Corporate Censorship of Independent Sites Has Begun

From reader MA via e-mail:

I work at [midsized company] near [major Midwestern city]. Sometime in the last week or two, the
company server started blocking Naked Capitalism, Truthdig, and Counterpunch. I assume this is not limited to [x], but came as part of a corporate subscription to something or other.

There are other sites blocked as well, like Bradblog. Just a heads-up that the algorithm war on progressive thought in corporate America has begun.

Are other readers encountering similar restrictions at their workplace? If so, please give details in comments. Thanks.

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114 comments

  1. Stephen Liss

    This is not new. Use proxies to circumvent your corporate firewall. Or take a tablet to work that works on public (i.e. not your employer’s) networks.

    1. Carolinian

      No it’s not new at all and military ISPs have been known in the past to block certain lefty sites.

      Besides what are you doing reading Naked Capitalism at work? (Just kidding.)

      I’d say it’s government censorship that we have to worry about. In house company internet has always been censored.

      1. ABasLesAristocrates

        The problem isn’t the company internet per se. It’s the source of the blacklist. These things aren’t generally curated in-house: more likely, the boss said, “Hey, block fake news sites” and they found a list of so-called fake news sites and slapped it into their blacklist. It’s fine when this is done by a private employer who can do whatever they want up to and including restricting your internet use altogether. But when universities, libraries, parents, etc. use that same list without understanding what if any vetting went into it, now you have a problem. Especially since you could theoretically get into a situation where that blacklist now advertises “As used to protect employees of [Fortune 500 Company]!”

        1. Carolinian

          As I wrote here recently my local library once had something called Sonic Wall filter that blocked political sites. Now they don’t or at least they certainly don’t block any of the websites I visit. They do block anything having to do with bittorrent. One thing to bear in mind is that when using say the library internet then they become responsible for anything you do on that IP. This is why public wifi sites have those elaborate terms of service that nobody ever reads.

          The reason that censorship of the web hasn’t caught on is that the public doesn’t want it. And the other reason is that computers being the empowering devices that they are then any attempt to say “no” will just encourage people to hack around your block.

          Also the MSM probably likes having the internet as an excuse to be more lax in their own practices as people now have alternatives. When the MSM consisted of three tv networks and a handful of major newspapers then rules such as the now defunct Fairness Doctrine were more strict. What now seems to have the big media companies upset is that the internet is morphing from a sideshow to a true rival. Trump’s victory has them freaked out.

          It could be that Sonic Wall is back and that would not be a good thing if it is blocking NC. Like I say more needs to be known. But a private corporate system would be a poor test case.

          1. T Mink

            SonicWall is the brand of firewall that Dell provides. You can configure block lists manually or import them from an outside source, so it’s hard telling where their rule set came from. It’s possible that Dell is shipping these with default block lists enabled, but just as likely that some shitty IT person downloaded a list from their favorite ideologically safe website

            1. Richard

              Backwards

              SonicWALL is a security appliance bought by DELL

              When you purchase a subscription service you have tiers of blocks that you can enable and add/edit … cfs content filtering system enable/disable and it is a subscription svc

              The explanations found here why recently a subscription such as SonicWALL\DELL cfs might be updated dubiously with recent GIGO makes complete sense-

              CFS is knot new, has been happening and has always happened, it is just that this particular url was not part of any default build bought list, and n o w to due politicized wapo, ,there you have it; maybe-

              Just a belief that can turn into a known by a current DELL subscription person taking a screen shot of cfs default list(s) blocks category with this site as inclusion andif true; please display here so it can be used to twist DELL arms for default list removal-

        2. Lambert Strether

          > The problem isn’t the company internet per se. It’s the source of the blacklist.

          Exactly. And I can see programs like the Global Engagement Center developing such lists, so when (as you say) the boss says “Hey, block fake news sites” there’s a genuine, Grade-A, government-certified source for the list.

          What bothers me about all this is the direction: We’re normalizing and legitimizing the concept that there are lists of sites it’s not safe for Americans to read. Even if it’s relatively slow-moving, that’s the direction we’re headed and it’s not good.

          There are a lot of fixes in comments on this post, like use your phone, or use a VPN. First, most of this traffic flows throw pipes controlled by ginormous monopolies. What happens when they starting using the lists? Second, workarounds like this are for third-world dictatorship. Which reminds me, I forgot to call this out. From the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act,” one of the functions of the Global Engagement Center:

          (D) To support efforts by the Center to counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability of the United States and United States allies and partner nations.

          Aside from the evident elite panic at loss of control over “the narrative,” this is a change in the Constitutional order worthy of Pinochet. Exactly like giving intelligence agencies post-election veto power over a President assuming power, it’s giving intelligence agencies control veto power over material that a supposedly free people can read. It’s third-world stuff.

          1. TimH

            There’s been off and on mentions of journalists having to be registered. That would control the stories, because only registered journalists would be protected under the national security laws that would swiftly follow…

          2. James Cole

            The issue is corporatism–we’re talking about filters that companies put on their own equipment. No one has suggested that retail ISPs are filtering anything for people at home or on personal mobile. This is purely a workplace issue.

      2. JerryH

        I’m center left, NOT progressive. I read many political economic sites that do not include Naked Cap (or it’s Russkie troll Fight Club opposite, Zero Hedge) or any of the others mentioned. But then again the “Blizzard of Lies” right wing are just getting started. It’s not Trump (and it is), its his winner take all party that controls half the states and the entire government.

          1. Benedict@Large

            I was amazed as the campaigning went on how more and more the Hillary left was coming to resemble the political right both in their tactics and in the scope and absurdity of their lies. And with the conclusion of the campaigning, we are finding this to not be a temporary thing.

          2. Uahsenaa

            I can see the legal argument being concocted at the DoJ, a la Holder’s defense of “process” in the so-called disposition matrix.

            “You see, the first amendment guarantees freedom of speech, not freedom of audition. While we are not permitted to prevent you from saying what you have to say, there’s nothing there to keep us from preventing you from hearing what was said.”*

            *unless it’s a corporation, which are people

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      She says “sometime in the last week or two,” so YES, NEW to her company and therefore alarming.

      That it has been done before or there are workarounds is scarcely the point in the current environment, where the government is indeed taking the lead.

      Anything the commentariat can do?

      1. Carolinian

        Guess what I’m saying is that the environment isn’t new but unfortunately what may be new is that the urge to censor the web–which has been there from the beginning–is targeting one of our favorite websites. As to the particular case in the above post, I think we need a lot more information before drawing any conclusions.

        But do you have a “right” to visit any website you want while at work? No. Perhaps as suggested below they are blocking all political sites, right and left. There were some rightwing sites on the infamous PropOrNot list–the biggest being Drudge.

    3. R Foreman

      I use a VPN and a tablet at work.. whether or not a site is blocked I don’t like the establishment knowing what I’m viewing online with my own computers. I do use their wifi connection to the cloud however, but I make an encrypted tunnel to my VPN provider.

