Internet Filters: Voluntary OK, Not Government Mandate

People are talking about internet content filtering, especially since the ACLU won its case against the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which tried to censor all speech about sex from the internet. But don’t be confused between voluntary use of filters as an alternative to a criminal statute and governmentally imposed filters. ACLU First Amendment attorney Chris Hansen explains more about filtering and when it works and doesn’t.

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Filtering has been shown to be quite successful in blocking sexual sites, but at a price — it over-blocks. As much as 20 percent of all internet content can be over-blocked by some filters, including valuable nonsexual material. Reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation (PDF), Consumer Reports, and the Free Expression Policy Project (PDF) have all found that filters improperly block important web sites about health, sex education, civil rights, and politics. A recent test by the San Jose Public Library (PDF) of three software filtering programs even found substantial over-blocking of information in resource databases and online catalogs of available books. Parents can decide that price is worth paying but it is another thing altogether for the government to make that decision for all of us.

The ACLU is currently working in several states to prevent censorship of online information due to the use of overbroad internet filters. For more detail on ACLU cases about internet filters, see http://www.aclunc.org/tech and http://www.aclu-wa.org/detail.cfm?id=557.

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Vic Livingston

SIXTH Addendum in this running commentary on apparent government censorship/prior restraint of internet political speech

This evening, I attempted to post the following comment to an item about an address by Vice President Biden that appeared on The Washington Post's "44" political blog. The post did not go through. Instead, I received a "Comment Submission Error" message stating that "too many comments" have been "submitted from (sic) you in too short a time."

Fact is, that was the first time this evening that I had attempted to submit a comment to the "44" blog.

I believe this is another example of prior restraint and censorship on my political speech. I believe it emanates from a Homeland Security "fusion center" in Newtown, PA, a few miles from my home. My electronic communications are continuously interfered with, 24/7. This apparent malicious, sadistic and unconstitutional violation of my rights has made it difficult for me to pursue my career as a journalist.

This "diary" will serve as a contemporaneous record when I file a legal action against the government in regard to this issue -- hopefully, with the aid of the ACLU.

Here is the comment that would not post. Its content gives hint as to what subjects trigger apparent government prior restraint and/or censorship:

"VP BIDEN: A significant address that clearly sets the moral compass for U.S. foreign policy.

NOW TEAM OBAMA MUST ACT TO BAN RADIATION WEAPONRY (A/K/A "DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS")...

... WIDELY DEPLOYED TO U.S. SECURITY/INTEL OPERATIVES, AND NOW, TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT.

RADIATION WEAPONRY SHOULD BE BANNED AS 'WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.'"

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network...

OR

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Vic Livingston

SEVENTH ADDENDUM to all the above:

Moments after posting the above entry, I returned to The Washington Post's "44" blog to see what effect, if any, posting here to the ACLU blog would have on the operatives who apparently are monitoring my internet connection in real time, equipped with software that apparently allows them to insert "spoofed pages" into my data stream and remote computing software that allows the hijacking of my computer functions.

As has happened in the past, the post that apparently was subject to prior restraint about an hour ago was up and posted on the "44" political blog site -- stamped with the time that I attempted to make the post, which, as mentioned above, was not immediately posted to the site as is routine.

I strongly believe the fact that I made these entries here led my apparent censors to put the original post through. This cat-and-mouse game amounts to psychological harassment -- another charge that I will make in my lawsuit, in addition to prior restraint and censorship on First and Fourth Amendment grounds.

Thank you, ACLU, for providing a forum that, however inelegantly, gives the authoritarians at least SOME pause as they continue their apparent assault on our constitutional rights.

But a class-action lawsuit is needed to end these draconian programs once and for all.

But the more urgent issue is the proliferation of silent, injury- and illness-inducing, potentially deadly radiation weaponry -- an issue the ACLU is yet to address.

I plan to write more about all the above in my political blog, which is distributed worldwide at My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

The ACLU, along with the internet, is the last bastion in the battle for constitutional rights and free speech. Thanks again. But I bet I'll be posting again shortly, as this oppression continues...

