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The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has postponed Tuesday’s scheduled vote on a controversial online piracy bill “in light of recent events,” he announced Friday.
Education News: The US Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to take up three cases presenting a potentially important test of the free speech rights of minors to engage in offensive and controversial speech on the Internet.
The Hill: In an unprecedented display of political muscle, thousands of websites went dark on Wednesday to protest two Internet piracy bills, the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s Protect IP Act.
Heritage Foundation Foundry: As of midnight, Wikipedia is shut down for 24 hours, and hundreds of other popular websites have gone dark right along with it. They are standing together in protest of two controversial pieces of legislation that threaten Internet security and undermine the freedom of speech all in an effort to crack down on online “piracy” — the illegal distribution of copyrighted material.
NYTimes.com: With a Web-wide protest on Wednesday that includes a 24-hour shutdown of the English-language Wikipedia, the legislative battle over two Internet piracy bills has reached an extraordinary moment — a political coming of age for a relatively young and disorganized industry that has largely steered clear of lobbying and other political games in Washington.
News from The Associated Press: The Supreme Court has passed up a pair of cases for the online age – whether schools may censor students who are at home when they create online attacks against school officials and other students.
Black Box Voting: In a major step towards global centralization of election processes, the world’s dominant Internet voting company has purchased the USA’s dominant election results reporting company.
Boston.com: Officials have disciplined a student at Cranston High School West for making online comments against an atheist student who recently won a legal battle over a prayer banner that had been displayed at the school.
LA Times: Two principals targeted in MySpace attacks suspended the involved students, who sued on grounds of free speech and won. The issue has now been taken to the high court.
News from The Associated Press: The number of Internet users in China has surged past 500 million as millions of new Web surfers go online using mobile phones and tablet computers, an industry group reported Monday.
The Hill: Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), brushed off criticism of his group’s plan to allow for new Web domain endings in an interview with The Hill on Wednesday.
ADF Attorney Michael Norton at Townhall: But now Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) has a put a new twist on this, and perhaps unintentionally demonstrated that those simpler times are gone. They’ve done this by showing that the way to a teen’s heart is through his or her cell phone: literally through texting about sexual issues and answering questions teens might have about their sexuality.
ACLU: The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri today filed a lawsuit charging the Salem Public Library and its board of trustees with unconstitutionally blocking access to websites discussing minority religions by improperly classifying them as “occult” or “criminal.”
Catholic Culture: An unidentified buyer has purchased the internet address “vatican.xxx,” raising the possibility that a pornographic site could occupy that space on the web.
Religion Clause: In New Delhi, India yesterday, a court issued an ex parte restraining order requiring 22 social networking websites to remove videos, text and photos with anti-religious or anti-social content that promote hatred or communal disharmony.
News from The Associated Press: A young Iowa man’s plea for marriage rights for his lesbian parents drew 18.3 million views to become the most-watched political video of the year, according to YouTube’s ranking of viral political videos
iPhone J.D.: Newton Oldfather, a recent graduate of UCLA Law School, decided to do something about this and thus, with the assistance of his father and another friend, he created the app FedCtRecords. The app usually sells for $19.99 but for a limited time during the holiday season, it is FREE so I encourage you to download it now. The app does a good job of providing an iPhone interface to the PACER service.
Religion Clause: In United States v. Cassidy, (D MD, Dec. 15, 2011), a Maryland federal district court held that the First Amendment’s protection of free expression precludes applying the federal anti-stalking statute (18 USC 2261A(2)(A)) to defendant’s criticism of a Buddhist religious leader through his blog and through some 8,000 postings on Twitter.
News from The Associated Press: Police arrested 112 people in 22 countries after a yearlong investigation into child pornography, Europol said Friday, warning that technology is making combating the spread of child abuse images ever more difficult.
The Hill: Opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act urged House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to hold additional hearings on the bill rather than report it out of committee during Thursday’s markup.
