Ars Technica had their account locked due to alleged copyright infringement. This may have been a big deal, but as it turns out, Facebook made it a policy to lock accounts accused of copyright infringement, even if no infringement is taking place. The mere accusation is enough to convince them to take action. And when your account is down, getting it up again is needlessly difficult, directing you to a generic page with an e-mail address to which Facebook will respond on its own time.
Unfortunately, as one may expect, this system is rather easy to exploit, and some interest groups have been abusing it with little accountability. From Ars, "[S]ex blogger and rights activist Violet Blue has posted some particularly damning details about the process on ZDnet, pointing out that her own women's group was removed from Facebook last year after anti-porn crusaders filed faux infringement claims—the group even openly celebrated it on their own site."
User rumielf had this to say of the process: "This happened to a page I admin for a theater group. We had a slew of cast photos pinged with copyright infringement violations. The appeal process was drawn out. I had to file a countercomplaint explaining why my images did not violate any copyright. After that the other party had 14 business days to bring a lawsuit against me or the FB copyright issue would be dropped."
Dave Legg from Neowin, another website that had its Facebook page taken down, also contributed: "We (Neowin) tried to file a countercomplaint, but Facebook just refused to acknowledge it, they simply ignored the content of the email and said once again that we had to contact the complainant and resolve it with them or take them to court."
What if the complainant was just trying to destroy your page and used a bogus contact address? Yeah.
You can read more in the original article and followup article.
Dave Razzano, a "rogue" scout that has worked for the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, and Arizona Cardinals, takes pride in the terms people use to describe him as he often takes on contrarian and brutally honest stances. This article is highly recommended for people interested in the scouting and drafting process.
"He broke the law," U.S. president Barack Obama says in response to a question about Bradley Manning. Has Manning been tried? Nope. Has he been convicted? Niet. And yet, Obama is convinced that the
Obama has information the rest of us don't. Of that, we can be sure. So, is it possible that Manning is indeed guilty of breaking the law and Obama knows it? Yes. (Disregard for the moment the ethics of said law.) But if you're so sure that he broke the law, charge him, try him, and convict him. Don't just dump him in a cell and torture him endlessly - especially when you're the one that had this to say when you had an election to win:
"Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. ... Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process."
On this promise, Obama has done the opposite, and his soundbite reminds us of another (former) U.S. president's words in the face of undesirable questions.
Staying with whistleblowing, a more amusing story: Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, damns WikiLeaks for making him work on Easter. Ignore the startling revelations of the Guantanamo leaks, the important part here is that he "spent Easter weekend dealing w/NYT & other news orgs publishing leaked classified GTMO docs".
As Natasha Lennard puts it, "When will the insensitive media stop thinking about oppressive detention systems and start worrying about federal employees’ precious holiday weekends?"
There seems to be an awfully fluid feel to today's Links, but anyway, staying with WikiLeaks, according to a cable released by Wikileaks, the reason Canadian police arrested Geremi Adam, a movie pirate, was not because they wanted to charge him for something - in fact, he hadn't done anything illegal and the police thought as much - but "as a personal favor" [sic] to a Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association official.
Think about that. Police arresting someone as a favour.
As millions of people around the world celebrated Easter, not much thought was given to the Zombie Invasion of 33 A.D. (C.E.), as Jobsanger and No Gods Allowed explain.
And finally, in France, Andres Serrano's Piss Christ was destroyed by a group of Christian protesters. The work, which depicts a plastic crucifix that Serrano had plunged into a glass of his own urine and then photographed, is highly controversial, to say the least, and sparked an intense debate on the role of religion in modern France.
Further, French president Nicolas Sarkozy has faced scrutiny for his role in the incident, being accused of inciting the protesters' actions with a speech two months ago "lauding 'the Christian heritage of France' at Puy-en-Velay, where the first Crusades were preached." Slumping in the polls, "Sarkozy has been accused of using anti-Muslim and extreme-right rhetoric to appeal to voters", while his actions, like banning burqas, would support those accusations.
Incidentally, the Guardian also has a great story about a French housewife that is fighting the ban.