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[liberationtech] Twitter May Censor Tweets in Individual Countries

Cynthia Wong cynthia at cdt.org
Fri Jan 27 13:59:56 PST 2012


Just to play devil's advocate: As others have pointed out, France and  
Germany have strong hate speech laws that restrict pro-Nazi speech,  
holocaust denial, etc. -- speech that is fully protected under the 1st  
Amendment.  However, these laws are ok under Article 19 jurisprudence,  
which allows limitations on speech if they are necessary for  
protecting another right (like human dignity).  So I don't think it is  
fair to say that Twitter is violating human rights by complying with  
French speech laws.

On the other hand, companies do have a responsibility to their users  
to mitigate the human rights impact of their business, including when  
responding to government requests to censor.  The real discussion must  
be around how companies like Twitter can mitigate the harm as much as  
possible.  My response is that social media companies should
* be as transparent as possible when they are asked by governments to  
restrict speech,
* limit the scope of the restriction as much as possible when they do  
comply,
* challenge legally invalid requests as much as they can, given local  
legal systems,
* work with NGOs and others to change laws that don't meet human  
rights standards

At the end of the day, the real problem is laws that violate human  
rights which governments then use to apply pressure to companies.


//
Cynthia M. Wong
Director, Global Internet Freedom Project
Center for Democracy & Technology

CDT  •  1634 I Street NW  •  Suite 1100  •  Washington, DC 20006
E cynthia at cdt.org P +1-202-407-8835 F +1-202-637-0968

Keeping the Internet Open, Innovative & Free!

Follow our work on Twitter @CenDemTech @cynthiamw







On Jan 27, 2012, at 12:21 PM, Kate Krauss wrote:

Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The Universal Declaration of  
Human Rights (1948, applies to all countries), says this:


Article 19.
	• Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this  
right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to  
seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and  
regardless of frontiers.

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

These are not arbitrary standards. What Twitter is planning to do is a  
human rights violation.  It's no different than if they went into  
other countries to censor the newspapers.


Kate Krauss
Executive Director,
The AIDS Policy Project

On Jan 27, 2012, at 8:54 AM, frankltd at fastmail.co.uk wrote:

> However, will Twitter country specific censorship be as transparent as
> being able cross check with take down notices such as these:
> https://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca512c/notice.cgi ?
>
> Frank
>
> ----- Original message -----
> From: "Marc" <marc at let.de>
> To: liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
> Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 14:44:32 +0100
> Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Twitter May Censor Tweets in Individual
> Countries
>
> They are trying to solve the problem of content that is illegal in  
> some
>> places, but not
>> in others. As far as I understand, previously, they removed such  
>> content
>> completely. Now, they can at least pretend not to display it in  
>> certain
>> countries and keep it up in others
>
>
> I think this is an infinite loop
>
> https://projects.eff.org/~barlow/Declaration-Final.html
>
>
> :(
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