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Sex Workers Say Porn on Google Drive Is Suddenly Disappearing (vice.com)
415 points by MilnerRoute on Mar 24, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 386 comments

C.S. Lewis once wrote:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals."

Why is this happening? I see the argumnent that these organizations are private companies and can do whatever they see fit, including censorship, I see no reason why these should not be opposed on principle. Global expression of ideas should not be controlled by any one jurisdiction or board of directors.

When will we ever find a solution? Decentralisation is fun to talk about but almost impossible to accomplish in practice. So how do we create a compromise scenario that protects the free spread of ideas? I have no idea. I am so sick of all this.

It's happening because the USA has declared it illegal for any website to knowingly host any content that might be illegal.

As such they're pulling down anything and everything that might be even possibly illegal.

what about websites which are not hosted in the US, but for instance, in europe or asia?

This law wouldn't be in effect for them?

At least CJEU has ruled that austrian company running uk-hosted website is liable for damages due to copyright infringements occuring in france [1].


It would if the USA has an extradition agreement in place, which we do with a majority of countries. So while you do not commit a crime domestically, if an American can access illegal content on your site, you can be sued in the USA and extradited.

You can't be extradited for purely civil matters.

@singularity2001 yes, Kim dotcom with MegaUpload

No its location of server that did it for Megaupload.


In short, much of Megaupload’s servers were located in the U.S. This, for the purpose of jurisdiction, means two things. First, much of the alleged crimes took place physically in the United States. The infringements, the payments, etc. took place, at least in large part, in Virginia even if the people orchestrating it were scattered all over the world.

More importantly though, courts in both the U.S. and now New Zealand have ruled that these servers provide sufficient contact with the U.S. to give it jurisdiction over the criminal case. While jurisdiction alone doesn’t mean a person can be extradited, it’s a crucial step and this also explains why a man who never set foot in the U.S. can be extradited to it for a crime committed online.

However, this isn’t the first time the U.S. has used the server argument it’s been using it for years to combat securities fraud in the country.

> First, much of the alleged crimes took place physically in the United States. The infringements, the payments, etc. took place, at least in large part, in Virginia even if the people orchestrating it were scattered all over the world.

This logic is twisted and does not follow at all, except if you have a purely old world way of thinking (i.e. pre-internet), or are morally flexible when it suits your narrative.

The lesson is clear though, stay away from American servers.

are there cases when this really happened?

> the USA has declared it illegal for any website to knowingly host any content that might be illegal

Which law is this and when did it go into effect?

There isn't exactly a global shortage of cloud storage providers, so the solution seems pretty simple. Just never store your files in only one place.

Rather, never store any potentially problematic content in a storage service with a legal entity behind it.

Store encrypted chunks strewn across multiple nodes, so that each node can reliably deny knowledge, or even possession of a full copy, of the content. So they can't be sued.

This, of course, prevents making this content from being accessible to public.

This is the most fitting quote I've seen for all the things that irk me most today in politics and business. Thanks, will reuse a lot.

Indeed, progressive supremacists and feminist supremacists that seek to cleanse the world of "oppression" and "correct" past oppression are just puritans of a different flavor.

Decrying rape and helping actual victims is one thing, attacking all heterosexual males as privileged oppressors is something else.

There is great irony here. These supremacists are the same type of bully they are seeking to correct for: people who abuse socially acceptable ways to oppress others.

In the Middle East accidental innocent casualties create more enemies and terrorists, such that the army often displays greater restraint than our police.

The animosity being generated in the 1/3rd of the population (white males), who also happen to own most of the guns, is already being politically leveraged. I worry that someone will find a way to harness it further.

same. is there a shorter version too?

Someone forgot to take their soma. A gramme is better than giving a damn.

"Scolds" is my go to pejorative for those who are certain they know what's best for me.

"Moral busybodies" is better, I'll steal it.

I'm going to steal it, too.

Unfortunately it describes moderation on this site recently.

Seems like there are many moral busybodies trying to protect to greater good.

This rhymes with "Evil is created by those who think themselves are so righteous."

> Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies

Check out the HN thread where self-purported google employees are proclaiming google exists to improve society.


In the past, it was the church and the priests who decided what was good for us. Going forward, it will be google and their employees apparently.

Lewis just turned in his grave at the context to which you've applied his quote

A nice quote and it sounds true - certainly robber barons are preferable to sjws - but doesn’t tell the whole story. The sjw tyrant he’s describing forms the “useful idiot” phalanx of the ones pulling the strings. Those kind of people (sjw types) simply aren’t clever enough to orchestrate the kind of long term plots needed to take control. The ones in charge are fully aware of what they’re doing, and they exhibit a cold calculating efficiency that seems inhuman.

He is not describing SJWs, which is a fairly modern concept and usually used idiotically by people who don't have the brain power to understand issue X. He's talking about those that might describe themselves as moral majority. People that get described as SJWs are usually arguing against oppression. By contrast, oppressors will happily force their morals on others (but not always themselves) and tell you that it's for your own good. Usually backed by some religious doctrine.

I think your understanding of the term "SJW" is out of date. SJW now refers to someone who forces their morals on other people and advocate silencing and censorship to achieve this. He is describing these people.

SJWs protest free speech events, advocate for hate-speech bans, advocate for compelled speech patterns in Canada, prevent conservative speakers for giving lectures on college campuses, among a litany of other such behaviors. They are largely moral authoritarians.

Of course the Evangelical conservatives are no different, but this quote is absolutely applicable to the American left.

>usually used idiotically by people who don't have the brain power

Please don't sink to this level

>People that get described as SJWs are usually arguing against oppression

That might be your description but many also include the people going around to open source projects to change the genders of code comments while simultaneously accusing the project of being sexist at the same time. They might be against oppression but their approach is so misguided it's destructive.

The behavior you described is a) merely annoying and easy to curb and b) far from omnipresent. OPs quote was about censorship enforced by state. I don't see how this is even remotely same caliber.

In my experience “SJWs” have their own religion and overwhelmingly seek out moderator positions on subreddits, forums, positions on the school paper’s editorial team, etc etc as their ideology fails when faced with the free flow of information. You can see this in just about any internet community, the only ones that are “left wing” are the ones that enforce strict moderation rules. Anything open course corrects right very fast.

The “Warrior” in SJW comes from their perpetual fight to ban, shadowban, moderate, de-rank, and delist opposing views.

You can deflect by suggesting these people are simply authoritarian, and not true social justice/left wing advocates. I would challenge you to investigate everything from reddit’s super mods to Wikipedia’s editor cartels. You’ll find they systematically infiltrate open communities and once in positions of power purge opposing views from leadership and begin to enforce ideological conformity. The people doing this are exclusively left wing soc jus types.

Outside of the internet I’ve seen this behavior in academia as well. It’s pretty amazing how downright fascist some of them will get when they think they’re in like company.

I'm not aware of the meaning of the three letter acronym and I'm not planning to learn it. willfullingly ignorant if you will

FYI, I vouched for this post that was dead.

For the record, I don’t personally agree with raja’s assessment of the situation, but I think it’s important to have an open discussion around these topics rather than just silencing a dissenting view via downvotes.

Please stop with this "SJW" nonsense

Despite some questionable uses of that word, I have to admit that it's a useful classifier for what has essentially become a consolidated political movement.

Everyone seems to know the ideology it's describing when they hear it, and I don't know of another term that does that.

On another tangent: "SJW" was originally coined by social justice warriors as a way to describe themselves. It only became an offensive word once people started lampooning it, but it's still a fair term to use given its history and original intent.

> It only became an offensive word once people started lampooning it

Yes, words only become slurs by being used as slurs, and many words that have become slurs were earlier terms preferred or accepted by the people it is now used as a source against.

The problem I have with it is it appears to be generally used to describe a wide group of people that don't really exist, at least not in the numbers that "SJW-haters" claim they do.

Rarely do I see people sincerely espousing what self proclaimed anti-SJWs claim they are. Rarer so do I see it in droves, as a generally promoted claim versus one person or a small group of people.


Preferred by whom?

Let's be real, it's a more descriptive term. Plus it isn't slang like SJW (and in many circles a slur). So yeah it's a better term when discussing these things.

Calling them "regressive" seems to be intended as an insult to me.

Regression is a very well-defined concept. What would be a non-insulting way to refer to someone who advocates regression?

I don't think any SJW would characterize their position is the dictionary definition of regression, and nor would I (despite not characterizing myself as one). Do people you consider SJW really say "life was better before?", I instead hear "life was bad before and is better now but hasn't gone nearly far enough: the trajectory of political correctness and minority rights needs to progress drastically further forward on that same line drawn from 1950 to 2018". It seems very difficult to attribute that sentence to the textbook definition of "regressive".

If a political position was literally "let's go back to how things were" then it would be fair to call that regressive. The closest thing I can think of is MAGA though, and for most other cases the goal of calling something regressive seems to clearly be "your politics will make things worse" not "your politics will return things to a previous state".

Whether you agree or disagree, I believe that the people who consider some SJWs to be “regressive” is that the system used to be that social conservatives used to tell people what to think, we had a period of open-minded exploration, and now SJWs are advocating moving back towards a system that people are told what to think, except it’s social liberals who are doing the telling. In the sense of someone telling people what to think versus a embracing a wide range of different views, it could reasonably called regressive — perhaps up one level of abstraction if you want to get technical.

Note that I am not supporting one view or another, rather I am just explaining how the term can be used to reflect one’s perspective accurately.

Seeing this and simultaneously hearing about what YouTube is doing with certain firearm-related content makes me wonder whether we’re on — or at least near — a slippery slope.

I can certainly see limiting videos that are illegal (child porn) or that describe things that are illegal throughout the US (converting semiautomatic weapons into automatic).

But banning videos of adult pornography and showing legal firearm-related content is a different beast. A private company surely has the right to decide not to host such content, but consumers can likewise consider whether they want to do business with (including giving unfettered access to email and search queries) a company that proceeds down this slippery slope.

To be clear, I’m not saying we’ve slid down the slope at this point, just that we appear to be perched on/near it.

> me wonder whether we’re on — or at least near — a slippery slope.

What's with the reservation?

Feel that wind in your hair? We are currently flying down the slope, cheered on by the pantheon of gleeful authoritarians each with their cute idea of how individuals are best controlled.

