Third Party & Independents Archives

​Whose First Amendment Rights Matter More? Google's or Yours?

This is why people are worried and angry about the power that Mega Silicon Valley Entities (MSVE’s if you will) wield and how that power intersects with civic values that are fundamental to America and other Western democracies.

Youtube has pulled a video by Chinese dissident Guo Wengui, for apparently harassing or threatening the poor defenseless Communist Party Officials (with capital letters of course) of the Chinese People's Republic. But Guo Wengui is not just a determined activist ranting online about the very real censorship and corruption going on in mainland China. He was a part of the system himself for many years, becoming a billionaire real estate developer in the process. He has accumulated years worth of contacts and precise details about who stole how much from what agency or other government program, and he is now living in exile in New York City apparently. And blowing the lid off the corrupt kleptocracy in Communist China.

Unlike Putin's assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, (at least for now but who knows?), China has not yet invited Guo Wengui to settle differences over a cuppa polonium210-laced tea at the Boise Tea Parlour in Manhattan. Instead, they have deemed him a criminal and are demanding the USA repatriate Guo back to China where he will rot in jail (or perhaps worse). And the Chinese regime are applying considerable pressure on American institutions to achieve this goal. They had a meeting with AG Sessions who held his ground against their demands and pointed out their hacking attempts against the Hudson Institute and Clark Hill, Wengui's law firm. The Hudson Institute, however, meekly complied with China's pressure and canceled a speech by Guo Wengui.

But it seems that China knew where to go to truly try to silence Wengui's speech concerning corruption within the Communist Party hierarchy.

Google.

Why look any further? Hire a good lawyer on this side of the Pacific, file a harassment complaint and make it clear to Google brass who's filing the complaint and presto! The offending video gets suspended. And not only that. Here's what a Google spokeswoman told The Washington Free Beacon:

We review flagged content and remove inappropriate videos according to our policies.

In other words, don't do it again, because if Guo gets another so-called strike against him, he will face further restrictions.

So was Guo Wengui's speech hate speech or harassment? Here's what Guo said to The Washington Free Beacon:

The Chinese kleptocrats are panicked about my exposure of their systematic and rampage(sic) corruption before the 19th Party Congress because they fear when the truth about how they steal from the people to enrich themselves in the name of the state, the Chinese people would demand a revolution to bring them down.

Those are hostile, fighting words. And they are political. It is a manifesto if you will, against the decadent and greedy Party structure in China. By an insider. If you deem this harassment, as Youtube (thus Google) did, then you might as well add any number of pamphlets written around the founding of the American Republic. Many written anonymously in part because of the oppressive structure of the British monarchy towards her colonies.

Clearly this is about money. Google dances to their tune and bends itself into pretzel shapes to avoid angering the mighty Chinese dragon and it's endless oceans of cash. At least the promise of endless oceans. One wonders how much of Google's profits are actually made in China. And because it is a private corporation, one hasn't the recourses to fight back. The specifics of the case are hidden behind the monolithic excuse called "company policy."

Fine. But the problem is when Google's platform is so pervasive, that can be a problem for free speech. This article was written using Google's Chrome browser and search engine, for example. Does that mean we are approaching the point where Google and Facebook and even Twitter might be regarded as utilities rather than high-tech companies?

That brings a whole other slew of problems. Think of long-distance phone calls in the early 80's for example. Or ask your parents. But Google and Facebook and Twitter are getting wake up calls and will have to account for their company policy. If they want to avoid being treated and regulated as utilities.

Or in an ideal world, someone would create a better platform. Unfortunately, companies that do this tend to be bought out at very attractive prices. By Google and the rest of the MSVE's.

In other words, will President Trump have to do a Teddy Roosevelt with Silicon Valley? And should he?

Posted by AllardK at October 17, 2017 6:18 PM
Comments
Comment #420752

Social media platforms should be considered public utilities. At least here in the U.S. the IP and SMPs should not be involved in content whatsoever. Just as a telephone lets you call who and when and say what, so should internet users be able to distribute content unhindered.

Search engines and social media platforms can make their money by collecting the data of their advertisers, not their users. Users would seek out advertisers by any number of criteria collected.

There’s no need for your personal information to be distributed to the multitude of advertisers that see it now. The advertisers should accommodate their costomer’s privacy by not accumulating that information in one place. Can anyone say their personal information is protected? Ask Yahoo if your personal data is secure.

Ma Bell got broke up because there was no competition. The internet is heading the same way. What is terribly frightening is how the social media platforms and now Internet Providers are using their opinions to limit their services to those they deem unworthy. This is wrong and can’t be tolerated. It’s not the business of an Internet Provider to determine what I see and what I don’t see. That is why I believe IPs and social media platforms should be considered to be and regulated as utilities.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 17, 2017 8:41 PM
Comment #420765

Weary you want to tie up the internet in red tape and job killing regulations! D**n next you will want to tax them as well. You seem upset that private individuals in a collective are using their liberty to choose not to serve someone who they disagree with. You would think they were bakers refusing to sell cake to gays! Or a government entity that we have a constitution to protect us from!

