Although a majority are in favour of verifying age, it seems far fewer people in our survey would be happy to actually go through verification themselves. Only 19% said they'd be comfortable sharing information directly with an adult site, and
just 11% would be comfortable handing details to a third party.
The UK's mass digital surveillance regime preceding the snoopers charter has been found to be illegal by an appeals court.
The case was brought by the Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson in conjunction with Liberty, the human rights campaign group.
The three judges said Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (Dripa), which paved the way for the snooper's charter legislation, did not restrict the accessing of confidential personal phone and web browsing records to investigations of
serious crime, and allowed police and other public bodies to authorise their own access without adequate oversight. The judges said Dripa was inconsistent with EU law because of this lack of safeguards, including the absence of prior review by a
court or independent administrative authority.
Responding to the ruling, Watson said:
This legislation was flawed from the start. It was rushed through parliament just before recess without proper parliamentary scrutiny. The government must now bring forward changes to the Investigatory Powers Act to ensure that hundreds of
thousands of people, many of whom are innocent victims or witnesses to crime, are protected by a system of independent approval for access to communications data. I'm proud to have played my part in safeguarding citizens' fundamental rights.
Martha Spurrier, the director of Liberty, said:
Yet again a UK court has ruled the government's extreme mass surveillance regime unlawful. This judgement tells ministers in crystal clear terms that they are breaching the public's human rights. She said no politician was above the law. When
will the government stop bartering with judges and start drawing up a surveillance law that upholds our democratic freedoms?
Matthew Rice of the Open Rights Group responded:
Once again, another UK court has found another piece of Government surveillance legislation to be unlawful. The Government needs to admit their legislation is flawed and make the necessary changes to the Investigatory Powers Act to protect the
public's fundamental rights.
The Investigatory Powers Act carves a gaping hole in the public's rights. Public bodies able to access data without proper oversight, and access to that data for reasons other than fighting serious crime. These practices must stop, the courts
have now confirmed it. The ball is firmly in the Government's court to set it right.
Two broadband providers, BT and EE, have gone to the Supreme Court in London to appeal two key aspects of an earlier ruling, which forced major UK ISPs to start blocking websites that were found to sell counterfeit goods.
Previously major ISPs could only be forced, via a court order, to block websites if they were found to facilitate internet copyright infringement. But in 2014 the High Court extended this to include sites that sell counterfeit goods and thus
abuse company trademarks.
The providers initially appealed this decision, not least by stating that Cartier and Montblanc (they raised the original case) had provided no evidence that their networks were being abused to infringe Trade Marks and that the UK Trade Mark Act
did not include a provision for website blocking. Not to mention the risk that such a law could be applied in an overzealous way, eg requiring the blocking of eBay because of one seller.
The ISPs also noted that trademark infringing sites weren't heavily used, and thus they felt as if it would not be proportionate for them to suffer the costs involved.
In April 2016 this case went to the Court of Appeal (London) and the ISPs lost and so the appeal to the Supreme Court.
Firefox is working to protect users from censorship and government control of the Internet. Firefox 59 will recognize new peer to peer internet protocols such as Dat Project, IPFS, and Secure Scuttlebutt, allowing companies to develop extensions
which will deliver the Internet in a way governments will find difficult to control, monitor and censor.
Mozilla believes such freedom is a key ingredient of a healthy Internet, and has sponsored other projects which would offer peer to peer wireless internet which cuts out Internet Service Providers.
While a peer to peer system would never be as fast and easy as a client-server system as we have at present, it does provide a baseline level of service which government and ISPs could not go below, or risk increasing number of users defecting,
which means the mere existence of these systems helps everyone else, even if they never become widespread.
Mozilla has always been a proponent of decentralization , recognizing that it is a key ingredient of a healthy Internet. Starting with Firefox 59, several protocols that support decentralized architectures are approved for
use by extensions. The newly approved protocols are:
Firefox itself does not implement these protocols, but having them on the approved list means the browser recognizes them as valid protocols and extensions are free to provide implementations.
A Republican Virginia lawmaker has revived the nonsense idea to impose a state tax charge on every device sold to enable access to adult websites.
State Representative Dave LaRock's has introduced a bill misleadingly called the Human Trafficking Prevention Act, which would require Virginians to pay a $20 fee to unblock content on adult websites.
LaRock has track record of being anti-porn and anti-gay. He once tore down advertising for an adult bookstore and railed against recognition for a local LGBTQ pride month.
Opponents point out that the proposal amounts to a tax on media content and would violate the First Amendment. The Media Coalition, which tracks legislation involving the First Amendment, sees the bill as nothing more than a tax on content, which
is unconstitutional, said executive director David Horowitz. People have a First Amendment right to access this content, and publishers have a First Amendment right to provide it.
Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, said the organization just can't take the bill seriously.
Turkish actor Baris Atay plays a dictator in a one-man show that is intended to get audiences thinking. The play has now been banned in several Turkish cities.
In Ankara, he was personally told not to perform. In addition, the governors of the northern Turkish cities of Artvin and Hopa have officially banned the play. As has Kadikoy, one of Istanbul's largest and most populous districts. It has been
claimed that his play could be a threat to public order and security.
Only A Dictator was written by Onur Orhan and is directed by Caner Erdem. Atay plays a dictator who struggles with an inner conflict. After the show, the audience is invited to form its own opinion on dictators.
The play alludes to Turkey's present government under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Supporters of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) took offense, expressing their anger on social media. Atay said he thinks the
decision to ban the play shows how much pressure Turkey's government is willing to exert on critics.
When police prevented the play from being shown in Istanbul last week, Atay alluded to his 2015 statement, asking: Do you accept that this ban means our president is a dictator?
Joshua North, who was prosecuted by Humberside police with the help of counter-terror experts, has been cleared by a jury over his satirical Facebook post where he called for national batter gypos day. A costs order in North's favour will be
North had responded on Facebook after national news reported that travellers had caused trouble in Cleethorpes. North said he made the statement to mock other people's 'hateful comments'.
North said the case had led to almost two years of hell for him and his family and noted that there was no investigation into my side of the story.
After he was cleared of inciting racial hatred Joshua North, from Cleethorpes, blasted the decision to prosecute him as political correctness gone mad. He said:
I told the police, if you check all my other Facebook posts, it indicates that I'm very friendly to immigrants, other races and religions.
The decision to prosecute was criticised by North's lawyer who said the case had been brought with 'the full force of the resources of the counter-terrorism unit'. He said:
I am disappointed that the prosecution, who had the full force of the resources of the counter-terrorism unit behind them, did not at any point consider what kind of a person Joshua actually is.
Had they spent any time thinking about him, looking at his other posts or even considering the possibility of another interpretation other than that they fixed upon, it would have occurred to them that Joshua is the last person to incite racial
Instead, they fixed on an interpretation and they refused to consider any other possibility even after he had advanced his position in interview.
What we have is a young, kind, decent, liberal, broad-minded man who works hard and who has been put through hell.