The only question is whether we'll have a chance to stop after the centralized surveillance industry has been fully coopted for their goals, or whether the momentum will carry us all the way to oppressing the refuge of Free p2p communications.

I'm curious. You say we're flying down the slope. That's something I hear often, how our civil liberties are being rapidly threatened.

Is this actually the case? Removing firearms videos from YouTube seems perfectly reasonable to me. The internet is big; I'm sure you can find elsewhere to host your videos. Is a company taking steps to distance themselves from such a contentious issue equal to "flying down the slippery slope of authoritarianism"? As always when I hear these panicked comments, I fail to see how this is true.

> how our civil liberties are being rapidly threatened

It's not that they're being threatened, it's that they're actively being taken away. Society may react to this loss of liberty by restoring it through alternate approaches. Or, it may not.

> Removing firearms videos from YouTube seems perfectly reasonable to me

I mean yes, obviously there are plenty of people who want censorship for one reason or another, otherwise it wouldn't be happening. So one's own comfort with censorship is not evidence that censorship is not happening.

> Is a company taking steps to distance themselves ...

It's what they're doing, not why. Despite the trope, evil never shows up twirling a mustache.

I think the problem with this is that the censorship is invoked by companies against individuals, in the broad strokes, not by the government. It's hard to convince the public that corporations have power approaching or surpassing governments nowadays...

That's such an often repeated and weird argument. Censorship isn't dangerous because of who is doing it but because of what it does. Censorship inhibits the spread of information and ideas, thus inhibiting the democratic process.

YouTube is effectively a monopoly. You can upload your video elsewhere, but next to nobody will see it. That gives YouTube equal censorship power as a government censor. We should be equally appalled by it.

The punlic has undersood that state censorship is bad. But the new censorship systen has a layer of indirection built in in that companies are going to do the censoring instead baswd on voluntary terms of service and stuff. This is a pattern that seems little understood and therefore encounters less opposition.

  First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
  Because I was not a Socialist.

  Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
  Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
  Because I was not a Jew.

  Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Or in this case, maybe it should be:

  First they came for the firearms, and I did not speak out—
  Because I did not like firearms

  Then they came for the sex workers and I did not speak out—
  Because I was not a sex worker (or used them)

  Then they came for something I cared about and there was no one left to speak for me.
Thats the thing about the slippery slope. Restrictions start with things many people find objectionable and then slowly ratchet up to cover more mainstream things.

Then they came for something I cared about and I went to the video sharing website the gun and porn people set up.

This isn't government oppression, there will be alternates to the services offered.

Video hosting is a natural monopoly. It costs so much to store and stream videos, combined with the network effect means its incredibly difficult for effective competition. I hope that you are right that natural competitors will show up, but like a facebook competitor I suspect we will be waiting for a long time.

It's really surprising to see that even here people can't see where this is heading. I thought it was in a hacker's most basic instinct to be able to see how tiny little, almost insignificant, steps can lead to something big. But fine, maybe you haven't been paying attention to the other parts of this.

For a start, have you talked to people outside of your bubble? Do you know what "web browser" means to most people out there? It means Google. Honestly, go out and ask people.

The Internet is not such a big place any more. It is very centralised. You might think that if the worst happens you can just host videos yourself but I think you would be mistaken. To do that you need to use one of a small handful of CDNs. Good luck trying to host your own server now.

It's been the case for a while that most people have had asymmetric lines, ie. a poor upload speed, so we ended up going the centralisation route.

Add to that the loss of net neutrality and the prevalence of "devices" as opposed to general purpose computers and I would ask you: do you still fail to see how the slope is true?

>It's really surprising to see that even here people can't see where this is heading. I thought it was in a hacker's most basic instinct to be able to see how tiny little, almost insignificant, steps can lead to something big.

We do. We exist in objective reality. The reality is you're engaging in a narrative that has direct, practical negations in the real world. In front of your face. They've existed for decades. Half the people who claim to be "hackers" on here couldn't exploit a wet paper bag. They're just american centrists, full of "acksually"-ism's who happen to write code. I mean the fact that PG's writing is considered interesting or note-worthy should be your first sign that this community isn't terribly academic in any field, really.

>do you still fail to see how the slope is true?

Yeah. I guess I missed the part where you kind of just lightly touched on different characteristics of the current technological landscape and then just jumped right back into your conclusion.

I believe many people reading this thread would have already seen first-hand the capability of new technologies to disrupt existing power structures and they'd have no problem extrapolating to present-future scenarios.

As powerful as the four-horsemen might now have become, they'll surely become past-their-prime IBMs or Microsofts in subsequent generations.

In this context, a responsibility of technologists is to provide another round of disruption - sooner than the last - in order to prevent incumbents from getting too entrenched.


>...we have recognized that the preservation of a free society is so far dependent upon the right of each individual citizen to receive such literature as he himself might desire... can those people who live in or come to Chickasaw be denied freedom of press and religion simply because a single company has legal title to all the town? For it is the State's contention that the mere fact that all the property interests in the town are held by a single company is enough to give that company power, enforceable by a state statute, to abridge these freedoms. We do not agree that the corporation's property interests settle the question... Ownership does not always mean absolute dominion. The more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it.

You want to find a video about something. Where, dare I ask, will you go to look? The idea that you can find somewhere else to host your videos sounds comforting, until you realize that nobody will be there to watch them.

It's not your right to have access to YouTube's audience.

Promote it yourself.

The government does not have a right to stop someone shouting on a street corner. However, Youtube and reddit and other private sites are essentially the "street corner" these days. That's why people talk about freedom of speech concerns when talking about posting to privately owned forums because they are, for better or for worst, today's public spaces.

Also, it is worth noting that these actions are a result of a law enacted by the government, so even if the government isn't expressly curbing anyone's speech, it is having the chilling effect that opponents of sesta/fosta said it would.

That analogy is flawed. YouTube and Facebook are like the local privately-owned shopping mall, not the street corner.

They've both always had the equivalent of the security guard in the golf cart, who kicks people out for violating the mall's rules, and is often wrong.

If YouTube is a shopping mall, it’s a mall in some libertarian ‘utopia’ where there are no public sidewalks at all - no government-owned forum which is freely available to all. Not only that, individual property ownership is rare as well: businesses typically own their property, but for your average citizen it’s too difficult and expensive a process to go through with unless there’s a good reason. So even if you only want to share your beliefs with friends, people who will specifically visit your house to listen to you (rather than the random passerby who might hear you on the sidewalk)… you’re going to have to acquire a house first. Actually, for some reason, you can obtain housing relatively cheaply if you promise to only communicate by handing out written text; but most people just want to talk face-to-face (i.e. with video), which is much more expensive.

(Oh, and there aren’t public roads, either. There’s just one big private road network, which finances itself by placing billboards on the roads. For the most part, they’ll build out roads to any location, big or small, without worrying about what kind of activity goes on in those locations. But only for the most part…)

Luckily, most people never need to deal with these difficulties! There‘s one big shopping mall chain that dominates the whole country - most of the world, even. (It’s owned by the same company as the road network.) And it has a really nice offer for everyone: you can have all the space you want to engage in everything from idle chitchat to grave political lectures, from science demos to showing off your video game skills - all for free. Plus, the mall staff takes care of efficiently guiding people around to speakers that might interest them, so it’s really easy to spend hours bouncing from one interesting session to the next, with all your needs taken care of. Altogether, a highly engaging, communal, even productive environment. Much nicer than going to someone’s house. The only catch is that the staff will never recommend anything outside the mall, no matter how relevant. Oh, and... there is that mall cop. He mostly stays out of sight, though. There are only a few things that bother him, so just make sure to steer clear of those and he’ll leave you alone. Although, he does sometimes change the rules at a whim… and if he does kick you out, there’s almost nowhere else to go…

YouTube, Facebook, Google search, et al have become de facto monopolies of their respective service areas. Being censored on any of those platforms has enormous impact on the censoree.

People should be cautious about flouting the "they're private businesses and can do what they want" argument. It actually makes a compelling case for nationalizing these services and treating them as public utilities, a line of thinking that is rapidly picking up steam in various political groups.

Interestingly, the states might be able to require a freedom of speech in malls. I’d settle for a modern version of Pruneyard for Google and Facebook. [0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pruneyard_Shopping_Center_v....

Every site has privately-owned provider. The provide runs on privately-owned platform (like AWS) or has a computer in privately owned data-center, connected to privately-owned ISP.

There are no street corners on the internet. And there never will be.

I wonder about this argument. This argument seems strongly at odds with the "fake news" efforts, which clearly push the need for government regulations to prevent specific content from being spread by private companies.

You can setup a webpage and email people. As well as promote it offline.

That's your street corner.

Pre-internet you couldn't walk into a TV centre and demand to be broadcast to everyone on Channel 73 and now similarly you can't expect to force YouTube to stream content it doesn't like.

Just because a huge proportion of the internet has joined the YouTube club, doesn't magically make it a commons. Theyre the ones paying for hosting, staff, etc, not the state.

No, that’s your back alley corner behind a dumpster in some backwater settlement in the middle of nowhere.

TV never was how people talk to each other. Internet - and particularly the monopoly platforms like FB or YT - are the modern day street.

Most street corners are in the middle of nowhere.

If you want to go and shout in Times Square in NY or Trafalgar Square in London, you'd have to physically go there, make an effort.

What you want is much worse though, you want a way to contact millions or billions of people for free. It is precisely like my TV analogy, because you want the sort of reach only newspapers or TVs previously had, which you had to pay for. What you want is to be lazy and have a company promote you to their audience without limit, while dismissing the reality that there are no limits to how to promote yourself online, outside the company gardens. You could text all your friends your website address and ask them to text it to all their friends. Or email them. Or flyer your website address to all your neighbours.

You've still got your street corner.

> It's not your right to have access to YouTube's audience.

This raises an interesting question: who built that audience? YouTube or its users?

Is it your right to have access to purchase services from your water/sewer utility? What about the offices of the NRA, or those of the ACLU, or you're another civil rights org and the water company's ownership doesn't agree with their movement?

At what point does a business/service used by the public actually need to serve the public? If Google has a virtual monopoly on a service, why should they not be regulated as such?

