Every business should have its own “terms of service”

Why is it legal to discriminate according to political ideology? Does this mean that any private business can now refuse service to anyone because of their political beliefs? 

Every business should post a “terms of service” that says you automatically agree once you step beyond a certain point. Then if a user of your service does anything, says anything, or even has a history of doing or saying anything that violates the TOS you can refuse service. Under current popular opinion that should be legal.

I bring this up obviously because of the blackballing of the social media app Parler. I’d provide a link but as of this writing they are still down. There crime is that they would not “properly” police their site for content that is supposedly in violation of Amazon’s terms of service.

Take a good look at Amazon’s AWS terms of service. It’s gigantic! The section regarding content and “prohibited content” is thankfully up at the top in section 1.4. But prohibited content is not defined here. Instead you have to look up Amazon’s acceptable use policy. Their acceptable use policy is so vague that I can easily prove that Amazon is violating it’s own policy. Here is the content policy they are violating.

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

I’m pretty sure almost any book covering the subject of rape has to depict “non-consensual sex acts.” Does it make common sense that these books should be banned from or that Amazon should take down their site? No. But you can see how easy it is to make a terms of service violation claim.

Parler was attempting to act as a platform. Just like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the like. They chose to not editorialize by taking down or banning some controversial speech. If anyone on their site participated in illegal speech then they should have been taken down and prosecuted.

I dare to say that most people who post controversial opinions on social media apps are not the people you need to worry about. The true terrorists are using more private means of communication. Sure, you may get the one off out in public but by and large I believe the real terroristic threats occur on more obscure sites, through private e-mail, or encrypted chat.

Software terms of service have been around forever. When we used to buy software the terms of service were almost ignored. I don’t think they held much weight even in court. But, with the rise of the Internet and software as a service suddenly we don’t own anything and are subject to the whims of service agreement legalese. This is why every business should adopt the service business model. It makes it extremely easy then to oust people with which you disagree.

Don’t sell donuts. Sell donuts as a service. People can purchase a sample or subscribe to your donut of the day or donut of the month. When they walk through that door have your terms of service posted in front or right there on the floor. Once there in you now have total control over what they can and cannot say in your establishment. A violation gets them removed.

Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay
Technology Thoughts

Google, Apple, and Amazon violated Parler’s human rights

It’s not that long ago that we were being told the access to the Internet is a human right. Apparently that concept goes right out the window if you have the wrong thoughts. Mind you, it has been mostly those on the left that introduced the concept of Internet access as a human right. Yet when push came to shove they were the first to cast it aside as soon as that right was being exercised by those with which they disagree.

As far as I’m aware a human right is a right you’re born with. It’s a right you have because you exist. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

I don’t agree that Internet access is a human right. You’re not born connected to the Internet… yet. Wait until they jack us all in to indoctrinate us from birth. That’s a conspiracy theory for another day! But, let’s list some organizations that have pushed this narrative.

My research shows that internet access should be a human right provided by the government as without it, other human rights—including the right to work and the right to basic education—cannot be adequately realized.

United Nations

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The right to Internet access, also known as the right to broadband or freedom to connect, is the view that all people must be able to access the Internet in order to exercise and enjoy their rights to freedom of expression and opinion and other fundamental human rights, that states have a responsibility to ensure that Internet access is broadly available, and that states may not unreasonably restrict an individual’s access to the Internet.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Advocates should also galvanize the private sector to pressure the governments they work with to respect the right to the Internet by threatening to pull their investments. Just as activists named and shamed Nike and the Gap into ending child labor in their Vietnamese sweatshops, so they should similarly call out countries that harass, spy on, or disrupt or deny Internet access to its citizens.

Journal of Applied Philosophy

I argue instead that Internet access is itself a moral human right that requires that everyone has unmonitored and uncensored access to this global medium, which should be publicly provided free of charge for those unable to afford it. Rather than being a mere luxury, Internet access should be considered a universal entitlement because it is necessary for people to be able to lead minimally decent lives. Accepting this claim transforms our conception of the Internet from a technology to that of a basic right.

Journal of Applied Philosophy

Brookings Institution

In a world where internet shutdowns are increasing year to year, it is important that the right steps are taken to improve the relationship between governments and citizens and to uphold all human rights. The UN could advance the cause of universal internet access by using the SDGs as a stepping stone; those whose livelihoods depend on internet access or who fear that their access will be terminated will have the most to gain. The 193 signatory countries have already committed to improving internet quality, sustainability, and accessibility—a first step to internet access truly being treated as a human right.

Amnesty International

The rights enshrined in the UDHR are to be enjoyed by all people, in all places, and at all times. Technological progress will always change how people enjoy their fundamental rights, and require governments and people to reaffirm the inseparability rights, and the methods of enjoyment of those rights.

So… what is it? Is access to the Internet a human right or not? Apparently it is but only if you think correct thoughts. What the UN and other international groups need to do is issue certifications to people and groups so we know who is entitled to human rights. The rest of us will then know who is and who is not human.


What are we allowed to say?

I posted the quote below on Facebook last night. I found it after the Internet seemed to explode over calls for President Trump to resign or be impeached and after he was banned from Twitter’s platform. Glenn Greenwald is referencing a case when white merchants filed suit against the NAACP alleging they advocated the use of “force, violence, and threats” to effectuate a boycott of their businesses. The U.S. Supreme Court rightly decided that while you can punish people for the consequences of actual violence you cannot punish people for expressing their thoughts about violence or even discussing it.

