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September 27 2017

20:16

Miteinander lernen im Religionsunterricht?

Die SPD-Fraktionsbeauftragte für Kirchen und Religionsgemeinschaften Kerstin Griese hält gegenüber dem Deutschlandfunk den Religionsunterricht für wichtig, damit Kinder „miteinander und voneinander lernen“.

Da stellt sich doch die Frage, wie dafür ein Unterricht besonders geeignet sein soll, der die Kinder nach Konfessionen trennt? „Miteinander und voneinander lernen“ ist eigentlich nur möglich, wenn Kinder verschiedener Konfessionen gemeinsam über Religionene und Weltanschauungen unterrichtet werden.

Ein solcher Unterricht kann dann logischerweise auch nicht mehr konfessionsgebunden sein. Der Haken dabei: Ein solcher Unterricht rührt an einem Privileg der Kirchen. Und sowas geht aus Sicht kirchennaher Politiker natürlich gar nicht. Also bemüht man lieber jedes noch so unsinnige Argument, um das bestehende System zu verteidigen und versucht mit der Einrichtung eines islamischen Religionsunterrichts die Muslime in dieses System zu integrieren. Wohlgemerkt: Integriert werden sollen die islamischen Organisationen, die Kinder dagegen werden nach „ihrer“ Religion (sprich: der ihrer Eltern) getrennt.

16:00
New Theme: Radcliffe 2

September 26 2017

17:00
Introducing Abseil, a new common libraries project
15:21

Fue el estado

Shared Article from NACLA

In Mexico, Solidarity Versus the State

Many in Mexico think the government and political parties are hampering aid efforts.

Christy Thornton @ nacla.org


. . . In Mexico City and the surrounding areas, the response of the state has caused exasperation and anger. Outside the capital, in smaller towns in the state of Puebla, for example, no official help has arrived at all; citizens are left to coordinate relief themselves. But in parts of Mexico City where massive volunteer efforts got underway immediately after the quake—such as in the central neighborhoods of Condesa and La Roma, where multiple buildings collapsed—the military later arrived and cordoned off damaged blocks, kicking out volunteers and refusing to provide further information. This has created what one journalist called a “struggle” between the military and civilians, many of whom argue that the army and marines, with their heavy equipment and top-down approach, care little about finding survivors and have done nothing to communicate with those looking for their loved ones. The marines are also coming under blame—together with the PRI-aligned Televisa television network—for stoking the false story of “Frida Sofia,” the non-existent student who was supposedly trapped in a collapsed elementary school.

Elsewhere, aid collected by volunteer groups is being channeled by a state agency known as the DIF, which is headed by the first lady and the wife of the interior minister, and is nominally responsible for family welfare programs. That is, rather than distributing government aid, the agency appears to be appropriating aid collected by citizens in order to distribute it under their banner. A widely circulating video showed aid trucks arriving in Morelos from the state of Michoacán forcibly diverted by police from their intended destination to the DIF headquarters, where huge stores of supplies sat undistributed, officials said, because they did not have bags. . . .

–Christy Thornton, In Mexico, Solidarity Versus the State (23 Sep. 2017)

14:01
Upload Once, Blog Anywhere: Photos from Google

September 25 2017

16:30
Google Summer of Code turns 14

September 23 2017

13:55

Anarchy, Swamp, and Utopia

Shared Article from Reason.com

Anarchy, Swamp, and Utopia

Archeologists offer a new look at a secretive settlement of runaway slaves.

Jesse Walker @ reason.com


September 22 2017

18:10

Aspirational History and the Color of American Citizenship

There’s a new political book out by E.J. Dionne, Norm Orenstein and Thomas E. Mann, called One Nation After Trump. Dionne and Orenstein went on Fresh Air the other day to talk about their book, their take and their hopes for a better political climate. Terry Gross asked them to speak a bit about one of the themes of their book — that part of what’s notable and different about Donald Trump and the political movement behind him, as opposed to past waves of right-wing politics, is the extent to which they have embraced ideas from the European far right.