First thing first, this is a shining example why we should be trying to decentralize and why we should be trying to build diversity in how many providers we use to distribute content. This said, I dont think any of us have some inherent right to an audience which someone else built. And I’m not sure where this mistaken belief started. We have the right -in the US- to stand on a street corner and say stuff, but not the right that someone else has to go and round up 30,000 people and force them to listen to us.

I think the right to utility services usually comes from contractual agreements between companies and the localities they serve in exchange for those companies usually exclusive roles in servicing those areas and they usually agree to being heavily regulated.

If we’re going to be a country which is heavily invested in private property rights, the companies will _almost_ always have a choice in what products they decide to distribute and which products they choose to not distribute.

I find it strange to imply google has a monopoly on serving videos, they may have a large and readily available audience, but they’ve spent a rather large amount of time and energy building this audience and the infrastructure needed to accommodate.

It’s not like it’s difficult to go set up a website and serve videos, it’s trivial in labor and trivial in cost.

People seem to be implying they feel like they’re entitled to an audience that someone else built and I think that’s a strange thing to believe.

Again, let’s make other video services more popular rather than pretend YouTube is somehow the only way on the entire internet to serve videos.

> Again, let’s make other video services more popular rather than pretend YouTube is somehow the only way on the entire internet to serve videos.

That ship has already sailed I'm afraid. Nearly every common internet service now has a single provider that dwarfs the few competitors it has, both in actual usage and mindshare.

Oftentimes that mind-boggling success was fueled by easy treatment from regulators/the government as well as fate and circumstance, not from any groundbreaking ingenuity from the company that made it.

It may sound strange today to think of social media, internet search, etc as a public utility, but within a decade or two it will seem like common sense. Google, Facebook, YouTube and others are censoring their way towards nationalization.

> It may sound strange today to think of social media, internet search, etc as a public utility, but within a decade or two it will seem like common sense. Google, Facebook, YouTube and others are censoring their way towards nationalization.

What makes you think having content standards has anything to do with whether or not a content company would be nationalized?

Wouldn’t the first thing to happen under a heavy regulation be something close to television licensing? They have far far stricter standards of what can be shared than any relevant social media platform.

This makes no sense.

The vast majority of the youtube videos I see, I do not see on youtube, but as embedded content.

The road to Authoritarian dystopia is paved with "companies taking steps to distance themselves from such a contentious issues"

>>Removing firearms videos from YouTube seems perfectly reasonable to me.

I am sure Gun Rights are also no a pressing issue for you, or you may even be Anti-Gun Ownership by private citizens...

Let me ask you then, would you feel the same if this was an Issue you cared Deeply about. Pick a Social topic the you care about, then image if You Tube censored that topic from their platform.. What is your reaction.

//Edit to add, before you Paint me as some conservative, I am Libertarian. In the words of Austin Peterson: “I want gay couples to be able to protect their marijuana fields with fully automatic rifles"

Jay Freeman (saurik) gave a talk that takes these isolated incidents ("this doesn't seem too bad") and puts them all together to paint a really disturbing picture:


It's one of my favorite talks, and I love the format: each slide is a news article.

Talk starts at 2:57, the introduction was dragging on and dragging on some more...

I think your comment underlines the fact that we are on the slippery slope. You think it is OK for you tube to supress free speech, presumably because you don't like that speech either. So what is next to go? Well it looks life the personal kmeetips, mixed connections is got it the door. What next? What else don't you like that you think it will be fine for them to ban. While the internet is a big place, this like SESTA will definitely put a cool on things.

>gleeful authoritarians each with their cute idea of how individuals are best controlled.

> What's with the reservation?

I phrased it this way to avoid outcry from people who disagree that we’re on the slope — but who cannot disagree that we must at least be near the slope.

It stinks that people are allowed to create legislation like this which is almost certainly extreme/careless in how it affects companies/citizens, yet we must be reserved with how we call out the issues.

We have lost footing on this slope.

seems not unlikely that anon p2p networks will be made illegal w/in the next 5 years or so in the west.

To be fair, there is a ton of literally harmful material in some “free” networks - stuff that was made by hurting vulnerable people (often minors) or that will directly enable actions aimed at hurting others. This crap actively looks for the less-policeable corners of our marvellous communication networks, burrows, and then spawns to the four corners of the world.

Just washing our hands of these items, writing them down as the cost of freedom, is not going to cut it.

What is going to cut it? I think the onus is on the censors to detail the full technical extent of their plan, rather than to just keep repeating "not enough".

Because the way I see it, as long as there exist pedophiles who aren't lucky enough to work at the government agencies charged with cataloging child porn, there will be a desire to trade in it. And reducing its availability drives up the price, and thus increases the demand to make more.

My personal solution is to just not look at it, but I understand this may be hard for some in the same way that it's hard for congresscritters to keep to themselves in public bathrooms.

I wish we were combating child porn by offering anonymous therapy for those who are attracted to minors.

> What is going to cut it?

I don't know. I'm just saying that free-for-all is never going to be acceptable to the overwhelming majority of any population, when it comes to certain topics. If the anonymous p2p networks cannot find a solution (any solution) that can keep this stuff somewhat at bay, they will be ostracized.

Ideally, I should be able to run a decentralized facebook-like pod (or any other IM/social/sharing system) with a good degree of certainty that unsavoury material of this or that type will not end up on my pod. The Powers That Be should be able to somehow trust that this is indeed the case without being able to read all content.

If we had a system like that, we could clearly decouple the discussion on what is or is not "unacceptable material" from the discussion on whether a given communication protocol is bad in itself. At the moment, authorities can just say that p2p networks are full of bad stuff so they are bad and should be banned. You cannot fight that charge without showing some effort trying to get rid of bad stuff. Once you have something like that, even very rough and automated, it becomes easier to say "no, I won't ban X from my network because I am certain that X is legal[1]" or "no, you cannot ban me for Y because I'm sure Y is not on my network".

[1] or should be legal, which is basically equivalent for civil disobedience. If you are planning armed resistance, nothing will ever satisfy a censor, and you have very different requirements from regular people.

Do you think moderators of content could be employed to help catalogue and remove illegal content? It seems to work well on the websites that take the effort seriously.

This might provide employment for the many people, often referenced by users on this site, who may be losing work in the near future due to technology's advances.

The moderators would be like quasi-lawyers: able to interpret content and assess the legality in a tentative way... to be further decided through some other formal review process. Of course, anyone could submit content for review, as well.

I could imagine whole industries being built around this task, especially if it's so important to everyone. Just because it's a lot of work, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

yeah, that's how the argument will go.

it's just a trade-off. do you value freedom or security?

a side-effect of security is you're also creating the conditions for tyranny. choose wisely!

Slippery Slope was coined to describe a logical fallacy. It's funny how things sometimes turn out...

Specifically, it's not a meaningful argument because it's far too broad, and applies to more or less anything.

Example: "Now they're just banning asbestos and lead. But next year it'll be wood and orange juice!"

> Slippery Slope was coined to describe a logical fallacy.

Is that true? I always assumed the fallacy was named for the already existing expression.

> Is that true? I always assumed the fallacy was named for the already existing expression.

Funny! I'd never thought of that. For those curious, Wiktionary says that it's actually from the Latin, "fallere", to deceive [1].

[1] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fallacy

Who could be against saving the forests and decreasing harmful sugar consumption?


I am not pro gun by any stretch of the imagination, but when I heard YouTube was banning firearm related content it made me real uneasy. I didn't have as much of a problem with a crack down on hate speech.

I know a lot of people who I would consider gun enthusiasts that wouldn't hurt anyone unless they weren't given a choice.

I live in Australia, which is the poster child for gun bans, and it makes me uneasy too. One of my co-workers is a sports shooter who reloads her own ammunition for environmental reasons, and she's already been inconvenienced by the YouTube restrictions. I'm not sure why the gun politics of a foreign country (the US) should impact on her ability to perform basic maintenance.

Hopefully this wave of censorship will lead to better privacy-respecting tools.

I think what happens, is a sort of renewal cycle of the internet. It centralizes, giving companys controll, giving goverment content controll via the companys - a state of affairs which gives birth to a new encrypted, decentralized form, which sheds the old, silod and walled in internet like dead snakeskin and beginns to get subverted yet again.

When has this ever cycled? It's always been a one way slide towards centralization and control.

For normal consumers...

Netscape -> IE monopoly -> explosion of choices

Email provided by your employer or ISP -> explosion of choices

IBM & Apple computers -> explosion of choices

Intel processor monopoly -> ARM computing explosion of choices

Kodak, majority of the film market -> explosion of camera choices

Tight music label monopolies + radio & store distribution -> explosion of cheap consumer choices for streaming vast amounts of music. No longer do you have to spend $20-$25 in adjusted 2018 dollars to buy an album with two songs you want to hear.

ABC, NBC, CBS, limited tightly controlled broadcast platforms with very regulated content -> endless array of media start-ups online, streaming choices, news sources

Playboy & similar, nearly your sole porn option for decades, highly restricted distribution -> seemingly infinite porn online from thousands of large sites

Information broadly, from limited, tightly controlled research options, difficult to access (if you can at all depending on your location) -> explosion of research options online, at a click, practically at zero cost

Limited publishing options, from almost nothing for the common person -> dozens of easy, inexpensive ways to publish text/audio/video and reach an audience. For $5 per month I can easily serve up video on my own site, host my own blog, post my own music, whatever.

AOL was a big one for a long time. For many people, the "AOL Keyword" was how you got places (and what you advertised on TV), not a web URL.

BitTorrent, bitcoin, Chat/forums (AOL->OSS Forums). Everything else had too high development, infrastructure, product demands.

Videos are static content. The big problem with decentralisation is computation. The blockchain can do this but it's still limited to the processing power of a single "virtual" computer.


Notice how the ecosystem of parasitic subverters thrives on the company driven siloing and goverment wished for backdoors in monocultured software.

The centralization and monolithic architecture is the source of insecurity - an thus its creator of its own downfall and demise.

The Centralization is the root-cause of the rampant security issues in recent years.

I’m like you, I’m in the UK anyway but even in the US I wouldn’t be into guns, but find the more technical and historically oriented channels like Forgotten Weapons fascinating. If it gets shut down it will be a real shame.