These calls for censorship, online and official, are grounded in the long-discredited, oft-rejected and dangerous view that a person should be held legally accountable not only for their own illegal actions but also for the consequences of their protected speech: meaning the actions others take when they hear inflammatory rhetoric. That was the distorted mentality used by the State of Mississippi in the 1970s to try to hold NAACP leaders liable for the violent acts of their followers against boycott violators after hearing rousing pro-boycott speeches from NAACP leaders, only for the Supreme Court in 1982 to unanimously reject such efforts on the ground that “while the State legitimately may impose damages for the consequences of violent conduct, it may not award compensation for the consequences of nonviolent, protected activity,” adding that even “advocacy of the use of force or violence does not remove speech from the protection of the first amendment.

Glenn Greenwald on Substack

What did Trump tweet that finally got him removed from Twitter?

On January 8, 2021, President Donald J. Trump tweeted:

“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”

Shortly thereafter, the President tweeted:

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Here is Twitter’s analysis of those tweets:

We assessed the two Tweets referenced above under our Glorification of Violence policy, which aims to prevent the glorification of violence that could inspire others to replicate violent acts and determined that they were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

This determination is based on a number of factors, including:

President Trump’s statement that he will not be attending the Inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets (1, 2) by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, that there would be an “orderly transition” on January 20th.
The second Tweet may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a “safe” target, as he will not be attending.
The use of the words “American Patriots” to describe some of his supporters is also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol.
The mention of his supporters having a “GIANT VOICE long into the future” and that “They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an “orderly transition” and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election.
Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.

Twitter is a private sector entity and they can and should be able to do what they want with their platform… within reason. They should not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of ideology or thought. They should not be able to project thoughts onto tweets as interpretation is highly subjective. If they are calling their service a platform then either they allow people to speak their minds or they do not. Once they have policies that editorialize they cease being a platform and now are a publisher. They should now be held accountable for any tweet that any reasonable person believes caused a harm.

The bigger question is, what are we now allowed to say? Is everything I wrote above an endorsement of what happened in the protest at the capitol? Are my writings an endorsement of President Trump? How do you know exactly what is in my mind and what my thoughts are?

I think freedom of speech is fundamental to our a free people. Anyone should be able to speak their mind regardless of what another interprets those words to mean. People should be allowed to say even the most repugnant things. The rest of us should be allowed to rebut those words.

Words are what they are… just words. Even if those words inspire someone else to take a heinous action. It’s the action that is prosecutable. That’s where the line has to be drawn. It is a crime to kill your neighbor because you hate them but it is not and should not be a crime to hate them.

Am I allowed to say any of this?

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

Capitol protesters solidifies congress’ opposition to Trump

The massive protest at the U.S. capitol today wobbled the legs of the Senate and the House of Representatives. But instead of pushing them to addressing the grievances of half the country they instead will just rubber stamp the Electoral College tally and confirm the election of Joe Biden.

What is genuinely needed here is for the states to re-evaluate their election laws, their COVID-19 lockdown regulations, and get back to the work of protecting the U.S. Constitution. The rights of the people have been trampled like no other time in my life.

The protesters have been labeled by an irresponsible media as terrorists and rioters. While one person reportedly was killed during this protest there were no “riots”. There was virtually no damage to the capitol building. This was not like the protests all across the country during 2020. They didn’t set anything on fire and destroy property. The media is fulfilling the criticism of President Trump by becoming the enemy of the people by continuing to suppress the facts. Twitter froze Trump’s account and along with Facebook deleted his video in which he tells the protesters to go home peacefully. They did this because he didn’t say what they wanted him to say in the way they wanted him to say it.

Does anyone know the size of the rally that turned into the protest? Not reported. While the media was reporting a violent protest the accompanying video showed people mainly strolling through the capitol rotunda and congressional chambers.

It’s a dark day for the United States alright. It’s a dark day because today we have officially moved into a nation of men and not laws.


An open letter and subsequent shit storm

A group of journalists, authors, writers, entertainers and academics signed on to an open letter in Harper’s Magazine. The subject of the open letter is the signatories’ concern regarding cancel culture and open debate and discussion of “controversial” subjects. The letter is short and is benign. Read it for yourself at the link above. Here’s the gist of what they said.

This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time. The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other.

Harper’s Magazine

Here’s some of the response that harmless letter engendered among the cancel culturists.

Because the American left is basically a war zone at the moment—or online it is, at least—what happened next shouldn’t surprise anyone: A group of us posted the letter and celebrated it, while another much angrier group denounced it and held it up as proof of…well, whatever it is they hate about us and want to get us fired over (this crowd likes calling the manager). Now, it shouldn’t have surprised me—I have been through multiple rounds of this stuff—but I have to admit it did.

One such reaction came from Parker Molloy, a staffer at the left-leaning Media Matters, who insisted, of a letter that includes Rushdie and Kasparov, “not a single one of them have been censored anytime in recent history.” In the subsequent tweetstorm, she said of the signatories:

“They want you to sit down.
They want you to shut up.
They want you to do as you’re told.
By them. Specifically.”

“They are totalitarians in the waiting,” she wrote. “They are bad people.”

The Millennial Generation once again showing that growing up being sheltered from anything that might harm them, mentally or physically, has made them quite sick. If you cannot handle arguing with people over different ideas what can you handle?