The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Instagram begins letting users report misinformation

France24 –AFP, 15 August 2019


San Francisco (AFP) - Instagram on Thursday added a way for users to easily report deceptive posts at the photo and video-oriented social network owned by Facebook.

A new tool being rolled out out lets Instagram users tap a "report" option on-screen when they see a post they deem dubious, then tap a "false information" tag to prompt review by third-party fact-checkers, according to Facebook spokeswoman Stephanie Otway.

The option was expected to be available to all Instagram users by the end of this month.

Such prompts will be one of several "signals" used to determine whether content should be scrutinized by fact-checkers, who will determine their veracity.

"Starting today, people can let us know if they see posts on Instagram they believe may be false," Otway said.

"We're investing heavily in limiting the spread of misinformation across our apps, and we plan to share more updates in the coming months."

The world's biggest social network has been cracking down on fraudulent influence campaigns and bogus posts as pressure has mounted for online platforms to defend against efforts to manipulate online conversations.

User-reported Instagram posts found to be bogus but not in violation of the service's policies will not be deleted, but won't appear when users use "explore" or hashtag searches to discover content.

"Explore and hashtags allow people on Instagram to find content they haven?t already chosen to follow, and by filtering misinformation from these places, we can significantly limit its reach," Otway said.

Feedback from the new tool will be used to train artificial intelligence software to scan for, and rate, fake posts without waiting for them to be reported, according to Facebook.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Twitter reveals unauthorized data use

France24 – AFP, 7 August 2019

Twitter said the error had been corrected and that it was "taking steps to make
sure we don?t make a mistake like this again" AFP/File

Paris (AFP) - The social network Twitter said overnight that user's personal data had been used for advertising purposes, without their consent and despite dedicated settings to counteract such events.

A Twitter statement said the fault was corrected Monday and that an investigation was being conducted to determine how many people had been affected, while advising users to verify their data sharing settings.

The situation involved two cases, the first one arising if users clicked or viewed an advertisement for a mobile application and then interacted with it since May 2018.

"In that case, we may have shared certain data (e.g., country code, if you engaged with the ad and when, information about the ad, etc) with trusted measurement and advertising partners, even if you didn't give us permission to do so," the statement said.

The second case involved Twitter showing people ads "based on inferences we made about the devices you use, even if you did not give us permission to do so," it added.

In that case, data was not used outside the company and did not contain personal information such as passwords or e-mail accounts, according to Twitter.

Twitter apologised for not respecting users' choices, and insisted that it was "taking steps to make sure we don?t make a mistake like this again."

"What is there for you to do? Aside from checking your settings, we don't believe there is anything for you to do," the statement said.

It provided a link to a form that allows users to contact its office of data protection for more information.

The problems arose after Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May 2018.

The GDPR binds social media platforms and websites to ensuring they have user's explicit consent to collect personal data for advertising purposes or on behalf of third-party enterprises.

It also obliges companies that have been a victim of personal data loss to alert competent authorities in the country where their European headquarters are located, in this case Ireland, within 48 hours of their discovery, and the people affected as soon as possible.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Deloitte fails to deliver government IT project, loses contract

DutchNews, August 6, 2019

Illustration: Depositphotos.com

The cabinet has cancelled a contract with Deloitte for failing to deliver on an IT project to facilitate the hiring of external staff, broadcaster NOS reports. 

Deloitte, which has already spent most of the €6m earmarked for the project, had been warned earlier for not making enough progress by the government monitoring agency BIT which keeps an eye on large ICT projects. 

At the time the agency cited insufficiently defined project costs and confusion over management and roles, and the lack of a clear approach to the implementation of the new system. DigInhuur, the agency said, would not be active at the end of 2019 as planned even if the problems could be solved at a stroke. 

Deloitte was given more time but was still found to be insufficiently on course. It is not clear if the infrastructure ministry will be claiming back the money, NOS said. 

The Deloitte project is far from the first government IT project to run into trouble. In 2014, a parliamentary commission concluded the state is wasting between €1bn and €5bn a year on failing IT projects.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Dutch Fortnite gamer wins a cool $1m at world championships

DutchNews, July 29, 2019 

Spectators follow the game at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium. Photo: Benedikt
Wenck/dpa Photo via Newscom

Dave Jong, who goes by the name of Rojo, has come second in the first ever Fortnite World Championship in New York at the weekend, bagging a million dollar slice of the unprecedented $30m prize money – despite only taking up the game a year ago. 