After the case concluded, Humberside Police defended its decision to charge North, stating it takes hate crime allegations seriously.
It is not merely the depiction of sex that is problematic, but als o how it made the actors feel. Much of the issue undoubtedly stems from the fact that all of these films [ Zola
Tells All, Nymphomaniac, Frida, Elle, Fifty Shades of Grey ] -- with the exception of Sam Taylor-Wood's Fifty Shades of Grey -- have male directors. The male gaze, and how it objectifies women, is so deeply embedded in the film industry
psyche that it has become the default.
One possible solution is an on-set intimacy director -- a professional who choreographs sex scenes to ensure the least discomfort for actors and least scope for inappropriate behaviour. Perhaps predictably, there has been huffing and puffing from
(mostly male) voices who decry the idea of reintroducing a form of cultural self-censorship. Marc Simon, an entertainment lawyer, was quoted in The Hollywood Reporter : There may be concern in this zero-tolerance climate that creativity and
creative opportunity could be restrained.
The Islamabad High Court has ordered the constitution of a high-level committee to stop proliferation of pornography in the country.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, hearing a petition for the implementation of the court judgment against blasphemous material on social media case, also directed the federal government to appoint Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) chairman and member
(finance) within a fortnight.
In his three-page judgment, Justice Siddiqui said, Let a committee, consisting of interior, information technology, religious affairs and information and broadcasting secretaries, with the special participation of Pemra and PTA chairmen, and
headed by the cabinet division secretary, be constituted. He added:
The committee shall examine the issue of pornography , its availability through different devices to identity the areas and suggest immediate, short-term and long-term measures to be taken to stop this menace against the society.
The committee shall also examine the movies coming from foreign countries and take concrete steps to ban them if they are found against any law of Pakistan, moral values, Islamic teachings and Pakistani culture.
Regarding TV shows, Justice Siddiqui observed:
There are serious complaints that different channels through these shows are involved in such activities as are against the decency, morality, values of Islam and cultural heritage of Pakistan.
He directed the Pemra to submit a report in this regard and take immediate steps to prevent telecast of such contents, and if any channel failed to follow the instructions, penal action should be taken against it.
Update: Pakistan blames Hollywood for its own terrorism problem
The court case also hosted a bit of debate blaming Hollywood for the violence and terrorism that is omnipresent in Pakistan.
The US Pentagon has long accused Pakistan of serving as a sanctuary for terrorists who are killing and injuring American troops in neighboring Afghanistan, a charge that Islamabad denies. And now the U.S. President Donald Trump has ramped
up pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists, suspending up to $1.9 billion in aid until Islamabad takes decisive action against the groups.
Pakistan denies the US accusations and this was touched on in the curt case. Justice Siddiqui declared:
The biggest hub of pornography and terrorism is Hollywood and Los Angeles. Hollywood plays a central role in inciting of crimes, and then our madrassas (seminaries) are blamed.
All video games for children are based on crimes. How planes are hijacked and how to commit murders--everything is taught comprehensively.
China's internet censor has shut down some of the most popular sections of Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform, saying that the website had failed in its duty to censor content.
The Beijing office of the Cyberspace Administration of China summoned a Weibo executive, complaining of its serious problems including not censoring vulgar and pornographic content. The censor said:
Sina Weibo has violated the relevant internet laws and regulations and spread illegal information. It has a serious problem in promoting 'wrong' values and has had an adverse influence on the internet environment.
It highlighted as problematic sections of the platform such as the hot topics ranking, most searched, most searched celebrities and most searched relationship topics, as well as its question-and-answer section.
Other problems on Weibo included allowing posts that discriminated against ethnic minorities and content that was not in line with what it deemed appropriate social values.
Weibo said it had since shut down a number of services, including its list of top searches, for a week.
Malaysia's film censors have banned Padmaavat , a controversial Hindi movie that features the relationship between a Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler in medieval India.
The Film Censorship Board (LPF) placed the movie in its not approved list, with a not relevant remark placed on its age rating section. The not relevant remark is usually given to banned movies deemed to likely incite hatred and uneasiness among
In Malaysia, Padmaavat is the second movie to get the axe this year, following Those Long Haired Nights a Filipino movie about three ladyboy sex workers.
A stage version of Are You Being Served? has been banned for being sexist. The Hull Playgoers' Society had planned to stage a version of the BBC sitcom at the city's Truck Theatre.
But venue censors reportedly told producers that its script needed to be more politically correct.
Vince Matfin, the artistic director of the Hull Playgoers' Society, accused the theatre of censorship.
The venue said they had asked to meet with the producers to discuss their choice of performance and how this aligns against our artistic policy and values. The theatre's censorship policy states:
We are committed to presenting work that reflects the diverse communities and artists that populate our nation. We will not book work that does not meet the overall values of the theatre or that does not reflect the diversity and inclusion of a
Padmavat is a 2017 India historical romance by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor.
Rani Padmavati (aka Padmini) is said to be one of the most beautiful women to ever exist. This real life story is epitome of Love and sacrifice between Rajput Queen Padmavati and Rana Rawal Ratan Singh, the Rajput ruler of Mewar. Their perfect
life took unfortunate turn when Allauddin Khilji's lustful eyes gazed upon Queen Padmavati. Alauddin Khilji is known as one of the most brutal rulers of the Khilji dynasty, who ascended the throne by killing his father-in-law, his
brother-in-laws and their uncles. He was known for attacking states, only for their land and women. And, the motive behind the attack on Mewar was none other than royal Rani Padmavati. Chittorgarh fort, today, stands as an epitome of the true
Rajputana spirit, loyalty, fidelity and bravery and a symbol of women power.
Court cases abound whenever there's a controversy about an Indian that should be banned or not banned. There are often several people who are willing to spend their cash on advocating for banning or not banning, often in different courts in
However, in the case of Padmavat these cases have rapidly moved to India's Supreme Court which has just passed two judgements about the film. Firstly the Court found that individual states should not be able to overrode the national film censor
and so bans in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana have been overturned.
The film's producers had approached the Supreme Court to challenge the states' ban, and Chief Justice Dipak Misra concurred with the producers. He stated:
Cinemas are an inseparable part of right to free speech and expression. States... cannot issue notifications prohibiting the screening of a film.
The second judgement refused the case made by an advocate who wanted the court to overturn the CBFC decision and ban the film. The same judge refused to entertain a plea to cancel the Censor Board certificate given to the movie Padmaavat.
Advocate M.L. Sharma had contended that exhibiting the movie in certain States would be an open invitation for violence.
And of course that violence could yet overrule the Supreme Court and force cinemas to not show the film.
Even after the Supreme Court asking four States including Gujarat to allow screening of controversial Hindi movie Padmaavat, nearly 125 multiplexes across Gujarat will not show the movie which is set to release on the eve of Republic Day.
Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association, the apex body of multiplexes in the state has voluntarily decided not to show the movie. Core committee member of the association Rakesh Patel said that multiplex owners in Gujarat didn't want to take any
risk as there was no guarantee pertaining to safety of the properties.
Update: Inevitably banned by violent religious mobs
Padmavat has been released for worldwide screenings, including the UK, today on 25th January. Early reports suggest that cinemas in religious hotspots have decided not to screen the film rather than face violent protest.
Padmaavat opened in 3,100 screens across the country with an estimated occupancy of 50-55%. It's a very good number given the situation. It clearly shows audiences have come out and supported the film despite all odds, said Atul Mohan, editor of
trade magazine Complete Cinema .
Under normal circumstances, a big-ticket film like Padmaavat would have been screened in more than 4,000 screens. States like Rajasthan, Gujarat and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Haryana refrained from screening the period saga. Protests by the
Rajput Karni Sena and consequent violence in parts of the country led to several theatres refusing to showcase the movie..
The film was also pirated and streamed online on a Facebook page, showing interest but not revenue for the filmmakers.
Update: Rajputs who saw Padmaavat angry for opposing it earlier
Last September the adverts at ASA rightfully laid into adverts for several gambling firms that suggested that gambling could be a way for people's problems.
The adverts were not placed by the companies themselves, but by independent affiliates who are paid by commissions on sales, and are not under editorial control of the gambling company.
ASA made the case that the gambling companies were ultimately responsible for the advertising placed by affiliates. There is a valid rationale behind this line of thinking, because the gambling company is able to terminate their agreement with
affiliates who don't play ball. However this isn't really a practical way of controlling affiliates because reputational damage can be done before the company or censors become aware of bad advertising.
So of course the only available practical solution is to terminate the entire affiliate advertising model. And that is what has resulted from the ASA decision. The online casino 888 has sent out emails to its affiliates stating they must no
longer target UK traffic and 888 would no longer pay them commission for newly generated players. The affiliates were told:
As you may be aware the regulatory landscape for affiliates is constantly changing and evolving, especially in the UK. In order to help ensure that we work with our affiliate partners in a compliant manner, we are seeking to exert greater
control on the traffic which is generated from the UK.
As a result, from January 29th 2018, you must not target UK IP addresses and/or any persons located in the UK. Therefore, we shall no longer pay you any commission with regard to money players in the UK which you generate.
888 told iGamingBusiness:
888 takes the issue of responsible gaming very seriously and has taken a number steps to ensure its marketing complies with the Gambling Commission's LCCP and ASA's advertising codes.
Just a bit of background from Thailand explaining how internet is priced for mobile phones, it rather explains how Facebook amd Youtube are even more dominant than in the west:
We give our littl'un a quid a week to top up her pay as you go mobile phone. She can, and does, spend unlimited time on YouTube, Facebook, Messenger, Skype, Line and a couple of other social media sites. It's as cheap as chips, but the rub is
that she has just a tiny bandwidth allowance to look at any sites apart from the core social media set.
On the other hand wider internet access with enough bandwidth to watch a few videos costs abut 15 quid a month (a recently reduced price, it used to be 30 quid a month a few months ago).
Presumably the cheap service is actually paid for by Google and Facebook etc with the knowledge that people are nearly totally trapped in their walled garden. Its quite useful for kids because they haven't got the bandwidth to go looking round
where they shouldn't. But the price makes it very attractive to many adults too.
Anyway Summer Lopez from PEN America considers how this internet monopoly stitch up is even more sensitive to the announced Facebook feed changes than in the west.
The Death of Stalin is a 2017 France / UK historical comedy biography by Armando Iannucci.
Starring Olga Kurylenko, Jason Isaacs and Steve Buscemi.
The internal political landscape of 1950's Soviet Russia takes on darkly comic form in a new film by Emmy award-winning and Oscar-nominated writer/director Armando Iannucci. In the days following Stalin's collapse, his core
team of ministers tussle for control; some want positive change in the Soviet Union, others have more sinister motives. Their one common trait? They're all just desperately trying to remain alive. A film that combines comedy, drama, pathos and
political manoeuvring, The Death of Stalin is a Quad and Main Journey production, directed by Armando Iannucci, and produced by Yann Zenou, Kevin Loader, Nicolas Duval Assakovsky, and Laurent Zeitoun. The script is written by Iannucci, David
Schneider and Ian Martin, with additional material by Peter Fellows.
The Russian release of British comedy film The Death of Stalin has been shelved following a screening before senior figures on Monday night. The Russian attendees complained that the satire contained ideological warfare and extremism. The
film's distribution certificate was withdrawn, effectively cancelling its planned Thursday release.
The screening was attended by members of parliament as well as representatives from Russian cinema. Yelena Drapeko, deputy head of the lower house of parliament's culture committee, told RBK news she had never seen anything so disgusting in my
The film, from director Armando Iannucci, is a satire of the power struggle in Moscow following Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's death in 1953. Many of the main characters are real historical figures.
February is the anniversary of the Russian victory at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943. It was led by Marshal Georgy Zhukov whose daughter was one of 21 signatories on an open letter to the culture minister, Vladimir Medinsky, complaining about
the film. The letter said:
The film insults the Russian people and even the Soviet Union's national anthem - heard in the trailer was used inappropriately.
Update: Cinema threatened after screening the banned film to an invited audience
The Russian Culture Ministry has warned cinemas in the country that they will face legal ramifications if they continue to show the banned film, The Death Of Stalin. The statement came after the Pioner (Pioneer) movie theater in Moscow defied the
government ban and screened the film to a packed audience.
Showing a movie without a license can bring a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($1,800). A second violation could lead to a theater's closure. Police officers raided the Pioner theater along with what appeared to be plain-clothes officers on January
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov ludicrously claimed the banning of the film did not constitute censorship. He said: We disagree that it's a manifestation of censorship.
In 2016, comedian and social provocateur Elijah Daniel wrote and published a short piece of porny fun about Donald Trump. It's titled Trump Temptations and is introduced on promotional material:
Full of uncomfortably lusty scenes of comically sexual acts, the 10-page essay was, according to Daniel , written while he was really fucking drunk and in 4 hours. The premise of the book is as follows:
It all started one fateful afternoon in summer of 2012. I was working as a bellboy at the Trump Hotel in Hong Kong on an internship program. This was my first time in a big city. It was all I could have ever dreamed of, and more. But little did
I know, it was all about to change.
Elijah Daniel has fine eye for political satire. He went on to became mayor of a Michigan city and promptly used his office to ban heterosexuality.
The title has now suddenly been removed from Amazon and Daniels blames Trump. Daniels tweeted:
Donald Trump deadass had Trump Temptations removed from Amazon its literally been out for like two years. dont you have a government shutdown to worry about and you out here getting parody porn ebooks removed from Amazon Im crying hahahaha. Lil
Utah's porn czar, the butt of many a national joke, is a role that is set for the scrap heap.
The state's House voted unanimously on Thursday to pass HB50 , which formally removes from state code the obscenity and pornography complaints ombudsman. The measure now goes to the Senate.
