Monday, March 2, 2015

Almost prosecuted for offensive "Selfie"

The main offender, the daughter of a New Jersey state sergeant, posted a photo of a crowded eatery frequented by Orthodox Jews with the caption, “Perfect bombing time” on her Twitter account, which has since been removed. Assuming she was a terrorist the teen almost got prosecuted. “There was never any danger being posed to the community,” Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, told local paper Asbury Park Press. “It didn’t rise to anything criminal. “Everything was evaluated at face value. We have been assured by the families and the school that this is something that will be handled,” said Della Fave, who denied the girl’s connection to the police force was a determining factor. The prosecutor’s office decided the teen’s posts would not be viewed as credible threats should the case be brought to court, and would have faced a credible First Amendment, freedom-of-speech defence, according to Rutgers Professor Bernard Bell. “Would real terrorists speak out this way online? It’s almost a caricature of anti-Semitism,” Bell, who specialises in First Amendment issues, told
Governments all around the world are using safety as a pretext to censor social media. Whether it is danger in the form of terrorists or taking a selfie while running from a bull in Spain, they are scanning our posts looking for someway to prosecute us, to take away our power of speech. They have access to anything and everything we post online. There is no privacy left in the online world. We’ve all heard what Snowden had to say. It’s not just the United States it’s all over the world- India, Iran, Israel. There is no freedom of speech online. Facebook now has to act as a government censor on the country’s behalf. In countries like India, Turkey and Pakistan thousands of photos and pages get pulled down every for “blasphemy”, criticising the government or posting something that is religiously offensive. Facebook keeps a running record on its public “Government Requests Repost Website”. For example: Facebook blocked pages depicting the Muslim religious figure Muhammad in Turkey last week after court orders. This year these countries have threatened to ban Facebook if these posts are not censored.  Turkey has already banned YouTube and Twitter and so Facebook must abide. Or as José van Dijck says - Platform owners have a vested interest in pushing the need for a uniform online identity to attain maximum transparency, not only because they want to know who their users are, but also because advertisers want users’ ‘truthful’ data. Only in this case it’s not advertisers, it's the Government.

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