Jesus titty-fucking christ. The response to the study linked at the very end might be worth a read too, but requires signing in to facebook.
A new study from Leeds Beckett University has revealed how the metal music subgenre of folk metal is not only a fantasy space for young, white European men but also an important example of how heavy metal can be seen to normalise masculinity and ‘whiteness’ and perpetuate sexism and racism.
The study, published by Professor Karl Spracklen in a special issue of the journal Metal Music Studies on gender, race and class, edited by Rosemary Lucy Hill (University of Leeds), Caroline Lucas and Gabrielle Riches (Leeds Beckett, pictured) argues that folk metal, through its lyrics and stage clothes centred on myths of warriors, preserves an old-fashioned power structure where white, male Europeans are superior.
“Through the study, I found that although women fans of heavy metal enjoy folk metal with the same kind of passion and intensity as male fans, and there is no doubt they find identity and belonging through the music, the heart of folk metal is predominantly masculine. The warrior myth that folk metal is focused on is normalising this masculine predominance in our modern day world- men still have enormous social, cultural and political power.
“Folk metal’s obsession with warriors and cultural purity, displayed through tales of Vikings and dressing up as Vikings on stage, reduces belonging and identity in a muti-cultural, cosmopolitan society to a few exclusive myths. It is showing white men how to be white men and showing women and ethnic minorities their place in European society.”
“In my research I argue that folk metal serves as a comfortable leisure space for those that have lost power in recent decades: the white European, working class men who have faced challenges to their assumed privileges from women, globalisation, immigration and postmodernity. However, at the same time it should not be easily dismissed in this way, and I believe it remains central to the idea of heavy metal as a form of leisure that makes masculinity and whiteness the norm.”
I had the same reaction to this now as I did when I first read it a few days ago: "below-market deals". How can they be below-market if the market doesn't pay you any more?
Cary Sherman, the chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, has some choice words about the current state of US copyright law. He says that under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, rightsholders must play a game of whack-a-mole with Internet companies to get them to remove infringing content.
But that "never-ending game" has allowed piracy to run amok and has cheapened the legal demand for music. Sure, many Internet companies remove links under the DMCA's "notice-and-takedown" regime. But the DMCA grants these companies, such as Google, a so-called "safe harbor"—meaning companies only have to remove infringing content upon notice from rightsholders.
Compounding the harm is that some major online music distributors are taking advantage of this flawed system. Record companies are presented with a Hobson’s choice: Accept below-market deals or play that game of whack-a-mole. The notice and takedown system—intended as a reasonable enforcement mechanism—has instead been subverted into a discount licensing system where copyright owners and artists are paid far less than their creativity is worth.
If the RIAA is tired of playing whack-a-mole, perhaps it's time for them to greet their new mole overlords.
Read more of this story at SoylentNews.
One of the very first revelations from the Snowden leaks was a GCHQ program modestly entitled "Mastering the Internet". It was actually quite a good name, since it involved spying on vast swathes of the world's online activity by tapping into the many fiber optic cables carrying Internet traffic that entered and left the UK. The scale of the operation was colossal: the original Guardian article spoke of a theoretical intake of 21 petabytes every day. As the Guardian put it:
For the 2 billion users of the world wide web, Tempora represents a window on to their everyday lives, sucking up every form of communication from the fibre-optic cables that ring the world. But the big question was: what exactly did GCHQ do with that huge amount of information? Two years later, we finally know, thanks to a new article in The Intercept, which provides details of another major GCHQ program called "Karma Police" -- the name of a song by Radiohead, with the repeated line "This is what you'll get, when you mess with us". A GCHQ document obtained by Snowden indicates that Karma Police goes back some years -- at least to 2008. It provides the following summary of the project's aims:
KARMA POLICE aims to correlate every user visible to passive SIGINT [signals intelligence] with every website they visit, hence providing either (a) a web browsing profile for every visible user on the internet, or (b) a user profile for every visible website on the internet. Profiling every (visible) user, and every (visible) Web site seems insanely ambitious, especially back in 2008 when computer speeds and storage capacities were far lower than today. But the information that emerges from the new documents published by The Intercept suggests GCHQ really meant it -- and probably achieved it.
