The US government votes to slaughter 45,000 wild horses to make room for cattle
- WRITE AND CALL THE Bureau of Land Management‘s (BLM) AND TELL THEM WHAT YOU THINK: TODAY!
Last week, a major censorship controversy erupted when Facebook began deleting all posts containing the iconic photograph of the Vietnamese “Napalm Girl” on the ground that it violated the company’s ban on “child nudity.” Facebook even deleted a post from the prime minister of Norway, who posted the photograph in protest of the censorship. As outrage spread, Facebook ultimately reversed itself — acknowledging “the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time” — but this episode illustrated many of the dangers I’ve previously highlighted in having private tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google become the arbiters of what we can and cannot see.
Having just resolved that censorship effort, Facebook seems to be vigorously courting another. The Associated Press reports today from Jerusalem that “the Israeli government and Facebook have agreed to work together to determine how to tackle incitement on the social media network.” These meetings are taking place “as the government pushes ahead with legislative steps meant to force social networks to rein in content that Israel says incites violence.” In other words, Israel is about to legislatively force Facebook to censor content deemed by Israeli officials to be improper, and Facebook appears eager to appease those threats by working directly with the Israeli government to determine what content should be censored.
The joint Facebook-Israel censorship efforts, needless to say, will be directed at Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians who oppose Israeli occupation. The AP article makes that clear: “Israel has argued that a wave of violence with the Palestinians over the past year has been fueled by incitement, much of it spread on social media sites.” As Alex Kane reported in The Intercept in June, Israel has begun actively surveilling Palestinians for the content of their Facebook posts and even arresting some for clear political speech. Israel’s obsession with controlling Palestinians’ use of social media is motivated by the way it has enabled political organizing by occupation opponents; as Kane wrote: “A demonstration against the Israeli occupation can be organized in a matter of hours, while the monitoring of Palestinians is made easier by the large digital footprint they leave on their laptops and mobile phones.”
Notably, Israel was represented in this meeting with Facebook by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, an extremist by all measures who has previously said she does not believe in a Palestinian state. Shaked has “proposed legislation that seeks to force social networks to remove content that Israel considers to be incitement,” and recently boasted that Facebook is already extremely compliant with Israeli censorship demands: “Over the past four months Israel submitted 158 requests to Facebook to remove inciting content,” she said, and Facebook has accepted those requests in 95 percent of the cases.
All of this underscores the severe dangers of having our public discourse overtaken, regulated, and controlled by a tiny number of unaccountable tech giants. I suppose some people are comforted by the idea that benevolent Facebook executives like Mark Zuckerberg are going to protect us all from “hate speech” and “incitement,” but — like “terrorism” — neither of those terms have any fixed meanings, are entirely malleable, and are highly subject to manipulation for propagandistic ends. Do you trust Facebook — or the Israeli government — to assess when a Palestinian’s post against Israeli occupation and aggression passes over into censorship-worthy “hate speech” or “incitement”?
While the focus here is on Palestinians’ “incitement,” it’s actually very common for Israelis to use Facebook to urge violence against Palestinians, including settlers urging “vengeance” when there is an attack on an Israeli. Indeed, as the Washington Post recently noted, “Palestinians have also taken issue with social-media platforms, saying they incite violence and foster an Israeli discourse of hatred, racism and discriminatory attitudes against Palestinians.”
In 2014, thousands of Israelis used Facebook to post messages “calling for the murder of Palestinians.” When an IDF occupying soldier was arrested for shooting and killing a wounded Palestinian point blank in the head last year, IDF soldiers used Facebook to praise the killing and justify that violence, with online Israeli mobs gathering in support. Indeed, Justice Minister Shaked herself — now part of the government team helping Facebook determine what to censor — has used Facebook to post astonishingly extremist and violence-inducing rhetoric against Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his other top ministers have done the same. As Al Jazeera America detailed in 2014:
The hate speech against Arabs that gathered momentum on Facebook and Twitter soon spilled out onto the streets of Jerusalem as extremist Israelis kicked up violence and caused chaos. This violence then made its way back online: YouTube and Facebook videos show hundreds of angry Israeli mobs running around chanting, “Death to Arabs,” and looking for Palestinians to attack. A video of an Israeli Jew attacking a Palestinian on a public bus shouting, “Filthy Arabs, filthy Arab murderers of children,” emerged from Tel Aviv. And more video footage showing Israeli security forces using excessive force on a handcuffed Palestinian-American boy further called into question who was really inciting this chaos.
