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December 23, 2008

Wikileaks tells Wikinews why they published Danish child porn censorship list

Wikileaks tells Wikinews why they published Danish child porn censorship list

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wikileaks logo
Image: Wikileaks Media Kit.

Wikileaks has obtained and released a list of all 3,863 websites that are being censored by Danish Internet Service Providers as of February 2008. The system is used to filter out child pornography, although Wikileaks points out it “can be used to censor anything” and claims “most sites on the list are still censored (i.e must be on the current list), even though many have clearly changed owners or were possibly even wrongly placed on the list.”

Wikinews was able to contact Wikileaks. We discussed the unusual leak with them, and the results are published here.

We asked if Wikileaks was worried about the criminal implications of linking to so much illegal content, but they were not. They said that it was “politically untenable” to prosecute them, pointing out that Wikileaks is hosted in many different countries across the globe.

We asked them if they were “concerned about the possibility of censorship in the UK, Denmark, Finland etc.?” “No,” Wikileaks told us “We welcome it.” Wikinews wondered if this was because of the Streisand effect, but Wikileaks said it was “because it will demonstrate how censorship systems are abused.”

Wikinews asked Wikileaks why they didn’t simply post a list of the sites which they felt were legal and add that all the others contained child porn, but Wikileaks felt “that would not be a fair representation of the material we obtained.” After seeking clarification, Wikinews was told “the question is not what we need to be told. The question is what we need not to be told and who decides. Secret censorship systems are unaccountable and dangerous.”

Wikinews then asked why they didn’t leave the full list available, but mark which sites they felt should not be censored. “We have better things to do,” was the response given. So how would Wikileaks suggest dealing with child porn?

“Block financial transactions after due process. It’s easy to set up servers. It is not so easy to set up merchant accounts.” And what would due process be? “Due process would involve sending a letter to the owner of the merchant account with the accusation and giving them a right to be heard and an appeal process. The banks are politically a lot more powerful than the internet industry so this hasn’t happened.”

And should funds in these accounts be seized straight away, or simply frozen until a judge or similar clears their release? “If the accounts are in-jurisdiction, they should be frozen and released or not at the end of the process. There are plenty of existing mechanisms to do this for drug trafficking, for example.”

Wikileaks then added “As an analogy, one might argue that everyone should have a loaded gun in the house to protect themselves against home invasions. This seems perfectly reasonable; however experience has shown that once the gun is in the house, it will find other targets.”



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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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December 12, 2008

German internet watchdog to remove URLs to \’Virgin Killer\’ from search engines

German internet watchdog to remove URLs to ‘Virgin Killer’ from search engines

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wikinews has learned that a German Internet watchdog group is planning on removing the album cover of a German rock band album called Virgin Killer from search engines, just four days after the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), in the United Kingdom, blocked access to it on the free encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Wikipedia, along with Wikinews, are owned by the Wikimedia Foundation.

The German association for voluntary self-regulation in online media (FSM) asked the Federal Inspectorate for young people media (BPjM) on December 9, to remove URLs to the album cover from Germany’s search engines. The action appears to be in direct response to the Wikipedia article and image blockage by the IWF on December 7. According to their website, the BPjM’s goal is to “protect children and adolescents in Germany from any media which might contain harmful or dangerous content”, pursuant to Germany’s Youth Protection Act. The protection act regulates the distribution of harmful materials to minors. According to German press reports, the FSM received complaints and concerns that the image could be considered child pornography and pose a danger to minors.

The Virgin Killer album cover is from the 1976 German rock band Scorpions. It depicts a girl who appears to be around 10 to 12-years old, posing nude, with a lens crack crossing over her genitals, but nothing blocking out her breasts. It first appeared on the band’s album over thirty years ago, and Klaus Meine, the lead singer for Scorpions, recently said that they regret having made the cover. It was later replaced with a photo of the band.

Despite the complaint, the FSM does not believe the album cover is actually child pornography, but says the dissemination of images of underage children as appears on the album cover, is “forbidden” in Germany.

