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The Internet Archive is waging war on misinformation (ft.com)
367 points by praveenscience on Sept 18, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 299 comments

I like that the internet archive exists, but I don't like how they implement their opt-out policy. Sites can opt-out at any time, which I suppose is the correct thing to allow, but once they opt out then everything the Archive has gathered up to that point also goes away, which seems wrong.

I got frustrated with this one time when I tried to look up a defunct website in the Wayback Machine. The website was gone, but had been replaced by a domain squatter with a restrictive robots.txt. Because of the new roboots.txt, all of the old site was retroactively made unavailable. As time passes and more websites change hands, it would be a nice compromise if the default behavior was only to make retroactive deletions that go back to the last change of ownership in WHOIS data.

IA are specifically refusing to follow robots.txt directives largely on account of just this behaviour.



That's great news. Is there any update to the 2017 blog post? Is the new policy still only for .mil and .gov sites?

I don't know, though you could research via their blogsite.

Would be cool if this could be tied to SSL keys. Being able to serve requests with the same SSL key could be used as verification. (obviously some edge cases like people that are behind some kind of common SSL cert like a subdomain with shared hosting)

That's impossible due to the way assymetric encryption works. It would help to indicate to the user, and maybe allow searching/grouping by certificate hash to transcend domain names

Isn't that what cert pinning does though?

I think it would make more sense to tie the behaviour to the domain's whois record. If that changes significantly, chances are the domain has changed owners.

This is true, but the whois isn't really a highly official source.

Actually, it is. It's the TLD registrar's record.

The usefulness of WHOIS has been declining precipitously, largely as useful information has been horribly misused and abused.

To be fair, they're operating in a situation (budget vs. volume of material to collect and share with the world) where it's necessary to minimize the human overhead of this mechanism AND to attempt to reduce their legal exposure -- sure they can get legal help from some of the very best, but mostly out of people's goodwill, they don't have the budget to be defending themselves constantly.

(Disclaimer: former IA employee, but I do not in any way speak for IA.)

I believe that policy to be morally wrong. If a site WAS accessible then that old version should continue to be until an active legal tool is used to request the offline archiving rather than free access as it was at the time of observation.

Yea but I can't just copy a website and start hosting my own version for numerous copyright reasons even if it is just to archive. I can't for example torrent a bunch of movies and store them for the purpose of "archiving"

Actually, a library is a specific legal context that does allow it to do many things similar to what you're describing. It can't steal movies for archiving, but it certainly can purchase and share legally procured copies. Digital sharing is an admittedly more complex minefield...

While libraries do have special protections, sharing legally procured physical copies is more broadly protected due to the first-sale doctrine.

However, libraries do have an exemption to the ban on renting music recordings (after the broad availability of audio cassette recorders, congress made renting music illegal, but libraries and schools can still loan them out).

In USA. I assume that's where you're talking about.

In UK certain libraries can archive (British Library) following a recent change in the law, IIRC. People wanting to access the archive may only do so by physically visiting the library.

AFAICT archive.org are flouting copyright law around the World already, they should continue to be cautious about assuming rights IMO.

Archive.org is an accredited library.

Yep, that works for USA law AFAIR, but USA Fair Use is exceptionally liberal compared to other copyright regimes.

That's exactly what they do. They are treating "robots.txt" as an "active legal tool". You could argue that they should make it harder, but I doubt they want to find themselves in court over every little thing. Better to make it easy to block to avoid liability, and also easy to allow that block to lapse - if they forced you to get a court order to hide information, then the information would be gone forever.

An active legal tool might be as little as requiring an official claim of copyright and a related Cease and Desist to be mailed physically to them.

That would prevent the issue of domain squatters with robots.txt files in most cases, and offer the public a means of challenging such ownership requests (and freeing up the content on archive.org) if they desire.

Well get to it then.

Just to be clear, the data doesn't seem to be deleted -- it only becomes inaccessible once the site opts out; all the data can come back if the site changes its mind.

Does it also continue to archive while the 'do not archive' flag is on?

I'm not sure, but I do think they follow the standard guidelines, meaning they won't archive if the flag is on. This can be verified by going through the Heritrix crawler's source code.

It doesn’t go away, it’s just not public. This is to comply with copyright law. It’s still safely stored on disk.

Not sure about that copyright argument holding water, especially across multiple jurisdictions - I would think some argument could be made that the data was gathered with a robots.txt that allowed it and as such it can be made available.

Actually as I've noted before other archive initiatives often ignore robots.txt, for example the Danish National Archive ignores it and is legally allowed to for gathering all relevant Danish material.

Okay, if they have no choice in it then I understand. But as for keeping a copy on disk that practically no one can ever see, to me that strikes seems like a distinction without a difference.

I'm pretty sure you can visit the building that Internet Archive operates from (https://archive.org/about/contact.php) and freely surf/look at all the content, even the content that is not available from the web version.

I see no advantage in restricting access. I just believe this to be a mechanism to hide uncomfortable content, which I believe has no benefit as long as no personal information is revealed.

It's not a binary fact of having a choice or not. A less restrictive policy would bring a load of frivolous copyright and/or trademark encroachment. Fighting it would be a worthy fight, but would divert resources away from their core mission of archiving, which is hard enough on its own.

AFAIK they're thinking of the historical record for future generations, and present access is a sacrificeable side benefit.

Better to save content for a future with more sane copyright law than to not save it at all.

The block requires active maintenance in the form of robots.txt. If the domain owner allows robots.txt to lapse, the content is automatically republished.

"No one" in the next ~70-90 years.

One of the services they are providing is to future historians.

> This is to comply with copyright law.

If that's true, it will be a better resource for humanity if it charts a way to be hosted in a jurisdiction where copyright law doesn't require this kind of censorship.

Ready for public release in roughly 100 years then.

It doesn't make then compliant [with UK law, at least], it just makes them appear to be. Copyright covers copying, the copying has already been done, and the copies are being retained: meaning any infringement is ongoing. They're just hiding their probable infringement.

I'm more than happy for them to do that btw, but I do have strong reservations about letting anyone "archive" a site and offer it to the public. This is an area that's needs legislative development IMO.

The Internet Archive has no physical presence in the UK to my knowledge.

They copy websites from UK servers. They extend their presence to UK jurisdiction in order to do that.

So when I copy a UK website from to my browser cache, I’m subject to UK jurisdiction? That makes no sense.

The archive needs to provide some extra-legal mechanism to allow people to hide data - otherwise they'll be in court all the time. The advantage of this system is that it runs both ways - sites can also neglect to opt out, having previously done so, which immediately republishes all the data.

>But Mr Graham argued that simply removing false information or offensive content isn’t necessarily the answer. Hateful material need not remain publicly available, he said, but certain researchers and politicians should be able to study it.

They're planting the seed and seeing how the public reacts. This is ridiculous! Mark something "controversial", "possibly fake", but don't memory-hole us. An archive only archiving history they agree with is not worth the funding.

Archives are reflections of the societies that build and curate them, and the Internet Archive is no exception. Over the curse of centuries, every society is undergoing cultural changes and archives do adapt to those. The Internet Archive's practice of immediately and almost indiscriminately publishing everything they just archived on the internet very much reflects the spirit of the early internet of making everything accessible to everyone everywhere but it has become too radical in an US that is increasingly pro-censorship. It's only a matter of time before they implement means to at least hide content that is offending select incredibly powerful groups. Had the archive existed 100 years ago, it would have had to bow before the National Legion of Decency. Now it has to bow to others. Bowing to different kings as their rules sprout, blossom and wither is just the business archives are in.

I like the "different kings" metaphor. An archive has to think long-term. To do its job unimpeded it has to remain inconspicuous and unobjectionable, otherwise it may lose access to information altogether. Kings and cultures will come and go, but as long as they have the data then their mission is substantially fulfilled. At some point in the future even the most radical material will become innocuous and safe to publish.

For example, this is why the archive obeys robots.txt policies retrospectively. I can't access my personal web pages from 20+ years because at some point the university changed it's robots.txt policy. (The domain no longer exists, freezing that policy quasi-permanently.) But at least they're archived. Maybe at some point before I die I'll get to see them again, but at least it's a possibility. More importantly, my "sacrifice" (such as it is) is a small price to pay to help ensure that archive.org preserved access to material that would have been cut off if websites felt that they didn't have control of availability once archived.

We can't expect archive.org to fight our battles for us, whether regarding censorship, copyright overreach, or other issues. It's great that they do to the extent that they do, but their success is partly a consequence of them picking their fights and emphasizing their character of being a quiet, harmless archiver. It would be counter-productive to ask them to risk that credibility and power. And it's entirely unnecessary.

My gut reaction was also:"oh no, not them, why don't they take a stand?" but your logic is completely valid, they shouldn't, for the futures sake. I just hope they ensure their source data stays untouched.

What surprised me was that you say they respect the robots.txt, but the data is archived anyway, so they are crawling anyway, but only publish according the rules defined in the robots.txt?

If so that is news to me.

The robots.txt changed and they applied the new robots.txt to the old data.

>An archive only archiving history they agree with is not worth the funding.

100%. It reduces the entire point to just voluntarily donating to your favourite think tank or political party, not an "archive".