As of 2012, GCHQ was storing about 50 billion metadata records about online communications and Web browsing activity every day, with plans in place to boost capacity to 100 billion daily by the end of that year. The agency, under cover of secrecy, was working to create what it said would soon be the biggest government surveillance system anywhere in the world. That's around 36 trillion metadata records gathered in 2012 alone -- and it's probably even higher now. As Techdirt has covered previously, intelligence agencies like to say this is "just" metadata -- skating over the fact that metadata is actually much more revealing than traditional content because it is much easier to combine and analyze. An important document released by The Intercept with this story tells us exactly what GCHQ considers to be metadata, and what it says is content. It's called the "Content-Metadata Matrix", and reveals that as far as GCHQ is concerned, "authentication data to a communcations service: login ID, userid, password" are all considered to be metadata, which means GCHQ believes it can legally swipe and store them. Of course, intercepting your login credentials is a good example of why GCHQ's line that it's "only metadata" is ridiculous: doing so gives them access to everything you have and do on that service.
The trillions of metadata records are stored in a huge repository called "Black Hole". In August 2009, 41 percent of Black Hole's holdings concerned Web browsing histories. The rest included a wide range of other online services: email, instant messenger records, search engine queries, social media, and data about the use of tools providing anonymity online. GCHQ has developed software to analyze these other kinds of metadata in various ways:
SOCIAL ANTHROPOID, which is used to analyze metadata on emails, instant messenger chats, social media connections and conversations, plus “telephony” metadata about phone calls, cell phone locations, text and multimedia messages; MEMORY HOLE, which logs queries entered into search engines and associates each search with an IP address; MARBLED GECKO, which sifts through details about searches people have entered into Google Maps and Google Earth; and INFINITE MONKEYS, which analyzes data about the usage of online bulletin boards and forums. In order to connect these different kinds of Internet activity with individuals, GCHQ makes great use of information stored in cookies:
A top-secret GCHQ document from March 2009 reveals the agency has targeted a range of popular websites as part of an effort to covertly collect cookies on a massive scale. It shows a sample search in which the agency was extracting data from cookies containing information about people's visits to the adult website YouPorn, search engines Yahoo and Google, and the Reuters news website. Clearly the above activities allow incredibly-detailed pictures of an individual's online activities to be built up, not least their porn-viewing habits. One tool designed to "provide a near real-time diarisation of any IP address" is called, rather appropriately, Samuel Pepys, after the famous 17th-century English diarist.
Other websites listed as "sources" of cookies in the 2009 document are Hotmail, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, WordPress, Amazon, and sites operated by the broadcasters CNN, BBC, and the U.K.'s Channel 4.
The extraordinary scale of GCHQ's spying on "every visible user" raises key questions about its legality. According to The Intercept story:
In 2010, GCHQ noted that what amounted to "25 percent of all Internet traffic" was transiting the U.K. through some 1,600 different cables. The agency said that it could "survey the majority of the 1,600" and "select the most valuable to switch into our processing systems." Much of that traffic will be from UK citizens when they access global services like Google or Facebook, which GCHQ has admitted it defines as "external platforms", and which is thus completely stripped of what few safeguards UK law offers against this kind of intrusive surveillance by GCHQ.
This means that it is certain that many -- perhaps millions -- of UK citizens have been profiled by GCHQ using these newly-revealed programs, without any kind of warrant or authorization being given or even sought. The information stored in the Black Hole respository, and analyzed with tools like Samuel Pepys, provides unprecedented insights into the minutiae of their daily lives -- which Web sites they visit, which search terms they enter, who they contact by email or message on social networks. Within that material, there is likely to be a host of intimate facts that could prove highly damaging to the individual's career or relationships if revealed -- perfect blackmail material, in other words. Thanks to other Snowden documents, we know that the NSA had plans to use this kind of information in precisely this way. It would be naive to think it would never be used domestically, too.
It's frustrating that it has taken over two years for these latest GCHQ documents to be published, since they reveal that the scale of British online surveillance and analysis is even worse than the first Snowden documents indicated, bad as they were. They prove that the current calls for additional spying powers in the Snooper's Charter are even more outrageous than we thought, since the UK authorities already track and store British citizens' online moves in great detail.
