Times peds 230Google and Facebook continue to fail at blocking what society considers abusive. It may not be possible to do so without a truly massive team examining videos. Despite the German government threatening $millions/day in fines, government pressure everywhere, advertisers fleeing and thousands hired, the control systems are failing. 

Alexi Mostrous, Head of Investigations at Murdoch's Times of London, just before yearend reports, "Child predators are using YouTube as a 'shop window' to showcase abused children before exchanging explicit footage and images with paedophiles around the world. One Brazilian paedophile posted a dozen videos of young girls to YouTube this month. Most were ten seconds long and showed the children standing silently, licking their lips or dancing. One showed a masked child aged about ten saying: “Hey guys I got new underwear.”

Each video was emblazoned with the paedophile’s email address. When an undercover reporter made contact, the man boasted he had 315 gigabytes of material showing 'naked' children.

Another alleged child abuser, calling himself Horny Pastor, was allowed to create a YouTube channel despite having a username that had been flagged to US and Canadian child-abuse authorities. He posted five videos including one called '12 yr old Nancy twerking in grey outfit.' In his profile section he invited viewers to swap explicit content on Telegram, the encrypted chat application."

Mostrous added Youtube "listed the first paedophile’s YouTube page in its 'recommended channels' section." He quotes Adrian Waterman, QC, that if YouTube could be shown to have “done an act which encouraged or assisted the possession or showing of indecent images, that might amount to a criminal offence.” 

Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the home affairs select committee, writes, “I find it beyond belief that this disgusting and illegal material is still being posted on YouTube. It calls into question Google’s fitness for purpose and capability to keep its platform free from illegal material.”

I believe those expecting a technical fix for problems like this have been disappointed. It appears any even modestly effective algorithm will exclude massive amounts of acceptable material. Google's recent changes have clobbered respected progressive publications in the U.S.  

Almost inevitably, under threat of large fines or other sanctions, the Googles of the world will over-censor. Without simple, clear rules about what is permitted, any corporation will bend over backward to avoid fines. 

Apolitical religious sermons have been taken down because other actions drew condemnation. A statement like this probably would fall under the rubric of "inciting terrorism" as defined by the German and British government.

"For 100 years, British and American forces have killed tens of thousands, starting with the British conquest of Iraq. The CIA overthrew the Democratic government of Iran in 1953. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died, many of starvation and malnutrition, during the American embargo of Iraq, justified by claims of "weapons of mass destruction' that were never found.'

500,000 Syrians have died in a civil war that would not have occurred without the active support of the Americans and their Saudi allies. Totalitarian regimes, such as Mubarak in Egypt, were supported by  $billions from the Americans. Over a million have suffered from cholera this year in Yemen, due to a blockade by the Saudis supported by a $100B arms deal negotiated directly by Trump's regime. 

Wedding parties have been bombed, confused with "terrorists." Drones are killing both targets and bystanders on the flimsiest of evidence, some surely wrong. Discrimination against Muslims in the U.S. is undeniable. In England, it's so common "Paki-bashing" is now part of the language." 

All of which is well-supported and true as far as I know. If I added, as I believe, the net result has merely been the replacement of one group of corrupt, violent thugs with another group of corrupt, violent thugs approved by the Americans, as in Afganistan and Iraq, is that supporting terrorism? 

What if I said it is the patriotic duty of all to actively expel the Americans? That's a reasonable statement clearly supported by the U.S. Constitution. (I don't know if I agree.)

Google, under threats of $500M in German fines, would probably censor that algorithmically. They be fools to take the risk; Google's top management are not fools.

There's no easy answer to censoring clearly illegal content, like child pornography, without also censoring clearly legal speech, like the famous Vietnam photo of a napalmed young girl. 


The world needs a good news source on Internet and telecom policy. I hope to create one. Catch a mistake? Email me please.  Dave Burstein


Professor Noam's "Many Internets" http://bit.ly/ManyNets

Until about 2010, everyone agreed the Net was a "network of networks," not a monolithic entity. There was a central authority, ICANN, keeping track of domain names, but that was a minor administrative function.
Columbia Professor Noam suggests we might be better off accepting that some nations or groups might want to organize their networks differently. It's easy to see demand for an Internet with much more effective filters against material some think harmful to children. (Any 10 year old can easily find porn today. Many do.)
Internet translation is getting better very quickly. You might want an "Internet" that translates everything into your language. Google Chrome translation isn't perfect but I was able to research most of this story on Russian language sites. With a few more years progress, I might welcome an alternate that brings me everything in English, including caching for better performance.
De facto, Internet news is already split, as hundreds of millions only get their news from Facebook. Google AMP pages, including for news, also favor selected parts of the net
Centralizing the DNS doesn't prevent censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. There are many Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists who want to block what they consider blasphemy and limit free speech. See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-hold-rally-on-internet-at-citi-field.html . More from Noam http://bit.ly/ManyNets