> Since the 2016 US election, as fears about the power of fake news have intensified, the archive has stepped up its efforts to combat misinformation.

I hate language like this. I mean, propaganda is not a new thing. And opinions about "misinformation" are extremely subjective. It's not at all uncommon for mainstream media to reflect mainstream biases. Or even biases of governments in power, media owners, etc.

For example, when I first heard of the NSA's Enigma program, mainstream media (if it even mentioned it) discounted it as "conspiracy theory". Or the CIA's Mk Ultra project.

> At a time when false and ultra-partisan content is rapidly created and spread, and social media pages are constantly updated, the importance of having an unalterable record of who said what, when has been magnified.

This I agree with. But access should not be restricted.

There is a difference between bias and factual error. The suggestion being made is that articles are being spread with gross factual inaccuracies (intentional or not) at a higher rate than previously.

No one is suggesting that misinformation and bias didn't exist previously, the suggestion is that it is spreading at a greater rate.

To conflate bias with misinformation to the extent of exclusion as you are suggesting seems unnecessarily harsh to me. MSM had it's problems always, but it is incomparable to the basic factual inaccuracy prevalent in social media and the internet pundits that exist today. That can be argued, but it is a separate point.

The MSM people are most likely to consume (cable news, and random articles from large, reputable sources) are at a low in the US that hasn't been seen since at least the days following 9/11. I'm sure the modern political shock jocks are worse than their counterparts a decade ago as well, but media as a whole has a huge problem with forming high ROI narratives, and finding the facts that back that story.

I think the problem is bigger than just media though, it's a downstream problem from the war on the attention of average person. When people suggest trying to solve for Cambodian clickbait mills, it seems to me that they are just treating the small symptoms of a worse problem.

I'd rather not have a manual for starting a neo-nazi race war archived to be honest

This argument is the same used by authoritarian countries like China.

They don’t say criticism of the govt is prohibited, they say that it’s necessary for the security of state. Doesn’t everyone want a secure state?

It is only superficially the same argument, which is to say, if you ignore the qualitative content of the two matters; the fact that they both reduce to opinion is irrelevant, since society is built upon general consensus on particular opinions rather than general principles everywhere. Just as not every action is alike (and we prohibit the expression of some actions), not all speech is alike (and, just as with action, we may decide to prohibit its expression).

You mean you don't want to be able to point at what an organization used to post and perhaps now wants to hide?

I think it's worth discussing this comment instead of downvoting it.

There was a lot of controversy around the copyright expiration of Mein Kampf in Germany a few years ago. The Bavarian government owned the copyright and refused to allow it to be printed. When the copyright expired, annotated versions were released, putting the book in context. There are certain disadvantages that not printing had: making the book more mysterious and taboo, and leaving the text to stand on its own when it was acquired (thus having no space for rebuttals, historical comments, etc.).

Personally I lean toward keeping these kinds of things but annotating them and providing ample context - the equivalent of a study on history or a museum exhibit. Maybe we as a species can learn from our mistakes. It's not like forgetting these texts will prevent the same conditions that created the rise of fascism and genocide.

Mein Kampf is a unique example in the sense that far, far more harmful books, by any objective measure, have remained freely available. As such it cannot be used as a general template on how to handle such material.

I think Germany is no good role model when it comes to content restrictions, since too many measures are based on fear or shame, while adherence to arbitrary content rules isn't examined critically.

That is one factor why I believe Germany to be more likely to succumb to fascism again compared to the US for example. Luckily, the 21st century doesn't allow for much content control anymore.

Mein Kampf can reasonably fail on itself. There is need for context, of course, that education can and has to provide.

If you allow people to use their own judgement, perhaps that would have served as an incentive to use it in times of dire need.

The current idea that fascism rose because of too few content control is a grave mistake.

> That is one factor why I believe Germany to be more likely to succumb to fascism again compared to the US for example.

Citation needed? From the view of my filter bubble it looks like white supremacy and it's racist ideologies seem to be on an alarming rise in both countries regardless of their approach on free speech.

A citation for my believes?

Unfortunately freedom of information has come under attack in the US as well lately, so yes, the rise of some circles is no surprise or contradiction. Unfortunately that aligns fascist groups with people that see value in these freedoms. Although to those it is mostly no secret that fascists are just temporary passengers with other ambitions.

Fascism needs the antagonist, it is an essential piece of the puzzle. Only through that people are able to strip their conscience, elevate themselves above others and commit atrocities against people they see as threats. It is their personal victim role.

"White supremacy" was a laughing stock 10 years ago. And I mean really a laughing stock. Their last hope was to sweep up some anime weaboos that didn't really buy into it in any significant number, but it was their goto strategy to groom these groups in hope someone a litte too full of himself would randomly condemn them as the root of evil or just plainly associate them with facsism.

You can fight fascism with giving people more freedoms and more access to information. That collapses their victim narrative and has the positive side effect from the measures itself. Censoring a book, banning people perceived to align with fascism, or pointing out moral imperatives doesn't achieve anything. On the contrary and I believe this behavior to be a main factor to current developments.

But since the US has basic and fundamental protections to freedom of speech and against overreaching government, it is in a far better state compared to Germany, which is partly on the road to make the same mistakes again.

You're looking at the wrong thing. The new fascism won't be as the old fascism. He will introduce himself as the anti-fascism.

Rant: Racist idealogies wouldn't be on the rise if it were easy to Google actual arguments against racism, but despite trying various search terms Google keeps failing. >:(

On the other hand, it is extremely easy to find arguments for racism, which is probably part of the reason racism is on the rise.

I think it's worth discussing this comment instead of downvoting it.

Fortunately, we can do both. Despite being nearly white, you can read the comment by highlighting it and it is still high the page, so it can be discussed. Seems like a model of how strongly oppositions should be treated.

I never understood the big deal about Mein Kampf. It's incredibly dull. If the premise is you're worried about people becoming Nazis, then his speeches are what you ought to be worried about. He rose to popularity through his speeches, not writing.

For example, "Triumph Of The Will".[0]

0) https://archive.org/details/TriumphOfTheWillgermanTriumphDes...

"Triumph of the Will and the Cinematic Language of Propaganda"


The propaganda was incredibly successful. To this day "Triumph of the Will" continues to be used as a reference point for the mental construct of the Nazi regime. The modern understanding of the Nazis is deeply informed by a propaganda film produced by the Nazis for the explicit purpose of creating that mental construct. "Triumph of the Will"'s endless lines of soldiers marching in formation is exactly the image they wanted you to think of when you thought of them.

Not just that. There's a long sequence on life in the young men's camp. The feeling is a lot like Woodstock. Or maybe a mix of summer camp and an idyllic version of basic training.

And the light show! Camp fires and torchlight! Huge insignia, and huge billowing banners. Very moving.

How about a Communist manifesto or other authoritarian literature? Why are we only really concerned about one type of authoritarian?

I'm curious which specific paragraphs of the Communist Manifesto is it you consider authoritarian? It's a very short text, and only chapter 2 really makes any argument of what Marx and Engels saw as the goal of communist movements, so I presume it must be something in chapter 2 you consider authoritarian.

There are certainly plenty of things in there that implies too much concentration in the power of the state (e.g. monopoly on communication and banking) for someone of more liberal or libertarian (whether left or right) bent if one considers a modern interpretation of the state. Which is why even many Marxists, especially libertarians, look to works like Marx writings on the Paris Commune for more specific details.

As it's still utilized to justify mass genocide by the state of its own citizens, and has happened multiple times and in greater numbers, let's just count this as the more dangerous book.

Which part exactly is it that is used to justify genocide? And how?

This response suggests to me it is quite likely you haven't read it.

Playboy seldom ever directly suggests the exploitation of women, and yet somehow people who enjoy exploiting women read it.

Perhaps someone is not so adept at reading between the lines. Just a guess.

Ok, so which paragraphs is it we should read what between the lines from,then?


And people completely forget history... there were several popular variants of totalitarian socialism in europe. Russia in particular had civil-war like conflicts between the main 3 factions (iirc, red, green, white) and facism was definitely in the mix, but after WWII fell out and for some weird reason no longer considered socialist.

After WWII, there were definite anti-communist movements, though McCarthyism took things way too far. You cannot combat ideas with censorship, they'll fester.

Fascism was pretty much never considered socialist by much of anyone outside of the Nazi flavor trying to coopt the label, and the American Right engaging in revisionism in the last couple decades.

Hasn't most of the "American Right" distanced themselves from the white-nationalist/neo-nazi organizations as well as the Left? It bugs me that the associations are constantly made, but the groups themselves don't actually align with, get support from, or considered part of the American Right outside of straw-man narratives putting them together.

> Hasn't most of the "American Right" distanced themselves from the white-nationalist/neo-nazi organizations as well as the Left?

Maybe, but I was referencing that the notion of a substantive association between Nazis/fascists and socialism (or the left more generally) was never taken seriously by any significant group until the last couple of years, where the American Right decided that their existing pejorative labels were losing their sting and they needed to label everything they disagreed with “fascism” and seriously try to sell the connections; Jonah Goldberg's book Liberal Fascism was a notable point in this trend.

Notably the NSDAP originally was early on a total hodgepodge of ideological strands mostly united by nationalism. Some of those included left-wing economic views. Hitler systematically targeted those groups, and most were excluded or left long before the NSDAP got any influence.