But the pro-gun lobby in the US are bringing all of this on themselves. The level of gun violence in the US is appalling, and is clearly becomming unacceptable to many and possibly a majority of Americans. Every attempt to mitigate it is actively opposed by the gun lobby, often with patently ridiculous measures designed to be ineffective. So I have no sympathy for the gun lobby. If they want to own guns and preserve an armed culture I think its entirely reasonable for the rest of America to expect them to do so safely. If they can’t come up with an effective regulatory system they can live with and which protects the public from gun violence, then I think they won’t have a moral leg to stand on when the rest of the country takes their toys away from them. Guns with effective and safe regulation, or no guns at all and the responsibility for coming up with what that safe and effective regulation is sholod fall on gun owners. Here in the UK we went with pretty much no guns at all. I hope America keeps its traditions and culture, but not at any price when that price is paid in blood.

Tobacco is the analogy, you don't want to see people smoking on TV and in films but you would not want a documentary on the history of film to be banned just because some of the actors in it are smoking.

Regarding main story, I used to work in broadcasting and it was clear from the oscilloscopes when some porn was on air or on a tape. This was not an exact science, but experienced engineers knew what the 'scope was telling them. This was a long time ago and I am sure Google would have machine learned porn a long time ago. No evidence for that but I doubt it is a recent innovation.

Therefore this enabling of the feature that enforces the Terms of Service is probably due to changes up ahead in the legal landscape and not because Google suddenly decided they wanted clean servers.

Could you elaborate on "clear from the oscilloscopes"? That sounds interesting.

> But the pro-gun lobby in the US are bringing all of this on themselves.

I wrote a much longer reply but decided that arguing this topic here is probably not appropriate. Suffice it to say that the notion that the "pro-gun lobby" is in any way opposed to safe ownership of guns or supports mass shootings or other criminal gun violence is absurd.

Except when sensible restrictions on gun buying are propsed, that same lobby loses their mind and immediately opposes it. The NRA is no longer a sporting association, they are a far-right political lobby and are finally being recognized as such. They can change this and get back to their original mission, or continue their current collision course with the rest of America who want sensible gun policy.

> Except when sensible restrictions on gun buying are propsed

Because every "compromise" gets turned into something else to be attacked. That "Gun show loophole" was an explicit concession, that is something offered in compromise, is now being turned into something to be attacked and revoked.

There is no "compromise" - the goal is ban and confiscation. We've seen it time and time again. How many times must one put their hand on the iron before they realize it burns?

Here's the issue with the NRA stance from my personal angle.

Personally, I do not agree with "ban and confiscation". At most, I think that items designed to circumvent existing law (eg bump stocks, which essentially exist to in effect circumvent fully automatic gun regulations) should be illegal. I'd also like to see the case for and against a few other things (eg large magazine clips) but overall AR-15s and other boogeymen are fine to me. Elsewise, my belief is that most of the focus should be on limited tightening access (gun violence restraining orders for instance), much of it within our existing system, and not much more. Basically, I think that the mass shooting phenomenon people are reacting to could be quite tempered with slight tweaks, not wholesale confiscation.

But: I am culturally more on the moderate left side. The NRA's rhetoric these days, and even more so of too many of its supporters, is full of often conspiracy tinged liberal caricature and conspiracy. I honestly don't feel like defending the NRA position these days, because not only is it too rigid, it is identity oriented. And on identity, many of them by default, in their posts, already think I'm a piece of shit who wants to take their guns anyways. Why bother speaking up against the lefties that actually do want to confiscate?

Guns have essentially become a part of right-wing identity politics. A position that might be fatal for their full cause. (Though judging from current youthful view (https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/12/are-mille...) more in terms of restrictions on access instead of restrictions on equipment.).

> There is no "compromise" - the goal is ban and confiscation. We've seen it time and time again.

What makes you say this? Even in heavy gun control countries, some forms of shooting (e.g. pest control, hunting, target) and gun ownership are still generally legal.

Exactly what gets made legal and illegal is precisely what is being debated, but I'd be incredibly surprised if you ended up with total ban and confiscation. I think a compromise is exactly what everyone wants.

> but I'd be incredibly surprised if you ended up with total ban and confiscation.

Haven't some heavy gun control regimes in the US ended up as de-facto total bans? IIRC, one city "allowed" legal gun ownership (or maybe just legal handgun ownership), but it required police approval, which was almost never granted.

You've mostly described NYC's approach to concealed carry permits. But it's quite possible for a NYC resident to get permission to legally own a gun, use it at a shooting range, hunt with it, and have it available at home for self defense.

Also California - while some rural counties are effectively "shall issue" the most populous counties are "may issue."

The unfortunate reality is that there is a complete cultural disconnect where many people genuinely cannot fathom that guns have some legitimate purposes and have in their minds that a near total gun ban is a reasonable idea. Then you have the less extreme group that wants to ban all guns and gun accessories that aren't purely utilitarian. These tend to be the same kinds of folks that support bans on fireworks. The anti-gun side are far too eager to hold up extreme examples like Australia, Japan, and the UK as their ideal, rather than more moderate countries like Germany or New Zealand. There is no evidence to support that the highly restrictive gun control policies of the former countries make them any more safe than the moderately restrictive policies of the latter countries.

>There is no "compromise" - the goal is ban and confiscation.

The goal is effective gun safety laws. If you had those, nobody would be talking about bans or confiscations and this issue would simply not exist. If the only two choices the American public faces is hundreds of dead children per year or blanket bans. Who can blame them for choosing the latter? So come on gun lobby. Provide an alternative. This is your problem to fix.

Folks are running around wanting to ban the AR-15 because of a few black swan events featured that particular platform. Guess what, knives kill more people annually in the US than all rifles do. Handguns kill many times more people than that. No one is clambering to ban the handgun.

In the case of the Parkland shooter that sparked this latest round of protest, the murderer had something like 30+ police visits in a year including one in which he attempted to drink gasoline to commit suicide[0]. My ex-girlfriend, after attempting suicide with a kitchen knife, was committed for evaluation and subsequently barred from owning any firearms after a single incident.

Florida, and the United States as a whole already have laws on the books for this exact type of situation but the LEOs failed to act, and as a result 17 teenagers needlessly lost their lives. How about, before attempting to ban something, we enforce the good laws we have on the books? Banning the AR-15 would not have prevented this shooting. Enforcing our existing laws would have.

[0] - https://qz.com/1214418/the-fbi-broward-county-sheriffs-offic...

I think banning handguns is absolutely on the table. Most gun deaths are from handguns, four times as many as from knives. The Dunblane massacre of 16 children and one teacher in the UK was carried out with handguns. The objective is not to ban this gun or that gun, it's to protect the public. Banning guns is simply a means to that end. If the gun lobby can come up with a better alternative _that_works_ I don't think anyone would have a problem with that. Banning guns will work.

> Except when sensible restrictions on gun buying are propsed [sic], that same lobby loses their mind and immediately opposes it.

My understanding is that they don't think the sensible restrictions will stay sensible, but rather they'll be stepping stones to heavy restrictions or outright bans. That's not an unreasonable attitude given that ultimate goal of gun control advocates tend towards the latter.

You know what the best way is to make sure that happens? Equate the two for so long that when the gun control lobby eventually wins people fail to give credit to your arguments. My personal opinion -- the current constitutional regime is a historical oddity and unlikely to persist.

Unrestricted access to purchase battlefield weapons like the AR-15, lack of centralized records of gun owner permits, prohibitions on digitizing gun ownership records for criminal investigations, and disallowing research into understanding outbreaks in gun violence are all morally indefensible policies. I don't trust an organization who conflates defense of those policies with fighting mass gun confiscation.

"battlefield weapons like the AR-15"

The AR-15 is only popular among enthusiasts because it is basically a Lego set of the firearm world. Historically every style of weapon that gun owners have has been used extensively on the battlefield. If the AR-15 is banned then another rifle/pistol building platform will be popularized and replace it. Attempting to ban a weapon on certain visual features or other features that do not affect its firing operation are meaningless.

If the sensible restrictions worked, nobody would be talking about heavy restrictions or bans. Wanting to solve the massive gun violence problem in America is not unreasonable.

> If the sensible restrictions worked, nobody would be talking about heavy restrictions or bans.

I'm not so sure, since it really depends on how you define success. I'd wager strict gun control advocates would define it as something fairly extreme, like "an end to gun violence," which could only be achieved by extreme, not "sensible," restrictions.

> Wanting to solve the massive gun violence problem in America is not unreasonable.

True, but unfortunately we're also suffering from an extreme lack of trust. You're not going to see compromises unless that trust is rebuilt from both sides. Until then, the best you're going to get is opportunistic exploitation of temporary situational strength.

I’m a foreigner, ignore me at will, but personally I’d want to make a deal. You’re never going to eliminate all gun deaths, criminals will always find ways to get guns, so let’s set an achievable goal.

5 years to halve gun deaths in America, or all automatic and semi automatic weapons get banned. You can set whatever laws you like, it’s your problem, you fix it. If you think it’s a mental health issue, fine, you get whatever funding you need to address it.

That would still be 50% more gun deaths per capita than the European countries with the loosest gun controls and highest levels of gun ownership. It’s 2.5x Israel and is higher than Nicaragua.

One of the most vocal pro-gun owners on HN would repeatedly make posts supporting mass murder whenever the topic of laws to reduce murder by gun were discussed. He'd say that gun owners would kill many people if guns were made illegal.


> And let's be clear, in this putative Civil War 2.0, we're threatening to kill gun-grabbers wholesale and retail, with guns being one of the least effective means when compared to tactics like killing Blue cities. People kill other people, guns are inanimate objects.

There are like 15 posts very similar to this, although some are flagged.

'hga was also the poster who was banned for (too late, IMO) telling a Jewish person to "self-deport" because he didn't want them--you know, (((them)))--in his country.


He offered elsewhere a clearly reasonable return to the "pre-1965 demographics of the US." And so very positively spoke of "moving past the concept of equality before the law."

And he isn't alone.

There are some real scary correlations between the gun-fetishists--and I say that having grown up around firearms; I am not scared of them any more than I am scared of any other recklessly used tool with a toxic culture surrounding them--and generally toxic and antisocial worldviews. But the causation is not the guns, to be clear; the machismo-driven culture that leads to the guns is the cause.

