Gold, Goats ‘n Guns: Don’t Be Fooled by the Deplatforming of Facebook

From Tom Luongo at Gold, Goats ‘N Guns is this piece on current internet censorship efforts and why you shouldn’t fall for it.

The push for speech control escalates. There is now a concentration of stories concerning social media companies and their role in shaping political thought.

We are nine months from a pivotal presidential election in the U.S. and the push is on to ensure that the outcome goes the way those in power want it to.

Three times in as many weeks billionaire busybody George Soros has attacked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding he be removed because he is working to re-elect Donald Trump.

This seems like an absurdity. But it isn’t. It’s all part of the game plan.

Create a controversy that isn’t real to seed a narrative that there’s a problem in need of a solution. Facebook has been the center of this controversy to inflame passions on both sides of the political aisle to ensure the desired outcome.

They want regulation of all social media companies to create unscalable barriers to entry for new ones while curtailing free speech on the existing ones.

Warren Buffet would call that a moat. I call it tyranny.

Enter Attorney General William Barr.

He weighed in recently that we need to have a conversation about Facebook et.al. in relation to their Section 230 immunity under the Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 grants immunity to companies like Facebook and Google from prosecution for content hosted on their services as they argue they are not publishers but rather just pass-through entities or platforms of user-generated content.

Now, it’s pretty clear for the past few years the social media companies have been acting with open editorial bias to deplatform undesirables. They rewrite broadly defined terms of services and EULAs (End-User Licence Agreements) which they use to justify controlling what content they are willing to host.

And that’s where the Section 230 immunity comes into play. The big tech companies want to have it both ways, be a neutral platform legally but self-define ‘neutrality’ in such a way that benefits them politically, economically and socially while insulating themselves from breaching contracts with their customers.

What’s clear from Barr’s comments he’s approaching this from a law enforcement perspective.

“We are concerned that internet services, under the guise of Section 230, can not only block access to law enforcement — even when officials have secured a court-authorized warrant — but also prevent victims from civil recovery,” Barr said. “Giving broad immunity to platforms that purposefully blind themselves — and law enforcers — to illegal conduct on their services does not create incentives to make the online world safer for children.”

And this clearly doesn’t address the real issue. That’s your sign there’s something wrong here.

Both political parties are unhappy with the current situation and that should be your red flag that a great stitch-up is in progress. Because the end goal here is government oversight that has bipartisan support.

That support has to be manufactured from both sides. The left wants protection from ‘fake news’ and ‘Russian meddling’ while the right wants a level playing field to air ideas in the public square.

Didn’t you all notice how both of these things became issues right after the wrong person won the 2016 presidential election and the British people made the wrong decision about EU Membership?

I’m sure you noticed the blatant bias exhibited by Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit and the rest of these protected platforms and wondered why they were allowed to act so egregiously with seemingly no recourse?

The big tech companies don’t want more government oversight, they simply want to continue to have their have their editorial take and enforce it too while taking your money and suppressing your voice.

Government intervention is not the solution here. In fact, it is the goal of the entire exercise…

Click here to read the entire article at Gold, Goats ‘N Guns.

Liberty Blitzkrieg on Social Media Censorship

While the title of the article is Zerohedge’s Twitter Account is Permanently Banished this article by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg is more about why censorship, especially a lifetime ban, is egregious for any social media platform. Today Twitter also suspended conservative journalist James O’Keefe for reporting on some Bernie Sanders campaign supporters.

This post will cover three main issues. First, the fact that Twitter and other social media companies have essentially created a caste system when it comes to engagement on their platforms. Second, the question of whether or not a lifetime ban from social media platforms is an ethical concept. Third, the dangers of Twitter essentially throwing the entire timeline of a banished account into the memory hole.

As the internet and social media started gaining traction, the idea of the “citizen journalist” grew increasingly popular and the public discovered how all sorts of previously unknown people can bring a great deal of hidden information and interesting perspectives to the table. This led to competing narratives on all sorts of topics, and we all basically agreed it’s best to treat people like adults and let them sort things out for themselves. That is, until Hillary Clinton lost an election.