Hitler eventually had the last remaining "left wing" faction of the NSDAP (the Strasserists) arrested and/or murdered - this purge was a large part of the purpose of the Night of the Long Knives. But even the Strasserists, despite wanting to borrow some left wing economic policies were staunchly ultranationalist and anti-socialist.

Well, it's "socialist" in the sense that the society (OK, the state, but whatever) matters far more than the individual. But I do agree that they used the term to confuse people.

Amusing factoid: Hitler honed his public speaking skills while working as a government mole in the socialist party.

> Well, it's "socialist" in the sense that the society (OK, the state, but whatever) matters far more than the individual.

It's corporatist, but not socialist (you can probably make an argument that non-libertarian socialism is also corporatist, but not vice versa.)

But, yeah, the cult of manichean capitalism tends to use “socialism” as the generic label for “opposed to capitalism”.

Good point. Corporatist, in that the state is basically a "bundle" (fasces, from which we also get fascia) of corporations.

Corporatism actually refers to the government, businesses, unions, church, and other institutions (the exact institutions included varying between forms of corporatism) working together as parts of a body; it is not derived from the use of “corporation” for a business entity.

Ah, thanks.

> It's currently in-vogue to be scared of and hate nazi's. For some reason though that sentiment never took root against communists.

Er, what now?

It really took root against communists (and socialists), even those of both of the those groups that weren't Leninists, in the US almost immediately after the Russian Revolution and only started to fade a bit after the fall of the Soviet Union 70+ years later, and even now a full century later it has significant, though less, pull in the US.

Indeed. Remember the McCarthy hearings?

> It's currently in-vogue to be scared of and hate nazi's. For some reason though that sentiment never took root against communists.

It did, there was plenty of paranoia and hatred of communists during the Cold War days, we just never fought an actual war against communists (edit: except in Vietnam and Korea, I forgot that for some reason...) Of course, a lot of that Red Scare stuff was just a thin coat of patriotic paint over anti-semitism and anti-gay bigotry, but I digress.

Also, it's not in-vogue to hate Nazis. Everyone other than Nazis has hated Nazis consistently ever since Nazis were a thing.

What is in-vogue, however, is to be a nazi (little n, colloquial meaning, because I know sometimes people like to be pedantic) amongst the American right and alt-right, as the current American President's election has coincided with a revival of right-wing populism and white supremacist identity politics. No, I am not calling Trump a nazi nor am I calling all Trump supporters nazis so they can stop clutching their pearls ... that white supremacists decided to turn the populist movement that brought him into power into a narrative of racial identity and purity has been well documented, and it actually depends little whether Trump has sympathy for them, or is just their dark horse.

And that is why America is currently concerned about nazis (little n) and not communists. Because the nazis (little n) managed to meme a President into office, and the communists did not.

>It's almost like that type of political ideology took root in american institutions thus paving the way for this new narrative to take hold that communism is good and facism is bad.

There is no such "new narrative." Communism has never been trusted in the US, and fascism has always been "bad."

> What is in-vogue, however, is to be a nazi (little n, colloquial meaning, because I know sometimes people like to be pedantic) amongst the American right and alt-right, as the current American President's election has coincided with a revival of right-wing populism and white supremacist identity politics.

Can I offer a different perspective?

A vocal minority on the left likes to assert that everyone on the right is a bunch of nazis but that doesn't make it true nor does it make it "in-vogue". If you move past that broad group ("the right") and just consider the more vocal/visible/strident right-wing activists, they are almost all promoting western civ cultural values, which is not the same thing as "white-supremacy" but irks the multi-cultural crowd quite a bit as it requires making value judgements on other cultures and ideologies (which is not the same thing as making a value judgement on other races or people with particular skin colors). I think the visibility/growth of this group is more of a reaction to the identity politics, multi-culturalism, and intersectionality ideas of the left than to Trump's election.

And if you move past both of those groups to the remaining folks who are indeed advocating for some sort of race or blood based supremacy theory you are talking about a insignificantly small group that has no support anywhere, certainly isn't in-vogue, isn't being "revived" in any substantial way, and mainly serves as the bogeyman that the left uses to smear anyone who disagrees with them.

Upvoted for insight, accuracy and conciseness.

As an european, seeing the american far right make a hold-up on so-called "western civ" is deeply unsettling.

The thing they promote as rooted in "western civ" and say is shared among "westerners" is not related to anything I know here. It is also surprising to hear about the opposition to "multi-culturalism" when Europe has never had one single culture.

So please if you want to promote that thing of yours, stop calling it "western". Call it american, or what you want that doesn't represent it as rooted in some thing we'd share in your imagination.

You aren't clear in what things you claim the "far right" is advocating but I'm guessing it isn't the things that I think the right is advocating like:

    * individual rights
    * equality for women
    * limited government (especially at the national level)
    * free market economics
    * personal responsibility
    * separation of church and state
You are probably right that there are some things that are more American than European (expansive free speech rights, gun ownership), but I was trying to keep things simple by saying "western civ". The right wants to welcome people who support these ideas and shun people who don't support these ideas.

As for multiculturalism, your comments suggest that your use of that term is not the same as mine. Multiculturalism from the left is not about assimilating people from disparate cultures but instead is about insisting that the ideas I listed above aren't to be valued and instead all cultures and ideologies are to be accepted as is, leading to balkanization, discord, and the devaluation of the ideas that have made the "West" and America successful.

Half of the the things you cite are not core components of european societies. France has historically implemented colbertism, Germany is ordoliberal, both things which are at odds with free markets. Limited govt has never been a thing in Europe, e.g. most european countries have a government-run social system including healthcare. Personal responsibility is a major rift between american liberals (in its actual meaning) and european liberals, since europe mostly defends a positive enforcement of liberties, while the US goes the other way.

Promoting your ideas as "western civ" in order to give them polish is an unfounded appeal to authority. The fact that Europe succeeded despite not sharing your views shows why this appeal is wrong.

Please keep your internal politics at home, and don't get us involved.

I'm pretty surprised at the hostility you have in your comments and your effort to convince me that there is little in common between the ideas I listed and your understanding of European sensibilities in these areas. You almost go as far as too say that there is nothing in common.

I'm not willing to accept your pushback on its face, but it certainly has me thinking a bit more about my own assumptions about what we share with Europe.

I'm still in the dark about what has made you hostile to whatever you think the American "far-right" is advocating. If it is some of the ideas I listed that would be good to know. If it is some mistaken understanding about what the "far right" is in America, that would also be good to know but I can't really tell from your comments.

Well... yeah... but now we have a Commissioner for the "European way of life". Last time I checked that same person ought to be the commissioner for immigration.

Who gets to decide who is a neo-nazi though?

I've heard Jordan Peterson and Steven Pinker called neo-nazis.

Maybe you're a neo-nazi. Since neo-nazis always deny being neo-nazis, then your denials are further proof that you are a neo-nazi. B&

> Who gets to decide who is a neo-nazi though?

> I’ve heard jordan peterson and steven pinker called neo-nazis.

It still isn’t clear to me what this brings to a discussion. It seems like such a strange question.

Are any of us under the impression that label misapplication somehow means a label is no longer used? Of course not. After 30 years in the same house, my partners mother still calls the tree in her front yard an oak tree despite the fact it has always been and will remain a maple. Her misapplication of the label doesn’t mean oak trees no longer exist. Tree experts, dendrologists and arborists aren’t throwing their arms up and declaring their entire fields deprecated because a random person, in a casual setting, uses the wrong term.

My father still calls disk storage, RAM.

My partner still calls the serrano peppers she grows, jalapeños.

I regularly see politicians who lean to the right call obvious capitalist liberals, commies.

I still sometimes call giant ships, boats.

None of these misapplications matter, there are still an awful lot of people who rely on what words actually describe, despite a random old lady calling a maple tree an oak.

As always, casual conversations with casual people will at some point lead to casual use of words. It will continue to happen, for as long as we’re a species.

> After 30 years in the same house, my partners mother still calls the tree in her front yard an oak tree despite the fact it has always been and will remain a maple. Her misapplication of the label doesn’t mean oak trees no longer exist.

What if your partners mothers mom was put in charge of a maple tree conservation arboretum, and decided to cull all the oak trees, but she kept confusing maples for oak trees?

I'm not arguing that neo-nazis don't exist. I'm arguing that we shouldn't arbitrarily censor stuff just because some people call it nazi propaganda.

> What if your partners mothers mom was put in charge of a maple tree conservation arboretum, and decided to cull all the oak trees, but she kept confusing maples for oak trees?

> I'm not arguing that neo-nazis don't exist. I'm arguing that we shouldn't arbitrarily censor stuff just because some people call it nazi propaganda.

She’s not in charge of any arboretum, that’s the point I’m attempting to get across.

We have reached a point where the collective We are treating random people having random casual conversations as if these random casuals have the same weight as experts in their fields. We have collectively started to treat what used to be completely understood as casual forum discussions and casual opinion pieces as if these hold the same weight as an authority in their field publishing a well documented, far more rigorous, and well cited paper. We’ve allowed a fogging in the ability to distinguish between casual people and rigorous experts and this is the outcome. An intelligent collective should never hold these two opinions at the same weight.