I am in no way suggesting that the NRA, or gun owners in general support mass shootings. I am saying that if they want to keep their guns, the responsibility fall on them to come up with a regulatory regime that actually works to prevent such things happening with such appalling regularity.

If the gun lobby comes up with effective regulations that preserve their interests and that also work, this problem wouldn't exist. This is their problem to fix.

I don't know what the NRA is doing but it looks like it is working. Here is a graph showing a long term decline in gun deaths in America.

[1] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c6/Gu...

Forgotten Weapons is in a good position where he has enough viewers, and enough Patreon supporters, that he could move to another platform (or host his own) and would probably survive.

The sad thing is that it will stop other, new creators from being discovered.

It will probably also kill the growth of the channel. I got into Forgotten Weapons and InRange TV last year, but if they hadn't been on Youtube I'd probably never have found them. It's a terrible shame, they make great, highly informative content.

"crack down on hate speech"

Absolutely ridiculous, opinions like these make me cringe, is it that to hard to understand what you consider "hate speech" is other persons opinion?, you don't have to agree him, but others might. Youtube or any platform's user response will judge that content.

It should never be government or few people in power to decide what is acceptable.

I am so glad that I left the left few years back, they completely lost their marbles.

It is also something that seems to me to be so very, very often used to prevent discussion about ideologies per se.

Most ideologies have, shall we say, "bad parts". And they may have a history that is somewhere between sordid and outright evil.

And of course "crack down on hate speech" is these days most often levied against criticism of islam. We have yet to see even basic discussion on things like the role of islam in slavery, historically and contemporary. Additionally the blatantly racist laws of Saudi Arabia that are defended as just islam's laws, racist where it pertains to faith, sex, and the blatant exploitation/slavery imposed on Asians there, all justified through islam. But of course censorship doesn't just stop there. It is now defending things like Erdogan's support of islamic state (including the massacres), and of course the Chinese state's many sordid actions in Nepal, Xinjang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and even just generally within China. The massive corruption.

And then of course there is the many ways in which sex, corruption, labor exploitation, criticism of power figures like Xinnie the Pooh and so on is getting censored.

We should just not do this. We should not let the idea that people might get the wrong idea, or personally care hinder criticism of ideologies, including of course in areas where there may be minorities criticized and especially not in cases where the majority or an oppressive government is getting criticized.

We should be allowed to openly discuss things like China's destruction of Nepal. We should be able to ask a muslim why they follow a prophet that, according to muslim tradition, killed over 10000 people, including having women and children massacred. We should be bringing up Erdogan's dealings every chance we get. And so on and so forth. We should be able to bring up San Francisco's treatment of the people getting forced out of that area.

> Chinese state's many sordid actions in Nepal,

> China's destruction of Nepal

Do you mean Tibet?

I don't understand this notion that because it is physically possible to hold some opinion it must be as correct as any other opinion. Somehow the postmodern straw man of everything being subjective is now trotted out to defend the rights of men to insult and threaten other people, because they argue for the revocation of humanity from people out of conviction.

And anyway, who said there are a few people insisting that racial arguments are hate speech?

"men to insult and threaten other people"

If anybody feels insulted by speech, they need to grow up, grow a thicker skin. Don't go running to governments or corporations to create laws to defend their feelings. You sneaked in "threaten" to broaden your scope for your speech argument, physical attacks are already illegal.

"because it is physically possible to hold some opinion it must be as correct as any other opinion"

Again, regarding what is "correct", just for demonstration, I might agree or not agree or don't give a flying fuck and not be interested in your discussion at all. That does not and should not take your or my right away of saying it. If your opinion stands the test of time, then evolution will eventually show you are correct, and same applies to anybody else.

"Few people in power", I was speaking relatively, compared to population of a country.

Regarding "racial arguments", you used "argument" not physical attack, in which case you don't have any right to stop them in delivering such argument.

I am so glad that I migrated to this country where freedom of speech is still defended vehemently.

Look, you can't both have a notion of "standing the test of time" and think all opinions are equal: passing a test by necessity defines a preferred opinion.

Your stated position is a logical contradiction: good job.

You've asserted several times that 'djanago' believes that "all opinions are equal" and that "all opinions are as correct as any other opinion", but I'd be willing to bet that he does not. More likely, he believes something closer to "the government should not be in the business of censoring opinions" and "people have a right to speak their opinion even if that opinion is unpopular and wrong".

If phrased this way, do you still disagree?

To my knowledge, credible threats are not allowed speech..

So you accept the notion of allowed speech, but maybe disagree on where the line goes. That's fine, and something different from the people complaining that nazis should be allowed to preach about the destruction of the negro because after all "that's just an opinion".

Credible or actual harm is useable as a legal standard. If you wanted to outlaw "hate speech" what standard could be used to do that? How could you prevent abuse of those laws in order to suppress unpopular or otherwise subversive speech?

In other words, it might sound like a good idea, but there's absolutely no way to prevent a legal standard that does not stem from actual or credible harm from being abused by the powerful to suppress the powerless.

The US government doesn’t need hate speech laws to abuse & suppress unpopular speech, the just use national security laws:


a "True Threat" is not deemed a free speech violation because one is not preventing speech, but are preventing action.

a "True Threat" is a threat of ACTION not a speech.

I.e. if a person is in their garage, they have bomb making materials all around them, and make a threat to bomb a location at a specific time, date, they have now made a threat of ACTION thus it becomes an ACTIONABLE item for law enforcement

This is often used by people that advocate for censorship as a "limit on free speech" but it is not, it is a limit on actions, we have always had limits on actions

What surprised me is that the move seemed preemptive. I've followed a lot of gun control coverage lately (and support gun control myself) without seeing anyone demand that YouTube ban gun videos. Who is asking for this? Have I just not noticed?

I’d be surprised if there was anyone on Google’s board who didn’t support repealing the second amendment. Why would they need outside encouragement to ban something they hate when a plausible reason for doing so comes up?

The fact that you think executives make decisions based on what they hate is a little naive, I think. YouTube removing these videos is a business decision, probably for political PR based on how the winds are blowing.

The fact that no one asked for this censorship is most worrying. It's a demonstration that unaccountable executives can reshape social discourse at a whim. At least with mob rule there has to be a mob first!

Executives are accountable to their shareholders and their customers. As I said, this is why they started censoring, because they know their target demographic/younger audiences' views on this topic.

I Wonder if the NRA's very tough, no compromises stances has led to the other side having no choice but to do the same.

If you act reasonably around others who are willing to be unreasonable, you lose.

Compromise is the act of all parties giving up something they have in order to meet somewhere in the middle and get a result that all are more-or-less happy with. That really isn't the case in this issue - gun owners would be required to give up all or a portion of their expensive hobby/pastime, while those calling for gun control would be giving up nothing in return.

While people will say "We'd get a safer society as a result" - that's not addressing the problem, which is: what did they trade or give up in order to reach that compromise with the gun owners? There has to be something for it to be fair to everyone.

When one side already holds a very extreme position, "reasonable compromise", to them, is likely to look like "I give up everything, you give up nothing/very little," because coming from an extreme position to a reasonable one is by its nature going to be a long trip.

I am fully aware that not all gun owners in America espouse positions as extreme as, "There should be no waiting periods, no background checks, and no restrictions based on mental health for buying any weapons up to and including truly military-grade hardware," but so far as I can tell, that is the position the NRA has taken in this. Going from there to anything that I would see as a "reasonable compromise" would definitely require the other side to give up quite a lot.

Personally, I own no guns, and am uninterested in them, so a 2nd amendment repeal, full ban, and confiscation would not have any direct negative effects on me (and I would not object to it). However, I would be perfectly comfortable with gun control that was far short of that.

To answer your question, though, in the end, what non-gun-owners "give up" in any compromise with gun owners is some safety. It's certainly an intangible, and there's no way to measure how much is being given up at any given time—it's possible, depending on the particular restrictions that are and aren't enacted, that they give up almost none...or a great deal. This is an inherent problem when the compromise in question is about restrictions on possession or use of a thing: people who do not need or want it, but see a reason that it should be restricted, are never going to have to give up something as easily quantifiable as those who do want it, no matter how objectively good the restrictions they want are.

Not only that, there are a few really well made gun safety and responsibility series that are threatened by Youtube's (Google's) stance. I'd go so far as to say these particular channels may have saved lives, but they get swept up with the rest of the gun-related videos and shoved out the door.

Maybe one day the big corps will realize they can't cave to every single blip on the political radar and try to please everyone at once, especially when to this day they ignore calls to remove actual violent and disturbing content, some of which is blatant recruitment material for extremist groups.

Once youtube "cracks down" on one set of free speech, it isn't much of a step to do another set. And another, and another, and eventually the only content left will be Mr. Rogers.

Restaurants post signs, "no shirt, no shoes, no service" dry cleaners say, "no ticket, no shirt". Private companies get to define their terms of service, and as a customer, you can boycott their business if you don't like their rules. You don't have freedom of speech on a privately owned streaming platform.

In general, I agree with you. But I am concerned about a couple things. First is the recent law passed by Congress making the owners of such platforms liable for what users post there. This will have a massive "chilling effect". The next is the increasing propensity of people to sue those platforms for speech they don't like, and the social bullying applied to companies that don't conform to PC speech behavior.

The same principle that justifies censoring "hate speech" also justifies censoring firearms content, pornography, and anything else that the censorious crowd considers "harmful".

You might not care about these things, but censorship will eventually hit something you do care about. The impulse to improve society by controlling people's thoughts is never satisfied.

Can you now see why some of us have been consistently opposed to censorship generally, even when people were talking only about censoring the most disreputable people? We need to commit to equal treatment of all legal speech. The only alternative is suffocation.

> The same principle that justifies censoring "hate speech" also justifies censoring firearms content, pornography, and anything else that the censorious crowd considers "harmful".

Harm isn't this subjective, there are objective criteria for classifying harm. Hate speech has no upside and causes much harm. That's not true of the others in your list.

> Hate speech has no upside and causes much harm.

You're begging the question here, assuming that what is called hate speech is necessarily harmful. I am quite certain that in the US political climate much of Palestinian political speech would easily be considered anti-semitic hate speech. Whether you consider this speech the valid outcry of the oppressed, or hateful bigotry of terrorist sympathizers, depends on your political perspective.

