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Thread: More German Anti-Tech Lunacy

  1. #451
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    I blame net neutrality for all this online hate.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  2. #452
    Stingy DM Veldan Rath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I wonder how many people complaining about arrests for hate speech would urge the same restraint when dealing with pro-ISIS sentiments.
    I'm curious Loki, what is your actual stance on this though?
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  3. #453
    Stingy DM Veldan Rath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    Well, I have no opinion so far on the actions in Germany but I'm pretty sure I would object to local authorities trying to criminalize statements expressing political or spiritual support for ISIS here in the US.
    As would I.

    Any idea if the German authorities do the same to ISIS supporters as they do to the suspected white supremacists?
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  4. #454
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veldan Rath View Post
    I'm curious Loki, what is your actual stance on this though?
    Err on the side of free of free speech. Only punish speech when it involves clear threats against individuals or provides details for a specific attack.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  5. #455
    Stingy DM Veldan Rath's Avatar
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    Well, we agree for once...
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  6. #456
    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veldan Rath View Post
    As would I.

    Any idea if the German authorities do the same to ISIS supporters as they do to the suspected white supremacists?
    They pretty much do. 4 days ago was the last raid.
    When the stars threw down their spears
    And watered heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the lamb make thee?

  7. #457
    Stingy DM Veldan Rath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khendraja'aro View Post
    They pretty much do. 4 days ago was the last raid.
    Does that just not get a play in the press? Honest question.
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  8. #458
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    There has been a reasonable amount of coverage due to it being part of a series of anti-ISIS raids conducted in several countries. The ISIS raids have probably gotten more coverage but doesn't provoke Dread to the same extent.

    Still unclear just how similar these suspects were to the aforementioned white supremacists.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  9. #459
    Quote Originally Posted by Veldan Rath View Post
    Does that just not get a play in the press? Honest question.
    On this note, the US has made at least 2 ISIS related arrests in the past 2 weeks. Can you say who and why? Cause I didn't see any nationwide coverage of it.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  10. #460
    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veldan Rath View Post
    Does that just not get a play in the press? Honest question.
    It does. It's just not high-profile news, same as with every other raid. It gets reported on once and that's about it, unless something new comes to light.
    When the stars threw down their spears
    And watered heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the lamb make thee?

  11. #461
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Hope is the denial of reality

  12. #462
    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    Seems more like run of the mill think tank lunacy. Think tanks were created by special interests. We revel in them and we shudder in them. Hail to the tanks.

  13. #463
    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    They are making this one super hard to paste, but...

    https://www.theatlantic.com/internat...cebook/543258/

    Yes, let's legislatively mandate "dignity" on the Internet

  14. #464
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    They are making this one super hard to paste, but...

    https://www.theatlantic.com/internat...cebook/543258/

    Yes, let's legislatively mandate "dignity" on the Internet
    What a mess. Germany always seems rather hostile to technology companies based outside of Germany. I am hoping the internet hive mind will get annoyed and bombard Germany with WW2 memes

  15. #465
    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    Provide an example of irony: To prevent the rise of alleged "Nazis", the German government aggressively polices public expression and creates a censorious police state.

    Facebook, Google Have a Tough New Job in Germany: Content Cop
    Social-media platforms face fines of up to $60 million if they fail to delete illegal content such as neo-Nazi propaganda and calls to violence

    By Zeke Turner
    Updated Jan. 10, 2018 2:31 p.m. ET

    BERLIN—Germany has gone live with one of the most onerous laws aimed at forcing Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and YouTube to police content on their platforms.

    The verdict after 10 days in effect? It’s complicated.

    Since Jan. 1, technology companies face fines of up to €50 million ($60 million) if they fail to delete illegal content on their platforms, ranging from slander and libel to neo-Nazi propaganda and calls to violence. The law applies to most social-media networks in Germany.

    The banned content was always illegal. What’s new is that social networks with more than two million users in Germany now are responsible for cleaning it up themselves.

    The new law pushes U.S.-based social-media platforms in Germany one step closer to the level of responsibility that newspapers and media here have long faced—a level far higher than what the platforms have faced domestically. Under U.S. law, tech platforms aren’t liable for user content shared on their services.



    Many of the Silicon Valley giants affected by the new rules have already pushed back publicly in Germany. The law has also raised alarm among free-speech watchdogs and legal experts.

    “In a democracy, it has to be a state organization that enforces the law,” said Dieter Frey, a lawyer and media expert in Cologne.

