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Posts Tagged ‘Censorship’

What’s playing out in Canada is playing out in the U.S. as well: With federal funding comes federal control, and those who accept federal funding may not say anything that challenges the financial interests that control the government.

The Harper government has tightened the muzzle on federal scientists, going so far as to control when and what they can say about floods at the end of the last ice age.

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) scientists were told this spring they need “pre-approval” from Minister Christian Paradis’ office to speak with journalists. Their “media lines” also need ministerial approval, say documents obtained by Postmedia News through access-to-information legislation.

The documents say the “new” rules went into force in March and reveal how they apply to not only to contentious issues including the oilsands, but benign subjects such as floods that occurred 13,000 years ago.

They also give a glimpse of how Canadians are being cut off from scientists whose work is financed by taxpayers, critics say, and is often of significant public interest — be it about fish stocks, genetically modified crops or mercury pollution in the Athabasca River.

“It’s Orwellian,” says Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria. The public, he says, has a right to know what federal scientists are discovering and learning.

Read more at the Vancouver Sun.

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U.S. Health Commissar Kathleen Sebelius, herself hardly a picture of health

Even if the health insurance industry is correct in saying that the Health Care Act has forced an increase in premiums, no one can be allowed to say as much. To do so would be to inform the serfs that they’ve been royally screwed, and that would threaten the security of the party of parasites currently in power.

“There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases.”

That sounds like a stern headmistress dressing down some sophomores who have been misbehaving. But it’s actually from a letter sent Thursday from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans — the chief lobbyist for private health insurance companies.

Sebelius objects to claims by health insurers that they are raising premiums because of increased costs imposed by the Obamacare law passed by Congress last March.

She acknowledges that many of the law’s “key protections” take effect later this month and does not deny that these impose additional costs on insurers. But she says that “according to our analysis and those of some industry and academic experts, any potential premium impact … will be minimal.”

Well, that’s reassuring. Er, except that if that’s the conclusion of “some” industry and academic experts, it’s presumably not the conclusion of all industry and academic experts, or the secretary would have said so.

Read more at Townhall.com.

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Cryptome is a tremendous source of documents that the public’s not supposed to see, and John Young is to be saluted for running it. Microsoft is very angry that John Young posted Microsoft’s guide to law enforcement agents who seek to subpoena information about Microsoft customers and users. Copies of the document remain online in various places.

As of the morning of Feb. 25, the document was available at Wikileaks.org. Silly Microsoft. Don’t they know that people now are going to be clamoring to see a document they previously didn’t care about? Wired.com is now publicizing the document as well.

Microsoft has managed to do what a roomful of secretive, three-letter government agencies have wanted to do for years: get the whistleblowing, government-document sharing site Cryptome shut down.

Microsoft dropped a DMCA notice alleging copyright infringement on Cryptome’s proprietor John Young on Tuesday after he posted a Microsoft surveillance compliance document that the company gives to law enforcement agents seeking information on Microsoft users. Young filed a counterclaim on Wednesday — arguing he had a fair use to publishing the document, a full day before the Thursday deadline set by his hosting provider, Network Solutions.

Read more at Wired.com.

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American government control freaks take note.

An activist group that temporarily blocked access to key Australian government websites plans to continue its cyber attacks, the BBC has learned.

The group, known as Anonymous, was protesting against the Australian government’s proposals to apply filters to the internet in the country.

A man claiming to be a representative of the group said that around 500 people were involved in the attack.

The method they are using is known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS).

Read more at the BBC.

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They’re coming for us. Remember the good old days when there was this thing called a First Amendment?

The American blogosphere is going increasingly “viral” about a proposal advanced at the recent meeting of the Davos Economic Forum by Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer for Microsoft, that an equivalent of a “driver’s licence” should be introduced for access to the web. This totalitarian call has been backed by articles and blogs in Time magazine and the New York Times.

As bloggers have not been slow to point out, the system being proposed is very similar to one that the government of Red China reluctantly abandoned as too repressive. It was inevitable that, sooner or later, the usual unholy alliance of government totalitarians and big business would attempt to end the democratic free-for-all that is the blogosphere. The United Nations is showing similar interest in moving to eliminate free speech.

Read more at The Telegraph.

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