Can anyone imagine Facebook deleting the posts of prominent Israelis calling for increased violence or oppression against Palestinians? Indeed, is it even possible to imagine Facebook deleting the posts of Americans or western Europeans who call for aggressive wars or other forms of violence against predominantly Muslim countries, or against critics of the West? To ask the question is to answer it. Facebook is a private company, with a legal obligation to maximize profit, and so it will interpret very slippery concepts such as “hate speech” and “inciting violence” to please those who wield the greatest power. It’s thus inconceivable that Facebook would ever dream of deleting this type of actual advocacy or incitement of violence:
Facebook is confronting extreme pressure to censor content disliked by various governments. The U.S. and U.K. have jointly launched a campaign to malign Silicon Valley companies as terrorist helpers or ISIS supporters for refusing to take more active steps to ban content from those whom these governments regard as “terrorists.” Israel has been particularly aggressive in attempting to blame Facebook for violence and coerce it to censor. Family members of Israelis killed by Palestinians are suing Facebook claiming the company helped facilitate those attacks, while some Israelis have actually complained that Facebook is biased against Israel in its censorship practices.
About all of this, The Intercept submitted the following questions to Facebook, which has not yet responded; we will update this article if it does:
1) Has FB ever met with Palestinian leaders in an effort to identify and suppress posts from Israelis that incite violence? Is there any plan to do so?
2) If an Israeli advocates that Palestinians be attacked and/or bombed, would those posts violate FB’s terms of service and be deleted? Have any ever been?
3) What role, exactly, is the Israeli government playing in helping FB identify content that should be barred?
4) FB said it “granted some 95% of the requests” from Israeli officials to remove content. What percentage of requests from Palestinians to remove content has been accepted?
5) If someone says that Israel’s occupation is illegal and should be resisted using all means, would that be permitted?
It’s true that these companies have the legal right as private actors to censor whatever they want. But that proposition ignores the unprecedented control this small group of corporations now exerts over global communications. That this censorship is within their legal rights does not obviate the serious danger this corporate conduct poses, for reasons I set forth here in describing how vast their influence has become in shaping our discourse (see here for a disturbing story today on how Twitter banned a Scottish pro-independence group after it criticized an article from a tabloid journalist, who then complained she was being “harassed”).
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Facebook, at this point, is far and away the most dominant force in journalism. It is indescribably significant to see it work with a government to censor the speech of that government’s opponents. But as is so often the case with censorship, people are content with its application until it is used to suppress views they agree with or like.
One of the early promises of the internet, a key potential benefit, was its ability to equalize disparities, to enable the powerless to communicate as freely and potently as the powerful, and to politically organize in far more efficient ways. Those who continually call on companies such as Facebook and Twitter to censor content are seriously jeopardizing those values, no matter how noble their motives might be. It is difficult to imagine any scenario more at odds with the internet’s promise than Facebook executives and the Israeli government meeting to decide what Palestinians will and will not be allowed to say.
HULU risks failure for refusing to keep up with technology and public demand by blowing off HTML5
By Martin Krebs
The world has switched to HTML5 video format and HULU.COM has been left in the dust because of greed-based policies.
HTML5 works on all modern platforms. Netflix, every porn site, digital versions of old-school (NBC, CBS, etc.)…essentially everyone that counts, and everyone who is state-of-the-art is on HTML5. Google is dropping web-searches to videos that are not HTML5.
