by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 7th 2013 12:40pm
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 4th 2013 8:23am
from the try-again-please dept
"There is now a menace which is called Twitter," Erdogan said. "The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society."If you wanted to demonstrate just how out of touch you are, and how in denial you are to complaints from the public, I'd have trouble thinking of a much better way to express it than those statements right there. It's certainly not going to stop the anger and the protests. No one is hanging out near Taksim Square hearing that, and saying, "oh, gee, I guess it's time to go home now."
Mocking the tool that people are using to communicate and to organize is a strategy that's never going to succeed, and can only serve to make things worse. It also makes clear how out of control the situation really is. When things are under control you don't make statements like that one, which simply demonstrate a Prime Minister in denial.
by Glyn Moody
Tue, Apr 23rd 2013 4:29pm
from the bad-precedents dept
Techdirt has written a few times about Turkey's difficult relationship with new technology. Unfortunately, it looks like that now includes Twitter, as two troubling decisions against users have been handed down recently. Here's the first, as reported by the Turkish Web site Hürriyet Daily News:
Model Nilay Dorsa had filed a criminal complaint against Tolga Çam who posted a tweet mentioning Dorsa with "offensive content" in November 2011.
That sets a bad precedent, since it means that writing on Twitter is now regarded as akin to publishing in a newspaper or magazine, with correspondingly severe punishments. Indeed, only a few days later, the same argument was made when a suspended 10-month sentence for "insulting religious beliefs held by a section of the society" was imposed on the well-known Turkish pianist Fazil Say. According to another story in Hürriyet Daily News, the sentence was increased massively because he "published" his thoughts on Twitter:
The court board said Çam committed revilement crime by expressing his personal thoughts over Twitter and sharing them with public, considering Twitter as a media platform for the first time in Turkey.
Say was initially handed eight months for "committing and insisting on committing a crime" before the court tacked on an additional four years because the artist voiced the insult through "a mode of publication."
Fortunately, the sentence was then reduced to 10 months, and suspended, but made subject to a five-year supervision period, during which time it could still be imposed. A similar three-year supervision was imposed on Çam in the case involving Nilay Dorsa, establishing a clear pattern that is likely to have a chilling effect on the use of Twitter in Turkey.
by Glyn Moody
Tue, Mar 19th 2013 12:08am
from the interesting-geography dept
Last week we wrote about the important news that Mexico is asking to join what began as a bilateral trade agreement between the US and Europe, with the suggestion that Canada might follow suit. Now, via @FFII, we learn that even before Mexico's announcement, the US has been encouraging other countries to join:
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday US Secretary of State John Kerry wanted Turkey to be included in Transatlantic Free-Trade Area (TAFTA).
As with Mexico's application, it would seem that the European Union doesn't get any choice in the matter. But what's really interesting here is that it confirms the impression that the US is keen to build out TAFTA to include many more countries, including some far from the Atlantic that originally defined it. The big question is now: who's next on the list?
Davutoglu said they would follow closely the process of Turkey's inclusion in TAFTA.
by Glyn Moody
Fri, Dec 21st 2012 3:42am
from the blanket-bans-are-out dept
Back in 2010, Techdirt reported on Turkey's habit of blocking Google over certain holdings on its various sites. Mostly these were YouTube videos it took exception to, but other services were banned too. An earlier case, from 2009, received less attention at the time, but has now led to a precedent-setting ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that could have a big impact on future cases in Europe, and maybe even beyond.
The case was brought by a Turkish PhD student named Ahmet Yildirim, who complained that he had faced "collateral censorship" when his Web pages hosted on Google Site were shut down by the authorities in 2009 as a result of a court action aimed at another set of pages held there. Open Society Foundations, which had filed a brief with the European Court of Human Rights in support of the applicant's claim, explains the background:
Yildirim's academically-focused site was blocked by the Turkish regulator, TiM, as a result of a court injunction that ordered it to close down local access to the entire Google Sites domain. The move was supposedly aimed at a single website hosted by Google which included content deemed offensive to the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, in breach of Turkish law.
As this makes clear, the problem was the over-blocking that resulted in all Google Sites being taken down, even though only one of them was accused of insulting modern Turkey's founder. The court's judgment (pdf) explains that such blocks are only compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights if they fulfil various strict conditions:
Yildirim's appeals against the injunction were turned down by the Turkish courts, which argued that the blanket ban was reasonable because it was not possible for the authorities to block a single Google-hosted site.
In its judgment, the ECHR noted that the regulator had not attempted to contact Google to seek the closure of the offending site, and that the 2007 law that allowed the regulator to close down foreign-hosted sites did not permit blocking an entire domain such as Google Sites.
The Court reiterated that a restriction on access to a source of information was only compatible with the Convention if a strict legal framework was in place regulating the scope of a ban and affording the guarantee of judicial review to prevent possible abuses. However, when the Denizli Criminal Court had decided to block all access to Google Sites, it had simply referred to an opinion from the TiB without ascertaining whether a less far-reaching measure could have been taken to block access specifically to the site in question. The Court further observed that there was no indication that the Criminal Court had made any attempt to weigh up the various interests at stake, in particular by assessing whether it had been necessary to block all access to Google Sites. In the Court's view, this shortcoming was a consequence of the domestic law, which did not lay down any obligation for the courts to examine whether the wholesale blocking of Google Sites was justified. The courts should have had regard to the fact that such a measure would render large amounts of information inaccessible, thus directly affecting the rights of Internet users and having a significant collateral effect.
