hands off our internet

hands off our internet

Upsetting Ad Ratchets Up the Fight Against’s Adult Ads

Despite their signs, these people are not with Backpage. (Photo: Melissa Gira Grant)

Almost as soon as Craiglist threw up its hands and shut down its “adult services” section, attention shifted to, which is owned by Village Voice Media and often accused of hosting as much as 70 percent of the Internet’s sex ads.

Betabeat got an IRL look at the dispute just a couple of weeks ago by venturing forth to dueling protests at the Voice‘s Cooper Square HQ, where opponents emphasized sex trafficking and adult sex workers defended the site for offering them a way to operate in relative safety.

Well, the heat wave might’ve broken, but the fight isn’t going anywhere. The latest volley in the war: A simple-but-brutal video advertisement recounting (in first person, though by an actor) the experiences of a child sex trafficking survivor advertised on the site. And it’s pretty upsetting, even for hard-hearted bloggers like ourselves: Read More

hands off our internet

White House Presciently Asks for Backlash on Copyright Policy Before It’s Written

President Barack Obama does not want Wikipedia to shut down again. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Victoria Espinel, the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator, just put out a call for public comment on “legislation, regulation, guidance, executive order, Presidential memoranda, or other executive action, including, but not limited to, changes to agency policies, practices or methods” pertaining to intellectual property protection. In other words, speak now or please, forever hold your peace.  Read More

hands off our internet

Hey Ho! Backpage Protesters Hit Village Voice on the Hottest Day of the Year

backpage-cruiser, owned by the Village Voice, is one of the more controversial web enterprises: according to some reports, it hosts 70 percent of the web’s sex ads. On Wednesday night, there were two protests outside the Voice’s offices in Cooper Square. One was led by radical feminists and evangelical Christians who compare Backpage to a pimp, hoping to shut it down the way Craigslist’s “adult services section” was shut down. The other protest was led by Backpage users: escorts, dommes, and rent boys, who say shutting down the site will run them out of business or onto the streets. Read More

hands off our internet

SOPA and PIPA Hang Over Personal Democracy Forum

Rep. Issa discussing CISPA, which he supports, at the Personal Democracy Forum.

One of Andrew Rasiej’s favorite jokes is that legislators don’t know the difference between a server and a waiter. Mr. Rasiej, chairman of the NY Tech Meetup and founder of Personal Democracy Forum, a summit on tech and politics, moderated on stage at NYU’s Skirball Center. Mr. Rasiej faced off with netizens Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). “Why is it that so many members of Congress don’t seem to understand the Internet?” he asked. Read More

hands off our internet

Okay, Guess It’s Time for Us to Learn What CISPA Is


First SOPA, then ACTA, now CISPA—will the barrage of acronyms attacking the Internet never relent? Even the Obama Administration has condemned a bill that will hit the House of Representatives for debate on Thursday this week: the ominously-named Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or the even ominous-er CISPA. The act is inspiring petitions, press releases and blog posts from the same fearmongering contingent that mobilized the opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act.

“Right now, the US Congress is sneaking in a new law that gives them big brother spy powers over the entire web — and they’re hoping the world won’t notice. We helped stop their Net attack last time, let’s do it again,” reads the petition on the webby activist site The bill is opposed by Obama, Ron Paul, Tim Berners-Lee, online privacy advocate the Electronic Frontier Foundation, security experts and engineers, and other people who have bothered to learn about it. So we still need to know what it is? Read More

hands off our internet

Why Isn’t Wikipedia Blacking Out Over ACTA?

The United States Capitol c. 1913 | The Library of Congress (

It’s starting to feel like someone declared war on Internet piracy earlier this year while we were busy reading Reddit. But while the battle over Internet laws continues, the discussion sparked by anti-piracy legislation earlier this year seems to have disappeared.

The fight now centers on ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that the European Union signed in January. This still-murky law, most of which was crafted quietly behind closed doors, has potential to threaten those who make the Internet their livelihood. So where are the Internet masses who came out in full force, blocking out websites and amassing in person in protest of the twin anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA? Read More