Posted by: j2t2 at October 18, 2017 7:44 PM
Comment #420767
Weary you want to tie up the internet in red tape and job killing regulations!

Not quite. I’d like to eliminate the idea that we need someone to protect us from seeing or hearing something only they believe shouldn’t be seen or heard.

Tell me fake news algorithms aren’t harming the first amendment. You can’t, can you? Since you can’t guarantee they will work it is dangerous and foolhardy to try. Another approach needs to be found. That would be to have an expectation of danger, offense, insult ect. always, instead of giving people expectations of the opposite. The last thing we need is to have the next Tesla silenced because a group of people thought he was a crank.


You seem upset that private individuals in a collective are using their liberty to choose not to serve someone who they disagree with.

Who determines what those people are going to disagree with? Who gets to decide what group or individual is banned from being assigned an IP address? Who gets to decide what can be communicated on a person’s access they’re paying for?

Telephone companies don’t monitor who calls who. They don’t determine what can and can’t be said on a telephone. There are actual laws forbidding it. Why should IP providers and social media platforms be allowed to violate that concept?

Your comment suggests what you may be experiencing, j2t2, is a fear of free speech.


Posted by: Weary Willie at October 18, 2017 11:03 PM
Comment #420778
Not quite. I’d like to eliminate the idea that we need someone to protect us from seeing or hearing something only they believe shouldn’t be seen or heard.

They are exercising their freedom and liberty to use their equipment, software and such as they see fit. It is capitalism that you seem to have a problem with. These companies Google, Facebook and Twitter all want to do business in China.They are willing to give up their freedom and liberty in exchange for millions of Yuan from Chinese customers and companies. Why should that bother you? They aren’t the first companies to sell out their principles for profit, why should they refrain from feeding at the trough?


You can exercise your freedom and liberty by simply not using these companies but instead using others that do not bow to the dictates of the Chinese government.

Tell me fake news algorithms aren’t harming the first amendment. You can’t, can you?

Weary, “fake news” has been around as long as our first amendment. I mean where would Fox News be without fake news? Or most of the rest of the conservative “news” sites on the internet? Where would Russian trolls and Donald Trump be without fake news?

It isn’t the first amendment they are harming it is the people of this country. Dumbing them down to the level Trump look like the best choice to run the country FFS.

Since you can’t guarantee they will work it is dangerous and foolhardy to try. Another approach needs to be found.

Look Weary these companies have the best interests of their shareholders in mind when they silence dissenters for the Chinese government. These companies have their rights to…according to conservatives for decades now anyway.
It amazes me you would worry about a Chinese dissenter instead of these American companies exercising their free will without government interference into the free market.

Who determines what those people are going to disagree with?

The companies that gave us these websites, thats who, these collectives that are anti free speech when it effects their profits, thats who. Whats more important a Chinese dissenter or corporate profits in China? The free market or free speech?

Who gets to decide what group or individual is banned from being assigned an IP address? Who gets to decide what can be communicated on a person’s access they’re paying for?

The companies that control the information we receive if it effects their profits Weary. My god man are you a communist? If the company turns down say a fascist/white supremacist/ neo-nazi group’s money it is their option to do so. They may feel that it makes them more money in the long run as advertisers pull ads because of it. Remember it is about the money and corporate profits trumps the rights of others every time. That is the America you want isn’t it? You big government types are something, always willing to interfere in the marketplace.

Your comment suggests what you may be experiencing, j2t2, is a fear of free speech.

I don’t fear free speech Weary but the loss of corporate profits…well… thats a different story. Zeig Heil my friend this is America at it’s finest. The result of free market capitalism and the Reagan revolution.


Posted by: j2t2 at October 19, 2017 10:57 AM
Comment #420779

First of all, I couldn’t care less what Google or Facebook et al does in China. It’s none of my business what they do in China. If the Chinese people want censorship, what is it to me?

What do you have against public utilities, j2t2? Do you insist your water supply be controlled by private entities controlling who and what gets the quantity of water they determine?
What about electricity? You are proposing the utility companies and the shareholders of those companies arbitrarily limit or grant it’s electricity to whom it deems worthy to receive it? Many of your fictional white supremacists use electricity, j2t2. Should electric company discontinue their services to them?
Let’s also discuss the myriad of services the public provide.
Education. Should educators refuse to educate people they disagree with?
Street Sweepers. Should they lift their brooms when passing the homes of those who speak ill of the street sweeper’s pet projects?
Any number of public utilities are owned by private shareholders, but they don’t have the option to pick and choose their customers or what they choose to do with their product. Why should internet providers and social media platforms be any different?

