Artist Rights Watch–News for the Artist Rights Advocacy Community

Never take it for granted that justice will be done. Thriving on scorn from the Establishment since 2015

@YashaLevine: Shahid Buttar, the cheesy Silicon Valley astroturfer challenging Nancy Pelosi from “the left”

As someone who grew up in San Francisco and wrote the book on the shady history of Silicon Valley — I simply can’t let this go. I mean, check it out: Turns out that the guy running to unseat Nancy Pelosi from “the left” is a corporate Silicon Valley astroturfer from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

His name is Shahid Buttar.

Why is this significant? EFF is America’s oldest and most influential internet business lobby — an organization that has played a pivotal role in shaping the internet as it exists today. That privatized telecommunication system that’s owned by giant monopolies, powered by for-profit surveillance and influence ops, dominated by spies, and lacking any democratic oversight? Yep, that one. EFF is directly responsible for bringing it into being — and for making sure it stays privatized, shitty, and oligarchic.

As I wrote in my massive investigation into EFF’s shady history and it’s pro-Silicon Valley astroturf tricks for The Baffler a few years back, this organization has done an amazing job convincing us that it’s one of the good guys on the Internet — that it’s grassroots and on the side of the people. In reality, EFF has always been on the side of corporations, fighting against democratic control of Silicon Valley — from making sure ISPs could grow into giant monopolies to blowing up the first (and only) attempt to regulate Google’s surveillance business model back in 2004.

Read the post on Yasha Levine’s blog

@michaelburke47: Major companies pull YouTube ads following report of ‘a soft-core pedophile ring’

Several major companies have reportedly pulled advertisements on YouTube following a report that the comment sections on the site have been used to facilitate “a soft-core pedophile ring.”

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Walt Disney Co. has joined Nestle and video game maker Epic Games in pulling advertising from YouTube, days after a YouTube user named Matt Watson uploaded a video explaining how YouTube comment sections are used to identify and share exploitative videos of young girls.

Watson said in his video that YouTube’s algorithm has helped facilitate the ability of pedophiles to trade social media contacts, provide links to “actual child porn” and trade “unlisted videos in secret.”

Bloomberg News cited “people with knowledge of the matter” in reporting that Disney has since withheld its advertising spending from YouTube.

Read the post on The Hill

@TessaMakesLove: Branding and Algorithms: Raging Against the Format

We all learn about the world through the prism of our own stories. The reason I rage against formats so much is because I don’t fit in any.

Modern America is the king of labeling. It is impossible to get through to the public interface without learning how to squeeze yourself into one of the predefined shapes, leaving the least possible amount of torn raw flesh and blood at the knives of public perception.

What kind of music do you play? What race are you? Who did you vote for? Are you with us, or are you against us? 

The interface pulses and dances to the beat of the dollar – primarily – as well as the peer pressure, and it evolves with time. But the principle of the Holy Algorithm remains.

Read the post on Tessa Fights Robots

@TomJHarper: Google and Facebook among giants ‘making profits’ from pop‑up brothels

Internet giants were accused of profiting from sex trafficking in Britain last night as security chiefs warned of a new wave of “pop-up brothels” sweeping the country.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) last night accused firms such as Google and Facebook of “making profits” from the trafficking of vulner­able women, many of whom end up in temporary sex clubs and massage parlours that have sprung up around the country.

The agency’s “modern slavery tsar” said web companies have become the “key enabler for the sexual exploitation of trafficked victims in the UK” and demanded action….

[UK Prime Minister] Theresa May was briefed on the growth of online sex trafficking on Wednesday at a meeting of the modern slavery taskforce — established by the prime minister.

Last night senior government sources said ministers are considering new laws to make internet giants such as Google and Facebook liable when human traffickers use their sites to “pimp” their victims to potential clients.

Downing Street officials said that May and Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, are examining landmark legislation being passed in America that for the first time would make technology firms and social media giants responsible if they publish content that leads to trafficking.

In a statement issued by Downing Street, May said…”As the hosts of user-generated content, internet companies can and should be doing more to ­prevent trafficking-related material from appearing on their platforms.”

Will Kerr, the NCA’s head of vulnera­bilities, said…“It is clear that the internet platforms which host and make a profit out of this type of material need to do more to identify and stop these forms of exploitation.”

The US laws, which were resisted for months by the Internet Association, an organisation funded by Google, Facebook and others, will overturn more than 20 years of blanket immunity afforded to web companies that profit from criminality on their sites.

Read the post on The Sunday Times of London (free registration)