New AppMaker Tool Promises Censorship-Free Content

new appmaker tool promises censorship-free content


NGOs and other organizations with limited resources can now build their own Android apps designed to bypass censorship filters in China and beyond, thanks to rights group

On Monday, the China-focused anti-censorship group launched its new GreatFire AppMaker tool, allowing any organization that uses it to effectively unblock its content behind the Great Firewall and in other autocratic states.

GreatFire co-founder, Charlie Smith, told Infosecurity that the tool is based on the group’s “Collateral Freedom” approach.

This relies on hosting content on major cloud services like AWS that are too important for censors to block, whilst using encrypted domains so the censors can’t selectively block URLs — in effect meaning they’d have to take down AWS completely for all users inside the Middle Kingdom.

Organizations that want to build their own censorship-busting apps first need to visit the AppMaker website, choose a name for their app and specify the web page that the app will use to gather content from, as well as a file which will serve as the app icon.

“Click ‘Submit’ after adding the information above. GreatFire will then start to compile (create) your Android app based on this information (this process will …



Abductions, Censorship and Layoffs: Pakistani Critics Are Under Siege

abductions, censorship and layoffs: pakistani critics are under siege


When Prime Minister Imran Khan boasted last year that Pakistan had one of the “freest presses in the world,” journalists were quick to object, saying that intimidation of reporters across the country was intensifying. It has only gotten worse since.Two years into Mr. Khan’s term, censorship is on the rise, journalists and activists say, leaving the country’s heavy-handed military and security forces unchecked as they intimidate the news media to a degree unseen since the country’s era of army juntas.The security forces frequently pressure editors to fire or muzzle reporters, journalists say, while the government starves critical news outlets of advertising funds and refuses to settle previous bills worth millions of dollars.The abduction of a prominent reporter by state security officers in late July, coupled with the disappearance of a rights activist in November, has heightened those concerns. In June, Pakistan’s Military Intelligence agency admitted that it had detained the activist and that he is awaiting trial in a secret court on undisclosed charges.“Disappearances are a tool of terror, used not just to silence the victim but to fill the wider community with fear,” said Omar Waraich, the head of South Asia …


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Microsoft confirms talks seeking to buy US arm of TikTok

microsoft confirms talks seeking to buy us arm of tiktok


TikTok’s catchy videos and ease of use has made it popular, and it says it has tens of millions of users in the U.S. and hundreds of millions globally. Its parent company, Bytedance Ltd., launched TikTok in 2017. It bought, a video service popular with teens in the U.S. and Europe, and combined the two. It has a similar service, Douyin, for users in China.


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How the New York Times profits from self-censorship | Spectator USA

how the new york times profits from self-censorship | spectator usa


The recent high-profile departures at the New York Times of editorial page editor James Bennet and opinion writer Bari Weiss have left some on the business side of the news industry scratching their heads. Both exited amid ideological turmoil that Weiss detailed in a letter of resignation to the Times’s publisher A.G. Sulzberger, describing the ‘hostile work environment’ she endured at the hands of fellow editors and staffers. They were wholly intolerant, she said, of her role as a ‘centrist’ at the paper. Bennet, said Weiss, had led the effort after President Trump’s election in 2016 to bring in ‘voices that would not otherwise appear’ in the Times.But what of Sulzberger, whose prime duty is to New York Times shareholders and therefore to the paper’s bottom line? How does the top executive justify alienating swathes of Times customers and potential subscribers who may be sympathetic to, or even merely curious about, ideas beyond what Weiss described as ‘our 4,000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world’?The overlooked truth is that there is considerable financial incentive for the Times to limit the scope of discussion. This business angle …


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Censors attack free speech – Santa Barbara News-Press

censors attack free speech – santa barbara news-press


Messages get shouted down or deleted

Did You Know written by Bonnie Donovan

Censorship and propaganda come in many forms — from the  “scrubbing” of the internet to the shouting down with bullhorns and the monopolizing of public meetings via a bombardment of emails and cell phone calls. And let’s not forget name calling, which would have traditionally fallen under the collective term of racism.

The big boys of the internet will even suspend a user’s account if the user’s comments are not in step with the dictates of their message.

Our local AIA  — Architect Institute of America — insists that State Street must be reconfigured to all residential units promoting the false notion that “Retail is dead.” This is the message promoted by the city to get their vision of State Street. We are confused with the doublespeak: “No parking required because no one wants cars.”