    Social-media companies typically rely on software and a mix of in-house and third-party content moderators, who sift through posts users have flagged as problematic and delete those that violate local law. In certain cases, the companies’ legal teams jump in. The law often has companies working under time pressure to determine whether a post breaches one of 24 paragraphs of the criminal code.

    Ahead of the new law, Facebook contracted with providers for 1,200 moderators in Germany, a number that compares with 7,500 moderators world-wide. Just 1.5% of Facebook’s 2.07 billion monthly users world-wide are based in Germany.

    Facing increased pressure after the U.S. election and terror attacks around the globe, tech companies have taken some voluntary steps to monitor the massive amount of content on their platforms. Facebook, for instance, is figuring out how to fully monitor and analyze the more than one million user reports of potentially objectionable content that it says it receives every day.

    At YouTube, a unit of Alphabet Inc.’s Google where users watch more than a billion hours of video a day, the company has used both software and humans to screen for content that warrants removal, such as extremist videos. In the U.S., Google has said it instructs human reviewers to mark violent or hateful content as low quality, which will likely move such sites lower in Google search results. Twitter has been using internal technology to flag accounts that promote terrorism.

    Following rules can pose practical difficulties, as companies have found in the first 10 days Germany’s new law has been in effect.

    This month, Twitter temporarily suspended the account of a German satire magazine, Titanic, demanding that the magazine delete a parody tweet mocking a German nationalist lawmaker, Beatrix von Storch.

    Tim Wolff, Titanic’s editor-in-chief, said Twitter notified him of the suspension by email on Tuesday, Jan. 2, and asked him to delete the tweet. Later, other users piled on and flagged four other tweets on Titanic’s account, including one that made fun of German police and another about Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whom Titanic has called “Baby Hitler” and said should be killed.

    Twitter asked Mr. Wolff to delete those four tweets as well. Then, after an internal review that included input from legal professionals on its support team in Germany, Twitter dropped that request and reversed Titanic's suspension. The tweet about Ms. von Storch remains offline.

    Mr. Wolff said, “Our suggestion is to let us at Titanic decide what is satire and what isn’t.”

    In another case, on December 22, before the law had taken full effect, Facebook blocked the account of Mike Samuel Delberg, a 28-year-old political representative of Berlin’s Jewish community, after he posted a video of an Israeli restaurant owner in Berlin being threatened on the street.

    In a false positive, Facebook content monitors thought the video violated the company’s community standards. “It went viral,” Mr. Delberg said. Then “all of a sudden Facebook deleted the video and blocked me and said that I broke their guidelines.” The company has since apologized to Mr. Delberg for deleting the video and he is back online.

    “It can’t be true that...while raising awareness in public of anti-Semitism, an account gets deleted,” Mr. Delberg said.

    “We should not be the ones who judge if a post is illegal or not,” said Semjon Rens, Facebook’s public-policy manager in Germany. “This is the responsibility of courts,” he said, adding Facebook is “working hard to put the right processes in place and to comply.”

    A spokesman for Google’s YouTube said it would “continue to invest heavily in teams and technology” to be able to remove “content that breaks our rules or German law” more quickly.

    A representative for Twitter declined to comment on the record or to disclose the size of the team it employs to review content on its site but did explain the company’s views.

    German enforcement officials are still finding their way. Ulf Willuhn, a senior public prosecutor in Cologne, spent the beginning of the year considering whether his office would have to pursue legal action based on a tweet from an anti-immigrant lawmaker—the real Ms. von Storch, not a parody this time—who had referred to the local Arabic-speaking community as “group rapists.”

    After some research, Mr. Willuhn decided his office wasn’t responsible. Separately, Twitter had already asked her to delete her tweet.

    “At the end of the day, …it’s not as easy as it seems at first glance,” Mr. Willuhn said. “Yeah, it’s very very difficult.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/faceboo...cop-1515605207

  16. #466
    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    Updates from the DDR's Dept of Thoughtcrime:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/internat...ok-afd/560435/

    Germany's Attempt to Fix Facebook Is Backfiring
    Right-wing politicians are pouncing on an ambitious law seeking to curb hate speech online.

