New Coalition Forms to Combat Censorship of Conservative Speech Online

 

– In response to the continued restriction and censorship of conservatives and their organizations by tech giants Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube, the Media Research Center (MRC) along with 14 leading conservative organizations announced Tuesday the formation of a new, permanent coalition, Conservatives Against Online Censorship.
Conservatives Against Online Censorship will draw attention to the issue of political censorship on social media. This new coalition will urge Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube to address the four following key areas of concern:
Provide Transparency: We need detailed information so everyone can see if liberal groups and users are being treated the same as those on the right. Social media companies operate in a black-box environment, only releasing anecdotes about reports on content and users when they think it necessary. This needs to change. The companies need to design open systems so that they can be held accountable, while giving weight to privacy concerns.
Provide Clarity on ‘Hate Speech’: “Hate speech” is a common concern among social media companies, but no two firms define it the same way. Their definitions are vague and open to interpretation, and their interpretation often looks like an opportunity to silence thought. Today, hate speech means anything liberals don’t like. Silencing those you disagree with is dangerous. If companies can’t tell users clearly what it is, then they shouldn’t try to regulate it.
Provide Equal Footing for Conservatives: Top social media firms, such as Google and YouTube, have chosen to work with dishonest groups that are actively opposed to the conservative movement, including the Southern Poverty Law Center. Those companies need to make equal room for conservative groups as advisers to offset this bias. That same attitude should be applied to employment diversity efforts. Tech companies need to embrace viewpoint diversity.
Mirror the First Amendment: Tech giants should afford their users nothing less than the free speech and free exercise of religion embodied in the First Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. That standard, the result of centuries of American jurisprudence, would enable the rightful blocking of content that threatens violence or spews obscenity, without trampling on free speech liberties that have long made the United States a beacon for freedom.
“Social media is the most expansive and most game-changing form of communication today. It is these facts that make online political censorship one of the largest threats to free speech we have ever seen. Conservatives should be given the same ability to express their political ideas online as liberals, without the fear of being suppressed or censored,” said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell.
“Meaningful debate only happens when both sides are given equal footing. Freedom of speech, regardless of ideological leaning, is something Americans hold dear. Facebook, Twitter and all other social media companies must acknowledge this and work to rectify these concerns unless they want to lose all credibility with the conservative movement. As leaders of this effort, we are launching this coalition to make sure that the recommendations we put forward on behalf of the conservative movement are followed through.”
The Media Research Center sent letters to representatives at Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube last week asking each company to address these complaints and begin a conversation about how they can repair their credibility within the conservative movement. As of Tuesday, only Facebook has issued a formal response.
On April 16, the Media Research Center released an extensive report detailing the censorship of conservative voices online. For more information about Conservatives Against Online Censorship, please visit: www.stopcensoringconservatives.com.
#censorship #twitter #facebook #conservatives #progressives

The Student Data-Mining Scandal Under Our Noses

From The Daily Signal

While congresscritters expressed outrage at Facebook’s intrusive data grabs during Capitol Hill hearings with Mark Zuckerberg this week, not a peep was heard about the Silicon Valley-Beltway theft ring purloining the personal information and browsing habits of millions of American schoolchildren.

It doesn’t take undercover investigative journalists to unmask the massive privacy invasion enabled by educational technology and federal mandates. The kiddie data heist is happening out in the open—with Washington politicians and bureaucrats as brazen co-conspirators.

Facebook is just one of the tech giants partnering with the Department of Education and schools nationwide in pursuit of student data for meddling and profit. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Pearson, Knewton, and many more are cashing in on the Big Data boondoggle.

State and federal educational databases provide countless opportunities for private companies exploiting public schoolchildren subjected to annual assessments, which exploded after adoption of the tech industry-supported Common Core “standards,” tests, and aligned texts and curricula.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone. Find out more >>

The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act further enshrined government collection of personally identifiable information—including data collected on attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions—and allows release of the data to third-party contractors thanks to Obama-era loopholes carved into the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

And the so-called school-to-work pipeline creates endless avenues into taxpayer coffers for firms pitching data-gathering initiatives to “align” student learning with “skill sets” and “competencies” desired by corporations.

Facebook, for example, joined with the Department of Education’s federally sponsored Digital Promise initiative last fall to develop a system of “micro-credentialing” badges for adult students in digital marketing. You can be sure it’s not merely out of benevolence and public interest that Zuckerberg’s empire is training thousands of these students to learn “Social Media Marketing Basics,” “Marketing with Facebook Pages,” “Marketing with Facebook Ads,” and “Marketing with Instagram.”

