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Old 04-14-2005, 03:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Americans Support Blog Censorship

The summary from slashdot:
Quote:
A new survey has revealed that Americans overwhelmingly support strong censorship for blogs, even though a substantial amount have never actually been to one. Eighty percent of the 2,500 respondents did not believe that bloggers should be allowed to publish home addresses and other personal information about private citizens. However, more than one-third of respondents had never heard of blogs before participating in the survey, and only around 30 percent of participants had actually visited a blog themselves.
The article: http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/communi...9187965,00.htm
Quote:
Blog censorship wins support
By Renai LeMay, ZDNet Australia
13 April 2005

Most Americans believe bloggers should not be allowed to publish sensitive personal information about individuals, according to a new survey.

Web hosting company Hostway this week released the results of its poll of 2,500 respondents on blogging. Eighty percent of respondents did not believe that bloggers should be allowed to publish home addresses and other personal information about private citizens.

A further 72 percent favoured censorship of personal information about celebrities, and 68 percent information about elected or appointed government officials such as judges or mayors.

However, more than one-third of respondents had never heard of blogs before participating in the survey, and only around 30 percent of participants had actually visited a blog themselves.

While Americans were concerned about free speech, the survey revealed more moderate attitudes when it compared bloggers to journalists.

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said bloggers should have the same rights as traditional journalists, while 27 percent did not express an opinion. Free speech rights are protected under the first amendment of the US Bill of Rights, which says the US Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. Such rights are not enshrined in the Australian Constitution.

Despite the fact most respondents classed bloggers in the same category as journalists when it came to free speech, the survey revealed bloggers are not taken as seriously as traditional media.

For example, 39 percent said they found blogs less credible than newspaper articles, although an additional 32 percent said they either did not know or had no opinion.

The survey also tapped into patterns of blog usage, revealing most people used blogs to obtain information about politics or current events. This news may not come as a surprise to US political bloggers, who recently mobilised against a move by the country's Federal Election Commission (FEC) which would have imposed harsh rules on the blogging community.

The FEC is currently in the process of extending campaign finance rules to the Internet -- a process that involves, among other things, deciding if bloggers qualify as journalists.

Opinions were split on official company blogs, which have been in the news due to the high-profile sacking of Google employee Mark Jen, who claimed he was sacked for blogging about the company just 11 days after he started work there.

In contrast to Google, many prominent companies officially support the blogging efforts of their employees. Sun Microsystems and Microsoft in particular are noted for their company blogs.

While a majority of survey respondents agreed it was acceptable for a company to censor what appeared in the blogs of its employees, almost half said it wasn't acceptable to actually fire an employee for a controversial blog posting. And only a quarter of respondents supported the company's right to do so.
OK, let's run through this again...
80% say blogs should be subject to censorship.
70% basically have absolutely no clue what a blog is like, having never been to one (yet feel qualified to make a decision regarding the free speech rights of bloggers!)
and 30% haven't even heard of blogs before (but, again, feel comfortable making decisions regarding their freedom of speech)!

52% (of which, it is fair to say 70% have never seen a blog, bringing the statistic of informed people down to 16%) believe bloggers should have the same rights as traditional journalists. First of all, that means at least 32% REALLY have no clue what they're talking about, because traditional journalists can publish information about private individuals, such as address, etc. Second of all, that means 52% also believe bloggers should be held to the same responsibilities as journalists (with rights come responsibilities), of which include equalt time laws, etc.

And to put the nail in the coffin, most people use blogs for political information?! (Yet, of course, 32% admit they're not credible.) It's no wonder so many people have no clue what's going on in the country - politics or otherwise - and do little more than repeat spoon-fed talking points!

It's very distressing to me 1) that people are so quick to jump on the censorship bandwagon and 2) that they're willing to do it when so many of them really have no clue what they're talking about. What are your thoughts?
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Last edited by SecretMethod70; 04-14-2005 at 10:34 AM..
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Old 04-14-2005, 04:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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All the blogs I read are political blogs, and I can quickly tell the biases of the authors. It's not rocket science. I think the laws that apply to all publishers are sufficient to protect people's legitimate privacy. Censorship of independent bloggers is a dream of mainstream media, which is losing a small amount or readers but a larger amount of credibility to independent bloggers (i.e., Jeff Gannon fiasco).
I don't know anything about the company bloggers. I hear enough bitching about work already to seek it out on the web. The Mark Jen thing at Google was a legitimate privacy concern, and the outcome would have been the same if Jen had written a letter to the editor of the local newspaper.
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Old 04-14-2005, 04:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Why is Dan Rather spending his retirement money on polls?

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Old 04-14-2005, 04:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Whataloadofcrap! Don't like it, don't read it. Censorship is for dictators.
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Old 04-14-2005, 05:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes this is rediculous. Most biased poll ever. How can you ask someone about blogs if they don't even know what they are? Blogs are very good. We need more blogs. It keeps the mainstream media on their toes because there are some issues that they just won't touch until there's a huge internet buzz about it.
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Old 04-14-2005, 06:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The poll is not biased. That's like saying the election results are biased because not everyone understands what they're voting on. The only thing that seriously skews the poll results is that they did not look into if there's a difference between people who vote and people who don't in terms of their opinions. The fact the results are not as we would ideally like them to be, however, does not make the poll biased. It simply shows that 70% of people don't visit blogs - that doesn't mean that those people don't and won't show support for politicians who espouse a particular agenda regarding the censorship of blogs. That's the real danger as I see it: that so few people know what they're takling about - and they freely admit it - yet they feel qualified to form an opinion regarding someone else's freedoms anyway.
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SecretMethod70
The poll is not biased.
I think what he is saying is that the sample looks ify.

