Facebook’s “Libra”: A Backdoor to ChiCom Style Censorship?

Facebook executive David Marcus, formerly of PayPal, appeared this week before the US Congress to introduce what could eventually become the world’s most-used e-currency system.  Facebook has plans for this to become the preferred monetary instrument of the platform’s 2 billion global users.

It’s called “Libra”. Major media deem Facebook’s “Libra” a cryptocurrency. Yet the project is in fact antithetical to what cryptocurrency enthusiasts espouse. This is primarily because of the fact that the digital money will be centralized and there is a very high financial bar to becoming a Libra participant ($10 million to become a transaction-authenticating “node”), thus making it an ideal vehicle for censorship.

Such censorship could be realized via Facebook et al’s de facto ability to financially penalize certain individuals whose ideas and speech are not compliant with its own “Terms of Service,” and likely what Libra and its eventual consortium of major corporate controllers deem acceptable.

In light of state “innovations” such as China’s “social credit/national reputation” system, where its citizens can be excluded from real world activities simply because of their ideas and behavior, such a project brings up special concerns on how access to Facebook money may eventually be used.

In light of this Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy poses the most significant question of the hearings:

“Can Milo Yiannopoulos or Louis Farrakhan [both of whom have been banned from Facebook due to the content of their speech] use Libra? … On Facebook you don’t allow gun sales. So can a gun dealer who’s abiding by American law, use your system?”

Facebook’s Marcus replied that “we haven’t written a policy yet” governing such potential exclusion.

What is certain, however, is that the when that policy is written, it will be overseen and enforced not by democratically elected officials, but rather the major private corporate participants comprising the Libra consortium.

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Thank You For Helping to Defend the First Amendment

We Need Your Continued Support

In 2016 James Tracy and the Florida Civil Rights Coalition (FCRC) filed a federal lawsuit against Florida Atlantic University (FAU) for its unlawful termination of Tracy’s tenured professorship of 14 years.

Professor James Tracy Florida Atlantic University 2015 Faculty Profile. Source: WebArchive

The essence of the case revolves around the fact that FAU trustees and administrators disapproved of Tracy’s political views, expressed on his personal blog. They therefore utilized an unconstitutional prior restraint (“Outside Employment Policy”) barring Professor Tracy’s right to free speech as the basis for his dismissal. Moreover, to this day these very officials continue to use the same policy to limit university faculty and employee expression.

In 2017 a hostile court dismissed most of TracyvFAU’s First Amendment claims, ruling in favor of FAU and its administrators, and barring crucial evidence in advance of the case ever going to a jury.

Anticipating such a setback, the FCRC successfully engaged a prominent national law firm which, recognizing the case’s  significance, brought the lower court ruling before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

In June 2019 the Eleventh Circuit’s panel of judges granted the case oral argument. Such a hearing is less-than-common at the federal appellate level. TracyvFAU is scheduled to be heard the week of September 16, 2019 in Miami, Florida. We are uncertain of the judicial outcome, but are grateful that the case is under review at this momentous level.

The James Tracy Legal Defense Fund wants to thank all of you for your moral and/or monetary support along the way. Because we have taken on a state agency with unlimited resources, there is no way we could have endured this fight for over three long years without you.

Yet our work is not finished.

Continue reading Thank You For Helping to Defend the First Amendment

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