The Legislature created the position in 2000, saying it would provide resources for residents to curb pornography in their neighborhoods and online. Attorney Paula Houston was hired and given a budget of $150,000 a year, and became the nation's
first and only porn czar in 2001.
The role of porn czar made Utah the laughingstock of the nation, it attracted news stories by media from around the world and jokes by late-night comedians. However hen the attorney general's office had to cut its budget, the ombudsman post was
among items axed in 2003 -- although language allowing an ombudsman remained on the books.
Theresa May is creating a new national security unit to counter supposed fake news and disinformation spread by Russia and other foreign powers, Downing Street has announced.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the new national security communications unit would build on existing capabilities and would be tasked with combating disinformation by state actors and others. The spokesman said:
We are living in an era of fake news and competing narratives. The government will respond with more and better use of national security communications to tackle these interconnected, complex challenges.
To do this we will build on existing capabilities by creating a dedicated national security communications unit. This will be tasked with combating disinformation by state actors and others.
The new unit has already been dubbed the Ministry of Truth.
Military historian Anthony Beevor has had one of his books banned in Ukraine. The 1998 bestseller Stalingrad was barred for import last week alongside 24 other books for being anti-Ukrainian.
The accusation was levelled at Beevor's examination of the Second World War battle due to passages about Ukrainian militias slaughtering Jewish children on SS orders.
Serhiy Oliyinyk, the head of the Ukrainian State TV and Radio Broadcasting's licensing and distribution control department, alleges that the account hasn't been proven and was based on unreliable Soviet secret police material.
The author has responded that he used thoroughly reliable German sources; not Soviet sources, including a book by Helmut Groscurth, an anti-Nazi German officer, that was backed up by eyewitness accounts.
Beevor branded the ban preposterous and called the state's position completely unsustainable.
South Korea's former culture minister, Cho Yoon-sun, has been sentenced to two years in jail for conspiring in a state-sponsored blacklisting of local artists and entertainment figures who did not support the country's ousted ex-president,
Cho had previously been cleared of the offence but an appeals court in Seoul reviewed the case and found further evidence in documents from the Presidential Blue House. Cho was arrested in court and taken into immediate custody.
The notorious blacklist features nearly 10,000 artists, including the likes of Oldboy helmer Park Chan-wook, Snowpiercer actor Song Kang-ho and Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Han Kang. The blacklist was designed to deliberately exclude artists
deemed unfriendly toward Park from state-controlled support programs.
Park herself was impeached and is currently in detention. The court also found Park's former chief of staff, Kim Ki-choon, to be guilty as an accomplice and had his penalty of three years increased to four.
A few MEPs produce YouTube video highlighting the corporate and state censorship that will be enabled by an EU proposal to require social media posts to be approved before posting by an automated censorship machine
In a new campaign video, several Members of the European Parliament warn that the EU's proposed mandatory upload filters pose a threat to freedom of speech. The new filters would function as censorship machines which are "completely
disproportionate," they say. The MEPs encourage the public to speak up, while they still can.
Through a series of new proposals, the European Commission is working hard to
modernize EU copyright law. Among other things, it will require online services to do more to fight piracy.
These proposals have not been without controversy. Article 13 of the proposed Copyright Directive, for example, has been widely criticized as it would require online services to monitor and filter uploaded content.
This means that online services, which deal with large volumes of user-uploaded content, must use fingerprinting or other detection mechanisms -- similar to YouTube's Content-ID system -- to block copyright infringing files.
The Commission believes that more stringent control is needed to support copyright holders. However, many
legal scholars ,
digital activists , and members of the public worry that they will violate the rights of regular Internet users.
In the European Parliament, there is fierce opposition as well. Today, six Members of Parliament (MEPs) from across the political spectrum released a new campaign video warning their fellow colleagues and the public at large.
The MEPs warn that such upload filters would act as censorship machines, something they've made clear to the Council's working group on intellectual property, where the controversial proposal was discussed today.
Imagine if every time you opened your mouth, computers controlled by big companies would check what you were about to say, and have the power to prevent you from saying it, Greens/EFA MEP Julia Reda says.
A new legal proposal would make this a reality when it comes to expressing yourself online: Every clip and every photo would have to be pre-screened by some automated 'robocop' before it could be uploaded and seen online, ALDE MEP Marietje
Stop censorship machines!
Schaake notes that she has dealt with the consequences of upload filters herself. When she uploaded a recording of a political speech to YouTube, the site took it down without explanation. Until this day, the MEP still doesn't know on what
grounds it was removed.
These broad upload filters are completely disproportionate and a danger for freedom of speech, the MEPs warn. The automated systems make mistakes and can't properly detect whether something's fair use, for example.
Another problem is that the measures will be relatively costly for smaller companies ,which puts them at a competitive disadvantage. "Only the biggest platforms can afford them -- European competitors and small businesses will
struggle," ECR MEP Dan Dalton says.
The plans can still be stopped, the MEPs say. They are currently scheduled for a vote in the Legal Affairs Committee at the end of March, and the video encourages members of the public to raise their voices.
Speak out ...while you can still do so unfiltered! S&D MEP Catherine Stihler says.
Robert Hannigan, a recent director of GCHQ has joined the clamour for internet censorship by US internet monopolies.
Hannigan accused the web giants of doing too little to remove terrorist and extremist content and he threatened that the companies have a year to reform themselves or face government legislation.
Hannigan suggested tech companies were becoming more powerful than governments, and had a tendency to consider themselves above democracy. But he said he believed their window to change themselves was closing and he feared most were missing the
boat. He predicted that if firms do not take credible action by the end of 2018, governments would start to intervene with legislation.
The Post is a 2017 USA historical biography by Steven Spielberg.
Starring Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Sarah Paulson.
A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government. Inspired by true events.
Lebanon has banned Steven Spielberg's newspaper drama The Post a few days before the film is set to premiere in Beirut.
A source involved with The Post's international distribution says the movie was presented to the Lebanese censorship board, which banned it, citing Israel connections that includs Spielberg filming some scenes for Schindler's List in
The matter has been transferred to Lebanon's Minister of Interior and Municipalities, who could overturn the decision.
A spokesperson for Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment says he cannot comment because the company has not been told officially by the Lebanese distributor that the pic will not be released there because of censorship.
According to Reuters, Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouk has decided to overturn the ban on The Post. Mashnouk saw no obstacle preventing the film from being shown because it has nothing to do with Lebanon or the conflict with the Israeli enemy.
China has banned hip-hop culture and actors with tattoos from appearing on television.
The country's TV censor, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China (SAPPRFT), has banned actors with tattoos and programmes featuring hip hop culture and anything else considered
non-mainstream culture or dispirited culture.
