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Category Archives: Free Speech

Is This the Beginning of the End of the Internet?

The Atlantic: “Occasionally, something happens that is so blatantly and obviously misguided that trying to explain it rationally makes you sound ridiculous. Such is the case with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’s recent ruling in NetChoice v. Paxton. Earlier this month, the court upheld a preposterous Texas law stating that online platforms with more than 50 million monthly active users in the United States no longer have First Amendment rights regarding their editorial decisions. Put another way, the law tells big social-media companies that they can’t moderate the content on their platforms. YouTube purging terrorist-recruitment videos? Illegal. Twitter removing a violent cell of neo-Nazis harassing people with death threats? Sorry, that’s censorship, according to Andy Oldham, a judge of the United States Court of Appeals and the former general counsel to Texas Governor Greg Abbott. A state compelling social-media companies to host all user content without restrictions isn’t merely, as the First Amendment litigation lawyer Ken White put it on Twitter, “the most angrily incoherent First Amendment decision I think I’ve ever read.” It’s also the type of ruling that threatens to blow up the architecture of the internet. To understand why requires some expertise in First Amendment law and content-moderation policy, and a grounding in what makes the internet a truly transformational technology. So I called up some legal and tech-policy experts and asked them to explain the Fifth Circuit ruling—and its consequences—to me as if I were a precocious 5-year-old with a strange interest in jurisprudence…”

Book bans are spiking in the US

Quartz – Here are the most targeted titles: “This week, ALA is holding its annual Banned Books Week, from September 18-24, to advocate for open access to information. While in the past bans usually targeted one book at a time, advocacy groups are now going after multiple titles at once, according to the association. So far… Continue Reading

The Supreme Court’s new term could be even more consequential than its last one

Vox – The Republican justices who overruled Roe v. Wade are only getting started. “The headline of this piece is likely to turn a few heads. The Supreme Court’s last term, after all, was an orgy of conservative excess unlike any since the Court’s Great Depression-era attacks on the New Deal. And it culminated in… Continue Reading

Where Online Hate Speech Can Bring the Police to Your Door

The New York Times: “Battling far-right extremism, Germany goes further than other Western democracies in policing online behavior, testing the limits of free speech on the internet…Hate speech, extremism, misogyny and misinformation are well-known byproducts of the internet. But the people behind the most toxic online behavior typically avoid any personal major real-world consequences. Most… Continue Reading

The history of book bans—and their changing targets—in the U.S.

National Geographic: “From religious texts and anti-slavery novels to modern works removed from school libraries, here’s how the targets of censorship have changed over the years. Mark Twain. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Judy Blume. William Shakespeare. These names share something more than a legacy of classic literature and a place on school curriculums: They’re just some… Continue Reading

How Book Bans Turned a Texas Town Upside Down

The New York Times Magazine: “…Over the last year, campaigns to ban books have erupted throughout school districts and local libraries across the country. The American Library Association, which tracks challenges to library books or resources since 1990, previously documented roughly 300 to 350 complaints annually, with most challenges targeting a single title each. But… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, August 27, 2022

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, August 27, 2022 – Privacy and cybersecurity issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly… Continue Reading

The Brooklyn Public Library Gives Every Teenager in the U.S. Free Access to Books Getting Censored by American Schools

Open Culture: “…In response to this concerning trend, the Brooklyn Public Library has made a bold move: For a limited time, the library will offer a free eCard to any person aged 13 to 21 across the United States, allowing them free access to 500,000 digital books, including many censored books. The Chief Librarian for… Continue Reading

Texas school district officials order 41 books off of library shelves

The Texas Tribune: “Ahead of the first day of school, the Keller Independent School District is removing all books that were challenged last year within the school district, including the Bible, “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison and a graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s “The Diary of Young Girl.” “Attached is a list of… Continue Reading

American Library Association (ALA) Condemns Proposed State Legislation Limiting Access to Information on Reproductive Health

“The Executive Board of the American Library Association (ALA) issued the following statement in response to proposed state legislation that would censor library materials or put at risk library workers who provide access to information, including information on abortion or any aspect of reproductive health care. ALA stands committed to the free, fair, and unrestricted… Continue Reading

What’s Happening With The Vinton Public Library

Iowa Starting Line – “Residents of a small Iowa town criticized their library’s LGBTQ staff and their displaying of LGBTQ-related books until most of the staff quit. Now, the town’s library is closed for the foreseeable future. After having the same library director for 32 years, the Vinton Public Library can’t seem to keep the… Continue Reading