That much is certainly true, and it’s worth noting. But what’s harder to go along with is Dionne’s effort to pivot from the influence of the European far right, into a countervailing political appeal to American patriotism. Here’s what Dionne says:

DIONNE: The idea that Bannon and Trump have imported ideas from the European far-right comes from the notion that there’s been a great historical difference between what it meant to be an American and what it meant to be a citizen in many European countries. . . . American citizenship has always been based on a commitment to ideas. It didn’t matter where you were from. It didn’t matter what the color of your skin was . . . .

–E.J. Dionne, interviewed by Terry Gross. Could The Trump Presidency Lead To An Era Of Democratic Renewal?
Fresh Air, NPR, 19 September 2017

This is just wrong. It would have been nice, and better for America and the entire world, if it had been true, but it’s flat-footedly and literally mistaken. In 1790, when Congress passed the first Naturalization Act in the U.S., the language of that act directly stated that it mattered what the color of your skin was: you had to be a free white person to qualify for naturalized American citizenship:

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any alien, being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof, on application to any common law court of record, in any one of the states wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such court, that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law, to support the constitution of the United States, which oath or affirmation such court shall administer; . . .

— An Act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization (March 26, 1790)
United States Statutes at Large, First Congress, Second Session, 103ff. (Source: White By Law: Naturalization Act of 1790)

Whiteness was a condition not only for naturalization, but for both the rights and obligations of citizenship more broadly, at the federal level and at the state level. Skin color prerequisites, nearly identical to the federal prerequisite, were written even more pervasively into the state constitutions and legal codes of antebellum Southern states. For example, in Alabama, the same formulas made white skin color was an explicit prerequisite for the franchise and for political office. At the federal level, to take another example, in 1792 Congress said that the color of your skin (as well as your gender and citizenship) mattered to your eligibility, and obligation, to serve in the militia:

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective states, resident therein, who is or shall be of the age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia by the captain or commanding officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this act.

— An Act more effectually to provide for the National Defence by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States (May 8, 1792)
United States Statutes at Large, First Congress, Second Session, 271-274. (Source: White By Law: Uniform Militia Act of 1792)

Every amendment to the Naturalization Act passed from 1790 up until 1952 repeated the free white person formula, or a close variation on it. In 1870, in the wake of Emancipation and Reconstruction, there was a debate in the Senate over whether to remove the racial prerequisite from citizenship; but in the end the Reconstruction drive to wipe out the racial-law legacy of slavery ran up against the rising nativist sentiment against Chinese immigration in the West. And in the event, the bill that they passed never struck out the racial prerequisite; it just added aliens of African nativity and … persons of African descent as a second racial category that could be admitted. For the next 80 years, a series of prerequisite cases in the federal courts — beginning with In Re Ah Yup — repeatedly affirmed that skin color absolutely mattered to a person’s eligibility for American citizenship, and then litigated over and over again the sometimes porous legal and social boundaries of just who counted as white. (For example, Chinese and Japanese immigrants did not; Mexican immigrants did. For many immigrant groups, including Arabs and South Asians, different courts made numerous, sometimes inconsistent rulings. A good, standard reference on this series of cases is Ian F. Haney-Lopez’s White By Law: The Legal Construction of Race.) Gradually Congress added more racial groups in addition to white and black, but this basic framework — of a limited number of racial categories allowed to become naturalized citizens, and everyone else ruled ineligible to citizenship — remained the core of American naturalization law until racial bars were finally repealed by the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1952.

There is no question that for the first century and a half of its existence, the United States government was explicitly a racial state, and that race and skin color were explicit conditions on citizenship and political participation. This shouldn’t be surprising: before the Civil War, the United States was a slaveholding nation. After the Civil War, immigration exclusion and Jim Crow increasingly reinscribed systems of racial categorization into the law.

