Forget About Social Media Content Moderation; Get Ready For Internet Infrastructure Content Moderation

from the headaches-upon-headaches dept

The big topic du jour, of course, has been about content moderation on social media. But that may only be just the very beginning of where all of this heads. It didn't get that much attention, but last week Microsoft threatened to take down all of Gab.ai based on some (really awful) posts on that site. Gab, if you don't know, is the social network "alternative" that claims to be free speech supporting (even if that's a bit of an exaggeration), when it really has basically become the home to all the assholes who have been kicked off of Twitter. It's generally a cesspool of idiocy, so it's not clear what suddenly inspired Microsoft -- which hosts Gab on its Azure cloud platform -- to suddenly speak up.

As we've noted many times in the past, Microsoft, like any company, has certain rights, including First Amendment rights for what speech lives on its own computers and who it associates with. But, we're talking about a different kind of ballgame when we start getting to the infrastructure level, rather than just talking about content moderation at the edge provider level. This hearkens back to the big post I did nearly a year ago when Cloudflare stopped providing service to the Daily Stormer. As I noted at the time, there were no easy answers, and the situation is incredibly complicated. Simply kicking bad services off the internet doesn't make their hatred/ignorance/stupidity go away (and sometimes allows it to fester in even darker corners, where it can't be monitored or countered).

But there's an even larger issue here when its these infrastructure players making determinations on content at various edge providers -- effectively having their own terms of service substitute for the edge providers'. We discussed some of this on a recent podcast, focusing on how the legacy copyright players have been targeting infrastructure players -- CDNs, payment processors, advertising networks, domain registrars and registers, and even ICANN itself. While, again, these providers, as private companies, have every right to make their own decisions, they have much greater power than edge providers, and the tools they have are much blunter. Whereas Twitter can just take down a single Tweet, Microsoft's only remedy for bad content on Gab is to take down all of Gab.

This is a big issue that deserves a lot more thoughtful discussion, so it's great that Glenn Fleishman over at Fortune has started to question how infrastructure providers are dealing with these questions (for the most part, they're trying to avoid answering these questions). I'm briefly quoted in the article, from a much longer conversation that Glenn and I had where we tried to work through a variety of different ideas.

And, as I wrote in last year's post about the Cloudflare situation, I'm a lot more worried about infrastructure players suddenly deciding that they should have an editorial say as well, as that seems well beyond what role they should be playing. Yes, again, they have every right to stop working with services they dislike, but we should be discussing the potential impact of infrastructure players as censors. With edge services, one point that is regularly brought up is that if you don't like how a service is running you can just go to another one or build your own. But that gets a lot more complicated when you get to the infrastructure level where you can't just "build your own" and the number of options may be greatly limited.

As Glenn notes in his piece:

And infrastructure hosts have a great basis on which to claim neutrality on most points of view. For one part, that’s because because they don’t slap their name and branding—or sell advertising—alongside the content, unlike the Twitters and YouTubes of the web. But the other is that these Internet plumbing companies have to manage the complexity of operating their back-ends in nearly every country in the world, navigating often-conflicting cultural expectations and laws. In that climate, remaining as impartial as possible about content can help avoid nation-state demands on disconnecting groups and people.

But bans by consumer-facing providers have sparked new era of scrutiny, increased demands on accountability and possibly even transparency about hosting and connectivity. And with them, ironically, begin info wars in earnest. Infrastructure companies may not be able to stay out of the fight forever.

Indeed, infrastructure providers are the next battleground, and we should start thinking about what that means earlier, rather than waiting until everything is a total mess.


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  • identicon
    Christenson, 23 Aug 2018 @ 9:52am

    Concentration of Power and Competition

    I think the *best* solution to this problem is to encourage the "infrastructure" to have more of a marketplace somehow. It's the concentrated power that's the problem.

    Cloudflare's Prez said, and I think Techdirt quoted, saying in effect that "it was a bad thing that he was able to wake up in a bad mood one day and legally kick the Daily Stormer off the internetz".

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:10pm

      Re: Concentration of Power and Competition

      Excuse me but being kicked off the internet would mean said dude could not go elsewhere, get hosted, fire up his same old website and continue his great inquisition - no?