“The picture shows the girl in an unnatural ‘pose’, and a such depiction is prohibited according to the German Youth Media Protection Law,” said Maja Winter to Wikinews in an exclusive statement.

The URLs to the album cover will be blocked from being displayed or searched in search results in the German search engine service, which according to Winter “are members of the FSM”. Winter also added that internet users in Germany will not be blocked from accessing the image.

1976 album cover for Scorpions which previously appeared on Amazon.com, and many other sites.
Image: RCA/Scorpions.

“The URL will thus still be online, but will not be searchable by the respective search engine services. The FSM is not planning nor developing nor implementing an internet filter on the access-level to block [the cover],” added Winter who also said that she had no information on previous complaints in the past 30 years. Winter also could not answer why the FSM decided to take such an action after so many years of the album cover being available and should contact the BPjM for more information. Despite the claim from the FSM, the BPjM said in a statement to Wikinews that they denied having any knowledge of any such attempt at removing URLs to the cover.

“The BPjM has no knowledge of any measures being taken to block the depiction of the album cover from German search engines,” said Petra Meier, a spokesperson for the BPjM to Wikinews. The spokesperson also added that there have been no complaints filed with the BPjM regarding the cover.

As first reported by Wikinews on December 7, British Internet Service Providers (ISPs) implemented a monitoring and filtering mechanism that blocked access to the album cover and the album’s article on Wikipedia. The measures applied redirect traffic for a significant portion of the UK’s Internet population through six servers which can log and filter the content that is available to the end user. A serious side-effect of this is the inability of administrators on Wikimedia sites to block vandals and other troublemakers without potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of innocent contributors who are working on the sites in good faith. The IWF said that the image could “contain illegal” material, but on December 9, reversed their decision and unblocked the image and article.

“The Protection of Children Act 1978 as amended in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, makes it an offence to take, make, permit to be taken, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute, and advertise indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children under the age of 18. The ‘making’ of such images includes downloading, that is, making a copy of a child sexual abuse image on a computer, so, in the UK, accessing such content online is a serious criminal offence,” said the IWF in a statement on their website on December 7. Despite this, Mike Godwin, the legal counsel for Wikimedia said on December 9 that the image does not appear to be illegal anywhere in the world.

“We recognize the good intentions of Internet watch groups, including their focus on blocking and discouraging illegal content. Nevertheless, this incident underscores the need for transparency and accountability in the processes of the Internet Watch Foundation and similar bodies around the world,” said the legal counsel for Wikimedia, Mike Godwin. On December 8, Godwin stated that there is “no reason to believe the article, or the image contained in the article, has been held to be illegal in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world.”



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This exclusive report features first-hand journalism by one or more Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikipedia Learn more about The Federal Inspectorate for young people media (BPjM) and the Youth Protection Act in German, on Wikipedia.
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December 9, 2008

IWF reverses censorship of Wikipedia

IWF reverses censorship of Wikipedia – Wikinews, the free news source

IWF reverses censorship of Wikipedia

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Internet
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  • Wikinews interviews Mario J. Lucero and Isabel Ruiz of Heaven Sent Gaming
  • Parts of internet break as ‘512k day’ reached by routers

Graphical map of the Internet
More information at Wikipedia:
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  • Internet
  • History of the Internet
  • Internet censorship
  • Internet Protocol
  • World Wide Web

On December 7, Wikinews first reported that some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the United Kingdom, were filtering access to an image and an article on the popular, free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, amid allegations that they contain child pornography. The filter was brought into play by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which has stated that today they have removed the ban.

Users attempting to access the page on the Virgin Killer album, or the image itself, have been subjected to it not loading, 404 pages, or messages explaining the block.

The IWF said, in a statement on its website, that “the decision has been taken to remove this webpage from our list.” However, the organization does maintain that “the image in question is potentially in breach of the Protection of Children Act 1978.”

