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Censorship Government Your Rights Online

Venezuelan Gov't Seeks Internet Content Bill 248

Posted by Soulskill
from the suddenly-the-fcc-doesn't-look-so-bad dept.
Ah, none is more coward! writes "Several local and international news outlets report that the overwhelmingly pro-Chávez Venezuelan National Assembly is considering a reform of their Social Responsibility law to include Internet content. Besides regulations on mature content and mandatory airing of government messages, the existing bill includes broad prohibitions against 'destabilizing' and 'disquieting' content. The Assembly also has a proposal for a single national Internet access point, 'with a view to handling outgoing and incoming traffic in Venezuela.'"
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Venezuelan Gov't Seeks Internet Content Bill

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  • The final step. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Requia (1734466) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @12:52PM (#34524130)

    And thus the last avenue of free speech in Venezuela dissapears.

    • by Lanteran (1883836)
      I doubt anyone's actually surprised; this has been coming for quite some time.
      • Re:The final step. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Timenerd (1726590) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @12:59PM (#34524170)
        It's coming in this country too.
        • Good thing you didn't specify which country, as it seems that all of them have a problem with the freedom the Internet gives to individuals.

        • by Lanteran (1883836)
          this country being the united states I assume? If so, then most likely.
      • Re:The final step. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Requia (1734466) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @01:01PM (#34524182)

        I'm certainly not (really, the second they started taking state control of the local media this became only a matter of time), but maybe I can finally get the people who think that my anti Chavez attitude is somehow related to his economic policies to realize just how screwed up the Venezuelan government is.

        • by Nursie (632944)

          It seemed convenient for people to latch onto hate for him early one, what with him giving the finger to the US government and demanding profits from exploitation of natural resources remain in country.

          But it turns out that he was an asshat, yep. I was one of those people, though haven't been for a little while now.

    • Re:The final step. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jameskojiro (705701) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @01:10PM (#34524234) Journal

      But I though Hugo Chavez was a "man of the people" and a friend to the "average Jose" in his country.....

      I thought it was a "Democratic Revolution" that happened in Venezuela when Chavez took over.

      • Re:The final step. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2010 @01:20PM (#34524304)

        It's al bullshit (I'm venezuelan). He's just another bullshitter.

        • And lucky for you, you probably won't be able to post that post from within Venezuela soon enough.

      • by LainTouko (926420)

        What's interesting is the question of whether this was inevitable, or whether he could have been a genuine backer of freedom if he didn't have to defend himself against most of the capitalist world.

        The West's habit of trying to destroy any system of strong socialism, resulting in a "fight mode" becoming inevitable, makes it impossible to assess the true practicality of it.

        • Wow, why don't you just start sucking on Chavez's nutsack? Right, there are always justifications for grotesque restrictions of the freedom of speech...oh, wait, THERE AREN'T. Chavez is doing this to keep his power, plain and simple. No dissent! No criticism! You will embrace our glorious leader! And yeah, it's just because of those dogs in the West! We have to do it to shut them up! Would you say the same if Bush and co did something like this post-911? And don't quote me the Patriot Act. Ugly as that was,
      • But I though Hugo Chavez was a "man of the people" and a friend to the "average Jose" in his country.....

        He may well be. It's not unknown in history to have de facto dictatorships run by people who have broad popular support, and use that support to suppress the minority. Sometimes such support is created by state propaganda, as it was with Stalin. Sometimes it arises more or less spontaneously due to major dissatisfaction with the existing political system, such as it was with Hitler, and, more recently, Lukashenko and Putin. I wouldn't be surprised if Chavez falls into the latter category as well - most news

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2010 @01:00PM (#34524174)

    Such as censoring Wikileaks for being a "terrorist organization" and "subverting state power", say.

    No sir. No first would nation would ever do that.

    The chief difference is that people in USA continue to tell themselves they are "free", despite all evidence to contrary, despite people imprisoned and tortured for politics reasons.

    • Well, free speech is protected in the US somewhat better than it is in most of the rest of the world. Not necessarily because our elites are any more virtuous, but because they've realized that they can let us rant and rave all we want, and there still isn't a damn thing we can do about them.

      We may be free, but we're utterly powerless.

    • and turn it into an opportunity to vent against the USA. How about discussing the Venezuela story on its own merits? Single internet access point for the whole country, controlled by the government, good idea or no?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      Where is Wikileaks being censored? The newspapers in the United States and abroad continue to publish the leaks they get, I've yet to see or hear about Federal agents going after the New York Times or anyone else.

