Cloudflare Removes Warrant Canary: Thoughtful Post Says It Can No Longer Say It Hasn't Removed A Site Due To Political Pressure

from the tough-calls dept

Late last week, Cloudflare put up a fascinating and thoughtful blog post discussing (among other things) a change to its warrant canary list. As you hopefully know, a warrant canary is when a service provider makes a proactive statement about something it has supposedly never done. The idea is that if that statement disappears at a later date, one might reasonably infer that the company had been forced to do the thing it claimed it had not ever done — and, additionally, that it had possibly been gagged from saying so. There are (somewhat reasonable) criticisms of warrant canaries, and to date, they’re probably more well known for false alarms than any actual report of gagged pressured malfeasance.

Still, Cloudflare’s public (so, not gagged) decision to delete a line from its warrant canary is interesting and worth thinking about. The original warrant canary from Cloudflare stated that the company hadn’t done any of the following:

  1. Cloudflare has never turned over our SSL keys or our customers SSL keys to anyone.
  2. Cloudflare has never installed any law enforcement software or equipment anywhere on our network.
  3. Cloudflare has never terminated a customer or taken down content due to political pressure.
  4. Cloudflare has never provided any law enforcement organization a feed of our customers’ content transiting our network.

Recently it added a few more and slightly modified the old ones, so that Cloudflare at the beginning of 2019 insisted that it had never done any of the following.

  1. Turned over our encryption or authentication keys or our customers’ encryption or authentication keys to anyone.
  2. Installed any law enforcement software or equipment anywhere on our network.
  3. Terminated a customer or taken down content due to political pressure*
  4. Provided any law enforcement organization a feed of our customers’ content transiting our network.
  5. Modified customer content at the request of law enforcement or another third party.
  6. Modified the intended destination of DNS responses at the request of law enforcement or another third party.
  7. Weakened, compromised, or subverted any of its encryption at the request of law enforcement or another third party.

Now, you might notice that at the end of number three, there’s an asterisk. That was done when Cloudflare kicked up quite a debate after it decided to remove Daily Stormer from its service. The asterisk was more or less a nod to the idea that things can be a bit more complicated than “political pressure.” Cloudflare kicked off Daily Stormer because its CEO got sick of a bunch of neo-Nazis laughing and joking about Cloudflare for protecting them and keeping them online. Is that political pressure? Seems pretty subjective. Even Cloudflare’s CEO, Matthew Prince, acknowledged this at the time, noting:

We’re going to have a long debate internally about whether we need to remove the bullet about not terminating a customer due to political pressure. It’s powerful to be able to say you’ve never done something. And, after today, make no mistake, it will be a little bit harder for us to argue against a government somewhere pressuring us into taking down a site they don’t like.

The solution that Cloudflare came up with was to keep the line in there with the asterisk and an explanation. And now it’s decided to remove the line entirely, as part of the decision earlier this year to remove 8chan from its service as well. However, it’s still not an easy call, and the company wants you to understand the thought process it went through:

In August 2019, Cloudflare terminated service to 8chan based on their failure to moderate their hate-filled platform in a way that inspired murderous acts. Although we don?t think removing cybersecurity services to force a site offline is the right public policy approach to the hate festering online, a site?s failure to take responsibility to prevent or mitigate the harm caused by its platform leaves service providers like us with few choices. We?ve come to recognize that the prolonged and persistent lawlessness of others might require action by those further down the technical stack. Although we?d prefer that governments recognize that need, and build mechanisms for due process, if they fail to act, infrastructure companies may be required to take action to prevent harm.

And that brings us back to our warrant canary. If we believe we might have an obligation to terminate customers, even in a limited number of cases, retaining a commitment that we will never terminate a customer ?due to political pressure? is untenable. We could, in theory, argue that terminating a lawless customer like 8chan was not a termination ?due to political pressure.? But that seems wrong. We shouldn?t be parsing specific words of our commitments to explain to people why we don?t believe we?ve violated the standard.

We remain committed to the principle that providing cybersecurity services to everyone, regardless of content, makes the Internet a better place. Although we?re removing the warrant canary from our website, we believe that to earn and maintain our users? trust, we must be transparent about the actions we take. We therefore commit to reporting on any action that we take to terminate a user that could be viewed as a termination ?due to political pressure.?

I think this was probably the right call, but I’m just as on the fence about it as Cloudflare itself seems to be. There are strong arguments in either direction. The one thing I will say, though, is that I appreciate Cloudflare’s willingness to be transparent in this way, and publicly discuss the tough calls its making on things like this. That’s something few other companies (especially those as large as Cloudflare) would do. Instead, they’d either hide the removal, or try to PR the issue to death with some vague and noncommittal explanation. This, on the other hand, is direct and quite understandable, even if you disagree with various parts of it.

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Comments on “Cloudflare Removes Warrant Canary: Thoughtful Post Says It Can No Longer Say It Hasn't Removed A Site Due To Political Pressure”

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Not so funny now is it?

The problem being that as repugnant as the views of a nazi may be the reason Free Speech exists in the first place isn’t so the nazi can speak.

It’s so the rest of us can hear him and realize that people exist who think like that. Lest we forget.

urza9814 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not so funny now is it?

No, the reason it exists is because there is no single entity that can be trusted for all eternity with power over what ideas people may express. Every time that power has existed, it has been abused.

Your suggestion empowers Nazis by giving them one more reason to defend their speech, while diempowering the rest of us by giving one more reason not to fight back. Stopping that speech IS the correct response, it’s just not a response that we can trust to be taken responsibly by the government.

Paul B says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Not so funny now is it?

All things in moderation…

A Nazi can create hundreds of accounts all calling for various forms of death to "others" to the point that any conversation drowns in off topic attempts to bring the downfall of some group.

The out group in this case may be already crushed by this that they simply do not care to respond anymore. Demoralization is a clear tactic that works and works well in this case. No additional speech will push back the hate speech, often every argument is debunked, but reposted anyway.

Point is motivated Vocal Minorities can crush unmotivated outgroups if you resolve your point of the only response to speech is more speech.

urza9814 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Not so funny now is it?

That is one step to stopping the speech.

Not helping to spread it yourself (ie, not hosting it on your website) is another step.

Not helping to support those making the speech (ie, not buying products from them) is another step.

You need all of these. Handing over millions to someone while telling them that they’re factually incorrect isn’t really going to do much to stop them. Telling them personally that you think they’re wrong while helping spread their harmful ideas to millions more certainly isn’t helping anything either.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Not so funny now is it?

"Your suggestion empowers Nazis by giving them one more reason to defend their speech, while diempowering the rest of us by giving one more reason not to fight back."

Bullshit.

20-30 years ago in Sweden the neo-nazis were still allowed to wear their swastikas and hold rallys where they trumpeted their message of hate. Citizens organized against them and several watchdog groups arose just to ensure the country as a whole was aware. They never managed to get a single foot into politics sideways because everyone knew damn well what they stood for.

Then we banned every public display of the nazi paraphernalia. Ten years after that people had forgotten they existed and 20 years after that the nazis achieved political representation – only that instead of "jews and muslims" they were "debating the disadvantage of multiculturalism".

Today they are in the top three of the political parties.

THAT is the price we pay for not having to put up with the odd skinhead walking down the streets singing "die fahne hoch". They can now be politically empowered nazis as long as they don’t heil in the streets and hide their agenda in convenient political bandwagons.

"Stopping that speech IS the correct response, it’s just not a response that we can trust to be taken responsibly by the government."

Which brings us to the same hymn sheet, really. As a private entity – corporate or private you have no need to give anyone the ability to speak on your platform. Your house, your rules.
But the second you let government decide whether something may be said or not, you lose.

