Communist against Blogger


A recently renewed attack on social media by the Chinese leadership isn’t just an offensive against bloggers and activists who dominate the daily online discourse in China. It’s also an assault by the Communist Party on its own shortcomings. -WSJ

We have all heard about China’s strict rules on their citizens but a new law has bloggers and social media activists in an uproar. According to the Wall Street Journal’s new Article,

The Chinese leadership believes that bloggers are usurping the commanding heights of communication that authorities insist should be theirs to own–and theirs alone.

Here in America, we have the freedom of speech which means we can go online and blog about whatever the hell we want. In China, the laws aren’t so free and according to the Atlantic,

In effect, China has two parallel levels of censorship. The first is the relatively free-wheeling atmosphere of sites like Sina Weibo, where the government uses paid advocates — prisoners, for example, can get their sentences reduced by writing pro-Beijing content online — and selective censorship to prevent objectionable content from gathering momentum. The second, more insidious type of censorship is that used to manage China’s official media, including directives and top-down pressure to hew to the government line.

But China wasn’t always this strict. Actually, The Guardian says that China had been more relaxed with social media pre-2011 but as soon as they decided to tighten down, the voice of the people was lost. The Wall Street Journal also reports that China has hired 6,000 “employees” to maintain and update the pro-china news. China has roughly 1.3 billion citizens to date and the numbers are still climbing. If citizens get the idea that the government is doing something really bad, it would be really easy for the citizens to overthrow the government. Twitter was made for expressing ones opinions and to release what you can’t really say everyday but China even has a restriction on that. The Hindu reports that Internet users in China can face up to three years in jail if messages posted by them are deemed “slanderous” by the authorities and found to have been “retweeted” or forwarded more than 500 times, according to regulations put into effect on Tuesday (9/10/13). In fact, it is said that if a tweet you posted got 500 retweets than you can get up to 3 years in prison. Over the past couple of days, hundreds of micro blog users have been arrested for making false claims against the communistic government.

With all of the troubles going on overseas, it becomes apparent as to how much power an individual actually has here in the states but it’s even more interesting to note how we respond to the news coming from the biggest country in the world. Everybody man your battle stations and begin posting all you want about the Chinese government… You’ll be safe as long as you dontleave our soil


The $40,000/yr spying scheme on kids

Stack Of Cash

According to a USA Today post, schools are now looking into the idea of following what kids post on their social networks and according to dailymail, geo listening provides Glendale district officials with a daily report based on students’ post from social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube. As a student myself, I find this idea to be very intruding and disrespectful to students. After looking through other sources and thinking about the idea for a while, I started to piece together why this may be a good thing and why it might be a bad idea.

The Good: Spying has had a negative connotation since, well, forever. In fact, one of the most controversial subjects today is the idea that the government has drones flying around and skeptics say they’re spying on us to track our every move. There are a great number of who are law abiding citizens and try to follow all of the rules that are set forth before us but what about those that don’t? For example, there have been many reports that Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, posted Facebook updates leading up to the mass shooting. If the schools would have been tracking him, lives could have saved. According to Cleveland’s news net 5,

“School officials say the purpose is to protect students and is timely following two student suicides in recent years”.

The Bad: Obviously the negative connotation is still there for spying, but why? Where do we draw the line on how intrusive the school system is into kids lives? In addition to that, can we really afford to spend $45,000 a year for each school (many of whom are already in fiscal trouble) to follow these kids on social networks? We might also be able to think about the infringement on our 2nd amendment rights. We have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press which we’ll have on social networks no matter what but are the kids posts going to be disrupted because of the program that tracks them? Do we have complete control on who gets the information from the program? Is the school the only business that gets to see the posts and if they are, what are the chances that it gets leaked or even worse, sold to another company who can then tailor their advertisements to these kids? According to CNN,

“Sandy Russell, president of the school district’s PTA, said parents have many questions about the monitoring, a topic that will be addressed later this month when the superintendent makes his regular appearance at a PTA meeting”.

It will be interesting to see if the program will continue to be funded after the PTA meeting is held. As to me, I will keep using my social media sites but as soon as I hear that I’m being monitored by my school, I’m calling it quits and deleting every damn social media account that I have.