Re: [Pearg] descriptive censorship work: draft-hall-censorship-tech

Mallory Knodel <> Thu, 23 May 2019 08:52 UTC

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To: Vittorio Bertola <>,
References: <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
From: Mallory Knodel <>
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Date: Thu, 23 May 2019 11:51:59 +0300
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Subject: Re: [Pearg] descriptive censorship work: draft-hall-censorship-tech
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On 23/05/2019 10:56, Vittorio Bertola wrote:
>> Il 20 maggio 2019 12:25 Mallory Knodel <> ha
>> scritto:
>> I can imagine a lot of cases in which platforms remove content that
>> is benign but irrelevant. If I run a social media network that is
>> about parenting, I'm probably going to have a code of conduct or
>> terms of service that gives me the right to remove content that is
>> extraneous to this topic. Spam, too.
> This is also valid for security practices at the transport level
> (firewalls, malware/botnet filtering etc) as well as blocks for local
> usage policy (e.g. companies blocking access to social media from
> their offices during working hours).
> The basic issue is that the technological instruments used for these
> practices are often the same that are used for censorship. This is
> why you cannot just make a list of technologies (or, as in section 6,
> non-technical practices) and suggest that protocol designers and
> service operators should avoid them because they are used for
> censorship.

It's absolutely fair to say some technology is dual use and to spend all
of one's time talking about the bad and undesirable of the two.
Otherwise, this document is no longer research focussed on censorship.

> It depends whether the "policy decisions enacted
> technically" are good or bad; so the text should at least discuss the
> other uses that each technology has, and perhaps elaborate on what
> can be done (if at all possible at the technical level) to tell
> censorship from other uses - though it looks pretty hard to achieve
> consensus on whether blocking certain things is censorship or not
> (e.g. fake news/hate speech), as it depends on local values.

Maybe it's the connotation or interpretation of the word "censorship"
that is getting in the way. It's all censorship, but some of it might be
legitimate (literally in accordance with law and norms).

Mallory Knodel
Head of Digital ::
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