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Rocky says:

That feeling of ambivalence

On one hand I’m glad that they terminated their service-agreement for Daily Stormer and 8chan, but I can’t shake the feeling that some people are going to use that as an excuse in effort to pressure Cloudflare into terminating their service-agreement with other sites in the future.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: That feeling of ambivalence

Yes, and the more countries in which they have servers, the more possible pressure points exist. Toronto has broken libel laws which treat their victims as guilty until proven innocent. Moscow has so little freedom of speech these days that it’s likely no longer lawful to hold a gay pride parade. How many other cities have Cloudflare infrastructure, and how badly is freedom of expression deteriorating in each? The chain is only as strong as its weakest link, after all.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

I can’t shake the feeling that some people are going to use that as an excuse in effort to pressure Cloudflare into terminating their service-agreement with other sites in the future.

The CEO of Cloudflare openly questions how much power his company wields and how it can properly do so without going too far into censorship territory. I would bet that he has felt that feeling, too.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: That feeling of ambivalence

I can’t shake the feeling.

Good. You shouldn’t be able to.

First they came for Daily Stormer, and I did not care because I was not a frothing at the mouth neo-nazi.

Then they came for 8chan, and I did not care because I was not a hate-filled weeb.

Then they came for me because I said something they disapproved of on the internet, and there was no-one left to care for me.

Congrats, you’re past the first two on the slippery slope of censorship. Of course the next section in there should read:

Then they came for youtubers, and I did not care because I don’t make material targeting children for advertisers.

but we don’t know whether or not anyone is actually going to care just yet, so I left it out.

TL;DR If you can’t shake that feeling, there’s a reason why. The walls are closing in, and you’ve been championing their advance the entire time.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: That feeling of ambivalence

"On one hand I’m glad that they terminated their service-agreement for Daily Stormer and 8chan…"

I’m not.

The only thing that happens when you block a minority of bigots and psychopaths from speaking is that you lull the majority into the sense that the repugnant views represented by that minority have somehow vanished.

No one could build a political platform based on xenophobia and bigotry when the neo-nazis of sweden were still allowed to wear their swastikas and make themselves a public spectacle. Then we banned the nazi paraphernalia. Twenty years later a party dedicated to fighting "multiculturalism" entered the swedish parliament and is currently among the top three parties.

When the bigot is motivated to hide their bigotry it doesn’t mean tey stop being bigoted. It only means they learn to dress it up.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: That feeling of ambivalence

"Stopping bigots from being bigots isn’t the point of it – it’s limiting their ability to metastatize by by not aiding them in contaminating others."

Well, true enough. On the one hand it’s important not to choke the public "vaccination" against hateful and bigoted views by stoppering free speech.
On the other hand it’s equally important not to encourage radical views by silent and implicit consent.

I guess the important divisor must be that the state should never censor but private platforms should remain free to set their own rules. Something we see under increasing amounts of fire by all the trolls complaining about section 230.

urza9814 (profile) says:

Re: Re: That feeling of ambivalence

So, are you going to head down to your nearest Nazi meeting and help them hand out flyers? Are you going to stand on the street corner with a megaphone screaming their message for them? Because you seem to be saying that Cloudflare should do exactly that.

There’s a difference between actively censoring a message and just not helping to spread it further.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: That feeling of ambivalence

Slippery slope arguments are pure garbage. Cloudflare gets pressured all the time into doing this, and only pulled the trigger on these specific sites, because the slippery slope defense was of no use to them now that the actual nazis and fascists were basically saying cloudflare was on their side which is true they were until it started to become financially and politically untenable to do so.

Would be great for conservatives and liberals to honestly discuss that free speech can be used in a way that comes with material problems not just "hypotheticals", experienced by other groups of people. To say you hate <insert desired hated group here> is one thing to then promote, help coordinate attacks, and propagandize white nationalists terrorism in hopes others get inspired to do the same is a little different.

If free speech warriors grew a spine and actually tackled these issues as seriously as the "potential for gubment abuse" argument then I guess I would be more understanding. At this point all I see is people defending an ideal that has never worked as intended in practice and has largely created it’s own myth about how it operates in the U.S.

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Frank Collins Ghost says:

HIER ES IST VERBOTTEN!

Quoting from Joseph Heller, “Free speech is a tribalcentric Catch 22 where we play both sides of the record at the same time, and slip through the dissonance like an oily fish slips through the net”

Just kidding, I made that up, after I read about how many Jews are actually masquerading as Nazis online in order to push the envelope described above:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Collin

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R/O/G/S says:

Re: Re: Trolls reading comprehension: Zero

Nice try, Rocky. stop fucking your mom, and everything will make sense later, sweet pea(pants).

While its kind of adorable watching you, and other LGBTQEtc. people struggle to believe in a father figure, its also totally counter productive, and pathetic.

But I urge you to keep looking, if only to waste your own time, not mine.

SSigned-
Earnest Hemingway

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R/O/G/S says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Trolls reading comprehension: Zero

Bigotry is a two way street, and your crowds bigotry is on full display here, from beginning to end,starting with your selective fagging of incelibate nonsense.

So, ROGS Bingo, as the gay mafia and its flying monkeys mobilize like a Pacific Justice Institute prayer party.

There is no longer a substantive difference between the left and right anymore.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Trolls reading comprehension: Zero

"Please explain."

Wat’s there to explain? We’ve got someone with a hateboner for jews and LGBTQ who thinks it’s bigotry when everyone else calls bullshit on his conspiracy theories about the global jewish conspiracy.

That broken logic is still the only arguments the bigots are left with so you can’t blame them for waving it around.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Trolls reading comprehension: Zero

"I wanted an explanation of how/why the poster thinks victims automatically victimize their attackers and therefore the two way street comment."

This requires an explanation?

It’s pretty much par for the course that racists and bigots, when confronted with the fact that the vast majority thinks their ideas are shit, will whine and cry about how bullied and oppressed they are, in the mistaken belief that a gang of nazis crying loudly enough can garner the same sympathy as an actually oppressed and persecuted minority.

The "two-way street" argument is basically the racist trying to convince you that if you oppose him when he dehumanizes others then YOU are the one being the bully.

"Or is it a lame attempt at justification of their attacks – idk, guess there is no thought process there."

Of course there’s a thought process – that being that the racist knows damn well he has no real argument so the one hope he has of carrying the debate is by trying to conflate the issue with bullshit, usually uttered in an angry and upset tone of voice.

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Irv Rubin says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Trolls reading comprehension

Well, pathnarcs like you take the Lacanian mirror way to far into adulthod, sister.

But about Te gays, Im totally fine with them, as long as they (whoever it is that you shitbas claim to be speaking for )ate ok with me.

As for Jews,who masquerade as,Nazis and other anti -semites,online, theres this guy (just that one, lol)

The Un -naming of a man:

Michael Kadar

Dual national American -Israeli, convicted of building a Golem, and a few thousand bomb threats

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5411811,00.html

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Spellchekr says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Trolls reading compr

syntax seems important in a discussion about spelling errors.

re:Narcissistic tendencies can led to

I think you meant to say that in YOUR case, “Narcissistic tendencies have led to…”similar, right? or

You did mean “led ”, right? Or…?

I empathize with you. Or, are you that other AC?

So many venomous ACs, it can make any person CRAZY.

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Syntax NOW! says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Lacans asks the mirror about Batesons albatross

re: Narcissistic tendencies can led to

I think you meant to say that in your case, your Narcissistic tendencies have/had led to, or perhaps your Narcissistic tendencies can lead to *,” or someting similar, right?

While I cannot empathize with you, I sympathize with those who suffer syntax deficit disorder while putting themselves on stage as spelling authorities who moonlight as internet psychologists.

Or was that the other venomous AC? Too many venomous,ACs can make anyone appear crazy online (iften by design of the Mighty Wurzweiler itself).

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R/O/G/S says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Sooooo,lets see:

the flying monkeys and their associates at the International Justice Institute have now twisted my comment about incels directed at one person, into a Gayness Awareness Training Session and a false comparison to the asex’d to-get this-an attack on gay people with a side order of fascination with gay sex

I mean, beyond the yuck factoryour projections are clashing with your other projections like airplane exhaust at a hillbilly airshow which inevitably involves a plane crash.

