In a frightening example of how the state is tightening its grip around the free Internet, it has emerged that You Tube is complying with thousands of requests from governments to censor and remove videos that show protests and other examples of citizens simply asserting their rights, while also deleting search terms by government mandate.
The latest example is You Tube’s compliance with a request from the British government to censor footage of the British Constitution Group’s Lawful Rebellion protest, during which they attempted to civilly arrest Judge Michael Peake at Birkenhead county court.
British Constitutional Group
Hayes has embarked on an effort to legally prove that the enforced collection of council tax by government is unlawful because no contract has been agreed between the individual and the state. His argument is based on the sound legal principle that just like the council, Hayes can represent himself as a third party in court and that “Roger Hayes” is a corporation and must be treated as one in the eyes of the law.
The British government doesn’t want this kind of information going viral in the public domain because it is scared stiff of a repeat of the infamous poll tax riots of 1990, a massive tax revolt in the UK that forced the Thatcher government to scrap the poll tax altogether because of mass civil disobedience and refusal to pay.
When viewers in the UK attempt to watch videos of the protest, they are met with the message, “This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request.”
We then click through to learn that, “YouTube occasionally receives requests from governments around the world to remove content from our site, and as a result, YouTube may block specific content in order to comply with local laws in certain countries.”
You can also search by country to discover that Google, the owner of You Tube, has complied with the majority of requests from governments, particularly in the United States and the UK, not only to remove You Tube videos, but also specific web search terms and thousands of “data requests,” meaning demands for information that would reveal the true identity of a You Tube user. Google claims that the information sent to governments is “needed for legitimate criminal investigations,” but whether these “data requests” have been backed up by warrants is not divulged by the company.
“Between July 1 and Dec. 31 (2009), Google received 3,580 requests for user data from U.S. government agencies, slightly less than the 3,663 originating from Brazil,” reports PC World. “The United Kingdom and India sent more than 1,000 requests each, and smaller numbers originated from various other countries.”
Reports PC World Google-owned YouTube received more than 10,000 requests for user data from government agencies in the six months ending Dec. 31, 2009, according to newly released data
With regard to search terms, one struggles to understand how a specific combination of words in a Google search can be considered a violation of any law.
This is about government and Google working hand in hand to manipulate search results in order to censor inconvenient information, something which Google now freely admits to doing.
You Tube’s behavior is more despicable than the Communist Chinese, who are at least open about their censorship policies, whereas You Tube hides behind a blanket excuse and doesn't even say what law has been broken.
Anyone who swallows the explanation that the videos were censored in this case because the government was justifiably enforcing a law that says scenes from inside a court room cannot be filmed is beyond naive. Court was not even in session in the protest footage that was removed, and the judge had already left the courtroom.
The real reason for the removal is the fact that the British government is obviously petrified of seeing a group of focused and educated citizens, black, white, old and young, male and female, go head to head with the corrupt system on its own stomping ground.
In their efforts to keep a lid on the growing populist fury that has arrived in response to rampant and growing financial and political tyranny in every sector of society, governments in the west are now mimicking Communist Chinese-style Internet censorship policies in a bid to neutralize protest movements, while hypocritically lecturing the rest of the world on maintaining web freedom.
Via a combination of cyber security legislation and policy that is hastily introduced with no real oversight, governments and large Internet corporations are crafting an environment where the state can simply demand information be removed on a whim with total disregard for freedom of speech protections.
This was underscored last year at the height of the Wikileaks issue, when Amazon axed Wikileaks from its servers following a phone call made by Senator Joe Lieberman’s Senate Homeland Security Committee demanding the website be deleted.
Lieberman has been at the forefront of a push to purge the Internet of all dissent by empowering Obama with a figurative Internet kill switch that he would use to shut down parts of the move during a CNN interview when he stated “Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too.”
Except that China doesn't disconnect the Internet “in case of war,” it only ever does so to censor and intimidate people who express dissent against government atrocities or corruption, as we have documented. This is precisely the kind of online environment the British and American governments are trying to replicate as they attempt to put a stranglehold on the last bastion of true free speech – the world wide web.
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