My idiot cousin by marriage, who has a very real lack of critical thinking, who has a degree in “google research” from “the school of hard knocks” however, she does have a knack for writing in such a way which absolutely resonates with uneducated mothers. She writes as if she’s an authority in child vaccinations, she regularly goes into her closed facebook group and convinces other mothers why they should ignore their doctors and not vaccinate their children. Her words have more weight than medical research and medical professionals.

She seems to pull the card which almost always seems to work on a certain segment of the population – the “narrative” card. The target of this “narrative” charge is for some reason automatically assumed to be nefarious and the person who spotted this so-called “narrative”, their words now hold more weight than the actual expert in their field who had a “narrative.

We need to get back to a point where my words regarding the best methods to pick coffee beans mean little when compared to an actual coffee bean farmer, because my field of expertise lies elsewhere. I can read an article or three on coffee beans, but there is no rational universe where my words should hold the same weight as actual experts in coffee bean farming.

Until the collective We are able to say, “I don’t know.” or “I can give you my opinion, but you’d be far better off listening to Jill, she has far more knowledge on the subject.” until we get back to a rational discourse, we’re going to continue to find someone who is outraged because some idiot on a forum or some idiot made a video, used the wrong term and falsely labeled someone.

We need to get back to a point where the smartest people in the room are the people who say “I’m not sure. I’m not an expert. I don’t know. I don’t know the nuances of that vast field. I don’t know.”

The problem comes when the terms spread enough that miscommunication happens. When someone says "Bob is a neo-nazi" meaning "right wing", but the person they are talking to hears "wants to kill jews and blacks and gays". And then Bob gets lynched/ostracized/fired.

When the meaning of a word isn't likely to have a big impact on people's lives we can be a bit more forgiving (though personally I still want to move towards a clearer thinking population).

I've never understood why people make this argument, or what they think it proves.

Yes, the term "neo-nazi" is sometimes misapplied. That misapplication doesn't mean that neo-nazis don't exist, or that the term has no meaning. If the term didn't have an established, commonly agreed upon meaning that referred to a specific ideology and movement in the real world, then there would be no reason to quibble about its misuse, because calling someone a neo-nazi would be as meaningless as calling them a flarndingle.

But people aren't usually quibbling about it's misuse. They are objecting to unjust censorship, regardless of whether someone is called a neo-nazi or a flarndingle.

If someone was being harassed and censored because they were accused of being a flarndingle, I would have a problem with that. If corporate America were calling for mass censorship of "flarndingle" literature, I would be opposed to that.

I would not like being called a flarndingle if I knew it would mean that I would be censored. It does not matter that flarndingle is a meaningless word.

The term neo-nazi is actually quite abstract. For many younger people and activists, it has just become a synonym for "person I do not agree with".

It has become a catch-all insult that can be applied to anyone. There is nobody who that insult won't stick to. You can be a Jewish academic with controversial opinions about society and have "anti-fascist" activists target you for being a neo-nazi.

So, obviously we can't ban anyone that is called a neo-nazi.

My observation here is that it is not used as a representation of someone's ideas but as an insult.

The same way that the right call liberal capitalist "commies" as an insult.

Now that I think about it, I lost faith in the Internet Archive some years ago. During the rise of ISIS (or whatever we're calling it now) I occasionally came across Internet Archive links for their English publications. But whenever I clicked, I found that stuff had been taken down. And I'm pretty sure that the publishers hadn't requested it.

I won’t fault them for obeying a court order. I just hope the beheading videos are archived somewhere so future generations won’t believe we were just that offended by brown skin.

This wasn't beheading video. It was verbal propaganda. Their monthly magazine, more or less.

That's a shame.

I've often wanted to know what viewpoints enemies of state have so I can get another opinion on things. Particularly a world-view as different to mine as ISIS would have been interesting. :(

I am curious to see what ISIS propaganda is like, but I am scared to dig about looking for it for fear of being put on a watch list.

That's one reason to use Tor. Or VPN services. Or Tor via VPN services, so your ISP and friends won't see you using Tor.

I started paying with Tor a week or two before the Edward Snowden stuff broke. Read that using Tor gets you on a watchlist as well....

Sure, it probably does.

That's why I never use Tor, except through nested VPN chains. And I use the same VPN setup for torrenting, rate limited, in the background. So to the ISP, I just look like someone who torrents. It's not until you'd trace out the chain that you'd see connections to Tor entry guards.

Apparently, we need a storage capacity breakthrough so that everyone can store everything so that we do not have to relay on what someone else say is acceptable.

What we need is good p2p tech that will enable distributed storage that is impossible to censor while also automatically providing gazillion terabytes of storage distributed over all peers. Problem solved.

I would like that too but the government will make laws and all the peers from the p2p network will get scared

Making laws is one thing, enforcing them is a completely different story. The government has no chance to survive and should make their time.

There is an argument to be made that archival and distribution are two different things.

There are justifiable cases where you might want to remove something from the public internet. Some problems of p2p distributed proposals is that the only way to take down a single bit is to dismantle the entire network.

In this sense a federated system is objectively better.

> There is an argument to be made that archival and distribution are two different things.

of course download and upload are 2 different things...

which is why Torrent users often get emails about their download activities...

This meaning that a closed archive is still a valuable archive.

(For torrents I believe that there is (in many jurisdictions) a presumption that if you are downloading torrents then you are automatically guilty of distributions; similarly how in many places being drunk in a turned off car can be sufficient for a DUI)

That will never work. Data will always expand to use up all available storage. It's like trying to build more roads when your city has a traffic problem. You build roads to reduce traffic and improve commute times, and then more people start commuting from further away.

How about archiving all text written by everyone? Napkin calc: if every person in the world (10 billion people) types for 8 hours every day, at 200 characters per minute, 4 bytes per character, we need 10000000000 * 365 * 8 * 60 * 200 * 4 = on the order of 1 exabyte per year. That's a huge overestimate, but the world's storage capacity is growing much faster than even that.

Or think of it this way: the lifetime output of George R.R. Martin is <10MB. The output of 100000 writers like him could fit in a 1TB drive ($50). If everyone in the US was as prolific as GRRM, you could archive their lifetime output for $150000. Everyone in the world, $5 million. That's 1/20th of the investment that Juicero got.

I present to you: 24/7 4k 3D 360 degree vlogging

you are probably right... but what if it was like IPV6 where there are so many IPs that they should never run out... the unlimited storage dream.

Unlike IP addresses where you get exponentially more of them per unit cost (i.e size), storage space costs 1 bit per bit.

I don't think that you understand what I said... I don't mean that IP addresses have anything to do with physical space. I only mean it in the sense that IPv6 supposedly solved a problem and we need the same thing to happen to storage space.

He understands perfectly, it's theoretically impossible to get infinite storage in finite amounts of matter.

What I was thinking is that maybe we can use the 4th or maybe 5th dimension to hide all that matter. /s

It reminds me of the famous photo that Stalin had altered to remove a person from, so as to erase them from history entirely. I don't think the practice magically becomes acceptable just because you promise to keep the original copy locked away in a vault somewhere for an elite class of special people to access (who both happen to be members of deep institutional structures with a long history of abusing their power). This idea shouldn't even be entertained. Everything about it is a deeply awful idea.

Such "editing" was common practice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_images_in_the_So... Hence the "In the Soviet Union, the future is known with certainty. It's the past that keeps changing." joke.

Archiving everything published by any institution as immediately-and-systematically as possible, in a cryptographically sealed and timestamped (blockchain!) publicly accessible form, may prove precious when it comes to fight such behavior. However, as usual, somebody has to fund this effort, and most institutions may not be willing to do so.

The problem would be how you guarantee the release of the keys at a time in the future.

If it was possible to create a "time-locked" blockchain vault would be interesting.

I can't see any way of doing that which wouldn't boil down to taking bets on the speed of advances in computing, though. But that might be good enough if the goal is just to ensure it takes "long enough" rather than guarantee a specific amount of time has passed.

As the archiver I first have to publish (once) the public part (key) of a Bitcoin address I own.

To archive something I keep a copy (file) of it (it may be an archive storing many files), calculate some digest (let's say SHA512) of the file, then immediately publish the file on my archive-webserver, and its size (amount of octets) and digest an the existing and active blockchain (in this case: Bitcoin).

As a courtesy I can let the source know that I archived.

At publishing time everyone can check that I (and no one else) archived the exact material published by the source. If I distorted the published material I cannot deny it, thanks to the timestamped digest stored in the blockchain.

Later everyone can be quite sure of the publication date and integrity of the archive, once again thanks to the timestamped digest.

Doesn't this method cover all needs? Is releasing another key necessary, which one and why?

I think this illustrates that there are many reasons to do this:

1. Your suggested approach handles provenance for data you yourself arranges to "open up" in the future.

2. Additionally people may want to ensure the longevity of the data - this is "easily" done by simply archiving all referenced archives multiple places.

3. Some people wants to ensure important data eventually will get released, but don't dare / can release it now and/or worry that they will be prevented from releasing it in the future (be that for a nefarious reason, or simply because you might die of natural causes before you get a chance).

The last case is what I meant by a "time locked" system. Being able to archive something now even though you're not prepared to publish it now in a way that doesn't require you to take complicated steps to guarantee that "someone" is trusted to release the right keys would be powerful.