    LINDA KINSTLER MAY 18, 2018

    The new year was just a day old when Alice Weidel, the 38-year-old co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, and Beatrix von Storch, her deputy, came under investigation for inciting hatred on Twitter. Both women had attacked the police in Cologne for tweeting a New Year’s greeting in Arabic: “What the hell is wrong with this country?” von Storch asked in a racially incendiary tweet, accusing the police of supporting what she called “barbaric, gang-raping Muslim hordes of men.” Weidel echoed that sentiment, accusing the police of supporting “knife-stabbing migrant mobs.”

    Both tweets were quickly flagged and deleted from the platform, as were a series of tweets from the satirical magazine Titanic parodying von Storch’s remarks, making them among the first casualties of Germany’s new Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG). The law, which went into full force on January 1, mandates that social-media companies delete what it calls “manifestly unlawful” posts on their platforms within 24 hours of being notified or risk facing heavy fines. (German law bans, for example, incitement to hatred, incitement to crime, and the spread of symbols belonging to unconstitutional groups.) Since the NetzDG took effect, it has been hailed as a success by some experts, and a “repressive regulation”—a blow to free speech—by others.

    Members of the AfD have aligned with the latter camp. Shortly after the news of the investigation into their tweets, Weidel and von Storch appeared in a political ad together with red tape over their mouths, next to text that read, “That’s just our sense of humor!” Since then, Weidel and her colleagues in the AfD have been among the loudest critics of the new measure, decrying it as illegal censorship. The sentiment is not uncommon in Germany, where many other Facebook and Twitter users have seen their posts flagged or removed because of the new regulation without quite knowing why, and where free-speech advocates worry about the effect on expression. Even Germany’s new Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who led the push for the NetzDG during his time as justice minister, ran afoul of the new law when one of his old tweets, in which he called an immigration opponent an “idiot,” resurfaced.

    “I’m far from being a fan of the far right, but a lot of them are afraid that their postings are deleted because of their beliefs, not because of what they say,” said Jeorg Heidrich, a German internet lawyer and a longtime opponent of the regulation. He said that the NetzDG incentivizes social-media companies to “delete in doubt”—to remove any content that seems like it might be illegal—and he is one of many who have observed a general “chilling” of speech online and offline in Germany. “The NetzDG is on people’s minds,” he said. “Generally, people are more careful what to think, what to write. Lots of people are afraid of losing their accounts.”


    In the AfD’s case, however, Germany’s attempt to regulate speech online has seemingly amplified the voices it was trying to diminish. The law was created to address the troubling proliferation of incendiary and hateful speech online, but its ambiguities and omissions—its lack of clarity regarding what kinds of speech it targets, and how platforms must comply—leave open key questions about how to define the contours of free speech in the digital age. Those questions are a matter of broad debate within the mainstream of German society. But the fight gives the AfD—some of whose members have been accused of exactly the kind of neo-Nazi rhetoric German speech law is deeply concerned with in the first place—a unique opportunity to capitalize.


    AfD politicians have called the NetzDG a return of Stasi-era censorship from the days of the German Democratic Republic (DDR), dubbing it “DDR 2.0” and portraying the party as a victim of censorship. Party members also moved quickly to expose perceived weak spots in the law, said Mirko Hohmann, a technology-policy researcher at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin. “When they want to be provocative, they write something that was borderline illegal, they take a screen shot, post it, and see if it gets deleted,” Hohmann said. The law leaves it up to companies like Facebook and Twitter, with their armies of moderators newly installed in Germany, to decide within 24 hours whether a post is “manifestly” illegal and remove it—a decision that would ordinarily take weeks in a German court, Hohmann explained. “Employees at Facebook and Twitter just can’t keep up.”

    And despite crying censorship against her, Weidel has also herself forced Facebook to restrict some content. Last month, Weidel earned praise for bringing Facebook “to its knees” in Germany after winning a court case against the company. She demanded that the platform make a post calling her a “Nazi swine” and viciously attacking her sexual orientation completely inaccessible to Facebook users in Germany, even those using a VPN. When she first reported the offensive comment to Facebook in late January, the company quickly made the post invisible to users with German IP addresses. But Weidel, who has a home in Switzerland, noticed that it was still viewable to users who were outside the country, or whose IP addresses made it seem like they were. (The NetzDG stipulates that social-media companies remove illegal posts that are visible to users inside Germany, but does not consider how this could impact the circulation of content across borders.) As a result of her petition, Facebook must ensure that individuals in Germany cannot use a VPN to access illegal content. The easiest way to do this would be to remove offensive posts completely; the court’s forthcoming written decision is expected to explain how the company should comply with the ruling.