      One cloud service said get out and some how this equates to being kicked off the intarwebs - LOL, this just gets better every day.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2018 @ 5:03am

        Re: Re: Concentration of Power and Competition

        The next several months consisted of the daily Stormer getting cussed around the internet getting bans and having multiple domain names revoked, so I would consider "getting kicked off the internet" to be an appt description of what happened.

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        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 24 Aug 2018 @ 7:44am

          Re: Re: Re: Concentration of Power and Competition

          Except where they were specifically seeking out high-profile places their presence was unwanted/illegal for the express purpose of fueling their persecution complex.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2018 @ 7:53am

          Re: Re: Re: Concentration of Power and Competition

          It is interesting to note that on one hand some refer to the dark web as some evil place where the nefarious go to collude and stuff - going dark, Oh Noes!

          Meanwhile, on the other hand, these same folk claim that it is impossible for them to gain access to the internet under any circumstances because they have been kicked off - LOL

          I'm being censored !!1111

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    • identicon
      Christenson, 24 Aug 2018 @ 1:59pm

      Re: Concentration of Power and Competition

      Message from the "Management": (Senator Ron Wyden)
      Section 230 is under attack because of "indecent" content.

      https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/23/the-consequences-of-indecency/

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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 9:55am

    See, this is why most of us here have little issue with Twitter moderating its platform (other than, you know, Twitter doing a shit job of it): For all the claims of “censorship”, Twitter can only boot you off its platform at worst. This is a situation where the platform itself could be destroyed, which is a frightening thought even if you disagree with/despise the Gab userbase.

    And before anyone says “oh but isn’t this what you said corporations could do”: Yes, Microsoft does have a legal right to refuse association with Gab and all that. The ethical and moral implications of booting an entire platform for speech off of its servers, however, are far more frightening than Twitter booting some random asshole from that particular platform for saying “trebuchet TERFs”. If you think Twitter has “too much power”, look at the Gab situation, then tell me how Twitter comes anywhere close to having the power that Microsoft wields.

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    • identicon
      christenson, 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:00am

      Re: Microsoft eats twitter for lunch!

      Yes, Microsoft *is* more powerful than twitter....*do* recall the browser wars, where only a presidential election saved Microsoft from a defeat about it's monopolistic practices in court!

      This does not mean that the arbitrary power of twitter isn't also a problem.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:07am

        Re: Re: Microsoft eats twitter for lunch!

        Twitter is not a problem, you are just pissed off that conservative voices are being silenced.

        This does not piss me off in the lease, if conservatives want a voice they will get a different platform. If they want a fucking echo chamber let them have it, just like TD can kick my ass off anytime they want an echo chamber too!

        You either are for Free-Market & Liberty or you are not!

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        • identicon
          Christenson, 23 Aug 2018 @ 11:23am

          Re: Re: Re: Microsoft eats twitter for lunch!

          You might be surprised to learn that I think Alex Jones is a dangerous crank and an awful human being. He's put one man in prison, encouraged mobs, and done some awful things.

          My concern is more complicated: Some very bad things are going down; if they continue, the consequences are potentially fatal for all of us, or, more likely our great-grandchildren.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Microsoft eats twitter for lunch!

            Hey, I share your concern, but we cannot moderate the extremist in a vain attempt to moderate the majority. It has always lead to failure and creates martyrs. Trying to shut these folks down only gives them a larger voice.

            I never hear of Alex Jones before visited Techdirt, but do you know what? Anytime I do advance a view that could be loosely associated with something someone hates I get blamed as parroting for them. I get blamed for parroting something from someone I have never heard of before around here, so I have to go and look them the fuck up. Guess what that does? It send them traffic. And while I am not as ignorant as most, there are going to be a lot of folks that hate Alex Jones giving him an audience because they are going to falsely equivocate people they disagree with as having the same views whether it is true or not.

            Slavery was not ended because people all woke up at once you know. Slowly over time a long train of abuses and disadvantages got big enough to strike the wrong nerve... and then wham... WAR!

            You want to shut people down over the excuse to "protect your great grandchild"? Great, you only ensure that your grand-child will have to fight a war you help start yourself!

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            • identicon
              Christenson, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Microsoft eats twitter for lunch!

              Check out my first post in this thread. A number of people have me convinced that the right solution is to proliferate platforms to the point where any one operator can do whatever they like without great effect.

              That is not currently the case.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:41pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Microsoft eats twitter for lunch!

                But you made the claim

                "This does not mean that the arbitrary power of twitter isn't also a problem."