At that point, a certain segment of the population went completely mental and started demanding social media companies fight and censor “fake news.” This anti-liberal perspective, largely promoted by self-proclaimed liberals, deeply affected how social media executives think about and treat platform content in the subsequent years. The result has been that Twitter and other tech giants have effectively created a caste system on their platforms. Though they won’t explicitly admit it, the executives at these companies now seem to believe certain people and organizations should be given priority to shape the national narrative, while others should be diminished. While they tolerate the latter group until they become too influential and disruptive, the former class exists at a level entirely above Twitter’s terms of service. Certain people and organizations are permitted to do whatever they like on the platform, while others are subject to increasingly arbitrary and subjective bans. It’s rapidly becoming an intentionally rigged system designed to reallocate narrative control in a certain direction.

Ask yourself, do you think there’s anything CNN could do to get banned from Twitter for life? I don’t. I genuinely think the news organization CNN can do absolutely anything it wants on or off Twitter and never be considered for a lifetime ban. Why? It’s a protected organization. CNN is above the Twitter law, and as such exists at the very top of the social media caste system. It’s not just CNN of course, there are many individuals and organizations simply not subject to Twitter’s terms of service in the way you or I are. A politician calling for mass government violence abroad (war) is another example. This sort of thing happens regularly without any consequences. Why? Twitter has determined advocating for preemptive government violence is considered reasonable. They’ve determined advocating for one form of violence (war) is fine, but advocating for other kinds of violence is not. Nobody asked for any of this, but here we are.

The next thing I want to discuss is the entire concept of a lifetime ban from a dominant social media company like Twitter. The more I think about it, the more ethically indefensible this practice appears to be. Just as we shouldn’t jail a person for life except under the most extreme circumstances, we shouldn’t be comfortable flippantly banning people forever on large social media platforms. Such action assumes people can’t and don’t change, but Twitter doesn’t seem to be looking at the enforcement of its terms of service from a fundamentally fair or ethical point of view. Executives are increasingly utilizing this most extreme form of punishment, the lifetime ban, at the drop of a hat for minor or misunderstood violations. There are many other ways Twitter could deal with what it deems to be serious violations. You can have three month, six month or even year long bans, but a lifetime banishment is an extreme and indefensible position in almost all cases I’ve observed in recent months.

As such, it’s become clear to me Twitter isn’t using this tool in order to enforce its terms of service, but rather its terms of service exist to provide an excuse to eliminate anyone or any account executives or Brooklyn-based corporate bloggers deem unpalatable…

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Medium.com: YouTube Is Censoring Crypto Videos

Vincent Zandri has written an article over on Medium.com about how YouTube is censoring various crypto-currency videos and/or threatening to shut down the accounts of those who post them. Governments and banking systems are against cryptocurrencies outside of their control. If you control the money (which they currently do), then you can control just about everything else – including people’s behavior.

The first threat to government of an independent and opaque currency is how do they control taxation or government revenue. Our current system of government graft, masquerading as democracy, is dependent on the reliable extraction (some would say theft) of money from the populace on an ongoing basis. When people are receiving payments and making purchases in an encrypted medium, how does the government collect its cut?

Second, control of the money/banking system allows the government to control people’s behavior. As an extreme example, how many people will join an uprising against the government, knowing that their bank account will be frozen or seized so that they cannot pay their mortgage, or rent, or buy food? Or if their retirement fund/children’s college fund, etc. is seized? People already worry about making certain entirely legal banking transactions because the know or worry that the government or banking system will have information about them that either invades a person’s privacy or flags them for criminal investigation.

Altcoin Daily, a popular Bitcoin and crypto education video channel is alleging that YouTube is not only censoring theirs and many other crypto channel’s online content, they are threatening to shut them down altogether. The popular, Google owned, video-sharing platform is slapping many sites like Altcoin Daily with an accusation of “sale of regulated goods,” which is akin to selling alcohol or drugs to the general public and/or minors. As far as I can tell, Altcoin Daily doesn’t sell so much as a stick of gum to anyone. The two twin brothers who run the channel don’t offer financial advice, rather, they describe themselves as “crypto enthusiasts” who offer crypto news with a heavy focus on Bitcoin.

