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 2013: Jan-March
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27th March

  Googleised Swedish...

Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

Google tries to get the word 'ungoogleable' struck off Swedish language word list
Link Here

Google logoObjections from Google have forced the removal of the word 'ungoogleable' [ogooglebar in Swedish] from a list of new Swedish words, the Language Council of Sweden says. The word means something that cannot be found with a search engine.

But Google wanted the meaning to relate only to Google searches, according to the council, saying it was protecting its trademark.

Every year, the Language Council publishes its top 10 new words which have become popular in Sweden to show how society and language are changing.

Council head Ann Cederberg told the BBC she received an email from Google soon after publication of the list in December 2012, citing brand protection. It called for changes to the Language Council of Sweden's definition and asked for a disclaimer stressing that Google is a trademark.

The council, worried at the prospect of a lengthy legal battle and balking at the idea of changing the word's definition, removed it from the list. A statement on the Language Council of Sweden's website, asks:

Who decides language? We do, language users. We decide together which words should be and how they are defined, used and spelled.

 

27th March

 Offsite Article: Welcome to an Internet without privacy, and we've ended up here with hardly a fight...

Link Here
Big BrotherWelcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does. By Bruce Schneier

See article from schneier.com

 

23rd March

 Update: Dangerous Indonesia...

  Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

US Mainstream DVDs

Video Universe
 

Tourists may be well advised to give Bali a miss
Link Here

Indonesia flagUnmarried couples caught having sex could be sent to prison under a proposed revision of Indonesia's criminal code.

An amendment to the penal code was submitted to lawmakers on March 6 and must pass through the House of Representatives before it becomes law.

A Jakarta Globe report claimed that jail sentences of up to five years would be handed out to couples engaged in a sexual relationship outside wedlock.

Wahiduddin Adams, director general for legislation at the Injustice and 'Human Rights' Ministry explained that non-married couples were included in the proposed revision to reflect prevailing norms in Indonesia. He added that the law would only be enacted if a report against an individual was made by others who felt they have been disadvantaged because of the action. He claimed that: Therefore, it cannot [be used] in a sweeping operation in the field .

A blackmailer's charter then, especially useful for settling personal grudges.

 

22nd March

  Revealing a Nasty Streak...

South Korean president initiates repressive new law that looks set to criminalise miniskirts
Link Here

Expectation Girls Day It seems that miniskirts will be banned in South Korea as a repressive overexposure law comes into effect this week. Those deemed to be overexposed in public will face a fine of 50,000 KRW (30) under the new law.

The nasty law has been passed by new president President Park Geun-hye at her first Cabinet meeting. It echoes the equally repressive regime of her late father Park Chung-hee, who was in charge of the country between 1963 and 1979. Under his leadership, skirts that ended 20 centimetres or more above the knee were banned.

Celebrities from the Asian country have posted pictures of themselves wearing provocative clothing online. Opposition leaders also criticised the move, describing it as curtailing freedom of expression. Democratic United Party member Ki Sik Kim wrote on Twitter:

Why does the state interfere with how citizens dress? Park Geun-hye's government gives cause for concern that we are returning to the era when hair length and skirt length were regulated.

The widespread criticism seems to have registered its point. Police now say that the law relates to nudity and public indecency and does not involve clothing. The National Police Agency's Inspector Ko Jun-ho told CNN:

Any reports that we will be regulating what people are wearing are completely false.

The Government said that it is promising to publicise the exact nature of the law and how it will be implemented.

 

17th March

  Wicked!...

Wicked Campers stand up to the bullies of Australia's advert censors
Link Here

wicked camper vans advertAustralia's easily offended advert censors of the Advertising Standards Bureau are seeking police assistance in forcing Wicked Campers, to remove amusing slogans that it has deemed somehow obscene, discriminatory and derogatory in decisions dating back to 2008.

It is also pursuing the company over an internet promotion offering discounts to customers who identify as marijuana smokers or massive pot heads .

ASB Chief bully Fiona Jolly said Wicked Campers, whose controversial graffitti-style painted vans have been the subject of 39 advertising complaints since 2008, was Australia's biggest serial offender when it came to ignoring the censor's rulings.

Jolly said the company was refusing to comply with ASB decisions to remove three slogans with supposedly obscene language.

Jolly said she had this week written to Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey to seek police and government assistance in having the vans painted over.

Wicked Campers are our one and only problem advertiser in terms of compliance.