But what else can you expect from some chubby midwestern boys who left home for Hollywood one day, and ended up all *Jane Doe drawing fake tits on Deviant Art after spinning out on the Blvd?

Stop doing crack now, kids! It really does NOT improve your artistic performances, or your troll-harder roup therapy sesdions.

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R/O/G/S says:

Re: Re: Re:4 wuts Grindr?

I live in a sex-positive place, where virtually NO ONE cares who you are fucking, within the boundaries of two way adult consent.

That said, I wonder why Stonewall totally failed to liberate ALL sexualities, and in fact and practice the gay community has marginaluzed itself by becoming exactly what they rebelled against.

Left wing flag brigades are inseparable from right wing flag brigades of the IJM/ADL, et al. which is a win for the right every time.

Tactics….something something….fascism something something…..but open discourse?

You are united with your enemies in crushing it.

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Sorry for InteROGSerating says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Yeah, its hard to type clearly using only one thumb on my smart device, while leaping tall buildings in a single bound, so I appreciate your efforts as my designated (unpaid ) efitor.

*if there,are/ there. any typos, you! have my permiffion to continue, two correct them

for me, ok? Thanks! *

(dodging some timing attacks now )

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Stephen T. Stones therapist says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“Stephen, youve really made great progress this week, and stay on your meds .

Now, lets put aside the assumptions that others make about you, as a sort of substanceless parrot, a vapid sadist and thread derailer.

What is your gut response to this paragraph?

  • Stone is another verb to use with caution. You can stone some peaches, but please don’t stone your neighbor (even if he says he likes to get stoned). *”

Stephen: Well, doc, like I said over and over and over again, youre the problem. Your a racist, homophobic bigot! EXACTLY like my neighbor! And MASSAGINY! Peach is a sexist slur that makes hairy women feel body shamed! I haaaaaate you!

Stevie jumps up, and the therapist takes cover, as Stevie gargles out those words, slams door, and stomps out, desperate to retreat to his home dungeon, as therapist dials 911

JUST DO IT, you thread derailing old jackass.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: Trolls reading comprehension: Zero

Case in point, it does seem you actually suffer from a combination of stupidity and dishonesty with a hefty dose of an extremely deep-seated bigotry mixed in.

Can’t be easy being a bigot I guess, probably why you rant impotently on the internet because of some imagined insult on your fragile masculinity.

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POOF D. PUFF says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:Who will flag this racist AC?

Look what the noble “Techdirt community” allows to stand here, unflagged, because its one of TDs pet ACs :

ROGs is putting the finishing touches on the script for the gay porn movie starring him and 37 Mandingos.

Why not the Bantu, or the !Kung! people? Why not the Fulani, the Benadir, the Kikuyu or the Isaak? Navajo? 苗族?

You stupid armchair racist fucks.

ResearchOrganizedGangStalking to understand what a #faketivist dead end American left-right binaries, and their media mockingbirds are.

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Intolerance says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:Who will flag this racist AC?

This blatantly racist comment above about "Mandingoes”, and its subtext of rape has remained here at TD for a week, while posts critical about ADL deplatforming have been flagged off the forum.

How racist is that?

And, how telling of the “Techdirt community” actual priorities.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: HIER ES IST VERBOTTEN!

" I made that up, after I read about how many Jews are actually masquerading as Nazis online in order to push the envelope described above…"

So based on the writings of a bona fide nazi – who was even run out of that party over child molestation, proving too odious for even the nazis to stomach…
…you come to the conclusion that "Jews are pretending to be nazis online".

You’ll need a more credible source for anyone to accept that particular incarnation of Russel’s Teapot.

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Hey, Dumbass says:

Re: Re: HIER ES IST VERBOTTEN!

Here below is just one example out of hundreds which I have given you and other TD derailers and trolls repeatedly.

But you are devoid of substance, and never address substance, so I actually do this for other readers to see:

https://forward.com/news/breaking-news/404278/israeli-man-convicted-for-serial-jcc-bomb-threats/

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, no. You’re calling it wrong, guys. What we’ll actually have is government-approved content, all of which is deemed appropriate for the plebs and carefully crafted to keep them in line.

There will always be some kind of subversion and people playing fast and loose with the rules. Remember the Hays Code and how it affected film-making, etc.? People found ways around that and we still had great movies, etc. Now the brakes are off and anything goes, so understandably the Moral Majority types are swinging the pendulum back the other way.

As I have predicted, the Naughties (yes, I’ve deliberately spelled it that way) will give way to a more sedate couple of decades as we dial back on the rampant… everything (possibly in the name of morality/ the children, etc.) the world will swing right (it’s a little early for this but it’s happening now) until there’s a sudden big shift and we’ll find the straitjacket loosen, then pop. And around and around the loop will go. I think the internet is speeding this process up.

Things are going to get a lot more interesting, that’s for sure.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The Hayes Code and the MPAA

The Hayes Code and the MPAA mostly did a horrible job rating movies (and the ESRB fell into the same paradigm regarding video games) in which explicit violence crept its way into the more family-friendly ratings where explicit nudity and sexuality got locked into tighter restraints.

Part of the problem came from an unwillingness of large theaters and companies to lock NC-17 and AO products, assuming they were only of prurient interest, which meant that anything that wasn’t porn was forced to negotiate back into the R-rated / M-rated category, and as such our ratings boards could exercise extremely tight control over minor aspects (such as women being portrayed as enjoying sex. The effrontery!)

Yes, we sometimes got good movies while those codes were in place. Spain got good movies while General Franco was still in office. But what was lost was all the good movies that were suppressed or turned into less-good movies based on the mores of the guardians. As such it ended up shaping culture into the misogynist and violent grotesquerie that we have today.

…One that, mind you, allows kids to see human mutilation, so long as they bleed pixels rather than blood.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Hayes Code and the MPAA

Ohai, Uriel. Hope you’re enjoying the holidays.

The Hayes Code and the MPAA mostly did a horrible job rating movies (and the ESRB fell into the same paradigm regarding video games) in which explicit violence crept its way into the more family-friendly ratings where explicit nudity and sexuality got locked into tighter restraints.

Indeed, as In Dublin’s Eamonn McCann pointed out, if you stick something into someone for their pleasure, that’s bad, but if you do so to inflict pain and/or death, that’s okay. I agree with him there.

Part of the problem came from an unwillingness of large theaters and companies to lock NC-17 and AO products, assuming they were only of prurient interest, which meant that anything that wasn’t porn was forced to negotiate back into the R-rated / M-rated category, and as such our ratings boards could exercise extremely tight control over minor aspects (such as women being portrayed as enjoying sex. The effrontery!)

The idea was to enforce patriarchal gender stereotypes, methinks. That being the case, violence meted out by manly men to protect cowering women, who would then reward them with affection, etc., was acceptable because it presented an idealised image of masculinity and feminity. I think those people would freak out over Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley because they drove a tank over such notions.

Yes, we sometimes got good movies while those codes were in place. Spain got good movies while General Franco was still in office. But what was lost was all the good movies that were suppressed or turned into less-good movies based on the mores of the guardians. As such it ended up shaping culture into the misogynist and violent grotesquerie that we have today.

Sorry, I can only see parts of that, i.e. the part where the socially sanctioned violence of a man enables him to "get" the girl, or the part where cartoonish violence gets a pass whereas sexual activity is given a higher rating. I think there’s more to the creation of the the misogynist and violent grotesquerie that we have today than movies censored by the vicar so married couples were shown to have separate beds or one foot on the floor, etc.

…One that, mind you, allows kids to see human mutilation, so long as they bleed pixels rather than blood.

Were it up to me, all violence would be 12+. Kids should never get the impression that violence or killing is okay.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 The Hayes Code and the MPAA

"I’d do it just to hear the squeals!"

You mean "Ah, the tears of children are delicious"? Robbing the poor pre-teen rugrats of their daily dose of cartoon ultraviolence? Tsk, tsk.

"Were it up to me, all violence would be 12+. Kids should never get the impression that violence or killing is okay."