      1. JohnnySacks

        Any truly competent company security team would have alarms going off as soon as any VPN traffic to an unauthorized site was detected. Remote desktop, SSH, FTP, the same.

        They could provide separate WIFI isolated from the corporate network, but only for personal devices.

        1. philnc

          Never do any personal browsing, or communications, on your employer’s equipment or network. Use your own personal device (smartphone, e.g.) over your personal carrier’s network. Work computers and phones are for work, not personal use. Besides, chances are your company’s network traffic is proxied so that even traffic you think is encrypted (say the https connection you made to your bank’s web site) is being monitored. This is probably legal, and actually may be in your company’s best interests from a security standpoint — even though it puts your own personal privacy and security at risk if you use company devices or networks for personal business.

          And yeah, carrying both a work and personal phone around is inconvenient, but that’s life.

        2. jrs

          no kidding, not surfing Naked Capitalism at work except through VPN is probably more alarming to one’s employers than viewing it openly ever would be.

    4. Propertius

      A few years ago, NC was briefly blocked by my company’s DNS because it was a ‘porn site’ (what with the word “naked” in the URL and all). This did not last long.

  2. MLS

    Interesting, it could be something or it could be nothing. I’d like to know if conservative sites like Drudge, Breitbart, and WND are similarly blocked. I know a lot of companies are sensitive to employees “wasting time” on the internet on non work-related activities (for example many of the popular sports sites are blocked at my company) and it may just be nothing more than that.

  3. Ben

    It’s not new for corporate firewalls to block access to sites in categories like “political”.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are misconstruing what the reader said. He used to be able to access NC and other sites. He can’t any more. So it appears that some companies have decided to implement controls where they had none before. And it appears the targets are smaller sites, and not “political” sites generally.

      1. hunkerdown

        For what it’s worth, I checked at Panera Bread whether NC, WRH and BradBlog could be reached — all okay as of an hour ago.

        Might engagement with blacklist publishers be a worthwhile idea? It’s been a long while since I’ve done desktop IT, but I seem to remember that a lot of filters use stock curated blacklists. No doubt the State Truth Officers already are.

    1. Lambert Strether

      How handy!

      Adding, I downloaded and installed the normal version of Opera, not the developer version, since I’m not a developer.

      It’s impressively snappy, even with the VPN on. (I get to try the VPN* for three days. If it continues to maintain the standard, it will definitely be worth a few bucks.)

      The last time I tried Opera, it was pretty opinionated about its browsing experience, which felt to me like fit and finish issues. This version has improved all that, and they make it very easy to import stuff from Firefox (like my bookmarks, which are essential).

      So, thanks! This is a great tip.

      * Whoopsie, that’s a VPN plugin, not the built-in (!!!) VPN. So now I have both to try.

      1. begob

        Firefox has hola as an add-on.

        I’m in the UK, and yesterday NC kept showing a 404 (or 504?) page until 5pm. My usual sites were all fine.

  4. sgt_doom,

    In my lifetime, I have never learned any real “news” from the so-called American media (the one possible exception was, as a young kid delivering the morning and evening newspapers, which I read daily, I happened upon Chief Counsel for the Warren Commission, Mr. Rankin [also FBI Director Hoover’s lawyer], stated to an interviewing reporter that . . . “We would get to the bottom of what (Lee Harvey) Oswald was training for in Monterrey (meaning Defense Language Institute run by the US military).”

    Since Rankin hadn’t been in the military, he had no idea what that inferred.

    Besides that, everything else I learned on my own (research and reading) or from commenters at sites like this and others, and occasional online sites, etc.

    We know why they are doing this, and we know why it must be stopped.

  5. lyman alpha blob

    I haven’t noticed this yet but I did notice something else that got my hackles up. I was reading a book called ‘Beyond Earth’ published last year and while describing the political and economic difficulties faced by space programs, the authors offhandedly mention as givens both that the 2008 financial meltdown was caused by people not paying their mortgages and that Russia had invaded Ukraine. I can’t really blame the authors, a planetary scientist and a science writer, as these subjects are not their area of expertise (although one might wish they were a little more well rounded) however it is an example of how the BS conventional wisdom manages to seep into everything.

    Please keep kicking against the pr**ks on this one – once these false narratives get out there it’s very difficult to convince most people otherwise. Somebody needs to keep telling the truth.

      1. timbers

        Russia did invade Ukraine. How is that controversial?

        And America did invade France in WWII. How is that controversial?

        1. Harry D.

          And America did invade France in WWII. How is that controversial?

          Annexation of Sudetenland by Germany is much apter analogy. Matches what happened in Crimea step-by-step.

          1. timbers

            Annexation of Sudetenland by Germany is much apter analogy. Matches what happened in Crimea step-by-step.

            If you are referring to Obama/Nuland’s illegal overthrow of the legitimate government of Ukraine and replacing it with the illegal neo-Nazi freaks who want to exterminate the Russian speaking people in Ukraine who’ve lived there longer that the U.S. has existed – and faciiate the raping of Ukrainian natural resources (fracking, GMO production) by global elites at the expense of Ukrainian people – you’re right, Sudetenland may be an apter analogy.

            But then, that’s not at all what you mean. So you’re wrong.

      2. hunkerdown

        1. Wikipedia is not an acceptable source.
        2. Russia was invited. US was not. This was so in both Ukraine and Syria. Do Democrats believe in the same models of consent and agreement as GamerGaters?

        1. Harry D.

          1. Wikipedia is not an acceptable source.

          Just out of curiosity, what is?

          Russia was invited. US was not. This was so in both Ukraine and Syria.

          Let me get this straight: US orchestrated coup in Ukraine (never mind absence of any factual evidence), while Ukrainian people don’t have any agency and it’s not up to them to decide the fate of their country.

          What amazes me about many commenters on this blog is that they see through the propaganda of US mainstream media and political establishment, but refuse to learn facts wrt Ukrainian situation and examine critically propaganda coming from Moscow.

          Enemy of my enemy is my friend?

          1. timbers

            Let me get this straight: US orchestrated coup in Ukraine (never mind absence of any factual evidence)

            But there is factual evidence of a U.S. coup in Ukraine. How is that controversial?
            https://wikispooks.com/wiki/2014_Ukraine_coup

            And you did not respond to hunkerdown’s point about Russia being invited, US not. Instead you keep throwing diversionary straw man arguments while changing your mind abt Wikipeadia being reliable/not reliable to suit your wishes.

          2. alex morfesis

            But what if the russians and Ukrainians are playing us all ?? Seemed rather odd how the hard fighting upstart ukranian govt of svoboda banderas just let the putin take the entire navy…

            Crimea was a non productive part of the ukraine so handing it off “in protest” to russia certainly solved a few problems…

            Just have never seen any country (not even vichy france) just hand off their navy with hardly a fart…

            mind you…we have to have something to talk about between the world series and spring training…

          3. hunkerdown

            Interests, good fellow, interests!

