Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Now, some people defended the program by arguing that administrators have the same academic freedom as faculty. ResLife administrators should therefore be as free as faculty to educate students. This argument may sound plausible, especially to those who support academic freedom (as I do), but it overlooks something crucial. No faculty member (at least at my institution) may do what ...
- Privacy laws and ethical codes protecting user privacy in the library
- Creating and implementing library policies to protect user privacy
- Hot topics in library privacy: self-serve holds, surveillance cameras, and third party library vendors (e-books)
FIRE Cases Figure Strongly in ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’ Article on Retaliation Against Faculty SpeechWednesday, August 3rd, 2011
Bleeding Cool has posted audio and video for several panels from Comic-Con International. Among them is a recording of CBLDF: 25 Years of Protecting Creativity, which took place on Saturday, July 23, from 3:00 – 4:00 pm in Room 9. The panel description:
When the CBLDF was established in 1986 it was to defend a retailer who faced jail time for selling mature comics to an adult reader, because the common belief was that comics were for kids. Today, comics are a widely respected literary form, and they got there in part thanks to the Fund’s 25 years of protecting the industry’s creativity in court. Come learn how the CBLDF has stood up for comics in this informative presentation of their history, and look ahead towards the issues facing readers today.
Moderated by CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein, the panel offered a comprehensive history of comic book censorship and CBLDF’s work to prevent it. You can listen to the entire panel here.
The Nymwars rage on. Over the past several weeks Google has been engaged in a very public struggle with its users over its “real names” policy on Google+, prompting blog posts and editorials debating the pros and cons of allowing pseudonymous accounts on social networking sites. But there is one person for whom insisting on the use of real names on social networking sites is not enough. Unsurprisingly, that person is Facebook’s Marketing Director, Randi Zuckerberg. Speaking last week on a panel discussion about social media hosted by Marie Claire magazine, Zuckerberg said,
I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.
Take a moment and let that sink in. Randi Zuckberg doesn’t just think that you should be using your real name on Facebook or Google+ or LinkedIn -- she thinks pseudonyms have no place on the Internet at all. And why should we take the radical step of stripping all Internet users of the right to speak anonymously? Because of the Greater Internet F***wad Theory...
The Clery Act requires universities to compile and disclose data on campus ...
Opposition to India's New Intermediary Liability Regulations
The world’s largest democracy has been known to censor online content from time to time, typically under the guise of national security or obscenity. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team is tasked with issuing blocking orders, while Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows police commissioners to identify and order the blocking of material that contains a threat or nuisance to society.
As we noted on June 10, a new regulation [pdf] set to take effect soon prohibits intermediaries--such as content hosts and service providers--from hosting a slew of content, including: blasphemous or defamatory content, content which invades another’s privacy, content that is ‘racially or ethnically objectionable’, content that ‘harms minors in any way,’ and content that ‘infringes any patent, trademark, copyright or other proprietary rights.’
The directive also prohibits the hosting of content that "threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order or causes incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence or prevents investigation of any offence or is insulting any other nation."
Intermediaries must remove such content within 36 hours of being notified of a complaint, while those ...
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for August 2011: Mansfield University of Pennsylvania.
Mansfield's student handbook, the Mountie Manual, includes a Student Rights and Responsibilities document. Under the heading of "freedom from discrimination," the policy states:
It is everyone's responsibility to create a social order that is free of discrimination. We are obligated to examine our own behavior and to provide role models for others which are free of racism and other actions which either diminish the self-esteem or any person or create an atmosphere in which their striving for competence is diminished. ... If any member of the university community is subjected to behavior which they believe is racist or discriminatory, they should contact the Social Equity and Multicultural Affairs Office ....
This policy exemplifies the condescending attitude that underlies so many student conduct policies (such as, for example, definitions of "consent" in sexual assault policies under which women are presumed to lose all sexual agency the moment they begin to feel the effects of alcohol). The underlying assumption of this policy is that Mansfield students are so weak that they cannot be exposed to anything that would "diminish [their] self-esteem" or their "striving for ...
Following up on his recent article for The Huffington Post, Greg has a new Huffington Post piece today that analyzes the First Amendment right to freedom of association as it relates to fraternities on campus. Greg writes:
A lot of fraternities seem to know that their freedom of association is protected by the First Amendment. (While the freedom to join and form groups is not technically listed in the text of the First Amendment, it is understood to arise from the protections of freedom of speech and the right to assembly.) What fraternities often do not know, however, is that there are several different kinds of freedom of association protected by the First Amendment, and they are not all made equal.
Greg reviews some of the relevant case law on freedom of association and argues that in order for fraternities to guard their individual rights, they should establish themselves as more than simply social clubs. Read Greg's whole piece at The Huffington Post.
Last week, FIRE wrote Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust after learning from The Harvard Crimson that the university was giving "serious attention" to student calls to fire economics professor Subramanian Swamy because of his expression in a column he wrote for a newspaper in India. The news of FIRE's involvement has gone worldwide, appearing in the Times of India, Deccan Herald (India), Oman Tribune, North Korea Times (yes, that's weird), and elsewhere, mainly via an Indo-Asian News Service article based on an update in the Crimson.