Try this experiment, j2t2. Go a week without internet access. Start paying with cash for all your transactions. Drive to the store to find and purchase your unique items. Limit your telephone conversations based on what your telephone service provider deems proper. Let’s see how different your life would be without the internet. Then ask yourself why something this important to everyday life and the first amendment should be controlled by private entities who only have their bottom line to answer to. Ask yourself what could happen if your IPs and SMPs were controlled by conservatives or closet white nationalist skinheads. Wouldn’t you be clamoring for public oversight in that case?

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 19, 2017 12:54 PM
Comment #420784
First of all, I couldn’t care less what Google or Facebook et al does in China. It’s none of my business what they do in China. If the Chinese people want censorship, what is it to me?

But..but…but… Weary if you don’t care about what these companies do in China you pay the price here. The reason they stop the dissident from telling his story is because they want access to the Chinese market so they bow to the demands of the Chinese dictatorship.

Any number of public utilities are owned by private shareholders, but they don’t have the option to pick and choose their customers or what they choose to do with their product. Why should internet providers and social media platforms be any different?

Because internet providers and social media platforms are not operated for the public good Weary, they are meant to make money and lots of it for the management of the company and dribble some profits to the shareholders while they wait for the stock to increase in value. It is the free market after all Weary. We are all free to start our own internet provider/social media platform giant and become billionaires by allowing Chinese dissidents and neo-Nazis to say what ever they want on our platforms. Which, as we know, is liberty and freedom for individuals not big government nanny state thinking.

Try this experiment, j2t2. Go a week without internet access.

Good point Weary, well taken.
But… Weary… add more regulation to the federal government just so someone can rant about the crooked Chinese government or how superior skinheads are on Facebook, Is what you seem to be saying. You tell me the free market isn’t the answer to the problem of restricting the use of a private outlet to only those that have popular views and/or don’t complain about corrupt governments.It is by government regulation that this can be accomplished you say.

I guess you have a point, my friend. But isn’t your answer a complete reversal of what you have espoused in the past? You want to issue a mandate, for Gods sake Weary and mandate, to these bastions of freedom, Google, Facebook and Twitter, to force them to allow unpopular speech and unpopular people access to their stuff. You want these companies to stand up to a dictator, to forego profit, and allow Chinese dissidents to tell the world about the corruption in the Chinese government instead of rake in piles of cash! Look Weary we have a capitalist system of government here in this country and you are treading on it.

You seem to even be saying you are willing to give up long held conservative ideology to protect the weak from the strong! What has the world come to?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 19, 2017 4:36 PM
Comment #420787

Selling off the telephone companies piece by piece initiated the greatest expansion in communication and free speech in history. Ma Bell wasn’t allowed to stagnate under it’s own weight. IPs and SMPs can be treated the same way.

IPs and SMPs are taking free speech away under the guise of hate speech or intimidation or fake news or whatever they’ll call it when it’s your turn. But, what it really boils down to is it being someone’s opinion that determines what another users should be exposed to. That’s wrong. It should be the users who make those determinations, not the providers.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 19, 2017 6:22 PM
Comment #420795
Selling off the telephone companies piece by piece initiated the greatest expansion in communication and free speech in history.

Oh BS Weary. MA Bell was substantially back together within what 12 years after it was split up.

IPs and SMPs are taking free speech away under the guise of hate speech or intimidation or fake news or whatever they’ll call it when it’s your turn.

Weary private companies cannot take away our first amendment rights only the government can…according to conservatives. You are trampling on their freedom and liberty my friend with these false accusations. Yet you are allowed to do so with out any repercussions.You have free speech. Your neo-Nazi friends have the same options, start their own Facebook, perhaps “Whiteface Book” or “Blood and Soil Book” or some such. Start their own ISP company and do not allow Jews and Blacks and Mexicans and Muslims and AntiFa and Liberals and whoever they do not want to use their services. But my god man to ask the Feds to regulate the internet, to ask these companies to forego profit, to be responsible for protecting the 1st amendment rights of all Americans is undermining our capitalist form of government. What are you thinking?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 19, 2017 11:33 PM
Comment #420820

I hope your IP shuts off your service, j2t2.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 20, 2017 7:57 PM
Comment #420924

Weary I wish only the best for you.
I actually think you have a point in this discussion but I enjoyed seeing you asking for big government regulations, and your lack of confidence in the free market being able to deal with the problem.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 22, 2017 12:15 PM
Comment #420926

IPs and SMPs have no business regulating speech. That is the job of the user. Government regulations only exacerbate the problems because they try to micromanage specifics. It’s obvious that doesn’t work. You’re asking for all hell to break loose by giving IPs and SMPs permission to punish people without due process.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 22, 2017 4:11 PM
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