I’d say that an exception should be made for documentaries and comedies. The truly awful part of most movie-depicted violence is that it gives children a pseudorealistically depicted impression that a knife to the gut is something you walk off well before the next action scene.

There’s a good reason why american movie ratings go after sex and nudity rather than violence, however. Who would you rather piss off if you lived in the US? An assorted bunch of enlightened civilized liberals or the NRA?

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 The Hayes Code and the MPAA

Eh, I was talking about Disney execs. When I’m fantasizing about things that are highly unlikely to happen, I take a lot of licence.

I suppose I should have been more specific about violence; the idea that hitting people is funny or people being hurt is funny is the problem. Shouldn’t we be promoting empathy? That part about pseudorealistically depicted impressions can be applied to anyone for anything. The results of people actually believing this means they don’t realise concussion can kill. Wasn’t Houdini killed as a result of a gut punch bursting his already-inflamed appendix? It’s the same with guns: sanitizing the impacts of bullets hitting human flesh by not showing the bloody mess that would result leads people to think that guns aren’t that bad. Start showing more realistic scenes and that idea of a gun being your harmless little friend until you need it to be otherwise melts away. Remember Reservoir Dogs? We watched a man die in agony from a messy gunshot to the belly because it really does take about that long (and hurt that much) to die from such an injury.

As for the NRA, they’re awful. I don’t care in the least bit if they get offended about anything. Stuff ’em.

urza9814 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

…at which point Cloudflare would go bankrupt and someone else would replace them. You realize that Cloudflare isn’t a government, right? Seems like a lot of people in this thread talking about free speech rights don’t seem to get that part. They aren’t locking people up at gunpoint, they’re just refusing to speak things that they don’t want to speak. They aren’t taking money at gunpoint to keep themselves in business either; if you don’t want to support them, then don’t.

bob says:

Warrant canaries as contrapositives

As I understand the purpose of warrant canaries, they’re used to signal that a site has taken an action that they cannot (for legal or other reasons) explicitly acknowledge, as in the case of NSLs with gag orders.

At least as described in the article, Cloudflare doesn’t face any prohibition on explicitly acknowledging the actions they took w.r.t. Daily Stormer and 8chan, so it would seem that the warrant canary might not be the place to signal them. Seems like if their canary statement was "SILENTLY terminated a customer or taken down content due to political pressure" (or semantic equivalent – "silently" might not be the best locution), then it would serve the same purpose and wouldn’t have to be removed due to these two cases.

Of course, I probably have failed to grasp the full complexities of gag orders such as those in NSLs, and therefore this analysis could be off base.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Warrant canaries as contrapositives

It falls more under the nuance of what the CEO said towards the end:

[T]hat seems wrong. We shouldn’t be parsing specific words of our commitments to explain to people why we don’t believe we’ve violated the standard.

They don’t want to treat it like a work of law, or a tightly-bound contract. After all, there are thousands upon thousands of people who make very good livings by debating for years on end about what the specific words of laws and contracts mean or don’t mean. (And many more who debate for free for years on end in comment sections on web blogs.)

It’s easier for them to present and interpret it broadly than it is to push to keep it "technically true", and it makes it easier for others to understand what they’re saying and to accept it as truthful.

And, possibly, being less specific makes it easier for them to avoid potential retaliation from anyone who believes that by removing a clause, they’ve violated an NDA in which they agreed not to talk about doing whatever it is the clause said they’ve never done.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Warrant canaries as contrapositives

Well it is good that CF makes a statement on the issue, but using the warrant canary to do so completely ruins any effectiveness and potential future information which could have been provided by the warrant canary. Now we will never know if a government uses political pressure to force them to do something. That fuse is blown and not being replaced.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There is a significant difference between speech and action. It is possible to argue that you should be tolerant of objectionable speech, but intolerant of objectionable action.

When speech incites action, the lines get blurry.

There’s also a difference between voluntary action and coerced action. In the case of Cloudflare, there’s a difference between Cloudflare themselves deciding to stop providing service to the Daily Stormer and 8Chan due to those entities’ actions being ones that Cloudflare felt they could no longer condone, and Cloudflare being forced to (by, for example, a government) to stop providing service.

It’s also possible to argue that there are different definitions of tolerance in play. Does tolerance only mean that we allow the speech, or does it mean that we allow it and remain silent in the face of it? For me, it’s the former – I will not prevent objectionable speech (in a public area, mind), but I won’t force myself to remain silent, either.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

It is possible to argue that you should be tolerant of objectionable speech, but intolerant of objectionable action.

Slight correction: You can/should be tolerant of the legal rights of people to say objectionable things. I have to tolerate a bigot’s right to say racial slurs. I don’t have to tolerate them saying those things in my presence.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I did say "possible to argue" as opposed to "we should" – also, check last paragraph:

It’s also possible to argue that there are different definitions of tolerance in play. Does tolerance only mean that we allow the speech, or does it mean that we allow it and remain silent in the face of it? For me, it’s the former – I will not prevent objectionable speech (in a public area, mind), but I won’t force myself to remain silent, either.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Gentlemen, there’s also the fact that the proliferation of hate speech tends to have a chilling effect on the speech of target groups. Pushing back against a firehose of misinformation when all you have is a water pistol is exhausting. Unless we have a plan for actively pushing back against the victimisation of target groups, perhaps we should welcome the slow-down of the torrents of hate.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"Pushing back against a firehose of misinformation when all you have is a water pistol is exhausting. Unless we have a plan for actively pushing back against the victimisation of target groups, perhaps we should welcome the slow-down of the torrents of hate."

How about "keeping the public debate going"?

Currently major platforms are kicking out the bigots and the hateful left, right and center. Leaving the neo-nazis and the KKK to rant and rave in echo chambers like Stormfront and the Breitbart comment pages. By and large we see sites like infowars relegated to the "conspiracy theory" section of the public space – that place in the corner where glue-sniffing outcasts assemble to spew incoherent prophecies of bile and venom at one another.

The main issue with being TOO welcoming at private platforms blocking out what is considered hateful is twofold – first, that private platform is a corporation, not our friend. Google, Facebook and Blizzard still sold themselves to China for profit even if they ALSO ban racists from their forums.

And secondly, unfortunately all too many politicians conflate the public and private space, and those politicians all have their own little list of what they’d like not to be said in public.

Debating like we do here whenever a private platform blocks or stumbles is healthy. It’s when the scrutiny stops that things go to shit in a hurry.

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

How about "keeping the public debate going"?

What public debate? You’re assuming equal access to the public square and an equally listening audience carefully weighing the case on its merits. This emphatically doesn’t happen. In any case, how can you debate if you’re in a small minority with the world and his wife at your throat? Better to hide yourself until its over, saying nothing that might provoke another flurry of attacks.

Having been on the end of a campaign of lies that ultimately saw me pushed out of an entire community some years ago, I call nonsense. There’s no debate when you have a horde of trolls on one side while your jittery "friends" jump ship instead of pushing back. In my experience, it’s a popularity contest. If you’re not popular, you’re stuffed. To be a target is to be alone — unless you’re in a "protected group" and can get some nice, well-meaning social justice warrior types on side to fight your corner. Good luck with that. There are certain words I’m still afraid to type in case the trolls come flooding back into my online spaces, insisting I continue to debate their stupid, pointless, oft-debunked drama points.

On the political front, I see the firehose effect drowning out the voices of those who care for the truth, for protecting the vulnerable, and for standing up for the environment. How the hell do you debate that without a keyboard army of your own?

Currently major platforms are kicking out the bigots and the hateful…

Good. Relegating them to echo chambers does a great deal to blunt the force of the firehose. This makes counter-speech more effective since it is no longer being drowned out. In my case, had the admins of the various sites where I posted just followed their own TOS the situation would never have broken down the way it did.

The main issue with being TOO welcoming at private platforms blocking out what is considered hateful is twofold – first, that private platform is a corporation, not our friend. Google, Facebook and Blizzard still sold themselves to China for profit even if they ALSO ban racists from their forums.