      Google - "Latest Wikileaks" and right now there are new headlines from 3 hours ago.

      Is the US going after Wikileaks for distributing thousands of stolen documents? Yes but those documents were classified and stolen. Is the US going to put the guy who stole the documents, Bradley Manning, in a deep d

      • by BeanThere (28381)

        Where is Wikileaks being censored?

        I also posed that question in response to a similar comment in another thread and got hammered by moderators. Yet all you need to is post "US censoring Wikileaks" and you instantly get +5 insightful, for an evidence-free claim that flies in the face of existing evidence, common sense and rationality, just because it's the popular viewpoint here. Certainly the government's hands aren't clean and the fight for liberty is an ongoing one, but claiming the US has 'censored Wikileaks' is false, and it's not helpf

      • by makomk (752139)

        Where is Wikileaks being censored?

        When the US Government put political pressure on their hosting and DNS providers and had the website shut down, I think that probably counted as consorship.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by z-j-y (1056250)

      liberals have become docile on slashdot. usually they are all over the first 50 post justifying dictators.

      • by DarkVader (121278)

        Liberals do not justify dictators.

        Liberals are strongly in favor of personal freedom.

        And Chavez is not a dictator - yet. He's pushing in that direction, but he was popularly elected, and is still operating under a constitutional framework. He's done quite a few good things for Venezuela, but he's started turning down the dark path of too much power.

        • And Chavez is not a dictator - yet. He's pushing in that direction, but he was popularly elected, and is still operating under a constitutional framework. He's done quite a few good things for Venezuela, but he's started turning down the dark path of too much power.

          Can you elaborate on the quite a few good things?

      • by toriver (11308)

        Not too aware of the "Liber" part of "Liberal" are you?

        US conservatives are another bunch, though - even going so far as to support the arguments of the right-wing military junta of Argentina against its NATO ally the U.K. in the Falklands war.

        • US conservatives are another bunch, though - even going so far as to support the arguments of the right-wing military junta of Argentina against its NATO ally the U.K. in the Falklands war.

          Citation?

          I seem to remember that we ostensibly sat that one out (being allied to both parties), but provided intel to the Brits.

          And it's not like we had a liberal government then - Reagan was in charge.

    • by Solandri (704621) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @03:33PM (#34525222)

      Such as censoring Wikileaks for being a "terrorist organization" and "subverting state power", say.

      This is what I've been trying to say about the whole Wikileaks thing. Cause and effect is not a one-way street here. Wikileaks and its supports say they're doing it to help make government more transparent and root out corruption, and done properly it can do that. The problem is that many people seem to have this implicit assumption that exposing corruption automatically means it'll be fixed, and thus release of information guarantees the overall amount of corruption is lessened, and thus it's always beneficial to release information. But that's not the only possible outcome. Another possibility is that closed governments will see what Wikileaks is doing as validation of their closedness, and open governments will "see the error of their ways" and become more closed. In other words, what Wikileaks is doing can cause the opposite of what they're trying to accomplish.

      Release of secret documents needs to be done in a judicious and controlled manner. There has to be very little controversy that the documents released do in fact pertain to corruption (or alleged corruption). Most of the citizens have to agree that it's a good thing the documents were made public in order to generate the socio-political will to fix the corruption. If you fail to do that, like Wikileaks is doing by indiscriminately releasing almost the entirety of the State Dept. docs, all you've done is convinced governments that they need to work harder to keep their secrets, and given them the support of a large portion of their citizens in doing it.

    • Such as censoring Wikileaks for being a "terrorist organization" and "subverting state power", say.

      Went to Google, pulled up Wikileaks. Total elapsed time: 10 seconds. Yep, that's some censoring, there.

  • Who else is all for a "do over" on their 2002 screw up?

  • Lets see :

    In countries which control free speech directly, such laws are created. Its blunt, direct, you know what it is and there is no mistaking what it is.

    In countries like usa, you are told you have free speech. But your free speech is only as free as the money/means you have -> you can blabber to your friends, family, close circle, or people in your locale about everything. But, for your free speech to actually matter, you would need to reach millions of people. And, you cant do that unless yo
    • by MikeRT (947531)

      In usa, you are told you have freedom, but practicing them requires money. You are only free as much as you have money.