What you suggest also have value, it just covers a different set of use cases.

Case 3 is indeed a non trivial one.

1/ put all those important to-be-published-later data in an archive

2/ obtain the archive SHA512 hash

3/ cypher the archive, using a symmetric-key algorithm and a a random key

4/ use secret sharing, with the key being the secret, with the adequate amount of redundancy (this is the most tricky part). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_sharing

5/ give each part of the secret to some notary, and pay him to have it delivered to each member of a group of tech-savvy friends of yours. Chose unrelated notaries installed in different countries

6/ give the cyphered archive along with detailed instructions to each member of the group, in order for him to be able to rebuild the secret and then decrypt the archive. If they will have to act this way more than 10 years after receiving the instructions give them full "image systems" (a real machine!) storing all required software, ready to run

7/ publish the SHA512 hash (on archive.org?), sealed-signed by you, along with some explanation "At date X I, John Smith, created the archive whose digest is...". You may also publish the cyphered archive (this is not very useful and raises the risk)

8/ pray. The symmetrical cypher has to resist attacks during the timelapse, enough groupmembers have to survive long enough, image systems must be usable when time comes...

There's an interesting contemporary case of this going on regarding tobacco advertising. Because it's illegal in certain jurisdictions to distribute tobacco advertisements, some historical photographs have to be doctored for distribution there.

Take a look at the MP4/4 F1 race car shown on McLaren's website for an example: https://www.mclaren.com/racing/heritage/cars/1988-formula-1-...

Compared to an unedited version of the car: https://www.motorsport.com/f1/photos/ayrton-senna-mclaren-mp...

They even do this to videos of old races.

There are old Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny) cartoons from the 1940's, when America was at war with Japan - there's an episode titled "Bugs nips the Nips" that includes some very politically incorrect Japanese caricatures. They're working overtime to make this one disappear as though it had never existed.

This censorious mentality seems most deeply rooted in the Bay Area, and Archive.org, being based in San Francisco, is in the heart of it. People in other parts of the US and other parts of the world don't think like this.

Some geographic and viewpoint diversity would help IA not fall into the trap of thinking radical views like the one you quoted are actually ideas most people support.

There is no public-interest benefit in hate screeds. Those are memetic viruses with established body counts and should be studied, if at all, in the manner one studies smallpox.

Yep, that's why I want to ban all anti-Christian, anti-American, and anti-freedom speech and literature in America. These hate viruses have no place in our Democratic Republic, nor in a civil society.

Or do you have a different OPINION on what's hateful?

Well this is a super elitist point of view. I'm okay with the public understanding and misunderstanding information. There's value in their interpretation. Civilization goes on and history should be preserved as accurately as we can. We should protect children, but adults have the right to know what other adults think and say.

So... people are stupid and easily manipulated. Democracy is just a skinner box run by all the god like people who know better than all the stupid sheep, right?

People are smart but there's a problem with smarts - it's surprisingly easy to talk yourself into something you can't talk yourself out of. High intelligence makes this worse, if anything. Some ideas need to be quarantined because by the time you start doing the "are we the baddies" skit, you've already built Dachau.

So the smart people or the dumb people need to make the determination as to what are the bad ideas? Or the REALLY SMART PEOPLE like you make that determination? Face it, you're never going to get away from the "benevolent" overseer who figures the truth out for everyone else.

The fundamental flaw is that you're always trying to put everyone on different levels of intellectual responsibility and whenever you do that you fall into an elitist model of governance, which is what the first amendment was specifically designed to prevent.

You have a point. I once talked myself into a pretty racist view and have been struggling ever since to get out. :(

> There is no public-interest benefit in hate screeds.

Sure there is.

If you can't read Mein Kampf, you can't recognize when a new work is following in its footprints.

> If you can't read Mein Kampf, you can't recognize when a new work is following in its footprints.

Really don't know how to make this sound nicer but... German here, we have schools. Reading the source material of a genocidal maniac would have added zero value to my education.

For some reason it's weird to see this free speech is a cure-all angle repeated time and again in a forum with US focus given the current administration's questionable stance on human rights, racism and a plethora of other issues like climate change.

Exactly, people act like restricting access (or in this case voluntarily not storing something) will also remove all the surrounding information about it. I didn't need to read pro-slavery propaganda to know slavery is bad, and I didn't need to read every type of propaganda to know or learn how propaganda works.

Edit: Also this thread is full of people (including me to be fair) not providing any sources to whatever they feel is true.

And I didn't need to read pro-atheism propaganda to know that atheism was bad. Thankfully, at some point my "question everything" principles eventually lead to me investigating that.

(Unfortunately it also lead to me investigating other ideas which are far less popular than atheism in the modern day, so I guess you might have a point)

> I didn't need to read pro-slavery propaganda to know slavery is bad

OTOH, one might need to read original pro-slavery propaganda to know that the myth, long adopted in many US states’ education systems as its own revisionist propaganda, that the Confederacy was not centrally about slavery and racism, was a lie.

> Really don't know how to make this sound nicer but... German here, we have schools. Reading the source material of a genocidal maniac would have added zero value to my education.

We have schools in America, and while reading Mein Kampf added negligibly to my education, no one being able to do so would have subtracted significantly from it.

More to the point, reading Kapital and the Communist Manifesto added significantly to my education, though many people on the US would see them as at least as worthy of suppression as Mein Kampf (which I wouldn't even be able to know was a bad idea if they—or Mein Kampf—were suppressed.)

> For some reason it's weird to see this free speech is a cure-all angle repeated time and again in a forum with US focus given the current administration's questionable stance on human rights, racism and a plethora of other issues like climate change.

First, a cure-all doesn't stop you from getting sick, it just makes it so you can get better. So, there's not even an inconsistency there.

Second, no one here (and virtually no one anywhere) describes it as a cure-all. A necessary element of a healthy society, perhaps, but not by itself sufficient even as a cure, much less a prevention, of bad government.

Nowhere in the education you received was an argument that free speech enabled fascism. On the contrary. Censorship and propaganda were a foundation for the fascist state. I am sure you agree to that point.

Have you read that source material? If not, how can you be so sure?

Sure, at least partially, at some point. I don't live in Nazi Germany ;) there's a difference between the book not being published and being punished for reading it.

But that doesn't really change anything other than some centrist nonsense arguments. I was aware of his actions, philosophy, propaganda, and approach without reading it. I was also aware of the consequences, be it through visits to one of the old Konzentrationslager sites, museums, and other cultural and educational experiences. Or simply through the aftermath and it's presence of foreign military bases that are still here to this day. I'd expect most children even today having similar experiences around here and I'm honestly baffled how those kids grow up to be in their 20s and vote for far right parties regardless of the consequences. The book would have been nothing more than yet another propaganda tool of the, already pretty strongly organized, far right.

This whole thread is a weird hill to die on, the US has entire districts of schools that are forced to teach creation as fact, banning books containing scientific facts from their libraries, and people complain that we banned a book that was actively used for recruitment to the neo-nazi scene and authored by a genocidal madman?

You do realize you're describing quite a lot of popular books such as the Quran and the Communist Manifesto, right? You want to quarantine them to research labs only?

How is the world now so filled with people who are afraid of ideas? Have you run out of real problems to worry about? Or are you just too young and naive to realize that ideas aren't simply good and evil and that, alone, they don't cause people to do things? Nazism, for instance, came about because the people were being oppressed as a result of losing WWI and it was a rebellion against that oppression. It wouldn't work without the oppression. The idea itself is not the problem.

>How is the world now so filled with people who are afraid of ideas?

Catholics used to attack Evangelicals. You see the Evangelicals had dangerous ideas that had to be eliminate lest the common folk would be lead astray.

People have always been afraid of ideas. This nonreligious religiosity is novel but we've seen this play before.

Yeah but for me, and probably many other people, it really felt like we were just on the verge of moving past all that. Up until about, say, 5-10 years ago. Now it feels like we took a sharp turn off a cliff, into some kind of feverish madness.

I'd say so too. I somehow tuned out religious fear of ideas, perhaps because I didn't really think of those people as even pretending to pretending to be intellectually honest. But now non-religious people from my own generation and younger are behaving that way too. Even intelligent and supposedly non-nutty people like computer programmers.

There are people who would put Das Kapital the same category of unacceptable speech as others would Mein Kampf.

You have no right to quarantine information like you would a virus, because there is no way to agree on which information is "bad". Further, even overall hateful or dangerous content can have meritful parts - not everything Hitler said or did, for example, was unreasonable or evil.

Another example, what about the Unabomber Manifesto? Yeah, he was a terrorist and he wrote some arguably hateful things about liberalism/leftism, but there was also a wealth of thoughtful observations regarding the human condition in his work.

All information should be free for study by anyone.

Agreed. We watched Google slowly change its search algorithms to condition certain information you receive, archive.org is the least problem in the age of "misinformation". Why is Trump mentioned in this article? Level 1 scapegoating right here. This is a vile attack on technology and your personal freedom.

And they would be wrong. Liberation literature is not in the same category as hate screeds. I don't buy the moral abdication you're selling. You know what's evil - it's the stuff full of race hate and misogyny. There is no moral equivalence.