                Twitter is not the problem, it is a "symptom" of the problem. just like if you eat bad foods, the problem is NOT your cholesterol, and taking a pill will not save you. It might hold back some of the symptoms and yes, even may give you a slightly better quality of life as a result, but eventually, you pay 100% for it... in fact you pay more than 100% for it.

                The problem will always be us. Those of us who think it is okay to silence others because they said something we do not like. The problem will be when we allow government to weaken our constitutional rights because they don't like guns, or speech, or people with drugs having rights. Or because anyone with more than $200 or really an arbitrary amount of money means that the money is guilty of a crime!

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                • identicon
                  Christenson, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:56pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Microsoft eats twitter for lunch!

                  Lol, The problem always was *us*! What am I supposed to do about it, shoot you? With my magic anti-inequality rays that make everyone non-discriminatory and non-predatory????

                  Too bad my unicorn gun doesn't exist yet, so let me restate the problem a bit differently, in a form that would probably have been recognizable 250 years ago:
                  The concentration of arbitrary power in the hands of a few destroys wealth instead of creating it.

                  Under that rubric, Twitter's Jack Dorsey has sufficient arbitrary power to be a problem. So does Cloudflare, as identified by their own president, because of the DDOS phenomenon.

                  Usenet news teaches us, however, that platforms *have* to be able to moderate or they will become overwhelmed with useless garbage. And, various efforts at censorship inform us that anyone except the site owners making that decision is a concentration of power under another name with negative consequences.

                  The only sensible proposal I have been able to come up with is that platforms should not have copyright in their user-generated content -- so if I want to out-twitter twitter, a legal barrier to market entry is removed.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2018 @ 7:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Microsoft eats twitter for lunch!

            "You might be surprised to learn that I think Alex Jones is a dangerous crank and an awful human being. He's put one man in prison, encouraged mobs, and done some awful things."

            Why has he not been brought up on charges of inciting a riot, conspiracy to commit or whatever ... so many good laws to use against the creep, why waste time on censorship questions as they will led no where other than a political talking point which is probably their goal.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: Microsoft eats twitter for lunch!

          "Twitter is not a problem, you are just pissed off that conservative voices are being silenced."

          They are still free to go grab their soapbox, march to town square and begin crying.

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  • icon
    Jinxed (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 9:55am

    The internet is the greatest human invention, allowing the world to freely distribution ideas and works all the while immediately making it easy to ban the stuff they don't like.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:04am

    Brought to you By

    The "regulate all the things" mentality.

    I have only been warning you zealots that politicians are not listening to you. The only thing they hear from your calls to regulations are "take more power" as long as you throw us loser voters a crumb from the table we will worship you endlessly and forgive you of the bribes you take... just make us mushrooms and feed us all shit so we can all have hope and change as you only screw us a little less than those other guys.

    You all hate free-market, so this too means that free-market is being taken from the internet. It has survived long enough without regulation and so it must be controlled, just like Xi says... "must be clean and righteous".

    I will wait until the day comes where I tell you all once again that I told you so. You all literally walk upon the path that leads to your doom and curse anyone that refuses to join it or leaves it!

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:13am

      Oh, you sweet summer dipshit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:13am

      Re: Brought to you By

      Microsoft choosing to remove Geb from its infrastructure has nothing to do with regulation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      teka, 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:14am

      Re: Brought to you By

      "I'm a genius and you are all fools and you'll see how right I am, you fools! My greatness is so great that it blinds you to how great I am and smart too! I have decided you like things I dislike, because you are dumb and I am smart, and you dare dislike things that I like. You will rue the day you ever disagreed with Me, the smart guy!"

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 11:07am

        Re: Re: Brought to you By

        lol...

        no, the difference is that I am not burden with group think. You folks have the same ability to figure things out for yourself. Just don't get pissy when I tell you that your efforts are going to backfire!

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:18am

      Re: Brought to you By

      The "regulate all the things" mentality.

      You keep saying that and I keep pointing out to you that our position is literally the opposite of that. Why do you continue to lie?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        lucidrenegade (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:43am

        Re: Re: Brought to you By

        It's like the frog and the scorpion, and the Donald. It's in his nature.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 11:00am

          Re: Re: Re: Brought to you By

          No, I don't lie. I just judge them by their actions.