At approximately 19:45 UTC, the ban was removed for customers of Virgin Media, who were previously unable to access the Virgin Killer article or the associated image.

The image and article in question is that of the 1976 album Virgin Killer, a studio album by the Scorpions, a German rock band. The controversy began after the image of the album’s original cover, which depicted a naked prepubescent girl, was reported to the IWF in early December. Wikinews first discovered the controversial image in May 2008 after there were several attempts to delete it on Wikipedia. The image had been blocked because the IWF considered it to be “potentially illegal”. As a result, the IWF have contacted authorities in the United States and in the UK.

British visitors to Wikipedia can now see the full article and the associated image
Image: Wikipedia.

The measures applied redirect Wikipedia-bound traffic from a significant portion of the UK’s Internet population through a small number of servers which can log and filter the content that is available to the end user. A serious side-effect of this is the inability of administrators on Wikimedia sites to block vandals and other troublemakers without potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of innocent contributors who are working on the sites in good faith.

Contributors or individuals attempting to view an affected image or file, depending on their ISP, may get a warning saying, “we have blocked this page because, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), it contains indecent images of children or pointers to them; you could be breaking UK law if you viewed the page.”. Other ISPs provide blank pages, 404 errors, or other means of blocking the content.

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December 8, 2008

Wikimedia, IWF respond to block of Wikipedia over child pornography allegations

Wikimedia, IWF respond to block of Wikipedia over child pornography allegations

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Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Monday, December 8, 2008

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On December 7, Wikinews first reported that some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the United Kingdom, were filtering access to an image and an article on the popular, free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, amid allegations that they contain child pornography. The filter was brought into play by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which issued a statement regarding the filtering shortly after Wikinews published the article. Wikimedia, the host of Wikinews and Wikipedia oppose the IWF’s actions, also issuing a statement.

“A Wikipedia web page, was reported through the IWF’s online reporting mechanism in December 2008. As with all child sexual abuse reports received by our Hotline analysts, the image was assessed according to the UK Sentencing Guidelines Council (page 109). The content was considered to be a potentially illegal indecent image of a child under the age of 18, but hosted outside the UK,” said the IWF in a statement posted on their website.

Users attempting to access the page on the Virgin Killer album, or the image itself, have been subjected to it not loading, 404 pages, or messages explaining the block.

The image and article in question is that of the 1976 album Virgin Killer, a studio album by the Scorpions, a German rock band. The controversy began after the image of the album’s original cover, which depicted a naked prepubescent girl, was reported to the IWF in early December. Wikinews first discovered the controversial image in May 2008 after there were several attempts to delete it on Wikipedia. The image had been blocked because the IWF considered it to be “potentially illegal”. As a result, the IWF have contacted authorities in the United States and in the UK.

The measures applied redirect Wikipedia-bound traffic from a significant portion of the UK’s Internet population through a small number of servers which can log and filter the content that is available to the end user. A serious side-effect of this is the inability of administrators on Wikimedia sites to block vandals and other troublemakers without potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of innocent contributors who are working on the sites in good faith.

Contributors or individuals attempting to view an affected image or file, depending on their ISP, may get a warning saying, “we have blocked this page because, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), it contains indecent images of children or pointers to them; you could be breaking UK law if you viewed the page.”. Other ISPs provide blank pages, 404 errors, or other means of blocking the content.

1976 album cover for the Scorpions which previously appeared on Amazon.com, and many other sites.
Image: RCA/Scorpions.

Wikimedia was not informed that the image would be blacklisted because the IWF “does not issue takedown notices to ISPs or hosting companies outside the UK”. The servers for Wikimedia projects are located in Florida in the U.S., and according to Jay Walsh, the head of communications for Wikimedia, the Foundation “opposes” the action taken by the IWF.

“The IWF has confirmed to the Wikimedia Foundation that it has added Wikipedia to its blacklist, which also had the unintended consequence of rendering UK-based internet users unable to edit the encyclopedia,” said Walsh.

