David Kirkpatrick

April 6, 2010

Tuesday video fun — forbidden film

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:04 pm

Here’s a little context:

Neatorama explains:

In the 1920s and 1930s, censorship of movies was often governed by local boards, and achieved by snipping the scenes from the film reels.  It won’t surprise anyone that those clipped film segments were sometimes saved.  Here a number of them have been assembled into a montage, which was submitted to the 2007 72 Hour Film Festival in Frederick, Maryland.

What I find most interesting about this montage is — as in any censorship — how much what was deemed too racy for the general public reveals about the censor making those decisions.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

March 24, 2010

Google and China …

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:11 pm

… a good move? Looks like at least some analysts think it’ll help Google’s image.

From the link:

People using Google.cn are now redirected to Google.com.hk, where they are given uncensored search results in simplified Chinese. Google is running Google.com.hk off of servers located in Hong Kong.

“Google made a smart move,” said Augie Ray, an analyst at Forrester. “Rather than unilaterally pulling out, they took an action that puts the ball back into China’s court.”

“While Google feels redirecting Chinese users to their Hong Kong site and search results is ‘entirely legal’, it seems unlikely the Chinese government will see this as anything other than an attempt to bypass their laws and direction. Given the impasse that Google and China came to on the issue of censorship, this move by Google seems a little less brave than inevitable,” Ray said.

Google had taken its lumps for agreeing earlier to follow Chinese law and censor search results in China . That wasn’t a popular move with critics in the West.

Monday’s move, however, may go a long way to cleaning some of that tarnish off its image. “Google is generating a great deal of press for taking on an issue that many in the U.S. care deeply about,” Ray said.

January 25, 2010

China doesn’t restrict internet freedom?

Filed under: Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:31 pm

Could have fooled its citizens, and companies forced to comply with government censorship demands to operate in the nation, I guess.

This is a hole Chinese officials might as well stop digging.

From the link:

China on Friday slammed remarks made by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promoting Internet freedom worldwide, saying her words harmed U.S.-China relations.

China resolutely opposes Clinton’s remarks and it is not true that the country restricts online freedom, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement on the ministry’s Web site.

Clinton’s speech and China’s response both come after Google (GOOG) last week said it planned to reverse its long-standing position in China by ending censorship of its Chinese search engine. Google cited increasingly tough censorship and recent cyberattacks on the Gmail accounts of human rights activists for its decision, which it said might force it to close its offices in China altogether.

Click here to find out more!China blocks Web sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and has long forced domestic Internet companies to censor their own services. Blog providers, for instance, are expected to delete user posts that include pornographic content or talk of sensitive political issues.

January 12, 2010

More on Google and China

Filed under: Business, Media, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:10 pm

Who’d a thunk I’d be doing two posts on Google and China today? First Google apologizes for a copyright breach issue in China (?!), and now the Mountain View company is threatening to pull out of China because of claims the Asian behemoth breached Google email accounts of human rights activists. Whatever else is going on here, I don’t see any changes to China’s overarching attitudes toward individual privacy or intellectual property — well, at least the intellectual property of non-Chinese citizens.

I understand Google wanting to do business with such a massive market, but it made serious concessions regarding censorship when it went into China so it can’t be all that shocked when China decides to just go out and do whatever it wants.

(Quick joke for Robot Chicken fans — Darth Vader: I’ve changed the terms of our deal. Pray I don’t change it further. Lando: Man, this deal keeps getting worse all the time.)

From the second link:

The company disclosed in a blog post that it had detected a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China.” Further investigation revealed that “a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists,” Google’s post said.

Google did not specifically accuse the Chinese government. But the company added that it is “no longer willing to continue censoring our results” on its Chinese search engine, as the government requires. Google says the decision could force it to shut down its Chinese site and its offices in the country.

November 27, 2009

Looking for an anonymous browsing solution?

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:12 pm

Try Freenet.

From the link:

Large swaths of the world are subject to censorship, or else track their citizens’ use of the Internet. Free program Freenet lets you anonymously browse the Web, share files, chat on forums, and more–no matter where you are. Download and run the software, and you become part of a decentralized P2P network that uses encryption and other tools to keep you hidden and anonymous. As you browse, your data is encrypted and sent through a series of Freenet nodes, making it very difficult to track you.

November 6, 2009

China fears microblogging

Filed under: Media, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:38 pm

Doesn’t the leadership know information wants to be free — even at 140 Modern English alphabet characters a pop.

