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

EVIDENCE OF PRIOR RESTRAINT AND CENSORSHIP OF INTERNET POLITICAL SPEECH, APPARENTLY BY GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMS

When this writer, a journalist who has been an apparent "target" of pervasive government spying and "programs of personal destruction, attempts to make posts to The Philadelphia Inquirer and some other sites, he gets an on-screen message that the post is being "reviewed for publication."

Usually, the post never appears. Yet posts from other readers invariably are posted immediately. So what's going on?

My experience seems to indicate that a sophisticated third party is intercepting my internet communications by way of the insertion of fake, "spoofed pages" and real-time "mirroring" of my account -- apparently allowing prior restraint and censorship of my internet communications.

It used to be that only posts that could be interpreted as critical of the Bush-Cheney administration were subject to interception. Now, it seems that ALL of my attempted posts to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Dick Polman blog are "reviewed" indefinitely, never to post.

I believe The Philadelphia Inquirer has no idea that their pages apparently are being "spoofed" by over-reaching government spies. If you have contacts at the paper, please email them this column, because MY email is apparently subject to the same kind of prior restraint and interception.

Of course, now that I write this, my apparent censors may relent and post the comment that I attempted to make to the Inquirer's political blog earlier today.

I have written extensively about this apparent government censorship. I am looking for a civil liberties organization to file a class action suit on behalf of all affected Americans, which I believe number in the many thousands.

Here are two articles that detail facts that I believe could be the basis for such a lawsuit. ACLU members, for your consideration:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/parallel-internet-big-brother-screening-c...

http://my.nowpublic.com/world/political-bloggers-beware-more-signs-big-b...

Vic Livingston

DIGITAL TV SWITCH OPENS ELECTRONIC DOOR TO CENSORS - AND SPIES?

• "Addressable" remote technology allows would-be "big brothers" to block channels, or programs, from certain viewers.

• A way to control authorized viewing -- or to censor and harass "targeted" persons by messing up their signal?

• Electronic surveillance built into the algorithm?

Lost amid the hype surrounding the transition to digital television is the fact that DTV technology is addressable. That is, each HDTV or DTV converter box only will receive channels that have been previously scanned in. But here's what's not widely known, and rarely discussed:

DTV technology provides an electronic means to selectively control the programming available to each set or converter box. The most frequently cited reason is a need to regulate access to proprietary programming available by subscription only, or to prevent home recording of copyrighted material such as recently released movies.

But the technology also allows a would-be censor to block channels, or programs, from certain groups of viewers, or from the entire audience.

And, of course, DTV will be mandatory once traditional analog signals are taken down for good. Congress, at the request of the Obama administration, has pushed the date back to June 12 of this year out of concern that millions of American TV households wouldn't have been ready in time for the previous DTV deadline of February 17th.

But the technology also raises the specter of what might be termed "rogue censorship" perpetrated by technically savvy video saboteurs equipped with a remote control device and the DTV address of "targeted" viewers.

And how would a "big brother" know the "address" of each set, or box? Easy! The DTV boxes are being subsidized by government coupons, so the government is collecting a huge database of DTV addresses. As for buyers of high-definition or standard-definition digital sets, would-be TV censors could demand customer data under the provisions of sweeping laws such as the USA Patriot Act (unless, that is, if Congress restores civil liberties in America by scaling back the law's draconian provisions).

Rogue government agents or private sector video vandals who dare to violate constitutionally-protected rights by using DTV technology as a tool of psychological harassment and control wouldn't necessarily need the precise "address" in advance. A technically sophisticated oepration could decrypt the access key just by being in proximity to the set or converter box. That's because each set or box (or computer, for that matter) radiates an electronic field that can be accessed by hi-tech equipment in possession of spy outfits such as the National Security Agency -- providing another possible gateway to remote manipulation of the DTV datastream.

Tekkies long have known that DTV specs require a so-called "broadcast flag" to prevent unauthorized recording or reception of programming to unauthorized viewers. That same built-in screening technology is what opens the door to potential censorship of broadcast TV programming.

