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Host Violent Content? In Australia, You Could Go to Jail

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SYDNEY, Australia — The video showing the murder of 51 people in Christchurch carries both an offensive title, “New Zealand Video Game,” and a message to “download and save.”

Appearing on 153news.net, an obscure site awash in conspiracy theories, it is exactly the sort of online content that Australia’s new law criminalizing “abhorrent violent material” says must be purged. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy to get it off the internet.

“Christchurch is a hoax,” the site’s owners replied after investigators emailed them in May. Eventually, they agreed to block access to the entire site, but only in Australia.

A defiant response, a partial victory: Such is the challenge of trying to create a safer internet, link by link.

In an era when mass shootings are live-streamed, denied by online conspiracy theorists and encouraged by racist manifestoes posted to internet message boards, much of the world is grasping for ways to stem the loathsome tide.

Australia, spurred to act in April after one of its citizens was charged in the Christchurch attacks, has gone further than almost any other country.

The government is now using the threat of fines and jail time to pressure platforms like Facebook to be more responsible, and it is moving to identify and block entire websites that hold even a single piece of illegal content.

“We are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at the recent Group of 7 summit meeting in France.

But will it be enough? The video of the Christchurch attack highlights the immensity of the challenge.

Hundreds of versions of footage filmed by the gunman spread online soon after the March 15 attack, and even now, clips, stills and the full live-stream can be easily found on scores of websites and some of the major internet platforms.

The video from 153news alone has reached more than six million people on social media.

Australia is pitching its strategy as a model for dealing with the problem, but the limits to its approach have quickly become clear.

Although penalties are severe, enforcement is largely passive and reactive, relying on complaints from internet users, which so far have been just a trickle. Resources are scarce. And experts in online expression say the law lacks the transparency that they say must accompany any effort to restrict expression online.

Of the 30 or so complaints investigators have received so far that were tied to violent crime, terrorism or torture, investigators said, only five have led to notices against site owners and hosts.

“The Australian government wanted to send a message to the social media companies, but also to the public, that it was doing something,” said Evelyn Douek, an Australian doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School who studies online speech regulation. “The point wasn’t so much how the law would work in practice. They didn’t think that through.”

The heart of Australia’s effort sits in an office near Sydney’s harbor that houses the eSafety Commission, led by Julie Inman Grant, an exuberant American with tech industry experience who describes her mission as online consumer protection.

Worldwide, after decades of evolution, that system is robust. Software called PhotoDNA and an Interpol database rapidly identify illegal images. Takedown notices can be deployed through the INHOPE network — a collaboration of nonprofits and law enforcement agencies in 41 countries, including the United States.

In the last fiscal year, the Cyber Report team requested the removal of 35,000 images and videos through INHOPE, and in most cases, takedowns occurred within 72 hours.

“I think we can learn a lot from that,” said Toby Dagg, 43, a former New South Wales detective who oversees the team.

Experts agree, with caveats. Child exploitation is a consensus target, they note. There is far less agreement about what crosses the line when violence and politics are fused. Critics of the Australia law say it gives internet companies too much power over choosing what content should be taken down, without having to disclose their decisions.

They argue that the law creates incentives for platforms and hosting services to pre-emptively censor material because they face steep penalties for all “abhorrent violent material” they host, even if they were unaware of it, and even if they take down the version identified in a complaint but other iterations remain.

Want more Australia coverage and discussion? Sign up for the Australia Letter.

Mr. Dagg acknowledged the challenge. He emphasized that the new law criminalizes only violent video or audio that is produced by perpetrators or accomplices.

But there are still tough questions. Does video of a beheading by uniformed officers become illegal when it moves from the YouTube channel of a human-rights activist to a website dedicated to gore?

“Context matters,” Mr. Dagg said. “No one is pretending it’s not extremely complicated.”

Immediately after the Christchurch shootings, internet service providers in Australia and New Zealand voluntarily blocked more than 40 websites — including hate hothouses like 4chan — that had hosted video of the attacks or a manifesto attributed to the gunman.

In New Zealand, where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is leading an international effort to combat internet hate, the sites gradually returned. But in Australia, the sites have stayed down.

Mr. Morrison, at the G7, said the eSafety Commission was now empowered to tell internet service providers when to block entire sites at the domain level.

In its first act with such powers, the commission announced Monday that around 35 sites had been cleared for revival, while eight unidentified repeat offenders would continue to be inaccessible in Australia.

In a country without a First Amendment and with a deep culture of secrecy in government, there is no public list of sites that were blocked, no explanations, and no publicly available descriptions of what is being removed under the abhorrent-content law.

