Facebook has thrown the book at several prominent people. It calls them “dangerous individuals” and they include people accused of hate speech anti-Semitism and white supremacist views.
Recently, on LBC, Yair Cohen was asked by Eddie Mair: 'What do you what do you think of Facebook's action here?'
I think it is very difficult to justify this action by Facebook and I'd be the last person to condone anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, there is an increasing commonality between the left and the right, particularly at the extreme ends.
One of the main reasons given by Facebook for blocking those Facebook accounts was that many of the individuals blocked had been promoting anti-Semitism which, coincidentally, is one of the thickest common threads that link those two extremes. It seems, however, with very few exceptions that Facebook is only acting in relation to right-wing extremism, which makes the left-wing extremists feel fairly good about their own anti-Semitics views. For some reason, far-left anti-Semitism is far more acceptable to Facebook than far-right anti-Semitism.
Far left anti-Semitism views are often aired by “smart” people including academics, “liberal” politicians, respectable newspapers and others who are “too good” to be anti-Semites.
There is no question that the far left has become even more extreme with its anti-Semitic views than the far right. Therefore, Facebook’s one-sided banning of one side of the intolerance spectrum isn’t going to do any good.
Facebook’s policy of dividing the extreme left from the extreme right isn’t helpful. In fact, it is likely that the ban on far right extremists will increase anti-Semitic sentiments, first because the far right will just continue doing what it does best, which is to fight for its right to express its bigotry views and second, it legitimises the far left who will feel that its own form of anti-Semitic sentiments, which are often dressed up in “progressive” language is acceptable, because ‘hey, you know, Facebook says it's okay. We haven't been banned.’
Far left anti-Semitism is far more dangerous than far right anti-Semitism because it is sneaky and because it is dressed up as progressive.
But surely, doing something is better than doing nothing, right? Isn’t it better that Facebook bans some anti-Semitism rather than does nothing?
The truth is that doing something half-heartedly isn’t the answer. For many years I have been advocating for a better policing of the internet and love it or hate it, in the future, the internet is going to be heavily regulated. Selective policing is injustice and history tells us that the consequences of selective policing and selective justice are often far worse than no policing at all.
Facebook is very well known to be a left-wing organization. On 23 August 2018, a post by Brian Amerige, a senior Facebook engineer, went quietly on Facebook’s internal message board, saying “We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views”. Facebook has since admitted to not having sufficient political diversity within the company and the concern is that taking action against one group of people, who happened to mostly consist of far right individuals is going to result in developing a resentfulness and anger among the far right whilst at the same time giving the far left an assurance that its form of anti-Semitism and other intolerances are acceptable. Whilst the message to the far-right is clear, the far left, on the other end is sent an ambiguous message that at best says, ‘Hey, you are doing just fine. You can continue spreading your form of anti-Semitism.’
Facebook is paying a lip service to the UK government’s calls for it to do more to combat intolerance and advocacy to self-harm.
It is only a lip service because it only bans a group which Facebook believe is outside a consensus.
Facebook’s efforts might have come across as more genuine if it banned anti-Semitic expressions full stop. But anti-Semitism is only one type of expression which Facebook needs to address. Anti-vaccine propaganda is another. In India, children are dying every day because their parents refuse to vaccinate them due to anti-vaccination propaganda which they either see on Facebook or Instagram or which they did not see themselves but had been told about, by someone in a position of authority, such as a teacher or a priest. The anti-vaccine propaganda, generally speaking, reflect far-left and libertarian-authoritarian values, which are not only allowed to go without interruption on Facebook but which are actively promoted there via sponsored links and auto suggestions searches. Despite the horrific consequences of this propaganda, which impacts on the lives of some of the poorest people in the world, Facebook believes that these views constitute “free speech”. In my view, anti-vaccine propaganda, is as bad as anti-Semitism propaganda.
So how is this is all going to end? I believe that in the future, there will be a third party, an impartial body that will advise Facebook and other popular social media organisations about the correct balance between free speech and the ban of intolerance and fake news propaganda. Ideally, this advisory or regulatory body will be acting as an advisor or a mediator and will be free of political affiliation and its role will be to provide social media companies with fair and impartial advice.