I hope it should go without saying that this is not any kind of argument in favor of race or skin color as a condition of citizenship. The fact that the United States had a long tradition of racially discriminatory citizenship laws isn’t any reason to think kindly of the traditional, white supremacist approach. It’s a reason to think worse of the United States government, and to be much more skeptical of traditional American patriotism. Whatever deeper values Dionne may think were present in the American system, at some other level, and however much he may think that the old racial prerequisite law was an aberration or an inconsistency, there is no way that you can reasonably pretend that It didn’t matter what the color of your skin was without substituting a sort of aspirational self-identity for the much messier historical fact.

September 20 2017

20:49

Letters to our Family (September 2017)

Dear Black & Pink,

I just got a hold of your December 2016 issue and I loved it. I was unaware that there was something like this newsletter for us in prison. I’ve been to three different prisons in ten years and I just got this. To have a place where we can reach out to one another, share our stories, and the injustices of the “justice” system is invaluable.

Most of us have had to hide who or what we are growing up and/or in prison. I am relatively new to “the life,” having only been able to accept myself for who and what I am openly and actively 2.5 years ago. I fought myself since I was 14. I’m now 29, openly gay and happy.

Had there been a support system this strong available when I first noticed my feelings, I may have been a whole other person than the one I am today. To be able to accept yourself when you live in a place that makes you feel like you have to hide constantly is a major victory for someone when they’re young. Black & Pink gives confidence to those of us who haven’t had any because of the way we were raised. I’m so glad that Black & Pink is here offering support and encouragement, letting people like me know we’re not alone.

Thank you Black & Pink,
David (OH)

 

Black & Pink Family,

I recently received your Newsletter for the first time. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in this place. I’m a gay male of color who has just recently started feeling comfortable with who I am as a person. With the “jacket” that comes with being gay in prison it is difficult as all of you know to have true friendships. So I hid who I was for a long time. However, I am who I am and I’m happy with that now.

I met the love of my life at my last unit. I had no idea it was possible for me to find happiness in a place like this but I did. I say all of that to say this, keep your heads up my LGBT family. There is happiness out there for all of us. I was a cutter, I was bullied and I hated myself. But I love myself now and there are people who love me too. I love you. Never forget that. You are special and wonderfully made.

Love,
Chris (TX)

P.S.—Pain is inevitable, misery is optional

 

Dear Black & Pink Family,

I’m writing to send my love, respect, kisses, and hugs to you. My name is Rosalyn. I am a transgender woman (MTF). I’m 32 years old. I’ve been in prison 12 years and I’ve got another 12 years to do in prison. As a female (a trans female, at that), I’ve had a hard time in prison, especially because I’m a Muslim. I’ve been denied the right to freely practice my religion. I’m denied a prayer rug to offer my daily prayers, I’ve been denied a hijab (shawl) to cover my hair during prayer, and when leaving my cell I was out right denied the right to be seen by a transgender specialist based solely on the fact that I was not seen by a transgender specialist and treated for gender dysphoria while on the streets.

That clearly makes this a freezeframe policy, especially since it was given to me in black and white, which makes it unconstitutional, because it does not provide for individualized assessment and treatment for a serious medical issue. But if you look at Arnold v. Wilson, which involves a transgender woman whose diagnosis and treatment began while incarcerated, the courts noted that hormone therapy may be initiated during incarceration upon diagnosis with GID.

I’m a strong, African-American queen and there are two things I will not tolerate: 1) I will not tolerate any disrespect from anyone, especially a man; 2) I will not tolerate, nor accept, the word “no” when my rights are being violated. I’m filing a 1983 lawsuit against the state of Maryland and its officials for denying me hormone therapy due to a freeze-frame policy. I’m attacking the freezeframe policy and their denial of my right to freely practice my religion.

The pen is a dangerous weapon when you have knowledge and the know-how to use it, so it’s very wise for my LGBTQI brothers and sisters to educate themselves and arm themselves with a pen and pad. It’s just like having a MAK-90–it blows through anything. Brothers and sisters, do not fear losing your family and friends because of who you are, because if they truly love you, they will support you, but if they don’t love you, they will leave you. And guess what! You still have your LGBTQI family who will love, respect, support, and accept you for who you are. Don’t hide out of fear of losing family and/ or friends, nor act out of fear of what people think, because in the end, it will only destroy you psychologically. Love yourself for who you truly are: a queen or king.