            Wikipedia is ineligible because it reflects a neoliberal, positivist worldview, which non-psychopathic humans tend to find offensive. Almost nothing written by US college grads can be trusted to comport with inconvenient facts on the ground or fairly represent viewpoints against personal interest. They have too much student debt to risk their jobs on that. Yet, it’s what’s out there, because rich people want to see it out there…

            Propaganda works and is widely used because people don’t have nearly as much agency as they believe they do. People can be manipulated; indeed, the arrogant ones who believe they’re above being manipulated invariably point to some “authority” like Alyssa Rosenberg to are in fact the worst tools I’ve met. Lots of pressure can be brought to bear on disrupting people when you know how to push their buttons and you can plant lots of people in their midst (see Solomon Asch’s conformity experiments).

            > Let me get this straight: US orchestrated coup in Ukraine (never mind absence of any factual evidence),

            Tight oil under Ukraine + Hunter Biden’s directorship in a Ukrainian energy concern + Shell being witnessed working in the area = an appearance of impropriety in the form of a vested interest, and frankly, people don’t need any more than that to reject a political arrangement. Politicians that assert the right to lie to us with impunity can’t be put under oath anyway, so in my mind, they don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.

            Human discernment isn’t a court of law. To expect otherwise is classist. Why follow legal standards when there will never, ever be a legal action against people defined as betters until the riots have destroyed almost everything they presume to own? For that matter, why bother with standards at all when the liberal classes and other system-justifiers choose the arguments and targets based not on validity or principle, but…

            their class interests.

            1. vlade

              You call for human discernment via indirect evidence as support for US orchestrating coup in the Ukraine, while denying the same for Russian meddling – and where Russian interest in Russian friendly Ukraine are much much clearer than any US interests in Ukraine.

              And, at the same time, denying agency to Ukrainian people, making them all puppets of US/CIA/whoever.

              This is a very very US centric view of the world, which totally ignores the fact that Russia has been expansionist for all its existence, and that all of its neighbours (and some even further out) were, at one time or another, victims of Russia’s expansionism, making them extremely vary of Russia.

              Now, I will be probably accused of being supportive of US regime – all I’ll say to that is that it’s likely the US regime is something you know closely, while I doubt you have the same level of geopolitic/historical context for central/eastern Europe.

              You know, the difference between Russia and US is that in US you can (still) elect Trump (even if lots of people predicted that the “system” will not let it happen – and clearly the system spent a lot of effort not to get Sanders a chance, so some of it is true, similar with Brexit, which all Brexiters predicted would be not allowed to win by the system), but there’s about 0 chance of anyone substantially critical of Putin getting major influence in Russia. Just ask Chechens and a number of other minorities that were substantially repressed in Russia.

              Of course, with what Yves describes above, US is on a good way to be where Russia is today, but that’s a different story.

              In other words, the fact that Russia is opposed to the (still current) US regime, which you don’t like too, should not mean that Russia are the good guys.

              The sad thing is, there are no good guys – all you can do is to choose from 50 shades of evil.

              1. timbers

                You call for human discernment via indirect evidence as support for US orchestrating coup in the Ukraine, while denying the same for Russian meddling

                What denial? I don’t see a denial of “Russia meddling.”

                While I don’t disagree with some of your points, you’re missing the point. Russia was invited. The US wasn’t. And the US coup was illegal and wrong. And another point: US meddling has made millions worse off. way, WAY worse off, while Russia’s (and the legitimate govt of Ukraine) made the correct decision for the people of Ukraine (to turn east not towards EU). If instead Ukraine had be allowed to move towards Russia’s “meddling” instead to the US, is there and doubt the people of Ukraine would be better off than they are now?

      3. shargash

        Invade: (1) to enter forcefully as an enemy; go into with hostile intent:

        You can only invade if you are on the outside. That is part of the structure of the word. Russian troops were already in Crimea. Therefore, it is physically impossible for them to invade, unless they left and came back in.

        So, yes, calling the Crimean affair an invasion is controversial. It is also propaganda.

        1. Harry D.

          You can only invade if you are on the outside. That is part of the structure of the word. Russian troops were already in Crimea. Therefore, it is physically impossible for them to invade, unless they left and came back in.

          Russian troops were stationed in several military bases in Crimea, where they were supposed to stay according to agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

          I suspect that if US troops stationed in Okinawa marched to Tokyo and blocked National Diet building preventing Japanese government from working, Japanese would probably called it invasion.

          Also at risk of being chastised again for using Wikipedia, see this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_military_intervention_in_Ukraine_(2014–present)#August_military_invasion

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            In fact, the accounts are almost entirely not not sourced and to the extent they are, they are from Ukrainian government officials or bodies (NATO) that were depending on Ukrainian accounts.

            We covered this extensively at the time. There were no organized Russian units sent into Ukraine, which is what it would require for an invasion to have occurred. There were disputed accounts of Russian soldiers working with rebels in the East. There are many families in the East that have relatives in Russia. I think it is entirely plausible that the word went down in the Russian military: if you go AWOL to help out in Ukraine, no one will say a word. I also would assume military advisers were sent in by Russia. The US does this sort of thing all around the world all the time and we would never stomach that being called an invasion.

            You seem to forget that the government in Kiev was not legitimate. Elections were scheduled to take place a mere six weeks after the Maidan rebellion. Yanukovich had single digit popularity and was clearly going to be outed by voters. So there was no apparent need for an overthrow. But the new government overturned the constitution.

            Moreover, Russian absorbed Crimea only after a referendum that asked citizens whether they wanted to join Russia or not. Yes, the legality of the referendum has been contested, but no similarly pointed questions have been asked about the transition of power in Kiev.

            1. vlade

              Putin admitted that there were unmarked Russian troops in Crimea, sent by Russia (IIRC, it was in April of the year, and his words were “of course our troops were backing the Crimea self-defence troops”). It was also clear from the equipment the photographed “green men” were using that these weren’t your standard weapons that you can buy (relatively) easily on a black market – often they were bleeding edge Russian weapons, which I’d assume Russian military would not be too happy if their AWOL soldiers were taking with them, and often non-standard issue, available only to a number of elite Russian units (IIRC, some of them were identified by the equipment).

              Not to mention that to run this ops, you’d need to have a reasonable logistic support (you’d need more than a few bags of ammo), which could not have come from anything else than directly Russian bases in Crimea.

              W/o the above, the Crimean separatists would not stand a chance. It may not have been an invasion under the normal definition, but it certainly was military operation.

              Eastern Ukraine is a different beast, as quite a bit of military equipment (including heavy one) used by pro-Russians could come from seized Ukrainian bases there.