Gao Changli, director of the censor's publicity department, outlined four new rules:
Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble
Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene
Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class
Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity
The ban follows recent 'outrage' at several Chinese rap stars. Prominent rapper GAI was ejected from Hunan TV's Singer a hit competition show. Wang Hao, aka PG One, another well-known rapper, was forced to apologize earlier this month
after one of his songs, Christmas Eve, was criticized for promoting drug culture and insulting women. Rapper Mao Yanqi, aka VaVa, was recently cut from the variety show Happy Camp.
The government publishes it guidance to the new UK porn censor about notifying websites that they are to be censored, asking payment providers and advertisers to end their service, recourse to ISP blocks and an appeals process
A person contravenes Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 if they make
pornographic material available on the internet on a commercial basis to
persons in the United Kingdom without ensuring that the material is not
normally accessible to persons under the age of 18. Contravention could lead
to a range of measures being taken by the age-verification regulator in
relation to that person, including blocking by internet service providers (ISPs).
Part 3 also gives the age-verification regulator powers to act where a person
makes extreme pornographic material (as defined in section 22 of the Digital
Economy Act 2017) available on the internet to persons in the United
This guidance has been written to provide the framework for the operation of
the age-verification regulatory regime in the following areas:
● Regulator's approach to the exercise of its powers;
● Age-verification arrangements;
● Payment-services Providers and Ancillary Service Providers;
● Internet Service Provider blocking; and
This guidance balances two overarching principles in the regulator's application of its powers under sections 19, 21 and 23 - that it should apply its powers in the way which it thinks will be most effective in ensuring
compliance on a case-by-case basis and that it should take a proportionate approach.
As set out in this guidance, it is expected that the regulator, in taking a proportionate approach, will first seek to engage with the non-compliant person to encourage them to comply, before considering issuing a notice
under section 19, 21 or 23, unless there are reasons as to why the regulator does not think that is appropriate in a given case
Regulator's approach to the exercise of its powers
The age-verification consultation Child Safety Online: Age verification for pornography identified that an extremely large number of websites contain pornographic content - circa 5 million sites or parts of sites. All
providers of online pornography, who are making available pornographic material to persons in the United Kingdom on a commercial basis, will be required to comply with the age-verification requirement .
In exercising its powers, the regulator should take a proportionate approach. Section 26(1) specifically provides that the regulator may, if it thinks fit, choose to exercise its powers principally in relation to persons
who, in the age-verification regulator's opinion:
(a) make pornographic material or extreme pornographic material available on the internet on a commercial basis to a large number of persons, or a large number of persons under the age of 18, in the United Kingdom; or
(b) generate a large amount of turnover by doing so.
In taking a proportionate approach, the regulator should have regard to the following:
a. As set out in section 19, before making a determination that a person is contravening section 14(1), the regulator must allow that person an opportunity to make representations about why the determination should not be
made. To ensure clarity and discourage evasion, the regulator should specify a prompt timeframe for compliance and, if it considers it appropriate, set out the steps that it considers that the person needs to take to comply.
b. When considering whether to exercise its powers (whether under section 19, 21 or 23), including considering what type of notice to issue, the regulator should consider, in any given case, which intervention will be most
effective in encouraging compliance, while balancing this against the need to act in a proportionate manner.
c. Before issuing a notice to require internet service providers to block access to material, the regulator must always first consider whether issuing civil proceedings or giving notice to ancillary service providers and
payment-services providers might have a sufficient effect on the non-complying person's behaviour.
To help ensure transparency, the regulator should publish on its website details of any notices under sections 19, 21 and 23.
Section 25(1) provides that the regulator must publish guidance about the types of arrangements for making pornographic material available that the regulator will treat as complying with section 14(1). This guidance is
subject to a Parliamentary procedure
A person making pornographic material available on a commercial basis to persons in the United Kingdom must have an effective process in place to verify a user is 18 or over. There are various methods for verifying whether
someone is 18 or over (and it is expected that new age-verification technologies will develop over time). As such, the Secretary of State considers that rather than setting out a closed list of age-verification arrangements, the regulator's
guidance should specify the criteria by which it will assess, in any given case, that a person has met with this requirement. The regulator's guidance should also outline good practice in relation to age verification to encourage consumer choice
and the use of mechanisms which confirm age, rather than identity.
The regulator is not required to approve individual age-verification solutions. There are various ways to age verify online and the industry is developing at pace. Providers are innovating and providing choice to consumers.
The process of verifying age for adults should be concerned only with the need to establish that the user is aged 18 or above. The privacy of adult users of pornographic sites should be maintained and the potential for fraud
or misuse of personal data should be safeguarded. The key focus of many age-verification providers is on privacy and specifically providing verification, rather than identification of the individual.
Payment-services providers and ancillary service providers
There is no requirement in the Digital Economy Act for payment-services providers or ancillary service providers to take any action on receipt of such a notice. However, Government expects that responsible companies will
wish to withdraw services from those who are in breach of UK legislation by making pornographic material accessible online to children or by making extreme pornographic material available.
The regulator should consider on a case-by-case basis the effectiveness of notifying different ancillary service providers (and payment-services providers).
There are a wide-range of providers whose services may be used by pornography providers to enable or facilitate making pornography available online and who may therefore fall under the definition of ancillary service
provider in section 21(5)(a) . Such a service is not limited to where a direct financial relationship is in place between the service and the pornography provider. Section 21(5)(b) identifies those who advertise commercially on such sites as
ancillary service providers. In addition, others include, but are not limited to:
a. Platforms which enable pornographic content or extreme pornographic material to be uploaded;
b. Search engines which facilitate access to pornographic content or extreme pornographic material;
c. Discussion for a and communities in which users post links;
d. Cyberlockers' and cloud storage services on which pornographic content or extreme pornographic material may be stored;
e. Services including websites and App marketplaces that enable users to download Apps;
f. Hosting services which enable access to websites, Apps or App marketplaces; that enable users to download apps
g. Domain name registrars.
h. Set-top boxes, mobile applications and other devices that can connect directly to streaming servers
Internet Service Provider blocking
The regulator should only issue a notice to an internet service provider having had regard to Chapter 2 of this guidance. The regulator should take a proportionate approach and consider all actions (Chapter 2.4) before
issuing a notice to internet service providers.
In determining those ISPs that will be subject to notification, the regulator should take into consideration the number and the nature of customers, with a focus on suppliers of home and mobile broadband services. The
regulator should consider any ISP that promotes its services on the basis of pornography being accessible without age verification irrespective of other considerations.
The regulator should take into account the child safety impact that will be achieved by notifying a supplier with a small number of subscribers and ensure a proportionate approach. Additionally, it is not anticipated that
ISPs will be expected to block services to business customers, unless a specific need is identified.
In order to assist with the ongoing review of the effectiveness of the new regime and the regulator's functions, the Secretary of State considers that it would be good practice for the regulator to submit to the Secretary of
State an annual report on the exercise of its functions and their effectiveness.
The US adult trade group, Free Speech Coalition at its inaugural Leadership Conference on Thursday introduced Murray Perkins, who leads efforts for the UK's new age-verification censorship regime under the Digital Economy Act.