Yes they did. It’s costly to do what is right but it’s ultimately worth it. I’m massively disappointed in Google and Facebook.

And secondly, unfortunately all too many politicians conflate the public and private space, and those politicians all have their own little list of what they’d like not to be said in public.

Yes they do. Thankfully, the First Amendment means they can’t actually stop people saying things they don’t like.

Debating like we do here whenever a private platform blocks or stumbles is healthy. It’s when the scrutiny stops that things go to shit in a hurry.

I can actually debate here. Decent, reasonable people like yourself and the other regulars give me food for thought. As I work to defend my positions, I find I often have to justify them, and this has to be plausible. You make me think, and that is good. However, the rest of the online world is not as civilised as TD. We should definitely scrutinise speech that may cause harm down the line, but I think you can do that without normalising it.

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Qwertygiy says:

Re: Re: Re:2

That is a very good take on the definition of tolerance.

My beliefs on the matter are fairly similar.

If you are doing something I disagree with, but nobody is harmed as a consequence, I should not attempt to prevent you from doing it. That is tolerance.

If you are doing something I tolerate, but it would not harm you if you refrained from doing it, I have the right to ask you to stop, or to offer you another course of action. As long as I will still accept a negative response from you, that is still tolerance.

I can take any actions of my own in response, even ones that interfere with the effectiveness of your actions, so long as I neither bring anyone harm myself, nor do I prevent you from taking your actions with reasonably the same ease as if I had not acted. That’s still tolerance.

But if your actions lead to harm for someone, I feel no obligation to allow you to continue.

The tricky part, of course, is defining what is "harm." There can be negative actions that do not bring about harm. There can be positive actions that do bring about harm. Harm can include mental harm, such as fear or loathing (and not just in Las Vegas). And actions that could be harmful in the presence of one person could be perfectly benign in the presence of another. Not to mention that I might think someone else is being harmed even though they do not feel that way. Where lies the boundary between actual harm, and merely disagreement?

That part is the primary reason why people have disagreements about what should be tolerated, even after they acknowledge the difference between "tolerance", "acceptance", and "support".

urza9814 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"The tricky part, of course, is defining what is "harm." There can be negative actions that do not bring about harm. There can be positive actions that do bring about harm. Harm can include mental harm, such as fear or loathing (and not just in Las Vegas). And actions that could be harmful in the presence of one person could be perfectly benign in the presence of another. Not to mention that I might think someone else is being harmed even though they do not feel that way. Where lies the boundary between actual harm, and merely disagreement?"

That is indeed the difficulty…and I would add one other consideration, as in addition to people being harmed even though they don’t feel that way, there are plenty of people who will argue that they are being harmed even when they are not.

Although…I suppose it could also be argued that the mere fact that you are considering taking some action in response implies that you are being harmed in some way. Is being annoyed "harm"? Certainly not physically, but mentally? How do we draw that line?

I think a better question would be: "Is it harming me more than it is helping them?" But even that is tricky, and I think it ought to be weighted so that it is closer to "Would it harm a reasonable person more than it is helping them?". If you work night shift, you’re the one outside of the average and it is more reasonable for you to invest in earplugs than to ask all of your neighbors to not mow their lawns during the day, regardless of how unnecessary that lawn mowing might ultimately be. Unless they’re running that mower for hours every day.

But then there must be a strong component of "what is typical in this society"…but unfortunately then you get into race/class/ethnicity issues, as what is normal for you may not be normal for the family next door…and what is no big deal to you might be a significant harm to them.

There is no rule which can be applied, there is no algorithm which can determine the solution…what is required is a good dose of compassion and empathy. You need to understand both sides of the issue, not only your own.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

So

otherwording (or in-other-wordsing) — noun — summarizing a point of argument in a way that distorts the point into saying something it does not and attributes the false interpretation to the person who raised the original point; a blatant attempt to make winning an argument easier for someone who is out of their depth in said argument

Example: You will often find the phrases “in other words” or “so you’re saying” at the beginning of an instance of otherwording.

See also: strawman; your post

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I refer you to this line:

When speech incites action, the lines get blurry.

I also refer you to this line:
Does tolerance only mean that we allow the speech, or does it mean that we allow it and remain silent in the face of it? For me, it’s the former – I will not prevent objectionable speech (in a public area, mind), but I won’t force myself to remain silent, either.

Even your specific example brought into a discussion on generalities falls into stuff I already said.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"Hell, no. Never. It’s a crime to promote it, after all."

Actually, it’s not. Anyone is free to say "we should have more of this" even if the "this" referred to is war crimes, ethnic cleansing, mass murder or, yes, pedophilia.

What is usually forbidden, for good and valid reason, is the sort of preparation to commit a crime which usually falls under "conspiracy".

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Nobody should, or must, tolerate intolerance and hate — no matter what the assholes who would benefit from infinite tolerance say. But even those assholes have rights, one of which is the right to free speech and expression. That, we must tolerate.

Both 8chan and the Daily Stormer suck. I would feel satisfied if we never saw nor heard from them again, all things considered. But with the exception of “illegal” (read: legally punishable) speech, the people who posted on those sites have every right to spew their bile on any platform that will have them.

“Deplatforming” a user from a site like Twitter is one thing; booting the entire platform from a service like Cloudflare is an entirely different ballgame. That leads into the broader question being asked here: At what point does a decision from a company like Cloudflare to boot a site like 8chan from the company’s service become legitimate censorship?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nobody should, or must, tolerate intolerance and hate

Therein lies the problem. "Hate" is subjective and the act of removing 8chan and the nazis could be interpreted as acting out of hate for those groups. Just because you and I agree with those actions doesn’t change whether it was a "hate act". And it was clearly an act of intolerance no matter which side of the debate you support. Should the nazis tolerate that intolerance?

It’s easy to say these things should not be tolerated. But which side you’re on dictates what "these things" really are.

An entire Sociology 210 course could be derived from your quote above alone.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Hate" is subjective and the act of removing 8chan and the nazis could be interpreted as acting out of hate for those groups. Just because you and I agree with those actions doesn’t change whether it was a "hate act". And it was clearly an act of intolerance no matter which side of the debate you support. Should the nazis tolerate that intolerance?

Three things.

  1. Whether Cloudflare’s actions were a “hate act” is subject to interpretation.
  2. A given interpretation of Cloudflare’s actions do not equate to objective truth, no matter how much you want to believe otherwise.
  3. I don’t give a fuck what Nazis think because a Nazi’s endgame is genocide and I don’t tolerate that bullshit.

It’s easy to say these things should not be tolerated. But which side you’re on dictates what "these things" really are.

You mean like how American Christian evangelicals — who are part of the largest and most powerful religious demographic in the United States — routinely whine about the separation of church and state getting in the way of things like teacher-led prayers and losing the right to exclusively perform invocations before government meetings as if they’re a persecuted minority?

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Qwertygiy says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

A given interpretation of Cloudflare’s actions do not equate to objective truth, no matter how much you want to believe otherwise.

Hate is a very subjective thing. Tolerance is more easily made objective.

Did you take an action to prevent somebody from doing something, solely because you disagreed with something they did? That means you did not tolerate them doing that.

Cloudflare prevented 8chan from using their services solely because they disagreed with the speech being posted on 8chan and the actions taken by 8chan regarding that speech. It was not done because 8chan objectively violated any laws that governed them, or rules that they had agreed to follow.

Thus, Cloudflare were not tolerant of that speech and those actions. Removing their access was, objectively, an intolerant act.

This does not mean it was a legally wrong act, a morally wrong act, or that it was equivalent to any of the intolerant speech and actions taking place at 8chan. It is merely a statement of fact, a definition.

(And to make sure this is clear, it certainly doesn’t mean that I tolerate such behavior any more than Cloudflare did. Personally, if I were in Cloudflare’s shoes, I doubt I would have stayed neutral anywhere near as long as they did before shutting off such vitriolic communities.)

