though that is extremely flattering, I unfortunately don’t have the martial arts skills to back it up.

    In the curious case of Bam’s Wikipedia page, the untruth is so outrageous that it’s clearly unbelievable.

    But in other cases, it is not so easy to distinguish fact from fiction or, dare I say, propaganda.

    These days, there are people whose job is to sway public opinion on social media, whether it’s a strategic communications campaign or a swarm of troll accounts flooding a comments section.

    While creativity and innovation in marketing and communications is more than welcome, untruth and ill intentions are not easily detected.

    The biggest phenomena of the Internet age, social media and search engines, incorporate paid advertising to the user experience and now, money can buy eyeballs as well as people to produce bots and troll accounts to post, like, share, and comment incessantly. Click on a regular troll on any popular Facebook page and you may find him or her lacking a true identity.

    Online manipulation

    This is a difficult pill to swallow when a large part of me prefers to engage people who genuinely agree or disagree, and are not being paid to do so.

    There is a lot of manipulation happening online.

    A far cry from the free marketplace of ideas that we envisioned the Internet to be, it has transformed into a lawless arena where gladiators compete for our likes, shares, eyeballs, clicks, and money by whatever means possible.

    When we first discovered the World Wide Web, people celebrated the idea that anyone and everyone could use it as a venue to speak out, to share information, to formulate opinions and generate insightful discussions.

    We found a space without propaganda or advertising, free from the control and influence of powerful politicians and wealthy businesses.

    Today, what we have is a battleground of messages ceaselessly pushing us to buy a product, watch a video, share a meme, or vote for a particular candidate.

    The boon and the bane of the Internet is the freedom it provides. Anyone can share information and go viral like the Al-Dub phenomenon and our DOTA2 related post about Team Rave that was shared 3,445 times!

    This freedom also allows anyone to mask lies as truth and post it a hundred times from a hundred different accounts until it worms into your psyche.

    Campaign season

    So how do we take back the Internet?

    Should we look at regulation to control trolling or do we leave it up to the websites to ban abusive language and verify identities?

    Do we just tune out when confronted with abrasive comments, potentially ignoring opposing ideas that are worth our consideration?

    Do we doubt everything we see online and limit our network to a curated circle, wasting the potential of an open, diverse, unpredictable debate?

    Will we end up restricting our use of the Internet to that of self-expression?

    How do we take the Internet back from the paid trolls and propagandists, especially during the campaign season where candidates have the machinery to invade both traditional and social media?

    In our case, we take back our Wikipedia page by checking it everyday and updating it as often as possible. Perhaps, as users, more diligence is required when absorbing information.

    Maybe there is a need to evolve our thinking – to be more analytical, to sift through the barrage of messages on the World Wide Web before we come to our own conclusions.

    Bambi’s fearless forecast? The more trolls and propagandists attempt to take the Internet away from us, the more we will put up our own filters, exclude them from our circles, take their comments with a pinch of salt and heaps of humor, and find ways to generate free and open spaces for genuine dialogue and exchange of ideas. – Rappler.com

    Senator Bam Aquino is the youngest Senator of the 16th Congress of the Philippines. With 6 laws under his belt, he has actively pushed for cheaper and faster Internet in the Philippines and is among the 50 Most Influential Filipinos Online according to Rogue Magazine. Connect with Sen. Bam on Facebook and Twitter - @bamaquino!

  6. #96
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/o...one-share&_r=1

    How to Destroy the Business Model of Breitbart and Fake News

    By PAGAN KENNEDY JAN. 7, 2017

    One day in late November, an earth and environmental science professor named Nathan Phillips visited Breitbart News for the first time. Mr. Phillips had heard about the hateful headlines on the site ? like ?Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy? ? and wondered what kind of companies would support such messages with their ad dollars. When he clicked on the site, he was shocked to discover ads for universities, including one for the graduate school where he?d received his own degree ? Duke University?s Nicholas School of the Environment. ?That was a punch in the stomach,? he said.

    Why would an environmental science program want to be promoted on a site that denies the existence of climate change? Mr. Phillips figured ? correctly ? that Duke officials did not know where their ads were appearing, so he sent a tweet to Duke about its association with the ?sexist racist? site. Eventually, after a flurry of communication with the environment department, he received a satisfying resolution ? an assurance that its ads would no longer show up on Breitbart.

    Mr. Phillips had just engaged in a new form of consumer activism, one that is rewriting the rules of online advertising. In the past month and a half, thousands of activists have started to push companies to take a stand on what you might call ?hate news? ? a toxic mix of lies, white-supremacist content and bullying that can inspire attacks on Muslims, gay people, women, African-Americans and others.

