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Internet freedom continues to decline. Study finds 36 out of 65 countries showed negative internet privacy trends

Internet freedom around the world has tumbled for the fourth consecutive year, with 36 out of 65 assessed countries showing negative trends as more governments resort to repressive measures that stifle online use.

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The world’s internet freedom is disappearing.

According to a recent survey by Freedom House, a US-based non-governmental organisation…repressive laws, government surveillance and regulatory controls over online discussions are working together to dismantle today’s open and free internet.

RT reports:

Of the 65 countries analyzed in the study, entitled ‘Freedom on the Net 2014,’ 19 adopted new legislation that “increased surveillance or restricted user anonymity.”

This Orwellian atmosphere of ubiquitous over-the-shoulder surveillance has had a chilling effect on internet freedoms, not to mention personal liberty, since more people are now facing prison sentences for not conforming to the new wave of laws governing internet use.

“As a result, more people are being arrested for their internet activity than ever before, online media outlets are increasingly pressured to censor themselves or face legal penalties, and private companies are facing new demands to comply with government requests for data or deletions,” the NGO reports.

Iran took first place for its strong-handed internet interference, followed by Syria, China, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The report also cited Turkey, which recently updated the law on the National Intelligence Organization that protects the agency from public scrutiny. The amendments allow the intelligence service to collect information and electronic information from “public bodies, private companies, and individuals without a court order.”

Uzbekistan and Nigeria also featured prominently in the study as they both passed legislation that require Internet cafés to keep a log of their clients, and in the case of Uzbekistan, the owners of such facilities are required to maintain records of customers’ browsing histories for up to three months.

More developed nations are also starting to move towards an Orwellian dark side…

France, for example, which experienced a sharp public outcry following Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations that the French intelligence agency had been cooperating with the NSA and its British counterpart in a global surveillance system, nevertheless passed legislation giving the state legal powers to “access or record telephone conversations, e-mail, internet activity, personal location data, and other electronic communications.”

More worrisome for the advocates of internet freedom is that the French legislation makes no demands on judicial oversight and permits electronic surveillance for a broad range of purposes, including “national security,” the protection of France’s “scientific and economical potential,” and prevention of “terrorism” or “criminality,” the report says.

Russia was also mentioned for its so-called “bloggers law,” adopted in May 2014, which requires anyone whose site gets over 3,000 daily visitors to register with the country’s telecommunications ministry as a mass media outlet.

The study also mentioned efforts to reform surveillance laws in the United States, which was rocked following the NSA revelations. Although much of the legislative changes were still pending as the report went to press, the study said that “some of the bills drafted in Congress would have essentially codified existing surveillance practices.”

Unfortunately for the proponents of a free internet, the whistleblowing work of Edward Snowden has not had the effect of removing government oversight from the internet. If anything, it seems to have only served to increase such government regulation.

References:

http://rt.com/news/212127-internet-freedom-house-survey/

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Lori Loughlin’s daughter was aboard USC official’s yacht in Bahamas when mom was charged

Lori Loughlin’s daughter was on the yacht of USC’s Board of Trustees when her mom was accused in scheme.

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Via Fox News


Lori Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli was spending spring break on a University of Southern California official’s yacht when her mother was accused Tuesday of involvement in a college admissions scheme, reports said.

Giannulli, 19, was on Rick Caruso’s luxury yacht Invictus in the Bahamas, a report said. Caruso is chairman of USC’s Board of Trustees.

Giannulli, who currently attends USC, was with Caruso’s daughter Gianna and several other friends, the outlet reported.

“My daughter and a group of students left for spring break prior to the government’s announcement yesterday,” Caruso told TMZ. “Once we became aware of the investigation, the young woman decided it would be in her best interests to return home.”

Loughlin’s daughter has since returned to Los Angeles to face the allegations that could result in her getting expelled from USC.

USC’s Board of Trustees will not decide the status of Giannulli and the other students involved in the case, but rather, the university’s president will make the decisions, according to TMZ.

Business deals in jeopardy?

Giannulli is a YouTube beauty vlogger and social media star, but in the midst of her mother’s charges, she may lose the lucrative brand-sponsorship deals she has landed over the years, Variety reported.