              That said, the area still doesn’t have (currently available) capacity to produce war consumables, which get spent at a very quick pace, and the only reasonable supplier there can be Russia. I.e. the pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine would have to be logistically starved of materiel quite some time ago unless Russia was supplying it. Agree this doesn’t count as invasion though – but then, eastern Ukraine is much less strategically important to Russia than Crimea is, and just keeping Ukraine from stabilisation is a good enough goal for that.

              And yes, US does the above too – but I believe you disapprove of that. So I don’t believe that the argument “US does it too” is valid. Although certainly there is a very valid argument that says why should Russia back off when it sees US can get away with it, but that’s a different one.

              As I wrote above, there are no good guys on either side, and we should not be apologetic for either side. Those who lose the most are the normal people caught in the maelstrom.

              1. timbers

                And yes, US does the above too – but I believe you disapprove of that. So I don’t believe that the argument “US does it too” is valid.

                Still say you and Harry D. miss important points 1). The Russians were invited. If memory serves, the invitations were of greater requests than the Russians acted on, at least in eastern Ukraine. 2). What the Russians did was good for the people materially. In stark contrast to what the US did in Kiev, which is much much worse off materially now because of US meddling, than had it remained as it was, mostly economically integrated with the east as opposed it’s suicidal lurch towards EU.

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                Huh? Russia was sending materiel, and it was old, from the 1960s and 1970. Please provide a link to support your claim that they were providing newer stuff.

                More generally, Russia had no interest in controlling eastern Ukraine. It’s poor and would be an albatross. They just wanted it to serve as a de facto buffer zone.

                Russia also had a base in Crimea, or did you forget that? I never saw a single report of unauthorized movements of troops off the base prior to the referendum, and I was looking.

          2. Katharine

            You suspect if the troops on Okinawa marched to Tokyo the Japanese would call it invasion. I suspect they would call it a miracle. Most people would need boats or planes.

        2. 873450

          American soldiers have been stationed in Guantanamo for more than 100 years. Does that make it physically impossible for us to invade Cuba?

          Calling a military invasion/occupation an “affair” is believing the propaganda.

    1. Harold

      In a video of the US State Department spokesperson said “We’re calling it an invasion.” When the State Department uses a word, it means what the State Department wants it to mean, Humpty-Dumpty style, and the press is instructed to follow suit.

  6. LifelongLib

    I can get to the website on my cellphone, but my home pc Firefox browser says the site is offline (per Cloudflare). Same thing earlier this morning.

  7. RUKidding

    A lot of workplaces block non-essential – to that particular workplace – sites. Many businesses simply don’t want employees fooling around on the Internet.

    A local public law library has a filtered internet where only genuine legal sites are white listed. It’s unfortunate, but I’m told that the local homeless population (mainly) was coming in, attempting to watch tv (via hulu or similar sites), look at porn, read sports sites/blogs and so forth. that’s not within the library’s mission, and there’s not a lot of public computers. So the only way to deal with it was to block most of the internet, so that the computers would be used for legal reserach purposes only.

    I work part time for an employer who blocks access to nearly everything on the Internet on the company PCs. I don’t see it as an infringement or censorship. They state in their employee manual that the computers are for work purposes only.

    If the corporation is permitting employees to view Breitbart, Redstate and similar, while blocking NC, Counterpunch and similar, then I’d say that’s more cause for some concern.

    1. bob

      “Many businesses simply don’t want employees fooling around on the Internet. ”

      Sticking up for the little guy!

      Talk about virtue signaling.

      “If the corporation is permitting employees to view Breitbart, Redstate and similar, while blocking NC, Counterpunch and similar, then I’d say that’s more cause for some concern.”

      Before rushing the *moral* high ground, why not read the post?

    2. H. Alexander Ivey

      I don’t see it as an infringement or censorship. They state in their employee manual that the computers are for work purposes only.

      And people think they don’t do morality! Here is a perfect example of where they do exercise morality, every day, every way, and then pretend otherwise. (RUKidding’s argument that it is not his moral decision to limit internet access is the same as the gulag prison guard’s argument that he is only following orders. The individual’s decision to do these things is a moral decision.)

      Until the USofA gets an enforced Bill of Rights for workers/labour, workers will continued to be crushed and exploited; treated as second class citizens in their own country.

      1. hunkerdown

        Few companies let you joyride in a company vehicle or use their production equipment for “government work”. The only employee manual I’ve ever seen explicitly allowing use of company equipment on personal projects was from a tool-and-die shop where not doing so would drive skilled labor away. No sense letting the professional class alone get around non-alienated labor at work. They need to be as miserable as the rest of us before anything happens, so I prefer to keep pulling them into the mud until they stop trying not to help us get out of it.

        As Lambert says, the Internet is a hostile computing environment. Least-privilege is a time-tested and well-respected principle in computer security. If not for a strong defensive approach, the WaPoo’s first article could have been not-fake. I have no reservations, moral or otherwise, with restricting outbound requests and inbound executable code to the minimum required to operate. It’s an unfortunate artifact of accountability (ownership) and total hierarchy that I can’t not care about attribution or damages.

      2. RUKidding

        I am not personally limiting anything where I work, nor am I some sort of Internet gatekeeper. So comparing me to a USSR Gulag Guard seems, at best, pretty specious. At my full time job, there is unfettered access to the Internet. That’s mainly because of the type of work that we do requires Internet access. The very part time job I do is a whole different type of work, which in no way requires me to have access to the Internet to complete my work. Quite honestly, the part time job is so busy that I’d find it hard to have the time to even access the Internet, even if it was available. In all honesty, one could see what I do in the part time job as somewhat akin to working in retail, where the employees use a type of cash register style of computer to ring up the sales, assist people to their bills, etc. I seriously doubt that any of those machines provide access to the Internet, and I can’t see the retail employess feeling “censored” by not having that access via their cash registers.

        I’m a bit puzzled being tagged as doing “morality” in this instance. I guess that’s one point of view. If so, I do feel that, as an employee being paid for my work, I owe something to the company in terms of getting my job done at least adequately. We can argue about the rights and wrongs of the employee/employer relationship, how fair it is (mostly not), and so forth. I somehow missed that this is the point of this post, which I did read fully.

        The post asks if others are noticing censorship of certain websites in their workplace. I stated that I have never had access to the Internet at one place where I work. However, I stand by my statement that I fail to see that as the type of censorship described in the post – where it appears the person who wrote the email HAD access to NC and similar websites at his/her workplace, and now that access has been blocked. That, to me, is a form of overt censorship.

        Further down are comments about how many corporations are now requiring employees to use their own personal cell phones for work purposes, and that some employers are requiring their staff to install a suite of apps which include a type of “spyware” to review what the employee is doing on their own personal phone. I find that much more concerning than working for an business who provides computers to do the job but with no access to the Internet (which isn’t needed to complete the work).

        I’m puzzled by these responses. If I’m missing something, then I’d appreciate some clarification.