      What you failed to mention is that it is actually reasonably within the reach of most Americans because the media they need for speech is available in ways it isn't in China or Venezuela. There are thousands of companies that will sell you print supplies without fear that they'll face "reeducation through labor" for selling to you. There are dozens of video sharing sites. $200 buys you a Fl

      • by unity100 (970058)
        what you are missing is, the SELL part in the 'sell you print supplies'.

        you need to have money to BUY those print supplies. if you dont, you wont have them.

        the 'dozens of video sharing sites' are what has been bothering the establishment up till now, because, they have been providing the unwashed masses the ability to reach millions without having to pay heaps of cash. hence, the attacks on net neutrality to allow corporations to control content, hence acta, hence coica.

        i see that you havent read t
        • Re:and (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @01:30PM (#34524358) Homepage Journal
          Nice backtracking. In your original post you said that to reach the multitudes, you would need to have enough money to buy off the media corporations—not to buy the supplies necessary to run a poster campaign, which is far cheaper. You're changing your position and it's sleazy as hell. Go troll somewhere else.
          • by unity100 (970058)
            its not backtracking. its your reading comprehension issues.

            there is no difference in buying printing supplies to reach 200 million people, and buying fox news.

            in case you have not noticed, what you speak of falls in the category of 'blabbering your opinion to people in your locale'. go buy $600 worth printing supplies, print flyers, and post around the town. or, go to a park, get on top of a barrel, and talk to 600 people.

            the establishment doesnt give a zit whether you do that or not.

            when you a
            • I can remember a number of online "documentaries" such as Zeitgeist or Loose Change that did just fine without massive corporate backing. Zeitgeist has some valid points buried under paranoid crapola and Loose Change is 99% pure, uncut horseshit, but they are two big examples of how you do NOT have to spend tons of money to reach millions of people. Last I knew, the makers of Zeitgeist weren't being shipped off to Gitmo and Dylan Avery (who, Loose Change or not, is a staggeringly monstrous douche) wasn't th
        • by ryants (310088)

          you need to have money to BUY those print supplies. if you dont, you wont have them.

          The costs are very modest and well within the means of the vast majority of the population in the US.

          What, you think the means of publication should be free for all? Perhaps controlled, say, by a central bureaucracy? Who gets to decide who receives this limited resource? And where does that lead, I wonder?

          Socialist nitwits are walking contradictions.

        • by istartedi (132515)

          you need to have money to BUY those print supplies.

          Any homeless guy in the USA can beg enough change or recycle enough cans to get a magic marker and write stuff on cardboard fished out of a dumpster. They can write "FUCK THE PRESIDENT" on the cardboard if they want. Usually though, they just write a brief, sad bio and a plea for more change.

          All these arguments about needing money to carry out free speech in the USA just don't ring very true at all. Any starving college student can get a blog for nothi

      • > So, hopefully others will understand when I say "fuck you, you sniveling leftist brat."

        I'm sure they will understand, if you find your target audience.

        Perhaps you can distribute these affordable printed materials of yours at wrestling matches, or to tipsy concert-goers at the county fair.

      • There are thousands of companies that will sell you print supplies without fear that they'll face "reeducation through labor" for selling to you. There are dozens of video sharing sites. $200 buys you a Flip or something similar for making your own basic videos.

        Just like in 99% of the rest of the world. With one major difference: The US spends in intelligence and military more than the ten next countries combined. And you have more draconian laws than the rest of the world. Sure, you like comparing your country to China, Venezuela or Iraq. Well, compared to most of South America and Europe the US is a police state. I live in Argentina, and you can say all the deranged shit you want about us, most of that shit funded on the lack of information most people in the us

    • In the other way, you dont have freedom. But, practicing anything you have does not require money.

      Please explain how that is the case outside of others subsidising such speech (eg. propeganda in this case) through the government. Unequal means of producing speech is another matter. The internet did a lot to level the playing field by significantly reducing the barriers to broadcasting various forms of speech. Youtube being a good example of this. Are the barriers to speech eliminated? Of course not.

      • by unity100 (970058)

        Unequal means of producing speech is another matter.

        no it isnt. if you are not able to have the MEANS to produce free speech, it means that you dont have free speech. in the end result, you cant use it.

        The internet did a lot to level the playing field by significantly reducing the barriers to broadcasting various forms of speech. Youtube being a good example of this. Are the barriers to speech eliminated?

        i cant even begin to understand why the fuck you are posting the above block. have you not been able to comprehend what you have read in the parent you have been replying :

        ..... The only chance is to reach people through internet, and you are seeing how hard they are trying to censor it, and get it under corporate control through any means possible. So that, the same pattern in publishing and news broadcasting will be there too -> everything in the hands of few megacorps, everything private, and supposedly free ; only the VERY rich can talk, if allowed.

        you have your free speech on the internet, YET. still, wikileaks incident shows you dont even have it, in case you start to make a big impact.

