internet

Pakistan to monitor Google, others for blasphemy

Muslims need to be protected from reality; we can’t have them learning about things that might make them turn away from their bullshit religion.

Pakistan to monitor Google, others for blasphemy

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani authorities on Friday put seven major websites, including Google and YouTube, under watch for containing material deemed offensive to Muslims, officials said.

The Ministry of Information Technology is also blocking at least 17 links on Youtube and other websites for showing “blasphemous material.”

“YouTube, Yahoo, Amazon, Bing, MSN, Hotmail and Google will be monitored with relation to anti-Islamic contents,” said Khurram Mehran, spokesman for the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

The companies that own the affected sites are Google Inc., Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon.com Inc..

But another official also made it clear the government had no intention of blocking major websites as they were important sources of education.

The move to impose monitoring was undertaken three days after a court in the eastern city of Bahawalpur ordered the government to block YouTube and eight other sites in response to a petition arguing they were showing material “against the fundamental principles of Islam.

The next hearing of the case is fixed for Monday. It is second time in a month that Pakistan has imposed such restrictions on internet.

Last month, authorities acting on a court decision blocked social network Facebook, YouTube and others sites for almost two weeks amid anger over a page that encouraged users to post images of the Prophet Mohammad.

BLASPHEMY A SENSITIVE ISSUE

Any representation of the Prophet Mohammad is deemed un-Islamic and blasphemous by Muslims, who constitute the overwhelming majority in Pakistan.

Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in Pakistan. Five people were killed in protests in 2006 over publication of cartoons deemed blasphemous by Muslims in Danish newspapers a year earlier.

However, Latif Khosa, adviser to the prime minister on information technology, said the government had already been monitoring websites for any material prejudicial to “security of Pakistan and Islamic injunctions.”

Khosa said the government could not block major search engines and websites as they were major sources of information and education.

“The constitution of Pakistan ensures access to knowledge, information and education to all citizens of Pakistan. These are the basic rights of the people of Pakistan and Internet is a major source of it,” Khosa told Reuters.

Courts cannot violate those rights nor can any law be put in place to do so, he said.

“Many students are calling us and saying that they could not complete their higher studies if any step is taken to block these search engines,” Khosa said.

Megaphone Desktop Tool – If You Don’t Use it, You’re An Anti-Semite

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about. In order to rig online polls and social networking sites to sway commentary and such in favor of Israel, there’s a delightful program you can use! It’s pretty simple, it pops up a little window in the corner of your screen whenever the admins find a new poll to rig in their favor, or if someone is writing something critical of Israel in the news or on a blog, then they send all their pro-Israeli users to that site and have them go nuts and call them anti-Semites, because let’s face it..  if you’re critical of Israel, you’re essentially a nazi right? How dare someone not approve of something Israel does….       ……..  *cough*

Megaphone_screenshot

Megaphone Desktop Tool

The Megaphone desktop tool is a Windows “action alert” tool developed by Give Israel Your United Support (GIYUS) and distributed by World Union of Jewish Students, World Jewish Congress, The Jewish Agency for Israel, World Zionist Organization, StandWithUs, Hasbara fellowships, HonestReporting, and other pro-Israel public relations, media watchdog, or activism organizations. The tool delivers real-time alerts about key articles, videos, blogs, and surveys related to Israel or the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially those perceived by GIYUS to be highly critical of Israel, so that users can vote or add comments expressing their support of Israel. The tool was released in July during the 2006 Lebanon War. An RSS newsfeed is available so that non-Windows users may also receive the Megaphone “action alerts.