Yet any shopping, any need will have to be done by driving out of town, or by using the internet to order items — sight unseen. The death of retail makes Jeff Bezos of Amazon incredibly happy. He made $13 billion in one  day! 

But what about us? What about the proposed residents of …


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Facebook Censorship of “Boogaloo” aka ‘Big Igloo’ Groups

facebook censorship of “boogaloo” aka ‘big igloo’ groups


Facebook Censorship of “Boogaloo” aka ‘Big Igloo’ Groups
U.S.A. –-( On June 30, 2020, Facebook banned a widespread number of Facebook groups that have a loose affiliation with each other by using the term “boogaloo”. Boogaloo has become a shortcut associated with a projected civil war in the United States.

Foxbusiness reports that Facebook used a heavy-handed approach, to include hundreds of groups, many with a simple association with the term “boogaloo”. From foxbusiness:
Facebook said it its policy was a blunt instrument that included removing praise for the banned network and shared pictures, so that many who thought posts were funny will also see their material taken down. The targeted network includes 106 Facebook groups and 220 accounts, and another 400 groups were also removed for hosting similar content.
Prosecutors have linked boogaloo followers to several violent incidents during the recent wave of protests across the United States following the May police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In at least one group, with 37,000 followers, the administrators contend they are not extremist or violent:

“We’re vehemently opposed to the idea of using violence to get your point across. We get kind of shoehorned into the idea of being violent …


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Lee says social media honchos are ‘heavy-handed monopolists’ and calls for answers on content moderation issues

lee says social media honchos are ‘heavy-handed monopolists’ and calls for answers on content moderation issues


SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee used his new Parler account to tout the fight he’s picking with Google, Facebook, Twitter and Squarespace over how each internet platform moderates content in general, and potentially targets conservative voices
“Somehow, I’m willing to be(t) this will get more likes and shares on Parer (sic) than it will on Facebook and Twitter combined. In any event, I picked a big fight today with Google, Facebook, and Twitter,” Lee posted to his @SenMikeLee Parler account Thursday evening.
Parler has emerged as the social media darling of some conservative U.S. politicians and commentators, and Lee has even worked to pump up the platform by issuing an invitation to President Donald Trump to join the party. Ironically, that invitation was proffered on Twitter, where the president enjoys a follower list north of 80 million accounts.
Not surprisingly, Parler was not one of the addressees of Lee’s letter Thursday that instead went to the CEOs of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Squarespace.
Lee, who earlier this week announced the Senate antitrust committee he chairs will host a hearing focused on Google and its online advertising practices, said he is most concerned with company conduct …


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India’s opaque site bans set a dangerous precedent for censorship

india’s opaque site bans set a dangerous precedent for censorship


Days after India banned 59 Chinese applications, post a skirmish between the two nations at the border, I tried to open the privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo on my phone. But I couldn’t reach the site because of some error.
I wasn’t the only one facing this problem. A lot of users in India found that the site had been blocked because of an order from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). There was no explanation as to why the site was banned. However, a few days later, the site was accessible again.

The owners of the site were aware of the problem. However, there was no official communication from the government to suggest what was the problem related to the site.
This wasn’t the first time a site was banned in India without proper reasoning or notice.
In May, file-transfer site WeTransfer was banned and the order which came to fore in June just said the service was banned “in the interest of national security or public interest.”

File-sharing service WeTransfer blocked in India. Unclear why.
— Catalin Cimpanu (@campuscodi) June 1, 2020

At that time, the company said it was …


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Turkey: Social Media Law Will Increase Censorship

turkey: social media law will increase censorship


(Istanbul) – The Turkish government’s efforts to introduce new powers to control social media will greatly increase online censorship, particularly in light of the country’s poor record on freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said today.The Turkish government is rushing a legal amendment to Turkey’s internet law through parliament before the summer recess in a move to force social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to comply with any demands by the government to block or remove content.“If passed, the new law will enable the government to control social media, to get content removed at will, and to arbitrarily target individual users,” said Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch. “Social media is a lifeline for many people who use it to access news, so this law signals a new dark era of online censorship.”The draft amendment would require social media companies with over one million users a day to have offices in Turkey. The penalty for companies that didn’t comply would be fines and restriction of bandwidth making the platform unusable. The companies that open these offices would have to comply with government demands to block and remove content or …


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