HP, having cut ties with Giannulli, said in a statement, “HP worked with Lori Loughlin and Olivia Jade in 2017 for a one-time product campaign. HP has removed the content from its properties.”

Giannulli also cut brand deals with partners including Amazon, Dolce & Gabbana, Lulus, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Sephora, Smashbox Beauty Cosmetics, Smile Direct Club, Too Faced Cosmetics, Boohoo, and Unilever’s TRESemmé, the report said.

Giannulli’s rep declined to comment, Variety reported. Estée Lauder Companies, which owns Smashbox and Too Faced, also declined to comment, while the other brands or companies the magazine reached out to did not immediately respond to their requests for comment.

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$250M Lawsuit Against CNN Imminent; Covington High MAGA Student Suffered “Direct Attacks”

CNN will be the second MSM outlet sued over their reporting of the incident, after Sandmann launched a $250 million lawsuit against the Washington Post in late February. 

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Via Zerohedge


CNN is about to be sued for more than $250 million for spreading fake news about 16-year-old Covington High School student Nicholas Sandmann.

Sandmann was viciously attacked by left-leaning news outlets over a deceptively edited video clip from the January March for Life rally at the Lincoln Memorial, in which the MAGA-hat-wearing teenager appeared to be mocking a Native American man beating a drum. Around a day later, a longer version of the video revealed that Sandmann did absolutely nothing wrong – after the media had played judge, jury and executioner of Sandmann’s reputation.

CNN will be the second MSM outlet sued over their reporting of the incident, after Sandmann launched a $250 million lawsuit against the Washington Post in late February.

Speaking with Fox News host Mark Levin in an interview set to air Sunday, Sandmann’s attorney, L. Lin Wood, said “CNN was probably more vicious in its direct attacks on Nicholas than The Washington Post. And CNN goes into millions of individuals’ homes. It’s broadcast into their homes.”

They really went after Nicholas with the idea that he was part of a mob that was attacking the Black Hebrew Israelites, yelling racist slurs at the Black Hebrew Israelites,” continued Wood. “Totally false. Saying things like that Nicholas was part of a group that was threatening the Black Hebrew Israelites, that they thought it was going to be a lynching.”

Why didn’t they stop and just take an hour and look through the internet and find the truth and then report it?” Wood asked. “Maybe do that before you report the lies. They didn’t do it. They were vicious. It was false. CNN will be sued next week, and the dollar figure in the CNN case may be higher than it was [against] The Washington Post.”

Watch: 

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Rand Paul refuses to support emergency declaration, deepening problem

Rand Paul gives a principled reason for his refusal, and he cannot be faulted for that, but it leaves the borders open and unsafe.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Senator Rand Paul indicated he will vote to terminate President Trump’s National Emergency Declaration on Sunday. This continues a story that seems to want no resolution.

Weeks ago, the seed to this news piece started this way:

One 35-day partial government shutdown and almost three weeks later, the debate over a statistically tiny amount of money in the US budget for the building of a border wall drags on with no solution. On February 15th, if there is no agreement that is to President Trump’s satisfaction, the government will once again descend into a partial shutdown.

And on February 15th, the President signed a continuing resolution to keep the government open through the rest of the fiscal year. This CR gave sharply limited authority of funds with regards to the border wall. This prompted the President to take it a step farther and declare a National Emergency.

This is because very few people in the US government actually desire a solution to close and secure the American-Mexican border. In fact, what we see is a government that is largely aligned against the will of its citizens.

President Trump has made repeated statements and speeches in which he outlines a fair array of facts concerning the problems experienced in the US by illegal border crossings of both people and controlled substances.

However, the issue of border security remains something that Congress only supports with words. We saw this in action both last week and the week before with the Democrat led House of Representatives voting 245-182 to terminate the National Emergency declaration. While this was to be expected in the House, on March 3rd, libertarian Senator Rand Paul, a known strong supporter of President Trump, nonetheless penned an Op-Ed piece on Fox News in which he said he planned to also vote against the National Emergency in the Republican-led Senate (emphasis added):

In September of 2014,  I had these words to say: “The president acts like he’s a king. He ignores the Constitution.  He arrogantly says, ‘If Congress will not act, then I must.’

