Saturday, May 28, 2016

Israel wants to protect itself with worldwide Internet censorship


Here's a troubling story on The New Observer about Israel's "demanding" worldwide social media censorship by companies in all countries to stop terror propaganda against the country, link. The tone of the story contradicts the idea of downsteam liability limitation in US law with Section 230.  The idea is likely to win the favor of Donald Trump.

The story was first circulated today on Facebook by sources in Hong Kong and Taiwan.  Censorship has been creeping in Hong Kong, as we know from bookseller cases.  The story is also getting attention on Twitter this weekend.

Social media companies insist they will remove terror propaganda and support when users bring it to their attention, where Twitter has been "abused" the most with "recruiting".  But there is no systematic way to stop all of it.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

China's "Golden Shield" or "Great Firewall" could set a tempting example for Donald Trump


The Washington Post today leads off with the headline, “China’s scary lesson for the world: Internet censorship works”, by Simon Denyer, link here.

The article also uses the bizarre term “Internet sovereignty”.  This is called the “golden shield” or “Great Firewall of China”.

Authoritarian societies that knowledge comes through a top-down social and political hierarchy, so that “everyone does her part” (or his), and that no one mooches.  The attitude also shows up in Vladimir Putin’s Russia and in much of the Islamic world.



China has been cracking down on VPN’s, which can serve as workarounds, especially in the western part of the country where there is more religious (Muslim) dissent.

And China is particularly concerned about what the “average Joe” reads, rather than what the privileged techie does.

Among my sites, everything based on Google or Blogger (or Facebook) is blocked, but Wordpress and flat sites seem to be available.  But all my sites have traffic from China, some of it “illegal” to be sure.

One question that comes up is, what happens if a political Blogger vacations in China from the US.  Would he or she be detained?  Same question about Russia if he or she has blogged about gay rights in the West.

I was actually “invited” to set up my “doaskdotell” domain in China an ISP in Shanghai in late 2013.
Could China’s behavior set a tempting example for Donald Trump to emulate if he gets elected?  Do voters see this?

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Pudong under CCSA 4.0 by Pj56.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Somali teens falling intto FBI dragnets in the Twin Cities (MN) area


The Washington Post has a story Saturday “Now everything is broken: FBI terror dragnet sweeps up Somali Americans”, by Abigail Hauslohner. Ten young men living in Minneapolis-St. Paul have been caught in a sting for trying to join ISIS.  One mother has lost two sons to the sting.
 
I lived in Minneapolis 1997-2003 and it was common to see Somali women on the streets downtown.   But there was never a hint of anything like this when I lived there.  Another major majority community in St. Paul is the Hmong.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CATO holds academic forum today on US strategy for dealing with ISIS


Today, I attended a Cato Institute event that seems undertitled, or to have an “understated title”, that is, “Is ISIS Economically and Socially Stable?

John Mueller moderated, and Howard J. Shatz (RAND) and Princeton professor Jacob Shapiro spoke.

In general, Shatz seemed to feel that ISIL could sustain indefinitely without more intervention, but Shapiro presented evidence that it is failing already, and could collapse suddenly.  From a libertarian viewpoint, it would be better if it failed on its own, showing future generations that religious extremism is not sustainable. Despite polls which CATO presented at the beginning, neither believed that ISIL represents an existential threat, as the world has a lot of other enemies (start with DPRK, and then Iran, and maybe Putin's Russia).

I took some video, which  must process yet and will present later on Wordpress.

I bought the book “Blood Oil” (like “Blood Diamonds”), 2016, Oxford University Press, by Leif Wenar, at the event, will read and review later. Read the 50-page roman numeral introduction on the Metro.  We have bad karma as consumers.
I'll add a couple of links.  One is from the Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2016, here, importance self-explanatory, if speculative.

Then, in the Washington Post May 19, Loveday Morris writes "Under strain, ISIS takes its battle to the streets of Baghdad".  

Monday, May 16, 2016

EU holds embassy open houses, but they're brief


Saturday, the European Union held its “Open House” from 10 AM-4 PM (Sweden’s was later for a paid-admission concert) Saturday May 14.


There was a problem Saturday morning with the event web site which was no longer reachable.

I got a late start Saturday with my own “homework” and storms around, but I did perform a walking tour from Dupont Circle up Massachusetts Ave.

I even stopped at the Mosque, open to the public, where a bazaar was just closing.

The most interesting embassy is Britain’s, a small city with a huge  Tudor residence.  Although the event was being taken down, you can walk up the side street toward the New Zealand embassy and see most of the property from the street.

I had been in the Finland embassy before for an event one time.

I was surprised how plain the Embassy of Belgium (“La Belgique”) looks.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Canada continues its radical hospitality toward Syrian refugees through private efforts, bucking the trend


Robin Shulman has a long story in the Washington Post about the practice of private placement of Syrian refugees in Canada, link here. Niskanen tweeted the story today.
 
The comparable practice is still illegal in the United States. But individual Canadians, with their families and churches, are going to great personal effort, sometimes housing the people themselves.


 
Canada could have its own natural disaster refugee problem soon with the wildfire in Alberta, destroying the city of Fort McMurray of almost 100000 people.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bizarre demonstration in Sao Paolo protests gay male blood donation ban


I got an email from Matt Beard last night regarding a press release for a bizarre demonstration in Sao Paolo Brazil where trucks drove through the city filled with “bags of blood” to denounce the ban on gay male blood donors in the country.  The ban has been lifted in the US for HIV- men who have been abstinent for a long period of time (one year). The site is “Wasted Blood”.

The site also reminds the reader that homosexual sex is illegal still in at least 75 countries, mostly authoritarian.

The event in Sao Paolo seems ironic because Brazil has a severe problem with zika virus, an arbovirus which is sometimes sexually transmitted and which seems to affect unborn babies (through pregnant women) the most.
 
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Sao Paolo by Chensiyuan, under CCSA 4.0