The government will eventually, like it or not, police the internet. This is inevitable. Recently it published a White Paper which warned internet companies very clearly of its intention to set up a news internet regulator. How powerful this regulator will be, will largely depend on how genuine social media companies’ effort to combat intolerance, prevent self-harm and decrease the amount of fake news is. So far, they aren’t doing that great.
Did Huawei have 'Hidden Back Doors' or is it just coincidental that breach information was delivered by 'Anonymous Sources' to an American Media Company?
Apparently, some people that don't want to be identified, contacted Bloomberg to tell them that Vodafone discovered 'hidden back doors' in their routers that were made by the Chinese company Huawei so that the Chinese government can spy on Vodafone's home and business networks in Italy.
On further investigation, this relates to issues that were found after Vodafone instructed an independant company to perform diagnostics and fix any bugs, as part of their security measures in 2009/2010.
A backdoor, in cybersecurity terms, is a method of bypassing security controls to access a computer system or encrypted data. It is an important part of technological equipment to allow fixing and servicing.
Vodafone has admitted vulnerabilities, which were diagnosed in 2009 and were resolved in 2011 and 2012, which involved removing a diagnostic function. The ‘back door’ that Bloomberg have referred to is Telnet. This is a protocol that is commonly used by many vendors in the industry for performing diagnostic functions. It would not have been accessible from the internet and so to state that this would have given Huawei access to Vodafone’s fixed line network in Italy is not true.
Bloomberg say that this further damages the reputation of Huawei, which is already facing a ream of accusations from the US over the ties to the Chinese Government and allegations of spying. Huawei repeatedly denies that it creates backdoors and says it’s not beholden to Beijing.
However, journalists from the American media company – Bloomberg, said that they saw confidential security reports with their own eyes and it tells a different story.
The US launched investigations about trading with China in 2017 and it imposed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese products last year and Beijing retaliated in kind. The US and China have been locked in an escalating trade battle since. The US is moving to ban the use of Huawei’s equipment and is lobbying its allies to do the same.
It cannot be a coincidence that suddenly, this allegation is being made about Huawei having access to Vodafone’s client’s networks, when there hasn’t been any evidence of unauthorised access. While backdoors are common in network equipment and software because developers create them to manage the gear, they can be exploited by attackers but one would question that this could be political motivation rather than a breach of data issue.
Harassment lawyer Yair Cohen took over the case from police after police gave up on pressing charges against the most notorious online harasser in the UK. Paul Currant harassed his victim for nearly 13 years but eventually was tracked down by Cohen Davis Solicitors who took him to a civil court where he was ordered to pay damages and legal costs. He also signed legal documents that he will never harass his victim again.
Read full story: Lindsey Goldrick Dean Wins Freedom After 13 Years of Harassment
Is a Facebook fan page administrator liable under GDPR? according to the European Court, an administrator of a fan page on Facebook is jointly responsible, together with Facebook for processing data of visitors to the Facebook fan page.
But what are the implications for administrators of other social media pages such as LinkedIn for example?
Yair Cohen social media lawyer writes.
On 12 October 2014, Google reported to have rejected more than two thirds of all the ‘right to be forgotten’ applications they received from UK applicants.
Google’s decision to comply with any such applications is of course at their discretion (albeit in accordance with the landmark court ruling made in Google Spain SL & Google Inc v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) & Costeja González (“Google Spain”) in May 2014) and there are currently no hard and fast rules which might serve to predict an applicant’s chances of success. Indeed, when comparing some successful applications against those which Google rejected, it becomes quite apparent that (at least on the face of it) even Google does not appear to maintain a consistent approach in how it deals with each right to be forgotten request. Read more 3 steps to a successful Right to be forgotten application.
In May 2015 French data regulator ordered Google to apply a Right to be Forgotten removal in relation to 21 offending search results to the search engine’s global domain google.com and not only for searches from Europe but from across the globe.
