Twitter announced recently that it now has the ability to, and will begin to, censor content on the social network by country. “As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression,” the company said in a blog post Thursday. “Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there.” Twitter gave France and Germany as examples, two countries that ban pro-Nazi rhetoric from being posted on the Internet. Previously, Twitter would have had to delete specific content worldwide in order to prevent it from being visible, but it can now remove content on a country-by-country basis. Read on for more. More →
Reports have begun sprouting up all over the Internet claiming that Comcast, and a handful of other ISPs, are blocking access to torrent treasure trove, The Pirate Bay. Being a Comcast customer here in Boston, I thought it might be a good time to test the reports. My findings: yup, they’re definitely blocking it. Attempts to navigate to thepiratebay.org result in a timeout error — I even switched DNS servers to make sure it wasn’t a name-server record error causing the behavior. After firing up my trusty VPN client and initiating a session, connectivity to the site was immediately restored. Comcast now has more impetus to bar connections to the torrent index — its merger with NBC Universal means that the ISP owns content that is potentially being shared illegally — but the blocking of sites that do not further a corporation’s interests is a very slippery slope. I’ve reached out to Comcast for comment and will report back with any additional information provided. Anyone else seeing this behavior? If so, drop us a comment and let us know where you are and what ISP you’re using.
UPDATE: Comcast has issued the following statement to BGR: “We’re not blocking PirateBay [The Pirate Bay] and reports online indicate users from several ISPs around the world are affected. We have FAQs about our network management practices available here.” More →
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion said in a statement on Monday that it has agreed to filter pornographic content from BlackBerry devices in Indonesia. The news comes following pressure from the Indonesian government, which put strict anti-pornography laws in place in 2008. “Research in Motion is fully committed to working with Indonesia’s carriers to put in place a prompt, compliant filtering solution for BlackBerry subscribers in Indonesia as soon as possible,” the company said in a statement. This is the first time RIM has agreed to filter content from its BlackBerry devices. According to a report from SC Magazine, the Indonesian government is also requesting that RIM establish a server presence in the country so that it can easily access and monitor data sent by its citizens from BlackBerry devices. More →
In a move guaranteed to attract well deserved controversy, Andy Burnham, Britain’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has publicly stated that delegates from the British government hope to meet with members of the Obama administration to pitch the idea of creating a content-based rating system for all English-based websites. Essentially what Burnham is proposing is having the internet follow the same rules as British TV where it is against the law to air violent programs before 9pm. But since the internet is very different in nature from TV, Burnham suggested that a time-based filter be created in which websites must block “offensive” and “violent” material. For extra precaution, ISPs would be asked to offer rating-based “child-safe” packages in which it is only possible to access websites that are pre-approved as inoffensive and appropriate for those of a young age.