Censoring Steem Sites - Does It 'Protect' Victims, Enable Abusers, Both or Neither? We Need To Be Clear on This For Steem's Sake.

in #steem2 years ago (edited)

The recent issue of censorship of @thedarkoverlord on Steem powered sites - perhaps as a result of court order - raises a serious question regarding censorship on Steem and in general. One justification made for censoring of such accounts is that if such censorship doesn't happen when crimes have apparently been committed within the post's content then where is the line drawn? Wouldn't that then mean that child abuse videos would have to be allowed on Steem too? It is a valid point, but there's an important flipside to that.


Living in Britain, I have been painfully aware of the scale of institutionalised child abuse rings for a long time. It is well known, despite attempts to cover it up by corrupt 'voices of authority' in society that the police, government and social services are infested with organised criminal gangs of child abusers. There absolutely are people in these systems that have people and children's best interests at heart too - but it seems that in many cases, the hierarchy is top heavy with abusers and predators. With this in mind, how can anyone with a heart and a sense of justice simply believe that 'if the government says jump then we jump' - unchallenged and uncommented in public?

We have seen the many government organised 'enquiries' into child abuse by politicians and we have seen their organisers exposed as being wholly unsuited to the task pretty much every time - often they have direct personal involvement with the alleged abusers! It couldn't be more obvious that coverups were taking place.

So, when it comes to hackers offering information relating to coverups such as 911 and political tax evasion, for example, as occurred with @thedarkoverlord, we face a legal and ethical puzzle. On the one hand, they are 'breaking the law' by offering the information and hacking it in the first place, but on the other hand there is a good chance that they will be exposing FAR worse crimes as a result. My untrained understanding is that 'laws' can be 'legally' broken if by doing so another more serious crime is prevented. Please correct me if I am wrong on that.

The following video is a recent upload by ex police officer (specialist in protecting children from prostitution) Jon Wedger, in which he interviews a survivor of an institutional child abuse ring. It is absolutely clear that 'the authorities', including judges and police will do whatever they can to prevent the truth coming out about their own crimes - so if dApp operators just blindly conform to demands from them, ironically and sadly it could possibly be the case that their action of censorship actually HARMS children and does nothing to protect them - what if pressure is applied to censor posts by this man?

We have the power

Steem is based on principles of anarchy - hence it is sold as being uncensored. As we have seen, what this really boils down to is that that dApp operators will conveniently absolve themselves of any responsibility and censor anyway, leaving the problems of attack to be dealt with by the community who may or may not be identifiable. Since this really actually means that witnesses will be the ones taking any flack, it falls on us to address it. I have covered this topic previously and to the best of my ability, found that it is likely that witnesses would not be held responsible for any illegal material distributed through Steem - however, I believe that this might also then mean that dApp operators aren't either.

By operating an uncensored network, we are taking a power position in society that must be taken and used in a balanced way. Contrary to popular belief, it is not wrong to go counter to the pressure from governmental voices and, in fact, as @larkenrose pointed out in the following video, there may be situations where shooting alleged 'police' is, on every single level, the right thing to do (personally, I do not advocate violence, but the right to self defense is paramount):

I feel that we need a MUCH clearer statement and understanding with regards to freedom of expression on Steem and in cases where profiles are censored, it should be explained as to why in VERY simple and clear language. It should also be explained why the dApp operator went along with any request for censorship. If censorship is to be the norm for controversial topics, then it is misleading to try to sell Steem on the basis of it being an uncensored and free network. Yes, it is STEEM and not Steemit.com that is really being listed as uncensored, but since nearly everyone uses UIs to access Steem that do actually censor, we should at least make this ultra clear and inform people at every opportunity that to get the real data, they need to view the blockchain. What happens when even the most simple block explorers get censory too? Then the only option is to manually access the blockchain via a command line and how many people know how to do that? Not many.

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I feel this topic as always been abit of a grey matter @ura-soul and the best we can do so far is have posts which are flagged, I also enjoyed both videos and agree you would kill in self-defence, I also found Mike T's story to be interesting yet scary, a tearful moment when it came to the nun who died.

Whatever is decided, the key is to set a clear policy so that the world understands. At the moment, all anyone sees publicly is headlines that 'Uncensored blockchain, Steemit, censors posts' - It's not good at all.

There are so many witness testimonies of Mike's kind, yet the controlled mainstream media has focused only on one as far as I am aware, who - unsurprisingly - was made out to be a liar. They never interview the ones you know inside are real and who will give their name right up front.

The way I look at this situation, if it's not already censored on internet and as long as the blogger makes reference to the source, then they have no grounds to penalize the bloggers. I think where our post do the most good is to the parents if the children. They realize they are not alone and a lot of steemers are actually helping and supporting these families. It also creates and awareness to society as a whole as to what is really going on with these agencies that are covering for the abusers and greedy agencies that are profiting from the children. If we here at steemit censor these issues, then we are no better than they are. The cruelty and damage done by these perverted groups and individuals must be exposed. Resteemed.