To be more specific, DTV's addressability features allow certain channels to be blocked; reception can be degraded (pixelization -- blocking and streaking -- or a sudden "fade to black"); or, perhaps, an alternate message could be broadcast to "targeted" users, what would be a chilling echo of that old Apple Macintosh "Big Brother" commercial.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

Now here's the really intriguing part: Some tekkies insist that the DTV technology could be used to turn any DTV set or set-top converter box into an electronic eavesdropping "bug" -- using the connection to the set's speakers as pre-installed microphones.

http://hardtruth.navhost.com/cable.html

Electronically, turning DTV into an audio surveillance device would be a simple task. But is that capability really built into consumer units? If electronics industry or government insiders know, they aren't telling.

(Anyone in the biz who wants to rat this out: Please post to http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener (re: "Digital TV Switch"), with some hard evidence to back up the claim.)

Some spy hypothesizers speculate that pinhole video cameras may be built into sets and boxes; while plausible, the assignation of DTV as an in-home video voyeur remains just that -- speculation.

DTV addressability, however, is very real. Victims of so-called "organized community gang-stalking" by citizen vigilantes affiliated with government-sponsored community watch, policing, and anti-terrorism groups say that harassers (or perhaps, operatives who serve as their handlers) already are randomly disrupting the DTV reception of their "targets" as a malicious method of psychological intimidation -- what might be termed "video psy ops."

That's not merely speculation; I believe that has happened to this journalist, and to other "targets" of covert surveillance and "programs of personal destruction" created or expanded during the Bush-Cheney years. Is it just coincidence that the DTV specs were formulated during the first five years of the Bush era?

As Special Agent Jethro Gibbs of TV's N.C.I.S. is wont to say: "I don't believe in coincidences."

(Vic Livingston is a former editor of the trade journals CableVision and TV/Radio Age.)

Vic Livingston

Addendum to post, above:

Since writing extensively about DTV and advocating a delay in the shut-off of analog signals to give the public more time to get ready, my recent attempts to post to Broadcasting & Cable magazine, the "bible" of the industry, have been unsuccessful.

I believe this is another example of over-reaching by government spies who have targeted American journalists.

Since writing the above post referencing the Phila. Inquirer, my post to Dick Polman's political blog suddenly appeared today -- a full day after my attempt to post the comment.

The people who are apparently infringing upon my constitutional rights back off when publicly exposed, then revert to their authoritarian ways shortly thereafter. These people think they are above the law. Only a class action lawsuit will effect change. It appears to me that a change of administration in Washington won't do it alone.

I, for one, would be willing to donate a third of any subsequent financial award to ACLU in consideration of its advocacy. Perhaps such a policy would help relieve ACLU of its financial burdens.

Here's another possible reason why I am having trouble posting my work to certain web sites:

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

Vic Livingston

Second addendum to above:

Now the "copy" function on my browser has been disabled, preventing me from posting the following comment to The Washington Post political blog "Political Browser."

I believe the reference to a "Multi-Agency Action Center" established during the Bush administration is the reason the censors do not want this post published.

Perhaps that reference holds THE KEY to reversing the constitutional rights abuses of the past eight years.

In the interest of free speech -- and in hopes that a civil liberties attorney takes on the government with a class action suit to fight these First and Fourth Amendment violations -- I post the comment here (thank the Lord for the ACLU):

CAMPAIGN PRIORITY #1: TAKE DOWN THE BUSH-CHENEY EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK

Team Obama must move swiftly to dismantle the nationwide extrajudicial punishment comprised of authoritarian bureaucrats and security offers and their nationwide network of citizen vigilantes fronted by federally-funded volunteer programs.

This nationwide, KKK-like rogue operation has made a mockery of the judicial system for the past eight years and has claimed many victims from all strata of society. This journalist is among them.

Crimes against humanity are being committed across the nation via the use of so-called "directed energy weapons" which the Bush D.O.J. recently confirmed are being widely deployed to police forces nationwide.

These RADIATION weapons emit silent, pulsed bursts of various forms of radiation -- and are degrading and damaging the health of those on the receiving end as well as their operators.

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 disable our political leaders.

Perhaps they already have.

Victims of this extrajudicial punishment network also see their finances and livelihoods expropriated and destroyed by coordinated multi-agency "programs of personal destruction" that deny them due process of law.