According the Jerusalem Post, Amir Gissin, head of the Public Affairs Department of the Foreign Ministry of Israel, has expressed support for the tool’s use. “The Foreign Ministry itself is now pushing the idea, urging supporters of Israel everywhere to become cyberspace soldiers in the new battleground for Israel’s image.” it reports.[11] Computing website The Register has described use of the software as “highly organised mass manipulation of technologies which are supposed to be democratising” and claimed Megaphone is “effectively a high-tech exercise in ballot-stuffing”[12] The Register also reported that the BBC History magazine website “noticed an upsurge in voting on whether holocaust denial should be a criminal offence in Britain. But the closing date had already passed and the result had already been published, so the votes were invalid anyway.” Stewart Purvis, former editor-in-chief of ITN, has noted that an independent panel reviewing the BBC’s Israeli-Palestinian coverage received a large number of letters from North America which accused the BBC of being anti-Israeli. He states there was evidence of “pressure group involvement”.

Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology

Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology

Exclusive In an unprecedented effort to crack down on self-serving edits, the Wikipedia supreme court has banned contributions from all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates.

Closing out the longest-running court case (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Scientology) in Wikiland history, the site’s Arbitration Committee voted 10 to 0 (with one abstention) in favor of the move, which takes effect immediately.

The eighth most popular site on the web, Wikipedia bills itself as “the free encyclopedia anyone can edit.” Administrators frequently ban (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/29/wikipedia_blocked_doj_ip/) individual Wikifiddlers for their individual Wikisins. And the site’s UK press officer/resident goth (http://wikitruth.info/index.php?title=Image:David_Gerard_mugshot.jpg) once silenced an entire Utah mountain (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/06/wikipedia_and_overstock/) in a bizarre attempt to protect a sockpuppeting ex-BusinessWeek reporter. But according to multiple administrators speaking with The Reg, the muzzling of Scientology IPs marks the first time Wikipedia has officially barred edits from such a high-profile organization for allegedly pushing its own agenda on the site.

The Church of Scientology has not responded to our request for comment.

Officially, Wikipedia frowns on those who edit “in order to promote their own interests.” The site sees itself as an encyclopedia with a “neutral point of view” – whatever that is. “Use of the encyclopedia to advance personal agendas – such as advocacy or propaganda and philosophical, ideological or religious dispute – or to publish or promote original research is prohibited,” say the Wikipowersthatbe.

Admins may ban a Wikifiddler who betrays an extreme conflict of interest, and since fiddlers often hide their identity behind open proxies, such IPs may be banned as a preventative measure. After today’s ruling from the Arbitration Committee – known in Orwellian fashion as the ArbCom – Scientology IPs are “to be blocked as if they were open proxies” (though individual editors can request an exemption).

According to evidence turned up by admins in this long-running Wikiland court case, multiple editors have been “openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities.” Leaning on the famed WikiScanner (http://wikiscanner.virgil.gr/), countless news stories (http://www.forbes.com/2008/07/19/security-hackers-internet-tech-cx_ag_0719wikiwatcher.html) have discussed (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20284811/) the editing of Scientology articles from Scientology IPs, and some site admins are concerned this is “damaging Wikipedia’s reputation for neutrality.”

One admin tells The Reg that policing edits from Scientology machines has been particularly difficult because myriad editors sit behind a small number of IPs and, for some reason, the address of each editor is constantly changing. This prevents admins from determining whether a single editor is using multiple Wikipedia accounts to game the system. In Wikiland, such sockpuppeting is not allowed.

The Wikicourt considered banning edits from Scientology IPs only on Scientology-related articles. But this would require admins to “checkuser” editors – i.e. determine their IP – every time an edit is made. And even then they may not know who’s who.

“Our alternatives are to block them entirely, or checkuser every ‘pro-Scientology’ editor on this topic. I find the latter unacceptable,” wrote one ArbComer. “It is quite broad, but it seems that they’re funneling a lot of editing traffic through a few IPs, which make socks impossible to track.”

And it may be a moot point. Most the editors in question edit nothing but Scientology-related articles. In Wikiparlance, they’re “single purpose accounts.”

Some have argued that those editing from Scientology IPs may be doing so without instruction from the Church hierarchy. But a former member of Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs – a department officially responsible “for directing and coordinating all legal matters affecting the Church” – says the Office has organized massive efforts to remove Scientology-related materials and criticism from the web.

