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Podcast Episode: AI in Kitopia

The online world offers the promise of speech with minimal barriers and without borders. New technologies and widespread internet access have radically enhanced our ability to express ourselves; criticize those in power; gather and report the news; and make, adapt, and share creative works. Vulnerable communities have also found space to safely meet,  grow, and make themselves heard without being drowned out by the powerful. The ability to freely exchange ideas also benefits innovators, who can use all of their capabilities to build even better tools for their communities and the world.

In the U.S., the First Amendment grants individuals the right to speak without government interference. And globally, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) protects the right to speak both online and offline. Everyone should be able to take advantage of this promise. And no government should have the power to decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t.

Government threats to online speakers are significant. Laws and policies have enabled censorship regimes, controlled access to information, increased government surveillance, and minimized user security and safety.

At the same time, online speakers’ reliance on private companies that facilitate their speech has grown considerably. Online services’ content moderation decisions have far-reaching impacts on speakers around the world. This includes social media platforms and online sites selectively enforcing their Terms of Service, Community Guidelines, and similar rules to censor dissenting voices and contentious ideas. That’s why these services must ground their moderation decisions in human rights and due process principles.

As the law and technology develops alongside our ever-evolving world, it’s important that these neither create nor reinforce obstacles to people’s ability to speak, organize, and advocate for change. Both the law and technology must enhance people’s ability to speak. That’s why EFF fights to protect free speech - because everyone has the right to share ideas and experiences safely, especially when we disagree.

Free Speech Highlights

Free Speech is Only as Strong as the Weakest Link

From Mubarak knocking a country offline by pressuring local ISPs to PayPal caving to political pressure to cut off funding to WikiLeaks, this year has brought us sobering examples of how online speech can be endangered. And it’s not only political speech that is threatened – in the United...

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Section 230

47 U.S.C. § 230The Internet allows people everywhere to connect, share ideas, and advocate for change without needing immense resources or technical expertise. Our unprecedented ability to communicate online—on blogs, social media platforms, and educational and cultural platforms like Wikipedia and the Internet Archive—is not an accident. Congress recognized that...

Free Speech Updates

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过去十年,中国政府打压网络自由言论:阻止信息访问、筛选内容为控制社会而监视用户、对自己的人民过度释放恶意软件。对此,互联网上一直有一个匿名的声音,坚定地反对政府的审查制度,呼吁抗议,指导网民和活动家如何在网上保护自己。 这是一个名为“编程随想”的博客,作者身份不为公众所知。但其发表了精辟的政治评论和技术方法,坦率讨论 1989 年天安门广场抗议活动,倡导中国言论自由,因此触动了许多人。在本月纪念抗议活动 34 周年之际,我们呼吁大家关注“编程随想”,从 2009 年开始的 12 年里,它是中国境内少有的民主论坛,获得了数以万计的订阅者,同时躲避网络警察,并对其作者的真实姓名保密——这不是一件容易的事。就连他的妻子都不知道。 如今,“编程随想”背后的博主和网络安全专家阮晓寰在 2 月份因涉嫌煽动颠覆国家政权罪而被判处 7 年监禁。在出席了他的宣判庭审之后,他的妻子贝女士在 3 月透露了他的情况。2021 年 5 月,10 名中国官员出现在他们在上海的家中并带走了他,此后,贝女士就再也没有见过他,也没有再听到他的消息。他被秘密审判,他的妻子和家人根本不知道他的下落和他受到的指控。他的名字在中国的社交媒体平台上被禁。 贝女士聘请了两名人权律师代表 46 岁的阮晓寰进行上诉,但中国政府没有允许,而是指定了两名政府的法律援助律师。与此同时,贝女士四处发声,希望提高人们对该案的关注。她告诉《Vice》:“我们将尽我们所能确保二审的公正性,其中包括依靠舆论监督的力量。” 阮晓寰是专制政权的目标,这种政权压制言论自由,监禁那些敢于出声反对政府的人。中国政府多次利用“煽动颠覆国家政权”的罪名,将参与政治活动、人权倡导和表达不同意见的个人作为目标并加以监禁。这么做的不止是中国。令人遗憾的是,世界各地有很多国家都在对自己的人民滥用这种罪名和无数其他罪名。我们发现在中东越南埃塞俄比亚其他地方,也有博主和阮晓寰一样,被送进监狱,被判处令人发指的刑罚,或者遭到当局的人身暴力,这与迫害不同声音的做法并无二致,非常令人担忧。勇敢的博主、记者和作家因为保护和加强自由言论和隐私而被视同罪犯。 这完全是倒行逆施。EFF 与世界各地的言论自由倡导者一起,呼吁立即释放阮晓寰。各国有义务维护联合国《世界人权宣言》第 19 条所规定的言论自由权。 联合国人权理事会申明,人们在网络之外拥有的人权在网络上也应当得到保护,包括隐私权和言论自由权。“寻求、接受和传递消息”的权利包括设计和分享工具以实现和保护这些能力的权利。 阮晓寰已成为中国最知名和最勇敢的博主之一,这段旅程从他还是一名成功的网络安全专家时开始。作为对计算机科学充满热情的大学辍学生,阮晓寰曾在多家网络安全公司工作,后来在政府工作中担任 2008 年北京夏季奥运会信息安全系统总工程师。之后他继续在行业内工作,但最终决定从事开源软件的开发。2009...

California Sunshine

Victory in California! Police Instructors Can’t Claim Copyright Protections to Block Release of Use-of-Force and Other Training Materials

After a two-year legal battle, the state agency that certifies police officers in California has agreed to EFF's demand that it stop using copyright concerns as a predicate to withhold law enforcement training materials from public scrutiny. The immediate impact of this victory for transparency is the public will be...


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