    • by ryants (310088)
      What utter rubbish. How many people do you think your moronic message will reach? How much did it cost you? How many people have WikiLeaks reached on a very shoestring budget? Sure, a lot of talk about silencing them, but it hasn't been very successful now, has it? How much do you suppose it cost Thomas Paine to publish Common Sense, whose message helped create America, and has been read by millions? In short, your theory that your rights are commensurate with your wealth in the US is absolutely crap.
    • [ But, in countries like china, other places, your free speech DIRECTLY has an effect. everything hinges on opinions of people -> not the money people has to exercise their freedoms. You can reach anyone, and you can change minds, if you are let speak freely. ]

      Good luck voicing your opinion in China....

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704444304575628410670226430.html [wsj.com]

      The US is better than china, anyone can be free to twitter and tweet and post on facebook etc..., in china you bad mouth the go

    • your free speech is only as free as the money/means you have -> you can blabber to your friends, family, close circle, or people in your locale about everything. But, for your free speech to actually matter, you would need to reach millions of people

      That's why no society can be truly free unless they have a capitalistic economic system.

      When all the press is under the economic control of the state, no dissenting opinion will have a chance of being heard by a significant percentage of the people.

      • by unity100 (970058)
        and when the press is under control of 4 corporations to a 80% extent, no dissenting opinion will have a chance of being heard by a significant percentage of people either. like news in us.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2010 @01:08PM (#34524222)

    This is OLD news. Since around march of this year things got worse here. For example, from my city in Maracaibo i CAN NOT enter places like ytdb.ru where i work and learn mysql. This and many other sites are limited/restricted and sometimes CANTV (The main ISP of Venezuela) drops the connection without mentioning nothing about upgrades / maintenance service / takeovers, etc.. They NEVER admit they have a cable problem, network problem, isp problem, nothing. they are perfect. With this mention here they will NEVER admit they will block somebody, restrict a place, etc..

  • Good thing Venezuela doesn't have the power to arbitrarily take down infringing domains like the US does [wordpress.com]. There's no better way to highlight the fact the US has way too much power over the Internet than to look at what other governments would do given the powers the US assumes for itself.

  • From TFA (Score:2, Informative)

    When you read the details on what is proposed by the Venezuelan government, it doesn't sound that unreasonable.
    Makes you wonder why it's being spun as totalitarian and evil.

    "The bill proposes applying limits on content in "electronic media" according to the time of day, with adult content reserved for programing after midnight.

    Such limitations already are in place for TV and radio programing. It was not clear how they would be applied to the Internet

    The bill also proposes allowing the government to restrict

    • Haven't you heard? Hugo Chavez is an EVIL SOCIALIST DICTATOR; no more analysis needed

    • The bill also proposes allowing the government to restrict access to websites if they are found to be distributing messages or information that incite violence against the president. Chavez frequently accuses the opposition of plotting to kill him.

      And I wish they'd get on with it. He's a man in serious need of being put six feet under.

      My favorite moment was when Juan Carlos of Spain told him to shut up.

      • In my country what you just wrote constitutes the criminal code offense called incitement to murder.

        - Who is the lower form, one who takes a strong principled political stand that protects
        the poor in his country, or one who thinks murder is a justifiable means to win a political
        argument?

    • From the same FA:

      "Nowhere is the restriction of access to the Internet suggested. There should just exist protection of citizens' moral and ethical honor," said Villalba, who heads the National Assembly's media commission.

      Doesn't that sound kind of contradictory? And doesn't seem the statement "protecting moral and ethical honour" just a tad on the broad side if it's just about porn and death threats? But it really doesn't matter why they implement this law, it's all about gaining a foothold, the stated

    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      When you read the details on what is proposed by the Venezuelan government, it doesn't sound that unreasonable.

      It doesn't sound unreasonable to prohibit the dissemination of messages through radio, TV, and electronic media that "can represent media manipulation designed to promote uneasiness in the community or disturb public order."? (See the third paragraph of the El Universal article.) That's a rather broad statement; one could argue that something saying "public policy XXX could hurt the economy" is "[promoting] uneasiness in the community" about that policy.

    • When you read the details on what is proposed by the Venezuelan government, it doesn't sound that unreasonable.
      Makes you wonder why it's being spun as totalitarian and evil.

      Can you elaborate on what you consider reasonable about the people being to use a single government-supervised Internet access point, where the only content that can be accessed is what is approved by the government and where you can be sent to prison for posting things that offend the government?

