Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg's First Amendment Problem

AFP reporter Jennifer Weiss films her own arrest
Since the beginning of his crackdown against the Occupy Wall Street movement, Mayor Mike Bloomberg has gone to great lengths to present himself as a champion of the First Amendment. But the free speech rhetoric coming from City Hall hasn't matched the brutal reality experienced by journalists at the front lines of the protest.

In the two months since the movement began 25 journalists have been arrested covering events across the country. More than half of these arrests have occurred in New York City, including 13 journalist arrests in the last week.

My colleague Josh Stearns, who maintains a running tally of media arrests and harassment, said that the NYPD's early morning raids on Zuccotti Park on November 15 resulted in the "single worst day for journalist attacks and arrests to date."

"From the beginning, I have said that the City had two principal goals," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement following the raids, "guaranteeing public health and safety, and guaranteeing the protestors' First Amendment rights."

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Saving the Democratic Internet

Opponents of the open Internet like to portray its guiding rule, Net Neutrality, as "a government takeover of the Internet."

They argue that from the day of its inception the Internet has existed free of regulation — a perfect expression of the marketplace at work.

What they don’t understand is that the Internet is a far better expression of democracy, and as such needs rules like Net Neutrality to ensure all users have equal access to online content.

And in reality the Internet as we now know it would never have existed were it not for rules and regulation, beginning with the openness standards created by the Internet’s founders some 40 years ago, codified in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and updated in recent orders by the Federal Communications Commission.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Why Is Justin Bieber So Hackin Mad?

Justin Bieber is pissed off and you should be, too.

What's made Bieber so angry? A bill in Congress that could rip apart the open fabric of the internet and let corporations censor free speech.

The "Stop Online Piracy Act" or SOPA gives private entities the power to blacklist websites at will. And it violates the due process rights of the thousands of users who could see their sites disappear from the Internet for doing something as innocent as posting a video of them singing along to their favorite song.

Learning from China?

These are the sort of heavy-handed Web control you'd expect to see in China, not in the United States.