The 21-year-old and his British partner Jaden ‘Wolfiez’ Ashman left 48 other teams in the duo competition standing, and only had to concede victory to Norwegian Emil ‘Nyhrox’ Bergquist Pedersen and Thomas ‘Aqua’ Arnould from Austria who went home with $3m each.

‘This is super cool,’ Jong told NOS. ‘We trained really hard so I did expect to end up in the top 10. But to get to second place was a bit of a surprise.’ 

Jong said he didn’t know what he was going to do with the money. ‘I’ll probably invest it. I don’t really need a house. I’m fine living with my mum,’ he told the broadcaster. 

In Fortnite players are dumped on a virtual island where they have to find weapons, build structures and eliminate each other until one player comes out on top.

It is currently one of the most popular online games with tens of millions of active players worldwide.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Equifax to pay up to $700 mn over data breach: US

Yahoo – AFP, Rob Lever, July 22, 2019

The data breach at credit monitoring firm Equifax exposed highly sensitive data
from tens of millions of consumers (AFP Photo/Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV)

Washington (AFP) - US credit monitoring agency Equifax agreed to pay up to $700 million in a settlement stemming from a data breach that affected nearly 150 million customers, regulators said Monday.

The biggest-ever penalty in a data breach case was announced by the Federal Trade Commission and state regulators following revelations that hackers had stolen the personal details of millions, including names, dates of birth and social security numbers.

"Companies that profit from personal information have an extra responsibility to protect and secure that data," FTC chairman Joe Simons said in a statement announcing the settlement.

"Equifax failed to take basic steps that may have prevented the breach that affected approximately 147 million consumers," he added.

The settlement, subject to court approval, calls for at least $300 million of the penalty to go to affected consumers, and to provide extra credit monitoring beyond what the company has already offered.

Additional money will be added to this consumer fund based on the number of claims filed, officials said.

"As part of our settlement, Equifax will provide every American who had their highly sensitive information accessed with the tools they need to battle identity theft in the future," said New York state Attorney General Letitia James, one of the state regulators in the case.

Federal Trade Commission chairman Joe Simons, seen at a hearing in Congress 
this year, announced a settlement with credit monitoring firm Equifax over a 
massive 2017 data breach that exposed personal and financial information (AFP 
Photo/CHIP SOMODEVILLA)

"Equifax put profits over privacy and greed over people, and must be held accountable to the millions of people they put at risk."

Some $175 million will be paid to states joining the litigation and $100 million in civil penalties to the federal government to settle charges of unfair and deceptive practices.

According to documents filed in court, Equifax will offer affected consumers "cash compensation, credit monitoring, and help with identity restoration" and must spend at least $1 billion to improve its data security.

Consumers may receive up to 10 years of free credit monitoring or $125 cash to cover their own monitoring costs, the FTC said. Those who experienced identity theft may receive up to $20,000 in compensation.

'Equifax chose us'

While Equifax does not deal directly with consumers, it handles sensitive information on them to help lenders determine borrowers' creditworthiness in the United States and some other countries including Britain. It is one of three large credit-reporting agencies in the United States.

Maryland state attorney general Brian Frosh said the breach was troublesome because most consumers did not know their data was being collected or consent to it.

The worst thefts of personal data by number of victims (AFP Photo/
Thomas SAINT-CRICQ)

"We did not choose Equifax, Equifax chose us," he told a news conference in Washington with FTC and other officials.

"It collected our personal information... and it sold the product and some of the raw data to other people."

The FTC said that Equifax learned of a vulnerability in its network in March 2017 but failed to patch its network or notify consumers until later in the year.

Origin remains unclear

While not the largest breach -- attacks on Yahoo leaked data on as many as three billion accounts -- the Equifax incident could be the most damaging because of the nature of the data collected: bank and social security numbers and personal information of value to hackers and others.

It remains unclear who was behind the Equifax hack, but some experts said it appeared to be the work of a state-sponsored actor.

Equifax chief executive Mark Begor said in a statement: "This comprehensive settlement is a positive step for US consumers and Equifax as we move forward from the 2017 cybersecurity incident and focus on our transformation investments in technology and security as a leading data, analytics, and technology company."

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The machine that made the Moon missions possible

Yahoo – AFP, Issam AHMED, July 12, 2019

The astronauts would input two-digit codes for verbs and nouns, to carry out
commands like firing thrusters, or locking on to a particular star to re-align
the ship (AFP Photo/Handout)

Washington (AFP) - We've all been there: you're working on something important, your PC crashes, and you lose all your progress.

Such a failure was not an option during the Apollo missions, the first time ever that a computer was entrusted with handling flight control and life support systems -- and therefore the lives of the astronauts on board.