There is no definition of hate speech that is simultaneously objective and useful. If you can use it against your enemies today it can be used against you tomorrow.

Help me understand why you think the right to free speech means the right to put anything you want on someone else's site?

Dan does a great job of moderation here, and if you break the rules repeatedly, you'll get kicked out. I guess that's "censorship" if you squint, but it's also YC protecting their private property and their rights to control who does what here. I don't see how that's a problem?

The issue is that youtube is not just 'someones site' just like facebook isn't just 'someones social media'. These platforms are ubiquitous these days, they are the de-facto place for content and thus become an important part of the forum on which we discuss.

If that forum is censored with too broad a stroke, that actually harms society. I think everyone can agree that too broad censorship is bad, and if it hits large swathes of society, is really bad.

The difference between youtube and hacker-news is scale and near-monopoly. There is also an important difference of human and machine censorship. Not a difference of appeal, but a difference of unintended consequences. A human censor will notice when certain rules have unintended and too broad of an effect. There is a baseline of human oversight built in because there is a human somewhere. Automated systems do not have this property, if they have rules that seemed reasonable but aren't in practice, or aren't anymore, the system won't notice.

Even if one agrees that YT has the right to do it, that doesn't make them immune to criticism.

I'd compare this to the whole Microsoft anti-trust issue. All the big behemoths (Google/FB) are doing precisely the type of thing that Microsoft got hit with a stick for doing. They're using their defacto "majority" monopoly to promote/enforce behavior and products onto users. And in this case, arguably policing acceptable opinion.

Like the other responder said. Youtube isn't just "someone's site". It is a full half of the bloody internet. The other half being split between Google and FB. I exaggerate for dramatic effect of course. But, most of the video content consumed online is currently on Youtube. And most of the internet is solely accessible through Google. Not to mention that a full 1/8th or 1/10th of the World has Facebook accounts. Funnily, I just Googled it, and according to the first hit Facebook has 2.2 Billion accounts.

At some point we have to admit/define/state that these entities and the products/platforms they provide are utilities for lack of a better word. Once they get to that point, they should rightly lose all ability to take sides. They must be hit with a giant stick if they so much as think of using their platforms to do anything other than make a profit. Imagine if telephone companies started dropping calls or disconnecting users that were saying "naughty" things.

There is a big difference between "all X should be killed" and "hey guys here is an inanimate object that goes boom."

There is a big difference between actually going out and shooting people, and merely filming videos about guns, it's true. There is very little difference between two particular types of speech, as they are both just words. If we take the speech to be a precursor to action, then that is different yes. But banning the speech won't stop the action.

No matter what someone is saying, banning them is a form of social signalling. It says, "we disagree with what these people are saying". There are many many things that the majority doesn't like the minority saying, and the world will be worse off if they manage to ban it all.

You really don't see any difference from political speech "Gays are going to hell and "go out and kill all gays"?

If I were gay, I would care less if people judged me based on their religion. I would care if a bunch of yokels started targeting me with violence.

Obviously a person doesn't want to be killed. But most people who posts about killing people online don't actually do it. Of those that do, very few would be detered if they hadn't been allowed to post about it beforehand. So this speech doesn't cause people to be murdered, at best it predicts it.

But then, most hateful speech could predict a later killing. Someone who thinks gays should go to hell might decide to help them along, as it were. The difference between the two things you have quoted, then, is one of degree: saying the second demonstrates more hate than the first, but it is the same brand of hate.

I would say almost the opposite. If there is anything hurting the Internets potential as a platform for free speech it is the inability to understand that not all cultures, countries or people want unfettered access to drugs, guns, gambling, prostitution, pornography or violence. You could not convince most countries to block politics on the Internet. You can convince them to block politics as part of enforcing their already existing laws or social rules concerning vice.

>We need to commit to equal treatment of all legal speech.

But isn't the issue here precisely to ban illegal activities (sex trafficking adverts, hate speech)?

It's funny to see in the same sentences sex trafficking and hate speech.

Blatant false dichotomy.

Doesn’t seem blatant anymore. We just literally had people running scientific channels being shown the door because some alghorithm got offended.

Google is under no obligation to justify their decisions on what they choose to host or not host. If you want to host firearms related content or porn, you’re free to set up your own web hosting.

The same free speech rules that apply to you also apply to google.

This is such an irrelevant, derailing, and ultimately toxic viewpoint.

Google obtained this position by being trusted to not engage in censorship. So while yes, they can change their stance (burning off goodwill until they become irrelevant), it's a facile analysis.

> This is such an irrelevant, derailing, and ultimately toxic viewpoint.

Toxic is a matter of opinion. Pointing out the hypocrisy is relevant, insofar as it's relevant in every other forum between one actor accusing another of being a bad actor. How you take something to be derailing, when it's relevant, is beyond me.

A facile analysis, most definitely.

It's derailing because rather than address the concerns under discussion, it discards them by punting to a different level of abstraction. It's toxic because it has become so damn prolific, probably because on the surface it seems edgy.

I'd often make a similar point to argue against this centralized communication technology being adopted in the first place. But now that it has become society's main form of communication, pushing this point on its own does little but condone censorship.

There's a paid version of Google Drive, which does create an obligation.

Not if your content violates their Terms.

> But banning videos of adult pornography and showing legal firearm-related content is a different beast. A private company surely has the right to decide not to host such content, but consumers can likewise consider whether they want to do business with (including giving unfettered access to email and search queries) a company that proceeds down this slippery slope.

Sure both businesses and consumers have the right to make their own choices. My issue with the current state of affairs is the blatant push by certain industries, particularly the media, to push one side of an agenda. They glamorize businesses that kowtow to a minority of loud voices as if it's the only acceptable course of action. That may seem like an accomplishment but it could very well be flipped around when the loudest opinion is against you on an issue.

> To be clear, I’m not saying we’ve slid down the slope at this point, just that we appear to be perched on/near it.

I like to think of it as more of a roller coaster. Some times we're sliding down, some times the momentum carries us back up, and some times we level off for a bit. I just hope that there's enough momentum on the preservation of our rights to carry us through the current wave of hysteria.

I don't have a problem with the illegal porn ban; people are actually being victimized there.

I do have a problem with the gun stuff. Even "how to" videos that result in somehting that's currently illegal. Information should not be banned, and it's a futile effort to try to do that. The internet is too big.

Any high school chemistry student learns enough to build a bomb. Should we ban chemistry videos? Ban learning about chemical oxidation?

But bottom line, it's Google's service and I guess they can do what they want with it.


CodysLab is another educational channel having significant issues with strikes.

That is true, but it is less obvious of an example. I could see a very careful person actually taking issue with some of his videos. Less so with the other videos.

what issues can be had with Cody'sLab videos? They are completely educational, and in the parts that are dangerous, he clearly warns of it, and also tells you how to do it safely.

CodysLabs is an odd example. Some of the stuff is poorly set up. He's injured himself several times making videos, and it's only luck that he hasn't had a serious injury. He teaches poor habits and bad practice. But, even with all that, he is educational for people with the attention span to watch. He does a minimal amount of "blowing shit up", and even that tends to be small amounts of explosion with lots of explanation.

I think it's weird that Youtube would take that channel down because most people aren't going to have the patience to watch it, and they're not going to copy it.

Compare that to this fucking idiot, who has a huge and young audience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeNgIWj8ZM0

Cody drank cyanide for fun -- twice. Definitely not a safety oriented channel

It's really a shame. These channels (+ Cody's) produce awesome content that I'm sure inspire a lot of kids and teens to study STEM.

Well, damn, here I thought UK ISP's denying access to drug-discussing forums is bad. So much information and education just taken away by idiots (or maybe it's on purpose).

> But bottom line, it's Google's service and I guess they can do what they want with it.

By the same token, everyone else can also do whatever they want. Including publicly criticizing Google for removing lawful information, advocating that everyone stop using their services until they change their policy, then using, promoting or creating competing services that don't censor, etc.

> advocating that everyone stop using their services until they change their policy, then using, promoting or creating competing services that don't censor, etc.

except that due to youtube and google's near monopoly on consumers, none of this is going to happen. This is why google can choose to censor (or in fact, do whatever the fuck they want), because they know their customers (i mean products) don't have anywhere else to go to.

There is a fair argument that Google has market power in e.g. search advertising. If you want to buy search advertising from somebody else, good luck ever reaching as many people.

The idea that they have a monopoly in email or video hosting is ridiculous. They have a thousand competitors and it's easy for customers to switch.

They still have a huge slice of those markets for the same reason Microsoft used to have a huge slice of the browser market -- they're the default on the most popular OS (once Windows, now Android). But Mozilla et al took a huge chunk out of Microsoft's browser share after customers got sick of all of Microsoft's anti-user behavior.

Because people will stay with the defaults unless they have a reason to switch. But if you do give them a reason, like banning legitimate content they want to view and create, that's another story.

And the more people switch, the better the alternatives get and the easier it is for more people to join them.

I don't have a problem with the illegal porn ban; people are actually being victimized there. ... Information should not be banned, and it's a futile effort to try to do that. The internet is too big.

If "information should not be banned" and it doesn't work anyway, why are you OK with banning illegal stuff?

Also, to point out the obvious, it's OK to not want something on your site.

> I don't have a problem with the illegal porn ban; people are actually being victimized there.

This is where you are wrong. It is either all or it is not. You can't draw the line. Either information can free flow through your router or it can't.

I can't really see it another way.

Google isn't limiting the data flowing through your router. They are limiting content they are willing to store on their servers. Those two are worlds apart and Google can do whatever they choose within the boundaries defined by their terms of service.

But that distinction makes Google no longer a DMCA safe harbor. Once you start censoring content not actively illegal, you are now liable for any copyright infringement on your site.

The condition for safe harbor is not knowing that the content is infringing, not that you censor your content or not. YouTube has always censored content (e.g. porn).

A private company surely has the right to decide not to host such content

And a company can absolutely do that, but paying that much attention to the content of the media changes their responsibilities under the DMCA and Section 230 of the CDA.


They've always paid attention to the content so the could ban porn. The DMCA says they must not be aware that the content is infringing, and you can't know that just by looking at it.