Swamy's July 16 column, in response to a terrorist bombing a few days earlier in Mumbai, offered ideas on how to "negate the political goals of Islamic terrorism in India," including the ideas that India "[e]nact a national law prohibiting conversion from Hinduism to any other religion," "[r]emove the masjid [mosque] in Kashi Vishwanath temple and the 300 masjids at other temple sites," and "declare India a Hindu Rashtra [nation] in which non-Hindus can vote only if they proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus."
Those ideas seem to represent radical social and cultural change for India if they were implemented. And in the United States, at least, the ...
AAUP to Office for Civil Rights: New Evidence Requirement Conflicts with Our Standards, Jeopardizes Academic Freedom and TenureFriday, July 29th, 2011
Despite serious privacy concerns being voiced by both Democratic and Republican leaders and by thousands of digital rights activists using EFF's Action Center, this afternoon the House Judiciary Committee voted 19 to 10 to recommend passage of H.R. 1981. That bill contains a mandatory data retention provision that would require your Internet service providers to retain 12 months' worth of personal information that could be used to identify what web sites you visit and what content you post online. EFF had previously joined with 29 other civil liberties and consumer privacy groups in signing a letter to the Committee members that condemned the bill as a "direct assault on the privacy of Internet users."
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston had this to say about today's vote:
The data retention mandate in this bill would treat every Internet user like a criminal and threaten the online privacy and free speech rights of every American, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized. Requiring Internet companies to redesign and reconfigure their systems to facilitate government surveillance of Americans' expressive activities is simply un-American. Such a scheme would be as objectionable to our Founders as the requiring of ...
The ground-breaking Humble Indie Bundle asks customers to pay whatever price they want for five DRM-free games, and then gives customers the option of distributing their donation among the developers, promoters, EFF, and the Child's Play charity. Since first naming EFF as a non-profit beneficiary in 2010, the smart and savvy folks at Humble Bundle have rallied freedom-minded gamers throughout the world to donate over half a million dollars for the defense of digital civil liberties.
In some ways, EFF wouldn't be around to fight for users' rights if it weren't for gamers. In 1990, EFF sued the Secret Service for the unconstitutional search and seizure of computers from Steve Jackson Games, a roleplaying and tabletop game company. In the decades since then, we've continued to fight for gamers' rights, most recently urging the Supreme Court to strike down a California law banning the sale of "violent" video games. (They did!)
Last year, donations from Humble Indie Bundles made up 14% of EFF's total revenue, resources that were put to use immediately to defend individuals from bullying lawsuits, educate courts nationwide about online free speech and privacy issues, highlight important digital civil liberties conflicts worldwide, ...
EFF has joined civil liberties and consumer organizations in publicly opposing H.R. 1981, a bill that would threaten online privacy and anonymous speech by requiring Internet service providers (ISPs) to retain logs of customer-identifying information that can be tied to the web sites that you read and the content that you post online.
The House Judiciary Committee will likely be voting this afternoon on whether to send the bill to the House floor, so there's still time to oppose this bill: contact your Representative now.
A coalition letter sent yesterday to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on behalf of 30 civil liberties and consumer advocacy organizations criticized Section 4 of the proposed bill, which requires ISPs to keep hold of temporarily assigned network addresses, or IP addresses, in case law enforcement officials demand them for any reason. These addresses can be used to identify you personally online and, when the right information is stored, may be used to track what websites you visit and what content you post. When access to such valuable information is made readily available, the data becomes ripe for abuse by law enforcement officials. It is particularly troublesome because the laws designed to protect the private ...
Bill Willingham is the writer of the ever-popular and award-winning series Fables. He has also authored prose spin-offs of the series, including Down the Mysterly River, which will be in stores in mid-September.
To support CBLDF, Willingham has donated an advance reading copy of the book, which you can bid on now!
During Comic-Con, Willingham took a moment to talk to CBLDF about the donation:
About Down the Mysterly River:
Max “the Wolf” is a top-notch Boy Scout, an expert at orienteering, and a master of being prepared. So it is a little odd that he suddenly finds himself, with no recollection of his immediate past, lost in an unfamiliar wood. Even odder still, he encounters a badger named Banderbrock, a black bear named Walden, and McTavish the Monster (who might also be an old barn cat) — all of whom talk — and who are as clueless as Max.
Before long, Max and his friends are on the run from a relentless group of hunters and their deadly hounds. Armed with powerful blue swords and known as the Blue Cutters, these hunters capture and change the very essence of their prey. For what purpose, Max can’t ...
American Association of University Professors Asks Office for Civil Rights to Withdraw New Evidence RequirementThursday, July 28th, 2011
American Association of University Professors Asks Office for Civil Rights to Withdraw New Evidence RequirementThursday, July 28th, 2011
The first offering in OIF’s “Intellectual Freedom Summer School” series is a webinar on current issues in intellectual freedom today that are relevant to academic libraries. “Hot Topics in Academic Libraries” will take place Tuesday, August 2 from 10-11 a.m. Central and provide an overview of the following issues as they apply to academic settings:
- Privacy and Technology
- Collection Development
- Private and Public Academic Libraries – what’s the difference?
