June 23, 2019

Even the Stupidest Stories Can lead Us To Worrisome Truths

In bowels of the previous post we snarked briefly about that Tifa non-troversey and how it was distracting from potentially worrisome issues with the game. That post hyper-linked to an article that had the character designer explaining that the decision was forced on him by the company ethics department in order to conform to 'Global Standards". Curious as to what "Global Standards" were, our crack team of fact checkers did a cursory search and lo-and behold it's a thing.

Interestingly, this policy was implemented by Sony in in 2018, which was about the same time that a wave of censorious shenanigans descended upon the internet in various places. That timeframe is significant because looking for info on "Global Standards"turned up this rather long but fascinating article at Medium, which deserves your full attention.

Let’s take this timeline for example; In, July of 2017, Stripe announces a partnership with Chinese Companies WeChat (Tencent) and AliPay. What happened less than a quarter of a year later? Well, Patreon (who as stated earlier relies on Stripe for processing), had their guidelines updated with further scrutiny paid to adult content, seemingly out of nowhere. As time went on, Patreon would be on and off with the adult content they allowed, eventually allowing it as long as the outward page being presented was not itself explicit. The NSFW community on the site was left in a cloud of doubt about what the official position was when it came to terms of service; much akin to what is currently happening on platforms like Steam. Are there any other examples of this, however? The archived list we used notes that Circle, which was at one point accepting of this content, apparently changed their mind.

This explains a couple of things like why Patreon and Tumblr suddenly got all wonky regards adult content and still can't seem to define it consistently. Note that Stripe, is believed to have been the payment processor mentioned in the Matt Christensen video and transcript of his interaction with Patreon customer service after the second series of their purges last year, and Stripe and PayPal attempted to shut down SubscribeStar when it presented itself as an alternative.

It gets worse...

  ...there’s been an oddly increasing number of incidents related to so-called "problematic content” being stripped from or outright barred from a number of sites. However, when looking into it deeper, there seems to be a simple, central trait shared by all of these incidents; Chinese Investment, or entrance into the Chinese Market. All of this also corresponds to reports that cross-border investment from China is reaching new levels, as there is proof of China actively attempting to move their money overseas. What’s terrifying about this revelation is, as you’ll see, the issue with censorship does not come simply from Chinese companies buying out firms so they can censor them; it comes, sometimes, from companies simply wanting to expand into the Chinese market themselves, and be compliant in doing so.

This,  of course has far worse implication than the silly notion that "Global" beauty standards are actually being set by insecure members of the CCP's "50 Cent Army".

The article goes on to discuss how this has affected Reddit, Discord, Tumbler, Apple, Google, You-Tube, Steam and the development of the Playstation4, before taking a deep dive into the Chinese influence on various payment processors, how this is tied to Xi Jinping's modern version of The Little Red Book and the dire implications of any TOS that has a "Reactionism" clause.

Also: Epic Games is cancer. (But we knew that)

Of course, this is not entirely the CCP's fault.

On one hand essentially, tech firms are bending over to please the ideals of the Xi Jinping Doctrine, in hopes of courting favor with the party — leading to their eventual approval to begin operations within China.

On the other hand, tech firms are pleasing the ideals of the Xi Jinping Doctrine — without being told to, simply because they already ideologically align.

Again; read the whole thing. Be warned, it's long. Medium estimates 30 minutes, but as I kept cross-checking stuff It took me a bit over 90. It was worth every minute. Joe B. did yeoman's work on this.

The payments processing situation with regard to free speech has been brought up a lot of late, but it bears repeating as it is beginning to look like this is the biggest issue facing freedom of speech.

This dovetails nicely into Dev's latest video...

...and should remind us that the Chinese social credit system is not just a problem for the Chinese people.

Note that the CTV article referenced in the video mentions that Libra will be backed by
  "bank deposits and government securities in currencies from stable and reputable central banks."

I'm pretty sure the U.S. isn't investing in this so I imagine those government securities will include a lot of Yuan.

Dev's video also clarifies a widespread misconception about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that EFF seems to share.

Anyway, watch the whole video, it's worth the 20 minutes.

Take heart; The situation is grim but not hopeless, and we are far better served to be aware of what's arrayed against us than to be ignorant of what lurks in the dark.

Also, I apologize to anybody, who, having read the first paragraph, read through the entire post thinking they were going to get boobs.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 03:08 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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June 04, 2019

This Day in History

It's been 30 years .

The source for this image seems to be a website that was taken down recently. i found it via image search and it goes to a dead link..

1989 was an odd year, The U.S.S.R., weakened by its own internal contradictions and with its rot exposed by the Chernobyl disaster of three years prior was undergoing seismic upheavals. There was crazy talk in the west; that the cold War might end without a fight, let alone Armageddon. The faint breeze of hope, long forbidden to those on the other side of the iron curtain was beginning to blow throughout the communist world. Every day, it seemed the news was reporting on how Glasnost was spinning out of control, but in a good way. It's hard to describe the awe, the cautious hope and the elation that 1989 brought us. By the end of the year the Berlin Wall would be rubble, Ceaușescu would be dead and the countries of Eastern Europe would throw off their shackles and begin the long and halting process of rebuilding.

However, in June of that year, the largest of the protests, failed.

In China, one of the largest public spaces in the world was filled with students, packed in like sardines. Emboldened by those heady days when whispers of freedom were spreading like wildfire throughout the communist world, they gathered in Tienanmen Square  to call for reform and civil rights as their ancestors had in 1919 and 1976. For days they marched, they sang, they engaged in hunger strikes. Chinese students around the world joined in. They were overjoyed, and confident. They were going to be free!

And then. It ended. The Chinese Communist Party decided that this could not stand. After a few facsimiles of parlaying, they assessed the situation and came to the conclusion that no negotiation or concessions were necessary.  A billion people is a formidable entity. A billion minds, going in a billion different directions., a billion perspectives, a billion voices, a billion ideas, a billion hopes, a billion dreams, such human capital can create wealth and wonders. However, from the perspective of a leftist, or really any totalitarian, they are cats that must be herded, contradictory views that must be countered, potential disloyalty and a potential threat. The Army was loyal, and with that, even a billion a billion people, if they have been disarmed, are, ultimately little more than a target rich environment.

The CCP decided that thousands in the Square, would no longer be an inspiration, but an example.

The APCs came in that night and were gone by morning, having been routed by thousands with bamboo sticks. 

And so in came the tanks.

...and for a glorious and wondrous moment there was hope.

No one will ever know his name, nor the names of the tank crew who did not follow unlawful orders. But between them these 5 long dead men gave us all a lesson in courage.

It was a brief respite.

Shortly thereafter, less reflective tankers were brought in. The total death toll is unknown but exceeded 10,000. The protestors were shot and bayoneted as they begged for help, then tank treads ground up everyone in the square, living and dead into  a mass of long-pork chitterlings that was hosed into the sewers.  

And so ended the act of defiance.

It has been 30 years.

Obviously things have  changed in that time.
Today we manufacture all our stuff over there to take advantage of slave wages, they have huge influence in our media and the IT technology we've given them makes the CCP's job much easier.
So yeah...progress.

That government is still in place. They are just as ruthless.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 01:08 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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