Love, respect, hugs, and kisses,
Your sister,
Roslayn L. (MD)

11:43

Chrome 62 Beta: Network Quality Estimator API, OpenType variable fonts, and media capture from DOM elements

Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome Beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Network Quality Estimator API

The Network Infomation API has been available in previous versions of Chrome, but has only provided theoretical network speeds given the type of a user's connection. In this release, the API has been expanded to provide developers with network performance metrics as experienced by the client. Using the API, a developer can inspect the current expected round trip time and throughput and be notified of performance changes. To simplify application logic, the API also summarizes measured network performance as the cellular connection type (e.g. 2G ) most similar to it, even if the actual connection is WiFi or Ethernet.


Using these network quality signals, developers can tailor content to network constraints. For example, on very slow connections, developers can serve a simplified version of the page to improve page load times .  These signals will also soon be available as HTTP request headers and enabled via Client Hints .

OpenType Variable Fonts

OpenType Font Variations bring new typographic capabilities to the web. Previously, one font file contained just a single instance of a font family, including only one weight (Regular, Bold, Black…) or one stretch (Normal, Condensed, Expanded…).
Figure: Animated Amstelvar and Decovar variable font examples


With variable fonts, responsive design on the web now extends to typography. OpenType Variations provide a continuous spectrum of stylistic variations while saving space and bandwidth, since they all load from a single compact font file. Stretch, style, and weight can be adjusted using the respective updated CSS properties which now allow numeric values. Fine tuning of variation axis parameters, such as weight or width, is possible using the font-variation-settings CSS property.

Media Capture from DOM Elements

The W3C Media Capture from DOM Elements API now allows sites to live-capture content in the form of a MediaStream directly from HTMLMediaElements (i.e. <video> and <audio> ). By invoking the captureStream() method on HTMLMediaElements , streamed content can be recorded and sent remotely using WebRTC, processed with WebAudio, or manipulated in various other ways .


Sorry! Your browser does not support the video element. View animationhere.
Figure: A 3D rendering being live-captured and streamed to a peer connection using WebRTC.

Other features in this release

Deprecations and interoperability improvements

  • Following an update to native button appearance on macOS, the appearance of <input> buttons and the <button> element have been similarly changed , affecting the default values for the background-color ,   border ,   border-radius , and padding CSS properties .
  • The ability to request permission to show notifications has been removed over HTTP connections and within cross-origin iframes , in line with our policy on restricting powerful features to only HTTPS.
  • To increase accuracy and ensure that users receive content in the language they expect, base language is now added immediately after language+region when generating accept-language headers from language settings.
  • To improve UX and browser consistency, transitional mouse events will now be dispatched , and hover states will now be updated more quickly after the intended layout has been modified.
  • OfflineAudioContext now accepts a dictionary argument, in addition to the existing constructor that takes three separate arguments.
  • In line with other browsers, the getStreamById method on RTCPeerConnection has now been removed .
  • SharedWorker.workerStart has been removed, following its deprecation and removal from other major browsers.
  • To better conform to spec, the default value of <ol>.start has been set to 1 .

Posted by Ben Greenstein and Tarun Bansal, The Network’s Watch
Reposted bysofiasfinkregh

September 19 2017

14:00
Authenticating to Hashicorp Vault using GCE Signed Metadata
10:28

Rad Geek status update (19 Sep 2017, 5:28am)

Shared Article from Prudentia

Getting it Right, or Left: Marxism and Competition

It's educational to keep friends around who disagree with you. ... Disagreeing, if not disagreeable, friends make you a better person and a better sci…

Deirdre McCloskey @ deirdremccloskey.org


September 18 2017

16:33
Announcing Google Code-in 2017: The Latest and Greatest for Year Eight
01:12

Rad Geek status update (17 Sep 2017, 8:12pm)

Shared Article from latimes.com

Are we headed for a second civil war?