    3. Octopii

      I don’t want my employees fooling around on the Internet at work either. They can do it off the clock and I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

      Regarding timing of NC getting blocked: To an IT worker in a large corporation, “news” when published in the WaPo or NYT is certainly actionable. If it’s in the NYT your butt is covered (always a priority for large company IT people). They’re not going to go around independently verifying this stuff, and they’re not necessarily going to see the retraction notice if one is published later. I don’t think corporate blocking of independent news is something that can be stopped. Pretty soon (already?) we’re all going to be looked upon like fruitcakes by the rest of the soma-ized population.

      1. Katharine

        +1
        I know I’ve been out of the work force quite a while, but I had this strange old-fashioned notion that if it was time for which I was being paid and there was work to be done I should work. I did resist rare efforts to get me to work off the clock: that was my time. But I think it helps to be clear about the difference.

        The censorship question, as I see it, needs to focus on what is surely unconstitutional government restriction on media, and on the principle of an open internet. I cannot see that employers are obligated to provide free access, though when they provide biased access it resembles propaganda.

        1. jrs

          Were you allowed to set the hours you worked? Very few employees are. And until that is the case I see no point in arguing about the time being the employer’s. That’s just defense of power for power’s sake.

          The only reason employees aren’t ever allowed to decrease their hours even if they could afford it but employers are allowed in endless ways to increase them is because they have more power. That’s all, period. Ain’t no justice to it. When we are allowed to decide exactly how much we want to work for money then maybe ..

    4. H. Alexander Ivey

      I don’t see it as an infringement or censorship. They state in their employee manual that the computers are for work purposes only.

      RUKidding’s argument that it is ‘in the contract’, agreed on by both parties and therefore to be enforced is an example of false morality. Contracts are only moral when both parties have roughly equal power in the agreement. In the good ole USofA, labour/workers do not have enough power not to sign. The ‘contract’ is not moral! Logically, workers ‘work’ because the employer has a (figurative) gun to their head. It use to be, even in the good ole USofA, that contracts signed under ‘your signature or your brains on the paper’ situations, were legally (and morally) invalid.

      Plus, while it may now be legal in the good ole USofA for this type of infringement and censorship, RUKidding’s argument rests on the (questionable) concept that business & economics over-rule all other considerations – political, social, religion, etc. Only in the neo-liberal worldview is this concept given credence. And then, in typical Ayn Rand hypocrisy, only held by those who have the power NOT to live by it.

      1. jrs

        ah yes the things agreed to in employee contracts many far more onerous, that they can expose you to poisons that put your health at risk but you can’t sue, that if you leave voluntarily you can’t sue ever after, that all disputes must be arbitrated and you can’t sue, that you can’t start a competing business.

  8. Blue Meme

    Yves: the benefit of redacting the company name in the first sentence of the reader’s email is somewhat compromised by its inclusion in the third sentence.

    Also, that is not a mid-sized company. It is #XXX on the F500.

    Finally, I think the headline is a bit overwrought given how widespread this sort of thing already is. The camel’s nose entered the tent a while ago.

    1. reslez

      The point isn’t that corporations have control over their own networks (they do), it’s that it’s a new change and therefore likely related to the “Fake News” scare.

      I’m curious whether the company subscribes to a third party list of “sites to block” (many do) and whether a particular product or vendor made the decision to add NC and other sites to their block list after WaPo handed a megaphone to the ProPornOT scammers.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for catching the oversight, which I have remedied. However, you are incorrect in your assumption re the company. There are many with that word in its name, and his is not the multinational that you referred to, nor does it show up in a Wikipedia entry showing companies with that word in its name.

      I also beg to differ regarding the headline. Heretofore, NC has been accessible in virtually all companies. I’ve gotten very few reports of it being blocked, and it was,, readers have told me they believe it was due to the name, as in it was assumed to be a porn site. I’ve even been told of cases where internal fans got it off the company blacklist.

      This new wave of censorship looks to be political, and in this case, specifically of left-leaning sites.

      And this reader was able to access this and other sites at work and is no longer able to, and further believes (since his firm is not large enough for it to be likely to have incurred the expense to implement its own screens) that this came into effect through the use of a third-party service, meaning the impact is broader than this company.

      I find your cavalier attitude towards the New McCarthyism to be surprising. If small sites lose readers due to censorship, it will affect their ability to operate.

      1. blert

        The Ministry of Truth has been digitally superceded by the Internet gods… who wish… apparently… to remain nameless.

        This ‘blanket’ is being dropped wholesale.

        This is a variation on Fake News.

        Even Orwell missed this gambit.

      2. Blue Meme

        No, I’m not cavalier regarding the dire state of our (former) democracy. I think the most optimistic perspective is that it is in greater danger than at any time since the Civil War.

        The evidence you describe in your comment arguably supports the headline. Many pieces of the puzzle (the recent changes, the left-specific bias) were not included in the original post. Because employers do have the right to limit non-essential web access in general, a story like this requires a lot of specific facts in order to stick.

        Your blog is important. It is at its most powerful (e.g., the CalPERS saga), when its stories are so well documented that there is little room for argument.

      3. flora

        “new wave of censorship looks to be political”

        Yes. I did read the company’s name before it was redacted and assumed that, if blocking NC and CounterPunch is a new filter, one possible reason is the company wants to present a “politically correct face” to US and foreign govts from which it hopes to win contracts.

        And yes, the New McCarthyism needs to be called out and stopped in its beginning before it gains more strength and does more damage. If this were a contagious, dangerous health disease people would understand the need to act quickly to stop it spreading. The virulent witch-hunt of the 1950s McCarthyism caused damage most people don’t remember.

        1. hunkerdown

          Also, Ms. Zimdars herself might do well to hear of your great interest in her work. Is it time to go after her employers yet?

      4. Johnny Mnemonic

        Hi Yves,

        I like you blog because it seems to be mostly fair, though admittedly “left” if that is the label you prefer to call yourself, in that half of our distorted polarity politics today.

        I hardly call at least half of the left “left” when looking through the historical lens of classical liberalism. That same analogy could also be true for the right not being “right” as in classical conservatism.

        The establishment left and right both are practicing disaster capitalism.

        Then they manipulate their useful idiots in various ways paying lip service to “causes.”

        I think you are more classy than you give your self credit for. (PUN)

        I do agree with the first part of your sentence, “This new wave of censorship looks to be political” however, I respectfully disagree with your conclusion. …“and in this case, specifically of left-leaning sites.”

        Many of the sites cited by WAPO and then “Labeled” as being fake news were “right leaning”, but also a good amount were true alternative sites that defy labels like the waking times, the drudge report, etc.

        So one must ask, what do they tend to share in common, if anything? I would say the human natural curiosity to search for truth. That my friend is the future coalition this country truly needs to transcend the labels and unite to solve problems issue by issue.

        You must admit, AJ has a good name for the tactic being used on us. Infowars.