      The bill also proposes allowing the gove

  • I do not know how Chavez is trying to fool. But it is clear that he is nothing short of a dictator. But he is moving in slowly in order to not get the people opposing.

    Thankfully the Venezuelan people are soon going to oppose him and oust this evil presidency in Venezuela.

    It is clear that Chavez is not worthy of being president of anything.

  • by airfoobar (1853132) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @01:46PM (#34524456)
    And they won't call it a copyright enforcement measure.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @02:12PM (#34524632) Homepage Journal
    all other means to access millions of people, OUTSIDE internet, requires huge capital or means. you need heaps of cash to buy 'printing supplies', as some commenter put it, to reach a hundred million people. you need heaps of cash to get your adverts on news channels. (that is if they accept your ad, even). you nead heaps of cash to get airtime. in short, your freedom is limited totally with your finances, and those who have finances determine who talks and who not.

    at this point a lot of people err in thinking that 'you have internet !'... it is a mistake :

    Internet is just a temporary 'abomination' establishment wants to fix.

    in the current situation, an upstart like you and me can get up a site, and reach millions of people through it. actually, even doing that currently requires advertising capital or other means, however, lets say that it is much easier to exercise your freedom of speech on the internet than anywhere else. lets say, at least there are sites like this slashdot, this, that, already big traffic mediums in where you can reach people. so, we are dangerous.

    that is precisely why they have come up with endless schemes to bring internet under control and make it like a private cable network, or publishing mediums, in which only the richest will be able to reach noticeable amount of people in a nation:

    anti network neutrality : aims to allow backbone providers and isps to charge websites for the traffic - the more traffic, the more charge you will have -> so, if you happen to reach hundreds of millions of people perchance, with your free speech, you will need to have the heaps of cash to pay for it. if you dont, youre cut off from millions of people with every major isp that censors you. and it will be legal, and compatible with first amendment too !

    acta : supposedly anti counterfeiting treaty, it gives censorship in the hands of a privately appointed commission from private industries, and gives the ability to shut down sites on dubious grounds, without court order.

    coica : you know what it is. this is the government version of controlling.

    there are a few more in the works.

    so, as you can see, it would be an utter folly to think that 'we are free' on the internet. we are TEMPORARILY free, and the system is trying to fix that. once it 'fixes' that, you will need precisely similar amounts of finances in order to be able to be 'dangerous' with the power of your free speech. in that state, what will happen will be precisely be the same with the outside-internet life ; just like you are free to blabber to your friends, family, coworkers, people in your bar and post a few flyers around the town, you will be free to blabber in this or that forum, put up a small blog to see 50 people a day read your views and so on. but, you wont be able to set up a blog with $20 cost to you yearly, and reach millions, if your views get popular, or you have the finances to engage in medium amount of internet advertising. internet advertising also requires considerable money, and that is also a similarity with the outside-internet situation, but, it is still accessible for at least the middle class in regard to the amount required.

    so, if the private interests reach their goal in ANY of the ways above, your freedom will be as limited on internet as it is limited outside internet : free in proportion to the amount of money in your bank. judging from the wikileaks incident, one can easily say that if you really become dangerous to the system, you will be 'taken care of'.
    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      Completely wrong on that it takes huge capital to reach the masses without the Internet.

      Humans invented something called a "book" and one can write a book without capital and one can find a publisher to publish said book without the author having to spend huge capital.

      Of course your book or manifesto has to say something coherent and interesting enough that anyone out there would be interested in reading it. Of course even the neo-luddite writings of the Unibomber were published. Hitler did a good job at ge

      • by unity100 (970058)

        Humans invented something called a "book" and one can write a book without capital and one can find a publisher to publish said book without the author having to spend huge capital.

        yees. isnt it. its that easy. pray, tell, how many people had reached to a hundred million people like that in the past year, from your own social circle ? neighborhood ? your town ?

  • "Disquieting content" is code for 4chan.org [4chan.org], right?
  • I think this just illustrates one thing - there is no such thing as a "good government". Regardless of political colour or country, politicians remain politicians - ruthless people drunk on power with the single objective of staying in power no matter at what human cost. I acknowledge that there are some major benefits in having a good administration and an independent arbitrator, but the way governments of all colours are usurping "total power" nowadays is not acceptable and should be fought by all means.

    • by hherb (229558)

      oops, meant of course freedom FROM war - English is my 5th language and I am still struggling with it.
      The UN should protect people from the shenanigans of various governments that would lead to war (I'd be all for putting the politicians into a cage and let them slug it out to their hearts content) or step in immediately once war breaks out

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