“We did advise one of our partner Hotlines abroad and our law enforcement partner agency of our assessment. The specific URL (individual webpage) was then added to the list provided to ISPs and other companies in the online sector to protect their customers from inadvertent exposure to a potentially illegal indecent image of a child,” added the statement by the IWF.

“We have no reason to believe the article, or the image contained in the article, has been held to be illegal in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world. We believe it’s worth noting that the image is currently visible on Amazon, where the album can be freely purchased by UK residents. It is available on thousands of websites that are accessible to the UK public,” said Mike Godwin, legal counsel for Wikimedia. The cover has since been removed from Amazon.com.

Wikimedia projects such as Wikinews state in their policies that they are “not censored”. Wikimedia will continue discussions with the IWF in hopes of resolving the issue.



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December 7, 2008

British ISPs restrict access to Wikipedia amid child pornography allegations

British ISPs restrict access to Wikipedia amid child pornography allegations

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Internet
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  • Google shuts down Google News Spain
  • Wikinews interviews Mario J. Lucero and Isabel Ruiz of Heaven Sent Gaming
  • Parts of internet break as ‘512k day’ reached by routers

Graphical map of the Internet
More information at Wikipedia:
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  • Internet
  • History of the Internet
  • Internet censorship
  • Internet Protocol
  • World Wide Web

Wikinews has learned at least six of the United Kingdom’s main Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have implemented monitoring and filtering mechanisms that are causing major problems for UK contributors on websites operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, in addition to 1,200 other websites. The filters appear to be applied because Wikimedia sites are hosting a Scorpions album cover which some call child pornography. Scorpions are a German hard rock band who have used several controversial album covers and are perhaps best known for the song Rock You Like a Hurricane.

The measures applied redirect traffic for a significant portion of the UK’s Internet population through six servers which can log and filter the content available to the end user. A serious side-effect of this is the inability of administrators on Wikimedia sites to block vandals, and other troublemakers, without potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of innocent UK contributors who work on WMF sites in good faith.

The filtering is in response to the Internet Watch Foundation’s list of websites that host content reported to contain inappropriate images of naked children. The IWF considers those images child pornography. However, in the United States, where the websites of the Wikimedia Foundation are hosted, it is not considered obscene under the criteria of the Miller test, which requires that an obscene work lack “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value” – as album art is used to “brand” the album, it is considered to be artistic.

Contributors or individuals attempting to view an affected image or file, depending on their ISP, may get a warning saying, “we have blocked this page because, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), it contains indecent images of children or pointers to them; you could be breaking UK law if you viewed the page.” Other ISPs provide blank pages, 404 errors, or other means of blocking the content. Due to a configuration mistake at one Internet service provider, some users have reported being totally unable to access Wikimedia sites to the Wikipedia technical help desk.

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“The Protection of Children Act 1978 as amended in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, makes it an offence to take, make, permit to be taken, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute, and advertise indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children under the age of eighteen. The ‘making’ of such images includes downloading, that is, making a copy of a child sexual abuse image on a computer, so, in the UK, accessing such content online is a serious criminal offence,” says the IWF on their website in an article updated on November 28. The IWF say there are at least 800 to 1,200 websites on the list of those who host or contain offensive material. The list is not public and the IWF never notified Wikimedia Foundation about the blocking of Wikipedia content. The affected page does not display any message informing the user about blocked content on most ISPs, instead, a technical error message is shown.

However, Demon Internet redirects users to a block message on the IWF’s site explaining that the page was blocked as the organization suspects child porn or links to it to be present. The IWF states that, “we do not notify site owners that their websites are on our list.”

1976 album cover for the Scorpions which also appears on Amazon.com and many other sites.
Image: RCA/Scorpions.

