Censoring proof of censorship – that would be a new low for the current US administration, but that is what newly released documents – emails – are now revealing as the inner workings of the Biden White House related to online speech, and what they say they consider to be “misinformation.”
The new documents refer to the time last September when some journalists and civil rights advocates wanted to probe the role of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in censorship on social sites – a part of what is now widely considered collusion between various government agencies, and privately-owned tech giants.
But, it would appear that instead of being forthcoming about this information – in the spirit of democracy, and also, since the cat was already out of the bag anyway – the government, via the Department of Justice (DoJ) got busy trying to effectively sabotage these efforts, Lee Fang reported.
The method was to “at least” slow down the rate at which public records having to do with the authorities’ behavior were released to the public.
These latest revelations have to do with DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA), University of Washington (UW) professor and a CISA advisory panel member Kate Starbird, who also heads a “disinformation” outfit at the university (funded by the government), and requests from the Daily Caller News Foundation, Tech Inquiry, journalist Lee Fang, and the Government Accountability Project, all separately asking for records from the UW.
Requests varied, but all had to do with Starbird – her job was to assist CISA in “moderating” -i.e., censoring – some types of Twitter and Facebook content.
Instead of providing this information, Western District of Washington Assistant US Attorney Annalisa Cravens emailed Starbird saying that CISA informed them about the requests – and, “(…) We would ask to have an extension of time before the records are produced so that we can have time to review them and assess whether we’ll have to file suit to protect them from disclosure,” the email reads.
This is an example not only of how the power the government has given itself to be the arbiter of what content, particularly political, or construed as political, people have access to online – but also of how it goes about trying to minimize the perception of its involvement.
“It is not clear which documents may have ultimately been delayed, withheld, or redacted because of the Biden administration’s interference in the public records request,” Lee Fang writes.