Ninety-eight per cent of advertisers will withdraw their ad immediately after a board decision, in other cases if an ad is on TV or on a billboard or on radio we have an arrangement so the actual media company or network will withdraw the ad.

But Wicked are in the very small category of an advertiser who a) doesn't want to comply and b) their marketing is their own van, so there's no broadcaster or publisher that can help.

A Queensland Police spokesperson said the van slogans might constitute a public nuisance offence under state laws, and it would consider any complaint made on its merits .

Wicked Campers spokesperson Ross Dudgeon, whose witty official title is junior executive vice president of awesomeness , declined to comment.

 

22nd February

  A Polished Knob Always Gets More Turns...

Nutters have a whinge at humorous ads for intimate wipes
Link Here

fresh sexy advert A new ad campaign for Fresh + Sexy intimate wipes has the aim to help you freshen up before and after sex, so you're ready for whatever comes next, according to the campaign's website.

The ads range from tacky to vulgar and have caused a backlash from not so liberal websites such as Jezebel, The Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed.

Each of the ads features an animal or object with a double entendre joke as the headline. Some of the gems include a beaver with the text, A clean beaver always finds more wood , a woodpecker with A clean pecker always taps it and a peach with the line A clean peach always gets picked.

The creative director for the ad claimed that, We wanted to be fun and playful and bold all at the same time. And the campaign lets us be all those things.

Jezebel claimed that the ads to be demeaning of women; while Buzzfeed and Huff Po focused on the ad's humour. Jezebel made a cynical retort to  the ads with their headline: Unless Your Vagina Smells Like Windex, You Will Die Alone.

 

12th February

 Comment: Snoops Run Riot...

Detailed information posted on social networks is a bountiful feast for government snoops
Link Here

raytheon logo New technology has been developed enabling governments to snoop on people using social networking websites and apps.

The sophisticated technology relies on websites such as Facebook and Twitter to build a detailed picture of people's lives in a move that raises concerns over breach of privacy and civil liberties.

The system has been created by Raytheon, the US giant defence contractor. It is name Riot or Rapid Information Overlay Technology

It was claimed that the technology could be transformed into a Google for spies and used by governments as a means of monitoring and controlling people online.

A video obtained by the Guardian newspaper reveals how the software system can gather personal information about people, including their friends, interests and the places they visit, from social networking websites including Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter

In the video, the software analyses the behaviour of a Raytheon employee Nick to show the places he has used his smartphone, the day or time of most internet activity and the location of photos posted online. We know where Nick's going, we know what Nick looks like, now we want to try to predict where he may be in the future, says the video.

Ginger McCall, from the US-based Electronic Privacy Information Centre said:.

Social networking sites are often not transparent about what information is shared and how it is shared.

Users may be posting information that they believe will be viewed only by their friends, but instead, it is being viewed by government officials or pulled in by data collection services like the Riot search.

Offsite Comment: Why we should all worry about being tracked online

12th February 2013. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

The Guardian Surveillance is getting cheaper and easier by the day, which in turn proves almost irresistible -- for those with good and bad intentions -- to make more use of it.

...read the full article

 

11th February

 Update: 21st Century Miserabalism...

Rupert Murdoch tweets that he is considering the future for Page 3
Link Here

Sun Page 2013 Wall Calendar I n a single, apparently off-the-cuff remark on the internet, Rupert Murdoch hinted that he may at last be ready to give way to Britain's miserabalists.

Responding to a fellow user of Twitter who described Page 3 as so last century , News Corp's chairman and chief executive commented:

Page three so last century! You maybe right, don't know but considering. Perhaps halfway house with glamorous fashionistas.

A News International spokesperson said the company was making no comment in relation to whether the Sun's topless Page 3 could be for the axe.

 

7th February

  Saga Zone to be Closed...

Oh dear, we are now all so easily offended that we can't chat amongst ourselves without a moderator. And if we can't afford a moderator we'll just have to keep schtum
Link Here

saga zone logo Over-50s social website Saga Zone is set to be shut down on 26th February citing racist, homophobic and offensive comments

Over-50s group Saga say that it isn't economic to pay for the man power required to police offensive comments.

It comes after dozens of its users have complained of being blocked from posting on Saga Zone, seemingly because Saga Zone have not got to grips with dynamically allocated IP addresses.

Saga Zone released a statement on its website claiming it would shut down the site as of February 26 after its users were posting controversial and offensive content :

We are sad that the site has been used to post offensive messages and that we cannot continue to run Saga Zone with the threat to the brand that this content poses.