          If they say they are for equality, but then their actions produce things like affirmative actions laws then I know they are saying one thing but doing another.

          If they SAY they are for net neutrality while doing nothing to actually support real laws that will dismantle the monopolies these monoliths have then... they are just blowing smoke up your ass. The only question is, do they know that they are blowing smoke or are they too stupid to realize it?

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 11:13am

            If they SAY they are for net neutrality while doing nothing to actually support real laws that will dismantle the monopolies these monoliths have

            I’m sorry, run that by me again—Network Neutrality on its own was supposed to dismantle monopolies…how, exactly? Oh, and where is the proof that Mike/Techdirt does nothing to support laws that would at least put controls on those monopolies?

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:26pm

              Re:

              Such a shame, you are not listening.

              "I’m sorry, run that by me again—Network Neutrality on its own was supposed to dismantle monopolies…how, exactly?"

              No, I said the problem with NN is that it does not address the monopoly problem. Therefore, a waste of time. The monopolies will just financially overpower whatever ignorant regulations you put into place and they will use the money you have to give them to fund that effort. You are not very bright! The opposition has already secured a way to make you fight for them and the best you got is to whine "treat us fairly!!!"?

              "Oh, and where is the proof that Mike/Techdirt does nothing to support laws that would at least put controls on those monopolies?"

              So not what I said you clown. I agree that Mike/TD does support controls on monopolies.

              I said, they do not support regulations that will "dismantle" the monopolies. I know this is probably a bit much for you to grasp but they really are two different things!

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 11:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Brought to you By

            I seen Mike oppose laws that cement the monopoly position of the incumbent telcos, like laws prohibiting municipal networks, and support laws to reform, pole attachments, so as Mike says, stop lying about his position on regulations.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Brought to you By

              Non-Sequitur...

              Yes Mike has opposed laws that prohibit municipal networks. But he does not support removing the FCC which was founded upon the idea that the Providers are to be regulated as "natural monopolies".

              So yea, he DOES support monopolies at the federal level, just not the municipal level. It's kinda like someone saying they disagree with genocide in Brazil while they murder off homeless children in the streets!

              Oh yea... such an honest retort!

              With the FCC, regulation's literal first action was to CEMENT THE FUCKING MONOPOLIES!!! Why are you people ignoring this?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:52pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Brought to you By

                Your choice -- do you want the FCC and associated treatment of wireline telecom providers as natural monopolies, or do you want 50 telecom providers all laying their own independent cables in your area, fighting over prime rights of way and blocking roads as they go about this? Do you want them making every pole in your city look like it came straight out of the 1800s with a gigantic rats nest of wiring attached to it? Because we tried not applying a natural monopoly model to telecoms (and other forms of infrastructure) before, and it had...issues. Imagine rival phone companies going at each other in bloodsport over prime pole space...

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:52pm

                he does not support removing the FCC

                Why should he?

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              • identicon
                Christenson, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:21pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Brought to you By

                I think I can safely accuse Mike Masnick of supporting the minimum regulation necessary to make the internet function as it *should*...that is, an open platform everyone can use more or less equally and fairly, for everyone. The commons of the internet itself, and the content it carries, is too important to him.

                The regulation or non-regulation I can accuse him of supporting moves us in that direction and away from having our digital lives ransomed by the likes of Comcast and AT&T and Verizon. I think we'd all *prefer* a raucous free market, but, if you will notice, that's not happening at the ISP level, so interventions are required. That means Net Neutrality, it means municipal broadband authorities.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:35pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Brought to you By

                There you go again, denying that expensive infrastructure at a town size or larger scale is a natural monopoly. Just about every other civilized country acknowledges that telco infrastructure is a natural monopoly, and regulate it as such, including regulations that open that infrastructure to competing service providers.

                Do you honestly expect, that if the telco and cable markets were opened up to local competition, that every competitor would install the equipment and cable/fibers needed to the local cabinet so that they could potentially serve every household in the area, or would there it degenerate in smaller area local monoplolies. That is the most expensive way to build infrastructure,

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Brought to you By

            How are you so bad at lying too?

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:57am

        Re: Re: Brought to you By

        What you say and the results of what you are doing are not in parity.

        I have already stated that while "your hearts are in the right place" your "minds are out to lunch".

