Internet consolidation via titans like Apple, Google, and Facebook opened the door to censorship

“The British government released proposals this week to hold online and social media platforms responsible for harmful content. A few decades ago, we might have scoffed at anyone who even thought they could regulate what people say on the internet. No longer,” Elaine Ou writes for Bloomberg. “Today, the centralization of platforms and service providers makes enforcement surprisingly easy. It’s just a matter of picking which layer of the tech stack to hold accountable.”

“If lawmakers want to prevent the dissemination of certain content on social media, they can cover most of the U.S. population with a phone call to Facebook and Twitter,” Ou writes. “If governments want more comprehensive coverage, they can hit up the handful of cloud providers that serve up over half the internet. Problematic websites effectively vanish if deleted from Google, which handles 90 percent of search activity, and apps can be rendered unfindable if Apple and Google simply remove them from their app stores.”

“Those who want to ban harmful content generally aren’t after the content itself. The artificial crime of ‘hate speech’ had to be invented because more direct and traditional methods of enforcing certain goals yielded little result. The thing that we really want to get rid of is the fact that some people believe nutty things, sometimes people really don’t like each other, and some people have political views that are simply unacceptable to others,” Ou writes. “Censorship tends not to create a world of tolerance. In fact, the idea of restricting “hate speech” was originally championed by the Soviet Union in an effort to silence those who might agitate in favor of capitalism and liberal democracy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Certainly too few gatekeepers, including Apple, is a major concern. A decentralized internet, by definition, ceases to exist when centralized with power in too few hands.

As always, our boilerplate regarding “news” consumption: The best way to consume “news” is to cast a wide net.

As always, readers of “news” need to consider the sources and interpret what they are being told accordingly. The more disparate sources you can find, the better. And we don’t mean different newspaper, network, website brands that are all owned by the same conglomerate. Determining the actual ownership of your “news” sources is an investment that requires a bit of time, but it is very enlightening. — MacDailyNews Take, June 17, 2015

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  1. The idea of hate speech has always been traceable back to the leftists primary HOW TO Manual, Orwell’s “1984.”

    Facebook was fine when they regarded it as one of the reasons that Obama was elected. Zuckerberg was Prince of the Technology Realm and the guy who was in charge of Obama’s digital campaign was being heralded as a genius and constantly interviewed on NPR, CNN, MSNBC, etc. and so on.

    Fast forward to the next election and it didn’t work this time. In fact it seems there were more chatty Republicans on social media than ever. Suddenly social media was a problem. “Fake News” replaced “Innovation” as the new description of social media, and Mark Zuckerberg became public enemy number 1.

    From America to Europe and back again, worthless government officials called Mark Zuckerberg to testify and only succeeded in making themselves look more stupid than ever, while making Facebook look like it needed a seat in the United Nations.

    Smelling blood and never missing an opportunity to toss in his worthless opinion, Tim Cook began chiming in on FaceBook privacy issues in what was a pathetically obvious attempt to make Apple look better as a company.

    Bottom line, both sides of Congress figured out the one thing they truly don’t want is “We the People” talking amongst ourselves without their approval.

  2. I would rather have the freedom to take care of my own privacy issues, personally. Whenever a member of the government, the organization that cares absolutely nothing about me as an individual, claims that they are worried about my privacy, I KNOW THEY ARE LYING. Whenever they take action to protect me, I always know some of that freedom has just been mugged.

  3. This Progressive is wary of the criminalization of so-called “hate speech.” The Stalinist Soviet Union pushed to include, “Any…discrimination based on distinctions of race, nationality, or religion constitute a crime and shall be punishable under the law of the state,” into the 1948 non-binding Declaration of Human Rights. Europe and the US voted it down because it would oppress freedom of speech, with NeoLibs in the US waiting until the early 21st C. to make the concept into law which empowered state authorities to oppress people.

    For example, a minority person exercised his 1st Amendment when he cursed, insulted, and demeaned the majority race police officers who charged the minority race suspect with this hate crime. This is a bad outcome because the majority of the various police forces, 1. are constituted by a majority race, 2. police forces already have more institutional rights, protections, and privileges than non-police officers and, 3. hate speech was meant to protect minorities, not the police.

    Perhaps police sees itself as a minority under assault by the unruly, unwashed majority general population, a loopy bias which could be creeping into the criminal justice system and in corporate-run jurisprudence. I hope not.

    The ignorant will often employ hate speech; Its practice should be ameliorated by education, not by more laws which, really, are ambiguous because they are subjective.

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