The broader importance of this decision is explained in a comment quoted by the Open Society Foundations press release:
Darian Pavli, a lawyer at the Justice Initiative who worked on the submission, said: "This is the first ruling by an international tribunal on wholesale blocking of internet content, and a very significant precedent. The court made clear that access to online content is a fundamental right, and that it can only be restricted in exceptional cases, subject to full judicial review."
Although there is a three-month period in which the ruling can be appealed, the fact that the court's verdict was unanimous among the seven judges, one of whom is from Turkey, suggests that any such appeal is unlikely to stand much chance of overturning this important decision.
by Leigh Beadon
Thu, Nov 22nd 2012 12:00pm
from the abstract:-gobble-gobble dept
Here in Canada, we gave our proverbial thanks over a month ago, and since all the Americans at Techdirt have taken off for the weekend, I thought I'd take a moment to put together some advice on preparing a great Thanksgiving turkey—with a little help from the USPTO.
If you're tired of the traditional roast, maybe it's time to try a more creative preparation—just be careful you don't run afoul of any patents. Here's an idea: with some skilled knife-work, you can slice a turkey into pieces that resemble various cuts of steak—and that method will only be under patent for another five years!
There are lots of unique recipes out there that call for a deboned turkey. For the inexperienced, it's probably wise to ask your butcher to do this for you—just make sure he doesn't use this method until 2022:
Luckily, there are plenty of open alternatives for the patent-savvy chef. Who needs those fancy new turkey cutlets when you can use this classic "method of preparing turkey ... in the form of a flat elongated slice or slices of raw fowl free from bones, tendons, membranes and skin." Mmmmmm. This patent was granted back in the 60s, so it's long since expired:
Or you could try this "method of preparing barbecued poultry such as turkey which closely simulates barbecued pork", patented in the early 70s and now free for all to follow in handy flow-chart form:
And finally, for the vegetarian in your life (assuming they prefer a lump of vaguely meat-shaped tofu to a nice falafel or something), there's this "method and apparatus for preparing a roast turkey analog (replica) from vegetarian ingredients". A patent was applied for in 2005, but appears not to have been granted...yet. Patents are retroactive to the date of filing, so only use this method if you want to gamble on the USPTO rejecting silly patents (then come play poker with me). All you need to do is make yourself what appears to be some kind of turkey mould, or possibly the sunken city of R'lyeh:
This is an exciting time, with much to be thankful for! Who knows what bold new turkey innovations the patent system will fuel next? A turkey-shaped gravy boat? A way of pulling the bones out from a different angle? A recipe where the sauce goes on after the broth? A toy turkey made out of a pine cone? Ooh, that's a good idea—I should call up the USPTO and... oh, never mind, some other Leigh beat me to it in 1927.
by Michael Ho
Wed, Nov 21st 2012 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- Underwriters Laboratories (UL) continues to deny a safety certification for any turkey fryers because they're so dangerous if used incorrectly. UL even states that the risks are not worth a great-tasting bird. [url]
- Turkeys have been known to "attack" people when taunted. Wild turkeys make lousy house pets. [url]
- There are a lot of meaningless food labels for turkeys -- such as "all natural" or "minimally-processed." But if it's labelled "fresh" that actually means the turkey has not been cooled below 26 degrees Fahrenheit and has not been fully frozen. [url]
- Alton Brown has a Thanksgiving turkey recipe that promotes the benefits of brining. Alton can't guarantee that you won't overcook your turkey, but brining increases the odds that a cooked turkey won't turn out dry. [url]
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 14th 2011 12:34pm
from the just-wondering dept
I think that point may be driven home with two separate governments claiming success in "arresting" Anonymous members. Spain got some attention for supposedly arresting three "Anonymous" members late last week, and then Turkey also got some attention for arresting "32 members."
If these individuals were involved in actual criminal activities, then the arrests are perfectly reasonable. But if these governments actually understood what was going on, and actually understood what they were dealing with, they wouldn't have said they were arresting members of "Anonymous," which is hardly a group anyway, and the word "member" is misleading. Taking a traditional top down approach, these governments think that by announcing that they've "arrested Anonymous members," they're likely to scare people off from being a part of Anonymous. It's very much speculation on my part, but knowing the sort of people involved, my guess is that it's having exactly the opposite response. By presenting the people arrested as being a part of Anonymous, these governments are glorifying Anonymous, and adding to the allure. And the arrests are unlikely to scare off too many actual participants, since they quite likely think that they are better at covering their tracks... and as things move along, that will likely be true.
These governments could have easily arrested people and charged them with hacking without making the connection back to Anonymous. Making such statements is like responding to trolls on internet forums. It's tough to resist sometimes, but it only encourages more such activity. And, of course, just as with trolls, this sort of thing really only plays into exactly what Anonymous wants. It builds up the group's own profile, increases the very necessary mythology, and likely improves the efforts to do more such activities (while protecting participants even more).
In a world with increasingly distributed power, Anonymous and others are really a precursor to what's coming down the road, demonstrating how certain forms of activism really don't work the way people in power expect them to. I don't agree with their specific tactics, but I'm fascinated by their ability (intended or not) to get companies and governments to play right into their strategy.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, May 16th 2011 9:57pm
from the don't-touch-my-internet dept
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 8th 2011 1:05am