Perkins is the principal adviser for the BBFC, which last year signed on to assume the role of internet porn censor.
Perkins traveled to the XBIZ Show on an informational trip specifically to offer education on the Digital Economy Act's regulatory powers; he continues on to Las Vegas next week and Australia the following week to speak with online adult
The reason why I am here is to be visible, to give people an opportunity to ask questions about what is happening. I firmly believe that the only way to make this work is to with and not against the adult entertainment industry.
This is a challenge; there is no template, but we will figure it out. I am reasonably optimistic [the legislation] will work.
A team of classification examiners will start screening content for potential violations starting in the spring. (In a separate discussion with XBIZ, Perkins said that his army of examiners will total 15.)
Perkins showed himself to be a bit naive, a bit insensitive, or a bit of an idiot when he spouted:
The Digital Economy Act will affect everyone in this room, one way or the other, Perkins said. However, the Digital Economy Act is not anti-porn -- it is not intended to disrupt an adult's journey or access to their
content. [...BUT... it is likely to totally devastate the UK adult industry and hand over all remaining business to the foreign internet giant Mindgeek, who will become the Facebook/Google/Amazon of porn. Not to mention the Brits served
on a platter to scammers, blackmailers and identity thieves].
The third evaluation of the EU's 'Code of Conduct' on censoring 'illegal online hate speech' carried out by NGOs and public bodies shows that IT companies removed on average 70% of posts claimed to contain 'illegal hate speech'.
However, some further challenges still remain, in particular the lack of systematic feedback to users.
Google+ announced today that they are joining the Code of Conduct, and Facebook confirmed that Instagram would also do so, thus further expanding the numbers of actors covered by it.
Vera Jourová, with the oxymoronic title of EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said:
The Internet must be a safe place, free from illegal hate speech, free from xenophobic and racist content. The Code of Conduct is now proving to be a valuable tool to tackle illegal content quickly and efficiently. This shows that where there is
a strong collaboration between technology companies, civil society and policy makers we can get results, and at the same time, preserve freedom of speech. I expect IT companies to show similar determination when working on other important
issues, such as the fight with terrorism, or unfavourable terms and conditions for their users.
On average, IT companies removed 70% of all the 'illegal hate speech' notified to them by the NGOs and public bodies participating in the evaluation. This rate has steadily increased from 28% in the first monitoring round in 2016 and 59% in the
second monitoring exercise in May 2017.T
The Commission will continue to monitor regularly the implementation of the Code by the participating IT Companies with the help of civil society organisations and aims at widening it to further online platforms. The Commission will consider
additional measures if efforts are not pursued or slow down.
Of course no mention of the possibility that some of the reports of supposed 'illegal hate speech' are not actioned because they are simply wrong and may be just the politically correct being easily offended. We seem to live in an injust age
where the accuser is always considered right and the merits of the case count for absolutely nothing.
MTV's Geordie Shore is to be reported to Ofcom by health campaigners who claim it is one long advert for drinking.
A new study from the universities of Bath and Nottingham found nearly 80% of all scenes in the hit reality TV show contained alcohol.
The authors of the paper have now called for clearer alcohol warnings at the start of the MTV programme and the removal of all branding from it.
They examined seven hours of footage over 10 episodes of season 11 and found 78% of scenes contained alcohol content, 30% of scenes contained actual alcohol use and 72% contained inferred alcohol use.
The study says almost a quarter of scenes featured alcohol brands, with vodka label Smirnoff appearing most frequently. Professor John Britton, from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham, whinged:
From a health perspective, this series of programmes represent one long advert for drinking in general, and for Smirnoff, Grey Goose and Corona in particular, for a teenage and young adult audience.
MTV says the show is not aimed at young people and is broadcast after 10pm.
Google is set for its first appearance in a London court over the so-called right to be forgotten in two cases that will test the boundaries between personal privacy and public interest.
Two anonymous people, who describe themselves in court filings as businessmen, want the search engine to take down links to information about their old convictions.
One of the men had been found guilty of conspiracy to account falsely, and the other of conspiracy to intercept communications. Judge Matthew Nicklin said at a pre-trial hearing that hose convictions are old and are now covered by an English law
-- designed to rehabilitate offenders -- that says they can effectively be ignored. With a few exceptions, they don't have to be disclosed to potential employers.
A Google spokeswoman said:
We work hard to comply with the right to be forgotten, but we take great care not to remove search results that are clearly in the public interest and will defend the public's right to access lawful information.
The cases will start on February 27 and March 13.
Update: Convicted business man wins right to be forgotten
Egyptian authorities have arrested another female singer on charges of incitement to debauchery after her music video sparked controversy.
Leila Amer will be detained for four days while authorities investigate the video to the song Boss Oumek (Look At Your Mother) which includes supposedly suggestive dancing and gestures.
Ahmed Mahran, the lawyer who filed a complaint, argues the video poses a great risk to Egyptian society and especially young people.
Musicians' union president Hany Shaker, a male singer known for his conservative stance, last week announced on the private channel Dream TV that Amer had been expelled from the union, effectively ending her career as a musician.
Egyptian female singer and dancer Fatima, popularly known as Eghraa was arrested on 20 December 2017 on charges of inciting debauchery and violating public decency for the viral music video of her song I Want a Man in which she is seen
dancing provocatively in revealing clothing, reported Egyptian news sources .
The artist's trial has been adjourned until 23 January 2018. If convicted, she could face up to three years in prison. This is the second time that the singer has been arrested on charges of inciting debauchery and facilitating prostitution,
The MPA is the international wing of the Motion Picture Association of America, a trade group representing the major Hollywood studios. MPA president Stan McCoy has written an open letter to new culture secretary Matt Hancock reminding how
important it is to protect the US film industry.
He needn't have bothered, the culture secretary is currently well busy suffocating the UK porn industry and handing everything over to Mindgeek, which is set to become the Facebook/Google/Amazon of the porn world.
Stan McCoy writes:
For Matt Hancock, as for any new leader, the first weeks on the job offer a unique opportunity to write the screenplay for a successful tenure.
Here are seven humble suggestions that the Culture Secretary may wish to consider as he crafts his new role...
Be a passionate ambassador for the creative industries
We are one of the country's most valuable economic and cultural assets -- worth almost £92bn, growing at twice the rate of the economy, and making a positive contribution to the UK's balance of payments. Britain's status as a center of excellence
for the audiovisual sector in particular is no accident: It results from the hard work and genius of our creative workforce, complemented by the support of governments that have guided their policies toward enabling continued excellence and
Support a responsible online environment
The new Secretary of State should make platform responsibility a priority. A joined-up strategy to curb proliferation of illegal, often age-inappropriate and malware-laden content online must include addressing the websites, environments and apps
that host and facilitate piracy.
In addition to hurting one of Britain's most important industries, they are overwhelmingly likely to harm children and adult consumers through nasty ads, links to adult content with no age verification, scams, fraud and other unpleasantness.
