Well, YouTube has restored the episode of The Private Citizen they’ve blocked yesterday. Apparently, I’m not a liar or incredibly bad at my job or whatever they were alleging with their unjustified claim of a TOS violation. They say in an email:

After taking another look, we can confirm that your content does not
violate our Community Guidelines.

Thanks for your patience while we reviewed this appeal. Our goal is to make
sure content doesn’t violate our Community Guidelines so that YouTube can
be a safe place for all – and sometimes we make mistakes trying to get it
right. We’re sorry for any frustration our mistake caused you, and we
appreciate you letting us know.

I guess that’s admitting that they fucked up. No explanation of how such an incredibly dumb mistake could have happened to such a supposedly very smart company, though.

I am still awaiting a response from their press office with a proper explanation. In my opinion, this automated email is a very sorry excuse for supressing important journalistic work. I will continue my research into what options journalists have to prevent overblocking like this.

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You probably know that I record a weekly podcast on privacy, security, civil rights and other policy issues. You might also know that I record each episode live on Twitch and later upload it to my YouTube channel. Today, YouTube informed me that one of my videos had been blocked for a TOS violation for the first time.

They have removed the video for episode 74 of The Private Citizen because it allegedly contains “medical misinformation” with regards to COVID-19. This is a ludicrous claim and obviously bogus – that should be clear to anyone who listens to the episode (which is of course still available in podcast form). It was probably an automatic decision and YouTube is not providing any information on why they think I violated their TOS at all.

Now, it happens that I am not just some random YouTuber. I am a journalist and this video was made with my usual journalistic standards (see my previous work and the ethical guidelines for journalists in the German press codex , which I follow to the letter to the best of my abilities). As such I regard this kind of unsubstantiated claim as a grave insult to my work ethics. And I will fight this tooth and nail – my professional reputation is on the line here.

I have disputed the claim and contacted Google’s press office to provide me with information on why they think I violated their TOS, i.e. detailed justification as to where exactly my video contradicts expert guidance from the WHO and/or RKI. I will also take up this matter with my trade union, the DJV, as I consider this kind of behaviour by YouTube to be a threat to press freedom, especially of independent freelance journalists, here in Germany. I will keep you informed about Google’s response and my further steps in the matter.

Funnily enough, I pretty much predicted that something like this might happen on the podcast only last week when talking about YouTube, upload filters, journalism and free speech: The Private Citizen 73: A Great Time to Be a Podcaster.

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What the fuck is wrong with Microsoft? They push this shit on my taskbar with a minor update? Not even with one of those twice-a-year feature updates?

Look at that shit! Pixelated weather icon looks like it was copied off 1998-era ICQ assets. The fucking font isn’t the same as anything else on the taskbar (or the Start menu for that matter). It’s blurry as fuck as well. And the whole thing doesn’t even adhere to the operating system’s language settings? What the hell, Redmond?

I legit thought someone had installed malware on my computer. This whole thing looks like baitware for a trojan straight from a Russian hacker forum that you get served as a “Free Weather App for Windows” via some scammy banner ad. Only remembering that I shut down my PC for a Windows update before booting into Linux last night saved me from total panic here. And a search on the web.

Apparently, Microsoft has tested this absolute shitshow since January. How the fuck did nobody notice that this piece of shit looks like Russian malware and not like a part of the operating system made by the fucking maker of the operating system? Jesus Christ. People are really going soft in the brain working from home.

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Talking Life, the Universe and Everything While under Enemy Fire

I’ve started a new podcast and I think it’s pretty neat.
Read more →

“Aлтын”

Escape from Tarkov

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What’s Been Going On?

An update on what’s happening in my life and why I haven’t been around as much.
Read more →

“One Small Step for Man”

First steps taken outside of my ship
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey

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Give Me Telecasters, Let Them Rock (Part 2)

I recently discovered The Steel Woods, a band I had never heard about before and whose music is brilliant and exactly what I need right now.

Give Me Telecasters, Let Them Rock (Part 1)

Through his association with The Steel Woods, I’ve discovered another outlaw country music artist called Cody Jinks. He used to front a metal band before he gave that up to play the music of his youth and find success. He released his first full album in 2010 and his tenth album was just released.

Being from Fort Worth, he has the Texas accent I enjoy very much. That accent is one of the reasons I’ve listened to an absolute shit-ton of Billy Joe Shaver over the last few years. That and Shaver’s excellent songwriting. Cody Jinks sees himself in the tradition of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash and he certainly lives up to those high ideals. His songwriting rivals Billy Joe’s, which is about as good as it gets this side of Bob Dylan. And his Telecaster absolutely slaps. Plus, that backing band of his, the Tonedeaf Hippies, are a thing to behold. His lyrics are as intelligent as the stuff The Steel Woods are rocking. And, as an added bonus, Jinks’ vocal range is a lot more along my usual preferences. And what a voice he has!

