All items about censorship

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As we move online, the definition of a community changes. Our neighbors aren’t just those people physically near us, but those we hang out with. This flexible definition of a community has serious repercussions for law and social morals: when we find kindred spirits online, we start thinking that everyone is just like us. At the same time, different communities hold us to different standards, and now that those communities leak into one another we need to apply context to our judgement.

In the 1970s bestseller The Joy Of Sex, we learn about a man who could only be aroused in a bathtub full of spaghetti. Back then, he probably led a lonely, normal life — albeit one in which he bought a lot of pasta and had a higher water bill than his neighbors. It’s unlikely that he had friends who shared his particular turn-on. Read more »


John Gilmore once said, “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” And when people are connected via the Internet, it’s hard to put obstacles in their path, too. Take this case of a Latvian photographer prevented by security guards from taking pictures of a building.

A few tweets and one 40-person Flashmob later, we have more photographs — and probably many more people aware of the situation — than we ever did before.

(BTW, the server is slow at best, so you may have to be patient.)


First, they came for the Furries; but I was not a Furry, and I said nothing.

The Australian government has been asking visitors whether they’re carrying porn, according to the Australian Sex Party (no, really.) If you are, they’ll enjoy review it to ensure it meets their standards.

It’s part of the country’s plan to control its citizens’ Internet access: if you’re blocked from certain sites, you might try to smuggle the smut that floats your boat via computer or memory stick.

Unlike network filtering, however — which happens in data centers and doesn’t seem personal — this is a much more direct and immediate example of restricting information. It’s also a reminder that filtering the web is an inexact science at best.

(See the Arstechnica piece for more details.)

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