German “Facebook Law“ creates risk of over-blocking

first_img June 2, 2021 Find out more GermanyEurope – Central Asia Online freedoms Freedom of expressionInternet July 10, 2017 German “Facebook Law“ creates risk of over-blocking Justin TALLIS / AFP German BND Act: A missed opportunity for press freedom Organisation RSF asks Germany to let Myanmar journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu apply for asylum Follow the news on Germany Reporters Without Borders is concerned that the “Facebook Law” about to be finally passed by Germany’s second chamber of parliament will have negative repercussions for press freedom. Even though during parliamentary deliberations the governing coalition took up some of the criticism against the bill and changed a number of problematic provisions at the last minute, the core problem of the bill against hate-speech in social media – or Network Enforcement Act, as it is officially named – remains unresolved: Backed by a threat of heavy monetary fines, the law will oblige providers of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter to remove “clearly unlawful” content within 24 hours of notification. “The short deadline for removal, coupled with the threat of heavy fines, will very likely drive social networks to remove more content than is legally justified. Even journalistic publications will face a real danger of being affected by this kind over-blocking without due process”, said RSF Germany’s executive director Christian Mihr. “This hastily-drafted bill should be adjourned and only decided upon after national elections this coming fall and after thorough consultations with civil society. This applies especially true for the crucial question under which conditions content will have to be removed.” The obligation to remove content within 24 hours will apply to posts “clearly” punishable under German criminal law, such as obvious cases of sedition, threats, insult, libel and slander. For illegal, but not clearly defamatory or inciting content, the deadline for removal is set at seven days and can be extended if the respective network delegates the binding decision to a yet to be created body of self-regulation. Consistent non-compliance with the law may be punished with fines between five and 50 million Euros. THE BILL RISKS AGGRAVATING THE PROBLEM OF NON TRANSPARENT CONTENT REMOVAL PRACTICES Given social networks’ essential role not only as a tool of journalistic investigation and for news distribution, but also for bypassing censorship in repressive countries such as China, Turkey or Vietnam, RSF has warned Germany’s government and lawmakers against setting a dangerous precedent that may easily be used as an excuse for new censorship by authoritarian governments eager to repress independent voices. At the same time, regulation of social media is sorely needed because networks like Facebook have a history of removing journalistic content and backing down only after public protest. For instance, last fall Facebook deleted a post by Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper showing the iconic photo of the “Vietnam girl” fleeing naked from Napalm bombs. Last year in June, the network blocked the account of French journalist and Radio France International terrorism expert David Thomson because of an old post showing a photo depicting the “Islamic State” militia’s flag. In Myanmar, Facebook recently provoked a storm by suddenly blocking posts containing the word “kalar”, which is often employed by nationalists as a derisive term for the country’s Muslim minority but may equally be used in innocuous expressions or in media articles criticizing nationalists’ agitation. Examples like these show how problematic it is to let social networks decide in a completely non transparent manner which content to delete or block. RSF has therefore called for years on social network companies to engage in a serious dialogue about this practice. However, the new German law risks aggravating the problem rather than encouraging procedures tied more closely to the rule of law. It remains thus unclear how the private companies that social media providers are should be able to decide within a very short timeframe about complex legal questions that often take months to be ruled on when taken to court. NO EMPIRICAL BASIS EXISTS FOR THE NEED OF SUCH A LAW Among the questions left open by the bill is why some criminal offenses are to be covered by the new law while others are not. It also remains unclear why the government deems necessary a new law for some offenses in the first place, considering that empirical data about social networks’ performance dealing with hate speech is virtually non-existent. Reporters Without Borders and almost all other experts had lambasted the bill in a public hearing by parliament’s legal committee. After that, the governing coalition reduced the range of offenses covered by the bill and excluded in particular state-related offenses such as insult of the president. The coalition also dropped a clause requiring social networks to use content filters that would have automatically analyzed any existing content and deleted it if deemed illegal, which would effectively have made impossible to publish some content even though no judge would ever have ruled on its legal status. Among its few positive aspects, the bill obliges social networks to name representatives who will have to respond to prosecutors’ requests within 48 hours, aiming to speed up judicial investigations and to strengthen legal recourse. The bill also requires the companies to publish transparency reports about their deletion practice, even though it is incomprehensible why such reports will now have to be produced every half year only rather than every three months, as was initially intended. Germany is ranked 16th among 180 countries on RSF’s annual World Press Freedom Index. Help by sharing this information News Use the Digital Services Act to make democracy prevail over platform interests, RSF tells EU to go further Receive email alerts May 31, 2021 Find out more GermanyEurope – Central Asia Online freedoms Freedom of expressionInternet News RSF_en News News March 30, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

