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UN Moves Towards Handing Dictatorships Power to Control the Internet

Legitimizing web blackouts and free speech censorship.

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The United Nations wants to hand power to dictatorial regimes like China to control the Internet, prompting fears of a massive new free speech purge.

The General Assembly has approved a resolution sponsored by China and Russia to set up a committee of “international experts” whose role would be to stop “the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes.”

However, many caution that the move is merely a back door for authoritarian regimes to further censor dissent.

“The United States, European powers and rights groups fear that the language is code for legitimizing crackdowns on expression, with numerous countries defining criticism of the government as “criminal,” reports AFP.

Human Rights Watch said the list of sponsors for the resolution is “a rogue’s gallery of some of the earth’s most repressive governments” and “gives countries legal cover for internet blackouts and censorship, while creating the potential for criminalizing free speech.”

Governments like China already censor and turn off the Internet during times of civil unrest while doling out ‘social credit score’ punishments for those who criticize the state.

The Communist country is also rolling out a plan to force its citizens to pass a facial recognition test to use the Internet. Criticized the authorities? No Internet for you.

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We predicted that all this would come to fruition nearly 10 years ago in an article entitled ‘Cybersecurity Measures Will Mandate Government “ID Tokens” To Use The Internet’.

“Under the guise of “cybersecurity,” the government is moving to discredit and shut down the existing Internet infrastructure in the pursuit of a new, centralized, regulated world wide web,” I wrote in June 2010.

The fact that the United Nations is attempting to legitimize this framework by handing oppressive regimes more power to define certain types of speech as criminal is part of a long term agenda.

As we previously highlighted, the United Nations global compact on migration expanded the definition of ‘hate speech’ to make it a crime to criticize mass immigration.

Under a second Trump administration the U.S. is almost certain to ignore any UN attempt to impose its hegemony over the Internet, but if the Democrats win in 2020 it could be a very different story.

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Fearing Cancellation, Some Withdraw Signatures From Open Letter Decrying Cancel Culture

Oh, the irony.

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Some of the public figures who signed an open letter decrying the rise of cancel culture retracted their support, presumably fearing they too might become a victim of it.

As we highlighted yesterday, 150 intellectuals, authors and activists including Noam Chomsky, Salman Rushdie and JK Rowling signed the letter, which was published by Harpers Magazine.

The letter criticized how “the free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted” as a result of “an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

“Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes,” states the letter.

Following its publication and pushback from leftists, some of the signatories caved and publicly withdrew their support.

“I did not know who else had signed that letter,” tweeted author Jennifer Finney Boylan Dog. “I thought I was endorsing a well meaning, if vague, message against internet shaming. I did know Chomsky, Steinem, and Atwood were in, and I thought, good company.”

“The consequences are mine to bear. I am so sorry,” she added.

Historian Kerri Greenidge also tweeted, “I do not endorse this @Harpers letter. I am in contact with Harpers about a retraction.”

Vox journalist Matt Yglesias was also reported to his own employers by a transgender colleague because she claimed his support for free speech and his association with JK Rowling was an ‘anti-trans dog whistle’.

Is it any wonder that free speech is in such dire straits when this is the reaction to a letter that simply expresses support for it?

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150 Top Intellectuals Sign Open Letter Decrying Cancel Culture

Numerous public figures including Noam Chomsky and Salman Rushdie oppose totalitarian march of ” ideological conformity”.

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150 of the world’s top intellectuals, authors and activists have signed an open letter decrying leftist cancel culture, censorship and the totalitarian march of “ideological conformity.”

Signatories include liberal icon Noam Chomsky and ‘Satanic Verses’ author Salman Rushdie.

The letter, which was published by Harpers Magazine, is also signed by J.K. Rowling, Fareed Zakaria, Garry Kasparov, and, perhaps surprisingly, feminist activist Gloria Steinem.

“The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides,” states the letter, highlighting how “the free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted” as a result of “an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

“Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes,” states the letter.

This is creating a climate of risk aversion that is preventing anyone from dissenting from the monolithic consensus of social justice rhetoric, creating a “stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time,” according to the letter.

The letter highlights the fact that there are still some genuine “liberals” left in society who are willing to stand behind the increasingly endangered species of free speech.

However, some would ask where they’ve been hiding for the past three years since mass censorship, particularly by monopolistic social media giants, has been significantly ramped up.

The idea that an open letter will do much to stop the rampaging virus of cancel culture is also up for debate. Why don’t these intellectuals organize a major conference or a massive protest march to showcase their principles?

The irony of course is that if this letter gains any traction at all, its signatories will immediately become targets for cancellation from the unhinged, woke far-left.

The full letter is reprinted below.

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Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.

The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.

This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time. The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other. As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us.

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Reddit Says It Will Allow Hate Speech Against “People Who Are in the Majority”

Site’s policy on bullying and harassment explicitly says it won’t protect every group.

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After The Donald subreddit was banned by Reddit, users drew attention to the site’s policy on hate speech, which explicitly does not protect “people who are in the majority.”

Although it had been largely inactive for months after the owners set up TheDonald.win, Reddit banned the forum which was home to over 800,000 Trump supporters.

This occurred on the same day that streaming site Twitch temporarily suspended President Trump’s channel for “hate speech”.

An interesting caveat to emerge out of Reddit’s censorship is that the site’s section on Promoting Hate Based on Identity or Vulnerability explicitly states that hate speech is still permitted towards “people who are in the majority.”

This is presumably a reference to white people, who are still a majority in America but represent only 10-12 per cent of the global population.

“Marginalized or vulnerable groups include, but are not limited to, groups based on their actual and perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or disability. These include victims of a major violent event and their families,” states Reddit’s policy.

“While the rule on hate protects such groups, it does not protect all groups or all forms of identity. For example, the rule does not protect groups of people who are in the majority or who promote such attacks of hate.”

In other words, Reddit is giving the green light to its users to engage in a list of behaviors it lists, including “harassment, bullying, and threats of violence,” so long as the target is “people who are in the majority.”

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