Jokes aside, here’s a bit from the first link:

A Chinese government watchdog plans to push Twitter-style Web sites to censor their content, the country’s latest move to block Internet users from posting certain politically sensitive information online.The government-linked Internet Society of China plans to compose “self-discipline standards” for microblogging services, a group representative said in an e-mail. The representative declined to give details, but the group has released similar guidelines for other Web sites before. A document the group released for blog providers calls for them to delete “illegal or harmful information” as it appears on their sites, or simply to cease blog service for infringing users. Chinese authorities have used the term “harmful information” to describe online content including pornography and discussion of politically sensitive topics such as Falun Gong, a spiritual group banned in the country.

Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in all of China since July, when deadly ethnic riots in the country’s western Xinjiang region led it to crack down on communication tools that could be used to gather people at a given location. Authorities also blocked all Internet service and text messaging in Xinjiang after the rioting, which state-run media say killed nearly 200 people.

Some Chinese-language Twitter rivals also went offline after the rioting. One of the bigger sites, Digu, came online again last month, but rival service Fanfou is still down.

December 28, 2008

Great Aussie Firewall

Very disappointing news from the land down under.

From the link:

Consumers, civil-rights activists, engineers, Internet providers and politicians from opposition parties are among the critics of a mandatory Internet filter that would block at least 1,300 Web sites prohibited by the government – mostly child pornography, excessive violence, instructions in crime or drug use and advocacy of terrorism.

Hundreds protested in state capitals earlier this month.

“This is obviously censorship,” said Justin Pearson Smith, 29, organizer of protests in Melbourne and an officer of one of a dozen Facebook groups against the filter.

The list of prohibited sites, which the government isn’t making public, is arbitrary and not subject to legal scrutiny, Smith said, leaving it to the government or lawmakers to pursue their own online agendas.

“I think the money would be better spent in investing in law enforcement and targeting producers of child porn,” he said.

Internet providers say a filter could slow browsing speeds, and many question whether it would achieve its intended goals. Illegal material such as child pornography is often traded on peer-to-peer networks or chats, which would not be covered by the filter.

“People don’t openly post child porn, the same way you can’t walk into a store in Sydney and buy a machine gun,” said Geordie Guy, spokesman for Electronic Frontiers Australia, an Internet advocacy organization. “A filter of this nature only blocks material on public Web sites. But illicit material … is traded on the black market, through secret channels.”

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy proposed the filter earlier this year, following up on a promise of the year-old Labor Party government to make the Internet cleaner and safer.

December 11, 2008

Nanny (and loony PC) PTA in action — North Carolina-style

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:11 pm

Okay here’s the case at hand.

From the link:

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” caused a stir at a New Hanover County school.  A parent complained about the song’s religious reference and got it pulled from her child’s kindergarten Christmas show at Murrayville Elementary School.

The song was pulled “because it had the word Christmas in it,” said Rick Holliday, assistant school superintendent.

A Jewish mother, who didn’t want her name published, objected to what she called “religious overtones” in the song. So the principal agreed to pull it from the program.

And here’s the wonderful takedown of this idiocy by Jeffery Goldberg. Someone who knows a little about being Jewish in America, perhaps?

From the link:

Of course, the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written by a Jewish-American songwriter, Johnny Marks. He also wrote “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Also written by Jews: “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” and of course, the mother of all Jewish-written Christmas songs, “White Christmas,” by Irving Berlin.  Why, you could almost say there’s a conspiracy by Jews to dominate the Christmas-jingle-writing industry!

June 23, 2008

George Carlin, RIP

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:42 am

Stand-up comedian George Carlin has died at 71 of heart failure.

His work the last few years was a lot of the old crank and not quite as funny, but he delivered many classic lines and honed some of the great comedy routines of the last forty-plus years. His voice and (strong) opinions will be missed.

From the link:

Carlin, who had a history of heart and drug-dependency problems, died at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica about 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT) after being admitted earlier in the afternoon for chest pains, spokesman Jeff Abraham told Reuters.

Known for his edgy, provocative material, Carlin achieved status as an anti-Establishment icon in the 1970s with stand-up bits full of drug references and a routine called “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.” A regulatory battle over a radio broadcast of the routine ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the 1978 case, Federal Communications Commission vs. Pacifica Foundation, the top U.S. court ruled that the words cited in Carlin’s routine were indecent, and that the government’s broadcast regulator could ban them from being aired at times when children might be listening.