        How the hell can this country continue to use the 20th century model of lies and manufactured consent in the 21st Information Age? They sure are trying. This is technofascism, and in fact criminality to cover up ever more criminality as SOP.

        It will fail, but of course we need a model to replace it with.

        Secure P2P Communication, and distributed governance is the future in my opinion.

        http://phibetaiota.net/2013/03/open-source-everything-manifesto-extracts/

        What we have now reminds me of this movie.

        Profits over Ethics Johnny Mnemonic 1995

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRDVuWcMoyk

      5. Carolinian

        I don’t think we are complacent but the people pushing this latest urge to censor, not to mention the new Red Scare, are going out the door. The notion that Trump wants to censor the web is merely an assumption although his statements on the matter–typically–have been all over the block. If Hillary were coming to power then I believe we should worry a lot more. Indeed there’s the theory that the promulgators of the new law were acting on the assumption that Hillary would be coming to power.

  9. Sue Madden

    …..example of how the BS conventional wisdom manages to seep into everything.

    I likewise jumped out of my skin on hearing a lead contributor (Brice Couturier, at 11.55 on 2nd Jan) on the French public radio station France Culture, which admitedly is very mainstream in coverage of politics and economics (neoliberal bias), casually refer not only to Russia`s invasion of Ukraine but also to the US backed coup there as *“an orange revolution carried out in the name of European values”!!!!!

    This is just simply terrifying…… it left me speechless also for its implications.

    We just can no longer do without sites like Naked Capitalism. Thank you all….

    *(“La révolution orange, en Ukraine, menée au nom des valeurs européennes et en vue d’une adhésion à l’Union européenne, a valu à ce pays l’invasion par la Russie et l’annexion d’une grande partie de son territoire”)

    1. Massinissa

      Are you sure he wasn’t referring to the orange revolution in 2004? That was a different thing.

      Or are people claiming kicking out Yanukovich with US backing is Orange Rev 2.0 now? Because if the coup is considered a 2nd Orange Revolution now that is indeed very disturbing…

  10. Chris

    I’m more concerned with employers requiring employees to use their phones for work purposes. I’m also concerned about employers stating in their expectations and user agreements that they have the right to delete information or check an employee’s phone whenever they want. Employees shouldn’t use work computers to play on the internet.

    But now you see things like, “if you post on a social network that you work for company X, you agree to the following…” You see workplaces pushing things like Duo or other forms of two factor identification onto employees phones, which automatically means they have to agree to EULA’s set up by the employer. That’s not right. I don’t care if I have to use my phone to surf the Web or do personal things while I’m at the office. I care very much if they’re forcing me to use my phone to save them money and then not reimbursing me for it.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m not sure the requirement you are discussing is even legal and it sounds dopey. One of the distinctions between being an employee v. a contractor is that an employer provides you with the equipment you need to do your job. Requiring you to provide a phone is consistent with a contractor relationship, not an employeee-employer relationship. Plus if you are required to use a personal phone for work, what is on it (the record of phone calls) is your property, not theirs. But no prospective employee is going to take a job and then file a suit for a few hundred dollars of damages. That is what they are relying on.

      While in theory employees should only work strictly on employer business while at work, the day of the nine to five job with tidy work/life boundaries is dead as a dinosaur. White-collar employees are now expected to be accessible via e-mail in the evening and on weekends. The flip side is that most employers accept employees doing personal tasks during the work day, provided they still get their job done. It’s not as if workers don’t have downtime, like waiting for the call or meeting that is starting late. And it’s not as if employees were 100% productive in the nine-to-five day era either. Workers would make personal phone calls, run a personal errand on the way back from lunch, etc.

      1. Chris

        What I can tell you is that a lot of what you’re saying is not true for people working at big companies. Especially if those companies are involved in MIC type work, or if they’re employed by utilities. In that case, they make up for the lack of 24/7 communication by requiring a lot of extra work in the office.

        Those of us in related industries without the last name of Clinton have very strict boundaries between work and home. I am one of those people who would face penalties if even one email from work ended up on a server it wasn’t supposed to be on. And yes, my employer does say that if you post your employment status on FB or Linked In, while you are currently employed, you agree to certain limits on what you say and do on the social medium. And yes, they used to give out key fobs and such for two factor identification, but now they are phasing those out in favor of apps that employees must install on their personal phones. This is just like those little dongles from Progressive. Sooner or later, the people who don’t have them will be a minority and then they’ll be charged more for the privilege of resisting. Like you say, I could resist, but then I’d end up needing a new job sooner than I’d like.

        But I do agree that people who expect employees to be hyper focused GSD squirrels all day are kidding themselves. You need breaks. They make you more productive.

        1. jrs

          extroverts take breaks by gabbing and disturbing everyone else’s ability work not just their own, when they are in a gabfest is a good time to give up and surf the internet, at least that isn’t ruining everyone else’s concentration at the same time.

      2. anonymous123

        This is becoming more common that employers are asking employees to use personal cell phones for work purposes. My company tried to pull this on us last year and have us, in order to continue accessing company email on our personal phones, sign an “email security” document that said, among other things, that they could wipe our phones or examine the data on it upon departing the company or for an investigation. They tried to get around the reimbursement issue by saying that having company email on our phone isn’t a requirement for our jobs, but a courtesy that they afford us. They also tried to convince us that no one wants to carry two phones anyway, so they were making life easier for us! It was such BS. We are, for all intents and purposes, expected to reply to emails at all times, particularly when traveling to clients and away from our desks–it is essentially a requirement in spirit. I spear-headed a little resistance with group of colleagues and got one of my colleagues who is a lawyer by training to craft an argument as to why this new requirement to sign the document was inappropriate. Fortunately this got the company to back off, and the issue of trying to get us to sign away our rights disappeared. Who knows if it will come up again this year.

        My husband who worked at one of the big banks also was asked to install one of those secure programs on his smart phone in order to access company email. This cheap company wouldn’t even give him or his colleagues a company phone! Of course they never say you “must” have access to company emails at all times, but any employee who has an ounce of a sense of self-preservation knows it is expected.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I guess I’m providing my own minor fix to a systemic problem, but can’t you get a smart phone that’s as stupid as possible for your company phone? Then have your own personal phone for personal stuff. Yes, the company is forcing you to buy your own uniform…

          It’s also nutty that they can’t use their purchasing power to get you a cheap phone for company use, since this is their preferred route. And the boss’s brother-in-law could be the preferred provider…

      3. Aunt Sam

        Vouching for federal employees of at least one large federal agency, not under the military-intelligence-security umbrella: we are allowed broad Internet access on non-duty time (lunch), with exceptions for social media sites, etc. Alternative news sites such as NC are not blocked. Also, employees use gov’t-supplied laptops, not desktops, to use both in the office or elsewhere when teleworking. For employees who telework, they must provide phone equipment and service…no expensing allowed for phone or any other employment-related costs while teleworking, despite the union having negotiated a teleworking agreement for bargaining-unit employees.