    Martin Munz, a White & Case attorney representing Facebook, called the offending comment “tasteless” but warned of the repercussions of the ruling: By compelling the social-media company to remove the post, it would, in effect, be enforcing German speech law internationally, even in places where the post’s content would be perfectly legal. Under the ruling, unless Facebook found a workaround, the post would be invisible in other countries too, just because it’s illegal in Germany. “Facebook is not a superjudge,” Munz said.

    It is unlikely that Facebook would comply across its entire platform: The penalty would most likely be a fine in Germany if the post remains visible. But that hasn’t stopped the AfD from claiming that Weidel’s case exposed the pointlessness of trying to regulate online speech and the uselessness of the law.

    Weidel’s case is the latest in a string of well-publicized incidents that highlight the shortcomings of the German legislation—as well as the thorny problems that could accompany any attempt to bring social-media platforms into step with national law. “It’s sad that today the AfD is making their point in the political sphere as well as in court,” Chan Jo Jun, a lawyer in Wurzburg whose work helped lay the groundwork for the NetzDG, told me. Despite evidence that overblocking is taking place just as Facebook warned it would, there is still broad support for the law, and lawmakers are currently considering revisions that would enable users to contest wrongfully deleted posts.

    Weidel’s lawyer, Joachim Steinhöfel, is an outspoken opponent of the NetzDG law. Since August 2016, he has maintained a website called “Facebook’s Wall of Shame,” where he collects posts that do not violate German law but were nevertheless removed from the platform. Users can contest these removals in court, but those proceedings can take weeks, creating a backlog that Steinhöfel called “the digital mass execution of free speech.”

    Steinhöfel won another case against Facebook in April, when he contested the deletion of a seemingly legal comment that the company said violated its community standards. A Berlin court ordered the company to reinstate the comment, effectively rendering the company’s community standards useless in Germany. “The court is saying, ‘Your community standards are not valid where they do not accord with German law.’ This will get really interesting,” Hohmann said. “Nude pictures are legal in Germany—you can’t take them down.”

    Meanwhile, no one will know exactly how effective the law has been at forcing the removal of illegal content until July, when under one of the provisions of NetzDG, social-media companies must file a report disclosing how many posts they have removed this year. There are early clues: Freedom-of-information disclosures published by the digital-rights website Netzpolitik revealed that no fines have yet been levied for systematic failures to delete posts, and the government has only received 311 requests from citizens requesting that content be removed (25,000 requests were expected)—both revelations suggest social-media companies are at least doing an effective job implementing the law. In a report published on Tuesday, Facebook said it removed 2.5 million posts containing hate speech worldwide in the first quarter of 2018.

    This leaves plenty of room for mistakes. One of Germany’s most well-known street artists, who goes by the pseudonym “Barbara.”, often challenges the far right in their work. The artist said that five of their posts were deleted within the first two weeks of the NetzDG, and that while Facebook said the deletion was a mistake and quickly restored the material, the company warned that if it happened again Barbara.’s account would be deleted. “Art is not free on Facebook,” Barbara., who declined to give their real identity, told me via Facebook message. “I do what I want and say what I feel without limits, but not on Facebook. I’m sure that this is a thing that most users feel, and that Facebook will die of someday.”

    All of this means that the NetzDG is a flawed and incomplete solution to the online resurgence of the far right. “The [former] minister of justice [Heiko Maas] said this was all about defending free speech, because the dominance of the far right was intimidating citizens,” said Niko Härting, an IT lawyer in Berlin. “In other words, the message was ‘We don’t want to hear all this stuff.’ There was a hope that it would just go away.” It hasn’t gone away. And the sustained visibility of the far right, on and offline, just does not fit with Germany’s view of itself in the world, nor with Facebook’s stated goal of building community and bringing people closer together.

  17. #467
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    *shrug* Atlantic is always predicting Western Europe's descent into fascist dystopia. I suspect the law will be modified slightly or its implementation will become easier. FB's weirdly inconsistent enforcement of its so-called "community standards" is a problem even outside Germany and the alt-right's "look what you made us do" arguments and blustering about the uprising of the silent majority aren't particularly compelling. Losers gonna lose.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  18. #468
    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    *shrug* Atlantic is always predicting Western Europe's descent into fascist dystopia.
    I guess someone at the White House read that and said: "Hold my beer!"
    When the stars threw down their spears
    And watered heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the lamb make thee?

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