The concern for Wikimedia is for some images like an album cover from a 1976 record of the Scorpions titled Virgin Killer. It displays an underage girl, posing nude, with a lens crack crossing over her genitals, but nothing blocking out her breasts. The girl appears to be around ten years old. In the U.S., the band later replaced the image with one of the group. The cover was uploaded to Wikipedia in 2006, but Wikinews learned that on May 9, 2008 at (21:17 UTC), despite a result of strong consensus to ‘keep’ in a deletion request, the image was deleted, however for a different reason. It was deleted due to a claim by an administrator that it violated Wikipedia’s policy for dealing with copyrighted images, which require that any images used under the doctrine of fair use must alongside other criteria, “significantly increase readers’ understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding”, with the administrator claiming that the article “lacked meaningful discussion” of the album art. This result was overturned using the deletion review process. Earlier, on December 6, the image was put back up for a deletion request, but it was later closed as Wikimedia “does not censor”.

Another image that is questionable could be a screenshot from the 1938 film Child Bride. Its goal was to bring to light the attempts at banning child marriages. In the article on Wikipedia, a screenshot appears of then 12-year-old Shirley Mills partially naked after skinny dipping. In the photo, at least one of her breasts can be seen.

Other albums featuring nudity below the age of sixteen have previously caused controversy; Blind Faith attracted criticism as did Houses of the Holy, and Nirvana’s Nevermind.

Multiple companies have gone public stating that they implement the recommendations of the Internet Watch Foundation. Not all of these are known to have implemented measures against Wikimedia sites; the major UK ISPs thought to have affected Wikimedia sites are Telefonica O2/Be Unlimited, Virgin Media, Easynet, Plusnet, Demon, and Opal Telecommunications (TalkTalk).

Wikinews has contacted Wikimedia’s legal counsel, Mike Godwin and the IWF for a statement, but neither have replied as of this time.

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March 23, 2008

Banned film \’The Profit\’ appears on Web

Banned film ‘The Profit’ appears on Web – Wikinews, the free news source

Banned film ‘The Profit’ appears on Web

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Profit movie poster.
Image: Official website, The Profit.

Copies of The Profit, a 2001 film blocked from distribution in the United States due to a court injunction won by the Church of Scientology, appeared on the Internet Friday on peer-to-peer file-sharing websites and on the video sharing site YouTube.

Directed by former film executive Peter N. Alexander, the movie has been characterized by critics as a parody of Scientology and of its founder L. Ron Hubbard. Alexander was a Scientologist for twenty years, and left the organization in 1997. The film was funded by Bob Minton, a former critic of Scientology who later signed an agreement with the Church of Scientology and has attempted to stop distribution of the film. Alexander has stated that the movie is based on his research into cults, and when asked by the St. Petersburg Times about parallels to Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard said: “I’ll let you draw that conclusion … I say it’s entirely fictional.”

The film was released in August 2001, and was shown at a movie theatre in Clearwater, Florida and at a premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in France. A Scientology spokesman gave a statement at the time saying “the movie is fiction and has nothing to do with Scientology”. The Church of Scientology later took legal action in an attempt to stop further distribution of the film. The Church of Scientology claimed that the film was intended to influence the jury pool in the wrongful death case of Scientologist Lisa McPherson, who died under Scientology care in Clearwater, Florida.

In April 2002, a Pinellas County, Florida judge issued a court order enjoining The Profit from worldwide distribution for an indefinite period. According to the original court injunction received by Wikinews, the movie was originally banned because the court found that it could be seen as a parody of Scientology. In his April 20, 2002 ruling on the injunction, Judge Robert E. Beach of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court in Pinellas County, Florida wrote: “…an average person viewing the film entitled The Profit could perceive that it is a parody of the Church of Scientology”.

“To the extent that any person considered as a potential juror in evaluating any issues involving the Church of Scientology, the process of voir dire provides a fair and complete remedy to eliminate any potential juror that may possibly have been influenced to be less than fair and impartial,” added Beach.

Luke Lirot, the attorney for the film’s production company, announced on the film’s website on April 7, 2007 that “We have absolutely no exposure for any repercussions from the court order,” but that the film was still blocked from distribution due to an ongoing legal battle. Lirot wrote: “all that’s stopping the release of the movie is the legal battle with the partner who was compromised by Scientology (Robert Minton) and is currently using his power as partner to stop the release of the film.”

