Alidar Jarok wrote:
Actually, while phone companies are common carriers and are bound to carry communications fairly, internet service providers are not. There's been no Supreme Court case to declare this, but the Brand X from the 9th Cicuit did squarely hold this. While there have been calls for net neutrality laws, there is no current net neutrality.
Link regarding yahoo censoring emails
I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you divide telephone companies and ISP's. All ISP's (that I am aware of) are telephone companies and cable companies. I am 90% positive that the moment a cable company supplies internet or telephone services they are bound by all laws the telephone companies are bound by. But I am going to look into that to make sure.
As for there being no active net neutrality law, I guess I have to look into that. And because I was the one that made the proclomation, the burden of proof is on me.
As for the link, I found it very interesting. It reminds me of that Google "Islam is" auto search or auto complete search field function.
If you don't know what I am talking about, it was where if you go to google and type something like "Christianity is " it gives you search suggestions like "Christianity is a religion, is wrong, is good, is true, is false, is a cult" and so on. And you could do this with all the major religions. Type in "Islam is" and you got nothing.
Well Google fixed that and proclaimed they were not protecting Islam, it was an error in their search algorythm. Which is pretty much what yahoo said. Here is a video by youtuber The Amazing Atheist demonstrating that all the religions have search recommendations but not Islam http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qott73xMyLk
A lot of people will say that a corporation blocking something like a search suggestion autocomplete or an email that contains a politcal agenda that might have a repatative phrase, is complete censorship and not the result of an error in spam filters and algorythms.
However, there was a thing on Youtube where the word "sneeze" would only give you an error message when searching for it. All other words displayed results, just not the word "sneeze". I can't see a motive for blocking that word for a day.
Then there was another word, that was also completely pointless as it had nothing to do with controversy or politics, that Youtube would not display for a day. So there actually can be errors.
I've also had my mail and other peoples mail on yahoo and hotmail get stuck in limbo for a day, and the message contained nothing political. If I recall, it was just a few pictures of my rottweiler.
So strange glitches have been known to happen. But OK, there might actually be censorship going on.
I appreciated the link, and I will look more into it.
Alidar Jarok wrote:
Well, there's the general 18 U.S.C. § 1465, which prohibits distribution of obscene materials for the purpose of sale. Otherwise, there's no specific law covering obscenity on the internet, but they have the power to do so under first amendment jurisprudence (Reno v. ACLU covered indecency, not obscenity and was properly struck down). It's also valid for state laws to ban pornography on the internet and I'm not about to check all 51 jurisdictions to see if there's one on the books.
So what you are saying is, you have no proof that any current obscenity law in the US is being enforced in regards to the internet?
If so, that's what I just said.
Alidar Jarok wrote:
I can cite a book for an example of comcast censoring in its capacity as ISP, but you would have to acquire the book to confirm my information.
I am aware of this. They throttle bandwidth not as a result of what you are viewing, but of how much data you are consuming at any given moment. Some times they slow you down for a few hours, some times they cap you after 50 gigs for the rest of the month, and slow you down to dial up speed, and get away with saying "unlimited" broadband because they don't actually disconnect you. This is not only true for Comcast but for all ISP's. When users plugged into a node are consuming far more bandwidth than anticipated, the system overloads, hits its limit, and certain people must be throttled. This happens in areas that have a poor system, and Comcast doesn't feel like upgrading their system. When enough people complain that they are going to FIOS for internet service, Comcast upgrades their system so that they don't need to throttle customers bandwidth. I can honestly say they've never throttled me, and I am the sort of dude who downloads a 100 gigs from a bit torrent, on Monday, and then spends the rest of the week watching hi definition youtube and netflix movies, while having a 3 way video chat. i.e. I am an ISP's worst nightmare. Thank god I don't pay by the gigabyte, and be broke in a heart beet and crying "I want free internet!" But yes, I am aware of there bandwidth throttling and how they aren't very fourth coming with this information. But it doesn't violate the principal of net neutrality because it does not go by the source of data, just the amount of data. It's no different than a cell phone cutting you off because you went over your bandwidth limit, not because you were talking to your white supremacist pals or talking about the joys of Islam, or having dirty talk with the girlfriend.
Alidar Jarok wrote:
No. This is factually wrong. The Fourth amendment applies to government searches. Under the USA PATRIOT Act, they can only search your emails if a substantial purpose is foreign intelligence (not just terrorism and generally not terrorism). However, under Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, phone tapping can be done for any criminal investigation. Either way, they need probable cause to believe a crime is being committed and approval in advance of a magistrate (or FISA court judge). DHS is actually not involved, since wiretaps are under the purview of the Attorney General.
Internet searches fall under the same principle. There might even be stronger protections because it's analogous to mail cases, but this hasn't been fully hashed out. Generally, the contents are protected, though, without legal justification. This is the same whether or not the government owns the service. For example, the post office can't open your mail without legal cause.
Well I might be wrong about Homeland Security then. However, I will argue that the Patriot Act, in spite of any wording such as a "in extreme cases" "with probable cause" "strong evidence" that this law has been used, put into practice, to mean "any damn time we feel like it", or in some cases "because you were a Ron Paul supporter".
Would you like links to examples of law abiding citizens being detained without legal rights, having their computer activities monitored, all because they belong to an unpopular or politically incorrect organization?
As a friend of mine used to say "it is less important what rules are on the books, and more important is the people who interpret their meaning".