“The guys I worked with posted every day all day,” Tory Christman (http://www.torymagoo.org/) tells The Reg. “It was like a machine. I worked with someone who used five separate computers, five separate anonymous identities…to refute any facts from the internet about the Church of Scientology.”

Christman left the Church in 2000, before Wikipedia was created.

This is the fourth Scientology-related Wikicourtcase in as many years, and in addition to an outright ban on Scientology IPs, the court has barred a host of anti-Scientology editors from editing topics related to the Church.

Many Wikifiddlers have vehemently criticized this sweeping crackdown. Historically, the site’s cult-like (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/06/the_cult_of_wikipedia/) inner circle has aspired to some sort of Web 2.0 utopia in which everyone has an unfettered voice. An organization (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,293389,00.html) editing Wikipedia articles where it has a conflict of interest is hardly unusual, and in the past such behavior typically went unpunished.

But clearly, Wikipedia is changing. In recent months, the site’s ruling body seems far more interested in quashing at least the most obvious examples (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/06/wikipedia_and_overstock_revisited/) of propaganda pushing (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/29/wikipedia_blocked_doj_ip/).

Scientology’s banishment from Wikipedia comes just days after the opening (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i7v1OA-sxTlACtuGXfF6SFbeHEZAD98DDQT04) of a (real world) trial that could see the dissolution of the organization’s French chapter.

“Anonymous” releases statements outlining “War on Scientology”

 This ought to be interesting.

“Anonymous” releases statements outlining “War on Scientology”

The Internet-based group “Anonymous” has released statements on YouTube and via a press release, outlining what they call a “War on Scientology”. Church of Scientology related websites, such as religousfreedomwatch.org have been removed due to a suspected distributed denial-of-service-attack (DDoS) by a group calling themselves “Anonymous”. On Friday, the same group allegedly brought down Scientology‘s main website, scientology.org, which was available sporadically throughout the weekend.

Several websites relating to the Church of Scientology have been slowed down, brought to a complete halt or seemingly removed from the Internet completely in an attack which seems to be continuous. The scientology.org site was back online briefly on Monday, and is currently loading slowly.

On Monday, the group released a video titled: “Message to Scientology” on YouTube concerning their intentions to attack the Church of Scientology. A robotic voice on the video begins with “Hello leaders of Scientology. We are Anonymous,” and continues by explaining their motivations: “Over the years we have been watching you, your campaigns of misinformation, your suppression of dissent and your litigious nature. All of these things have caught our eye. With the leakage of your latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation the extent of your malign influence over those who have come to trust you as leaders has been made clear to us. Anonymous has therefore decided that your organisation should be destroyed.” The message goes on to state that the group intends to “expel Scientology from the Internet”. As of Wednesday, the video had been viewed 370,347 times, favorited 2,473 times, and is currently YouTube’s top third video of the day.

The “Message to Scientology” video was highlighted as the “YouTube Video of the Week” by The Michigan Daily. Commenting on the video, the piece states “if this video is any indication, it seems like the assailants mean business”. In a blog post on USA Today‘s website, Jess Zielinski wrote that it was “not a shock that hackers hold a grudge against Scientology,” and in a followup post on another USA Today blog, Angela Gunn wrote that “those of us who remember … the adventures of Operation Clambake are fascinated to see this kind of thing flare up again”. Blogging for Wired magazine, Ryan Singel wrote about the incident in a piece on Wednesay titled “War Breaks Out Between Hackers and Scientology — There Can Be Only One”. Singel wrote that the Project Chanology wiki page “directs Anonymous members to download and use denial of service software, make prank calls, host Scientology documents the Church considers proprietary, and fax endless loops of black pages to the Church’s fax machines to waste ink”. According to Wired, “The Church of Scientology did not immediately respond to a call for comment”.