They guy looks more like a metal or hard rock guitarist than a country frontman, but he definitely has the country in his blood. You can’t fake it. Not like that. I just wish there were more live shows of his on the web. Hell, if we ever get concerts again and this guy comes anywhere near Germany, I’m there in a heartbeat. Just LISTEN to this guy…

Cody Jinks – Loud and Heavy (Adobe Sessions Unplugged)

This entry was originally published in ⇒ my gemlog in the Gemini space.

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Give Me Telecasters, Let Them Rock (Part 1)

I’ve always liked country music. Ever since I spent a year living in the backwoods of Queensland, Australia in the year of 2000, country music has been as much part of my being as the cowboy hats I’ve been wearing ever since. Slim Dusty, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Billy Joe Shaver and, of course, Johnny Cash have shaped my understanding of a world away from the city where I grew up until I was 18. These men have shaped my understanding of what it means to be a man. As I grow older, and as my respect for most of my other musical heroes and the things they stand for is waning among the insanities of the pandemic, I find myself turning more and more towards country music.

See my previous post on Van Morrison and the absence of rebels in today’s music

I enjoy the tell-it-as-it-is lyrics and musical simplicity of country in a time where everybody seems to turn out to be a hypocrite lying through their teeth. Especially outlaw country has always inspired me with its I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-your-mainstream-opinion attitude. This attitude is the reason for the outlaws part of the “Linux Outlaws” name. And it’s an attitude that is especially needed in these times where everyone seems to agree with everything the talking heads on TV are saying. I want more country in my life right now. Down-to-earth lyrics, a couple of Telecasters cranked through a very loud amp, a bass and a drumkit and let ‘er rip!

So I’m always on the lookout for some good new country to listen to. That’s why my interest was piqued immediately when I recently read a story somewhere about this southern country band going through some tough times. They have just released a new album, even though their band leader and song writer had died earlier in the year. The story was accompanied by a photo of some seriously cool looking dudes of about my age in serious hats and packing serious Telecaster action. I was sure, based on the picture alone, that I would like these guys.

And indeed, I love these guys. They are called The Steel Woods and they are amazing. They have the most powerful country rock sound I’ve heard in ages. I love their southern heritage and even though their singer has a vocal range that’s a lot higher than the stuff I usually prefer, his voice is extremely captivating. And their lyrics are extremely intelligent, too. I listened to their three albums in one sitting and one of the songs made me flat out cry. These dudes are the real deal. They are amazing. I’m very glad I found their music.

Wherever you are now, Rowdy, rest in peace. And thank you for these wonderful songs! I hope the rest of the band can continue to do them justice and will record many, many more in your memory.

The Steel Woods – Rock That Says My Name (Live in Memphis, TN)

This entry was originally published in ⇒ my gemlog in the Gemini space.

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Where Have All the Rebels Gone?

I’ve recently stopped listening to a lot of the music I’ve previously enjoyed. I don’t feel it’s currently the right time for Bruce Springsteen to sing about the travails of the working class or for metal bands to innocently explain some historic battle to me. Instead, I’ve been listening a lot to Merle Haggard, Billy Joe Shaver, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. What do all of these artists have in common? They are almost incessantly pissed off. Which I feel fits the situation we’ve been in for the last year quite well.

Van Morrison has become a particular favourite. The man’s always been weird and abrasive – as anyone who’s ever been to one of his concerts knows. Hell, he once wrote a complete album of unreleasable music because his record company fucked him over. And Van Morrison, of all people, is the only established musician I can find, who’s actually speaking out against the things going wrong right now. Van Morrison, of all people, the small, quiet blues man, is suddenly the most punk of the group.

On his latest album with the quirky meta name “Latest Record Project – Volume 1”, there’s as song called “Where Have All the Rebels Gone?”. And in that song, Van puts to music exactly what I have been asking myself for over a year now:

Where have all the rebels gone?
Hiding behind computer screens
Where’s the spirit, where’s the soul?
Where have all the rebels gone?

Why don’t they come out of the woodwork now?
One for the money, two for the show
It’s not very rock and roll
Where have all the rebels gone?

Where have all the rebels gone?
Waiting for someone else to make a move
Why are they sitting on the fence?
Well, it’s some kind of pretence
They’re not saying much at all
Where have all the rebels gone?

Where they really all that tough?
Or was it just a PR stunt?

Van Morrison: Latest Record Project – Volume 1

This entry was originally published in ⇒ my gemlog in the Gemini space.

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