How about desktop Steem readers? They cannot be taken down, if available via Torrents (the only true decentralized mainstream tool). No company and no individual behind it that can be sued or pressured.

Posted using Partiko iOS

I just checked eSteem Surfer, a desktop client for Steem and I can see that it only displays one post from @thedarkoverlord - so even that has been mostly censored - probably because it taps in to Busy's filters. A locally run Steem explorer/reader would be an ideal solution, yes - if we have that as a phone/desktop app it would make a big difference.

I have created this thread in github for eSteem surfer, to see what their policy for censorship is.

Nevermind, I updated Surfer and now the posts show.

I so appreciate your work!

This must be the third time I have become aware of questionable developments on Steem and I am all the more certain why you have my vote as witness. Thank you for all your dedication to the truth and the Steem community man <3

Thankyou - you are welcome!

My untrained understanding is that 'laws' can be 'legally' broken if by doing so another more serious crime is prevented.

This is not the case.
Take for instance defending yourself from someone who broke into your house. Attacking them is breaking the law, and you are very likely to go to jail/ be sued for that.

There are many instances where you can commit a crime just by keeping yourself alive. And, although it was a choice of life and death, you may still be punished for the crime.

Saving someone's life is a very good example.
You pull someone out of a burning car, that later explodes.
But, now that person is paralyzed because there neck was broken and moving them severed some control nerves.
You have committed a felony, and may find yourself in court.
Of course, there are some places where if you don't help, your are committing a crime too.

it is not wrong to go counter to the pressure from governmental voices

But it is illegal. Just ask Snowden or Assange.

Now, steemit has been censoring stuff for a long time.
They remove images from their server if someone copyright claims against them.

The problem comes about with... the internet has to be censor-proof. Meaning, child-pr0n will exist on the internet. But, how far up the chain of applications does censor-proof need to go? This is a very deep question.

"Telling the truth will become a criminal act"

Perhaps the American jurisdiction is different to the British one, but I thought that everyone in both regions had the right to defend themselves in their own homes. I can think of several cases in Britain where people have killed intruders in their home and they were not prosecuted. I figured that the huge amount of guns available in the USA would mean that there was no problem with using them for self defense, what's the point in having them if you can't use them in that context?

You are "supposed to" be able to defend yourself.

But, lets say, in Kalifornia, if you shot a man crawling into your window, and he fell outside, than you just shot a person "outside of your house", meaning you committed assault, and attempted murder/murder.

And yes, people have gone to jail for defending themselves.

In even worse example is female/male laws.
In that same state of Kalifornia, if a woman is hitting you, you should be able to defend yourself, however, if you touch her, you have committed sexual abuse. And, when the cops are called, they will come to the house and arrest you, leaving her there. Even if it is your house.

Yes, there are cases where they will arrest the woman too, but they will always arrest the man.

So, figured out a way to defend yourself without touching her?

I can't speak for the laws in any particular state, but it is usually the case that such stupidity can be addressed carefully in reference to constitutional documents or human rights. Whether or not any particular 'court' or other part of the process honours real logic or not is another matter.

Although I do not advocate for such imbalanced, artificial hierarchies as we see with courts and nations, it is also true that in the example given of someone being shot and falling out of the house: I would be quite malicious for a court to bring a charge of murder and so it would require an absence of heart/courage/integrity on the part of the legal system operators for that to occur. I agree that it is extremely likely that such heartlessness will indeed be found there.

These were examples based on true stories. So, although i left out lots of details, and its a retelling thrice removed, it happened.

Steemit actually has made a statement about what they will censor (Terms & Conditions) but it's very arbitrarily applied. They are only censoring content that puts them at legal risk, and the rest is boilerplate to give them flexibility later if they need it. I really could not say whether that's the right compromise to make or whether they even believe in 'censorship-resistance' and 'decentralization' or if they just parrot the party line to keep people from bailing on their baby.

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I never read/saw anything of @thedarkoverlord and I wonder who is donin/did the censorship in this case.

Is it the same as at Facebook? A video of a group rape by Muslims can be showed but the victim is banned?

I doubt if censorship is only for controversial topics, it depends on (the mood or fear) of the person that checks it out.
I agree Steem should not be advertised as uncensored and a free network if that is not the case, but we all know if it comes to that it is just advertising, a way to sell.

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The censorship was done by Steemit inc. - although they have not stated whether it was motivated by a legal request or not.
In this case, since the information was hacked - it apparently triggers legal issues - though I am not an expert on the subject.
Steem itself is uncensored - steem is the blockchain. Steemit is one of the websites that runs on Steem and it was only Steemit (and Steempeak) that censored this content. The content is still available on Steem.

So in the end nothing has changed since it is still there and there are other ways to post censored content. Thanks for your answer

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There are other ways to view the content that is censored on steemit.com, yes. No problem! :)