Censorship

Crash Diet: Text-Only Browsers as Tonic for Iranian Internet Throttling

For years, the Iranian government has had to deal with the pesky problem of citizens trying to use the Internet to access information from the outside world. The powers that be usually go about solving this problem in a hamfisted way, banning huge swaths of the internet or shutting down access entirely.

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FCC v. Fox: Rethinking the Regulation of Indecent Speech in a Time of Pervasive Media

Earlier this week the Supreme Court handed down its eagerly awaited decision in FCC v. Fox.  In a 5-4 vote, the Court rejected Fox's argument that the Federal Communication Commission had violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by failing to give sufficient justification for its new policy banning "fleeting expletives" on broadcast radio and television.

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Arizona v. Pataky

Threat Type: 

Criminal Investigation

Date: 

03/09/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Jeff Pataky

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual

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State

Court Name: 

County of Maricopa, State of Arizona

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Blog

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Status: 

Pending

Description: 

In March 2009, Phoenix police raided the home of Jeff Pataky, a blogger who runs Bad Phoenix Cops, a blog that has been highly critical of the Phoenix Police Department.  According to The Arizona Republic, Pataky's home was raided by ten Phoenix police officers who handcuffed his girlfriend for three hours while they conducted the raid.  "We have heard internally from our police sources that they purposefully did this to stop me," Pataky told the Republic.  "They took my cable modem and wireless router. Anyone worth their salt knows nothing is stored in the cable modem."

The search warrant lists petty theft and computer tampering with the intent to harass as potential crimes. Pataky, who was away on a business trip when the raid occurred, says he has yet to see an affidavit that explains why they had probable cause to conduct the raid. 

The search warrant provides little insight into what police believe Pataky has done.  It does, however, mention repeatedly that police were to search for personal correspondence between Pataky and "Dave Barnes."  According to The Arizona Republic, Barnes is a former Phoenix homicide detective who went public in 2007 with claims of mismanaged evidence at the city's crime lab. In May 2009, Barnes' home also was raided by police due to his alleged "involvement in what some officers perceived to be a connection to a blog critical of the police leaders," the Republic reported at the time.

Carlos Miller, who runs the Photography is Not a Crime Blog, is reporting that Pataky recently filed a lawsuit over the raid, which netted three computers, routers, modems, hard drives, memory cards and everything necessary to continue blogging. Pataky told Miller that he has not let the raid stop him from blogging, however, "They thought they were going to scare us into a corner but they just made us stronger." 

Update:

07/14/09: Pataky filed a lawsuit against the City of Phoenix and the officers involved  in the raid. Pataky's six-count complaint alleges abuse of process, intentional infliction of emotional distress, harassment, and violation of privacy.

12/17/09: The Reporters Committee reports that Federal Judge James A. Teilborg dismissed Pataky's lawsuit against the city, ruling that the Privacy Protection Act does not apply when the "person possessing the materials is a criminal suspect - rather than an innocent third party - and the police have probable cause."

01/06/10:  Notice of appeal filed by plaintiff Pataky in his lawsuit against the City of Phoenix. 

02/01/10: Carlos Miller reports that a grand jury refused to indict Pataky on the charges related to the search warrant.

03/03/10: Appellant Pataky files a motion to dismiss his appeal of the dismissal of his lawsuit against the City of Phoenix. 

03/05/10: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit grants appellant Pataky's motion to dismiss.

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CMLP Notes: 

6/16/09 - nothing else seems to have happened (CMF)

8/1/09- updated info on affadavit and lawsuit, more info on suit at http://badphoenixcops.blogspot.com/2009/07/second-lawsuit-filed-against-... not sure if I should link to it. 

7/29/2011 - I determined the result of the civil lawsuit filed by Pataky against the City of Phoenix et al, but I could not find state records of the criminal proceeding for false swearing. I therefore emailed Pataky requesting information, but he has yet to respond.  

8/11/2011 - I contacted Pataky asking about the status of his criminal charges two weeks ago and he has not responded. 

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China Blocks YouTube, Shoots Self In Foot

Everyone knows that China's not fond of the Tibetan protestors. As a result, sad as it is to say, the world's press just doesn't pay much attention when China does something to smack the Tibetans down.  So long as China's actions aren't too violent or otherwise noteworthy, the press won't invest more than a sentence or two on the topic.  But when China, in order to censor a video of Tibetan protestors being beaten, blocks the whole of YouTube, the press is damn well going to sit up and take notice.

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Officials in Deltona, Florida Seek to Use Taxpayer Money to Fund Libel Lawsuits

Reacting to online criticism of its elected officials, the city of Deltona, Florida has authorized city employees to file libel lawsuits at taxpayers' expense.  On February 16, City commissioners voted 4-3 to pass this resolution:

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South Carolina Legislator Seeks to Criminalize Profanity in Public

South Carolina state senator Robert Ford has proposed a bill that would make it a felony

for a person in a public forum or place of public accommodation wilfully and knowingly to publish orally or in writing, exhibit, or otherwise make available material containing words, language, or actions of a profane, vulgar, lewd, lascivious, or indecent nature.

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Authors: Government Censorship Better than Corporate

LA Observed has a post about how KRON TV in San Francisco disinvited the authors of a new book from a talk-show appearance after discovering that the book, No Time to Think: The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle, takes shots at the crappy state of local TV news. My initial reaction was incredulity. I mean, how clueless is that kind of move?

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More Online Journalists Jailed Than Any Other Media Group

Online speakers are attracting more attention than ever from governments across the world, for good or for ill. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), more online journalists are currently imprisoned for their speech than journalists in print, broadcast, or other media.  The CPJ identified 125 journalists currently serving prison sentences, 45 percent of whom are bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors.

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Copyright, Politics, and McCain's Request for Special Treatment

Last week we reported that the McCain campaign had sent a letter to YouTube complaining that its campaign videos were being removed from YouTube as a result of unjustified DMCA takedown requests sent by news organizations whose footage was included in the videos.

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YouTube Changes Guidelines, Senator Lieberman Gets Partial Victory on Terrorist Videos

Taking full advantage of the seventh anniversary of 9/11, YouTube announced changes to its community guidelines last week, prohibiting the upload of videos inciting others to commit violent acts.  The change comes several months after Senator Joe Lieberman pressured YouTube to remove videos not only inciting violence, but also content "that can be readily identified as produced by Al-Qaeda or another [Foreign Terrorist Organization]," through logos such as these:

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