This means that from today the forums are now 'read only so you can no longer post comments.

However, you can still access your account to retrieve your content. The site will be switched off from 26th February 2013.

Paul Green, a spokesman for the company, explained further:

There were some particularly vicious exchanges recently about the Middle East and some people were banned after accusations of making anti-semitic or anti-arab comments.

The majority are a good group of people but a minority caused concern with offensive and potentially racist or homophobic comments.

We even discovered what I believe are called trolls with multiple online personalities, because messages were coming from the same computer -- sometimes with names from both sexes.

 

31st January

  Alcohol Advice Plucked Out of Thin Air...

International safe drinking advice lacks the most basic levels of consistency
Link Here

drinks Little agreement exists between countries on what is considered safe or sensible alcohol consumption, a comparison of drinking guidelines by British researchers has found.

Psychologists from the University of Sussex looked at government advice on drinking in 57 countries, including all 27 EU member states.

Dr Richard de Visser and Nina Furtwangler found a remarkable lack of agreement about what constitutes harmful or excessive alcohol consumption on a daily and weekly basis, as well as when driving.

The study, which is published this month in Drug and Alcohol Review found there was also no consensus on whether it was safe for women to drink as much as men. De Visser said:

We were surprised at the wide variation in guidelines. There is no international agreement about whether women should drink as much as men or only half as much.

In some countries, the weekly maximum is simply seven times the daily maximum, whereas in others there is an explicit statement that drinkers should have at least one alcohol-free day a week.

Calls have now been made for internationally agreed standard definitions of alcohol units and consumption guidelines to help people drink responsibly.

 

31st January

  Dashed Hopes after Spring...

Reporters Without Borders publish their annual press freedom index for 2013
Link Here

press freedom index 2013 After the Arab springs and other protest movements that prompted many rises and falls in last year's index, the 2013 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index marks a return to a more usual configuration. The ranking of most countries is no longer attributable to dramatic political developments. This year's index is a better reflection of the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term.

The same three European countries that headed the index last year hold the top three positions again this year. For the third year running, Finland has distinguished itself as the country that most respects media freedom. It is followed by the Netherlands and Norway. Although many criteria are considered, ranging from legislation to violence against journalists, democratic countries occupy the top of the index while dictatorial countries occupy the last three positions. Again it is the same three as last year -- Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea .

For the second year running, the bottom three countries are immediately preceded by Syria (176th, 0), where a deadly information war is being waged, and Somalia (175th, -11), which has had a deadly year for journalists. Iran (174th, +1), China (173rd, +1), Vietnam (unchanged at 172nd), Cuba (171st, -4), Sudan (170th, 0) and Yemen (169th, +2) complete the list of the ten countries that respect media freedom least.

The high number of journalists and netizens killed in the course of their work in 2012 (the deadliest year ever registered by Reporters Without Borders in its annual roundup), naturally had a significant impact on the ranking of the countries where these murders took place, above all Somalia (175th, -11), Syria (176th, 0), Mexico (153rd, -4) and Pakistan (159th, -8).

Improving

Malawi (75th, +71) registered the biggest leap in the index, almost returning to the position it held before the excesses at the end of the Mutharika administration. Cote d'Ivoire (96th, +63), which is emerging from the post-electoral crisis between the supporters of Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, has also soared, attaining its best position since 2003. Burma (151st, +18) continued the ascent begun in last year's index. Previously, it had been in the bottom 15 every year since 2002 but now, thanks to the Burmese spring's unprecedented reforms, it has reached its best-ever position. Afghanistan (128th, +22) also registered a significant rise thanks to the fact that no journalists are in prison. It is nonetheless facing many challenges, especially with the withdrawal of foreign troops.

Worsening

Mali (99th, -74) registered the biggest fall in the index as a result of all the turmoil in 2012. The military coup in Bamako on 22 March and the north's takeover by armed Islamists and Tuareg separatists exposed the media in the north to censorship and violence. Tanzania (70th, -36) sank more than 30 places because, in the space of four months, a journalist was killed while covering a demonstration and another was murdered.

Buffeted by social and economic protests, the Sultanate of Oman (141st) sank 24 places, the biggest fall in the Middle East and North Africa in 2012. Some 50 netizens and bloggers were prosecuted on lese majeste or cyber-crime charges in 2012. No fewer than 28 were convicted in December alone, in trials that trampled on defence rights.