Christian Legal Fellowship: Last Thursday, the Government of Canada initiative to require mandatory reporting of internet child pornography by internet service providers came into force. Bill C-22 was an EFC-supported measure which received Royal Assent in March. Today, as a result, suppliers of internet services, electronic mail services and social networking sites operating in Canada are required to report any tips or concerns about the presence of child pornography on their service to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
The Weekly Standard: ven in China they are calling it the “Great Firewall of America.” At least the Chinese are enjoying the irony of the U.S. government moving toward a legal regime that would give it carte blanche to seize and take down websites on the basis of “infringement.”
The Hill: Schmidt said the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would punish Web firms, including search engines, that link to foreign websites dedicated to online piracy. He said implementing the bill as written would effectively break the Internet.
Yahoo! News: The European Union will outline a strategy on Monday to support activists living under repressive governments who are using technology to organise, mobilise and exercise their rights, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes said on Friday.
NYTimes.com: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other international leaders urged countries and private businesses on Thursday to fight increasing efforts to restrict access to the Internet by repressive governments and even some democratic ones.
Christian Newswire: News that the .XXX Domain is going live today caused Morality in Media to call for an investigation of ICM Registry, the company behind the .XXX Domain, for possible violations of federal laws prohibiting distribution of hard-core obscene Internet pornography.
CSMonitor.com: The European Court of Justice overturned a Belgian court’s injunction in what experts say is a victory for Internet providers and users over proponents of tighter copyright controls online
ADF Attorney Steven Aden at Townhall: Perhaps one of the most novel aspects of the recently released iPhone 4S is the Siri app, which allows you to ask your phone questions and then hear your phone answer them – a nascent form of artificial intelligence. However, as great as this technology is, the ACLU is quite upset over the fact that the app doesn’t appear to be abortion friendly. While the app will quickly tell where to find the best Thai food, the closest ExxonMobil gas station, or a Presbyterian church, it won’t answer questions about abortion.
The Washington Post: The American Civil Liberties Union has started a petition asking Apple to update Siri to direct users to places to access birth control or abortion clinics when asked.
LifeNews.com: Technology has been instrumental in moving public opinion on abortion. From the advent of ultrasound technology, which provides stunning glimpses into life in the womb, to iPad applications that allow a pregnant mother to track her baby’s development, the pro-life movement has benefited from greater awareness of the humanity of the unborn child. Now, the latest model of Apple’s iPhone provides women with alternatives to abortion when making related abortion searches on its new voice-directed Siri technology.
Religion Clause: . . . the Islamic affairs ministry, shut down the blog of Ismail Khilath “Hilath” Rasheed because it contained anti-Islamic material.
The Washington Post: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) compiled a list of over 1,000 words, the majority in English, that they deem “pornographic or offensive to Islam,” Newsweek Pakistan reported.
Digital Trends: Google, eBAy, AOL, Facebook, Yahoo, Zynga, LinkedIn, Mozilla and Twitter — have placed a full-page ad in today’s New York Times as part of their efforts to fight back against the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) and the “PROTECT IP Act.”
Forbes: With little fanfare two weeks ago, a key United Nations commission made a remarkable statement: it declared, unambiguously, that broadband access is a basic human right, right up there with the right to healthcare, shelter and food.
MarketWatch: Responding quickly to concerns that its iBoss Web Filters were blocking access to LGBT websites for employees of Montgomery County, Maryland, Phantom Technologies assures customers that its web-filtering technology is designed to function within the guidelines of the ACLU’s Don’t Filter Me campaign, which seeks to curb illegal filtering of pro-LGBT content.
Europa: Child abusers and viewers of child sex images on the web will face tough penalties in the EU, under new rules approved by Parliament on Thursday. The directive will also require EU countries to remove child porn web sites, or, should this prove impossible, allow them to block access to those pages within their territory. Studies suggest that between 10% and 20% of minors in Europe may be sexually assaulted during childhood.
