some links for you: state censorship, coinbase, hyperinflation, etc

Apple has pulled a podcast app from the app store in China. They did this because it allowed users to access content deemed illegal in the country. 

Also, Zoom censored public conversations about Hong Kong and Tiananmen Square

In statement, Zoom said it was obliged to respond to requests from Chinese authorities as long as users in China participated in videoconferences.

“Like any global company, Zoom must comply with laws in the countries where we operate,” a company spokesman said.

Noticing a trend here? Complying with local laws may not be the ethical standard for content moderation. 

Companies are being forced into compliance by China’s great firewall

Authorities also use a punishment system – blocking a domain for a short period of time if they run afoul of censors. Ultimately, China will block the site forever if the company does not acquiesce to demands.

And the model is being successfully exported to other would-be despots, emphasis mine: 

In 2017, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Communication Edwin Ngonyani expressed admiration for China’s internet control and said the country would follow Beijing’s path at a meeting sponsored by the government of Tanzania and China’s internet regulator.

“Our Chinese friends have managed to block such media in their country and replaced them with their homegrown sites that are safe, constructive and popular,” said Ngonyani.

Citing the Arab Spring, he said that social media, if left uncontrolled, could help topple governments.

In 2018, the Tanzanian government imposed a new set of sweeping regulations to police the internet. Content creators are required to get licensed and could be punished for posting banned material, including content that uses bad language or causes annoyance.

I don’t think they are supposed to say those parts out loud. 

Russia’s internet clampdown is progressing smoothly as well. 

According to the report, published in February, the number of internet pages banned by Russia’s state communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, jumped from over 161,000 in 2018 to nearly 273,000 in 2019. During the same period, the number of state-sponsored cyber attacks against individuals rose from 20 to 32. 

If you’re NEAR a crime, police can compel Google to hand over your information. And they really like doing it. 

Unlike a traditional search order that identifies a particular suspect, geofence warrants require Google to trawl its massive library of location data, commonly known as the “Sensorvault,” to identify people who were in the area when a crime was committed. They are relatively new, and increasingly widespread: Between 2017 and 2018, Google saw a 1,500% surge in the number of requests it received, and from 2018 to 2019, the rate increased over 500%.

This technological dragnet is unbelievably indiscriminate and intrusive. Thankfully it is facing legal challenges. 

Amid the currency crisis, Zelle has become a popular tool for locals in Venezuela to access the stability of the dollar. To use Zelle on the ground you need a counterpart with a US bank account. It has become a necessary tool for survival. 

Wells Fargo apparently does not think the compliance risk is worth it, and is cutting off Zelle access for people using their accounts like this. 

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, people are piling into luxury goods to get out of cash. The state has limited buying foreign currency dramatically 

Of course, by “people” I mean only people that can afford fine art and ski chalets. Perhaps one day there will be an accessible store of value that is more divisible and easily stored. 

Syria is having a currency crisis as well. 

Good luck trying to use something like Zelle to survive there. 

People got mad at Coinbase. 

This kind of thing happens all the time. But it’s interesting to see how easily cryptocurrency lets you vote with your dol-- coins. Withdrawing that many dollars from a bank would be a pretty involved process. With cryptocurrency you can easily self custody in a matter of minutes. Imagine if traditional banks had this much competition. 

Meltem Demirors has been thinking about this for while. Take a look: The Great Race for Assets

This is incredible to me. How does this thought process even happen?  

Sci Hub is a place to access academic research for free. These articles are usually rather expensive. This is not legal. But it’s widely regarded as an incredibly useful tool that’s generally good for humanity. 

Sci Hub can’t use PayPal or anything like it because of that aforementioned illegality. 

But here’s how you can support them with Bitcoin. 

I think the CHAZ is hilarious. Not gonna bother trying to explain it here. But here’s some posts.