It is just to point out that intolerance, if not also hate, is something that cannot be covered with simple blanket statements of black and white (no innuendo intended), because at the very least you wind up in paradoxes you cannot escape without hypocrisy.

There are many other actions that could be seen as intolerant yet are less universally despised.

  • Refusing to speak to a relative who has offended you by saying things you disagree with.
  • Quitting a job because you disagree with your boss’s habits.
  • Cutting ties with someone who legally hired a willing prostitute.
  • Cutting ties with someone who married a fully-willing 14-year-old where such an age is legal.
  • Cutting ties with someone who was involved in domestic violence, yet was not the aggressor.
  • Cutting ties with someone over who they voted for or donated to in the last election cycle.
urza9814 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"’Deplatforming’ a user from a site like Twitter is one thing; booting the entire platform from a service like Cloudflare is an entirely different ballgame. That leads into the broader question being asked here: At what point does a decision from a company like Cloudflare to boot a site like 8chan from the company’s service become legitimate censorship?"

You have that exactly backwards IMO.

There’s a LOT of people I never talked to again once I dropped Facebook. That’s the only platform they use, and if I’m not on that platform, I have no way to communicate with the people who are. It’s a closed ecosystem.

But booting someone off Cloudflare? No big deal. Basically the entire goal of Cloudflare is that the end user can’t tell if you’re using it or not, the website just works. Build a website, then go Cloudflare, then get booted from Cloudflare, self-host for a little while, then migrate to another cloud provider…to your users, your site might get a bit faster or a bit slower through those transitions, but it will still work, it will still be accessible, they can still read your speech without doing anything different. If you do it well, they won’t notice a single thing changing. A website getting booted from a CDN like Cloudflare is far less damaging then getting booted off a quasi-public platform like Twitter or Facebook. You get booted from Facebook or Twitter…your page is gone, your user connections are gone, your historical data is gone, everything gets purged and you aren’t even allowed to start over.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Reminder: You’re not entitled to use platforms like Facebook, and they’re not obliged — legally, morally, and ethically — to let you keep using it even after you break the rules. If getting booted means you lose the social circle that you’d built up…well, it is what it is. Don’t blame Facebook for your lack of foresight vis-á-vis forging a social circle in a silo.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Agreed. If you’re using any social media platform to send a message, etc., have several accounts on different ones and a website of your own. I have a blog and use Twitter to post links to my posts. The rest of the time I’m interacting with others or retweeting other people’s posts.

Generally speaking, if you’re not out to cause trouble or pick on any particular individual or group, you shouldn’t have any trouble with expressing your views. If, however, you want to be a jerk to other people, you only have yourself to blame if they pull the plug. There is no "both sides" to the Nazi (or other hate group) story; they want to encourage hate. Stuff ’em.

urza9814 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Right, neither one has an obligation to carry anything, and I never claimed they did. My point was merely that getting booted from Facebook would likely be more harmful to the average business or organization than getting booted from Cloudflare, and it’s therefore rather silly to argue that Cloudflare ought to be treated as some kind of government utility that is required to host any and all content solely because of the "harm" caused by getting booted.

In case you missed it, the first paragraph of my previous post was a quote that I was arguing against…

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Irv Rubin says:

Re: that one guy

Never Again!

https://forward.com/news/breaking-news/404278/israeli-man-convicted-for-serial-jcc-bomb-threats/

Our community is under constant and ever present threat so we must

threatenthemFIRST!

“A 19-year-old American-Israeli man was convicted of making hundreds of bomb threats to Jewish community centers and Jewish schools in the United States, and airlines.

Michael Kadar, who holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship and whose name is barred from publication in Israel, was convicted Thursday in Tel Aviv District Court on several counts including extortion, conspiracy to commit a crime, money laundering and assaulting a police officer, after the judge said he was competent to stand trial, saying that he understood that his actions were improper, despite the claims of defense psychologists that he is autistic and incompetent.

The hoax threats to the JCCs and other Jewish institutions in the first three months of 2017 forced widespread evacuations and raised fears of a resurgence in anti-Semitism”

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That One Guy says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, but you cant infer a pattern, from just that one guy.

https://forward.com/news/breaking-news/404278/israeli-man-convicted-for-serial-jcc-bomb-threats/

A 19-year-old American-Israeli man was convicted of making hundreds of bomb threats to Jewish community centers and Jewish schools in the United States, and airlines.

Michael Kadar, who holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship and whose name is barred from publication in Israel….

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No says:

More lugenpresse

If you’d bothered to dig – which you didn’t because you hate anything right wing with a fanaticism usually reserved for suicide bombers – you’d find out that the "manifesto" which Cloudflare used as a pretense to deplatform 8chan was only online for about 7 minutes before it was removed by moderators.

Attempts to repost it were also stymied with deletions and bans.

The naked truth is that left wing lunatics are perfectly okay ignoring murder along as it is committed either by left wing operatives (antifa) or "minorities" such as blacks and hispanics (interesting to note, whites are only 8% of the world population. "majority" my ass)

Meanwhile you’ll use any excuse you can dream up to censor your opposition, while ignoring that 90% of mass murders are committed by either blacks or Muslims, and calling anyone who points out these facts racist or extremist.

You’re pathetic.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

A few things.

  1. Seeing as how this site is written from a largely American perspective and concentrates on American issues: Please cite any case in the United States where an avowed antifascist carried out a premeditated homicide specifically in the name of antifascism.
  2. “Left wing lunatics” don’t ignore murders committed by anybody. You’re thinking of right wingers, who ignore murders committed by people (read: White guys) with guns so the NRA doesn’t get pissed off.
  3. Something tells me you’re pissed about that “Whites are only 8% of the global population” thing. You, uh…you got some thoughts on “White genocide”, chief?
  4. We can admit to the demographics of mass murderers (something American right wingers tend to avoid when it comes to homegrown mass murderers; see point 2) without it sounding like they’re committing those murders because they belong to a certain demographic.
  5. Twitter booting you for violating the rules is moderation; you choosing not to say something on Twitter that violates its rules is discretion; the government (or a company working on behalf of the government) taking Twitter offline for any reason is censorship. If an expression of your values or sociopolitical beliefs violate the rules of a given platform, the problem lies not with the rules.
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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:

Regarding 4, 73% of domestic terrorist acts in the USA for the last 10 years where perpetrated by white supremacists and other far right-wing groups.

The whole facts-alternative universe many conservatives and republicans live in today can be traced back to William F. Buckley Jr’s book God and Man at Yale, where he reasoned that "trying to reach the truth by constructing arguments out of facts – the premise of the Enlightenment; was a worse superstition than the Dark Age traditions the Enlightenment tried to root out" and "that consensus flew in the face of God’s laws" which led to his conclusion that "it was imperative to stop arguing based on facts, and simply promote a ‘Conservative’ view of the world by whatever means necessary", ie tell lies that fit the narrative.

It’s no wonder many conservatives can’t really connect with people who actually believe in doing due diligence when being presented with "facts".

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The whole facts-alternative universe many conservatives and republicans live in today can be traced back to William F. Buckley Jr’s book God and Man at Yale, where he reasoned that "trying to reach the truth by constructing arguments out of facts – the premise of the Enlightenment; was a worse superstition than the Dark Age traditions the Enlightenment tried to root out" and "that consensus flew in the face of God’s laws" which led to his conclusion that "it was imperative to stop arguing based on facts, and simply promote a ‘Conservative’ view of the world by whatever means necessary", ie tell lies that fit the narrative.

It’s no wonder many conservatives can’t really connect with people who actually believe in doing due diligence when being presented with "facts".

You’ve just explained why @RadioFreeTom blocked me for standing up for Greta Thunberg when his mad gang was slagging her off. You’ve also explained why David French complained about noted liar Kevin D. Williamson (who likes to pretend the UK’s NHS is a monopoly and there are no alternatives thereto, and who wants to restrict healthcare to the wealthy, who deserve it because they can afford it) being sacked from the National Review and why the National Review wouldn’t correct Williamson’s article despite the many times I pointed out the errors therein. As I’ve said many times I identify as conservative but the aversion many of them show to reality or facts that contradict their worldview is very off-putting.

