You can’t do what at work?

March 19, 2010 by

Social networking is a huge part of daily internet use. Blogger Bob Hazlett created a slide presentation in 2008 showing some social networking trends.  Facebook, twitter and myspace are growing everyday. Odds are that most people where you work have an account with some social networking site. They probably jump on their accounts during work to update their schedule, coordinate plans for the night and many other things. However, a 2009 study showed that over 50%e companies currently ban Facebook and twitter. One of the largest groups that bans social networking is the United States Marine Corps. This censorship is wrong and here is why:

Throughout the work day people are exposed to hours of work behind a desk, working with people, or whatever their job may call for. Rules about mandated breaks for employees varies from state. People need these breaks to hit an internal reset button.  People also need mental breaks throughout the workday. Social networking allows for this break. Attention span is becoming shorter and shorter. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2007 had a patent filed for an instrument to deal with attention spans. The need to alert people of their shorter attention spans is part of the paper submitted to secure the patent. Another aspect to this that if a person is too focused on one thing for an extended period of time it can cause physical and mental problems. People need small breaks away from what they are doing so they can gather themselves before continuing. This can be seen in study habits. To tackle five chapters of text all at once is an overwhelming task. Instead, a student can take one chapter at a time and allow for a small break before continuing to the next chapter. The same is true of someone at work. A break allows for a person to reflect on the most recent happens of the day. A presentation may have just been given and the break is an evaluative time for the employee. What is so wrong with a person using social networks as this small break?

There is nothing wrong with using social networking sites. The sites can be used for legitimate reasons and the employee should be allowed to use it. One positive thing that social networking can offer is an increase in interoffice communication. To use a pop culture reference, in the movie The Proposal, when the lead female character, who is an editor in the company, is on the move a message is sent to all the employees, who automatically get back to work. In this situation the social networking is a positive thing. Also, many of these sites have a built in calender or one is available as an add-on. This gives employees the opportunity to have both a hard and virtual copy of a time schedule. Say an employee makes an appointment with a client and puts it in the planner at their desk. The planner is forgotten and the employee has to remember all the information necessary to prep. With a virtual calendar available through these sites the employee logs onto the networking site and has all the necessary information at the ready. Probably one of the most important things that social networking can do for an employee is help make and maintain professional contacts. A clear example of this came in one of my college courses. The professor through her searches of different blogs came across a gentleman by the name Nassar Weddady. Had her employer, California State University San Bernardino, not allowed use of social media then Nassar could not have been given the opportunity to speak with my class.

There is nothing inherently wrong with these sites so I argue leave the employees alone. If an employee is doing nothing illegal then their privacy should be respected by management and others in the company. Access to social networks is legal so do not but a scarlet letter to it. I concede that there will be those employees who will try to take advantage of the access to the social networking. Handle these cases individually so one person cannot ruin the situation for all. This would be unfair. Would you like tighter regulations because someone down the hall disrespected the rules? Of course not. To many restrictions on employees is not good for office morale. Give the employees access but make sure the rules are understood. People value their jobs, now more so than ever, and reasonable rules will be respected.

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Censorship in Television

March 19, 2010 by

According to the article Regulating Television, “In the 1950’s, as today, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) prohibited “obscene and indecent” material. Programming is considered obscene if “the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the material appeals to the prurient interest; that the material describes or depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive manner; or taken as whole, the material lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.” Indecent programming was defined as “patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium and describes sexual or excretory activities and organs.”
Here is a link to a video of a man describing how the FCC regulates television. LINK

Freedom of speech is a basic human right, and this should not be eroded or compromised through censorship in a nation which likes to call itself free. Film-makers, poets, musicians, graffiti,  artists, internet site creators, should have the right to say what they think, without the feat of censure, from official authorities or elsewhere.
Obscene programming was prohibited at all times in the 1950’s, but “indecent” programming was allowed at certain time, typically after house when children went to bed. The meaning of indecent has tended to change over time.”

With today’s TV sex and violence, decades-old censorship seems silly. In 1942 Tweety Bird first appears in “A Tale of Two Kitties.” Animator Bob Clampett originally draws him without feathers, but the Hays Office censorship bureau thinks that plucked bird is just a little too naked. So Clampett had to cover Tweety’s flesh with yellow plumage.

Tweety Birds Original look before being censored

In the 1950’s, TV programmers would not show a married couple sharing a bed. Married couples, in 1950’s TV-land, slept in separate beds.

In today’s world, a lot more is acceptable in the TV world. A couple examples that come to mind right away is music videos, adult cartoons, and commercials. All of these things feature nudity, sex and violence as well as drugs and alcohol.