Fellow affected crypto YouTube Channel content creators are making their voices heard about the censoring via social media…

Click here to read the entire article at Medium.com.

Mises Institute: The Silicon Valley Gulag

Author and university professor Jason Morgan has written an review at Mises Institute of Michael Rectenwald’s Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom.

he near-homogeneity of Silicon Valley political beliefs has gone from wry punchline to national crisis in the United States. The monoculture of virtue signaling and high- and heavy-handed woke corporate leftism at places like Google, Twitter, and Facebook was once a source of chagrin for those who found themselves shut out of various internet sites for deviating from the orthodoxies of the Palo Alto elites. After the 2016 presidential election, however, it became obvious that the digitalistas were doing a lot more than just making examples of a few handpicked “extremists.” From the shadow banning of non-leftist sites and views to full-complement political propagandizing, Bay Area leftists have been so aggressive in bending the national psyche to their will that there is talk in the papers and on the cable “news” channels of “existential threats to our democracy.”

It is tempting to see this as a function of political correctness. Americans, and others around the world, who have found themselves on the “wrong side of history” (as determined by the cultural elite in an endless cycle of epistemological door closing) have long been shut out of conversations, their views deemed beyond the pale of acceptable discourse in enlightened modern societies. Google, Facebook, Twitter — are these corporations, and their uber-woke CEOs, just cranking the PC up to eleven and imposing their schoolmarmish proclivities on the billions of people who want to scrawl messages on their electronic chalkboards?

Not so, says reformed leftist — and current PC target — Michael Rectenwald. The truth of Stanford and Harvard alumni’s death grip on global discourse is much more complicated than just PC run amok. It is not that the Silicon Valley giants are agents of mass surveillance and censorship (although mass surveillance and censorship are precisely the business they’re in). It’s that the very system they have designed is, structurally, the same as the systems of oppression that blanketed and smothered free expression in so much of the world during the previous century. In his latest book, Google Archipelago, Rectenwald outlines how this system works, why leftism is synonymous with oppression, and how the Google Archipelago’s regime of “simulated reality” “must be countered, not only with real knowledge, but with a metaphysics of truth.”

Google Archipelago is divided into eight chapters and is rooted in both Rectenwald’s encyclopedic knowledge of the history of science and corporate control of culture, as well as in his own experiences. Before retiring, Rectenwald had been a professor at New York University, where he was thoroughly entrenched in the PC episteme that squelches real thought at universities across North America and beyond. Gradually, Rectenwald began to realize that PC was not a philosophy, but the enemy of open inquiry. For this reason, and because Rectenwald is an expert in the so-called digital humanities and the long history of scientific (and pseudo-scientific) thinking that feeds into it, Google Archipelago is not just a dry monograph about a social issue. By turns memoir, Kafkaesque dream sequence, trenchant rebuke of leftist censorship, and intellectual history of woke corporate political correctness, Google Archipelago is a welcoming window into a mind working happily in overdrive.

There is much in Google Archipelago addressing the lie that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are neutral platforms for free-ranging debate. This is not so much, because, statistically and empirically, it is irrefutable that Silicon Valley is hostile to non-Beltway-leftist opinions, but because, much more damningly, their woke-capital corporate structures are themselves iterations of massification, propaganda, and deep social control. For Rectenwald, the “Google archipelago” is not PC version 2.0; it is Marxism, version 1,000 (and raised by several orders of magnitude to boot).

For example, in the first and second chapters of Google Archipelago, Rectenwald lays out how the various elements of woke-capitalist ideological repression work together in actual practice. Rectenwald’s chief example is the Gillette ad campaign of January 2019, in which a company whose products (razor blades and shaving cream) are purchased, of course, was said to insult the very essence of its customers by belittling manhood as “toxic.” Why would a razor blade company go out of its way to alienate the people who buy the majority of razorblades? The answer is surprising…

Click here to read the entire review at Mises Wire.