Journalists in Israel (112th, -20) enjoy real freedom of expression despite the existence of military censorship but the country fell in the index because of the Israeli military's targeting of journalists in the Palestinian Territories. Regional models found wanting

Democracies that stall or go into reverse

The situation is unchanged for much of the European Union. Sixteen of its members are still in the top 30. But the European model is unravelling. The bad legislation seen in 2011 continued, especially in Italy (57th, +4), where defamation has yet to be decriminalized and state agencies make dangerous use of gag laws. Hungary (56th, -16) is still paying the price of its repressive legislative reforms, which had a major impact on the way journalists work. But Greece's dramatic fall (84th, -14) is even more disturbing. The social and professional environment for its journalists, who are exposed to public condemnation and violence from both extremist groups and the police, is disastrous.

Japan (53rd, -31) plummeted because of censorship of nuclear industry coverage and its failure to reform the kisha club system. This is an alarming fall for a country that usually has a good ranking. Argentina (54th, -7) fell amid growing tension between the government and certain privately-owned media about a new law regulating the broadcast media.

1 Finland 0 (1)
2 Netherlands +1 (3)
3 Norway -2 (1)
4 Luxembourg +2 (6)
5 Andorra -
6 Denmark +4 (10)
7 Liechtenstein -
8 New Zealand +5 (13)
9 Iceland -3 (6)
10 Sweden +2 (12)
11 Estonia -8 (3)
12 Austria -7 (5)
13 Jamaica +3 (16)
14 Switzerland -6 (8)
15 Ireland 0 (15)
16 Czech Republic -2 (14)
17 Germany -1 (16)
18 Costa Rica +1 (19)
19 Namibia +1 (20)
20 Canada -10 (10)
21 Belgium -1 (20)
22 Poland +2 (24)
23 Slovakia +2 (25)
24 Cyprus -8 (16)
25 Cape Verde -16 (9)
26 Australia +4 (30)
27 Uruguay +5 (32)
28 Portugal +5 (33)
29 United Kingdom -1 (28)
30 Ghana +11 (41)
31 Suriname -9 (22)
32 United States +15 (47)
33 Lithuania -3 (30)
34 OECS -9 (25)
35 Slovenia +1 (36)
36 Spain +3 (39)
37 France +1 (38)
38 El Salvador -1 (37)
39 Latvia +11 (50)
40 Botswana +2 (42)
41 Papua New Guinea -6 (35)
42 Romania +5 (47)
43 Niger -14 (29)
44 Trinidad and Tobago +6 (50)
45 Malta +13 (58)
46 Burkina Faso +22 (68)
47 Taiwan -2 (45)
48 Samoa +6 (54)
49 Haiti +3 (52)
50 South Korea -6 (44)
51 Comoros -6 (45)
52 South Africa -10 (42)
53 Japan -31 (22)
54 Argentina -7 (47)
55 Moldova -2 (53)
56 Hungary -16 (40)
57 Italy +4 (61)
58 Hong Kong -4 (54)
59 Senegal +16 (75)
60 Chile +20 (80)
61 Sierra Leone +2 (63)
62 Mauritius -8 (54)
63 Serbia +17 (80)
64 Croatia +4 (68)
65 Central African Republic -3 (62)
66 Tonga -3 (63)
67 Mauritania 0 (67)
68 Bosnia and Herzegovina -10 (58)
69 Guyana -11 (58)
70 Tanzania -36 (34)
71 Kenya +13 (84)
72 Zambia +14 (86)
73 Mozambique -7 (66)
74 Armenia +3 (77)
75 Malawi +71 (146)
76 Republic of the Congo +14 (90)
77 Kuwait +1 (78)
78 Nicaragua -6 (72)
79 Benin +12 (91)
80 Dominican Republic +15 (95)
81 Lesotho -18 (63)
82 Bhutan -12 (70)
83 Togo -4 (79)
84 Greece -14 (70)
85 Kosovo +1 (86)
86 Guinea 0 (86)
87 Bulgaria -7 (80)
88 Madagascar -4 (84)
89 Gabon +12 (101)
90 East Timor -4 (86)
91 Paraguay -11 (80)
92 Guinea-Bissau -17 (75)
93 Seychelles -20 (73)
94 Northern Cyprus +8 (102)
95 Guatemala +2 (97)
96 Ivory Coast +63 (159)
97 Liberia +13 (110)
98 Mongolia +2 (100)
99 Mali -74 (25)
100 Georgia +4 (104)
101 Lebanon -8 (93)
102 Albania -6 (96)
103 Maldives -30 (73)
104 Uganda +35 (139)
105 Peru +10 (115)
106 Kyrgyzstan +2 (108)
107 Fiji +10 (117)
108 Brazil -9 (99)
109 Bolivia -1 (108)
110 Qatar +4 (114)
111 Panama +2 (113)
112 Israel -20 (92)
113 Montenegro -6 (107)
114 United Arab Emirates -2 (112)
115 Nigeria +11 (126)
116 Republic of Macedonia -22 (94)
117 Venezuela 0 (117)
118 Nepal -12 (106)
119 Ecuador -15 (104)
120 Cameroon -23 (97)
121 Chad -18 (103)
122 Brunei +3 (125)
123 Tajikistan -1 (122)
124 South Sudan -13 (111)
125 Algeria -3 (122)
126 Ukraine -10 (116)
127 Honduras +8 (135)
128 Afghanistan +22 (150)
129 Colombia +14 (143)
130 Angola +2 (132)
131 Libya +23 (154)
132 Burundi -2 (130)
133 Zimbabwe -16 (117)
134 Jordan -6 (128)
135 Thailand +2 (137)
136 Morocco +2 (138)
137 Ethiopia -10 (127)
138 Tunisia -4 (134)
139 Indonesia +7 (146)
140 India -9 (131)
141 Oman -24 (117)
142 DR Congo +3 (145)
143 Cambodia -26 (117)
144 Bangladesh -15 (129)
145 Malaysia -23 (122)
146 Palestine +7 (153)
147 Philippines -7 (140)
148 Russia -6 (142)
149 Singapore -14 (135)
150 Iraq +2 (152)
151 Burma +18 (169)
152 Gambia -11 (141)
153 Mexico -4 (149)
154 Turkey -6 (148)
155 Swaziland -11 (144)
156 Azerbaijan +6 (162)
157 Belarus +11 (168)
158 Egypt +8 (166)
159 Pakistan -8 (151)
160 Kazakhstan -6 (154)
161 Rwanda -5 (156)
162 Sri Lanka +1 (163)
163 Saudi Arabia -5 (158)
164 Uzbekistan -7 (157)
165 Bahrain +8 (173)
166 Equatorial Guinea -5 (161)
167 Djibouti -8 (159)
168 Laos -3 (165)
169 Yemen +2 (171)
170 Sudan 0 (170)
171 Cuba -4 (167)
172 Vietnam 0 (172)
173 China +1 (174)
174 Iran +1 (175)
175 Somalia -11 (164)
176 Syria 0 (176)
177 Turkmenistan 0 (177)
178 North Korea 0 (178)
179 Eritrea 0 (179)

