Monday, September 12, 2016

News Briefs 9.12.16


Censorship in the Age of Technology

There are few things a creative mind fears, save the threat of censorship. The power to determine the flow of information to and from the general public is an increasingly dangerous method of control that is resurfacing once again on Youtube.com

One thing that many often forget or don't even realize is that advertisement revenue and the big corporations that fuel the financial furnaces are the one's with real power, even on the internet which prides itself on being a safe haven for intellectual freedoms and anonymity. But now, Youtube is disabling advertisements on videos that feature violence, suggestive/sexual themes, harsh language, or even drug abuse. By cutting off ad revenue from these videos, Youtube is now cutting off the livelihood of their lovingly named "content creators" who have found a market in these explicit themes.


Any company would be a bit wary and uncomfortable with their product being advertised next to a video that includes topics that might reflect their brand badly and considering the amount of money, time, and effort is invested in a brand to portray a certain image, it puts Youtube between a rock and a hard place.


Do they continue to please the people responsible for their massive success who consistently create content for their site and continue to do so every day? 


Or do they please the advertisement companies that are pumping money into Youtube's pocket that let's them afford to pay their content creators, servers, employees, etc?


According to Youtube, "YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views" (https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html). What were to happen if Youtube's censorship policies began to strangle more and more content creators until finally they decide to stop? If over hundreds of millions of hours are being watched daily, where would people turn if it suddenly stopped? In an "era of applications" where people are quick to uninstall old and irrelevant apps that dazzle the world one day and fade from the spotlight the next, Youtube needs to tread carefully or risk their entire empire crumbling away to nothing. 

- Christopher




*****

Digging the Dakota.


For the past several months the Sioux Nation has been battling and protesting a private oil company, backed by the Republican-led congress, against the treaty-shattering pipeline they're trying to place across the reservations.  The DAPL, or Dakota Access Pipeline is an 1,100 mile pipeline designed to transport crude oil from Illinois to North Dakota, traversing through Iowa and South Dakota. The pipeline will split the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation, endangering its clean water, tossing and tearing through sacred lands, and uprooting the burial grounds of their families and ancestors. 



The congress decided that this would be the alternative to the now defunct Keystone XL pipeline project which Obama halted a few years ago. The access line was a midnight add-on to the congressional spending bill which was passed by Republicans in December of last year. In fact, it was added so late, and with so little fanfare, many Sioux themselves had no idea it had successfully made it onto the bill and was ratified. 

Needless to say, the Great Sioux Nation did not take this lying down. They have been protesting night and day, even when the private security company hired to protect the demolishing crew set dogs upon the protestors, injuring a pregnant woman.  Celebrities like Leo DiCaprio and Jason Coppola have also leant their voices to the cause, acting as the "white privileged megaphone" for the cause. 



This is just another instance of the United States breaking treaties they themselves made with the indigenous peoples of the U.S.. 

“The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 guaranteed complete and total access, undisturbed access, [of the land] to the Great Sioux Nation of the Oceti Sakowin [Seven Council Fires].” (source) 

But hope is not lost. 

In the eleventh hour, after a court ruling against the Sioux Nation, President Obama called for a halt on the project pending a DOJ investigation into the lawfulness of the pipeline itself. The fight isn't over, but it's also not lost.

Cat

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