Related:

SHTFPlan.com: The YouTube Censorship Continues: Thought Police Begin The PURGE

YouTube has begun to purge accounts that they have decided violate “acceptable thoughts.” The censorship is continuing and exponentially skyrocketing on all social media platforms…

Twitter Suspends Second Amendment Foundation Account

From Truth About Guns:

SAF Twitter account suspended

The Second Amendment Foundation along with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms are holding their annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix this weekend (TTAG will be there). So…just in time for the gun rights orgs’ biggest event of the year, the pasty-faced geeks at Twitter have seen fit to suspend SAF’s social media account.

We talked to SAF founder Alan Gottlieb who had this to say:

We’re shocked. In all our years on Twitter, our account has never been suspended and we have no idea what we allegedly did to bring this about. It’s interesting that it’s happened right before the Gun Rights Policy Conference this weekend.

Yes it is. Does that sound paranoid? Maybe. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t really out to get you…

Facebook Removes Prepping 2.0 Page

According to a Facebook post from Shelby Gallagher, co-host with Glen Tate of the Prepping 2.0 Show, Facebook has unpublished their Prepping 2.0 Facebook page without giving a reason. The page had approximately 15,000 followers. The two authors have started another Facebook page called Prepping 2.0 Radio Show & Podcast and still have their website at http://prepping2-0.com.

Both Glen Tate and Shelby Gallagher wrote their books (the 299 Days and A Great State series respectively) with the idea of telling a story of a possible collapse and how to prep. Upon reflection, they realized that times are changing quickly. It is an exciting time to prep. Innovation, technology, know-how have advanced in recent years…so has the need to prep. Hence the reason for a new outlook on prepping. The need for Prepping 2.0.

SEC Allows MasterCard to Monitor/Cut-off “Far-Right” Customers

Thanks to ZeroHedge for catching these articles.  From Buzzfeed.com an article about Mastercard proposing to establish an internal human rights committee that would monitor and prevent supposed white supremacist groups or anti-Islam activists from using the payment system. And an interview on RT America with journalist Ben Swann on the SEC reportedly blessed that action.

MasterCard is not the only holder of purse-strings that is mulling the selective banning of individuals from their services and funds. Patreon and PayPal have previously barred individuals from receiving payments using their platforms, due to their extreme views.

But unlike crowdfunding platforms, being cut off from one of the leading American multinational financial services corporations will, most likely, have a much greater impact on the financial stability of an individual or a group, especially after the US Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly blessed MasterCard’s undertaking.

By doing this, Swann believes the government granted “big corporations the ability to control what voices are heard.”

The issue with such an approach, the investigative journalist argues, would lead to a wider crackdown on financial payments to anyone who the government would see as unfavorable.

“The fact that the SEC has given a green light to this essentially says the SEC supports the idea of censoring these groups in order to freeze out essentially anyone you don’t agree with,” the journalist said.

“It is such a dystopian 1984 world view and yet we’re living through it right now,” the journalist observed.

Watch the entire interview below:

CSG: Welcome to the Panopticon

Combat Studies Group has a comprehensive article up about choosing a secure chat/messaging application in this time of increasing governmental and corporate excess. It’s a long read, but if you are interested in your privacy you should give it a read. If you don’t understand what he’s talking about, then this is a starting point for your electronic privacy/security education.

Welcome To The Panopticon, or “How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Information Warfare”

So it’s 2019……and so far we have:

– Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and the like, de-platforming or censoring any content that leans towards the right or conservative side.

– Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, et al, doubling down on collection of people’s data.

– The US intelligence apparatus convincing major hotel chains (Marriot for one) to collect information and report on hotel guests (for the most trivial of “abnormalities”, if one can call them that).

– Amazon working with law enforcement to implement widespread facial recognition gathering.

– Those nifty DNA/ Heritage testing sites have been caught giving your DNA to Uncle Sam.

– Cellular providers selling your real-time location to anyone who wants to buy it.

– The proliferation of “smart” devices such as Alexa that is always listening.

– Web browsers screening the news you search for and only letting the “leftist” slanted news through.

I could go on for pages and pages, but you get the point. One needs to become aggressive to secure their privacy in this day and age….so with that in mind I thought it apropos to publish an updated breakdown of available options.