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ISPCA offers advice for pet care during COVID-19

first_imgNewsHealthLifestylePetsISPCA offers advice for pet care during COVID-19By Cian Reinhardt – March 23, 2020 318 Previous articleBishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy says ‘We must prepare for what’s coming’Next articleCommunities doing something special – St. Munchin’s Community Centre Cian Reinhardthttp://www.limerickpost.ieJournalist & Digital Media Coordinator. Covering human interest and social issues as well as creating digital content to accompany news stories. [email protected] Dog photo created by freepik – www.freepik.comTHE ISPCA is reassuring pet owners there is no evidence that pets such as dogs and cats can catch or spread COVID-19 (coronavirus).This view is echoed by the HSE, World Organisation for Animal Health, and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association who believe the coronavirus cannot be transmitted from human to animal or vice versa.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up However, if your pet is touched by someone with the coronavirus then there is the potential that it can be spread, should someone else come into contact with your pet. But the ISPCA say this risk is low as transmission needs prolonged contact or exposure.ISPCA Public Relations Manager, Carmel Murray says the group are asking people “not to worry about their pets”.“It is important to interact with your pets as normal and to wash your hands regularly after contact with any animal,” said Ms Murray, “It is also practical to make plans just in case you are ill, so that if needed, there is someone such as a family member or a friend who can help care for your pets short or long term”.Carmel noted even during these uncertain times the work of the ISPCA does not stop, and dedicated staff still provide a high level of care to the “hundreds of animals in our centres”.“Sadly, we expect to lose many of our vital donations which is a huge worry,” she said, “We are in this together and we’ll do everything we can to continue rescuing and caring for Ireland’s most cruelly treated animals.“As a charity, we rely on the generosity of kind supporters to enable us to continue our vital work and we do need your continued support more than ever”.ISPCA Tips and Advice for caring for your pets during this time:When out walking your dog, you should ensure they are kept on a short lead and under control at all times.Restrict contact with other people and animals and adhere to social distancing guidelines.Continue to exercise and play with your pets to alleviate stress in the confines of your garden.There is also plenty of ways to keep your pets entertained such as putting their favourite treats in a Kong pet toy or by using food puzzle toys or by play fetch or tug-of-war with their favourite toy.This is a good time to teach your pets some new tricks. We would love to see your cute animal photos or videos.Avoid sharing your food or being kissed or licked by your pet and always wash your hands.It’s important to you have sufficient pet food, prescribed medication or other essentials such as cat litter during self-isolation.Plan ahead in the event you need help caring for your pets short or long term.As the COVID-19 crisis continues, ISPCA centres are temporarily closed to the public as a precautionary measure.  It is important we continue with good hygiene measures and follow advice. Stay safe and stay home.For more information about the ISPCA, please visit www.ispca.ie. Mass COVID testing to take place at University of Limerick following fresh outbreak of virus among student population RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Twitter WhatsApp Covid antibody testing opens to public at Shannon Airport Advertisement Emailcenter_img Facebook Institute of Public Health addresses loneliness as a challenge to national health in light of Covid-19 restrictions Linkedin Government announces phased easing of public health restrictions Limerick health chiefs urge public not to withhold information on virus contacts, as they investigate “complex and serious outbreaks” across midwest region Print TAGSCoronavirusCovid 19Limerick City and CountyNews ‘Everything tells us we are moving forward’last_img read more

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How Is Debt Impacting Owning a Home?

first_img Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Share Save Mike Albanese is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville. in Daily Dose, Featured, News debt Home Ownership Housing Market 2019 2019-05-29 Mike Albanese A recent survey by Freedom Debt Relief concluded that 28% of Americans said the biggest barrier to buying a home in 2019 is the cost of a down payment.Additional barriers reported by those surveyed include a lack of savings (27%), the cost of a monthly payment (26%), and the amount of debt they had (19%).The generational gap is also evident in the survey, as 43% of respondents who are Gen Z (age 18-21) consider the lack of overall savings to be the biggest barrier. Thirty-six percent said the monthly payment was the biggest barrier and 35% said it was the down payment.While it is being reported millennials (age 22-37) are becoming more focused on homeownership, 39% said the cost of the down payment was the biggest barrier.A recent survey from SunTrust found that nearly half of millennials (48%) who have been married said they, and/or their spouse, owned a home before marriage.”People are choosing from many different paths and reaching common life milestones at a wider age span than before, changing when they decide to purchase a home,” said Sherry Graziano, Mortgage Transformation Officer at SunTrust.The Freedom Debt Relief survey also found the different generations carry different types of debt with them. Student loan debt was the biggest form of debt for Gen Z respondents at 32%. Millennials were more diverse, with 47% carrying credit card debt and 35% with student loan debt.Nearly 55% of Gen X (age 38-53) respondents said they were carrying credit card debt and 40% said they had mortgage debt.The Silent Generation (age 73 and older) had the most respondents who are carrying no debt at 45%, which is followed by Gen Z at 39%. Just 16% of millennials say they are carrying no debt, and that number falls to 13% for Gen X responders.All generations agreed that the biggest barrier to increase savings is everyday expenses, as more than 30% of each generation came to that conclusion in the survey. The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Subscribe Home / Daily Dose / How Is Debt Impacting Owning a Home? Previous: The Growth of Real Estate Investment Trusts Next: Where Housing Affordability Is Improving Sign up for DS News Daily The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Related Articles Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days agocenter_img Tagged with: debt Home Ownership Housing Market 2019 How Is Debt Impacting Owning a Home? Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago  Print This Post Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago About Author: Mike Albanese Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago May 29, 2019 1,540 Views last_img read more

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