The IRS has been turned into an ideological weapon of social control and recrimination by these covert Multi-Agency Actions.

Treasury Secretary Geithner must address these abuses IMMEDIATELY, before these affronts to the Constitution destroy more American families -- and subvert the Obama presidency.

The authoritarian bureaucrats and officers behind these "programs of personal destruction" remain entrenched. They cannot be co-opted or reformed. They must be moved from power and brought to justice.

Team Obama, the victims of The American Gestapo continue to suffer. And those who have survived their social genocide of the past eight years are prepared to give testimony. Here is this journalist's account:

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

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

John Mecca

KILLER ENERGY WAVE CAMOUFLAGE DEVOY BOX is what the new digital converter is besides a filter and a spy microphone. The use of electronic attack energy upon the population is being increased upon wider populations and the interferrence from the new in home killing needs to be hidden.

This means that blunt and obvious high energy to destroy peoples health can be detected by interferrence on regular analog television. The analog signal is a frequency modulation technique that will show up and people will realize first something is wrong, then as they start to feel ill they might correlate the increased static on their analog stes as mmaybe the problem, unmasking the attacks. The digital box prevents notice of excess static so that the picture will remail clear and nobody will notice. watch your tv on stations right now that don't come in and notice the level of static. Once the digital starts take the new box out of the loop and put yourtv back the way it was without it and you willlikely see more static. The new level of attack energy would have given the fact a high level of enery was present without the new digital box. Go to see more by simply google searchng " microwave and implant torture attack in my home "

And as to why they can legally do it see http://www.the-president-obama-hour.com

John Mecca

EDITED VERSION -- KILLER ENERGY -- WAVE CAMOUFLAGE DECOY BOX is what the new digital converter is besides a filter and a spy microphone. The use of electronic attack energy upon the population is being increased upon wider populations and the interferrence from the new in home killing needs to be hidden.

This means that blunt and obvious high energy to destroy peoples health can be detected by interferrence on regular analog television. The analog signal is a frequency modulation technique that will show up excess static and people would realize first something is wrong, then as they start to feel ill they might correlate the increased static on their analog sets as maybe the problem, that suspicion could result in unmasking the attacks. The digital box prevents notice of excess static so that the picture will remail clear and nobody will notice. Watch your tv on stations right now that don't come in and notice the level of static. Once the digital signal starts in Feb 09 take the new box out of the loop and put your tv back the way it was without it and you will likely see more static. The new level of attack energy would have given away the fact that a high level of enery was present without the new digital box. Go to see more by simply google searchng " microwave and implant torture attack in my home "

And as to why they can legally do it see
http://www.the-president-obama-hour.com

Vic Livingston

Third addendum to my posts, above (this is getting to become a diary of free speech abuses...Thank you, ACLU, for this most vital forum...)

The post headlined TAKE DOWN BUSH-CHENEY EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK, originally posted on The Washington Post '44" political blog, elicited this THREAT OF BODILY HARM:

"Dear scrivener50: We know who you are. Trying to expose us in the WaPo is not a wise move; we don't appreciate it. You haven't seen anything yet. (Think that's just a Q-tip?)

Posted by: Dan4 | January 31, 2009 1:49 PM"

THE ABOVE IS A TERRORISTIC THREAT DELIVERED BY ELECTRONIC MEANS AGAINST AN AMERICAN CITIZEN...

...POSSIBLY BY AN AGENT OF GOVERNMENT. THE NAMED RECIPIENT PLANS TO FILE AN OFFICIAL COMPLAINT WITH THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION OF DOJ (once it is reconstituted and revived...)

Any civil liberties attorneys reading this: please contact me via the web site referenced below. And Washington Post -- please consider doing a story about those in and out of government who dare to issue threats via public mass media blog sites.

PLEASE ACLU, THIS IS GETTING QUITE SERIOUS. Please consider intervention in my case on behalf of all Americans subject to such apparent government censorship, prior restraint, and now, possible intimidation and threat of bodily harm.

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

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

OR http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Vic Livingston

Fourth addendum (again, with thanks to ACLU...):

Tried to post the above to Washington Post political blog "The Fix." Once again, I got a full-screen message that the post was "being held for the blog owner."