A near-future war with two clear sides is about as likely as a war with the Moon.

latimes.com


A.: Probably not.

September 14 2017

23:10

Unified autoplay

Users watch and listen to a lot of media, and autoplay can make it faster and easier to consume on the web. However, one of the most frequent user concerns is unexpected media playback, which can use data, consume power, and make unwanted noise while browsing. To address this, Chrome will be making autoplay more consistent with user expectations and will give users more control over audio.

Starting in Chrome 64, autoplay will be allowed when either the media won’t play sound, or the user has indicated an interest in the media. This will allow autoplay to occur when users want media to play, and respect users' wishes when they don't. These changes will also unify desktop and mobile web behavior, making web media development more predictable across platforms and browsers.

Not all users have the same preferences for autoplay media, so Chrome 63 will add a new user option to completely disable audio for individual sites. This site muting option will persist between browsing sessions, allowing users to customize when and where audio will play.

These changes will give users greater control over media playing in their browser, while making it easier for publishers to implement autoplay where it benefits the user. For more details, please see the autoplay roadmap.

Posted by Mounir Lamouri, Software Engineer

September 13 2017

17:26

Welcome Message from New National Director, Tray Johns!

Dear Members,

Aloha and Greetings to you all, I would like to formally introduce myself. I am Tray Johns (pronouns, she, her, him, he, they, or just tray), the new National Director for Black & Pink. First off, let me express how humble I am to accept this enormous responsibility and immediately give you the reassurances that I fully intend to carry on Jason’s vision and make Black & Pink everything Jason continues to dream of. I am in awe of this man. I love him and his beautiful spirit and his amazing partner Johannes, so don’t fret: they will always be with Black & Pink because I refuse to let him go.

I’m 42 years old, born and raised on the south side of Chicago at the height of the crack epidemic, 1985- 1995. During those years, crack destroyed my family, but not me. I joined the Navy and got out, but the streets always found a way back in me. No matter where I lived, when the going gets rough for Tray the south side of Chicago gonna come out and I’m gonna make it. I was 21 raising five children, the streets took my sister, by 27 I had eight kids under 12, prison took my brother, and I was left with all the kids.

On May 10th, 2003, I graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with my Bachelors degree in Administration of Justice and made the Deans List with eight kids. Then, five days later, I was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison for 9.7 grams of crack cocaine. I served eight years, seven months, and 19 days for less than $500 worth of drugs. I became a jailhouse lawyer, I helped my sisters, I got “transferred” from Greenville, IL, to Hazelton, WV, to Waseca, MN, to Pekin IL, to Danbury, CT. Because I believe in the almighty administrative remedy and the tort claim. So I wasn’t the most compliant prisoner. I once told a warden, “Growing up I have not once told myself I wanted to be the best inmate I could be, that wasn’t in the plan, so don’t think you are gonna get it from me. If you can’t handle me, send me home.” I got “transferred” for a head count.

I have been home for six years, albeit I was sent back for four months in 2015 for leaving the district without permission, when my mother had a stroke in Chicago and I drove five hours to the hospital and called my PO “an hour after I already left.” My second year home

I was making $65,000 a year as an engineer for Continental Tires. By my fourth year out I was knee deep in Can-Do Clemency advocacy for the White House Clemency Project 2014. Many of you may have heard of it.

My rallying cry has been and will always be #freeTyniceHall. She is my prison daughter and friend and I have been slacking in keeping up but I will fight for her until she is home. I will fight against the prison- industrial complex, until it’s destroyed. I don’t give up. In 2016, I traveled to 125 cities, went to the White House three times, was arrested at the White House by the Secret Service. Went to the Department of Justice, organized a rally and march

for Lashonda Hall in Knoxville, TN. My sisters Karen Davis, Lenora Logan, Mackese Speight, and Bernetta Willis, and my brothers Aaron Brooks, James Ortega, and Lawrence

McCarroll—I have fought the good fight for them, and I will never give up. I have spoke at law schools and corner churches, crisscrossed this country, sleeping in my car, tired, broke and determined. I bring that same perseverance and determination to Black & Pink.

