Friday, April 09, 2010
Britian joins the internet censors: Digital Economy Bill could see Google blocked, Wikileaks shut down
Fortunately, the bill is unlikely to get through the House of Lords. They are very valuable as defenders of British liberties
ILLEGAL downloaders could soon be banned from using the internet for life after a controversial bill was passed in the UK's Lower House of Parliament.
Sky News reported the Digital Economy Bill aims to stop people from illegally downloading copyrighted material from the internet, but critics argue it could have far greater powers and be used to censor and block free speech by ruling politicians.
The bill was rushed through the legislature before the dissolution of Parliament next Monday, ahead of next month's national election.
It was passed by 189 votes to 47 after concessions were agreed that saw the government drop a clause that allowed it sweeping powers to block sites.
But the amendment to another clause means that it could still be possible to block a site, if court approval was given.
Lawmakers who opposed the bill said it was right to do something about illegal downloads but that the new powers were too far-reaching.
One suggested that a search engine even as huge as Google could potentially be blocked.
Technology blogs claimed that the law would be way off the mark.
Techcrunch's Mike Butcher said: "In trying to support the old music industry models and tackle illegal file-sharing, the #DEBill, as it's known on Twitter, is poised to produce a new culture.
"That of legal letters from music industry bodies to (Internet Service Providers), bewildered householders and, no doubt, a manner of internet companies."
He argued that valuable sites such as Wikileaks, which carries copyrighted work, could be shut down, blocking the release of information that it was in the public's interest to know.
And paidContent:UK said: "The bill may have had a few parts stripped out and it may even be a damp squib. But the remaining 76-page Bill is still a wide-ranging piece of media and technology reform."
The Labour Party's former digital engagement minister Tom Watson earlier warned of a "catastrophic disaster", with potentially innocent people being cut off because they lived in the same building as illegal downloaders.
"It might be that a Wi-Fi network is being used in a household. You might have a parent who pays for the broadband connection and their children are illegally downloading," he said.
"The assumption in the current wording is that that parent has authorised the child to infringe copyright."
The negligent British police again
A girl of four was saved by her coat after being savaged by a police dog in a park. And no repentance by the police, apparently
The German Shepherd, being exercised by an off-duty officer, chased Erika Carter De Freitas Galiano, bit her arm and dragged her to the ground. It was only her thick pink padded coat which saved her from serious injury from the dog’s powerful jaws.
She was taken to hospital with a two and a half inch long bruise on her right arm and is on antibiotics because the animal’s teeth pierced her skin. The incident has left Erika so frightened of dogs that she won’t now even be in the same room as the family’s puppy.
Erika’s mother Kerry Carter, 24, said: ‘We were walking home from a family meal and Erika started running through the park. ‘I saw a man with a dog, but didn’t think they were a threat. ‘I glanced away and then heard a scream, I looked back and Erika was on the floor screaming. ‘The man said something to the dog then went over to Erika and was hugging her as she was curled up on the ground.
‘I was so shocked. I asked him why he had the dog off the lead and he said: “I’m a police officer, this is a police dog”.
‘You never expect a person in a position of responsibility to have a dangerous dog off a lead in a children’s park like that. ‘This is what this dog was brought up and trained to do. He said he thought there was no one there and it was the evening, so it would be safe. ‘But it was 7pm on Easter Sunday, of course people are going to be around. ‘He was very apologetic, but the damage had already been done.
‘If this was a normal person’s dog it would have been put down, but all the police have done is take the dog out of active duty.’
David Mills, 55, who witnessed the attack, said: ‘The dog flew straight towards the little girl, bit her arm and dragged her to the ground. She was screaming.’
Miss Carter added: ‘It is an awful thing for my daughter to go through and has had a terrible effect on her. ‘She won’t be in the same room as our puppy, Tia, and is scared of dogs. It is very distressing and has been a horrible ordeal.
‘This dog has been trained to attack, it just happened to be a child running past, not a criminal. If I had known it was a police dog I would never have let my daughter go into the park. ‘I think the law should be changed so off-duty dogs have to be marked by wearing a vest or something.’
Essex Police’s professional standards department is investigating the attack. A spokesman for the force said the German Shepherd would remain off duty during the inquiry. He added: ‘It is normal practice for handlers to exercise their dogs off the lead while off duty.’