Speakers: Barbara Jones, Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, and author of Intellectual Freedom in Academic Libraries; and Mike Wright, Head of Acquisitions and Rapid Cataloging at the University of Iowa Libraries, and member of the City Council of Iowa City. Deborah Caldwell-Stone, attorney and Deputy Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, will be available for the Q&A.
“Intellectual Freedom Summer School” sessions cost $39 for ALA members; $49 for nonmembers; and $95 for groups of two or more attendees at the same location.
To register online, click here.
To register by fax, please print and submit the PDF registration form here.
For more information, visit http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/oifprograms/webinars/index.cfm. Contact Angela Maycock at email@example.com with any questions about Intellectual Freedom Summer School offerings.
Victory for a School and its Students: Lack of Censorship Prevents Libel Suit Against School DistrictWednesday, July 27th, 2011
Yes, the university may still punish you for behavior that actually breaks Yale's rules, or it may redefine its charges as hazing, rather than harassment, and perhaps retry the case, but this case has become much bigger than you. It's true that your members have provided the fraternity with an extremely unsympathetic set of facts with which to argue your case, but keep in mind that the principles at stake are the same ones that allow students to question authority and ask the kind of provocative questions that need to be asked on a college campus.Read Greg's entire piece at The Huffington Post.
Some college administrators seem to incorrectly believe that the only way to develop a "welcoming" environment for LGBT students is to limit student speech rights by prohibiting and punishing language that officials find to be offensive or derogatory. For example, at William Paterson University, an anti-harassment policy was used to stifle the private religious expression of a Muslim student-employee who had emailed a professor requesting that he not be sent any more emails "about 'Connie and Sally' and 'Adam and Steve.'" This policy may have been intended to provide a "welcoming" environment for LGBT students, but what it did was censor protected student speech, in this case making the environment decidedly unwelcoming for a traditional believer in Islam.
That's a trade-off that does not need to be made (and that a free society shouldn't make). There's no need to sacrifice free speech for a campus to be accepting of LGBT students.
As evidence of this, the University of Pennsylvania was recently ranked first in Newsweek's list of the "best gay-friendly schools" in the United States. At the same time, Penn is one of just 14 universities in the country that maintains policies fully honoring its students' ...
This August, OIF is offering “Intellectual Freedom Summer School,” a series of online learning opportunities with specific programs for public, academic, and school librarians. These hour-long, interactive sessions will focus on current issues and feature speakers from OIF as well as practicing librarians in the field. The Summer School courses will be:
- Tuesday, Aug. 2: “Intellectual Freedom Summer School: Hot Topics in Academic Libraries” featuring Barbara Jones, Deborah Caldwell-Stone and Mike Wright
- Tuesday, Aug. 9: “Intellectual Freedom Summer School: Privacy Law, Ethics and Policy in the Library” featuring Deborah Caldwell-Stone
- Thursday, Aug. 18: “Intellectual Freedom Summer School: Hot Topics in School Libraries” featuring Angela Maycock and Frances Jacobson Harris
- Wednesday, Aug. 24: “Intellectual Freedom Summer School: Collection Diversity and Self-Censorship” featuring Angela Maycock
- Tuesday, Aug. 30: “Intellectual Freedom Summer School: Hot Topics in Public Libraries” featuring Angela Maycock and Kent Oliver
“Intellectual Freedom Summer School” sessions cost $39 for ALA members; $49 for nonmembers; and $95 for groups of two or more attendees at the same location. Registration is now available for the August 2 and August 9 webinars, and will be open for the remaining sessions on Wednesday, July 27. For more information and to register, visit http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/oifprograms/webinars/index.cfm.
Widener Law Prof Fully Cleared of ‘Harassment’ and ‘Discrimination’ Charges for Using Hypothetical ScenariosMonday, July 25th, 2011
A unanimous hearing panel at Widener University School of Law in Delaware has fully cleared Professor Lawrence Connell of charges of "harassment" and "discrimination" for his use of the term "black folks" in class and for using law school dean Linda L. Ammons, who is black, as a character in hypothetical scenarios during lectures. A faculty panel had recommended that Widener drop its attempts to dismiss the tenured professor, but administrators reportedly induced students to issue further complaints to keep the prosecution going. Represented by attorney Thomas S. Neuberger, Connell is suing Ammons and Widener for defamation.
Connell's ordeal began on December 10, 2010, when Vice Dean J. Patrick Kelly presented him with a binder full of charges alleging violations of Widener's Faculty Member Discrimination and Harassment Code. Widener charged Connell with a long list of supposed violations, many of which were redundant. One of the most frivolous charges was that he was wrong to use the term "black folks" to describe African-Americans, which Widener apparently saw as necessarily racist despite the fact that the term is widely used by people including President Barack Obama. Other allegations involved Connell's use of hypothetical examples of violent crimes in his criminal ...