Anonymous

Vic -
Have you considered that virtually no one is willing to read the volume of material you are posting, accurate or not?

Personally, I am far more likely to read a much shorter post.

Vic Livingston

Well, you apparently did.

This contemporaneous record is intended for ACLU attorneys and bona fide civil libertarians... not paid trolls, or the perpetrators of these ongoing violations of constitutionally-protected civil liberties.

Indeed, this "diary" many come in handy in a future legal proceeding aimed at ending these apparent abuses.

Your statement that "virtually no one is willing to read" these posts may be wishful thinking on your part.

Maybe some ACLU members who HAVE read this thread would care to chime in.

Have a nice day, "anon."

Vic Livingston

TO: CHRIS HANSEN

Mr. Hansen:

As I have discussed above, I am an apparent "target" of pervasive government surveillance, malicious interference and tampering with my telecommunications.

This continues to this very moment. It appears that my connection is monitored and mirrored in real-life. The functions of my computer are hijacked almost continually, via remote computing software and "spoofed pages." This interference, let alone the surveillance, has made it virtually impossible for me to communicate effectively. As a journalist, this malicious interference has seriously impaired my career.

Not only is my political speech subject to prior restraint and censorship, as outlined above; I am being prevented from posting to some sites vital to my career, such as broadcastingandcable.com, politico.com and propublica.com.

I believe this malicious surveillance and tampering is emanating from a fusion center in Newtown, PA, not far from my home. This has been going on for five years running. Only recently have my posts to ACLU been allowed to go through. I attribute that to my persistent attempts to secure justice as an unjustly "targeted individual," to use the Big Brother parlance.

There is no justification or probable cause for the abuses of power to which I have been subjected.

Please, sir, tell me what I can do. My I meet with you at your offices to discuss possible legal remedies -- not just for me, but for the thousands of others in my "affected class"? Please attempt to contact me at scrivener50@verizon.net -- although be advised, my email still appears to be subject to interception and malicious tampering. Thank you.

Vic Livingston

TO: CHRIS HANSEN (staff, please forward)

Mr. Hansen: I received a phone call this morning from someone who identified himself as you. I asked the person if he had read my threads on this blog. He said he only saw my message to him (which I thought was strange, since a forwarded link would contain this whole page).

I suggested he read my posts, and he said to call back.

I returned the call (to an ACLU extension number) and requested a person meeting with the person who identified himself as Chris Hansen.

I explained that because I believe I am subject to unconstitutinal 24/7 electronic surveillance, I did not feel comfortable speaking on the phone.

He said he would have to talk to me on the phone to assess the need for an in-person meeting. When I demurred, he insisted. He was less than empathetic to my privacy concerns about a telephone conversation.

Finally, this alleged "Chris Hansen" said: "I think we've reached an impasse."

I expressed the view that I thought he reponses were not what I would have expected from a civil liberties attorney.

He wished he luck.

Sir, if that was NOT you on the line, then you can see why I need this meeting.

If that was you on the line, I am befuddled. But my 35 years as a journalist tell me that I may not have been speaking to the "real" Chris Hansen.

Could you please post me a note here, so I can verify on an outside computer that the refusal to allow me to stop by in person did indeed come from an ACLU attorney and not from one of the rogue agents who have destroyed my career?

Thank you, and thanks to the ACLU for providing this channel of communications to a communications-challenged journalist.

PS -- When I tried to post an earlier version of this message a few minutes ago, I got a "word spam word" message, and the original disappeared from my computer's cache.

Vic Livingston

Mr. Hansen:

Another thing that frequently happens to my internet posts... even though I proof-read thoroughly, the posts often go up (after a delay) with typos that were not in the original draft.

I believe this is the result of site mirroring/surveillance in real-time and malicious tampering. This FYI...

Vic Livingston

YET ANOTHER CASE OF APPARENT CENSORSHIP/PRIOR RESTRAINT OF POLITICAL BLOGS BY GOVERNMENT FUSION CENTER CENSORS:

This morning I attempted to post the following political commentary to The Washington Post's "The Fix" political blog. After I send the "send" button, the browser task bar suddenly showed a "stopped" message, although I did not hit the "stop" button on the browser.