    In mid-November, a Twitter group called Sleeping Giants became the hub of the new movement. The Giants and their followers have communicated with more than 1,000 companies and nonprofit groups whose ads appeared on Breitbart, and about 400 of those organizations have promised to remove the site from future ad buys.

    The advertising world is vast. Although the big brands, for PR reasons, may redirect their ad dollars, there are many advertisers who covet...

    ?We?re focused on Breitbart News right now because they?re the biggest fish,? a founder of Sleeping Giants told me. (He requested anonymity because some members of the group work in the digital-media industry.) Eventually, Sleeping Giants would like to broaden its campaign to take on a menagerie of bad actors, but that would require a much bigger army of Giants, and ?it has only been a month since we started doing this,? he told me when I talked to him in December. Then he added, ?This has been the longest month of my life.?

    He said that he noticed something had gone wrong with internet ads in November when, just out of curiosity, he visited Breitbart News. Like Mr. Phillips, he was gobsmacked by what he found there. His version of Breitbart was plastered with the logos of Silicon Valley brands that courted tech-savvy, pro-diversity millennials. ?I couldn?t believe that these progressive companies were paying Breitbart News,? he said.

    So he created a Twitter account called Sleeping Giants that would allow him and his fellow activists to anonymously interact with advertisers. Then they sent screenshots to companies like Chase, SoFi and Audi to prove that their ads appeared next to offensive content. Within hours, they received their first response, and they realized that they had stumbled across a potentially powerful tactic.

    ?We are trying to stop racist websites by stopping their ad dollars,? reads the Sleeping Giants profile. ?Many companies don?t even know it?s happening. It?s time to tell them.? They say it?s not about taking away Breitbart?s right to free speech, but about giving consumers and advertisers control over where their money goes. The group?s Twitter page offers a simple set of instructions to anyone who wants to follow suit. Step 1: ?Go to Breitbart and take a screenshot of an ad next to some of their content.? Step 2: ?Tweet the screenshot to the company with a polite, nonoffensive note.?

    The activists? back-and-forth with companies reveals a fog of confusion surrounding online advertising. Many organizations have no idea that their ads may end up next to content they find abhorrent.

    You might blame this ? in part ? on robots. According to the research firm eMarketer, American companies are now spending more than $22 billion a year on ?programmatic ads,? the kind of advertising that is bought with little human oversight. Joshua Zeitz, vice president of corporate communications at the ad-tech company AppNexus, explained to me how this automated ad buying works. When you click on a link, ?in less than a second, a call goes out, and algorithms and automated software bid in an auction to put their advertisement up on your page,? he said. ?So maybe the Nabisco algorithm wants to put an ad up there; so does Macy?s and so does Honda.? The algorithm that places the highest bid wins the chance to appear on your screen.

    Programmatic ads can also follow individuals around the internet, based on their browsing history, as happened with Mr. Philips. A single targeted ad could cost just a fraction of a penny, but the pennies add up to a billion-dollar industry.

    Even when ad placements are automated, companies still have the power to control whether neo-Nazis or fake news hucksters profit. In fact, it?s actually rather simple for companies to impose ethical policies, according to Mr. Zeitz. Indeed, his own company (which handles programmatic advertising for other organizations) recently decided to get out ahead of the issue by removing Breitbart News from its advertising marketplace. ?We?re not banning them because they?re alt-right or conservative. We banned them from our marketplace because they violate our hate speech policy, which prohibits ad serving on sites that incite violence and discrimination against minority groups.? (Breitbart has said that it condemns racism and bigotry ?in any form.?)

    He pointed out that brand-name companies had already figured out how to keep their ads from flowing onto porn sites, because ?you really don?t want your ad for a breakfast cereal next to a hard-core pornographic video,? and so ?there are tools in place that allow companies to control where their ads go.? A company can block a specific site like Breitbart News from its ad buy. Or it might pick a ?white list? of sites that align with its values.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  7. #97
    (Continued from above)

    But to do that, companies would have to forgo the sites designed to deliver exactly what they want ? a big audience for little cost. In November, NPR reporters interviewed Jestin Coler about his fake-news empire. Mr. Coler and his team stage-crafted their sites to look like local newspapers and then planted fantastical headlines and fictional stories that attracted more than a million views. Though the news was fake, the ads were real. Mr. Coler wouldn?t tell the reporters exactly how much he made off advertising, but he intimated that his revenues ranged between $10,000 and $30,000 a month.