I met my wife in 2009 in prison Waseca, MN, I left her in 2010, I came home in 2011, and when she walked out those doors in December 2016, I was standing right there in the airport and we moved to Hawaii with one suitcase and $200 so she would never be alone again. I bring that dedication to Black & Pink.

While Black & Pink is going through this huge transition, I am recently married and am moving my wife, Foxxy, from Hawaii to Boston and dealing with probation. I would ask for your continued support— this organization is nothing without its volunteers. I have a dream opportunity here, and amazing work is already being done throughout the country in the prisons and out.

Our chapters came together at the National Gathering in August and put together the future of Black & Pink and they were simply brilliant— ideas flowed, the conversation was like we had known each other for years, and I was able to capture and see the passion that these volunteers have for this work and feel encouraged that when I officially join the team this train ain’t even slowing down. I applaud every last one of you. I thank you and I look forward to your guidance and your patience as I take on this task and align our visions to destroy the prison-industrial complex in our lifetime.

I look to hearing your feedback.

Yours truly,
Tray “Rock” Johns

17:17

Farewell Message from Jason

Dear Friends,

I hope this note finds you as well as possible. As you turn the pages of this magazine, I hope you feel the love and dedication that so many people put into making this happen. I hope you feel the care that volunteers and other prisoners are offering to you. I hope you know that even as the prison walls keep you from those of us on the outside, you are never forgotten. This magazine is made possible by hours of volunteer time, hours of prisoners writing, and thousands of dollars donated by our friends. Please know that this is just one of the tools Black & Pink has created to help us get closer to the world we dream of. Together, all of us, we have the strength to win the struggle for liberation.

I write my letter this month with a great mix of emotions. This is my last letter for Black & Pink News. After founding Black & Pink 12 years ago, and taking on working full-time as the National Director five years ago, I am stepping down from my role. As I step down, I am incredibly excited that Tray is stepping up!

Black & Pink has gone through a two-year transition process which many of you have been part of. We clarified our values as an organization (with nearly 200 people offering their feedback), we designed a structure chart, and we created a decision making system. All of these things have been designed to increase our work while staying true to our values. All of the changes in this transition have been worked on with intention and dedication. Our shift in leadership is about making sure that those most affected by the harms of the prison industrial complex are always in the lead at Black & Pink. As many have said before, those closest to the problem are the ones with the best solutions. Transitions and change can be challenging, and there will be bumps along the way, though as a family, Black & Pink will always have one another and this this is an exciting time for Black & Pink.

As I step down from this position, do not think that I am stepping out of our movement for abolition. When I got out of prison I reached out to many mainstream LGBT groups to tell them about what had happened to me while I was locked up and to ask them how I could get involved in anti-prison work. Over and over I was told that these organizations did not do work on “criminal justice” issues. Black & Pink started because I needed to stay connected with those on the inside who had looked out for me. I needed to respond to the things I had seen. Now, nearly every major LGBT nonprofit has some dedicated staff time focused on prisoner justice struggles. Many of these organizations have full time staff who work on prison, court, and police issues. There are also nearly a dozen organizations in the country who are focused almost entirely on LGBTQ and/or HIV prisoner struggles.

Much has changed in the last 12 years when it comes to advocacy work. Unfortunately, even as much has changed, far too much has stayed the same. Prisons continue to torture our members. Millions of people continue to be locked up. Abolition continues to feel too far away. While I am stepping out of my position at Black & Pink, I promise you that I will never step away from our values or our larger work. I promise that I will keep fighting.

I am sorry that I will not be able to stay in touch with everyone. There are not nearly enough hours in the day to write to everyone who has been part of Black & Pink. However, you are all in very capable and loving hands. Tray, Monica, and Ty as the national staff are all dedicated to building with and supporting you. Black & Pink will continue to grow and the resources available will expand. Your vision, your voice, your ideas all need to keep shaping what Black & Pink does. Be sure to share your thoughts.