HULU’s technology head says that Hulu only cares about: “…our content partners who license programs to us, our advertisers, and each other. We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn’t yet meet all of our customers’ needs. Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user. Not all video sites have these needs, but for our business these are all important and often contractual requirements.”
What this means is that Hulu wants to SPY ON it’s consumer viewers like the NSA. HULU has it’s old crap-based spyware player and software that watches what you are watching and spies on everything you do on any device that Hulu is on. HULU keeps a dossier on you. HULU knows if you are married, pregnant, in recovery and what you might buy and to manipulate you into buying things you don’t need.
HULU is stealing your privacy data and using it against you and it can’t control you as much if it is forced to use HTML5.
Nobody else is having the problems that HULU claims to be unable to solve with HTML5. Some HULU owners have insider deals with software suppliers and content people that will reduce their personal kick-backs if they switch away from their good ole boy crony suppliers. Boo friggin hoo.
HULU you are now a public utility and a hundred million people count on you not to screw them over. There are only 47 people at HULU making big bucks off of HULU off of those millions of users. Does that seem right…to exploit those users?
p style=”margin-bottom:0;line-height:100%;”>Make the switch to HTML5 HULU. If you can’t figure out how to program HTML5 then fire that guy that made the above public quote and find someone who does!
Analysis It’s not often an entirely new and thriving sector of the “digital economy” – one hitherto unmentioned by the popular press – floats to the surface of the lake in broad daylight, waving a tentacle at us.
This is the DDoS-for-hire industry, and it’s fascinating for a few reasons. This shady marketplace has done everything a legitimate “digital” business should do.
Hitherto, what are euphemistically called “booter” services have been pretty obscure. But if anything deserves an as-a-service “-aaS” (“software as a service, SaaS; platform as a service, PaaS) created in its honour, it’s the ‘DDoSaaS’ or perhaps ‘DoSaaS’ industry: Denial-of-service-as-a-service.
We now know much more about the marketplace because its leading business, vDOS, was hacked this year, and security expert Brian Krebs has been joining the dots. Krebs has documented the DaaS business for some years, a thankless job resulting in regular attacks on Krebs’ own website. The key business and technical architects also helpfully described it in an academic paper.
Two Israelis allegedly behind vDOS, both 18, were arrested after an FBI investigation. The site had been operating for four years. vDOS offered four retail tiers: from a $19.99 “bronze” plan to a $199/month “VIP plan”. Just as blogs and social media “democratised” the media, by making the tools of production and distribution cheap and readily available, so too did booter services.
To take a site you didn’t like offline you used to have to have a network of contacts and great technical expertise. But the booter services put a DDoS attack into anyone’s hands, and all it took was a quick retail transaction -as low as $20. Booter services were the Uber of DDoS. How’s that for disruption?
“To say that vDOS has been responsible for a majority of the DDoS attacks clogging up the Internet over the past few years would be an understatement. The various subscription packages to the service are sold based in part on how many seconds the denial-of-service attack will last,” Krebs noted, adding:
And in just four months between April and July 2016, vDOS was responsible for launching more than 277 million seconds of attack time, or approximately 8.81 years worth of attack traffic.
Like many “booter” services, vDOS had been hiding behind CloudFlare’s CDN. The CloudFlare CDN acts as a cloaking service, and has been criticised for keeping pro-ISIS sites online. CloudFlare has also been under fire for doxing; a sample of CloudFlare’s clients can be found here.)
In a January post entitled Spreading the disease and selling the cure, Krebs observed: “The booter services are proliferating thanks mainly to free services offered by CloudFlare, a content distribution network that offers gratis DDoS protection for virtually all of the booter services currently online.”
As well as providing protection for the DoS [denial of service] industry, CloudFlare operates a DoS-protection service for clients worried about DoS attacks. Krebs added: “If CloudFlare adopted a policy of not enabling booter services, it could eliminate a huge conflict of interest for the company and – more importantly – help eradicate the booter industry.”