Reddit also has been banning many sub-reddits lately (that didn't do anything illegal)... Almost like someone is pushing all those companies. like /r/gundeals

Reddit admin's political push has not been even slightly subtle. Bear in mind during the net neutrality nonsense, the entire front page of Reddit was the exact same post, from tons of completely off-topic subreddits. (Why does r/gardening have a net neutrality sticky?)

It made Reddit mostly unusable (beyond it's usual uselessness, mind you) for about a week, and most sub moderators were either unwilling to moderate the net neutrality spam, or quite often, the ones posting it.

But where it really started to grind my gears was when the Reddit admins posted an announcement proud of it, like it was some sort of accomplishment that the entire site had been replaced by spam of a single post, because, of course, it's a political view they're lobbying for.

I have gained a lot of appreciation for HN's ability to allow reasonable debate of all views, and really to keep the site's content enjoyable, interesting, and varied. I can't say remotely the same for where Reddit is right now. If you don't agree with Reddit's political views, you should most likely be looking for alternative websites.

So they should've stayed neutral is what you're saying? One of the biggest resources in the world. Them removing subreddits is exactly the result of agendas such as removing Net Neutrality. For the right cause, everyone needs to be political. It's how it works.

> a slippery slope.

No. The dystopian fetish ever present in popular culture has done more harm than any poorly crafted piece of legislation has ever done in the U.S.


Mystical future historians and grandstanding on my HN? Never! Also have you read 1984? It's a pretty ground breaking book.

I've been on the internet long enough to notice this mass hysteria. And providing a recent and relevant example is grandstanding, huh? Funny how tangents on freeze peach aren't considered grandstanding to you (especialy when your average HNer couldn't give two fucks about the rights of sex workers except when they can exploit them).

And lastly, I read the book for the second time just last week. Most memeified and over-interpreted book in existence. Interestingly there's this reocurring event of two-minutes hate, as well as war fervor against whoever the government has deigned the enemy. This enemy is never the same entity, but during the war fervor, everyone pretends they're the worst when they were just allies a week ago. Seems awfully familiar. I also see some nice examples of doublethink in these types of threads where HNers usually drool over capitalism and the rights of private organizations; and they also pride themselves on being so logical (2 + 2 = 5); yet they can't seem to understand that free speech only applies to the government. Soooooooo Orwellian, oh em gee. It's so cringey hearing people use 1984 as a stand-in for anything and everything when they've barely read the book, or from a high school understanding of it.

It seems like you're arguing that we are about to slide down a slippery slope of... companies and consumers both doing things they have a right to do?

Yep, google appears to be on the brink. And yep, consumers have the right to jump ship when google goes too far (in their opinion).

Basically, we should make sure not to be a frog that gets boiled (to throw in another metaphor).

The frog metaphor is false (in the sense that frogs do actually jump out, regardless of how slow the water is boiled) [1].

But I think it’s also false in many of the contexts where it’s applied. People do notice change, even if it happens slowly. They’re just not always able to do anything about it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog

> “Do not publish sexually explicit or pornographic images or videos. Writing about adult topics is permitted as long as it is not accompanied by sexually explicit images or videos, or any material that promotes or depicts unlawful or inappropriate sexual acts with children or animals. Additionally, we do not allow content that drives traffic to commercial pornography.

> We do allow naturalistic and documentary depictions of nudity (such as an image of a breastfeeding infant), as well as depictions of nudity that serve a clear educational, scientific, or artistic purpose.”

I don’t understand the fuss being made. It is clearly stated that sexual content is not allowed.

Just because sharing pornography isn’t illegal does not mean that it should be allowed on every platform on which it is possible.

Instead of violating TOS of a service they could just use a service that doesn’t prohibit pornography?

For me the first realization is that puting files on Drive is considered publishing.

Mentally it was closer to a private space that can be shared in parts. For instance I synchronize pics from my phone to Google Photos, and it’s labelled “backup” in the app. But now I need to readjust.

Also now that an algorithm can start deleting files here and there depending on the mood and flavor of the TOS that day (because, really, the last time I even tried to read the TOS was years ago), Drive becomes basically useless as a file storage/backup service, and as you point out I’m back on the long journey to find a decent storage provider to back my NAS and a photo service at the same time.

Considering an awful lot of people must have operated under the same assumptions until now, I think having a fuss is justified.

> For me the first realization is that puting files on Drive is considered publishing.

Putting stuff on Drive isn't publishing in the usual sense, but Drive can be (and often is) used for publishing, just like every file storage service that makes it possible to share a link to access stores files ever has been.

It's not clear if all the issues are with shared rather than merely stored content, but it certainly seems that the primary context of the issues in TFA is shared content.

Burning books is not illegal, but we are rightfully appalled when someone publicly burns books. This is book burning.

Are you appalled if someone says "hey, I'm gonna burn any books in this box", then people put books in that box? This content is explicitly against Google's published ToS.

I would be appalled as soon as someone says "I'm gonna burn any books in this box", whether any people puts books in that box or not. It is a promise for an appalling act.

You may not like to look too closely at the book industry then. It is full of such boxes.

"Here's a box where you can put all your books in to make sure they're protected against any disaster."

"Here's also a long list of rules and conditions to this box. We know you won't read it."

"Can I get a quick rundown on what I can and can't do?"


"Alright, sounds good to me."

Fast forward 4 months:

"Hey, it looks like I'm missing a few books here, what's the deal?"

"We said you couldn't have anything about: [insert political side here], guns, chemistry, sexual acts outside of marriage."

"What, no you didn't."

"You agreed to the terms and conditions."

Thanks, Satan.

The list here:


has 13 items on it. Not exactly unreasonably long list to check, especially if you are in the porn industry where you should be aware that there are plenty of restrictions (justified or not) around porn. If you didn't happen to be aware of that, consider this a lesson learned the hard way.

Do you see them in this format when you sign up for Google Drive, or do you simply see one of those checkboxes that say "I have read and agree to Terms and Conditions," with a link to a huge wall of text of legalese?

I have been using Google Drive for many years and I was never aware of these restrictions. I wonder how many Drive users were aware before seeing this article. If it is less than 50% (and I would be surprised if it isn't) it is Google's fault not individual users.

> If it is less than 50% (and I would be surprised if it isn't) it is Google's fault not individual users.

This misses the second point of my parent comment; if you are in the porn industry, you should know that plenty of services do not want your business, and as such be far more diligent than the average joe in checking ToS for the services you are building your business on.

Systematic oppression makes ignoring ToS the default. Businesses choose not to cater to sex workers and such workers find themselves in the situation where there's no option but to ignore the ToS. You find that when services you take for granted aren't available, things get... harder. So you do what everyone else does to the best of your ability even if you are an "undesirable" that has been asked to stay outside the group, even when that's illegal. So yeah, sex workers are going to do what they need to do to survive and make ends meet, the terms of service for websites is the very least of their concerns when they don't know if they'll make rent this month.

Were you "aware" that two categories have been added since October? Reading the explanations, "terrorist content" seems likely to be "depictions of everyday life in poor Muslim areas". As for "public streaming", that seems to be "more downloads than we like". Regardless of what these things actually mean, there's no way to know how how much time elapsed between the additions to the document and the deletion of material.

Are you comparing books to porn? Lets go with the comparison... Nobody is burning books. It's more like the publisher is saying to aspiring author: "Your book contains pornographic content, we will not publish this. Please find another publisher. And by the way, we lost your manuscript, hope you have another one."

Well, actually they sort of do - trash the books that haven't sold.

Of course they're burning books. They're burning all manner of "indecent" content, not just this "porn" but also content about guns and other subjects they consider too taboo.

Porn == Books? I don’t understand how you can make that comparison .. and in this context.

Banning porn sounds great until you realize it means you lose HBO's The Wire, House of Cards and a long list of other iconic media because they contain scenes of sex acts and naked women in strip clubs.

There is no objective standard to distinguish them from "bad" porn.

It's legal speech. It's being destroyed because Google doesn't like the content. In this context, there's no particular difference between video and a book.

I don't think it's ok for a company to decide to target a specific content. Pornography is no different than any content. Next day they decide to ban firearms, nature, space photos etc.

Pornography has a special status, to say it is no different is just disingenuous.

I think it mostly has a special “canary in the coal mine” status.

For a lot of people pornography has no clear definition and is decided on a “I know it when I see it” basis. And it gets worse when it comes to an AI flagging it or a service’s staff reviewing content from another country.

This means it’s the perfect ground to train a banning content process, because it can be fuzzy, can fail a bunch, and a good chunk of people won’t be willing to openly defend their possession of “porn” (even if it’s a false positive for instance).

Otherwise I genuinely think we should recalibrate our vision of porn, its place in our societies and how we relate to it. I have the feeling it’s one of the subject that we dragged our feet the most to revise, when the world has been changing leaps and bounds compared to two or three gneerations ago.

It is fuzzy but only if you measure decency on a spectrum rather than black and white -- for some there is a fine line and for others the line is nine miles wide. Not only that but there is a difference between intended usage and actual usage.

Miley Cyrus may have no qualms about posting nudes of herself on her Twitter account and protect her expression via artistic license but sexual puritans will argue that anything that inflames the sense is deserving of censorship.

Given this data, recalibrating our vision of porn would require recalibrating our vision of sexuality in generally -- is a public expression of sexuality something that most people can tolerate? As it is now, that answer is no.

I'm a little surprised that porn is against Google Drive's ToS, but I'm very surprised that they actively have algorithms seeking it out to delete it. Usually service providers don't go looking for trouble and will only review content once there's a complaint.

I'm surprised they're doing this, because it could open them up to legal liability. If they have the technology to do this, then arguably they have the technology to detect child abuse or other crimes and would be liable for hosting it. If they didn't have this technology, then if they are accused of hosting illegal stuff, they can just shrug and say there's nothing they can do. Or, like you said, remove individual items after a complaint.

This is a myth.

Section 230 of the Commucations Deceny Act of 1996 "allows ISPs and other service providers to restrict customers' actions without fear of being found legally liable for the actions that are allowed."