In an October 2007 article, The Times described the film as “banned in the US because of a lawsuit taken out against it by The Church of Scientology,” and Russ Kick’s The Disinformation Book of Lists included the film in his “List of 16 Movies Banned in the U.S.”. An 8-minute teaser segment from The Profit appeared on the film’s website and on the video sharing site YouTube in February 2008, and an attorney representing Bob Minton sent a letter to Luke Lirot requesting that the film clip be taken down. In a response letter, Lirot wrote that “Rather than damage any asset of the LLC, the short clip merely keeps the film in the public eye, and in a positive way.”

On Friday, copies of the film began to circulate on peer-to-peer file-sharing websites and on YouTube. A link related to the film’s appearance on the Internet on the community-based link aggregator website Digg.com had 3,638 “Diggs” – and hit the front page of the site’s Entertainment section on Saturday.

Cquote1.svg I had nothing to do with this release at all. But I’m happy it’s out there. Cquote2.svg

—Mark Bunker

On Saturday, Scientology critic and Emmy award-winning journalist Mark Bunker put a streaming version of the film on his website, www.xenutv.com, and encouraged others to watch and discuss the film on a real-time chat channel. In a video posting to YouTube Saturday, Bunker said “I did not do it. I had nothing to do with it … I had nothing to do with this release at all. But I’m happy it’s out there … people are finally having a chance to see it. A lot of people have been curious over the years and there’s been a lot of interest in seeing the film, so finally you can.”

Cquote1.svg We have all wanted to see this movie that scientology kept hidden away from us. We have all wondered just how damning could this story be that we were banned from watching it. Cquote2.svg

Blogsreel

On the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, a poster by the username “Alexia Death” commented on the film’s appearance on the Internet in the context of censorship: “It is out! And so it is a WIN if many people review it even if they say it SUCKS! … Being bad is no cause to allow censorship … And being censored is no cause to assume its good”. A post to the blog Blogsreel commented: “We have all wanted to see this movie that scientology kept hidden away from us. We have all wondered just how damning could this story be that we were banned from watching it.”

In a post on Sunday to the message board attached to the official website for the film, attorney Luke Lirot asked that individuals stop distributing copies of The Profit over the Internet. Lirot wrote: “It has been brought to my attention that several unauthorized transmissions and downloads of this protected work have taken place over the last 72 hours. Such actions are copyright violations and are unlawful. I request that any further distribution and/or dissemination of this important work cease immediately and any copies of the work that have been downloaded please be deleted.” In his statement, Lirot recognized the rights of individuals under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, but also said that unauthorized distribution of the film “will only serve to harm the goal of vast distribution”.

Blog postings have attributed the film’s appearance on the Internet as part of the anti-Scientology movement Project Chanology organized by the Internet-based group Anonymous, but this has not been confirmed. Wikinews previously reported on international protests against Scientology which took place as part of Project Chanology on February 10 and March 15. A third international protest by Anonymous is scheduled for April 12. Titled “Operation Reconnect”, the third international protest will focus on highlighting Scientology’s practice of disconnection.



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February 29, 2008

Wikileaks claims ‘abuse of process’ in court case that resulted in wikileaks.org being taken offline

Wikileaks claims ‘abuse of process’ in court case that resulted in wikileaks.org being taken offline

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Wikileaks has claimed in a press release that the Swiss bank, Bank Julius Baer & Trust, has abused the system by involving an administrator of the Wikileaks group on Facebook in the court case which has recently lead to a court injunction causing wikileaks.org DNS entry to be removed. As of this writing, Wikileaks could still be accessed via its IP address at http://88.80.13.160/wiki/wikileaks.

The Facebook user who became involved in the court case has responded to this by saying that “I am an officer of a Facebook group, which is essentially a message board for discussion of issues relating to Wikileaks. I am not, and never have been, an officer of Wikileaks, and I request you [Bank Julius Baer & Trust] not to represent that I am.”