And once again -- I believe the evidence shows that this message was NOT generated by The Washington Post, but was most likely a "spoofed page" message inserted into my data stream by over-reaching government spies.

The discovery phase of an ACLU lawsuit could expose the truth about prior restraint and censorship of political blogs in America...

Please give this issue your immediate consideration. Thousands of Americans surely are similarly afflicted by this contagion of censorship.

Vic Livingston

FIFTH addendum (this is now a RUNNING DIARY OF APPARENT GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP OF INTERNET POLITICAL SPEECH)

This morning (Wed., 2/4/09), I attempted to make the following post to The Washington Post's "The Fix" political blog.

And once again, I got a full-screen message that the comment was "received and is being held for the blog owner."

(The apparent censors also frequently insert typos and other misinformation into posts that do go through -- an apparent attempt to make the writer appear to be uneducated or sloppy.)

As written in this space previously, the Washington Post does NOT "hold" blog posts. It is my understanding that only the use of foul language triggers its filtering software.

It appears that ALL of my political speech is subject to prior restraint and censorship by government censors. I believe this is emanating from the "Fusion Center" that is located in Newtown, PA, just a few miles from my home.

Again I appeal to the ACLU: PLEASE FILE A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT on behalf of me and others similarly affected by pervasive government surveillance and censorship.

Here is the "censored" post:

MEN AND WOMEN OF FAITH: DEMAND THAT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
REPUDIATE THE BUSH-ERA "EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK"
AND PROLIFERATION OF SILENT, DEADLY RADIATION WEAPONS

Team Obama must immediately work 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 "multi-agency action" operation has made a mockery of the judicial system for the past eight years and has claimed many victims from all strata of society -- innocent Americans tagged as "dissidents," "trouble-makers" or slandered as "deviates" by those who would use agencies of government as a means of social engineering.

Crimes against humanity are being committed across the nation via the use of so-called "directed energy (radiation) weapons" which the Bush D.O.J. recently confirmed are being widely deployed to police forces nationwide.

These RADIATION weapons emit silent, pulsed bursts of various forms of radiation -- and are degrading and damaging the health of those on the receiving end as well as their operators.

This weaponry has NO PLACE in civilized society -- much less in the hands of security personnel who interact with the public. It should be BANNED -- and NOT deployed to local law enforcement with the aid, approval and funding of D.O.J.

The presence of exotic radiation weaponry in the vicinity of the nation's highest officials presents a danger to their health and well-being, and that of their families.

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 disable our political leaders.

Perhaps they already have.

Victims of this extrajudicial punishment network also see their finances and livelihoods expropriated and destroyed by coordinated "multi-agency action" "programs of personal destruction" that deny them due process of law while degrading their lives and destroying their families.

The IRS, under Bush-Cheney, has been transmogrified into an ideological weapon of social control and inhumane punishment by these covert "multi-agency actions."

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

The bureaucrats and officers behind these "programs of personal destruction" remain entrenched. They cannot be co-opted or rehabilitated. They have threatened and harassed those who demand that they take down their unconstitutional programs.

These programs surely have contributed to the nation's economic crisis -- and by extension, the world's.

These betrayers of the Constitution must be removed from power and brought to justice.

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

Sixth addendum re: APPARENT GOVERNMENT PRIOR RESTRAINT AND CENSORSHIP OF INTERNET POLITICAL SPEECH

Just attempted to post a comment to the American Constitution Society blog.

After a L-O-N-G pause, I received a message stating that because I was a "first-time" poster, my comment was being held for review.

ONE PROBLEM: I have posted there multiple times before, and the "cookies" I left on the ACS computer should have reflected that I had posted before.

CONCLUSION: Quite possibly, government censors at the various "fusion centers" across the U.S. create "spoofed pages" of blog moderation pages, and use the moderation "pretext" as a means to exercise prior restraint and/or censorship of internet communications.

RECOMMENDATION TO WEBMASTERS: To ensure free speech on the net, moderate blogs only AFTER submissions are posted.

That way, you can ensure that rogue censors are not using spoofed pages as a means to exercise censorship upon those who are unconstitutionally "targeted" by draconian government surveillance programs sold to Congress as part of the "war on terror" -- but used to censor American citizens who dare to exercise their free speech rights.

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