Censorship in Egypt: From online porn to hugging on television

(También en Español)

News of Note: Intimate scenes to be banned from Egyptian public TV

(AGI) Cairo – A group of Islamic supervisors of the Egyptian Public Broadcaster will be in charge of removing ‘immoral ‘ footage from films the network has in its archives. The ban will apply to scenes featuring hugging, kissing and belly dancing. As reported by the daily Kuwait al-Anba, which quotes sources from inside the Network, such a decision could bring about either the removal of important scenes from movies that are an integral part of Egypt’s cinema or their complete ban from any TV programming.

Anyone that bans hugging from television really needs to get their priorities straight. I didn’t even realize it was possible for a culture to be so sex-phobic that they would consider the most rudimentary forms of human touching “immoral.”

While slightly less shocking (yet still completely counterproductive), the fate of online Pornography in Egypt is also looking grim.

When are people going to realize that a society thrives when people are free? Telling someone that they cannot do something they enjoy does not deter them from doing it, just look at any form of prohibition, or abstinence only education, it just doesn’t work.

I get it, they’re censoring sex because their religious views shun human sexuality, but that’s unacceptable in a free world. Simply put: Intimacy (hugging included) is an inherent need for all human beings and it is disgusting and embarrassing to see countries on this earth treating themselves this way. What is it going to take for all of us to acknowledge and accept sexuality as an essential part of everyday life?

Anonymous hacks Chinese websites

(También en Español)

News of Note: Anonymous hacks Chinese websites

Messages by the international hacking group Anonymous went up on a number of Chinese government websites on Thursday to protest internet restrictions.

On a Twitter account established in late March, Anonymous China listed the websites it said it had hacked over the last several days. They included government bureaus in several Chinese cities, including in Chengdu, a provincial capital in southwest China.

Some of the sites were still blocked on Thursday, with English-language messages shown on how to circumvent government restrictions. In a message left on one of the hacked Chinese sites, cdcbd.gov.cn, a home page for Chengdu’s business district, the hackers expressed anger with the Chinese government for restrictions placed on the internet.

“Dear Chinese government, you are not infallible, today websites are hacked, tomorrow it will be your vile regime that will fall,” the message read. “So expect us because we do not forgive, never. What you are doing today to your Great People, tomorrow will be inflicted to you,” one of the messages read.

Fighting government censorship by telling the Chinese public how to circumvent their internet firewall, well done Anonymous! It’s worth mentioning that while the article says the hacks were only done in English, that isn’t completely the case. As you can see here, the messages were also displayed in Chinese.

With governments and copyright holders struggling to prolong their grasp on public information, we must continue to fight an endless stream of SOPA-esque (Stop Online Piracy Act) bills. This is just another example of how connectivity and access to information is gradually moving our whole planet towards a more liberated and honest future. Are you ready for a world without barriers?

PayPal backtracks on “obscene” e-book policy

(También en Español)

News of Note: PayPal backtracks on “obscene” e-book policy

(Reuters) – PayPal, the online payment service owned by eBay Inc., is backtracking on its policy against processing sales of e-books containing themes of rape, bestiality or incest after protests from authors and anti-censorship activist groups.

PayPal’s new policy will focus only on e-books that contain potentially illegal images, not e-books that are limited to just text, spokesman Anuj Nayar said on Tuesday. The service will still refuse, however, to process payments for text-only e-books containing child pornography themes.

When I heard that PayPal was throttling the sales of various legal e-books, I wondered if that was a reasonable use of their power. For many people Paypal is a necessary evil. If you make a living on eBay or run a shop in Second Life, you’re probably going to want PayPal in order to get paid.

But this begs the question, “Do corporations have the right to impose censorship on their clients?”

Paypal is a money transmitter. They offer a service similar to a bank (they are a bank in Europe), and they sell no products. As long as no one is dealing in illegal activity, do you believe Paypal has any right to choose what their users can buy? Let us know what you think.