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

Jesus died for our selfies

Voters in the Philippines Politely Reminded It’s Illegal to Take Selfies With Completed Ballots

Allowed. (Photo: WNYC/ @SladeHV)

It doesn’t look like the #VoterSelfies movement is going to sweep the Philippines anytime soon. Ahead of today’s elections, the country’s Commissions of Elections reminded voters that it’s illegal to take pictures of completed ballots and laid out guidelines as to when it the requisite selfie is allowed.

Voting laws state that making copies or identifying who someone voted for, which a completed ballot selfie falls under, is prohibited in the country.  Read More

Airbnb and Me

NYC Judge Rules Airbnb Stay Illegal, Fines Host $2,400

(Photo: Airbnb)

Temporary apartment renting service Airbnb has had its share of tussles with New York law. In 2011, the city instituted an illegal hotels statute that makes it illegal for users to rent out their apartments for less than 30 days, effectively rendering Airbnb hosts subject to fines. Last September, the city council jacked up the fines that could be levied upon illegal hoteliers advertising their wares through Airbnb from $800 to $2,500. Read More

Privacy is Dead

Fed Plans New Law to Guard Internet Privacy for Children

Not sure if he's running towards or away from the food (Photo: bioethics.net)

The Federal Trade Commission is looking to change regulatory lawsthat that protect children’s privacy on the Internet. Although it’s legal right now, a slew of apps and popular websites collect data and pictures from young users. In the most cringe-worthy example, pictures of children that were uploaded to a “get in the picture with Ronald McDonald” game in were kept by McDonald’s in directories that were publicly available to anyone who wanted access to them. McDonald’s tells the Times that they’ve now “blocked public access to several directories on the site.”

The new laws say children’s websites would be required to obtain parents’ permission before tracking kids around the Web for advertising purposes.

But while government restrictions may help protect innocent children, it’s hard not to feel that the responsibility (and the biggest hope for keeping kids safe) lies with their parents. After all, children don’t only stick to apps directed to their demographic. Read More

Privacy Police

Good News for Everyone with Embarrassing Gchat Logs: Cops May Soon Need a Warrant to Read Your Gmail

Could it be a fender bender in the Intertubes? (Photo: ZDNet)

Gchat can be a welcome haven from the turmoil of the work day, a blinking beacon that serves as an important reminder of your humanity. And yet, the things you’ve typed into that little chat box without clicking the “off the record” button–the fights and breakups and conversations that basically amount to cybering? And all those emails you sent in college with thinly veiled references to drugs? It’d be embarrassing for anyone to read all that, let alone the Po Po.

Luckily for us, cops may finally need a warrant to dig into your inbox. Phew. Read More

Law and Order

New York State Appeals Court Rules That Looking at Child Porn is Now Legal

(flickr.com/crobj)

Deep web crawlers who have ever accidentally clicked on anything labeled “CP” may now breathe a sigh of relief: an appeals court in New York decided today in a vaguely disturbing ruling that simply viewing child pornography is not a crime.

According to MSNBC:

The decision rests on whether accessing and viewing something on the Internet is the same as possessing it, and whether possessing it means you had to procure it. In essence, the court said no to the first question and yes to the second.

Read More