CloudFlare says it responds to individual law enforcement requests and will not proactively police its network for DDoS-ers.
What made vDOS particularly interesting was that it operated in both “retail” and “wholesale” markets. “PoodleStresser, as well as a large number of other booter services, appears to rely exclusively on firepower generated by vDOS,” Krebs notes.
This isn’t unusual in legitimate sectors. A food manufacturer may sell white label versions of its goods to supermarkets, and mobile networks have for years made better use of their capacity by wholesaling to MVNOs, mobile virtual network operators).
The vDOS pair maintained a network of PayPal accounts but many of the participants are US based.
Damon McCoy, cited at Krebs’ blog, notes that vDOS blocked clients from disabling Israeli sites, most likely to avoid unwanted attention from authorities at home: “The main reason was they didn’t want to make trouble in their local jurisdiction in the hopes that no one in their country would be a victim and have standing to bring a case against them.”
The cover story offered by booter operations is that the software has a legitimate use: for sites to stress test their own web servers. In reality, the “democratization of DDoS” – with kits available on the dark web for a fiver – means that buying DDoS protection offered by CloudFlare is almost mandatory. ®
The New Shepard rocket that Blue Origin has been launching and landing is a fairly modest thing, 65 feet high, capable of getting just past the edge of space, some 60 miles up. But on Monday, Jeff Bezos’ space company announced the design of its new, orbital rocket, a towering, more powerful behemoth designed to take people and commercial satellites to orbit.
In a blog post, Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, said the New Glenn rocket would come in two variants–a two stage and a three stage–that would be ready to fly by the end of the decade. Powered by seven BE-4 engines, they would have 3.85 million pounds of thrust at sea level. The rocket would be nearly as tall as the mighty, Apollo-era Saturn V that ferried the Apollo astronauts to the moon.
“Our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and New Glenn is a very important step,” Bezos wrote.
The announcement comes at a critical time for the commercial space industry, which aims to reduce the cost of spaceflight and open it up to the masses. Last week, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, performed the first test flight of its new spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo, as it prepares to take paying customers into space. And Blue Origin, which also promises to move into the space tourism market, plans to fly a critical test flight of New Shepard, its suborbital rocket, next month.
Last week, the industry was jolted when SpaceX, the leader in the so-called New Space movement, suffered a catastrophic failure, when its Falcon 9 rocket ignited while on a Cape Canaveral launch pad and blew up in a spectacular fireball. The company is grounded while investigators try to determine the cause of the explosion, and that could lead to a delay of a launch of its new massive rocket, the Falcon Heavy.
Like the reusable New Shepard, the New Glenn’s first stage would also be capable of boosting its payload into space, then flying back to the Earth for a soft landing. Bezos has said that being able to reuse rockets, instead of discarding them after each use as has traditionally been the case, is a key step toward lowering the cost of space travel. SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, has already landed several orbital-class first stages on land or on ships at sea.
In the statement, Bezos wrote that the company’s mascot is a tortoise, a symbol from the fable the Tortoise and the Hare. Its motto is “Gradatim Ferociter” – Latin for “step by step, ferociously,” he wrote. “We believe ‘slow is smooth and smooth is fast.’ In the long run, deliberate and methodical wins the day, and you do things quickest by never skipping steps,” he wrote.
Bezos said the company plans to launch the New Glenn rocket from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 36, which it is refurbishing.
The naming for Blue Origin’s rockets is a nod for the 60s-era Space Age, a time that Bezos has said has had a profound influence on him. New Shepard was named for Alan Shepard, who became the first American in space in 1961. A year later, NASA astronaut John Glenn pushed the boundary even further when he became the first American in orbit, circling the globe three times.
Then in 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, which Bezos said would inspire his next venture.
While getting to orbit is a key step, he said it won’t be the company’s last: “Up next on our drawing board: New Armstrong. But that’s a story for the future.”