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

Vittorio Bertola <vittorio.bertola@open-xchange.com> Thu, 23 May 2019 07:56 UTC

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Date: Thu, 23 May 2019 09:56:23 +0200 (CEST)
From: Vittorio Bertola <vittorio.bertola@open-xchange.com>
Reply-To: Vittorio Bertola <vittorio.bertola@open-xchange.com>
To: Mallory Knodel <mallory@article19.org>, pearg@irtf.org
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Subject: Re: [Pearg] descriptive censorship work: draft-hall-censorship-tech
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> Il 20 maggio 2019 12:25 Mallory Knodel <mallory@article19.org> 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 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.

Ciao,
-- 
 
Vittorio Bertola | Head of Policy & Innovation, Open-Xchange
vittorio.bertola@open-xchange.com 
Office @ Via Treviso 12, 10144 Torino, Italy