Courant.com: The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ended former Connecticut high school student Avery Doninger’s First Amendment fight when it let stand a prior ruling that school administrators acted reasonably when they disciplined her for using a vulgar term to criticize faculty.
CSMonitor.com: One of the most hidden and hideous crimes in America is the sex trafficking of children. But this selling of minors quickly becomes less hidden when Internet sites for community advertising become giant magnets for the sex trade.
Kara Kowalski Seeks U.S. Supreme Court Review in Her First Amendment Student Speech Case, But Should the High Court Take the Case?
David S. Kemp at Justia: The case arose after Kowalski was suspended by her high school based on scurrilous remarks she had made about another student on a MySpace discussion page, while she was in her own home, on her home computer.
CBS News: A federal judge heard arguments Thursday on whether a central Missouri school district should be barred from using Internet filtering software that has prevented automatic access to some websites with information on gay, lesbian and transgender issues.
The Christian Institute: Trafford Housing Trust “looks vindictive” for its decision to demote a Christian who posted inoffensive remarks about his religious opinions on Facebook, a New Statesman writer says.
Guardian.co.uk: Communist party responds to growing boldness of microblog users with threat to ‘punish dissemination of harmful information’
The Hill: The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will hold a hearing Tuesday to discuss the issue of Internet gambling, which became a hot-button topic in April after the Obama administration cracked down on online poker and other betting sites.
AFP: An Egyptian court sentenced a man to three years in jail with hard labour on Saturday for insulting Islam in postings on Facebook, the official MENA news agency reported.
The Washington Post: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation Friday repealing a contentious law that had limited online discussions between teachers and students and caused a judge to raise concerns that it infringed on free-speech rights.
Dover Post: The Capital School District Board of Education will table its proposed social media policy for students tonight in light of the ACLU’s concern that the policy would violate the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause.
The Washington Post: U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Wednesday in a statement that the request is being pursued under World Trade Organization rules governing how member countries deal with trade issues. Kirk said the concerns center on the competitiveness of foreign websites in China
First Amendment Center: Kara Kowalski, a former high school student at Musselman High School in West Virginia, has petitioned for a writ of certiorari in a case involving school officials’ disciplining her for making negative comments in 2005 about another student online from her own home.
Education Week: The Alliance Defense Fund, or ADF, a legal group based in Scottsdale, Ariz., that was founded, according to its website, to protect the constitutional right to religious freedom, wrote a 10-page letter advising Gwinnett County not to alter the settings on its filtering software from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Blue Coat Systems Inc. The letter argued that lifting an LGBT filter would allow access to sexually inappropriate material, including sites that give explicit advice on gay, bisexual, and alternative dating and sexual relations . . . “A public school district’s decisions regarding what Web content to make available to students are curricular decisions,” the letter states, “and the case law is clear that public school districts have broad authority over curricular matters.”
OneNewsNow.com: our major Internet providers in the United Kingdom will require users to opt in if they want to view pornography, which one anti-porn organization says is a better alternative to systems that filter porn out.
Cassandra Hough at Public Discourse: An “adaptationist” approach to pornography is dangerous because it ignores widespread research showing that pornography harms society at many levels.
CBC News: Technology experts are warning companies with websites to protect their domain names from being hijacked by pornography businesses when the website suffix .xxx becomes available starting next year.
The Blog of Legal Times: The FTC has proposed five changes to rules implementing the law. Among them: updating the definition of “personal information” to include geolocation information and certain types of persistent identifiers, such as tracking cookies; streamlining and clarifying the direct notice that operators must give parents before collecting children’s personal information; adding new methods to obtain verifiable parental consent; and eliminating the “email plus” method of parental consent, which allows operators to obtain consent through an email to the parent, coupled with an additional confirmation.