After Google’s representations were rejected and following its refusal to affect the removal of search results globally, the French regulator issued Google with a penalty of 100,000 Euros. Google appealed to France’s highest court, the Council of State (Conseil d’État). A decision in the case is expected by the end of 2017.
Google’s position is that it will not delist search results from all its search engine extensions. You can read here Google’s reasons for refusing to remove search results from Google worldwide.
The French data regulator’s position is that Google has come a long way in complying with European data requirements but only a measure that applies to all processing by the search engine, with no distinction between the extensions used and the geographical location of the internet user making a search, is legally adequate to meet the requirement under the Right to be Forgotten.
The position of Cohen Davis solicitors is that any data, which is found to be unlawfully processed anywhere in the EEA and which is resulting in delisting of search results under the Right to be Forgotten, must not then be processed outside of the EEA.
This is because under European data protection laws, any organisation that transfers personal data to a country outside of the EEA, must do so under the same conditions of processing which applies to processing of the same data within the EEA.
If follows that if processing of personal data is unlawful within the EEA, it must also be unlawful outside of the EEA.
You can read the full article here
If you are looking for a US internet lawyer or an internet law attorney to help you obtain a court order, a disclosure order, a subpoena or an injunction against a USA based website, then we fully sympathise with your natural worries and concerns. We know that for most individuals who, like yourself, have had little dealings with lawyers, finding and actually instructing a new lawyer, particularly in a relatively unfamiliar area of law and in another country, is nerve-racking and even frightening. Read more US Internet Law Attorney
How is the right to be forgotten extended to the USA and what is Google doing about it. Yair Cohen UK internet law expert.
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UK social media lawyer Yair Cohen celebrates his new book The Net Is Closing birth of the e-police.
The UK government is told it would be unlawful to create a law that requests internet service providers to retain user’s data for 12 months across the board. On Wednesday 21 December 2016, the Cour…
The bulk personal datasets collected by British intelligence agencies is reminiscent of dark days and dark regimes, Yair Cohen, of the London-based law firm Cohen Davis Solicitors
About 2 years ago I received a telephone call from an extremely worried mother. She told me that her son, a sixth former who studied at a school near Rochdale, was being falsely accused of some very serious matters on Facebook. I am a lawyer and my speciality is internet law and social media so I am used to receiving telephone calls from people who feel distressed about things that are being said about them on the internet. This telephone call, however, was different because it came not from the person who was being abused online, but from his mother.
It seemed a pupil at the school had created a Facebook Page, which he used for the purpose of posting unpleasant and false commentary about his fellow pupils and about their relationships with one another. Many of the posts were of an abusive and sexual nature and cannot be repeated here for obvious reasons. It was apparent that some of the pupils who became the subject of the abusive commentary were very distressed and a few even posted on the Page, begging the author to stop, but to no avail.
The worried mother told me that she was concerned that if the posts remained on the internet, they could potentially harm her son’s future as when he grows up and applies for jobs, the potential employer might believe those false allegations about him and will not want to employ him as a result. She also told me that her son was too scared to report the abuse to the school so she decided to report it herself, but that the school told her that no school policy was breached because all the abusive posts appear to have been posted after school hours. The school did not feel that it had any responsibility to police or to sanction any action taken by its pupils outside school time. She then asked Facebook to remove the offensive Page but never received a reply. I agreed to take on that case on a voluntary basis and after receiving legal correspondence, Facebook agreed to delete the Page from the internet.
This case taught me a number of valuable lessons. First, that schools must be attentive and sensitive to how the internet is being used by pupils and if online abuse exists, the school must act regardless of whether the abuse was posted on the internet after school hours. Second, that young children don’t always appreciate the long term damage that internet posts can cause to them and to their employment prospects. And third, that every school must have an easily accessible method by which pupils can report online abuse and harassment that affects them or others.
This case also reminded me that the lack of policing of the internet can result in short as well as long term devastating outcomes to some of the most vulnerable member of our society. It made me wonder whether time has now come for us, the adults, to rethink some of the anarchistic idealisms that govern the current use of the internet and introduce at least some basic governing and policing principles similar to the ones already exists in the ‘real world of our thriving offline society.