When Edward Snowden handed over his amazing trove of documents to journalists to release as they thought best, he also placed a huge responsibility on their shoulders to do so as expeditiously as possible. If, as seems likely, there are yet more important revelations about the scale of US and UK spying to come, it is imperative that they are published as soon as possible to help the fight against those countries' continuing attempts to bolster mass surveillance and weaken our freedoms.
Shut up Jerry, your country is a century behind on card technology, the chips are so much more convenient it's not even funny. NFC stuff is coming, but you can't stay behind forever.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
And there we have it! Director says he's not aware of any of this being released even on bootlegs before, but that's false. Still, this seems like something I definitely need to get.
I wonder if this album will actually have anything "new".
Pitchfork.com, organizers of the annual Pitchfork Festival in Union Park, continue to lend financial and social support to the popular music ensemble Deafheaven. A founding and still-performing member of this group has a documented history of using violent, homophobic slurs since at least 2010. Festival-goers, and businesses who rely on the Pitchfork Festival as an annual revenue boost and marketing hub, demand that the site cease their continued support of this band, until such time as meaningful reparations are enforced, and a substantial effort to promote healing and tolerance in our communities is undertaken.
The UN's Broadband Commission has just released a report on "Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls." That this has been put together by the Broadband Commission rather than something more directly related to either law enforcement or human rights should be the first warning flag. This indicates the UN feels the responsibility for "cyber violence" should be borne by ISPs and social media platforms, rather than those actually committing the acts detailed in the report.
Ken White at Popehat has written a long and thoughtful piece on the report that's well worth reading, even with his admission that he may cut the authors of the document too much slack. White discusses what's wrong with the Commission's aims, using the presupposition that its assertions about "cyber violence" towards women are true. Even granting the Commission this generous benefit of a doubt, there's still a lot that's worrying about the Commission's proposals and assumptions.
Perhaps the biggest concern is that the UN is behind it. While the concept of the United Nations is noble, the execution has been an ongoing disaster. The governing body has been far too willing to humor the whims and predilections of countries whose track records on speech and human rights are generally abysmal. This is the unavoidable outcome of "uniting" disparate nations. Because there's no way to please everyone, the UN has settled for a grade school-esque "everybody gets a turn" fairness. That leads directly to this sort of thing:
I don't trust the UN on free speech issues. You shouldn't either. In a world where Iran wins a seat on the UN's Commission on the Status of Women, people who care about women's rights should also be skeptical. Pro-censorship forces continually pressure the UN for international laws and norms restricting speech — for instance by demanding laws outlawing blasphemy. Allow me some unabashed American exceptionalism: that's a bad thing. The United States' vigorous approach to protecting free speech and rejecting blasphemy laws is good, and foreign norms that encourage blasphemy laws often used to persecute religious and ethnic minorities are bad.No one should want the UN to take up this battle. Those looking to see free speech respected won't find much to like about the UN's involvement. Countries where actual violence is routinely perpetrated against women, along with cultural oppression, won't be talked into a national change of heart just because the UN has decided to shelter women from online violence. ISPs aren't going to be receptive to additional directives that require them to more heavily police their users, especially when the targeted content isn't as easy to recognize and curtail as the report makes it appear.
HackingThis isn't to say that legal systems already in place are handling the digital version of these criminal and civil violations perfectly. They aren't. We only need to look at sexting prosecutions to get a general idea of how badly this goes when laws written to serve a different purpose are stretched to address unforeseen modes of behavior.
Surveillance/Tracking (i.e., stalking)
Recruitment (sex trafficking)
Malicious Distribution (defamation, revenge porn, etc.)
[R]hetorically, the report advocates a "zero tolerance for violence against women" mantra. I understand and share the anti-violence sentiment, but experience teaches that framing a response to a problem as "zero tolerance" leads to terrible results. That's not a problem with "women's issues," it's a problem with any perceived social ill. Telling people to take a "zero tolerance" approach effectively tells them to suspend critical judgment when addressing a problem. It doesn't lead to treating a problem seriously; it leads to treating a problem anxiously. When applied to something as complicated as the internet, that's potentially disastrous.The report suggests "partnerships" between private industry and governing bodies, something that never works out well. The Commission hesitates to advocate government censorship, but does so disingenuously by suggesting that "voluntary" measures enacted under pressure from multiple governments are actually still voluntary. And it completely ignores the fact that any such systems put into place will be gamed immediately by the people they're meant to target, along with any number of trolls that game systems simply to game systems.