Congressman Should Know Better than to Compare Tea Party Attendees to Klansmen, Black Leader Says
Deneen Borelli, full-time fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network and frequent speaker at tea party rallies, says Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)'s recent comparison of tea party rally participants to members of the Ku Klux Klan is baseless.
What's more, Project 21's Borelli notes, Cohen should know better, as he himself suffered similar charges during his last primary election campaign.
Borelli said: "Representative Cohen's comments seem to be the norm these days in the effort to dispatch anyone opposing the progressives' big-government agenda. The goal of partisans such as Cohen is obviously to demonize and discredit ordinary citizens - people who attend rallies, town hall meetings, make phone calls and visit their representatives with the simple, legitimate concern of wanting to preserve their liberty."
"The tea party movement is making a positive difference for the direction of our country in a manner that would make our Founding Fathers proud, and the derogatory comments targeting these freedom-loving citizens really only shames those hurling them," added Borelli. "And it is especially odd that Representative Cohen was the one hurling the mud this time. Two years ago, he suffered through an opponent publicly comparing him to a Klansman. He certainly must not have enjoyed that. Is Cohen that tone-deaf that he is willing to immediately turn around and use the same vitriol against others?"
Borelli continued: "Let's not forget that none of the racial allegations made against tea partiers the weekend of the Obamacare vote have yet been corroborated by video or audio. Representative Cleaver, who initially charged he was spat upon, has even begun to distance himself from his allegation."
While appearing on "The Young Turks" radio show on Sirius XM satellite radio April 1, Cohen said tea party rally participants "are, kind of, without robes and hoods" and "against any type of diversity." He later suggested the motivation behind the tea parties are not necessarily issues but "to be against Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel and the different people." He additionally called the sight of people protesting on the U.S. Capitol grounds on the day of the Sunday Obamacare vote in the House of Representatives "a very sad scene on America." The interview can be viewed on YouTube at http://tw0.us/A7W.
Cohen represents a majority-black congressional district in Memphis. In 2008, Nikki Tinker, a primary opponent, ran television ads that placed a photo of Cohen next to one of a Klansman. Tinker based the implication against Cohen on the fact that, as a member of the Center City Commission, Cohen once voted against exhuming the body of the late Confederate General (and KKK founder) Nathan Bedford Forrest from Forrest Park in Memphis.
Chile: Court custody ruling violated lesbian’s rights
Children deserve a chance at normality. To burden them with a peculiar parent just makes life harder for them. It's usually an article of faith that the best interests of the child come first
Chile's Supreme Court has been rebuked for a ruling in which a woman lost custody of her children because she was living with her lesbian partner. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said the ruling was a violation of the woman's human rights.
In 2004, the court ordered Karen Atala to hand over her three daughters to her estranged husband. The court argued that the girls could be psychologically damaged if they stayed in a same-sex household. Karen Atala lost custody of her children in May 2004.
She took her case to the IACHR in November the same year. In its findings, which have now been made public, the commission said that "the Chilean state had violated Karen Atala's right to live free from discrimination". The IACHR, which is an autonomous body of the Organisation of American States (OAS), called on the Chilean state to make reparations.
It also urged the government to take steps to adopt "legislation, policies and programmes" to prohibit and eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation.
One of Ms Atala's lawyers, Jorge Contesse, said she had not been seeking to regain custody of her children. "She doesn't want her daughters to go through everything they went through six years ago," Mr Contesse told the BBC.
Ms Atala's aim, he said, was to make sure the government took steps towards ending discrimination against sexual minorities. "Chilean society is much less conservative than we think," Mr Contesse said. "It is the Chilean authorities, the Chilean elites that sometimes think that this is a very conservative, a very Catholic country."
The government of Sebastian Pinera, who took office in March, has indicated that it will accept the IACHR's recommendations. "The government is not going to discriminate against anyone based on their ethnic origin, religion, or sexual orientation," said spokeswoman Ena von Baer.
During the election campaign, Mr Pinera said that the rights of all people should be protected, "whatever their sexual orientation".
Gay rights groups in Chile say the IACHR's findings are an opportune moment for the president to make good on this promise, says BBC Mundo correspondent Rodrigo Bustamante.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.