Despite an infamous false alarm during lunar descent that sent Commander Neil Armstrong's heart rate racing, it was a resounding success that laid the groundwork for everything from modern avionics to multitasking operating systems.

Here are some of the ways the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), millions of times less powerful than a 2019 smartphone, shaped the world we live in today:

Microchip revolution

Integrated circuits, or microchips, were a necessary part of the miniaturization process that allowed computers to be placed on board spacecraft, in contrast to the giant, power-hungry vacuum tube technology that came before.

The credit for their invention goes to Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments, and Robert Noyce, who co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor and later Intel in Mountain View, California.

Integrated circuits, or microchips, were a necessary part of the miniaturization process
 that allowed computers to be placed on board spacecraft, in contrast to the giant, 
power-hungry vacuum tube technology that came before (AFP Photo/HO)

But NASA and the Department of Defense -- which needed microchips to guide their Minuteman ballistic missiles pointed at the Soviet Union -- greatly accelerated their development by producing the demand that facilitated mass production.

"They had these incredible, absolutely insane requirements for reliability that nobody could possibly imagine," Frank O'Brien, a spaceflight historian and author of "The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation," told AFP.

In the early 1960s, the two agencies bought almost all the microchips made in the US, roughly a million all told, added O'Brien, forcing the makers to improve their designs and build circuits that lasted longer than their early life cycles of just a few hours.

Multitasking

Modern computers, such as the smartphone in your pocket, are generally capable of doing a myriad of tasks all at once: handling emails in one window, a GPS map in another, various social network apps, all the while ready for incoming calls and texts.

But in the early era of computers, we thought of them in a fundamentally different way.

"There wasn't a lot they were asked to do. They were asked to crunch numbers and replace humans who would do them on mechanical adding machines," said Seamus Tuohy, the principal director of space systems at Draper, which spun off from the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory that developed the Apollo Guidance Computer.

That all changed with Apollo Guidance Computer, a briefcase-sized machine that needed to juggle an array of vital tasks, from navigating the ship to running its oxygen generator, heaters and carbon dioxide scrubbers.

Margaret Hamilton led the team that programmed Apollo's flight computer; their code
allowed the machine to prioritize crucial tasks over non-essential ones (AFP Photo/HO)

Instead of a computer operator giving a machine a set of calculations and leaving it for hours or even days to work out the answer -- all of this needed to be done in a time-sensitive fashion, with cut-offs, and the ability for users (astronauts) to give it commands in real time.

NASA felt it required an onboard computer to handle all these functions in case the Soviets tried to jam radio communications between ground control in Houston and US spaceships, and because Apollo was originally conceived to go deeper into the solar system.

All of this required a software "architecture," much of which was designed by engineer Hal Laning.

Real-time input

It also needed new ways for man to interact with machine that went beyond the punch-card programming of the time.

The engineers came up with three key ways: the switches that you still find in modern cockpits, a hand-controller that was connected to the world's first digital fly-by-wire system, and a "display and keyboard" unit, abbreviated DSKY (pronounced "dis-key").

The astronauts would input two-digit codes for verbs and nouns, to carry out commands like firing thrusters, or locking on to a particular star if the ship, which relied on an inertial guidance system to keep its pitch, roll and yaw stable, had begun to drift off course.

"The way that computer handled the overload was a real breakthrough" said Paul Ceruzzi,
a Smithsonian Institution scholar on aerospace electronics (AFP Photo/Issam AHMED)

O'Brien used the metaphor of a tourist who visits the US and is hungry but doesn't know much English, and might say "Eat pizza" to convey the basic meaning.

Passing the test

Apollo 11's most tense moment came during the final minutes of its descent to the lunar surface, when the computer's alarm bells began ringing and making it seem as though it had crashed.

Such an event could well have been catastrophic, forcing the crew to abort their mission or even sending the vessel spiralling out of control to the surface.

Back in Houston, an engineer realized that while the machine was temporarily overloaded, its clever programming allowed it to automatically shed less important tasks and focus on landing.

"The way that computer handled the overload was a real breakthrough" said Paul Ceruzzi, a Smithsonian Institution scholar on aerospace electronics.

O'Brien noted that while the AGC was puny by modern computing standards, with a clock speed of 1 Mhz and a total of 38Kb of memory, such comparisons belied its true caliber.

"With that terribly small capacity, they were able to do all the amazing things that we now think of as completely normal," he said.