Should these things be more closely regulated? Or should parents just keep a closer eye on their children?

One of the primary arguments for censoring television  is “think of the children.”

Ricky and Lucy Slept in separate beds

If parents kept a closer eye on their children, this whole argument on censorship would be answered.
According to Television Censoring, “American children watch up to 4 hours a day, 28 hours a week” of television. By age 18 they watch 22,000 hours of TV. “Kids see violence on TV because their parent’s are not steering them away from their TV’s when something violent is on.”
“Studies have shown long-term childhood exposure to acts of violence is a major cause of the large number of homicides assaults and other kinds of violent crimes committed in this country.”
Parents can slowly introduce more mature television shows as the children get older, and this could teach them about  things actually happening in the world around them. They will learn about sex, war, drugs, alcohol and violence, real life issues that they will eventually have to face in the future. By already being exposed to these things they will already have developed a more positive way of how to handle specific situations. Instead of children learning by their own mistakes, they will be able to learn from the mistakes of others that they see on TV. According to SolanoTempest.net, “I’m sorry folks, but television just isn’t a good babysitter and if you aren’t keeping tabs on their viewing habit then that’s on your head, not television.”

Children Tv Statistics
Approximate number of studies examining TV’s effects on children: 4,000
Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful
conversation with their children: 3.5
Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children’s TV watching: 73
Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV
and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54
Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500

There is something wrong if a little more than half of children would rather watch tv then spend time with their fathers. Parents need to regulate how many hours a day their child can watch tv, and they should watch with them! If parents began to regulate tv for their children, children wouldn’t be as obese, they would be more connected with their families, they would be more creative, and would have their own imagination instead of an imagination being handed to them through the television screen.

All it takes is a little more attention from parents to end this debate. Once parents realize this and regulate tv for their children, everyone will understand why tv shouldn’t be regulated.

Anne-Marie Tahramanis

Anarchy On the Net: Censorship Circumvention Methods

March 19, 2010 by

We all know countries block their citizens access to the internet reasons from wanting to block indecency to wanting to block political descent. While many of the methods have been used for devious purposes such as media piracy and child pornography groups, this blog would like to make clear it doesn’t not condone these practices. This post deals with political examples of citizens fighting against oppressive censorship policies.

The first method is called a proxy. It seen as the simplest circumvention method because the user just puts the url in an unblocked proxy site which then fetches the site itself. Students might be familiar with proxies if they used proxies to gain access to banned sites at school. On an international scale, internet users in China have used proxies to access Google uncensored. Methods such as Tor, Psipons and I2P’s mentioned later are basically advanced proxies as well.

Tor is a network that uses cryptography hides your internet traffic activity through a series of layered routers similar to an onion. Its website explains it as “bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.”

Below is a link to a video explaining how Tor works

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid263777539?bctid=19532032001

https://www.torproject.org/

Psiphon is another is another program that allows users to see blocked sites. The catch is the program has to be installed on a computer with uncensored internet which acts as a proxy for sending encrypted information to computers in other countries. The Chief Technology Officer at Psiphon, Nart Villeneuve, says The idea is to get them to install this on their computer, and then deliver the location of that circumventor, to people in filtered countries by the means they know to be the most secure. What we’re trying to build is a network of trust among people who know each other, rather than a large tech network that people can just tap into.”

http://psiphon.ca/

A VPN or Virtual Private Network allows the user to to create a secure connection in another country and browse as if they were actually in the other country. VPN’s use a strong encryption to create “network tunnels” within the bigger network that appears as an ordinary stream. On wikipedia, a simplified explanation is given as “a secured “pipe” within the wire that is your connection”

A Sneakernet is a term used to describe any physical way of transporting electronic media on a storage device from one point to another. We understand them as usb flash drives, compact discs and portable hard drives. An organization called Internet Without Borders is currently developing a program to develop a sneakernet program in censored regions by collecting flash drives through donations. Sneakernets have been growing in popularity in places like Cuba which reportedly has the lowest internet access ratio of all the Western hemisphere. There a video was passed around of a college student asking National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcónwhy they could not travel abroad, stay at hotels, earn better wages or use search engines like Google.

So everyone uses circumvention methods in one way or another whether you’re a student sharing music or dissident bloggers in Zimbabwe using Tor. The website sokwanele.com meaning “enough is enough” where pro-democracy bloggers post terror atrocities as well as content such as election day updates.

http://www.sokwanele.com/

Just by running a Tor network or Psiphon on your computer, even if you dont need to circumvent your countries censorship methods, can help someone like those brave bloggers on Sokwanele.