    2. Tvc15

      I work for a large regional bank that stopped allowing us to expense our phones in 2009. Huge internal uproar, but we lost that battle. Executive reasoning for the new policy; everyone has one and this will be the industry norm. The bank is conservative risk wise and usually behind the curve innovation wise, but they were out in front of this opportunity to pass this expense on to the employees.

      I use my phone to access my work email via a Goode app and blindly trust that my company does not have access to the rest of my phone. I’ve been told they don’t, but if they do, they’d see I’m a daily reader of NC and other fake news sites, probably a commie. I’ve never attempted to access NC on my work laptop. Only bank friendly sites like Bloomberg, sort of like Hilary, I have a professional/work persona and a private anti-capitalism, corporations are evil for the most part thinking.

      1. Chris

        Yep. I know a lot of people in similar situations. Sometimes they give you a suite of apps to install, and then they claim the EU LA is limited to any related datags from those apps. Other times, they’ll just take your phone before you leave and wipe it clean. And always… you don’t really know what they can see and what they can’t.

      2. craazyman

        That’s a bit peculiar. I work for an investment management firm and read NC daily. the posts and links valuably inform my analysis, writing and general knowledge of global economics and finance.

        My reading of NC benefitst my employer in many ways, the insights I gain means my analysis and writing is better informed and insightful, and therefore better serves the interests of the firm’s clients.

        Incredible that any employer running a financial firm (other than perhaps the Vampire Squid and that ilk) would feel compromised should employees use NC as a professional on-the-job resource. In fact, even The Squid is probably thick-skinned enough to realize it’s probably good for its employees to know what’s going on. Certainly the asset management arm, where you really have to put up results, they’d be foolish not to read it. I bet they do. If they don’t they should.

        Although to be sure, politics may be different at a small firm like mine with an investment focus vs. a bank or other place that may be more political.

        If anyone ever tried to block NC I could personally have the decision overturrned, literally, in 3 minutues. But I don’t think they’re even aware of the site, to be honest. It’s not a rocket science place. My “boss” — which i define as a person who gets me what I want in order to do what I want — he is aware, through me, and occassionally reads the site wtih interest too.

        I don’t just post songs, jokes, nonsense and short stories here in the PG, some of which I just make up. I actually do use the site for its intended purpose! I probably shoudln’t admit that, since I won’t want to blow my reputation for laziness and immaturity.

        My message to employers would be this: If you want thoughtful and informed workers who do a better job, then don’t block serious websites. You’re only hurting yourself, your employee’s morale and their quality of work

        1. JTFaraday

          “My “boss” — which i define as a person who gets me what I want in order to do what I want”

          Boy, you’re worse than me. I usually say I’ve only had one boss, although I’ve certainly had more than one in the eyes of everyone else.

          I’ll probably die this way at this point. Though I suppose I’m still open to being taken by surprise.

          Mostly, I’ve done charity work for people who didn’t deserve it.

  11. Skk

    The free WiFi at the BofA. On top of Brand in Glendale. Cali, blocked me last Thu. They blocked you, zerohedge. Even the grauniad. Mishtalk was fine!

  12. Susan C

    I know I am going to sound incredibly paranoid by saying this, but I have wondered at times if this is real reason why that Anti-Propaganda law was rushed through Congress and signed into law – to rid the world of these alternative news websites such as NC and many others . . . so the government could better control how people are thinking, and doing that to better control the agenda of where we are headed as a country. I can’t help but think there is something more to this story, the Russian hacking story and this new law. Something hidden, deeper, more sinister that was already being set into place with the expectation that HRC would win. But since she didn’t win, the machinery has decided to proceed without her.

    1. hunkerdown

      Or, the machinery was set in motion well early into the Clinton campaign, and for a number of reasons, couldn’t be backed off. The terminal loss of trust in the Party would destroy many careers in Washington. The potentially terminal loss of what little credibility the Democratic Party and liberal government ever had outside the hipster/dandy class would make those vast parts of the US flanked on either side by empire, and possibly a copycat or two, essentially unruleable according to liberal norms.

      And something had to be done with all those donations Hillary didn’t spend. Elites would sooner die than not cheat the people by paying income tax. That’s why they’re elite.

  13. Ari

    I work at a midsize and prestigious asset management firm in Manhattan (yes, they still exist), in IT engineering. Of our 17 occupied floors, I constantly see users reading ZH and this blog among the many other independent fake news sites out there. I can’t imagine them blocking those kind of sites.

    We’re concerned with information security, not independent thought and opinions.

    We block social media and file sharing mostly on the corporate network. Said sites are available on employee WiFi which is isolated from the corporate network.

  14. Ulysses

    One very clear difference between now, and a few years ago, is that major search engines have a far more pronounced bias towards results that fall within the neoliberal mainstream. If you search for “Airbnb,” for example, the first inkling that there is anything controversial at all about the company doesn’t appear until several pages in, with a mildly critical NYT piece. Today’s excellent discussion at NC will only be discovered by very persistent searchers willing to go deep into the results!

  15. Chema

    As reslez mentions above, I am curious about the possibility that the PropOrNot list has been implemented by one of the “web blocking” software vendors. Bradblog does not seem to be in that list, though, an I wonder if the original poster could be contacted regarding the possibility that he tries every single site in the list just to check.

    Two thoughts about circumventing these blocks:

    * Use the Tor browser. Everything will be a bit slower, but you won’t be tracked / blocked.

    * For the nakedcapitalism.com administrators: publish the whole RSS feed instead of just a one-line summary. If I go to feedly.com (for instance) to read my blogs, no one at [midsized company] knows which subscriptions I have, specially as I am loading all content through HTTPS. Perhaps that particular aggregator is blocked, but there are several of them. This might not be the optimal solution for the admins because it can be trickier to include ads in the RSS feed, but it’s worth a thought.

  16. Temporarily Sane

    While companies blocking access to popular websites in the name of employee productivity is not necessarily motivated by nefarious intentions if they block NC & Counterpunch, say, but not the NYT or WaPo that raises some uncomfortable questions about conventional wisdom regarding reliable news sources. Private organizations can pretty much do what they want on that front and there is not much one can do besides not using their equipment to access the Internet, as has already been pointed out.

    Looking into my crystal ball I see a very disturbing scenario unfolding over the next months and years. By blatantly labelling news and editorials that challenge or the prevailing western narratives as “fake news” and passing bills to step up their propaganda efforts, the government (deep state?) is setting itself up to determine what is “real”and what is “fake” news, thereby saving the busy populace from the inconvenience of thinking.

    With the vast majority of western mass media and Google, FB and other corporate “partners” on board to help “ensure” people get “accurate information” this will seanlessly segue into the government and the media telling us that press freedom is under attack by dark forces opposed to democracy and freedom and these shadowy evildoers (Putin! Trump! China! Wikileaks! etc.) are disseminating fake news to confuse and confound citizens of the “free world” and the free western media must ensure that fake news is not allowed to seep into real news, which includes genuine dissent, of course. To not stop fake news from reaching the eyes and ears of westerners is to condemn the free and robust western media to the scrap heap and let Russia, China and their useful idiots undermine our precious and hard won freedoms and the very core of our free societies.