It is the “New Violence,” as Democratic Presidential pre-candidate Lyndon LaRouche was the first to precisely characterize it at the time. It is the use of Nintendo-style games, and related means, to transform young children and adolescents, as well as law-enforcement personnel into “Samurai”-style programmed killers.That's not the quote that makes it into the report. What it does quote is almost innocuous compared to the content surrounding it.
There is widespread representation of VAWG in mainstream culture, including in contemporary and popular music, movies, the gaming industry and the general portrayal of women in popular media. Recent research on how violent video games are turning children, mostly boys, into ‘killing zombies’ are also a part of mainstreaming violence. And while the presentation and analysis of this research is beyond the scope of this paper, the links to the core roots of the problem are very much in evidence and cannot be overlooked.To call this alarmist screed "research" is beyond laughable. Even if you can somehow accept the assertion that violent video games are crafting a generation of "killing zombies," you're left with with the author's other assertions, which veer off into inadvertent satire.
Nintendo of America, Inc.: Manufactures Pokémon, Game-Boys, and equipment for satanic video games.The report also quotes a report on harassment of Indian women via WhatsApp (with cited URL actually being a file path on some UN's employees C: drive). The report itself notes that the study was severely limited and that "no sweeping generalizations should be made." The Broadband Commission apparently failed to read that part of the report.
Hasbro Interactive: Official U.S. distributor of Pokémon (abbreviation for “Pocket Monsters”), the killing game designed for toddlers beginning at 2 and 3 years old; Dungeons and Dragons, the medieval satanic and magic fantasy game; Risk II, a “ruthless quest for world domination".
The use of WhatsApp instant messaging, for example, has become, according to some reports, the latest harassment tool of choice in countries like India and Malaysia, and increasingly around the world.Diving into every citation would likely uncover more problems in the assumptions drawn by the Broadband Council. (For instance, the Pew report quoted in the paper conveniently ignores the research center's finding that men experience online harassment more often than women, although they are less likely to be sexually harassed or stalked.) Even if the sources were impeccable, the Commission's ultimate goals would still be questionable.
This is the equivalent of submitting a serious proposal to Congress advocating for changes in the federal budget and, for the proposition that the NASA budget should be reduced, linking to sites that claim that the moon landing was faked.Some may point out it's a single citation, from which only a few words were pulled. But this seems to indicate there are other media forms the UN would like to control.
One bad citation wouldn't normally destroy the credibility of an entire report. If any one can, this one does. It's used to support a drop-in that violent movies and video games are something the UN might want to look at. It is so freakishly inappropriate that I can only imagine four scenarios: (1) there are no sensible people involved in the preparation and approval of the report, (2) any sensible people involved with the report did not read the report any more carefully than I did, (3) the people behind the report believe this Jack Thompson/Tipper Gore/Jack Chick malarkey, or (4) the people behind the report don't particularly care about the reliability of the sources for their pronouncements.White also spends more time discussing the Commission's problematic definition of "cyber violence," which seems to be about evenly split between things that aren't actual violence and things that are already criminal acts in most countries. This is where the report is the most dangerous. It's attempting to leverage vague wording and foregone conclusions to grant the UN increased speech-policing powers -- an idea no one should be in a hurry to support.
This is one good boy right here. Today’s comic is inspired by a sweet tweet sesh with Zack! Zack is one of the Three Very Fine Moderators of the Toilcore tumblr, (the other two are Keith and me!)
Follow Zack, Follow Keith and of course, Toilcore is a Very Good tumblr to follow, yes indeed, so please follow that, too.
BTW, I just reordered a batch of Robbie and Bobby books--they should be here in a bout a week–I’ll let you know as soon as they get here!
The south pole can get very lonely.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Alvin, Simon…. Sith Loooord