        Tell me Mike, how are you going to prevent another Pai? How? Whatever power you gave Wheeler Pai will get and we will be right here back at square one again. How are you going to stop ATT, Comcast, Verizon, or Sprint/T-Mobile from abusing their customers like they have always done?

        Tell me Mike, which politician is actually "listening" to any of their voters? I see a lot of politicians "talking at their voters" as though they are listening but when are you going to notice they are saying a whole lotta NOTHING?

        Both parties are fracturing because more than enough are not being listened too. Do you know who IS being listened too? Those dollar bills rolling into those campaign coffers!

        I AM on your side, I just do not buy the same bullshit you are full of!

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 11:14am

          Whatever power you gave Wheeler Pai will get

          When was Mike ever in charge of deciding who would be the head of the FCC?

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:32pm

            Re:

            I know you are working with a limited intellectual capacity, but that is EXACTLY THE POINT?

            So now that we have established the Mike does not have this power, or you for that matter, why are you okay with Pai having this power?

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:51pm

              Re: Re:

              why are you okay with Pai having this power?

              Personal foul—Anonymous Coward, assuming facts not in evidence. 15 yard penalty, automatic first down!

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          • identicon
            John Smith, 23 Aug 2018 @ 3:29pm

            Re:

            The FCC is controlled by foreign interests who control Trump.

            Ask yourself what would control Trump the most if you want to figure out which country. HINT: it's not Russia.

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    identicon
    Arnold Zeck approves of this blog, 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:08am

    Riiiigh! Just forget about Google - Facebook TOTAL surveillance!

    Worry about this instead.

    Your usual CHEAP SIMPLISTIC attempt at distracting with a supposedly even worse.

    Doesn't work on those with any sense at all.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:12am

      We can worry about Microsoft’s power to delete a platform from the Internet while also worrying about surveillance capitalism and the companies that exploit it for monetary gain. Caring about more than one thing at a time is something anyone can do.

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  • icon
    Thad (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:12am

    I can see how maybe domain registrars and DNS providers should be required to provide content-neutral service to all legal sites. I think that would be a reasonable regulation.

    It gets a little dicier when we start talking about providers like Cloudflare, Microsoft, and Amazon.

    To a large extent, I see this as a technical problem. The mere fact that DDoS attacks exist, and third-party services are required to mitigate them, is a failure mode of how the Web is designed.

    But of course while I think switching to a distributed model is the correct solution, it's much easier said than done (even on Silicon Valley). Redesigning the fundamental structure of how the Internet works is a process that takes decades -- how's that IPv6 rollout going, guys?

    I'd love to see an engineering fix to this dilemma -- but I know it ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:54am

      Re:

      >The mere fact that DDoS attacks exist, and third-party services are required to mitigate them, is a failure mode of how the Web is designed.

      That is not a design problem, the Internet requires allowing connections from unknown, to the server, clients. Also, the Infrastructure cannot, and should not control who those clients can connect to. The potential for a DDOS attack is inherent to any network available to the public. Note, a DDOS attack does not need user machines to be compromised, just enough people prepared to give dome CPU power and network bandwidth to the attack.

      Also while software security could be improved, some of the security measures being touted are also a means of companies increasing their control over what a user can do with what they buy.

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      • icon
        Thad (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:03pm

        Re: Re:

        That is not a design problem, the Internet requires allowing connections from unknown, to the server, clients. Also, the Infrastructure cannot, and should not control who those clients can connect to. The potential for a DDOS attack is inherent to any network available to the public.

        Yes, but there are mitigation strategies available to peer-to-peer distribution models that are not available to client-server ones. It's possible to execute a DDoS attack on a trackerless torrent, sure, but it's a lot harder to bring down thousands of peers in a DHT than it is to target a single server.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          For most people, and some types of service, peer to peer does not work well, mainly because it does not scale well. That is torrents are used to deliver a few, in Internet scale terms, files to a larger number of users. Highly connected networks, either network traffic, and local CPU power, or a slowed propagation of messages through multiple hops.

          Usenet has limited appeal because of the disjointed conversations that happen, due to propagation delays through multiple nodes. Complete, or near complete interconnectivity places high demand on bandwidth and processor power on popular nodes, which may only have a small number of users, and many followers.

          Also, while it is much harder to bring down a distributed system via a DDOS attack, it is likely easier to take down a specific target in the network, and silence a targeted speaker.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 11:10am

      Re:

      Hey Than.... How about those protesters creating DDOS attacks for commuters during their rallies? Is it okay to arrest them?

