CENSORSHIP

Mongolian Government Bans 774 Phrases from Internet Including ‘Asshat’ and ‘Male Genitalia’

Here are some people in Mongolia. (Getty)

It’s a good thing Betabeat isn’t based in Mongolia, because we wouldn’t be able to publish words like “dicks” and “ass-pirate.”

According to Tech in Asia, who spotted the announcement on Mongolian news site Shuum, the Mongolian Telecommunications Regulatory Commission has just released a list of 774 words and phrases banned from appearing on local websites. Read More

The Russians

A Russian Politician Wants to Ban Swearing Online, Because It’s Not Like They Have Anything Else Going On

Graffiti can stay. (Photo: Flickr)

Hate-tweeting in Russia might soon become nearly impossible if one politician has her way. Yelena Mizulina, the chairwoman of Committee on Family, Women and Children, is pushing forward an initiative that if posts, messages and even websites contain naughty language, they would be blocked within 24 hours if the words aren’t immediately deleted. That sounds easy enough. Read More

XXX in Tech

Internet Porn Now Verboten in Egypt

My God, will they have to ban Tumblr?

The internet is for porn–unless you live in Egypt. Reuters reports that the nation’s public prosecutor has announced that, in response to a 2009 court ruling, the nation is now required to block pornographic websites.

Somewhere, Rick Santorum just perked up his ears in interest.

Reuters says:

Prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmoud ordered government authorities Read More

Scandals

New Yorker Cartoon Page Temporarily Banned by Facebook Because Nipples

The titillating cartoon in question. (Photo: Mick Stevens, The New Yorker)

Despite what those skimpy bikini pics in your news feed might indicate, Facebook has really been cracking down on nudity recently. Even camel toes are inappropriate now! But what about cartoon imagery? Surely line-drawn naked bodies are art, are they not?

Actually…not. Turns out Facebook has become so prudish that they temporarily banned the New Yorker’s official page because one of its cartoons was deemed too racy. Read More

Cheat Sheets

Holiday-Appropriate Talking Points for Your July Fourth Gatherings

Stone cold grillin'. (Photo: flickr.com/alisdair)

It’s July 4th, which means you are either at a barbecue, planning to go to a barbecue later, or desperately searching for a barbecue to crash. However, the limited availability of green space and roof decks means you’re likely to find yourself in a situation that requires small talk with strangers. To that end, we’ve selected a few thematically appropriate conversation starters.

1. Russia’s parliament is considering creating an Internet blacklist for sites featuring “banned pornography, drug ads and promoting suicide or extremist ideas.” Certain elements of the U.S. Congress might try, but our all-American legislative gridlock isn’t likely to let it get far.

2. The European parliament gives ACTA the thumbs-downFreeeeedom!

3. However, thanks to a recent injunction, you will not be free to buy Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus phone here in the good old U.S. of A. If the party gets boring, we recommend springing this one on an Apple fanboy. Read More

Check Your Pseudonym At the Door

China’s Crackdown on Internet Anonymity: Tell Us Your Real Name Or Stay Off the Microblogs

photo

Yesterday, China’s authoritarian government unveiled yet another set of restrictions that might soon be levied on Internet users. In a document prepared by the National Internet Information Office (a division of China’s “powerful” State Council), the authorities proposed forcing users to register with their official ID card before they can log on to the country’s microblogging sites, which are called “weibo” in China. The new rule would also require an official ID for “all the blogs and online forums,” says PC World.

As Reuters notes, the country has been escalating censorship of Internet users over the past few months as the country gets ready for a leadership transition, which happens once a decade. Read More

Facebookism

Don’t Post ‘Irrelevant’ Comments on Facebook (Updated)

Hang in there just like that kitten on the poster, Mr. Zuckerberg. (flickr.com/gpaumier)

Tech startup personality and Rackspace Internet talking guy (seriously, what do you call Mr. Scoble, anyway?) Robert Scoble inadvertently ran afoul of Facebook’s vast, hydra-headed Cthulhu-armed cyber-nannyism today. This is news on a Saturday in early May:

…Robert Scoble, the well-known tech startup enthusiast, went to post a comment on a Facebook post written by Carnegie Mellon student (and TechCrunch commenter extraordinaire) Max Woolf about the nature of today’s tech blogging scene. Scoble’s comment itself was pretty par-for-the-course — generally agreeing with Woolf’s sentiments and adding in his own two cents.

But when Scoble went to click post, he received an odd error message… Read More

SOPA Opera

Megaupload and S.O.P.A. Spark Interest in Decentralized File-Sharing

Retroshare screengrab

Arrests, shutdowns of established file-sharing sites like Megaupload and legislation such as S.O.P.A. have driven users to seek a new breed of file-sharing destination. File-sharers are looking for security and privacy and they may have found it with newer solutions such as RetroShare and Tribler.

Naturally, since governments the world over are actively pursuing shutting down file-sharing in a variety of ways, anonymity and a lack of censorship are highly prized. TorrentFreak has more on why these and other options are gaining in popularity: Read More

Law and Order

Oregon Law Targeting Twitter Mobs Defeated by Twitter Mob

Oregon State Capitol, Salem

A proposed Oregon law that could have criminalized tweets about Occupy Wall Street has died in committee due to public outcry.

State senate bill 1534
would have made illegal the “use of electronic communication to solicit two or more persons to commit [a] specific crime at [a] specific time and location.” The now-dead bill would have carried penalties for using Twitter, Facebook, etc. to call on others to engage in criminal activity as severe as the punishment for actually committing the act.

Oregon State Sen. Doug Whitsett, the chief sponsor of the bill, said he was targeting “flash mob crimes,” in which many people descend on a specific location at a specific time to commit a crime, a scenario that was actually not completely made up: a “mob” of four people who “may be using some of the social media such as Facebook and Twitter to schedule an event if you will” robbed a Victoria’s Secret in Georgetown last summer, and gang members in New York reportedly used Twitter to coordinate the annual “Crips Holiday.” Read More