Russia Orders Alternate Root Internet System http://bit.ly/RussiaDNS
It's actually practical and not necessarily a problem.The Security Council of the Russian Federation, headed by Vladimir Putin, has ordered the "government to develop an independent internet infrastructure for BRICS nations, which would continue to work in the event of global internet malfunctions ... This system would be used by countries of the BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa." RT
Columbia University Professor Eli Noam and then ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé have both said such a system is perfectly practical as long as there is robust interconnection.
Actually, the battle over ICANN and domain names is essentially symbolic. Managing the DNS is a relatively insignificant task, more clerical than governing. ICANN Chair Steve Crocker pointed out they had very little to do with policy.
Some will claim this is about blocking free speech but that's rhetoric. Russia doesn't need to fiddle with the DNS for censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. The wonders of the Internet will continue so long as the resulting nets" are robustly connected. The ICANN and U.S. policy goal should be to help create that system for interconnection.
I expect contentions that “The Russians are taking over our Internet” and “They are splitting the Internet.” The Internet is a “Network of Networks.” It is not a monolith so what would “splitting” it mean or do?
After the WCIT, China realized that ICANN and the DNS are side issues not worth bothering about. They have been building alternate institutions including the World Internet Summit in Wuzhan and the BRICs conferences.  The Chinese have put their main work where decisions that matter are made. Wireless standards are set by 3GPP, where nothing can be approved without China's consent.
The American battle at ITU is proving to be a historic mistake.
Why does Russia want an independent Internet?
They fear that Western sanctions on Russia could cripple the Russian Net. Communications minister, Nikolay Nikiforov, worries about, "a scenario where our esteemed partners would suddenly decide to disconnect us from the internet." I think that's highly unlikely but Nikiforov points out, “Recently, Russia is being addressed in a language of unilateral sanctions: first, our credit cards are being cut off; then the European Parliament says that they’ll disconnect us from SWIFT."
It makes sense for the Russians to be prepared for such a contingency as the Cold War has been warming up on both sides. "Britain's top military chief Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach just made headlines warning Russian subs "could CRIPPLE Britain by cutting undefended undersea internet cables." Much more http://bit.ly/RussiaDNS

ICANN Continues Excluding Russia & China From the Board http://bit.ly/CEOPromises
No wonder Russia wants an alternate root. Three years ago, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé promised "a seat at the table" to Chinese Premier Li. ICANN welched and this year added two more Americans.
Almost all the ICANN board is from the U.S. and close allies; only about 4 of the 18 board members are from countries on the other side of the North/South divide in Internet policy.  Claiming ICANN represents the Global Internet is inappropriate. China is 1/3rd of the Internet but has no representation on the board.
I know many of the board members. They are all basically honorable but generally share a strong opinion on North-South issues.
Larry Strickling of the U.S. government knew just what he was doing with the IANA transition. He handed over to a board with similar positions as the U.S. government.
"The system is unsustainable while it excludes half the world," I have been saying since 2012. More, including the transcript of Fadi's statements,http://bit.ly/CEOPromises

Sorry, Ajit Pai: Smaller Telcos Did Not Reduce Investment After NN Ruling http://bit.ly/SorryPai
Pai justifies his NN choice with the claim, "The impact has been particularly serious for smaller Internet service providers." #wrong (Actually, NN has minimal effects on investment, up or down, I’m convinced. Competition, new technology, customer demand and similar are far more important.)
The two largest suppliers to “smaller ISPs” saw sales go up. Adtran's sales the most recent nine months were $540M, up from $473M the year before. 2016 was $636M, 2015 $600M. Calix the last nine months sold $372M, up from $327M. The full year 2016 was $459M, up from $407M in 2015. Clearfield, a supplier of fiber optic gear, was up 8% in sales in the smaller ISPs.
There is nothing in the data from others that suggests an alternate trend. Anyone could have found this data in a few minutes from the company quarterly reports.
The results in larger companies are ambiguous. I can "prove" capex went up or went down by selecting the right data. The four largest companies' capex - two/thirds of the total - went up from $52.7B in 2015 to $55.7B in 2016. The result remains positive after making sensible adjustments for mergers and acquisitions. That's as close to "proving" that NN led to increased spending as the facts chosen to prove the opposite.
Actually, whether capex went up or down in 2016 tells us almost nothing about the choice on neutrality. Everyone knows a single datapoint could be random or due to other causes. Much more, including the source of the errors http://bit.ly/SorryPai

Elders Bearing Witness: Vint, Timbl, & Many More http://bit.ly/VintTim
Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak and more than a dozen true Internet pioneers wrote Congress to protect Neutrality. The best Congress money can buy didn't listen but I wanted to reproduce their letter.
I hope they are wrong believing "is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create." My take is the impact will be moderate in the short run.
From the letter:
We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. ... The FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology. These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017.
Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained. The technically-incorrect proposed Order ... More, including the full list, http://bit.ly/VintTim