Censorship in Music

March 18, 2010 by

By: Iman Porter

Censorship of music is defined as the practice of restricting free access to musical works. This censorship may have, “moral, political, military or religious motivations.” Censorship ranges from complete prohibition of a musical work to the removal of content when this work appears in a certain context. Censorship of a song is reported in mass media and has the effect of drawing more attention to the song than it would have received if it wasn’t banned. In order for songs to be played in specific areas, such as radio or etc, it’s very common to censor particular words and forms of profanity. Record labels do produce censored versions of songs, either with alternative lyrics or instrumentals, and this is for the radio stations or television programs that require no profanity or inappropriate language. Some stations decide to censor these particular songs using one of the following ten methods of word covering:
Common stickers seen on censored material on mature music, albums, etc. Image taken from psychologytoday.com
• Blanking: when the volume is muted for all or part of the word.
• Bleeping: playing a noise, usually a “beep”, over all or part of the word.
• Re sampling; using a like-sounding portion of vocals and music to override the offending word.
• Re singing: removing the word or part of the word and keeping the instrumental part of the song.
• Back masking: taking the offending word and reversing the audio, sometimes the whole audio is reversed (often to simulate a ‘backspin’ sound), but more usually only the vocal track is reversed.
• Repeating: repeating the word just said before the explicit word was used.
• Skipping: deleting the word from the song without a time delay.
• Echo: instead of saying a word, it echoes the last word(s) said in the line.
• Disc scratching: in hip hop, scratching on the word, making it sound like another word, or make the word said faster or slower.
• Robo Voicing: making the word totally non-understandable by overpowering a robo voice effect (usually used as a last resort for home-made jobs).
• Distorting: Usually in Hip-Hop, less offensive words such as “shit” or else is distorted.

Listed below are examples of artist who are or have been censored:

• Eminem, USA – Censored for strong anti-Bush lyrics and making fun of homosexuals. Censored lyrics by himself as well when he censored the lyrics referred to Columbine school shootings.
• Fela Kuti, Nigeria – Imprisoned and harassed by Nigerian authorities.
• Ferhat Tunc, Turkey – Censored and imprisoned by Turkish authorities.
• Gorki Águila, Cuba – Censored by the Cuban Government. Imprisoned August 2003.
• Judge Dread, England – The Guinness Book of World Records credits Judge Dread for having the most banned songs of all time on the BBC Radio.
• Madonna, USA – Several videos banned and attempted boycott (usually by religious groups) of several of her concerts (such as her visits in 1990 and 2006 to Rome, her visit in 2006 to Russia, her visits in 2009 to Poland and Bulgaria, etc). When American television network NBC aired a concert from the artist’s Confessions Tour, the part of the show where Madonna stages a crucifixion was censored and replaced with images of orphaned African children (images that were part of the live performance involving the crucifixion, but which were displayed on the on-stage screens behind the singer).
• Lily Allen, UK – Censored by the constant use of cursing, also political harassing.
• Lady Gaga, USA – Her release Love Game is banned from many music video broadcasters.
• Miguel Angel Estrella, Argentina – Banned, imprisoned and tortured by the Argentine military junta.
• Matoub Lounès, Algeria – Assassinated in 1998.
• Parissa, Iran – In the Islamic Republic of Iran, female singers are often facing severe restrictions.
• Pearl Jam – AT&T – Censored anti-Bush lyrics.
• Thomas Mapfumo, Zimbabwe – Several songs banned by Zimbabwean authorities.

An example of censorship in music is when the BBC, which stands for British Broadcasting Corporation, faced charges of dumbing down from top DJs and celebrities over changes to its London radio station. According to an article by Jessica Hodgson called, “BBC radio slammed by DJ’s for dumbing down,” the former lead singer of “The Verve” Richard Ashcroft, DJs Paul Oakenfold and Jon Carter, backed a campaign calling for the return of Radio London’s popular late-night music shows. The BBC received more than 500 letters complaining about their decision to replace five programs, such as Solid Steel and The Ross Allen Show. The article states that fans of specialist music were angered by the decision. These fans claimed that the Sadie Nine slot, which has featured guests including Max Clifford, Mr. Motivator, and Shane Ritchie, goes against the BBC’s remit to cater for audiences not served by the commercial sector. Londumb Live, a particular website that was set up by the campaign, argued that BBC refused to respond to the demands of Radio London’s core audience. A spokesman replied with, “The BBC’s responses to complaints about the station fail to argue the case on real issues leaving Londoners frustrated by the corporation’s seeming indifference to its remit.” The Londumb Live stated that, “the BBC is simply providing poor quality imitations of programming widely available on the radio via LBC, 5 Live, Radio 4 and Talksport.”