More transparency has been promised by officials in a recent report, and some social media companies have pledged to be more forthcoming. But Susan Benesch, a Harvard professor who studies violent rhetoric, said any effort that limits speech must require clear and regular disclosure “to provoke public debate about where the line should be.”

To get a sense of how specific complaints are handled, in early August a reporter for The New York Times submitted three links for investigation:

Investigators said the last item “did not meet the threshold” and was not investigated. For the Christchurch footage, a notice was sent to the site and the hosting service. The first complaint was referred to Facebook, which removed the post.

Over all, the process was cautious, but clearly defined by whoever reports a problem.

Two of the five complaints that led to action by the Cyber Report team involved the beheading of Scandinavian tourists in Morocco by Islamic State supporters. One involved images from the murder of Bianca Devins, a 17-year-old girl from New York state, and the final pair involved the Christchurch attack footage — one of which was submitted by The Times.

Of the five, one site has blocked access (153news), two sites or their hosting provider removed the material, and two sites have not yet responded.

Given that limited impact, the question Australia’s approach still can’t answer is whether governments that are eager to act can muster a more robust, transparent and careful form of internet cleanup.

“It’s tremendously important for humankind that we find ways of making and enforcing norms of behavior online,” Ms. Benesh said. “And companies have not been much help.”

Charlotte Graham-McLay contributed reporting from Wellington, New Zealand.

Want more Australia coverage and discussion? Sign up for the weekly Australia Letter, start your day with your local Morning Briefing and join us in our Facebook group.

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App Store Optimization in 2020

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In mobile, there are two fundamental ways how people discover mobile apps – via ads or built-in search. The latter marketing channel is what the App Store Optimization technique was developed for – to make mobile apps better discoverable by specific keywords, whenever people pull out their smartphone to look up for a new app.

Perhaps one of the most well known stats about search on app stores is that it commands around 65% of all app installs and to take advantage of that major channel you need solid knowledge what works and what don’t in ASO today.

This webinar from Gummicube will lay out for you what you need to know about App Store Optimization to drive more installs for your app and ultimately increase your app revenue.

The webinar will be lead by Dave Bell, CEO @Gummicube

Dave Bell is an entrepreneur and recognized pioneer in the fields of mobile entertainment and digital content distribution. He has been featured in and is a frequent contributor to Inc. Magazine, Newsweek, VentureBeat, Website Magazine, Mobile Marketer, Mobile Retailer and numerous other publications.

In this Webinar you will learn:

  • what ASO actually involves and what needs to be done to make it successful
  • how to set realistic expectations and goals from ASO
  • how most ASO tools they are using may be hurting their ASO
  • why ASO is not the SEO for apps

Sign up here https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EKKzwKTqS-OsEEQjFmlYGQ  and tune in on March 5 on 9 am PST.



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सिर्फ़ 12000 में शुरू करें, Small business ideas, New business ideas 2020, Shirt Wholesaler in Mumbai

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For Hilary Mantel, There’s No Time Like the Past

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Around that time, Mantel’s health began to deteriorate. A doctor dismissed her symptoms as a bid for attention and referred her to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist gave her tranquilizers and an antipsychotic drug and told her to stop writing.

Years later, when Mantel and McEwen were living in Botswana, she researched her symptoms and diagnosed herself with endometriosis. Doctors confirmed her suspicions, and when she was 27, she had surgery to remove her uterus and ovaries. The pain didn’t abate, and Mantel suffered from complications that still afflict her: her weight increased, her legs swelled, she felt exhausted and alien to herself.

Her illness made a normal day job impossible: “It narrowed my options in life, and it narrowed them to writing,” she said.

Mantel finished her first book, a novel about the French Revolution titled “A Place of Greater Safety,” in 1979, and sent it to publishers and agents, but no one wanted a 700-plus page historical novel by an unknown writer. She wrote a second book, a brisk, darkly comic contemporary novel, “Every Day Is Mother’s Day,” which became a critical success when it was published in 1985.

Over the next two decades, she published seven other novels and developed a cult following. Though her books vary in their subject matter, style and tone, they are bound by recurring themes: her fascination with transformation and the unseen realm, with myths and archetypes.

When she was writing her novel “Beyond Black,” about a medium who channels the voices of the dead, Mantel realized she was creating a road map for the Cromwell trilogy. “I was thinking, this isn’t just about a medium,” she said, “it’s about how to induce the necessary frame of mind to let the past enact itself.”

◇ ◇ ◇

When she began writing “Wolf Hall” in 2005, Mantel was still relatively obscure. She was also entering a saturated marketplace for Tudor historical fiction, territory that had already been mined by novelists like Philippa Gregory, Antonia Fraser and Alison Weir.



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