> Liberation literature is not in the same category as hate screeds.

Just as one man's Freedom Fighter is another's Terrorist, this really depends on perspective.

Das Kapital is kinda negative about capital holders, after all.

> You know what's evil - it's the stuff full of race hate and misogyny. There is no moral equivalence.

Is it all the stuff full of racial hatred and mistreatment of women? Because you're going to have a hell of a time banning the Torah, Bible and Koran - to say nothing of other religious texts.

Would a pamphlet against immigration be allowed?

Would a pamphlet against abortion be allowed?

Would a pamphlet against [Islam|Christianity| Judaism|Hinduism] be allowed?

Would a pamphlet against Israel be allowed?

Would a pamphlet against affirmative action be allowed?

It’s amazing how if you try to make a progressive political point here, you tend to get criticized. But when it comes time to judge the morality of things like racism or misogyny, suddenly it’s impossible to know the morality of any idea ever.

People aren't arguing that racism and misogyny are moral, they're arguing that if you allow any censorship at all, then someone must be appointed censor, and you may not agree with that someone. The only way to be sure that your ideas can be freely expressed is to allow everyone, no matter how immoral, to freely express their ideas.

Banning Nazi content is easily the most obvious way to create real Nazis amongst the youth, who being young are attracted to anything taboo, or who may believe that there's some big conspiracy to cover something up so "it must be true, they don't want us to know". This is a dark line of thinking.

Ahh yes, of course, the large monolithic monoculture called "the youth" is naturally stupid enough to be "attracted to anything taboo" without thinking or questioning it. That's why they sure are attracted to other taboo things like incest and necrophilia.

No. Banning Nazi content won't suddenly make it appealing to young people. Things are a lot more nuanced than "banning bad, because kids dumb".

Political ideology is NOT like incest and necrophilia at all. It is our history and needs preservation.

I never said kids were dumb, but they absolutely are curious, and forbidden knowledge is an incredible lure. The absolute majority will realise it's messed up, but there will always be that few who become radicalised from what they see.

Rather than burying our past we should and need to teach them why it's wrong. This trend of rewriting history is extremely worrisome.

You think the archtype of the edgy, rebelious youth is fictional? If you were too far removed from those groups of kids in high school, perhaps you should spend some time on 4chan.

>No. Banning Nazi content won't suddenly make it appealing to young people.

It absolutely does, because edginess is appealing to many teenagers/young adults. Not only that, but laws to this effect against blanket "hate speech" are regularly used by white supremacists and the like as evidence of, for example, Jewish people using laws to unfairly elevate themselves with the priveleges of a protected class while simultaneously suppressing thought that can lead to dissent.

Holocaust denial laws lead to increased suspicion with the justification that scepticism is banned to preserve a false narrative and prevent the lie from being discovered. It's easy to see how preposterous this is while the atrocity is relatively fresh in our collective consciousness, but what happens in 10, 20, 30 years when all survivors have been dead for some time and people rightly start to wonder why investigation of an event is illegal?

This is a weird form of puritanical censorship and the unintented consequences to society are far worse than any imagined benefits. You have no right to control thought in your image.

Edit: also, your hyperbolic mention of incest and necrophilia doesn't quite support your claims, as sexual arousal is quite strongly linked with taboo for many people, as evidenced by the wealth of voyeur, BDSM, and even incest pornography. It seems like these kinds of authoritarian proposals tend to come from sheltered minds.

Honestly, no it's not. When society doesn't just ban, but abhor Nazis, then Nazi groups are small. There's people who are into rejection, but it's not a lot.

When Society sees Nazi things as forbidden fruit and makes them widely available, then you get the bully types dabbling in it, and it's more widespread.

And when society permits it to be mainstream politics, you're one solid resistance movement away from genocide.

> Honestly, no it's not. When society doesn't just ban, but abhor Nazis, then Nazi groups are small. There's people who are into rejection, but it's not a lot. > When Society sees Nazi things as forbidden fruit and makes them widely available, then you get the bully types dabbling in it, and it's more widespread.

There's a lot of certainty in the way you are saying it.

I'm not saying you are wrong, but do you have any references? Truly curious, I always see these things as hard to measure/understand, so super interested to know info that would help remove that for me.

Science won't help you here. Ofcourse his argument is no more than a hypothesis, but you can't really disprove it because of scale. You might find a model that shows this dynamic, but it won't be a proof, And vice versa. Because we already witnessed major genocide, and a huge bloody war caused by such extreme ideologies, some people think we can't just let it play out again so we can gather more data for our scientific accuracy.

I don't know if censorship is the answer. But because our current climate of discourse doesn't enable a true honest dialog* we are edging close to no other choice.

*By true honest dialog I mean actual dialogs between people that try to convince each other with the goal of understanding where there is agreememt. And where there isn't one, where it stems from, and how it can be mitigated by some synthesis of opinions. This, as opposed to one sided commentary that it's goal is only to discredit the other side by focusing on disagreements and inducing fear and radicalization in your intended audience.

I'm not asking for double blind control studies.

I'm just asking anything to provide evidence. Well rounded arguments with lots of accurate and well thought out examples (i.e. statistics, objective trends, etc) maybe books or theories supported by certain segments of the social sciences, etc.

Same goes for your statement: > our current climate of discourse doesn't enable a true honest dialog* we are edging close to no other choice. (censorhip)

Can you please tell me why this time it is so different than say the election between Grover Cleveland and James G. Blaine? I'm truly interested in hearing the concrete reasons for censorship being the 'no other choice' option.

Again, not saying anyone is wrong, just interested to hear how much of what is stated is based on subjective truth vs objective truths.

> There's people who are into rejection, but it's not a lot.

You're missing my point.

Those most likely to be radicalised are already isolated.

If we scrub content about Nazi ideology from Internet Archive (and everywhere else), these people will find it elsewhere and likely be even more radicalised than they otherwise would be.

Nobody is arguing it should be mainstream politics, only that it should be archived and preserved as lessons to the future generations.

Importantly: if you scrub it almost everywhere then you can't argue against it, because you'd need to actually articulate the WtongThink in order to argue against it. So when an impressionable young thing like my past self happens to stumble across well articulated arguments (as opposed to straw arguments) for the bad thing, they will have no where to go to be set straight.

Extremely lame article...

I remember back 10 years ago either google or the internet archive had a temporary search engine that went through the wayback machine... and a lot of interesting things were found. It was through this IIRC that it was discovered that Obama filled out a questionnaire in 1996 saying he supported same-sex marriage when that was not his public position at the time. I've always wondered why that search engine went away and who currently has access to do such searches.

You appear to be remembering Google publishing their 2001 search index that was briefly available in October 2008: https://www.cnet.com/news/who-were-you-in-2001-check-googles...

Extremely useful thing, I wonder how the legal side of things was managed, even for such a short exposure.

> who currently has access to do such searches.

my guess is intelligence agencies do

It's pretty obvious they were next on the hit list.


archive.org is a huge problem for the rewriters.

Does anyone how the Internet Archive get a bypass on DMCA? It's full of pirated games for example. I'm aware that it's one thing to archive something but anyone can download it as well, so it's essentially distribution too. Just curious how does it work. Personally that's how I get old SNES, NES, DS games.

The IA actually has a DMCA exemption for the pirated games: https://archive.org/about/dmca.php

Not so sure about that, their big Amiga collection lasted couple of days.

Specifically, the part of the DMCA that the exemption is for is the part that makes it criminal to bypass copy-protection; it does not grant them additional rights to make or distribute copies.

There are lots of forms of copying where the copying itself is legal under copyright law. However, the DMCA made it criminal to bypass copy-protection mechanisms, even if they copying itself would otherwise be legal. That's what the exception was for.

> to be valid until the next Copyright Office rulemaking in 2006

It seems that the ruling might be a few years out of date?

Pretty sure that temporary exemption expired and was not renewed.

The exemption was renewed in 2006 and in 2010 (the would-be-2009 decision was delivered late), but was not renewed in 2012.

That said, the exemption was to allow legally bypassing the copy-protection mechanisms; that were preventing otherwise-legal copying. Once they bypassed the mechanism to get a non-copy-protected copy in 2003-2012, they may continue distributing copies of it now, since the act of copying was/is legal; it's the act of breaking the DRM that is once again forbidden.

Distributing copyright works without a license is usually infringing though.

I'm not familiar with the details, but it is my understanding that their status as a library helps a lot with that side of it.

They don't, they take things down if they get a notice, but the majority of their stuff is out of publish, and the company that published it is defunct or doesn't care at this point.

>and the company that published it is defunct or doesn't care at this point.

Nintendo? They are hard on shutting down ROM sites yet almost all of their catalog is up on IA

I feel like this can't be the whole truth? I wouldn't, for example, start reprinting bestsellers and merely stop when asked. Imposing an opt-out system on others isn't really how copyright works.

The DMCA safe harbor provisions give middlemen/service providers some protections. So long as they are storing things at someone else’s direction and comply with takedown requests, they are protected from most copyright claims. This protection doesn’t extend to the person that provided archive.org the content originally.