Friday, July 19, 2019

G7 ministers agree plan on digital tax but more work ahead

Yahoo – AFP, Stuart WILLIAMS, July 18, 2019

G7 ministers reached consensus on steps towards taxing the digital giants amid
differences between the US and France and Britain. (AFP Photo/ERIC PIERMONT)

Chantilly (France) (AFP) - Ministers from G7 top economies on Thursday reached consensus on steps towards an accord on taxing digital giants, an issue that has divided the United States and its allies Britain and France.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who hosted the two-day meeting in Chantilly outside Paris, hailed the consensus as unprecedented, although US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted there was more work to be done.

The French parliament this month passed a law that would tax digital giants for income amassed inside a country even if their headquarters are elsewhere, a move the United States complained discriminated against US firms like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

Britain has announced plans for a similar tax and the G7 meeting in the tranquil French town -- usually famed for its horses rather than horsetrading -- was dominated by tough talks to find some common ground.

Le Maire said finance ministers and central bankers had reached an agreement "to tax activities without physical presence, in particular digital activities."

"This is the first time that G7 members agree in principle on this," he told reporters.

'Minimum tax'

France issued a statement saying the G7 had agreed a two-pronged solution -- confirming the principle of companies being able to accrue revenues outside their legal base but also on a minimum tax to be agreed internationally for their activities.

Ministers "fully supported a two-pillar solution to be adopted by 2020", the statement said.

"Ministers agreed that a minimum level of effective taxation... would contribute to ensuring that companies pay their fair share of tax," it said.

A French official, who asked not to be named, said the tax rate would have to be agreed in the future.

Forecasts for revenue the French government expects from its tax on tech 
giants, which it has said it will drop if an international deal is implemented
(AFP Photo/Thomas SAINT-CRICQ)

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he was happy with the "progress" achieved and in particular with the reference to the minimum tax level in the final statement.

Further talks would now be needed in the wider context of the G20 group of top economies for an international agreement which would be overseen by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Scholz expressed hope that a full international consensus could be reached next year under the OECD.

'Step forward'

The French parliament's move infuriated President Donald Trump and the US had announced an unprecedented probe against France which could trigger the imposition of tariffs.

Mnuchin struck a slightly more cautious tone than his French counterpart Le Maire while making clear he was well satisfied with the talks.

"We made some significant progress at this meeting, there is more work to be done," Mnuchin told reporters, adding that ministers had made a "big step in the right direction".

He said the United States has "significant concerns" with the French law and planned British legislation and was pleased that both Paris and London would dump the domestic laws if an international agreement was forged.

"Everyone here wants to reach an acceptable international solution," said Mnuchin. "Creating certainty for global multinationals is very important," he added.

Tim Wach, managing director of global tax consultants Taxand, described the progress as "highly encouraging" and "significant steps" in building a fairer tax system.

“The G7 must avoid conflicting regimes across different countries," he said.

'Warning on Libra'

The G7 ministers had far less trouble agreeing a position on new cryptocurrencies such as Facebook's Libra, saying such new and untested digital money risked destabilising the international monetary system and were not ready to be implemented.

"They agreed that projects such as Libra may affect monetary sovereignty and the functioning of the international monetary system," the French statement said.

The other key issue at the meeting was finding a replacement for Christine Lagarde, who has led the International Monetary Fund since 2011 but has resigned to become head of the European Central Bank.

Le Maire's European colleagues at the G7 have decided he should lead the search for a candidate from Europe, although no shortlist has been fixed yet, said a European official.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

France says G7 consensus to 'act quickly' on Facebook Libra currency

France24 – AFP, 17 July 2019

Facebook's move into cryptocurrency comes with the leading social network
moving toward CEO Mark Zuckerberg's vision of shifting away from being a "digital
town square" to small-group messaging and payments (AFP/File)

Chantilly (France) (AFP) - The G7 group of the world's most developed economies are worried about Facebook's planned Libra cryptocurrency and have a shared consensus about the need to act quickly, a French official said Wednesday.

Facebook last month unveiled its plans for Libra in an announcement greeted with concern by governments and critics of the social network behemoth around the world.

The issue was at the forefront of the minds of ministers and central bankers from the G7 group of most developed economies as they kicked off a two-day meeting in Chantilly outside Paris on Wednesday.

"On Libra, we had a very constructive and detailed discussion with a very large and shared consensus on the need for action," said the official, who asked not to be named.

"Concerns (were) expressed by all the participants about the current situation and the need to act quickly."

'Conditions not in place'

The finance ministers of France and Germany had earlier expressed serious reservations about Facebook's plans because of Libra's possible impact on global financial stability.

"The G7 finance ministers and central bankers who are here have serious concerns," said German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

"They want to be sure that all existing regulations are adhered to, and if they should be changed in the future, so that we can guarantee the stability of the international financial system," he added.