As parent and educational privacy advocate Cheri Kiesecker reported, the Facebook/Digital Promise partnership is “a wonderful data collection and marketing tool for Facebook and the US Department of Ed, but it is incredibly alarming for students’ privacy and security.”

Facebook is on the march from luring adult students into its orbit to encroaching on secondary and elementary school-age users through its Messenger Kids app and “whole-child personalized learning” programs funded through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

CZI, a “philanthropic investment company” funded with up to $1 billion in Facebook shares over the next three years, is headed by Jim Shelton. He’s a former program officer at the Gates Foundation and a key Common Core champion in the Obama administration.

“Personalized learning” is an edutech buzz phrase for hijacking the classroom and hooking students and teachers on branded software and hardware—iPads, SMART Boards, computerized portfolios, homework apps, you name it—without any evidence that such shiny objects improve academic performance.

Under the guise of customizable assessments, public and private preschools in Colorado experimented with toddlers whose student activities and social/emotional behaviors were tracked using the TS Gold (Teaching Strategies Gold) system—funded with $30 million in Race to the Top subsidies under the Obama administration.

As I reported in 2014, parent Lauren Coker discovered that TS Gold assessors in her son’s Aurora, Colorado, public preschool had recorded information about his trips to the bathroom, his hand-washing habits, and his ability to pull up his pants.

Sunny Flynn, a mom with kids in Jefferson County, Colorado, asked all the right questions: “What security measures are being used to protect this data? Who exactly has access to this data? How long will the data be stored? What is the proven benefit of a kindergarten teacher putting all of this data into a database?”

With little public oversight, Google has infiltrated schools through its “free” Google Apps for Education suite. As I’ve reported previously, Google is building brand loyalty through its questionable certification program that essentially turns teachers into tax-subsidized lobbyists for the company. GAFE enrollees are “trained” on Google products, earn certification, and then open up consultancy businesses and bill their school districts (i.e., the public) to hawk Google’s suite of products to other colleagues.

And this week, 23 parent and watchdog groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that Google is violating child protection laws by collecting personal data of and advertising to those aged under 13.

Over the past four years, Google has admitted “scanning and indexing” student email messages sent using GAFE and data mining student users for commercial gain when they use their accounts for noneducational purposes. Google can collect student/family data to target ads through related services outside the GAFE suite, such as YouTube for Schools, Blogger and Google Plus. These are not covered under the already watered-down federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Under the Obama years, Grand Canyon-sized loopholes in federal student and family privacy protections opened data mining to third-party private entities. Those have yet to be closed by the Trump administration. Why not? It’s time to drain the student data-mining swamp and their facilitators in Washington. For the children.

Show Notes 05-05-17

Friday Show 5-5-17

Showdown looms between Congress, police over civil asset forfeiture
In the early morning hours of April 1, 2013, a police officer in Cleveland, Texas, pulled over James Leonard for speeding along a known drug corridor. After obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle, the officer discovered in the trunk a safe containing more than $200,000 and a bill of sale for a home in Pennsylvania.
Read More

Lawsuit blames Google, Facebook, Twitter for San Bernardino terror attack
A lawsuit filed Wednesday in a California federal court blames Google, Facebook and Twitter for helping to cause the 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino that left 14 dead.
Read More

FDA May Make Too Many Pizza Toppings a Crime
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments” (79 FR 71155) rule was originally scheduled to take effect on May 5. The FDA has now delayed the rule for a year.
Read More

FCC Chair on Colbert’s Trump Bash: Will Apply Obscenity Law if Needed
Stephen Colbert has come under fire and backlash following his Monday night monologue on his show “Late Night with Stephen Colbert,” where he made what some have described as homophobic slurs directed toward President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Read More

University of Kentucky students busted in spy-like attempt to steal exam
Two statistics students at the University of Kentucky are now facing the consequences for making a huge miscalculation during finals week, according to police.
Read More

American flag flap forces Virginia high school students to show their patriotism
Virginia high school students and their principal proudly showed support for the American flag after getting backlash for waving Old Glory from the backs of some of their cars.
Read More

Tennessee school yearbook photo with Nazi costumes prompts apology
A Tennessee school district is under fire from parents after a photo of two students dressed as Nazis ended up in a yearbook. The picture in the Houston Middle School yearbook showed two boys wearing hats with the Nazi swastika symbol.
Read More