Black & Pink is only possible because our prisoner membership calls upon us to do work. Give your feedback and keep up with what work needs to be done. We will all struggle in this movement together, no matter where we are, knowing that once there were no prisons, that day will come again.

Jason

September 12 2017

18:09

This Was Inevitable: Copyright and ISP Blocking

Copyright JailIt was just a matter of time before some large-scale holder of copyright monopolies tried this in the U.S...

The American Chemical Society has asked a U.S. court to require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access -- that is, refuse to carry network traffic to and from -- a site that the ACS claims is infringing its copyrights.

ISP-blocking is different, and worse, than domain seizure, and domain seizure for copyright infringement is already bad enough.  ISP-blocking asks the court to step into new and dangerous territory, in which freedom of communications and the reliability of Internet infrastructure are degraded merely to provide another tool for enforcing a controversial and limited information monopoly.  (It is by definition controversial -- just ask yourself who are all those people whom the ISP block is intended to block?  They must be people who do not agree with how copyright law restricts their access to this information.)

The ACS's request is deeply wrong, in so many ways:

It ignores the principle and the spirit of common carrier status.  ISPs are not supposed to be arbiters of acceptable comunication; they are not supposed to police content.  Their job is to carry network traffic from one place to another.  It does not take any great imagination to see why freedom of speech and of association depend on ISPs performing this job faithfully.  This was also the point of granting them the "safe harbor" provisions in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the EU's "mere conduit" liability limitation in the Electronic Commerce Directive.  These were smart boundaries to draw around ISP responsibility.  The ACS's request flies in the face of this principle.

It creates a moral hazard that attracts unscrupulous plaintiffs.  If any time a complainant can get a court to agree that some site's content is illegal, ISPs must block anyone's access to that site, then we've thrown the door wide open for malicious plaintiffs seeking to use the legal system not only to harass their opponents, but to suppress even their ability to speak.  It would bring SLAPP-style abuse to a whole new level.

It damages the entire Internet by blocking access indiscriminately.  Suppose I happen to have an unauthorized copy of some copyrighted material, but you are authorized to have as many copies as you want.  If you ask me for a copy, and I give you one, there is no (additional) crime: you are not infringing any copyrights, and I'm not infringing any more than I was already.  But if I am blocked at the ISP level, then I cannot hand copies even to those who have every right to receive them.  This is not merely theoretical.  Suppose that the web site is operating in a country with different copyright laws from the U.S.  When someone in the U.S. tries to access that site, neither the ACS nor the court nor the ISP has any clue whether that person is authorized to receive copies of the copyrighted papers they are trying to access.  Maybe it's a fully paid-up ACS member.  Maybe it's a student at a school that has signed an applicable agreement with the ACS.  Maybe it's one of the paper's authors!  You just don't know.  This is why ISP-level blocking is such a dangerous thing.  It breaks Internet infrastructure for everyone equally.

It will involve collateral damage to unrelated sites.  Most web sites are co-hosted on shared servers at commercial hosting providers.  While law enforcement can target a site's name, through domain seizure, to truly effectively block network access to the site's server means also blocking access to the other, unrelated sites that just happen to use the same server (otherwise, the block is not too hard to get around).  How would you feel about law enforcement sweeps that regularly capture not only the suspect, but also ten or so random bystanders who happen to be near her when she's arrested?  That's what effective ISP blocking will do.  Once again: it breaks Internet infrastructure in ways that affect everyone, not just the target.

It is incompatible with the ACS's own mission.  "To advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people."  Enough said.

As Stephen McLaughlin was quoted as saying in the Inside Higher Ed writeup: "The very idea makes my head spin. ISP blocking happens in the U.K., Germany and several other Western countries, but the U.S. simply doesn’t do that, to my knowledge."

Yes, and let's not start now.

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18:09

This Was Inevitable: Copyright and ISP Blocking

Copyright JailIt was just a matter of time before some large-scale holder of copyright monopolies tried this in the U.S...