      The 1st verbatim states "peaceably to assemble". Blocking the roads and the right of passage of others is NOT peacebly in the lease. It is physically hostile.

      So how about you stop talking about things you know nothing about?

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 11:16am

        How about those protesters creating DDOS attacks for commuters during their rallies?

        This is literally the dumbest analogy I have ever seen this week.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:34pm

          Re:

          what does DDOS stand for?

          Distributed Denial of Service.

          People standing in the roads all over the place is a denial of service that a roadway provides.

          If that analogy is dumb for you, it sorta explains why you are so easy to fool everytime a politician with the letter D in their name can lie to you repeatedly without repercussion.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:36pm

          Re:

          And to talk about the Science itself...

          What are data packets composed of... electrons that travel across the wires just like cars down the road. What happens if too many electrons are consuming all of the bandwidth? No more electrons get through. Well some, but not enough to create good service... hence the analogy you are too dumb to figure out!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2018 @ 12:11pm

            Re: Re:

            What happens if too many electrons are consuming all of the bandwidth?

            This is literally the dumbest attempt to describe how a network works that I have ever seen.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:18pm

          Re:

          "How about those protesters creating DDOS attacks for commuters during their rallies?"

          Wait .. LOL

          Are you saying that you do not like protesters making you late for work?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 11:41am

        Re: Re:

        wut.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:51pm

    Not the only remedy

    Whereas Twitter can just take down a single Tweet, Microsoft's only remedy for bad content on Gab is to take down all of Gab.

    Even if we limit that to technical remedies (MS could ask Gab to take stuff down, or sue them), nothing prevents MS from blocking a single post. They run the thing. They have full access to break SSL if necessary, or to obtain a replacement SSL certificate, and block what they want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    IsraelDid911, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:53pm

    Idiocy?

    What kind of idiocy are you referring to? Why don't you come and prove your intelligence by battling it out like a man.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    John Smith, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:09pm

    Section 230 strikes again. No liability for infrastructure = this.

    USENET has the same issue. If we protect speech we have to protect ALL legal speech and hold accountable those who allow for illegal speech.

    I would hardly call this "infrastructure censorship" though. Cloudflare hoses many controversial sites btw. People only seem to get mad when someone they like is targeted for censorship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:32pm

      If we protect speech we have to protect ALL legal speech and hold accountable those who allow for illegal speech.

      Why should a platform be held responsible for someone else’s speech if the platform’s owners/operators did not directly help craft or publish that speech?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        John Smith, 23 Aug 2018 @ 8:17pm

        Re:

        It's called "distributor liability" and was the law of the land everywhere but the internet (still is actually). They would not be liable unless first put on notice.

        As for why, they are the ones who cause 99.9 percent of the damage. Search engines should be held liable as well, since defamation which appears in a small corner of the internet can then be amplified and spread throughout the world whenever someone is searched by name. To immunize that is an atrocity that destroys reputations and weaponizes the search engines. As many say with copyright law, if a business model cannot exist it does not deserve to exist. Section 230 threw individual reputations (and truth) under the bus to prop up the model that allowed for automated UGC, literally putting machine rights above human rights.

        Requiring human intervention and moderation would actually create jobs, spread the wealth, and reduce the burden on government by reducing lost tax dollars and the welfare benefits required to compensate for lost income every time some SJW decides to make someone they don't like unemployable. Many other people have been assaulted or killed because some stupid person who just met them thinks they found something that justifies physical harm.

        On USENET, where we have free speech, we also have anonymous remailers that can send posts to newsgroups, making people defenseless against defamation that is then archived and spread not by the "original publisher," who might have a very small audience that views everything in context, but by the search engine, which ensures it will turn upw henever someone looks for a job, housing, or new friends and lovers.

        Defamation isn't the only issue here. Single young women who live alone in apartments aer at the mercy of building contractors who might have questionable pasts. Say one searches a tenant by name and fins she has done porn in the past, convinces himself she is "easy" and deserving of anything he might bring. Guess what? This is already going on. Just because the internet doesn't tell people that this danger exists doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

        Sure, we can live in a Section 230 world, and we do. "What's your name?" is no longer an innocent question because it means "Can I do a full background check on you?" The "check" isn't even guaranteed to be accurate, and those "idiots" that people say need protection from themselves are often not mature or ethical enough to handle the lies that they find, lies put there for the explicit purpose of inciting others.