    Such ?entrepreneurs? have an outsize influence on our political sphere. BuzzFeed News reported that, during the last three months of the election, hoax stories outperformed real ones on social media. Thanks to people enthusiastically sharing pro-Trump headlines cooked up by clickbait farms, in the bizarro-world of online advertising, the fake can be more profitable than the real.

    Ezra Englebardt, an advertising strategist, joined the Sleeping Giants campaign because he believes it creates much-needed transparency in the online advertising world. When lots of people share photos of the ads that they?re seeing on their own screens, it becomes possible to get some sense of where the ad dollars go, he said.

    Still, the post-truth reality makes it difficult to measure the scope of the problem. Breitbart?s editor in chief told Bloomberg that despite these bans, his company ?continues to experience exceptional growth.? However, public Twitter communications and news accounts prove that advertisers are indeed fleeing the site.

    More important, the screenshot activists are forcing companies to pick a side. After pressure from consumers, Kellogg?s became one of the first big brands to announce that it would remove its ads from Breitbart News. In retaliation, Breitbart called for a boycott, and the cereal brand seems to have suffered from the uproar on social media. At the same time, it received lots of good press for taking its stand; in early December, many consumers announced that they would reward the company by making all-Kellogg?s donations to soup kitchens.

    I expected that other companies would want to trumpet their own Breitbart departures. It seemed an easy win for corporate P.R. to distance itself from Klan-rally-like riffs like this one ? ?every tree, every rooftop, every picket fence, every telegraph pole in the South should be festooned with the Confederate battle flag.? (Telegraph poles!?)

    But when I reached out to several organizations that seemed to have joined the ban, they didn?t want to talk about it. A bank and a nonprofit group did not respond to my queries. Two companies ? 3M and Zappos ? declined to talk about the matter. A Patagonia spokeswoman said that her company did not advertise on white-supremacist sites ? but she would not comment on the screenshots that activists had sent to Patagonia in early December showing the company?s logo on Breitbart?s Facebook page. Warby Parker was the most forthcoming; a representative pointed me to a statement that thanked a Twitter activist for inspiring its own ban on Breitbart.

    In the behavior of some of these companies, you can detect the way our norms have already shifted. In the old normal, it would have cost little to stand up against neo-Nazi slogans. But in the new normal, doing so might involve angering key players in the White House, including the president-elect, Donald J. Trump, who has hired the former editor of Breitbart as his senior adviser. Mr. Trump recently proved the damage he could do to a company by criticizing Lockheed Martin on Twitter; soon after, its stocks prices tumbled.

    Still, a new consumer movement is rising, and activists believe that where votes failed, wallets may prevail. This struggle is about much more than ads on Breitbart News ? it?s about using corporations as shields to protect vulnerable people from bullying and hate crimes.

    Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

    Nicholas Reville, a board member of the Participatory Culture Foundation who has worked with the Sleeping Giants, pointed out that businesses benefited from embracing diversity: ?You have to be inclusionary if you?re going to try to sell to a very large audience.? And he pointed out that consumer activism might be especially effective because so many people feel they have no other way to express their opposition to Trump-ian values.

    The founder of Sleeping Giants agreed. ?It?s scary to say it, but maybe companies will have to be the standard-bearers for morals right now,? he said. He added that most corporations embrace policies (on paper at least) that prohibit racist bullying and sexual intimidation. Even if President Trump flouts these rules, corporations may continue to uphold them. ?We?ve all seen employee handbooks where they have codes of behavior,? he said. ?Maybe that?s all we have to fall back on now.?
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  8. #98
    Debunking lies about Rappler

    We fact-check some of the lies and disinformation being spread about Rappler

    Rappler.com

    Published 4:08 PM, February 07, 2017

    Updated 11:16 PM, February 07, 2017

    MANILA, Philippines ? Social media feeds are flooded with disinformation ? half-truths fabricating alternative realities. Rappler has been the subject of recent waves of distorted stories.
    No matter how often we are attacked, we will not stop reporting the truth, debunking falsehoods, and exposing disinformation. In the same way we fact-check stories daily, we will correct fake news about our organization.

    LIE #1: ?Rappler is misrepresenting itself in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) document.?

    In the General Information Sheet (GIS) we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC), we have correctly and consistently stated our business purpose: "To operate news, information and social network service."