I am not disagreeing with the results, but I still kinda turn my head cockeyed to this story. We know nothing about the sample, how the sample was collected, the poll company itself (not actually a poll company), etc., etc.

We especially do not know the exact questions, order of questions (very important), etc.--things that are very important to seeing how "leading" a poll is or isn't.

It almost sounds pretty leading, if you ask me.

Kinda like doing a poll using IE users and asking them about Firefox or Opera.
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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people are just plain stupid. even when i think that they can get no more stupid... someone crawls from under a rock to prove that they could be even stupider.
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Old 04-14-2005, 08:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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you're right, those pieces of information are not known, but in light of the study done regarding high school students and their attitudes toward free speech in journalism, the results of this poll seem to mirror that one and don't seem all that unreasonable.
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Old 04-14-2005, 08:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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"Eighty percent of respondents did not believe that bloggers should be allowed to publish home addresses and other personal information about private citizens.

A further 72 percent favoured censorship of personal information about celebrities, and 68 percent information about elected or appointed government officials such as judges or mayors."


How could someone legally prevent this from happening? Any property I own, birth records, death records and a whole bunch of other stuff is accessable to the public by request. The county I live in goes one step further and provides a computer in the courthouse lobby so anyone can look up the information on their own. The reality is that if someone really wants the information, there are plenty of ways to get it, celebrity or not.

My other question is, if such a measure became law, who would be responsible for enforcing it? Will there be someone at the CIA reading every blog looking for personal information and contacting the violator for removal?
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:58 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I don't see how not wanting personal information to be posted for the world to see is considered censorship. That's the problem I have with the poll-not necessarily the results but them categorizing that as censorship. I doubt that the numbers would change if you replaced blog with news broadcast, newspaper, or any other non-official source of information. And as for much of that info being public knowledge, it is accessable by request, but oftentimes a need must be shown, or you need to at least be in the vicinity of the individual you are requesting information on. It's not a censorship issue, its a privacy issue. But saying "Most American's favor people's right to privacy" doesn't show Americans in as negative a light. Biased surveys 4tw!
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Old 04-14-2005, 10:47 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Some of the results of this survey are supported by Gallup who did a poll showing that only about 1/4 of Americans are somewhat familiar or more with blogs. (This fits in with the other survey which found 30% of people had visited blogs.)

http://archives.editorandpublisher.c..._id=1000837020
Quote:
Gallup Probes Blogs, Finds Most Americans Have Never Heard of Them
By E&P Staff
Published: March 11, 2005 2:00 PM ET

NEW YORK Media and political types are currently obsessed with the newfound influence of blogs, but is the trend being overhyped? According to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, relatively few Americans are generally familiar with the phenomenon of blogging.

Three-quarters of the U.S. public uses the Internet at work, school, or home, but only one in four Americans are either “very familiar” or “somewhat familiar” with blogs, Gallup reports.

More than half, 56%, have no knowledge of them. And even among Internet users, only 32% are very or somewhat familiar with blogs.

There’s no question that blog popularity is spreading by leaps and bounds. But as of late February, when this poll was conducted, only 3% of Americans said they read blogs every day. Fewer than one in six, 15%, read blogs at least a few times a month.

Not surprisingly, there is an age gap here. About 21% of those 18 to 29 read blogs at least monthly, but only 7% of those over 65 do so.

Gallup found no gender gap but some political angle, as 24% of liberals say they read blogs at least monthly while only 15% of conservatives do.

In a separate question focusing on those who read blogs that cover “political issues,” Gallup found that 2% of all adults read them every day, 4% once a week, 6% once a month, and 11% less than that, with 48% never reading them.

Among all those prone to visit blogs in general, 7% said they visited poltical blogs once a day, 13% once a week, and 20% once a month.
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:50 AM   #13 (permalink)
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This is the whole reason why we are NOT a democracy. The founding fathers deliberatly made the US a constitutional republic because it protects the rights of the few despite the will of the many. I don't care if 99% of the people say blogs should be shut down, that doesn't make it so. Bloggers as well as all Americans still have a first amendment which trumps any law they try to pass stopping them.

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Old 04-14-2005, 01:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
people are just plain stupid. even when i think that they can get no more stupid... someone crawls from under a rock to prove that they could be even stupider.

I agree. The more I learn about people, the less I like about people. I think all these folks should do the human race a favor and take themselves out of the gene pool. It's obviously been corrupted.

/stops beating his head against his desk
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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yes, samcol, I agree with the virtues of a democratic republic. However in this case I don't see it doing much good. The politicians would like to place restrictions on blogging as well, and if theystart classifying bloggers as journalists or quasi-journalists, they will be able to. And bloggers will have to adhere to a whole bunch of rules, at least when blogging about politics.
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