    And a large part of the citizenry, already softened up and stupefied by years and years of Soma consumption, will buy it.

    Combine this with pervasive surveillance, severely curtailed civil liberties and restricted access to justice for anyone deemed a “potential threat to national security” and its clear that transitioning from half-assed democracy into a bonafide police state can be accomplished over the space of a long weekend…with a significant number of people actively endorsing their own oppression.

    But “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”, right? Since we are a free and open society only the truly dangerous will be disappeared. It’s for our protection and to safeguard our cherished western way of life. Relax! Only agents and useful idiots beholden to Beijing and Moscow need worry.

  17. lb

    I work for a sizeable tech company and I have for several years. The company has gone from absurdly stringent filtering (so much so that a spoof site I linked which didn’t even exist was nonetheless blocked by the proxy due to its name implying the site sold human bones, legitimate sites I needed to access for technical work were banned due to “hacking” content, and so on) to reasonably permissive.

    My company is relatively healthy and reactive to employee concerns. When the most stringent filtering was put into place, many employees wrote to the management and IT administrators to complain, and those folks were responsive. Over the years, different technologies were employed by the IT folks to filter, some lame and rigid, some more malleable.

    My suggestion to those who find their choice of news and commentary sites blocked is to approach the management or administrators carefully but professionally to see whether anything can be done. If those in power are not malleable, it still might be possible to get information on the providers of the site filters (technologically) and blacklists (as a service). This information could then be shared with the broader community. Were an employee to be reasonably sure there was no danger to him/her, it could also be worthwhile to try to characterize the filtering by accessing various mainstream and generally harmless but less-than-mainstream sites, again for the purposes of sharing with the broader community.

    That’s just my two cents coming from a reasonably healthy environment, but I think it’s cautious, productive advice. Use of unauthorized proxies, VPNs and other more esoteric consumption of corporate network resources seem a bit dangerous; use of a phone in your pocket (via the non-corporate network) to browse less so. But let’s characterize the blocking/filtering providers if we can.

  18. Matt

    My wife is much more loyal to the Democratic Party thank I am. She liked the idea of Obama signing the law into effect that would allow cabinet members of the president and intelligence agencies censor internet news. After all she thinks that Russians are the reason Donald trump was elected.

    I reminded her that trump’s cabinet will be in place after January 20th, so does she still feel good about trump’s cabinet monitoring and catagorizing what is fake news or not? Needless to say, she quickly changed her mind about supporting obama signing that into law.

  19. sillyconValley

    We have noticed that our office connection (silicon valley) blocks the Intercept and Wikileaks (at least for the last year). We have not found other sites that are also blocked as of yet.

  20. Tomonthebeach

    I don’t suppose that any of the people reacting to this post considered the possibility that their employers do not want them using their company computer and internet access for personal enrichment or entertainment while being paid to do something else. You can call it censorship if you want, but the fact that it is not 100% all blogs and RSS feeds Right or Left-leaning is likely because they cannot anticipate all the sites they need to block. Breitbart.com might be next!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are missing the point. The employer in question is not blocking access to all news and information sites, only certain ones. The blacklisting of NC is not part of an effort to keep workers from using the Internet for personal activities.

      And as several readers pointed out, NC is an important source of information for anyone working in finance and related fields.

  21. Normal

    It would seem pretty simple to create a program or web service that would ping a wide variety of URL’s and log the blocked sites. Then build a database of who blocks what.

  22. Praedor

    Except when I was in the military, I ALWAYS see such blockages as a challenge to skirt around. Via VPN, via proxy, whatever. Anything and everything I could do to defeat their censorship and stick my finger in the censor’s eye.

    OK, I DID do a little towards trying to thwart military censorship, including setting up a private proxy at my home and using that but I didn’t go very far with it. Getting caught going around the censorship would have been a big, bad deal.

  23. Lyle

    On a related topic the Ukraine is a basket case of an economy. In particular in steel they are far behind the rest of the world, with 50% of the steel there made with the obsolete open hearth furnace, compared with 20% in russia and near zero for the rest of the world. If you look at incomes they are far higher in Russia than the Ukraine, so russian speakers in Ukraine feel they would be better off in Russia than the Ukraine.
    Why the Ukraine should be such a basket case is not clear since it has been since before the Romans a breadbasket for Europe.

  24. bob

    Meant to be in response to Lyle above

    “Why the Ukraine should be such a basket case is not clear since it has been since before the Romans a breadbasket for Europe.”

    Food seems to be at the center of everything there. Search Cargill and Ukraine to see how much they’ve been buying there. Just one example-

    http://www.cargill.com/connections/new-port-project-in-ukraine-will-benefit-farmers-economy-and-food-security/index.jsp

    One of those “largest” private companies you never hear enough about, yet they’re probably 20-30% of US’ians grocery bill.

    The balance of payments issues for Ukraine, with respect to these deals are never properly analyzed. They are HUGE.

  25. JPE

    In my corporate network, thesun.co.uk is banned. I think it is because the sysadmin is a Brit and he cares a lot about British narratives even though he and I are in Singapore.

  26. FedUpPleb

    The word has been given. A mistake like last year’s election will not be permitted to reoccur.

    Simple brute force cutting access/adding sites to default censorship lists, is more effective that one might image. Remember that, love it or hate it, the post-war consensus has been built on the back of intellectual and in particular media groupthink. And groupthink is a lot easier to maintain if the thinkers and journalists are placed in bubbles and echo chambers.

    Sites like this, with alternative viewpoints and data, were only one click away from those inside the establishment. One click away from the minds and viewpoints of those inside the system. Make no mistake, if the Narrative is weak, such easy access to alternative views can rip it apart like wet paper.

    This can no longer be tolerated.

    If Donald Trump — Donald Trump — is electable to the Presidency of the United States, then no institution, existing consensus, or established order is now guaranteed or sacrosanct. Banks, bailouts, media access, tax codes, trade agreements, laws of all kinds, academic funding, travel arrangements, sincures of every and all kinds, nothing is sacred anymore! The Recession can now come visting anyone! Even the coddled Protected classes whom austerity has hitherto looked after.

    Most importantly of all: It’s not about Trump.

    Trump is just the symptom. Even if he is removed, it is possible for another Trump to emerge, or for the public to make its fury felt upon another institution. Possible so long as access to that most critical force of change — IDEAS — is free and unfettered for those outside and above all INSIDE the system. So what if the plebs can read NC; but horror of horrors, so can the policy makers and their dinner guests! That’s why you’re getting blocked. Expect to be added to several lists.

    We have entered the Brezhnev phase of the post-war West.

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