Taping the Mouth on Free Speech

March 17, 2010 by

“Censorship on an individual/parental level is a fundamental part of being a good parent. But censorship at a government level is an entirely different matter because it means a small handful of individuals get to decide what the whole nation is permitted to see, hear or think” –Adam D. Thierer, Director of Telecommunications Studies at Cato Institute

The conflict which is being imposed on us citizens is the censorship of  any type of obscenity, indecency, and profanity exposed to the public by media. Legislation has taken an extreme toll with the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 to add high fines on broadcasters, which amounts up to a maximum fine of $325,000 for each violation and a maximum of $3 million for any single act or failure to act, if any were to subject to inappropriate profanity and graphic violence on the air. While we may see riding the airwaves of such foul language and violence as a better good to protect our children, we are in fact depleting our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights of free speech. This conflict doesn’t only threaten major commercial stations but smaller public funded stations as well. Such actions could bring smaller broadcasters into bankruptcy so major precautions have been made by these broadcasters to censor any material that would fall under such pretenses so that these fines will not be implemented. It has come to a point where broadcasters don’t even want to take the risk of seeing if a controversial subject matter would be labeled as a violation. One example that had been given by U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders was that sixty-six ABC affiliates refused to air the movie “Saving Private Ryan” on Veterans Day for fear that they would be fined for displaying graphic material, neglecting the fact that this movie demonstrates the hardships and turmoil that American soldiers went through to fight for freedom against Hitler and Nazi Germany in WWII. It should not be the duty of the government to ensure that such legal actions are enacted but the responsibility of the parent or broadcasters to censor such material from their children and decide what material should be considered explicit. It is our divine right to have such free speech and opting these limitations with censorship will only deteriorate our freedom.

“Our programming director, and no doubt most local programmers, have become very cautious. Once the FCC starts telling broadcasters they must not use certain words or situations, programmers tend to avoid producing and airing programs with words and situations that might even come close to content that could be subject to fines.” From U.S. Rep Bernie Sanders

“It is not for this Congress to put limits on free speech. The public decides what they want to listen to and what they want to hear. They can change the channel, they can change the station, they can turn it off. It is not just speech that we agree with and we think is right that we have to tolerate. The true test of freedom of speech is if we tolerate ugly speech, obnoxious speech, and speech that we disagree with.” From Congressman Gary Ackerman

Click for Legislation Details

Scholarly Articles:

Bush Signs Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act

Oscars: Five-Second Delay “Censorship?”

Senate and House Broadcast Indecency Hearings

4 versions of Bill Number H.R.310

Internet Censorship

March 17, 2010 by

 

 

     Obstacles to the free flow of information online.

                                          Unknown
                                     No censorship
                                   Some censorship  
                                Under surveillance
                      Heavy surveillance (“Internet black holes”)

 

Australia

Pakistan

North Korea

China
   
 Timeline of china

 Voice About Censorship

 

1. Removal of the anonymity in the internet

2.  Golden shield Project.  (Great Firewall of China)

     censorship project which blocks content. Internet access is heavily monitored.

3. Green Dam Youth Project.

    green dam soft ware was intended  to protect users from onlone pornography.

 4. Flow of internet censorship in china

 

——-censored content ——–

            Websites related to the persecuted Falun Gong spiritual practice

  • News sources that often cover some taboo topics such as police brutality, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, freedom of speech and democracy sites. These sites include Voice of America, BBC News, and Yahoo! Hong Kong
  • Media sites which may include unregulated content, social commentary or political commentary censored by the PRC. The Chinese Wikipedia and LiveJournal are examples of such blocked sites.
  • Sites hosted by Taiwan’s government and major newspaper and television media and other sites with information on Taiwanese independence
  • Web sites that contain obscenity, pornography, and criminal activity.
  • Sites linked with the Dalai Lama and his International Tibet Independence Movement, including his teachings.
  • “Nine Commentaries” or the nine articles that were published by theepochtimes.com that comment on the Chinese Communist Party.

 

———Words Censored by Chinese Search Engines———

Democracy(not blocked by Baidu or Sohu) 

Human Rights (not blocked by Baidu or Sohu)

Dictatorship (not blocked by Baidu or Sohu)

Oppression

June 4(Chinese reference to Tiananmen Square)

Tibetan Independence

Dalai Lama

Falun gong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   LEE, HYUN-JUNG