After a delay, I received the now-familiar message that the post was "received and is being held for the blog owner."

As I have written here before, this message almost certainly did NOT come from WaPo, since the paper's blog software does not "hold" posts unless foul language is used.

The evidence indicates that this is yet another case of prior restraint and censorship. As I wrote yesterday, it appears that someone may have telephoned me, posing as Chris Hansen of ACLU, refusing my request to talk in person rather than over the (apparently wiretapped) telephone.

So once again, I post here the message that SOMEONE apparently does not want the public to see. Once again, I ask the ACLU to use these incidents as the basis for a renewed legal challenge to government surveillance policies:

WHEN WILL TEAM OBAMA TAKE DOWN THE 'EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT VIGILANTE NETWORK' -- a/k/a 'THE AMERICAN GESTAPO'?

ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER: For Your Immediate Attention...

THE BUSH-CHENEY 'EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK' REMAINS ENTRENCHED...

PHYSICALLY HARMING AND VIOLATING CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS.

TELL PRESIDENT OBAMA THIS IS NOT LOOKING BACK. THIS IS NOW HAPPENING ON HIS WATCH.

Mr. Attorney General:

You MUST immediately join with GOP defenders of the Constitution to dismantle the nationwide extrajudicial punishment network...

...authoritarian bureaucrats and security/intel officers and their nationwide network of citizen vigilantes fronted by federally-funded volunteer programs.

This nationwide, Gestapo-like operation has made a mockery of the judicial system for the past eight years and has claimed many unjustly "targeted" victims from all strata of society.

Crimes against humanity are being committed against unjustly "targeted" Americans by the BUSH DOJ-AUTHORIZED use of so-called "directed energy (radiation) weapons". Bush D.O.J. confirmed that these silent, illness- and injury-inducing hi-tech are being widely deployed to police forces nationwide.

This RADIATION weaponry emits silent, pulsed bursts of various forms of radiation -- degrading and damaging the health of those on the receiving end as well as their operators. Military/intel agents call it the "SLOW KILL."

This weaponry has NO PLACE in civilized society -- much less in the hands of security personnel who interact with the public.

The widespread deployment of this weaponry virtually assures its misuse.

Imagine if rogue actors tried to use its silent, deadly force to induce illness or to disorient, prematurely age, sicken or disable our political leaders.

Perhaps they already have.

Victims of this extrajudicial punishment network also see their finances and livelihoods slowly expropriated and destroyed by coordinated "multi-agency action" "programs of personal destruction" that deny due process of law while degrading the lives and destroying the families of untold thousands of unjustly "targeted" American citizens.

These policies, what some term a "social genocide," surely have contributed to the economic crisis that began with a home mortgage meltdown.

Mr. Holder, the Obama DOJ must address these abuses IMMEDIATELY, before these affronts to the Constitution destroy more American families -- and subvert the Obama presidency.

IS YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION RESPONDING TO DEMANDS FOR ACTION?

*******************************************

IT IS DAY 24 OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

DO YOU *REALLY* KNOW WHAT YOUR 'MULTI-AGENCY ACTION CENTER' IS UP TO?

http://my.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-...

http://my.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americ...

OR (if links are corrupted):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Vic Livingston

PS -- Those of you with a direct line to Attorney General Eric Holder:

Could you please send the above message to him? My ability to communicate obviously is circumscribed. Thanks so much, and thanks again to the ACLU for providing the Security State equivalent of the "Wittenberg Gate."

Vic Livingston

ACLU:

Now ALL of my attempts this morning to post to the political blog "The Fix" at washingtonpost.com are met with the "being held for blog owner" message that I believe is NOT emanating from The Washington Post (a simple inquiry to a trusted, known source at the newspaper could confirm this).

THIS APPARENT DRACONIAN CENSORSHIP CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO STAND.

ACLU, if this is happening to this journalist, it can (and, most likely, is) happening to many, many other Americans.

IMMEDIATE LEGAL INTERVENTION IS NEEDED TO PRESERVE FREE SPEECH IN AMERICA.

Please take these thread messages under advisement at your next policy meeting. Thank you.

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