    A blogsite, however, selectively uploaded parts of the documents to make it appear that Rappler did not disclose the nature of its business. Specifically being spread on social media is the page that says Rappler's industry classification is that of "Other Monetary Intermediation."

    a. Look at the encircled space. When a company submits its GIS, that space is left blank for the SEC to fill. In our case, SEC made an error when it classified us under ?Other Monetary Intermediation.? We will call the commission's attention to this error.

    b. This is the page of the GIS that asks whether the company is a "covered person" under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA). After we ticked "No," we also marked all the succeeding items "not applicable." The item asking to "describe nature of business" was inadvertently carried over from a template provided by our lawyers. We do not do "Property Investment and Development." This will be corrected.

    Neither of these minor errors impact our mission, operations, or the taxes we pay.

    We ask our readers to read documents thoroughly and not be misled by tidbits of information.

    LIE #2: ?Rappler is bankrupt.?

    In the past, it took about 10 years for news groups, at least in the Philippines, to break even. But technology has made it faster for us and the rest to grow in a shorter period of time.

    Beginning in 2016, Rappler has had months of positive net income.

    Thanks to our readers, partners, and advertisers, we continue to surpass the growth rate of traditional media.

    LIE #3: Because Rappler has international investors through PDRs, ?they?re skirting the Constitution!?

    Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) do not indicate ownership. This means our foreign investors, Omidyar Network and North Base Media, do not own Rappler. They invest, but they don?t own. Rappler remains 100% Filipino-owned.

    What are PDRs? These are financial tools that individuals or entities can use to invest in a company they believe in. Their involvement is limited to financial investment. They neither get voting rights on the Board nor have a say in the management or day-to-day operations of the company.

    Issuing PDRs isn?t as unique or rare as some would like you to believe. This is the same case with large media groups in the Philippines.

    We have made all the public disclosure filings for the PDRs issued by Rappler Holdings. Feel free to access our financial records, which are publicly available. (For more about PDRs and startups, read Oscar Tan's Inquirer column and Oliver Segovia's blog.)

  9. #99
    (Cont'd)

    LIE #4: “Rappler has no ethics.”

    We found no basis for the ethics complaint of a blogger. The story is about Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, an accountable public official.

    The rest of the story is a reporting of factual accounts, including the public cursing and crude behavior online of the bloggers cited in the story. These are all publicly viewable and embedded from Facebook. Links to previous stories were also provided for background and context about the #LeniLeaks issue.

    LIE #5: “Rappler is anti-Duterte.” “Why only report pro-Duterte activities and harassment on social media?”

    We are neither pro- nor anti-Duterte; we are pro-truth and pro-people.

    Rappler reports on President Rodrigo Duterte the way our veteran journalists have reported on leaders for the past 30 years. We hold our government accountable to the people.

    Ironically, we were criticized for being "pro-Duterte" during the presidential campaign. We accept these as signs of our highly polarized times.

    Our October series on the social media propaganda machine focused on pro-Duterte activity because these were the accounts which created what we would define as a machine:

    It had scaled to reach millions of Filipinos

    It had systematized operations into an art

    In short, it was far more successful than any attempts to counteract it – of which we saw very little, except for half-hearted efforts and real-world arguments between political camps.

    LIE #6: “Bloggers have higher engagement rates so they're beating news.”

    It's not all about engagement. Political advocacy pages of bloggers defend and propagate the position of a person or an institution. They are not the same as news.

    News seeks to inform the public on a wide range of issues to allow them to make decisions on their own. This means news groups will post as many relevant stories as needed, whether or not they go viral.

    Engagement is measured by likes, reactions, and shares. Facebook measures engagement rate this way: ER = [(# of interactions in a given day) / total # of followers that day] x 100.

    However, engagement rate is just one of the metrics news groups use to measure performance. What matters more to us is the impact of our work on policy and the lives of people here and abroad.

    How do we tell truth from lies?

    The increase in the targeted and non-stop harassment of our reporters and organization will not stop us from pursuing stories to hold public and private sectors accountable. We remain steadfast in our commitment to pursue the truth and be transparent to the public we serve.

    Rappler has joined local and international fact-checking networks and will soon ask our communities to be part of the effort.

    We ask that our readers be aware of the spread of disinformation and propaganda. We pledge to continue to expose these hidden social media "machines" distorting the truth. But we need your help.

    Be vigilant against false information. Join healthy debates but do not condone harassment and name-calling.

    Before you share, make sure you read thoroughly and that the content comes from reputable sources. Call out fake news when you see it. Do not allow yourself to be used to spread propaganda.

    Push for a safe space where debates can thrive (#NoPlaceForHate). Speak up when you see lies (#InspireCourage).

    If we want change, it has to come from us. Only then can we move the country forward. – Rappler.com


 
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