Donald J. Trump agreed with me when he said in November 2014 that President Barack Obama couldn’t make a deal on immigration so “now he has to use executive action, and this is a very, very dangerous thing that should be overridden easily by the Supreme Court.”

I support President Trump. I supported his fight to get funding for the wall from Republicans and Democrats alike, and I share his view that we need more and better border security.

However, I cannot support the use of emergency powers to get more funding, so I will be voting to disapprove of his declaration when it comes before the Senate.

Every single Republican I know decried President Obama’s use of executive power to legislate. We were right then. But the only way to be an honest officeholder is to stand up for the same principles no matter who is in power…

There are really two questions involved in the decision about emergency funding:

  • First, does statutory law allow for the president’s emergency orders,
  • and, second, does the Constitution permit these emergency orders?

As far as the statute goes, the answer is maybe — although no president has previously used emergency powers to spend money denied by Congress, and it was clearly not intended to do that.

But there is a much larger question: the question of whether or not this power and therefore this action are constitutional. With regard to the Constitution, the Supreme Court made it very clear in Youngstown Steel in 1952, in a case that is being closely reexamined in the discussion of executive power.  In Youngstown, the Court ruled that there are three kinds of executive order: orders that carry out an expressly voiced congressional position, orders where Congress’ will is unclear, and, finally, orders clearly opposed to the will of Congress.

To my mind, like it or not, we had this conversation.  In fact, the government was shut down in a public battle over how much money would be spent on the wall and border security.  It ended with a deal that Congress passed and the president signed into law, thus determining the amount.

Congress clearly expressed its will not to spend more than $1.3 billion and to restrict how much of that money could go to barriers.  Therefore, President Trump’s emergency order is clearly in opposition to the will of Congress.

Moreover, the broad principle of separation of powers in the Constitution delegates the power of the purse to Congress.  This turns that principle on its head.

Some are attempting to say that there isn’t a good analogy between President Obama’s orders or the Youngstown case. I disagree. Not only are the issues similar, but I think Youngstown Steel implications are even more profound in the case of emergency appropriations. We spent the last two months debating how much money should be spent on a wall, and Congress came to a clear conclusion: $1.3 billion. Without question, the president’s order for more wall money contradicts the will of Congress and will, in all likelihood, be struck down by the Supreme Court.

In fact, I think the president’s own picks to the Supreme Court may rebuke him on this.

Regardless, I must vote how my principles dictate. My oath is to the Constitution, not to any man or political party. I stand with the president often, and I do so with a loud voice. Today, I think he’s wrong, not on policy, but in seeking to expand the powers of the presidency beyond their constitutional limits. I understand his frustration. Dealing with Congress can be pretty difficult sometimes. But Congress appropriates money, and his only constitutional recourse, if he does not like the amount they appropriate, is to veto the bill.

This statement by Rand Paul is extremely – and painfully – fair. It marks not the actions of a liberal but of someone who is trying to do things truly “by the book.” He cannot be faulted for this.

But his “Nay” is very poorly placed because it comes in the context of a Congress that is full of people far less committed to the vision of America and its sovereignty than he or the President are. One of the reasons stated for lax border security is that cutting off illegal immigration also cuts off very cheap labor for several industries. Some of those industry leaders donate lavishly to political campaigns, ergo, corruption.

Rand Paul, in trying to fight for what is right by the letter of the law, may be correct, but in the short term it appears to exacerbate the problem of the porous US-Mexico border.

President Trump is trying to do the right thing in the company of a Congress who does not want this, for various reasons. Some of it is because some Congressmen and women are petty, Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer being the crabby National Grandparents in this aspect. But add to the “resist Trump because he is Trump” lobby those people who gain from illegal immigration in the short term, and those like the new socialist crop of Congressional members who are ready to change the very nature of the United States into something like their cannabis-induced dream of Sweden (which didn’t even work in Sweden!) and we see that border security is every bit the uphill climb that President Trump has shown it to be.

The government shutdown did one very good thing: It got the American focus on the border and some opinions on the matter moved – at least among the American people.

But since when did our representatives and senators really represent us, the American people?

It has been a long, long time.

 

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