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‘RAIN OF TERROR’: The real threat to free speech
Jan 10th, 2015 by Warren Swil

Self-censorship 

on the rise in wake of

France’s nightmare

Charlie Hebdo doesn’t skewer only Muslims. “Sony kissing the big fat ass of Pyongyang’s big moron and killer” is a rough translation of this cover. Click image to enlarge.

The horrific three-day terrorism spree in France this week has evoked a spirited and widespread debate over limits to offensive speech.
Did the target of the initial attacks – satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – go too far? Was coverage of its provocative work – especially in legacy US media ­– too timid?
Purists argue the antidote for offensive speech is more speech, not censorship. But the specter of self-censorship arose when many media – even The New York Times ­– found the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo too offensive to republish. Gratuitous provocation was just too hot for some to handle.
It’s a delicate balancing act. Anyone who claims to have a simple answer is simply misguided.


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Spy vs. Spy: Journalists honored as target pilloried

Criticism directed at the National Security Agency ricocheted around cyberspace after an anonymously sourced Bloomberg story said the agency “exploited” the Heartbleed security bug for years.
Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras – the journalists who first obtained documents from Edward Snowden revealing the NSA’s massive spying operations – visited the US for the first time since their blockbuster reporting to receive the prestigious Polk Award in a ceremony on Friday.


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As new year nears, a word for our times: surveillance

PRIVACY MOVES TO TOP OF AGENDA, LIKELY TO REMAIN THERE
As the clock ticks down to a Gregorian-calendar new year, we can look back and see the term “surveillance” as the most discussed and analyzed during the past 12 months.
As we ponder what’s ahead for the new year, one of the items at the top of our list should be our notion of privacy. The line between public and private has become blurred beyond recognition. Most are only subliminally aware of this.
This is a vitally important topic for each and every one of us as we enter a new calendar year.
Let us hope it is a happy new year.


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Spying on friends, charities doesn’t deter terrorism

LATEST DISCLOSURES WEAKEN CASE FOR MASS SURVEILLANCE
Through his disclosures, Edward Snowden has not only gotten the attention of President Obama, but other world leaders and countless millions who use electronic communications.
He has attained what he said he wanted: a major public discussion at the highest levels about a hugely important issue.
Congratulations.
He deserves to be heralded as the most influential person of 2013.


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Spying panel recommendations: a matter of trust

REPORT FURTHER ERODES FAITH IN ELECTRONIC PRIVACY
While the recommendations of a presidential panel on government spying have been mostly welcomed, they could be seen as a confession that the revelations of Edward Snowden are accurate, and that everyone for years has been monitored on a massive scale unprecedented in its scope and size.
The key issue is one of trust. It has been seriously damaged.
Reform is urgently needed. The longer it is delayed, the more trust will erode.


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Spying fallout: Internet giants launch offensive defense

CALL FOR CURBS ON GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE IS SELF-SERVING
Some of the biggest players on the internet launched a massive public relations campaign Monday calling for new limits on government surveillance.
But it is so transparently a move to protect corporate profits that only the most naïve would not see it as such.
The corporate appeal should be seen for what it is: an attempt to get the companies on the right side of an issue that poses an existential threat to them. It’s not a pretty picture.


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UK government attacks press freedom everywhere

PUBLIC LYNCHING OF GUARDIAN EDITOR AN OMINOUS SIGN
The British government on Tuesday struck a blow against press freedom everywhere with its public inquisition of the editor of The Guardian newspaper.
The reporting by The Guardian, The New York Times and others on the Snowden documents has revealed serious lapses in government oversight, particularly in the U.S.
It is deeply troubling that British politicians would mount such a ferocious attack on press freedom. Journalists everywhere should stand with The Guardian in resisting this blatant intimidation.


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Spying scandal: lies, truth and the need to earn a living

REPORTER GREENWALD MOUNTS PASSIONATE, CONVINCING DEFENSE
A vituperative verbal battle has broken out about the journalist at the center of the reporting on the documents leaked by Edward Snowden: Glenn Greenwald has responded with a passionate, extensive and convincing defense of his methods and actions.
It is an absolutely must-read for anyone who cares about how the most startling and significant revelations about government wrongdoing have been exposed – and, likely, will continue to be so.


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Obama’s choice of diplomacy over war carries grave risk

PERCEPTION OF US STENGTH AS ALLY IN MIDDLE EAST SUFFERS AGAIN
The deal with Iran over its nuclear ambitions overshadowed, for most part, the Monday announcement that a new attempt would be made to convene peace talks on Syria.
But the two are inextricably intertwined.
President Obama has pivoted away from belligerence and that is admirable. But the cost to America’s ability to influence events in the turbulent Middle East is still unfolding.
With the response in Jerusalem and Riyadh, it has seemingly suffered another decline.


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Drones will soon be buzzing in the sky above you

THOUSANDS OF NON-MILITARY UAVS UNDER DEVELOPMENT
It is an absolute certainty that the skies above modern metropolises and the surrounding countryside will soon be buzzing with UAVs.
The potential impacts on gathering sensitive personal data are huge. The ACLU has raised the alarm over the threat to privacy.
If you think government spying on electronic communications like email and telephone calls is bad, there might be a much bigger, less welcome surprise waiting for everyone as drones get deployed by the thousands over our homes and cities.


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