 

18th January

  Lab Report...

The Citizen Lab find that the internet bad boy countries are united by the use of Blue Coat censorship software
Link Here

blue coat logo The Citizen Lab Internet research group, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, used computer servers to scan for the distinctive signature of gear made by Blue Coat Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif.

It determined that Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates employed a Blue Coat system that could be used for digital censorship.

The group also determined that Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela used equipment that could be used for surveillance and tracking.

The authors said they wanted to alert the public that there was a growing amount of surveillance and content-filtering technology distributed throughout the Internet. The technology is not restricted from export by the State Department, except to countries that are on embargo lists, like Syria, Iran and North Korea. The group noted:

Our findings support the need for national and international scrutiny of the country Blue Coat implementations we have identified, and a closer look at the global proliferation of dual-use information and communications technology. We hope Blue Coat will take this as an opportunity to explain their due diligence process to ensure that their devices are not used in ways that violate human rights.

 

4th January

 Offsite Article: Dramuary: Celebrating the Demon Drink...

Link Here  full story: Drinking Restrictions...Drinking becomes the target of killjoy politicians
Ignore the sirens of sobriety imploring you to have a Dry January, and have a wee drink every day. By Rob Lyons

See article from spiked-online.com

 

3rd January

  Bad Reviews Stand...

A Virginia Supreme Court judge rules that bad internet reviews cannot be censored without proof of false statements
Link Here

scales of justice Many businesses complain when they get bad reviews on Yelp. On Wednesday there was a court ruling on whether they can censor the reviews.

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that merchants have no right to automatically censor a bad review on Yelp. They must first prove the statements are false.

In the Virginia case, a business claimed that a customer falsely accused him of theft via a review. A lower court judge ordered the customer to take the statements off Yelp, but now the high court said that violates free speech. The business must first prove the reviewer's statements are libelous

 

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