Four New York Democratic Senators: “Proponents of a More Refined First Amendment Argue That This Freedom Should Be Treated Not as a Right But as a Privilege”
Eugene Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy : The sentence reads, in a context that shows the authors agree with the argument: Proponents of a more refined First Amendment argue that this freedom should be treated not as a right but as a privilege — a special entitlement granted by the state on a conditional basis that can be revoked if it is ever abused or maltreated.
Baptist Press: Apple, Google and other Internet giants are participating in religious discrimination and restricting free speech, according to a new report by the National Religious Broadcasters.
Christian Post: Seeking to give Americans a way of petitioning President Barack Obama on certain issues, the White House has launched the “We the People” website in an effort to facilitate such discourse. Among the many petitions on the week-old website are two seeking to have God “dropped” from the Pledge of Allegiance and from U.S. currency.
Whittier Daily News: Stein said the letter included two photos, one of him posing with two drag queens and the other of him about to eat a corn dog. According to the complaint, the letter’s author called Stein “unfit to coach” and threatened to go to the school board if he was not fired immediately.
OneNewsNow.com: “The plain fact of the matter is that we’ve never had a business relationship with PayPal — they’re not our pal,” he tells OneNewsNow. “And I don’t think there will be [a relationship] in the future, given what they’ve said and how they’ve taken sides with the group that’s trying to force business away from PayPal.”
Mike Zapler at Politico: Schmidt will raise his right hand to testify under oath before the Senate antitrust subcommittee Wednesday and likely be grilled by Democrats and Republicans alike about whether the company is abusing its position as the world’s primary gateway to information on the Web.
Alexander Burns at Politico: A Google search for Santorum has generated some inappropriate results since gay columnist Dan Savage organized an online campaign to link graphic sexual terms to the socially conservative senator’s name.
The Bandera Bulletin: According to David Cortman, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, “School districts shouldn’t be bullied into exposing students to sexually explicit materials.” Cortman says, “The ‘Don’t Filter Me Initiative’ would be better named the ‘Public School Porn Initiative.’ The ACLU is pushing its radical sexual agenda on children by intimidating school districts with a long string of scare tactics disguised as a concern over censorship. In truth, these school districts have no obligation to cave to the ACLU’s unwarranted demands. Our children come first . . . An internet article by Alan Sears (ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel) gives school districts who try to protect students from offensive materials reason to hope and stand firm . . . [more]
PayPal cuts off LifeSiteNews translator and pro-family activist Julio Severo in wake of homosexual pressure
LifeSiteNews.com: Under pressure from homosexual activists, PayPal has decided to deny service to famed Brazilian pro-life and pro-family Christian activist Julio Severo.
Religion Clause: In Pakistan, the Lahore High Court is hearing a lawsuit seeking a permanent ban in the country on access to the social netwrking site Facebook because it has hosted a page titled “2nd Annual Draw Muhammad Day-May 20, 2011.”
WorldNetDaily: Muslim extremists are using a relatively new tool in their attempt to intimidate and bully Christians, with death threats sent by text-messaging to Christian church leaders, a new report confirms. The report comes from Compass Direct, which monitors and reports on Christian issues around the globe. The situation has developed in Sudan.
OneNewsNow.com: Homosexual activists are pressuring PayPal to not handle donations made to groups that promote traditional values, but one pro-family organization is encouraging the e-commerce business to be fair.
OneNewsNow.com: “It’s simply reprehensible that the ACLU and Yale Law School are more concerned about faring their own agenda that exposes children to harm than they are about protecting those children,” Cortman laments. “Certainly, removing porn filters does nothing to end bullying.”
The Monitor – Kansas City Metro Edition: “The ACLU’s ‘Don’t Filter Me Initiative’ would be better named the ‘Public School Porn Initiative,’ says David Cortman, Senior Counsel for ADF. “The ACLU is pushing its radical sexual agenda for children by intimidating school districts with a long string of scare tactics disguised as a concern over censorship. School districts shouldn’t be bullied into exposing students to sexually explicit materials. Our children come first.”