"We are talking about currency stability, security, data protection and democratic control," he added.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who has warned about Libra repeatedly since the launch announcement, said "the conditions are not yet in place today for Libra to be introduced."

He said he hoped the G7 would consider the necessity of a "framework or a regulation" and also "what would be the conditions that would make such an instrument feasible."

"Today, we cannot accept that an exchange instrument comes into being when it does not respect any of the precautionary rules that all sovereign currencies are required to abide by."

Their comments echoed warnings issued on Monday by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was also present at the meeting.

Mnuchin said Facebook must meet "a very high standard" before it moves ahead with Libra, adding that US regulators have already expressed concerns to the company.

He said that these kinds of virtual currencies have in the past been associated with money laundering and illicit activities.

"Whether they're banks or non-banks, they're under the same regulatory environment," Mnuchin told reporters at the White House.

Libra is widely regarded as a challenger to dominant global player bitcoin. Expected to launch in the first half of 2020, Libra is designed to be backed by a basket of currency assets to avoid the wild swings of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hospital fined €460,000 for privacy breaches after Barbie case

DutchNews, July 16, 2019 


The Haga hospital in The Hague has been fined €460,000 for poor patient file security, after it emerged a tv reality soap star’s medical records had been accessed by dozens of unauthorised members of staff. 

The Dutch privacy watchdog Authoriteit Persoonsgegevens said its research showed patient records at the hospital are still not properly secure

‘The relationship between a healthcare provider and patient must be completely confidential,’ chairman Aleid Wolfsen said. ‘This should be the same within the walls of a hospital. It does not matter who you are.’ 

The hospital gave 85 members of staff an official warning for looking at the medical files of Samantha de Jong, better known as Barbie, when she was hospitalised after a suicide attempt last year. 

The members of staff were not involved in treating the tv reality star and were therefore not entitled to check her files, the hospital said. 

Concerns about privacy have been one of the major brakes on developing a nationwide digital medical record system in the Netherlands. In 2011 the upper house of parliament pulled the plug on a €300m project to introduce such a system due to privacy concerns. 

The government is now planning to introduce a system allowing patients to ‘manage’ their own medical records on their computer or mobile phone and decide who should have access to what information.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Trump can't block Twitter critics, appeals court affirms

Yahoo – AFP, July 9, 2019

US President Donald Trump is not legally entitled to block his critics on Twitter, an
appeals court ruled, because he has been using the account in his official capacity
(AFP Photo/Eric BARADAT)

Washington (AFP) - A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that US President Donald Trump cannot legally block users on Twitter based on their political differences with him, affirming a lower court decision.

The three-judge panel agreed with last year's ruling by a federal judge that Trump was using "viewpoint discrimination" in violation of the constitutional rights of people with opposing views.

The Second Circuit Appeals Court sidestepped the question of the president's free speech rights under the constitution's First Amendment on a privately owned internet platform, but affirmed that Trump had effectively created a public forum for official White House business.

"The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees," the judges wrote in a 29-page opinion.

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of Twitter users and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, alleging that Trump improperly blocked comments from his political opponents.

Plaintiffs, including a University of Maryland professor, a Texas police officer and a New York comic, said they were blocked from the @realDonaldTrump account after posting tweets critical of his policies.

Trump's legal response is that he is not acting in his official capacity when he blocks users, but the court disagreed.

US President Donald Trump's decision to block people on Twitter who voiced
disagreement with him prompted a federal lawsuit arguing he was using his
personal account as an official forum (AFP Photo/Brendan SMIALOWSKI)

"The president and multiple members of his administration have described his use of the account as official," the appeals court ruling said.

"We conclude that the evidence of the official nature of the account is overwhelming. We also conclude that once the president has chosen a platform and opened up its interactive space to millions of users and participants, he may not selectively exclude those whose views he disagrees with."

Another appeal?

The Justice Department, which represented the president, has the option to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court.

"We are disappointed with the court's decision and are exploring possible next steps," Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco said in an emailed statement.

"As we argued, President Trump's decision to block users from his personal Twitter account does not violate the First Amendment."

The Knight Institute said the ruling could set an important precedent as more public officials turn to social media for official business.

"Public officials' social media accounts are now among the most significant forums for discussion of government policy," said Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute's executive director.

"This decision will ensure that people aren't excluded from these forums simply because of their viewpoints, and that public officials aren't insulated from their constituents' criticism. The decision will help ensure the integrity and vitality of digital spaces that are increasingly important to our democracy."