Aug 06, 2020
US Army esports team unbans commenters who asked about American war crimes
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In a statement sent to The News Brig, a spokesperson for the army said the esports team would be “reinstating access for accounts previously banned for harassing and degrading behavior” and that it was “reviewing and clarifying its policies and procedures for the stream.” The esports outfit, which paused streaming last month after accusations it was violating the first amendment by banning users, said it would “resume streaming on Twitch in the near future, but a specific date has not been set at this time.” Military Twitch streams are government forums and have to respect the first amendment, say lawyers
The US military’s use of esports as a recruitment tool has come under scrutiny in recent months. Reports have highlighted how the US Army’s esports channel has used misleading prize giveaways to push users to recruitment pages, and how viewers have been banned for asking army streamers about war crimes committed by the US military.
This last point has led to complaints by free speech advocates, who argue that a video game stream run by the US military is the same as any other public forum overseen by the government, and thus has to uphold first amendment principles. As one attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute, Katie Fallow, said in a statement: “The Army and Navy can’t constitutionally delete comments or ban people from these Twitch channels simply for asking questions about issues they would rather not address.”
Last month, the Knight First Amendment Institute wrote to both the Army and Navy’s esports teams asking them to unban users and publish clear policies for their accounts. The institute has previously sued President Donald Trump for blocking critics on Twitter under the same grounds. It won its case and the president was forced to unblock dozens of users.
“The team is reviewing and clarifying its policies and procedures for the stream and will provide all who have been banned the opportunity to participate in the space as long as they follow the team’s guidelines,” said the US Army in a statement. “Personal attacks, crude language, pornographic material, harassment and bullying will not be tolerated on the stream, and action will be taken if individuals choose to engage in this behavior.”
News Source: newsbrig.com
Tags: esports team
Dallas : Federal judge blocks US government measures against the WeChat application .
In a ruling dated Saturday, Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in California said the government’s actions would affect users’ First Amendment rights as an effective ban on the app removes its communication platform.
WeChat is a popular messaging app among many Chinese-speaking Americans that serves as a lifeline for friends, family, clients, and business contacts in China. It is owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent.
A group of WeChat users made the request after the United States Department of Commerce said on Friday that it would ban WeChat from the country’s app stores and prevent you from accessing essential Internet services in the country, effective Sunday at 11:59 pm
The government cited national security and data privacy concerns by cracking down on WeChat and imposing similar restrictions on TikTok, another popular Chinese-owned app.
The restrictions on TikTok were delayed for a week on Saturday after President Donald Trump said he supported a proposed deal that would make TikTok an American company.
TikTok is a social network created in China that is fashionable among young people and has become very popular during the pandemic. To see more from Telemundo, visit now.telemundo.com
WeChat users had argued that the measure directed at the application with instant messaging, social network and other communication tools, would restrict freedom of expression.
In the ruling, the court said that a WeChat ban “removes all meaningful access to communication in the plaintiff community” and that a court order would be in the public interest.
The US government had previously argued that it is not restricting freedom of expression because WeChat users are still “free to speak on alternative platforms that do not pose a threat to national security.”
The specific evidence that WeChat poses a threat to national security was also “modest,” according to Judge Beeler.
The dispute over the two apps is the latest flash point in rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies as the Trump administration tries to counter China’s influence.
Since taking office in 2017, Trump has waged a trade war with China, blocked mergers involving Chinese companies and stifled the business of Chinese companies such as Huawei, a maker of telecommunications and telecommunications equipment.