For all their avowed insistence that they’re all about God and the Bible, I find it profoundly disturbing that at no point do any of them have a big mad moral panic over lying and mendacity in general. Nope, nothing to see here, move along. Sigh!

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The reaction you got is not surprising at all, it’s an established fact that a majority of right-wing media/forums tend to punish people who tells the truth which doesn’t adhere to the current narrative.

Some right-wingers and conservatives will use the above statement to say that lefties/liberals do the same to right-wingers/conservatives who speak up. The problem with that is that when someone say things that are verifiable not true or taken entirely out of context and that person refuses to acknowledge that it’s not very surprising they are punished in one way or another by people who actually look for the truth.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The reaction you got is not surprising at all, it’s an established fact that a majority of right-wing media/forums tend to punish people who tells the truth which doesn’t adhere to the current narrative.

And that’s a shame. If you can’t critique your own position (I’m forever having to do so with my own as new information comes in), it’s like you’re in a cult, or something. It’s creepy. That’s the issue I have with any True Believer type.

Some right-wingers and conservatives will use the above statement to say that lefties/liberals do the same to right-wingers/conservatives who speak up.

The socialist Dan Kervick has been retweeting outright blood libel against the Uighur people (they’ve supposedly been teaching kids to steal, Fagin-style) because his True Believer Actual left-wing good buddies think China is Da Bomb, or something — despite the fact that it’s actually more fascist than left wing these days, having fallen in love with Western capitalism. But… four legs good, or something. Amirite? So Danny toes the Actual Far Left line without comment. Honestly, for all the guff I’ve heard from the right about the so-called Radical Left, they don’t seem to know about this.

The problem with that is that when someone say things that are verifiabl[y] not true or taken entirely out of context and that person refuses to acknowledge that it’s not very surprising they are punished in one way or another by people who actually look for the truth.

Unless they’re in some kind of echo chamber that’s basically a mirror image of the right wing ones. They do exist, but on the actual Far Left, not the imaginary far left, which the rest of the world would consider the middle ground. As I said Dan Kervick’s feed is a classic example of this and I call the lies out where I see them. True Believer types aren’t interested in the truth, they just want to push their narrative.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"For all their avowed insistence that they’re all about God and the Bible, I find it profoundly disturbing that at no point do any of them have a big mad moral panic over lying and mendacity in general. Nope, nothing to see here, move along. Sigh!"

There’s a cheap shot to be taken here about how the religious specifically are the low-hanging fruit when it comes to hypocrisy. When you spend so very much time denying factual reality in favor of faith-based explanations you have acquired all the mental tools required to reconcile what anyone else would call hypocrisy without ever encountering a single bout of cognitive dissonance on the way.

It’s why I consider the concept of "faith" to be one of the most harmful mental processes to be found.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

When you spend so very much time denying factual reality in favor of faith-based explanations you have acquired all the mental tools required to reconcile what anyone else would call hypocrisy without ever encountering a single bout of cognitive dissonance on the way.

I thought that meant "cognitive dissonance."

I don’t approve of denying factual reality in favour of faith-based explanations. I leave the faith-based explanations to those matters outside of established fact. So basically, I’m on board with climate change activists, etc. The way I see it, if you have to deny reality itself in order to promote a narrative based on a set of principles, you’re a liar and your principles are wrong. Get back to the drawing board, come up with principles that work in practice, and tell the truth.

Sorry for InteROGSerating says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I leave the faith-based explanations to those matters outside of established fact

Any examples you might care to use to give us heathens and non-faithfuls a clue what that even means?

Like, that one time Bigfoots fur was tested against the fuzziness of the film that it was shot on, and then compared to the shroud of Turin where it was determined that these all matched at four points

  • fuzzy logic
  • fuzzy film
  • fuzzy hair
  • warm and fuzzy faith based feelz

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

  1. "avowed" or not isn’t relevant. especially when your side is known for lying about its goals and agendas.
  2. you ignore tons of murders. Take BLM for example: 90% of black deaths are caused by blacks. A tiny minority are caused by cops. Actual statistical analysis shows blacks are LESS likely to be shot by cops than whites when you account for relative crime rates. Instead of addressing the murderous tendency of blacks, the group decided to blame the police and/or riot and loot each other’s shops because somehow that would help.
  3. Pissed – no. I am pissed that other races – non whites, are called a "minority" when they are anything but that, and that’s only because you use the term "minority" to justify exploiting whites to subsidize other races.
  4. by the FBI definition of mass murder, blacks commit far more mass murders than any other group. Political mass murders are a tiny, TINY, statistically insignificant portion: I don’t agree with them, and I wish they didn’t happen, but the odds of you or I being killed by a right wing shooter on an agenda is pretty close to zero. So why aren’t you pinkos wringing your hands about the murderous tendencies of blacks? Why aren’t you joining your local KKK chapter to "keep those darkies in check"?
    Fun fact: since 1970 antifa members have killed about a dozen people. The KKK has killed zero. That makes antifa more evil than the KKK. Feel good about yourself yet, pinko?
  5. You’re being both disingenuous and completely fucking dishonest: Twitter/Facebook are complete monopolies on online expression. As you fuckwits are too eager to admit (when convenient), the internet is a pretty vital tool for communication and self expression. A politically motivated monopoly using its monopolistic powers to silence dissent is censorship. If you disagree with that, you should be fine with Pajeet Ai’s decision to allow telecoms to prioritize traffic, and should be flatly against net neutrality.
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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

  1. I’m not seeing the citation I asked for.
  2. Citing statistics about “Black-on-Black crime” is a bullshit distraction tactic.
  3. “I am pissed that other races – non whites, are called a "minority" when they are anything but” — In the United States, White people are the majority racial demographic, but you knew that already so quit your racist whining. Also: If anything, White people are far more subsidized than other racial groups in America because, well, look at how many rich White people live in America.
  4. Wow, that is some blatant racism. Also: Please cite one of those “antifascist murders” and show me how they were also murders with an overt, explicit political motive.
  5. Twitter and Facebook are virtual “monopolies” on audiences for expression, but they don’t hold a monopoly on all audiences or for expression itself. You’re not owed an audience, and you’re not entitled to get one from Twitter and Facebook — or DeviantArt, or a Mastodon instance, or any other site that allows third-party speech. Also: Prove Twitter and Facebook are politically motivated to censor right-wing speech when Facebook is practically bending over backwards to keep conservatives (and the conservative media) happy and Twitter is being abandoned by people in other countries because, according to what I’ve seen on the Fediverse, Twitter is banning leftist speech in those countries (the last two notable influxes to Mastodon have come from India and Spain).

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: More lugenpresse

I said – correctly – that you’re pathetic because none of you – not the author, nor you, nor AC@1:31 nor Stephen T Stone nor Rocky could actually argue with the substance of my post.

If you could, you would have – instead of (in one case) quibbling minutiae and in the other cases just calling me names without including any substantial points. (Namecalling is fine, if you couple it with actual fucking rebuttals or logic).

You can only repeat what you’re programmed to think. You can’t read, reason, or think for yourself. You have never done any amount of critical analysis of yourself or anything else. You are, in words other than mine, the useful idiots of the system.

Calling you an NPC is too generous: NPCs serve a constructive purpose. You just waste oxygen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: More lugenpresse

Poor little triggered baby. You got your ass handed you you ages ago bro. Right now we are just working out the tune details of exactly how much of a racist piece of shit you are. Also NPC really? That insult was lame six months go bro. But hey that for overusing the most overused RWNJ insult of the year you sad little hack.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: More lugenpresse

"You can only repeat what you’re programmed to think. You can’t read, reason, or think for yourself."

A refusal to accept an incarnation of Russel’s Teapot on a basis of bad arguments, outright falsehoods, and racist ideology is NOT programming.