Building on last year's voluntary deal with search engines, the Government should stay at the cutting edge of ensuring that everyone in the ecosystem -- including search engines, platforms and social media companies -- takes a fair share of
Banish dodgy streaming devices from lawful commerce
Illegal streaming devices loaded with piracy apps and malware -- not to mention the occasional electrical failure -- are proliferating across the UK, to the detriment of consumers and industry.
The sector is still waiting for the Intellectual Property Office to publish the report on its Call for Views on this subject. This will be one of several opportunities, along with the promised Digital Charter, to make clear that these devices and
the apps and content they supply are unacceptable, dangerous to consumers, and harmful to the creative industry.
Embrace a creative sector-friendly approach to skills
More flexibility in the Apprenticeship Levy would help, but the Government must also ensure there are no unintended consequences from its targets, and that these do not undermine existing voluntary sector-specific skills levies and other similar
programmes that are putting Britons to work in film and television. Likewise, embrace the industry's efforts to educate people of all diversity profiles about career opportunities.
Of course, the elephant in every room is Brexit. It was worrying to read that almost 27,000 creative sector jobs could be under threat from a 'no deal' hard Brexit, according to analysis commissioned by London's mayor. In fact, audiences and
workers on both sides will benefit from preserving two-way trade -- whether in the form of licensing audiovisual services, welcoming creative workers, or preserving the ease of cross-border collaboration in film and television production.
Pursue export growth
Britain's audiovisual sector is a dual cultural and commercial success story, and could be a leader in showing how high-value export and investment-driven industries can make the most of the opportunities of new relationships inside and outside
The Government has the opportunity to capitalise on its strong creative export sectors -- in particular by working with the industry to explore the potential of further developing non-EU markets for UK audiovisual exports, while sustaining our
large and mutually beneficial trade with the EU.
Don't forget the DSM
The UK still has a vote and a responsibility to work with EU Member States to shape the EU's Digital Single Market agenda in 2018. Most important is to oppose the "buy one Member State, get the rest thrown in" approach to licensing
broadcaster online services. This is a point where the UK can work constructively with other member states trying to make sure the Commission does not inadvertently undermine the system of financing productions and thus limit the content
available for consumers.
Paddington 2 is a 2017 UK / France / USA family animation comedy by Paul King.
Starring Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant and Hugh Bonneville.
Paddington is happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy's
100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber's antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it's up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.
Paddington Bear 2, a comedy about a friendly bear has sparked an unlikely scandal over government discrimination against foreign films in Russia this week.
Russian cinemas were left dumbfounded after the Culture Ministry delayed issuing a screening license for Paddington 2, one day before it was scheduled to be released in theaters.
The ministry said it delayed the Jan. 18 screening until Feb. 1 because of another film scheduled to premiere on the same day. Russia's Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said the decision was made in the interests of Russian films and not in the
interests of Hollywood..
Remarkably, the distributing company announced late on Friday that the ministry's decision had been overturned after public pressure and an official appeal to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Medinsky explained:
We have come to a consensus with the industry, and have decided to meet the Volgafilm company halfway and allow the release of the film tomorrow [Jan. 20],.
Facebook has unveiled more changes to the News Feed of its 2 billion users, announcing it will rank news organizations by credibility based on user feedback and diminish its role as an arbiter of the news people see.
In a blog post accompanying the announcement, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote:
Facebook is not comfortable deciding which news sources are the most trustworthy in a world with so much division. We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.
The new trust rankings will emerge from surveys the company is conducting. Broadly trusted outlets that are affirmed by a significant cross-section of users may see a boost in readership, while less known organizations or start-ups receiving poor
ratings could see their web traffic decline significantly on the social network.
The company's changes also include an effort to boost the content of local news outlets, which have suffered sizable subscription and readership declines as news consumption migrated online.
On Friday, Google announced it would cancel a two-month-old experiment, called Knowledge Panel, that informed its users that a news article had been disputed by independent fact-checking organizations. Conservatives had complained the feature
unfairly targeted a right-leaning outlet.
Bangkok police have taken legal action against a film company for putting up a stall selling sex toys for filming purposes on Khao San Road.
The film makers had been given permission for the shooting of the Indian film Happy Bhag Jayegi Return on Khao San Road. According to the Bangkok Post the station gave permission because the company promised that the film-making would
promote Thailand with a positive image.
From 9.30am to 11.30am on Wednesday the crew had women wear swimsuits and placed stalls of swimsuits and adult toy signs on the road. After being reported, local police halted the film-making.
Police charged the crew and the film producer with causing public embarrassment and untidiness, blocking a road, and showing pornographic materials.
The police quoted actresses as saying that the scene was supposed to take place in China, with no mentioning of Khao San Road.
Happy Bhag Jayegi Return (2018) is a sequel to the comic-caper of the same title made in 2011. Indian actresses Sonakshi Sinha and Diana Penty star in it.
Matilda is a 2017 Russia historical biography by Aleksey Uchitel.
Starring Michalina Olszanska, Lars Eidinger and Luise Wolfram.
In the twilight of Imperial Russia, prima ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya becomes the mistress of three Grand Dukes.
Ukrainian authorities have banned the release of the Russian film Matilda featuring the story of romance between Crown Prince Nicholas [would-be Czar Nicholas II] and the young etoile of the Imperial Ballet, Mathilde Kschessinska.
Dmitry Kapranov, a censor from the State Agency for Cinematography [Goskino], said on Wednesday the decision was taken because of participation in the film of a musician whom the Ukrainian authorities had put on the blacklist of unwanted
foreigners. He said:
Now we've denied permission for a release of the film 'Matilda' on the basis of formal criteria. Our spectators may say, of course, well he is just a musician and you ban the film but I can ask them in response, would you go to the
marketplace and buy the watermelons with nitrates there?
Such watermelons do contain some vitamins but they also contain the nitrates, Kapranov said. And these people on the blacklist are the very same nitrates and their produce is therefore poisoned.
Matilda, a film directed by Alexei Uchitel, was released in Russia in October 2017. It aroused a scandal in the wake of heated public debates stirred by the State Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya, who campaigned for banning it. Poklonskaya claimed
that Matilda supposedly insulted the memory of Nicholas II, who is canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as a new holy martyr for faith, and the feelings of believers.
Padmavati is a 2017 India historical romance by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor.
Rani Padmavati (aka Padmini) is said to be one of the most beautiful women to ever exist. This real life story is epitome of Love and sacrifice between Rajput Queen Padmavati and Rana Rawal Ratan Singh, the Rajput ruler of Mewar. Their perfect
life took unfortunate turn when Allauddin Khilji's lustful eyes gazed upon Queen Padmavati. Alauddin Khilji is known as one of the most brutal rulers of the Khilji dynasty, who ascended the throne by killing his father-in-law, his
brother-in-laws and their uncles. He was known for attacking states, only for their land and women. And, the motive behind the attack on Mewar was none other than royal Rani Padmavati. Chittorgarh fort, today, stands as an epitome of the true
Rajputana spirit, loyalty, fidelity and bravery and a symbol of women power.