        Speaking of which, do Mike Masnick's neighbors know that....

        Disallowing searches of names would be a good start towards preserving Section 230, but the engines have no incentive to protect individual rights. we could have built an internet without weaponized search, and the more this targets sympathetic victims, as with revenge porn, the more there will be an outcry to stop it.

        Personally, I'd rather see a standard that says Section 230 can be used as a shield (as it was intended), but not as a sword, nor allowed to be used as a sword. Do you like seeing a half-million in taxpayer money go to support someone sent on disability at age thirty because he made a snide remark to a female co-worker at his first job fifteen years earlier? This is already happening. that's what happens after we "get them fired."

        My Google-proof name is my own solution to this issue. It's why google never caught on in China. "Iv'e got the dirt on you, Lee Lee!" just doesn't work when Lee is one of only a hundred last names.

        If you insist on keeping Setion 230, make it so search engines have to delist people's names with a court order, but even then others with the same name can either wind up defamed, or their names are no longer searchable. Another alternative is to simply abolish libel law so the targets of defamation can respond in kind, just like abolishing copyright law and making everything public domain would yield a truly level, consumer-friendly playing field. As it is now, the target of an internet mob risks being sued if s/he fights back.

        There arerigh people who hire judgment-proof people in other countries to defame others. That some4 of the people who do this are attorneys who are very similar to attorneys whose names have been mentioned in this space of course means nothing. It's not difficult to imagine that a lawyer can hire a hacker to create a virus-infected website full of defamation about a known litigious individual, mock the individual for suing, follow the individual around online while waiting for them to get into an argument, link the other side of the argment to the hate website (with the hackers getting paid by the virus that steals financial information), after which the other side thinks it has "confirmed" what it "aready suspected," inevitably repeats the defamation (thus losing Section 230 protection), the target sues, and the lawyers rush in to "defend free speech" by telling an already gassed-up speqaker "not to worry about that kook." The lawyer then bankrupts the pawn if the pawn is wealthy, or crowdfunds the lawsuit if the pawn is not. All it takes is to target someone who will sue when lied about, usually a celebrity.

        "Cui bono" from Section 230? Internet lawyers, who, when they speak of how vital 230 is, leave out the part where it's vital to their own business model. If you look at the names defending 230 it's a very small cadre of attorneys with the same names turning up all the time. Revenge porn was a logical outcome of this,and Congress reacted not by trashing 230 altogether, but by carving out a special exception for slutty female victims. Meanwhile, a site like "don't date that jerk" is called a "social networking site" by cable news, and noprotection is given to men who are targeted by "revenge libel" designed to incite "white knights" into making death threats.

        Section 230 turns the world into a jungle when it doesn't have to be one. The law needs to be abolished, and as the victims become increasingly sympathetic, as withrevenge porn, it will be. It's literally just a matter of time.

        Those who say the Supremee Court upheld Section 230 are correct, but they upheld the concept of distributor immunity. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on what constitutes a distritubor and whether or not Section 230 immunizes distributors of libel. The law says "shall not be treated as the PUBLISHER or SPEAKER" of libelous content, but a distributor is neither of those and is still liable under existing state laws. Had congress intended to immunize distribtuors, they could have added the word. General Supr3eme Court precedent is to recognie this omission as a clear sign of congressional intent.Contrary to what the small group of lawyers say, this issue has never b een ruled upon, and they've had chances, but refused to hear the case. Numerous cases in the Seve4nth Circuit have departed from Section 230, which even immunizes discriminatory housing and employment ads.

        For those who think the above is some conspiracy theory, it is actually much easier to prove. Be warned: Section 230 also immunizes these websites againswt online reviews of attorneys who have very p0ublic internet associations with these hackers, and if someone has ever logged everyone's timelines and postings very carefully, for a ong enough period of time, a series of online reviews of the law firms involved, with all dots connected, will enjoy the same Section 230 protection these lawyers have enjoyed.

        Along those lines, one attorney who claims to advocate for free speech sure did not practice what they preached when the postings were suddenly about them. the content could have gone back up more easily, but maybe the person who posted it is just waiting for a better time to more thoroughly document what is going on.