You're stretching the analogy in a whole bunch of ways. They're hosting old, out of print games, not the latest Call of Duty best seller. And the DMCA has a 'D' at the front, because it's different when content is digital, otherwise it'd just be 'copyright'. The DMCA explicitly allows for this method of operation: the Internet Archive, like HN or Reddit or IG or YouTube is a neutral 3rd party, hosting content that users provide. As long as they take that content down when legally notified appropriately of a copyright claim, then the DMCA explicitly says they're good to go. And as another user metioned, the games specifically have an exemption/carveout codified in law: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/11/expanded-dmca-exemptio...

Didn't IA go through the bother to legally become a library, allowing all kinds of digital lending?

The last time this came up on HN, I was able to find the information. But it doesn't Google doesn't seem to want to share any information with me about it right now. Maybe because it's older than six minutes.

You could consider using a certain little known libre encyclopedia for your searches:

> was officially designated as a library by the state of California in 2007.[notes 6]


I'd be happy if it had a copy of IBM Support Console Application 1.6.1 or 1.6.2 for OS/2 from 1999 or so, but alas.

The Internet Archive are a registered library.

Their About page talks around this though doesn't address the point specifically. It's the best reference I can come up with right now:


They don't. They do this with their Great 78 project as well. The way they go about borrowing collections, digitizing them, then returning them (which in itself is illegal reproduction), and then posting them online (also breaking copyright laws), is very sketchy. In in addition it is frustrating to watch (I hesitate to say "unfair") them do this when, say, university or publicly funded archives cannot get away with doing the same and are much more constrained in their methods. There is a whole other can of worms to do with long term sustainability and preservation but I won't get into that

It's not "sketchy". Their DMCA page explains it and they respond to DMCAs with validity.

Now Youtube and their in-house pseudo DMCA is sketchy.

If they really want to be trusted as a source of truth, they need to find a way to publish cryptographic signatures of every page that can be validated to prove that the page was captured when they say it was. Maybe some sort of blockchain.

Otherwise there's no reason to trust that an Internet Archive snapshot is an accurate representation of the archived page.

I think that's included in the WARC format.

OK: it's an optional field, "checksum", but not a formal has. As of v. 0.9:


I haven't checked the drafts specs for further progress, but that's here:


IA are instrumental in developing WARC, use it as their archival format (non-WARC web archives are ... generally not acceptable), and it's been adopted by US Library of Congress and other institutions as a standard.

I think a transparency log of all URLs that they put into the archive would be a good step. This at least guarantees that a URL isn't modified after getting into the archive.

Some prior art:




That's the opposite of what they're trying to do, though. They're not trying to preserve what was printed, but to get rid of some of those things entirely as if they had never existed.

Would storing the SSL/TLS session achieve this? Is this possible using browser means (HAR export)?

I wouldn't say "no reason", I'd just say that it should be self-aware that they are functionally similar to a news website in that they live and die on their reputation. The second someone can demonstrate that they've manually misrepresented some archived page they lose nearly all of that credibility.

Better than crypto stuff which might not scale well would be to have multiple independent archives run by people with a diversity of political views and nationalities. The authenticity can be easily verified if the same page is archived to a site run by left-wing people in San Francisco and also a site run by right-wing people in London.

But you need more than two, or who would break the tie when the left-leaning site says one thing, and the right-leaning site says the opposite.

Running a general internet archive isn't cheap, so it's not like there would be dozens of them.

> Maybe some sort of blockchain.

Or you know, any other kind of secure database.

Just curious, what kind of secure database lets anyone independently verify the integrity without needing to trust the entity that hosts the database?

I can envision a chain of signatures that lets anyone validate a complete chain of website versions, but am not familiar with a database that allows the same.

"Mr Graham said he was an "optimist", but conceded that the archive had not yet saved as much as he would like. Take YouTube, for example: the team is only archiving a "small fraction" of all the videos published each week."

Is it true one can nudge the IA crawlers to archive a page that would otherwise be ignored?


Is this as simple as sending a GET request, something like:

   curl -O /dev/null https://web.archive.org/web/save/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oBh6Ng8bI4^1
1 Are web developers the only ones who use "Overrides" in Chrome DevTools? For example, could users replace external resources such as tracking pixels or JS/CSS that obscures text with their own resource files?

If you put that link as a link in your video description, google crawlers might follow the link, thus triggering the GET request the same as curl.

They mention archiving a bunch of Trump stuff, but are they just focusing on conservatives? There's a bunch of misinformation on both sides, and if they're really after the truth, they should be paying the same amount of time and attention to both right and left.

Somewhat related: it's sad but perhaps not inevitable that everyone basically has to do their own research to find out what's actually going on. These days, I don't trust any one source; I find out what that source used as their source, and go read that. And if that source has a source, I look at that. This means I oftentimes find myself looking at the raw numbers of, say, gun deaths or immigration numbers, etc. It's extremely time consuming, but immensely illuminating.

If only there were some organizations that would do this for me, without adding in some bias or interpretation. We could call them "news organizations."

> These days, I don't trust...

The goal of the new style autocrats and their advocates is not a particular propaganda line but to create doubt in reality based information sources. Individuals can follow rabbit holes until the find the story that matches their previously held world view and so guarantee supporters never defect.

For example, you can always find an obscure website "proving" climate change is a hoax. If you now distrust reputable sources and weight every site roughly equally, you could easily convince yourself that no one knows if there is climate change or not.

> For example, you can always find an obscure website "proving" climate change is a hoax.

But according to the assumption then you check their own sources and their validity. Also while the "climate change is an hoax" is little more than a conspiracy theory in terms of validity, some prediction have been proven false. All together climate change is an undeniable truth, singularly each prediction is far from undeniable on average.

> If you now distrust reputable sources

Considering the frequency of retractions on reputable sources (especially in bombshell articles e.g. the last scoop on Kavanaugh where the NYT forgot to mention that the main witness apparently did not remember the event) you are better off with a weighted average of various source where you try and factor in each source bias.

That main witness "bombshell" is not remotely what is written in the NYT. It is what Fox news _says_ the NYT wrote knowing the audience will never actually read the article. And is in fact a rather blatant example of undermining reality based media as an "enemy of the people"

>Considering the frequency of retraction

What, even approximately, is the rate of retraction?

And more generally, note the irony that if honest journals correct errors, it is portrayed as proof of conspiracy yet those outlets that don't (or "double down") are considered reliable. Perhaps the NYT should follow politicians and the lower grade media and aggressively deny anything that makes them look bad.

> What, even approximately, is the rate of retraction?

On RussiaGate? pretty high. On the Covington MAGA-wearing kids? A lawsuit. But naked numbers means nothing. We agree that trump tweets a lot of nonsense, if he were to add 10 time more tweets that were true it would not dilute the nonsense of the others.

> That main witness "bombshell" is not remotely what is written in the NYT. It is what Fox news _says_ the NYT

I read the NYT article (do not remember the exact wording, but I have never opened the fox news one) and the clear picture was that they were reporting the content of a book and that the book was reporting that as facts; what I criticize in the NYT article is the omission about the witness apparently not remembering the story (an omission they had to correct indeed).

(As a philosophical aside: I do not want to convince you that "the mainstream media lies", that is not a proposition to me, in the sense that I do not know What a proof or disproof looks like. What I am trying to do is to point out the viewpoint of your outgroup.)

They have an archive of "330bn web pages" (quote from article). I'm sure those are not exclusively conservative. One or twenty might even be dictionary entries for "example".

They can also choose not to include stuff in their archives, sometimes in ways that assist folks who've been spreading misinformation. For example, they've manually excluded all Snopes' content from the archive, effectively helping them memory-hole old versons of their fact checks. I discovered this after Snopes falsely claimed that an EPA rule tightening asbestos restrictions in the US was actually allowing prevoiusly-banned uses to be approved for sale and convinced a bunch of HN readers of this. A month or so later, the EPA pointed out that the very document Snopes had linked said that only uses which were previously not restricted at all could be approved for use and that the previously banned uses remained unconditionally banned.

Rather than correct their error, Snopes deleted the part of the article which claimed the ban was being removed, pretended they'd never said that, kept their original now-unfounded conclusion, and wrote a blog post accusing the EPA of lying for claiming that they'd made an error in the first place. Good luck finding the original article with the error online now. (There should be a copy on archive.is, but they're having uptime issues now.) The Internet Archive basically helped one of the trusted sources we're meant to rely on to spot misinformation rewrite the past to gaslight the US government.

The Internet Archive also took the decision not to allow government websites to block content from being archived or removed around about the time Trump took office. So they're very selective about who gets to hide their past errors like this and whose pasts are permanent public record for all to see.

Did they make the decision, or did Snopes ask them to blacklist their website?

Presumably Snopes asked them, although the notice doesn't say. They don't automatically exclude stuff from the archive for just anyone who asks them though - they're quite happy to refuse if they think it's politically important enough.

It feels dishonest to me honestly. Snopes has had some fact checking mistakes that they have silently deleted. I wish publications would own up to it when they make a mistake. Retractions are dying, instead stories just get 404ed.

This reminds of when Salon published an article which was criticized for being too sympathetic to pedophilia, and when called out on it, simply deleted it and pretended they never published it. Salon has since started actively thwarting archiving services.

[1]: https://twitter.com/stillgray/status/833835031328124928

I'm mainly asking the question because the article implies[1] that they're mainly archiving Trump stuff, not in general archiving misinformation.