The American Chemical Society has asked a U.S. court to require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access -- that is, refuse to carry network traffic to and from -- a site that the ACS claims is infringing its copyrights.

ISP-blocking is different, and worse, than domain seizure, and domain seizure for copyright infringement is already bad enough.  ISP-blocking asks the court to step into new and dangerous territory, in which freedom of communications and the reliability of Internet infrastructure are degraded merely to provide another tool for enforcing a controversial and limited information monopoly.  (It is by definition controversial -- just ask yourself who are all those people whom the ISP block is intended to block?  They must be people who do not agree with how copyright law restricts their access to this information.)

The ACS's request is deeply wrong, in so many ways:

It ignores the principle and the spirit of common carrier status.  ISPs are not supposed to be arbiters of acceptable comunication; they are not supposed to police content.  Their job is to carry network traffic from one place to another.  It does not take any great imagination to see why freedom of speech and of association depend on ISPs performing this job faithfully.  This was also the point of granting them the "safe harbor" provisions in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the EU's "mere conduit" liability limitation in the Electronic Commerce Directive.  These were smart boundaries to draw around ISP responsibility.  The ACS's request flies in the face of this principle.

It creates a moral hazard that attracts unscrupulous plaintiffs.  If any time a complainant can get a court to agree that some site's content is illegal, ISPs must block anyone's access to that site, then we've thrown the door wide open for malicious plaintiffs seeking to use the legal system not only to harass their opponents, but to suppress even their ability to speak.  It would bring SLAPP-style abuse to a whole new level.

It damages the entire Internet by blocking access indiscriminately.  Suppose I happen to have an unauthorized copy of some copyrighted material, but you are authorized to have as many copies as you want.  If you ask me for a copy, and I give you one, there is no (additional) crime: you are not infringing any copyrights, and I'm not infringing any more than I was already.  But if I am blocked at the ISP level, then I cannot hand copies even to those who have every right to receive them.  This is not merely theoretical.  Suppose that the web site is operating in a country with different copyright laws from the U.S.  When someone in the U.S. tries to access that site, neither the ACS nor the court nor the ISP has any clue whether that person is authorized to receive copies of the copyrighted papers they are trying to access.  Maybe it's a fully paid-up ACS member.  Maybe it's a student at a school that has signed an applicable agreement with the ACS.  Maybe it's one of the paper's authors!  You just don't know.  This is why ISP-level blocking is such a dangerous thing.  It breaks Internet infrastructure for everyone equally.

It will involve collateral damage to unrelated sites.  Most web sites are co-hosted on shared servers at commercial hosting providers.  While law enforcement can target a site's name, through domain seizure, to truly effectively block network access to the site's server means also blocking access to the other, unrelated sites that just happen to use the same server (otherwise, the block is not too hard to get around).  How would you feel about law enforcement sweeps that regularly capture not only the suspect, but also ten or so random bystanders who happen to be near her when she's arrested?  That's what effective ISP blocking will do.  Once again: it breaks Internet infrastructure in ways that affect everyone, not just the target.

It is incompatible with the ACS's own mission.  "To advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people."  Enough said.

As Stephen McLaughlin was quoted as saying in the Inside Higher Ed writeup: "The very idea makes my head spin. ISP blocking happens in the U.K., Germany and several other Western countries, but the U.S. simply doesn’t do that, to my knowledge."

Yes, and let's not start now.

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06:40

Zeitschrift MIZ zur Bundestagswahl

Mit den religionspolitischen Aussagen in den Wahlprogrammen der Parteien befasst sich die vom IBKA herausgegebene Zeitschrift MIZ in Heft 2/17.

Neben einem Überblickartikel kommen Politiker aus den drei Parteien zu Wort, in denen es (offizielle oder inoffizielle) säkulare Bundesarbeitsgruppen gibt. Weitere Themen sind unter anderem der Mitgliederschwund bei den beiden großen christlichen Kirchen, die Finanzierung des Katholikentages in Münster 2018 sowie das "Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz" und seiner Folgen für Religionskritik in sozialen Netzwerken.

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