        Lincoln was right about being able to fool some of the people someof the time, but not all of the people all of the time. To call all conspiracy theories automatically ijnvalid is to deny human nature and say that humans never conspire. If so, organized crime wouldn't exist. IIED lawsuits are actually more appropriate thandefamation lawsuits anyway, if not just outright stalking chargews and prison time for those who thi8nk it's funny to ruin the lives of others. At some point, it will be time to pay the piper, just like it has been for another famous person's henchmen, who are now dropping like flies after having thought themselves invincible for so long.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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          identicon
          John Smith, 23 Aug 2018 @ 8:35pm

          Re: Re:

          Lawyers are officers of the court, and are thus subject to lawsuits under 42 USC 1983, for abuse of power under color of state law. Lawyers who inject themselves into cases not involving them, who wield their power or use it to intimidate people into silence, can easily be sued under 1983.

          Some lawyers go online pretending to be non-attorneys so that they can avoid this liability, though careful review of their internet history shows that they have admitted being employed by lawyers, where respondeat superior applies.

          At the very least, an online review of an attorney who has openly been friends with someone who is part of a knocn hacker group, or who has linked to websites whose own creators later admitted were infected with a virus, could wind up with online reviews that point this out, as well as possible investigations for client data breaches, since the lawyer is also admitting to having visited these virus-infected sites (which, ostensibly, they didn't put up themselves and had no reason to avoid).

          Trump's people thought they were invicible for what they did. The internet attorneys currently think they have similarpower, or that those they've been targeting haven't taken countermeasures, such as google-proofing their names, switching residences every two months to confuse searchengines (several innocent people who live where these targets USED to live are now being targeted, while the landlord pawns are taking falls for battles originally not theirs)). I still see operatoives who think employers and friends of their targets, or landlords, were put here just to do their bidding. When the pawns wake up and see who is really behind this, well, they have reresources to combat it. Some employers have foolishly questioned womemn who were stalked, like the one who was fired because a mass-killer lied about it, but when these people widn up "woke," the "chessplayers" behind all this garage are going to be checkmated, and brutally. What they're doing is unsustainable.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 8:37pm

          Re: Re:

          Seriously, as entertaining as some of your comments can be you really need to get some help for your obsession.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 8:50pm

          Your incoherency makes it nigh impossible to follow whatever argument you think you are making. To help you, I will posit a hypothetical; try to keep your answer brief so you do not end up looking like a(nother) rambling lunatic.

          Assume, for a moment, that I post the following statement on Twitter: “Current US Vice President Mike Pence fucks goats in his spare time.” If Twitter’s owners/operators took absolutely no direct action to help me either craft or publish that statement, why should they lose their 230 safe harbors and be held legally responsible for what I said if Pence decides to sue me and Twitter for defamation? If I did the same thing on a televised interview—same statement, same caveats about crafting and publishing the statement—why should the network be held legally liable? And what makes those two situations any different from each other aside from the medium in which my obviously defamatory message is delivered?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2018 @ 12:16pm

          Re: Re:

          This is the part where we throw our heads back and laugh! Ready?

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:44pm

    > > In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the request, noting that the company received complains "about specific posts on Gab.ai that advocate ‘ritual death by torture’ and the ‘complete eradication’ of all Jews." According to Microsoft, the posts are incitements of violence that are both against Microsoft Azure's policies and not protected by the First Amendment.

    > Microsoft threatened to take down all of Gab.ai based on some (really awful).

    Specifically, cited were exactly two messages made to the Gab.ai platform.

    The UK sent notice to Gab.ai to remove the tweets. Gab responded by saying "take a walk", Gab is based out of the United States and not subject to UK laws.

    The UK then pressured Microsoft, who in turn issued the threat.

    Gab requested that the account-holder remove the tweets voluntarily, who proceeded to do so negating the showdown.

    This is a story that happens every single day on social media platforms. I've seen far worse on reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. The difference is that these larger companies can defend themselves from the likes of Microsoft, thus are more difficult to get pushed around. They are able to self-police and work out processes that makes sense for their platform.

    The overwhelming majority of content on Gab is mundane. Visiting the chans is typically a more harrowing experience. Unless you go looking for it, maybe you're writing an article with intention of highlighting the negative side of a potential competitor of your buddies.

    Linked article gets a hard F for failure to accurately report the material. It's a persuasion piece looking to brand Gab is something other than a social network that values first amendment rights and takes effort to not step on them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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