Bank Julius Baer & Trust’s law firm said that “as an officer of a defendant in this action, my client [Bank Julius Baer & Trust] is entitled to serve you [the Facebook User] a copy of the summons and complaint pursuant.”

In a different press release, Wikileaks stated that they were not sure of the authenticity of the documents from Bank Julius Baer & Trust until the court case started. They say that the bank “in attempting to shoot the messenger has only succeeded, spectacularly, in shooting itself.”

The injunction, which a Wikileaks user describes as ‘blind’ and ‘unlawful’ was granted in the California Northern District Court in San Francisco, California . The case was regarding several documents allegedly obtained from a whistleblower of the Bank Julius Baer & Trust.



Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


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January 23, 2008

\”Anonymous\” releases statements outlining \”War on Scientology\”

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

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The Internet-based group “Anonymous” has released statements on YouTube and via a press release, outlining what they call a “War on Scientology”. Church of Scientology related websites, such as religiousfreedomwatch.org have been removed due to a suspected distributed denial-of-service-attack (DDoS) by a group calling themselves “Anonymous”. On Friday, the same group allegedly brought down Scientology’s main website, scientology.org, which was available sporadically throughout the weekend.

Several websites relating to the Church of Scientology have been slowed down, brought to a complete halt or seemingly removed from the Internet completely in an attack which seems to be continuous. The scientology.org site was back online briefly on Monday, and is currently loading slowly.

On Monday, the group released a video titled: “Message to Scientology” on YouTube concerning their intentions to attack the Church of Scientology. A robotic voice on the video begins with “Hello leaders of Scientology. We are Anonymous,” and continues by explaining their motivations: “Over the years we have been watching you, your campaigns of misinformation, your suppression of dissent and your litigious nature. All of these things have caught our eye. With the leakage of your latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation the extent of your malign influence over those who have come to trust you as leaders has been made clear to us. Anonymous has therefore decided that your organisation should be destroyed.” The message goes on to state that the group intends to “expel Scientology from the Internet”. As of Wednesday, the video had been viewed 370,347 times, favorited 2,473 times, and is currently YouTube’s top third video of the day.

Cquote1.svg if this video is any indication, it seems like the assailants mean business. Cquote2.svg

—The Michigan Daily

The “Message to Scientology” video was highlighted as the “YouTube Video of the Week” by The Michigan Daily. Commenting on the video, the piece states “if this video is any indication, it seems like the assailants mean business”. In a blog post on USA Today‘s website, Jess Zielinski wrote that it was “not a shock that hackers hold a grudge against Scientology,” and in a followup post on another USA Today blog, Angela Gunn wrote that “those of us who remember … the adventures of Operation Clambake are fascinated to see this kind of thing flare up again”. Blogging for Wired magazine, Ryan Singel wrote about the incident in a piece on Wednesay titled “War Breaks Out Between Hackers and Scientology — There Can Be Only One”. Singel wrote that the Project Chanology wiki page “directs Anonymous members to download and use denial of service software, make prank calls, host Scientology documents the Church considers proprietary, and fax endless loops of black pages to the Church’s fax machines to waste ink”. According to Wired, “The Church of Scientology did not immediately respond to a call for comment”.

The viewpoints expressed in the video are echoed on the “Project Chanology” website, an open source of information and direction for those within Anonymous, which talks of tactics such as blackfaxing and prank calling alongside other “real-life” methods of attack. The satirical website Encyclopedia Dramatica also has a similar page devoted to “Project Chanology”.