Lets establish some standards that should be adhered to when choosing a chat application.

1. It should be comprised of open-source code. Open source code can be audited by third parties for completeness, proper implementation and potential security vulnerabilities.

2. It should employ end to end encryption. In other words, the encryption happens on your device and the decryption happens on the recipient’s device versus a third party server. This removes the need to trust a third party with your keys.

3. It should utilize INFOSEC industry accepted standards for cipher primitives. It should use well studied ciphers, key exchanges and hashes such as: AES-256, RSA-4096, ChaCha20, ECC-512, Curve25519, Poly1305, secp256k1, Curve448, Twofish, SHA-3, Whirlpool, GPG.

4. It should utilize forward secrecy. This protects the user if they have a key that somehow gets compromised. In this setup the system renegotiates the key exchange at short, established time intervals. Diffie-Hellman  is a common implementation of this concept.

5. It should support the removal/destruction of messages on both ends of the conversation. This could be based on a timer, manual selection or a “destroy on read” protocol…

Click here to read the entire article at CSG.

Related:

Technology and Avoiding Censorship

 

Technology and Avoiding Censorship

The world of news reporting has been metamorphosing since the Internet became easily available. Print journalism is dying. The newspaper and magazine news sources that have survived have moved onto the internet to some extent, though they may still have a print presence. But the Internet is a funny place, and it, and dwindling financials, have changed those venerable news dinosaurs. Making profits became dependent upon Internet advertising which was measured by ad views or ad clicks. It became more important to these institutions to have stories that received more views rather than stories of deep substance, not that the two are mutually exclusive. Inevitably, the businesses started catering to specific audiences or demographics, posting stories and headlines that would invite those users to click into the article to view the ads. Once proud institutions like the New York Times have become more of a television sitcom, where the stories are played to a captive audience with implied “applause” and “laughter” cue cards. CNN is more like People magazine than a news network.

Speaking of television, much the same has happened to news sources there. As viewers switched from advertising-supported television channels (or paid cable channels) to watching shows and reading news on the Internet, the financial support of the captive television audience dwindled. As that revenue dwindled, television companies had less money with which to subsidize their news. When once news was a point of pride of the stations that they gladly subsidized, the broadcasters now had to compete for advertising revenue for their news shows. These causes likewise led to a similar chasing after of sensational headlines as was occurring in the Internet space.

In short, the mainstream media news sources have turned into a wasteland as far as actual news goes. Instead they relay stories that will play well with their respective cash-cow herds. Or they run stories that are profitable for them to air, either because they are paid to do so or to ingratiate themselves with government agencies or corporations in order to have access or the personal prestige of being seen with later (for those persons high up enough in the pseudo-news organization). It is well documented, for instance, that the CIA has for decades worked with news organizations of all kinds in order to either relay or suppress the stories or propaganda that they want to shape public opinion. This is no less true for many large corporations and political parties who actively work with these organizations for their own propagandistic ends.

It should be no surprise to anyone, then, that people have turned to alternative news sources. This is a great danger to the power of all those organizations currently involved in mainstream news organizations – i.e. government agencies, political parties, corporations, foreign entities, etc. Controlling the media is a way to control the people. People cannot get angry over something that they never hear about, or better yet, they can’t believe anything that the media is portraying as laughable. Because people are, indeed, looking for real news, these interests are doing their best to prevent alternative news sources or at least people’s access to these sources.

In the past several months, we’ve seen many alternative news voices as well as individual users banned from various Internet social media platforms which they used to communicate with the people who followed them – a process called de-platforming. Because these social media platforms are owned by private corporations there is no first amendment violation, even when some of the corporations are counseled by advisory entities with close government ties. Little justification is given for these deplatformings other than vague mumblings from the corporations about hate speech, extremism, insults, Russian spies, and so forth. The corporations are under no obligation, currently, to provide any truth. They say something the content creator did violated their terms of use and that is the end.  So far these deplatforming actions have been overwhelming against conservative voices, though not entirely so.

Continue reading “Technology and Avoiding Censorship”