[1] yes, I know it doesn't say it outright, but I don't think it's a stretch to get the gist.

So you're criticising the article for making an argument that you realise is happening entirely in your head?

Articles can be written in such a way as to imply meaning that's not specifically stated, and this is one example.

From the article: """ Separately, as part of the effort to document the 45th president’s often-contradictory statements, the organisation is cataloguing Mr Trump’s tweets. """

I would say not entirely in his own head.


Be wary of the "the far right does it therefore everyone else who does it is far right" fallacy. In particular, when a fact checker says that they need to do something about <conservative political movements>, _even though I personally dislike those political movements_, I know that they're probably biased.

What one fact checker says (or is rumored to have said) does not invalidate fact checking by everyone everywhere. In fact it does not even alter whether any given statement is true or false.

But incredibly there are those who very comfortably dismiss things they acknowledge as true solely because they dislike the politics of the source. That overlooking falsehoods is acceptable in the scope of a larger political cause. That those who point them out too zealously are political enemies.

> What one fact checker says (or is rumored to have said) does not invalidate fact checking by everyone everywhere

It doesn't, but we're talking about that very fact checker, not fact checkers generally. And if you'd like to talk about fact checkers generally, then understand that very few people are opposed to fact checking generally, they're opposed to certain fact checkers that they believe are biased.

> In fact it does not even alter whether any given statement is true or false.

Yes, bias does affect whether certain statements are true or false. It can also be marshalled against one group to make them appear to be disproportionately full of shit. And they might actually _be_ full of shit, but if you are biased against them anyway no one knows whether you're full of shit or they're full of shit or both.

>There's a bunch of misinformation on both sides, and if they're really after the truth, they should be paying the same amount of time and attention to both right and left.

Why the same amount? Shouldn't the amount of time be in proportion to the misinformation originating from each side?

> Somewhat related: it's sad but perhaps not inevitable that everyone basically has to do their own research to find out what's actually going on. These days, I don't trust any one source;

I hale from the pre-Internet era. I can't think of any day where trusting one source was a good idea. The Internet (and online ads) has just made it easier to dig deeper.

> The Internet (and online ads) has just made it easier to dig deeper.

Also easier to make sensational headlines, easier to issue silent retractions, easier to make shadows edits to already published stories, easier to copy minutes old news in a journalistic game of telephone, etc.

>This means I oftentimes find myself looking at the raw numbers of, say, gun deaths or immigration numbers, etc.

Data is meaningless without context and context is inevitably political and subject to bias.

Context is data. All you're saying is that data is better when there is additional relevant data. Yes...

Context is often not data, e.g. knowledge of past events, which can be subject to incomplete information or bias (i.e. history is written by the victorious).

Good rhetoric to have on speed dial when encountering data that contradicts one's beliefs.

Okay, explain to me how data in isolation communicates meaning.

The word "meaningless" is defined as "lacking any significance". The claim that data lacks any significance until someone extracts meaning from it seems most useful, apart from philosophical discussions, as a rhetorical attempt to make data secondary to interpretation and ergo something that can be waved away by belief systems.

But sometimes it is true, for example in the sense that data alone does not tell much about what is being measured and its significance.

For example high levels of cholesterol are negatively correlated to heart infarction, mostly because the population at highest risk is under medication and has so extremely low cholesterol. In this case the data itself is meaningless as it does not contain its own significance. This does not mean that we can freely discard data we don't like, it is important and useful, just not necessarily intrinsically meaningful.

A good analysis is made so that it is obvious to justify this layer of interpretation.

What gives you the impression that they're "focusing on conservatives?" Do you have evidence for this statement?

You mention archiving Trump's tweets. Do you think that they might do this because he is the President of the United States?

(I don't have a dog in this fight) From TFA: "The result is Trump and Brexit!" and generally the lack of anything disparaging toward the left. The article and the Internet Archive plainly isn't "focused on conservatives", but it sort of undermines its purported mission (commitment to preserving the truth) in the implication that conservatives are unique in espousing misinformation, even if the implication is unintentional.

Yes, for an organization that should be above it all, why would you even mention any political preference. They are are a machine that sucks down data. They should have no opinion of the data (as an organization).

Wouldn't it be up to X side to submit links to IA? Also if a site opt-out and their historical data is wiped, that isn't IA's bias, it's the site choosing to opt-out.

Per the article, we're discussing IA's efforts to flag "misinformation".

"...the archive began several new projects. One of these was the Trump Archive..." Specifically having a project for just Trump. Do they have one for whoever is the current president?

I mention this because of these choice quotes from the linked story:

"“We’re bringing up a generation that turns to their screens, without a library of information accessible via screens,” said Mr Kahle. Some have taken advantage of this “new information system”, he argued — and the result is “Trump and Brexit”."


"After President Trump’s election, and as the existence of disinformation campaigns that sought to sway voters came to light, the archive began several new projects. One of these was the Trump Archive, a collection of the US president’s television appearances that now contains more than 6,000 videos, including from before he took office. Separately, as part of the effort to document the 45th president’s often-contradictory statements, the organisation is cataloguing Mr Trump’s tweets."

The fact that they call it the "Trump Archive" and not the "Presidential Archive" speaks volumes.

One of the defining aspects of both the Brexit campaign and Trumpism is blatant disregard for facts and the delibirate spread of misinformation that is heavy on one side, and an order or two of magnitude less on the other side. That just is the way of it, however sad that is.

It is not the first time that states use misinformation as effective attacks on other states, but that doesn’t mean it should be left unchallenged.

This is coming from a citizen of neither the US nor UK and as such a bit of an outsiders perspective, mostly free from domestic politics.

that is heavy on one side, and an order or two of magnitude less on the other side

I disagree with this assertion. I think both sides are equally guilty of this, but on different topics, which can make apples to apples comparisons difficult.

For example, take a look at the numbers behind gun laws and deaths in the US, and you'll find misinformation propagated by the left. If you look at climate change information, you'll find misinformation propagated by the right.

I agree but I specifically mentioned the topics of Brexit and the admittetly broader ‘Trumpism’. On these topics the asymmetry is phenomenal. Take the recent ‘sharpiegate’ as an example for how little regard, contempt even, Trump has for the truth and facts.

(By the way, I didn't downvote you) I agree that Trump has no great respect for truth and facts. I also think the left is doggedly pursuing him in its own anti-factual aspirations. I see your sharpiegate and raise you the Covington Catholic affair (the most prominent news outlets in the country overtly slandering children, ostensibly on the basis of their race and gender) or the Google memo (same idea) or the sokal squared hoax (moderate academics submit patently absurd papers to leftist academic journals and the journals publish them). I could go on and on and I'm sure you could too--that's my point. I would alledge that Trumpism's mirror image is progressive social justice culture.

A fair point and I certainly agree that the ‘woke’ SJW culture is a terrible idea.

I do see the examples you mentioned as legitimate differences of opinion, somewhat like the abortion debate or other controversial and digficult topics. Everyone succumbs, at least occasionally, to making a bad faith argument in support of their stance on those issues.

In contrast, and that was in part why I chose that example from the other 1000 this month, Trump’s sharpie drawing shows an utter disregard for facts, no consideration for spreading misinformation during an emergency, and complete ignorance of and/or indifference for the law. All to ‘save face’ for such a tiny idiotic non-issue.

There is real asymmetry here.

While I agree that Trump has no qualms in lying to cover his mistakes, the left and the media have no qualms in misinterpreting what Trump says and does.

Some try their best to be fair, I'd like to name the Economist as one. It is unfortunate however that the nature of media monetization encourages inaccurate exaggerations if they make Trump seem even more of a buffoon than he really and truly is.

However, we really should put much more pressure on elected officials to be truthful and show of integrity, than we should put on the media or people in general.

> However, we really should put much more pressure on elected officials to be truthful and show of integrity,

On this I entirely agree.

> than we should put on the media or people in general.

Here I agree less.

In Italy Journalist is a professional certification, with a selective state exam (I know it is unthinkable in the cultural context of the US) and the possibility of losing it if you violate certain professional values.

In this sense, let's look at Boris Johnson. I consider (ethically speaking) his lies as columnist worse than his lies as a politician. Because as a published journalist you hide behind decades of reputation of your news agency.

We have a generation of young people that essentially live in a clown world [1] where nothing make sense anymore. While I respect the professional behavior Obama had, populism is needed as a balancing force (that needs not to go out of bounds).

[1]: https://img.ifunny.co/images/4be9baf89f4a5d7df72a992f8f942a7...

It's more, from what I've seen, that one of the definining aspects of the war on misinformation is that it's a tactic against both Trump and Brexit - and that caring about the other side's disregard for facts is therefore spun as helping the spread of misinformation. For instance, the Washington Post quite rightly dinged Bernie Sanders recently for misrepresenting stats to make it look like his flagship policy on healthcare would save hundreds of thousands of Americans from bankrupcy. Sanders doubled down on his original claim and attacked the fact check. Parts of the press sided with him, claiming that the fact checkers were the one attacking facts by making such a big deal about this: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/11/democrats-fact-che... One even accused them of harming democracy itself: https://www.wgbh.org/news/commentary/2019/09/18/fact-checkin...

Seems like it's Forbes that's doing that, not IA.

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