Cquote1.svg The so-called Church of Scientology actively misused copyright and trademark law in pursuit of its own agenda … They attempted not only to subvert free speech, but to recklessly pervert justice to silence those who spoke out against them. Cquote2.svg

—”Anonymous” – Press Release

“Anonymous” released a statement on Monday in the form of a press release, “Internet Group Anonymous Declares “War on Scientology”: “Anonymous” are fighting the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center”. In the statement, the group explained their goal as safeguarding the right to freedom of speech “A spokesperson said that the group’s goals include bringing an end to the financial exploitation of Church members and protecting the right to free speech, a right which they claim was consistently violated by the Church of Scientology in pursuit of its opponents.” The press release also claimed that the Church of Scientology misused copyright and trademark law in order to remove criticism from websites including Digg and YouTube. The statement goes on to assert that the attacks from the group “will continue until the Church of Scientology reacts, at which point they will change strategy”.

The attack was reportedly motivated by the Church of Scientology’s attempts to remove a promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise from YouTube. After the Church of Scientology lodged a copyright infringement complaint with YouTube, the site took down the video. The Tom Cruise video is still available on Gawker.com, which has stated it will not remove the video “It’s newsworthy, and we will not be removing it.”

Cquote1.svg … a whole range of sites has turned the Church into a mockery by doing what mainstream celebrity-coverage outlets wouldn’t dare. Cquote2.svg

—Gawker.com

Gawker.com discussed the actions of the “Anonymous” group, in a post on Monday titled “Scientology vs. the Internet: Why Kids On The Internet Are Scientology’s Most Powerful Enemy”. Gawker.com briefly outlined actions of other anonymous users critical of Scientology, including actions taken in the past by users of YouTube, Digg, and YTMND “This isn’t the only group of Internet users unafraid of the intimidating cult; a whole range of sites has turned the Church into a mockery by doing what mainstream celebrity-coverage outlets wouldn’t dare.”

A poster on the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology (a.r.s.) was critical of the actions by the “Anonymous” group. In a post titled “Open Letter to Anonymous” Jeff Jacobsen, webmaster of lisamcpherson.org, posting as “cultxpt” wrote that “It’s understandable that people get upset over the things the Church of Scientology has done online and off”, pointing out that the Church of Scientology had “tried to shut down a.r.s.”, and “spam our newsgroup to this day”. In 1999 “sporgery”, a form of nonsensical spam tactic, was used as an attempt to disrupt discussion on the newsgroup. Previously in 1995 Helena Kobrin, an attorney for the Church of Scientology, attempted to remove the a.r.s. group from Usenet. Kobrin sent a rmgroup message which stated: “We have requested that the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup be removed from all sites”. This later led to a declaration of war by the hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow, and an increase in popularity of the a.r.s site. This initial conflict came to be known as “Scientology versus the Internet”.

The post from Jacobsen went on to criticize the actions of the “Anonymous” group, stating: “We’re supposed to be the good people,” and stated that contrary to the Anonymous group’s tactics, “Our weapons as critics are reason, evidence, argument, and free speech”.

Cquote1.svg Freedom of speech means we need to allow all to speak – including those we strongly disagree with. Cquote2.svg

—Andreas Heldal-Lund, Operation Clambake

On Tuesday, the founder of Operation Clambake, a non-profit organization and website critical of Scientology based in Stavanger, Norway, released a statement about the attacks by “Anonymous”. Andreas Heldal-Lund was critical of the “Anonymous” groups actions, stating: “The author of Operation Clambake does not condone such activity. Attacking Scientology like that will just make them play the religious persecution card. They will use it to defend their own counter actions when they try to shatter criticism and crush critics without mercy.” Heldal-Lund went on to emphasize the right of all people and organizations to freedom of speech – including the Church of Scientology: “Freedom of speech means we need to allow all to speak – including those we strongly disagree with. I am of the opinion that the Church of Scientology is a criminal organisation and a cult which is designed by its delusional founder to abuse people. I am still committed to fight for their right to speak their opinion.”


Related News

  • “Interview with Glen Stollery of ScienTOMogy.info” — Wikinews, April 5, 2006
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  • “Church of Scientology does not see humor in website dedicated to Tom Cruise” — Wikinews, September 25, 2005
  • “Tom Cruise debates psychiatry on NBC’s Today show” — Wikinews, June 25, 2005

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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