And your problem seems to be precisely that we read, reason, and think for ourselves rather than allow someone like you to convince us of the plight of the poor benighted white folks living in ghettos under the constant oppression of the vast black fat cat majority.

I know that racists aren’t imaginative – it’s been proven time and time again – but surely by now you guys should at least have realized that most people won’t fall for Trump-style "pants-on-fire" rhetoric.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: More lugenpresse

They never address substance in any form. ever.

You can add Cockroft, Paul T., Scary Monastery, and so many shut ins, misanthropes, Aspies and others here.

This forum is an echo chamber for the gate keepers of the coming dark ages of free speech, courtesy of of the TD Do-nothing Party.

Code Monkey (profile) says:

Warrant canary pages

Wouldn’t it be plausible, if not probable, that a judge issuing a warrant, or a government entity requesting one, include verbiage to the platform "<platform> shall not alter any public facing pages to indicate that this warrant has been issued". (Or something to that effect)

I’m sure that attorneys are aware of warrant canary pages and could possibly include that in their request, no?

SpaceLifeForm says:

Re: Warrant canary pages

1st Ammendment.

Everyone needs to reparse what Cloudflare is saying, and not saying.

The new canaries , 5,6,7 mention third party.

Note that third party was not applied to canaries 2 and 4.

There are likely third parties involved with regards to canaries 2 and 4, and legally, Cloudflare could not change canaries 2 and 4 to exclude third parties.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Warrant canary pages

There are obviously third parties involved in 2 and 4. Cloudflare is not a manufacturer nor does it do much (if any) hardware design, substantially all hardware installed on its network is third party. And while Cloudflare does produce some software, it would be fairly insane to expect that it wrote new software for every device it operates.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Warrant canary pages

They could. However, the likelihood that the government compelling a private entity to lie would pass first amendment muster is vanishingly small, and when the "benefit" of the lie accrues entirely to the government (and is infinitesimal even to them) it would take such a monumental shift in first amendment jurisprudence that we might as well be talking about a completely different legal system.

Requiring specific true statements is also a very high bar: a handful of such requirements exist for the benefit of public health (warnings on health risks of certain products, allergy information on foods, an extremely limited number of requirements for medical practitioners). There are some other examples in different areas, but many of these tend to be less "you are required to say this in all circumstances" and more "if you don’t say this, then you have greater liability if your customer sues you in civil court."

Pixelation says:

Re: Re: Warrant canary pages

It seems to me, if a judge puts a gag order in, the canary would be null and void. The judge could look at the removal of a canary as breaking the gag order. If not, you could predict if a judge might issue a gag order in a case and create a canary for it ahead of time.
Speech removal as speech.

IANAL but I coulda been.

Paul B says:

Re: Re: Re: Warrant canary pages

Canary ideally works because you say the same message every day. Today I said "I have never been told by the government to remove content" tomorrow I say "No Comment".

To simplify things every time I call your web server is a new invocation of speech independent of the last call. So when the phrase is removed from the page, you can parse that the government has told me to do something and if asked I would respond with "No Comment" as per my gag order.

I could just as easily tweet the message daily, post time stamped webpages or anything else. The gag order only prevents me from saying something, not the absence of a statement.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Saying it every day.

A company can datestamp your warrant canary page, as of 2019-12-29 this page is current.

And then cease updating as soon as they got a gag order.

Then, either the page gets stale, or the page’s disclosures are edited to suit the new situation, or the court has to command the company to lie on its warrant canary website.

Given that several states require abortion providers to lie to their patients before engaging in certain procedures, I assume we’ve already established states can force persons to lie.

OldMugwump (profile) says:

Kudos to Cloudflare for thinking hard about this.

I think the best solution here is transparency:

"We have never:
.
.

  • Terminated a customer or taken down content due to political pressure
    .
    .
    [
    ] Except for the following: [explicit list]"

I don’t see anything wrong with taking down sites (a) at the whim of the provider (they’re a private firm, they don’t owe service to anybody), or (b) due to political pressure, if that pressure is in accordance with law. Obeying the law is obeying political pressure, after all. You can’t take the stand that you’re going to disobey the law no matter what (not and expect to get away with it).

But you can make it transparent what you’ve done (and ideally, why). That should give their customers the confidence they need to do business with them.

If/when they get a NSL or equivalent that doesn’t allow them to say they’ve done something, then is the time to take down the canary altogether.

BTW – a major typo in Cloudflare’s statement:

"In August 2019, Cloudflare terminated service to 8chan based on their failure to moderate their hate-filled platform in a way that inspired murderous acts. "

I think they mean they did it because 8chan DID moderate their platform that way (not because they failed to).

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Borrowing a page from polygraph testing

These are the incidents in which we took down content for what might have been due to political pressure

<list>

Other than these specific incidents, this business has never terminated a customer or taken down content due to political pressure as of its incorporation on 1941-12-07.

This still works as a canary since a new incident would require either a new report or the canary being taken down.

SpaceLifeForm says:

Warrant canary pages

1st Ammendment.

Everyone needs to reparse what Cloudflare is saying, and not saying.

The new canaries , 5,6,7 mention third party.

Note that third party was not applied to canaries 2 and 4.

There are likely third parties involved with regards to canaries 2 and 4, and legally, Cloudflare could not change canaries 2 and 4 to exclude third parties.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Moreover, at what point is it reasonable for someone to decide that being made the butt of jokes by a group of repulsive bigots laughing at how said target of mockery is supporting them by inaction simply isn’t worth it?

If someone’s all but daring you to do something they don’t get to expect to be taken seriously when they then start whining that you called their bluff and did the action in question.

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Emmet Tills Ghost says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:slippery logic that enables online mobs

This, right here:

someone’s all but daring you to do something they don’t get to expect to be taken seriously when they then start whining

The good news, though, is that I finally got a bullet proof monument that even Techdirts K4 online mob of flaggers and derailers cant shoot through.

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Lisa Pages Dildo says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Deplatforming is evil ......

Read TD more often AC, cuz over half of the commentators routinely ask for citations -and then, flag and flamebait and derail anything that hurtz their feelz, or challenges their #fakeleft establishment mantras.

So, yeah, um, can you guess which tragedy is somehow more hurtzfeelz than the ongoing genocides of Native Americans

and other indigenous populations, or depleted uranium dropped on kids playgrounds in the ME?

https://www.history.com/news/native-americans-genocide-united-states

Hint: tribal-ethnic-religious white supremacy is involved

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Senator A.D.L. Votes says:

Re: Feeds

It also does not address the fact that ALL raw data passing through the USA is handed over directly to Israel via the NSA.

Wut? ! The sky IS falling, and I am watching it, and doing nothing about it, SOON!

(thinking to myself: those bastards have me on videotape in my fucking bathroom…. )

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K.Eichenwald says:

RE: Techdirt crybullies and Squad 8200

Well, that whole “Qanon ” conspiracy theory, and who it is behind #deplatforming

…meh. Mr. Eichenwald was doing research when he met a young boy in distress:

http://www.generationq.net/articles/Justin-Berry-Sex-Lies-and-Videotape.html

CrybullyHarder

GoSquad 8200!

NeverAgain

will the Kahanists lose control of Techdirts comment forum!

whoever they are.

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K.Eichenwalds PRteam says:

KEPRT: Lsten, I think that Squad 8200 and the Kahanists are doing a great job here, we dont have to do a thing

Kurt: If I could only make it make it back into the big time again!

KERPT: Well, you could crybully harder…or maybe attack a teenager from the Parkland shooting?

Influence Operations Manager: You know, this might be risky, but Kurt, you could just come clean about this here:…

Kurt Eichenwald Pays Young Boy In Advance on a Great Fakescoop

http://www.generationq.net/articles/Justin-Berry-Sex-Lies-and-Videotape.html

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Raw Data NSA Israel says:

Techdirt online mobbing

Did someone ask for data about the NSA sending raw, unfilered data about Americans to Israel, who then target and harass online speakers?

Here, this should be helpful:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/nsa-americans-personal-data-israel-documents

The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by…

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