Thursday, 08 March 2012

YouTube Censors Anti-TSA Video

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YouTube has once again engaged in censorship, this time on a video exposing the fraudulent claims of the Transportation Security Administration that their screening procedures are ensuring American safety. In the censored video, engineer Jon Corbett (left), a blogger from the popular anti-TSA website TSA Out of Our Pants!, demonstrates how the radiation firing body scanners utilized by the TSA can be easily bypassed.

He said, 'Here are several images produced by TSA nude body scanners. You'll see that the search victim is drawn with light colors and placed on a black background in both images.”

“In these samples, the individuals are concealing metallic objects that you can see as a black shape on their light figure. Again that’s light figure, black background, and black threat items,” he continued.  

The video then shows Jon Corbett carrying through the scanner a metal case that is away from his body in his side pocket. In the video, Corbett explains that the metallic objects appear as black on the image produced by the scanners, and therefore, the machines are unable to detect such objects if they are obscured by the background, which is black as well.

Corbett explained, “Yes that’s right, if you have a metallic object on your side, it will be the same colour as the background and therefore completely invisible to both visual and automated inspection.”

“It can’t possibly be that easy to beat the TSA’s billion dollar fleet of nude body scanners, right? The TSA can’t be that stupid, can they? Unfortunately, they can, and they are.”

Corbett is a well-known opponent of the TSA and has garnered a reputation for some of his run-ins with agents at airports. He is also well-known as the first person in the nation to sue the Transportation Security Administration for invasion of privacy, a case that is headed to the United States Supreme Court.

“The scanners are now effectively worthless, as anyone can beat them with virtually no effort.” Corbett writes on his blog. “The TSA has been provided this video in advance of it being made public to give them an opportunity to turn off the scanners and revert to the metal detectors. I personally believe they now have no choice but to turn them off.” he adds.

Just hours of the video was uploaded, it was picked up by various reputable sites like Yahoo News and Mail Online, and was reportedly on its way to going viral.

That is, before YouTube put an end to that, placing the video on an age restriction wall. Videos that are placed behind this wall are required to login or sign up for a YouTube account in order to view them.

Critics are attempting to analyze why it is that the video was placed on an age restriction wall. It contains no nudity, violence, or explicit content.

Presumably, the main issue with the video is its criticism of the TSA. Corbett points out that a number of other experts have also come to the same conclusions as he has.

But the video proves that metal detectors would in fact be a more effective way of detecting security threats than the costly and health-threatening radiation firing scanners that have been cited by various studies as cancer-causing.

“This video is not intended to teach anyone how to commit criminal acts, nor is intended to help “the terrorists” — if I could figure this out, I’m sure they’ve long figured it out, and by exposing it to the public, we now have an opportunity to correct it.” Corbett writes on his blog.

This is not the first time a YouTube video was censored for being critical of the TSA either.

When Mike Adams of Natural News produced a cartoon video in February that emphasized the invasiveness of TSA pat downs, particularly on children, and made the point that it is merely a show of power and potentially a form of retribution against those who opt out of the body scanners, the video was restricted by YouTube within hours.

Adams later wrote of YouTube’s censorship of his video:

YouTube’s age-restriction censorship of my TSA Help Wanted animation is a clear example of oppression against artistic expression and a dark mirror of the kind of free speech blackouts that regularly occur in Communist China. “TSA Help Wanted” is clearly being censored not because of its content (it contains no profanity and shows no actual nudity) but because it is critical of the government.

This is precisely the sort of “political censorship” practiced in Red China as a way to silence criticism of the corrupt government and protect the political elite.

YouTube censorship is not limited to videos that are opposed to the TSA. According to the Christian News Wire, “YouTube…blocked four videos from the pro-life student organization Live Action over the past two weeks, saying that the videos contained ‘inappropriate content.’ ”

The videos in question included phone recordings of Planned Parenthood employees agreeing to process donations from a caller with a racist agenda.

YouTube did not provide any warning, or any more specific reasons for removing the videos.

Live Action’s Media Director David Schmidt responded to YouTube’s censorship, “These four videos have received over 160,000 YouTube views in total with the oldest video having been public on YouTube for over seven months. Why are these videos being removed now?”

The American Life League also accused YouTube of censorship after it removed a video that criticized a Planned Parenthood TV advertisement. YouTube claimed that the video contained “inappropriate nature,” even as the original Planned Parenthood video that was being criticized in the video remained on the YouTube.

The Christian News Wire states that a short film by the pro-life Population Research Institute, which highlighted dishonest reporting from a pro-choice filmmaker, was censored by YouTube. Following a great public outcry, the video was restored.

Live Action President Lila Rose remarked on YouTube’s decision to remove certain videos: “It is discriminatory for YouTube to selectively censor material that clearly does not contain [in]appropriate content.”

In some cases, censorship is taking place at the behest of the federal government that is seemingly fearful of the critical nature of some content.

The government has already taken the authority to demand that websites remove information and videos that contain too much “government criticism.” Google admits that there has been a substantial increase in the number of requests by the federal government to take down certain information.

“In the US, Google received 757 takedown requests across its sites and services, up 70 per cent from the second half of last year,” reports technology website“US authorities also called for the removal of 113 videos from YouTube, including several documenting alleged police brutality which Google refused to take down.”

In Google’s newly released transparency report, it reveals that the number of “user data requests” by U.S. authorities has increased by 29 percent over the course of the last reporting period. In the case of the removal of a YouTube video, for example, the reason listed was “government criticism,” and no content of the video was indicated or explained. Other videos which have been ordered to be taken down pertain to police brutality on the grounds of defamation.

Interestingly, the number of items requested by the U.S. government to be removed actually surpasses the number requested to be removed by authorities in China.

To watch Jon Corbett's anti-TSA video, click here.

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