"The act was passed in part in reaction to a 1995 decision which suggested that service providers who assumed an editorial role with regard to customer content thus became publishers, and legally responsible for libel and other torts committed by customers. This act was passed to specifically enhance service providers' ability to delete or otherwise monitor content without themselves becoming publishers"

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communicati...

Yes and no: SESTA/FOSTA make business liable for certain criminal content on their platforms. But the Section 230 shield wasn't about liability in general, but rather about protecting you from an increase in liability as a result of moderation.

To use an analogy: Sec 230 is like a "Good Samaritan" law that protects people who try to help accident victims from liability for their actions. This is obviously good public policy, because many people are scared of being sued if they make any mistakes (or even if they don't), even though the evidence points overwhelmingly to a net positive effect of such attempts of help.

Backpage used Section 230 like a guy punching someone in the face and then claiming they were trying to protect them from the mosquito sitting on their nose.

The new law assigns liability if you are grossly negligent in allowing certain content to flourish on your platform.

But, the important point is: this liability is independent of any moderation platforms may or may not engage in. The attempt to moderate some content still does not increase your liability.

Check out jepZ's link above: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16668874

Safe harbor is effectively dead. Recent changes in law make neutral content hosters liable for the content their users create/upload/share (going beyond the standard strictly illegal stuff like child porn, inciting violence, etc).

My guess is that it opens them up to legal liability not to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOSTA

(I work for Google, but I don't have any inside information on this; it's just speculation.)

They do detect child abuse imagery and report it to the appropriate agencies.

It is more about that new law than about their ToS:


Thats pure speculation.

Yes, you are right, I didn't see that the article was from before the vote and didn't read it carefully enough.

It could be similar to DropBox's sharing copyrighted material ban, from what I vaguely recall reading somewhere, it merely compares the hash with what's known to be pirated like torrent trackers, though if I'm wrong would be happy to be corrected.

The content that's being discussed in the article is being created by the uploader. If it's being detected by an automated system, it's a disturbingly intelligent one.

Google is however nowadays staffed by activists.

I’m 12 / 15 GB on the free plan and considering upgrading to paid. If Google is now “intelligently” flagging content, I want to store my personal content elsewhere, regardless of its nature.

Who’s not being stupid here? Apple? Should I go back to my Synology?

Encrypt your data before you upload to any storage. Do not upload anything in clear view and no one can flag your stuff.

No one should be able to access anything in someone’s private cloud without a warrant full stop. The fact they can tag anything is a problem.

Well it's not really your private cloud unless you are running it. It's Google's cloud, and they are letting you use it under their terms.

Yup. "'Cloud' is just shorthand for 'someone else's computers'."

It's not really a private could period.

You don't even own the hardware that you buy.

All you do is reduce the attack surface the further down the stack you go.

Exactly why you should never trust cloud storage.

Google's ToS has always indicated that they are free to rummage through your stuff kept on their systems. I still prefer them because they don't AFAIK share the data with outsiders. Sure, they'll use it for targeted advertising, but they do the targeting themselves with the data.

I'm on a mac. Is there an easy way to encrypt my data before it's uploaded? Would an encrypted image, permanently 'open' on my system suffice?

The encrypted image would theoretically work. Practically, I'm pretty sure iCloud cannot do differential backups and any change to any file in the image would require a complete re-upload.

I actually wouldn't have a problem trusting Apple's promises on data privacy. Unfortunately, iCloud Drive is not yet encrypted end-to-end, unlike messages, keychain, photos and some other content. They're supposed to be working on it.

There is `rclone`, a command line tool a little similar to rsync, that supports many cloud storage providers. It does diffs too.


I just realized that I already have an encrypted volume stored on Dropbox, so I did not need to ask.

But to answer yours: I'm not 100% sure about iCloud, but at least Dropbox seems to have no trouble uploading only the changes of my (large) encrypted volume, whether it's mounted or not.

I have run into problems, however, when I mount the image on multiple computers, so I'd recommend against that, or at least making any changes before everything is properly synced.

You can use sparse disk images so that your encrypted content is stored in chunks as little as one megabyte.

This may not be what you're looking for, but I've been using SpiderOak on my Macs for about five years. SpiderOak encrypts all your files and syncs whatever folders you want it too seamlessly. I use it to keep the files on all my Macs in sync.

Thanks for the tip! I'm currently okay with not syncing everything, and for backups I'm quite happy with Tarsnap. But there might be a time where I do need to sort this out.

Also you can encrypt your stuff on your device before you put it into Google, Dropbox etc cloud. For example with this open source tool, Cryptomator.


At a brief first look, this is very interesting.

Why haven't we heard more about it? (Somewhat rhetorical, as in, hey, take a look.)

Or with something like CryFS.

IMO, this will always be a problem with "cloud" services now.

No company is going to host illegal content if it makes them liable, and they can't use the "we can't check everything" excuse anymore because the technology now exists to check everything. Implementing it, or buying it from somebody, will just be a cost of doing business for hosting companies.

Porn isn't illegal, though. This porn didn't even seem to be infringing on copyright, which is probably more than you can say for a lot of content stored on Google Drive.

Google avoiding making itself an accomplice to illegal activities would be far easier to swallow than Google appointing itself the arbiter of some puritanical ideas of morality.

> the technology now exists to check everything

But we're certainly not at the point where it's even approaching the accuracy of a human being.

False positives and false negatives abound. When that means the service I pay for as a backup starts deleting my innocent content because it thought it was porn, that's when I leave that tool and never come back.

> But we're certainly not at the point where it's even approaching the accuracy of a human being.

You say that like it's an end of the world show stopping bug. There's no reason a company can't have a process for handling those mistakes.

> False positives and false negatives abound. When that means the service I pay for as a backup starts deleting my innocent content because it thought it was porn, that's when I leave that tool and never come back.

And go where? If everybody has to filter content then they'll all have those issues.

"We can't check everything" if it is encrypted client-side.

Yeah, that's the only solution that will work.

>Should I go back to my Synology?

If you've got one lying around, absolutely you should choose to control your own data.

I was thinking about treating Google Drive as a dumb storage service and storing AES-256 files on it. It can’t figure out what’s in the files so it can’t delete it nor can Google read the files to serve targeted ads.

How exactly does encryption prevent them from deleting the data?

It doesn’t, but why would they delete it? Google don’t have a policy to delete data they can’t read, as far as I know anyway.

They can easily change policy in a ToS update you probably won't bother reading.

Sure, but what heuristic are Google going to use to detect encrypted files? What if that heuristic matches files which aren’t encrypted and starts deleting those? We’d start to see cases of “Google deleted all of my RAW photos”, or whatever special binary format Google haven’t coded for.

Clearly they have a heuristic for identifying pornographic videos that they have enough confidence in to use on what very well might be irreplaceable footage that is not pornographic and/or does not violate ToS. I can assume that they can find something similar to identify encrypted content, perhaps simply by identifying files of unknown format with high entropy. Short of steganography, which is inefficient, I don't think you can prevent Google from knowing you're storing encrypted files.


With a lot of people absusing unlimited drive accounts to host their Plex collections I’m surprise it’s lasted this long. Those people are going to ruin it for the rest of us.

> With a lot of people absusing unlimited drive accounts to host their Plex collections I’m surprise it’s lasted this long. Those people are going to ruin it for the rest of us.

How is it "abuse" to take them up on their "unlimited" offer? It's not very unlimited if it's somehow wrong for you to store too much stuff one it.

Imagine you’re moving to my town. I say “you’re welcome to stay with me as long as you need to while you look for a job.”

2 years later, you’re still unemployed and sleeping on my couch.

I kick you out.

Am I the asshole or are you?

Your example is an example of taking advantage of personal hospitality, the Google drive users are taking advantage of an advertised product offering. Those are totally different things.

No one's an asshole for using a product they were offered to the fullest. If Google didn't want them to do that, they shouldn't have offered an "unlimited" product in the first place.

I see your point, but

> as long as you need to while you look for a job

Google never added this condition.

Mainly because they’re taking advantage of google not enforcing the 1tb cap on single accounts.

Don't forget to encrypt before uploading. Best to only sync `encfs` directories. You never know what will become "illegal" or "undesirable" content in the future.

"Who’s not being stupid here? Apple? Should I go back to my Synology?"

We (rsync.net) exist. You may find the 'borg' tool, which we support on the server side, to be interesting:


There is a longstanding "HN discount". Email for details.

Is there any NAS, that stores its backup through distributed function in similar NAS?

Like I buy 6TB NAS, 2TB will be for myself, the other 4TB is for everyone else, where every files to be spilt in many pieces, encrypted and stored multiple copies evenly in others NAS.

Nextcloud isn't a terrible option if you can roll your own server. I think there are third party providers for nextcloud. I use yunohost to serve my nextcloud instance. Wasn't too hard to do.

SpiderOak's plans are pretty cheap. Also you could use S3+Glacier for storing just about anything. I would be surprised if AWS scanned your files for "inappropriate" content.

Yeah, probably. The AUP for Amazon (including S3) has this restriction:

>Offensive Content. Content that is defamatory, obscene, abusive, invasive of privacy, or otherwise objectionable, including content that constitutes child pornography, relates to bestiality, or depicts non-consensual sex acts.

So, most pornography should be okay.

Obscene is always problematic, as it’s measured against a “community standard”. What’s ok in San Francisco may not be in Mobile.

"otherwise objectionable" is a catch-all.

> So, most pornography should be okay.

Most pornography could probably fall into a reasonable reading of “obscene, ..., or otherwise objectionable”.

> I would be surprised if AWS scanned your files for "inappropriate" content.

Why would you be surprised? I'd go under the assumption that anything you give to them could trivially be scanned.

Spideroak has gotten pretty lazy when it comes to it's interface etc. A number of people I work with have no switched to Tresorit, which has much more features.


tresorit requires typing your password into a webpage to update account info (including your payment method, so its unavoidable) its encrypted in javascript, but some security experts frown on javascript crypto: https://www.nccgroup.trust/us/about-us/newsroom-and-events/b...

Wut? They only recently released a new UI. But nice job shoe-horning your friend's website into the convo.

Tresorit has been around a while, and was the nominated service to migrate to once Wuala shut down.

I used SpiderOak for a while and though it started off with promise, it just isn't up to scratch compared to other services.

Plus its mobile application is horrendous.

Buy some spinning rust.

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