The controversial historical movie Padmaavat looks all set to arrive in cinemas on January 25 but members of the Bharatiya Janata Party continue to make threats about its release?
The film has now been passed by the Central Board of Film Certification with a U/A certificate and five cuts. The title has been changed from Padmavati to Padmaavat as per the board's recommendation. Viacom Pictures put out a press release on
Saturday confirming a worldwide release in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
However, despite the censor board's green signal, the movie has been banned in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, all of which are BJP-ruled states. This is entirely legal. State governments have the power to block a film's release even after
There has been no end to protests by the Rajput Karni Sena, the community organisation that has been leading attacks on the movie since early 2017 on the grounds that it distorts history. On Friday, over 130 Rajput Karni Sena members were
arrested in Mumbai for staging a protest outside the CBFC headquarters in Mumbai. The organisation has demanded that the certification be revoked until its leaders have watched the movie, and have threatened to burn down cinemas that screen the
Haryana became the fourth state to ban Padmaavat. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, which are also ruled by the BJP political party, have already banned the film despite the censor board clearing it. However, the Aditya Nath Yogi government
in Uttar Pradesh has decided not to ban the film.
The Haryana cabinet headed by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar formally approved the proposals made by two ministers Anil Vij and Vipul Goel to ban the film in the state.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure is a 2018 USA action Sci-Fi thriller by Wes Ball.
Starring Rosa Salazar, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Dylan O'Brien.
In the epic finale to The Maze Runner Saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary last city, a WCKD controlled labyrinth that may turn
out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get the answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze. Will Thomas and the crew make it out alive? Or will Ava Paige get her
BBFC advised category cuts were required for a 12A rated cinema release in 2018. 2D and 3D version were then passed 12A for moderate violence, threat, language.
The BBFC commented:
This work was originally seen for advice. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive a 15 certificate but that their preferred 12A classification could be achieved by making some changes. The company was advised to reduce
moments of threat and 'horror' involving zombie-like characters. When the film was formally submitted, changes had been made and, consequently, the film was passed 12A
Virgin Trains has announced that it has stopped selling the Daily Mail newspaper on its West Coast trains.
Drew McMillan, head of colleague communication and engagement at Virgin, told staff in an internal memo:
Thousands of people choose to read the Daily Mail every day. But they will no longer be reading it courtesy of VT.
There's been considerable concern raised by colleagues about the Mail's editorial position on issues such as immigration, LGBT rights and unemployment.
We've decided that this paper is not compatible with the VT brand and our beliefs.
We will continue to offer The Times to customers, but we won't be stocking the Daily Mail for sale or as a giveaway.
This won't suit all of our customers or all of our people - it's certain to draw some criticism. But we've listened to many colleagues over the last few months, and we feel that this is the right move to take.
A Daily Mail spokesman called the decision disgraceful, saying that at a time when fares were rising, it was disgraceful that Virgin was announcing that for political reasons it is censoring the choice of newspapers it offers to passengers.
Perhaps anther unsaid reason for the ban is the Daily Mail's very critical reporting of 'rip-off' fares.
Virgin's decision to ban the Daily Mail on its trains is a PR disaster.
Virgin workers may not share the paper's stance on a range of causes, from the EU to immigration to LGBT rights to unemployment, but to ban the sale of the paper? What are they thinking? More to the point, what is Sir Richard Branson , the
firm's boss, thinking?
No one is more PR-savvy than Branson, nobody in the past has exhibited a surer touch when it comes to promoting themselves or their brand.
Branson has been telling us for years that he is Virgin, that the company and founder are inseparable, their values identical. He promotes himself to promote Virgin. Now we know that those standards he so aspires to include restricting choice
and controlling freedom of expression.
Virgin Trains is to reverse its decision to stop selling the Daily Mail on its West Coast services.
Virgin Group boss Richard Branson said he instructed the firm to restock the paper while a review takes place.
Branson said he was unaware of the move and the operator must never be seen to be censoring customers. In a statement he said the chairman of Stagecoach, Brian Souter, was also not aware of the decision:
Brian and I agree that we must not ever be seen to be censoring what our customers read and influencing their freedom of choice.
Nor must we be seen to be moralising on behalf of others. Instead we should stand up for the values we hold dear and defend them publicly, as I have done with the Mail on many issues over the years.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a 1997 USA / Germany crime comedy by Jay Roach.
Starring Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley and Michael York.
A 1960s hipster secret agent is brought out of cryofreeze to oppose his greatest enemy in the 1990s, where his social attitudes are glaringly out of place.
A princess Di joke was cut by the distributors for 15 rated 1997 cinema release. Later uncut on UK home video. Cut for a PG-13 rating in the US.
The Daily Mail has been perusing new only opened files at the BBFC and come u with a colourful examiner's report about Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The examiner wrote:
O dear, this really has to qualify as the worst new film for theatrical release.
I am not acquainted with Mr Mike Myers -- the star and writer of this product -- and cannot fathom how he can have been given this showcase for his talent.
It really is embarrassingly unfunny. The film is a spoof on a Bond movie but is so crass and asinine that one cannot even begin to warm to it. It really is embarrassingly unfunny. The film is a spoof on a Bond movie but is so crass and asinine
that one cannot even begin to warm to it.
The report went on to say that the movie had an aggressive edge and commented on its tacky and lavatorial humour. The examiner then launched a waspish tirade against some of the stars involved before concluding that the film was fit only for
The writer said the use of the word 'fuck' and repetition of terms such as 'shit' and 'shag' set the tone of the whole piece, crude, distasteful and unredeemed by intelligence, irony or wit.
But Myers had the last laugh, the film on a budget of just £12million took £50million at the international box office and combined with its two sequels, it brought in a total of £500million+.
A spokesman for the BBFC accepted the comments were more colourful then normal.
TV censor Ofcom has received 662 complaints following violent scenes in Coronation Street.
The storyline with Pat Phelan as a multi-murderer has been a big hit with somplaining viewers culminating in the murder of Luke Britton. The graphic scene shows Phelan grab his gun out the back of his van, and shoot Luke straight through his car
A spokesman for ITV told MailOnline:
Pat Phelan is well established as a villain in a long line of murderous Coronation Street villains, and his evil actions won't have come as a surprise to viewers.
The programme is always careful to limit the violence shown to a minimum to convey the drama and tell the story. We have responded to Ofcom.
The House of Representatives cast a deeply disappointing vote today to extend NSA spying powers for the next six years by a 256-164 margin. In a related vote, the House also failed to adopt meaningful reforms on how the government sweeps up large
swaths of data that predictably include Americans' communications.
Because of these votes, broad NSA surveillance of the Internet will likely continue, and the government will still have access to Americans' emails, chat logs, and browsing history without a warrant. Because of these votes, this surveillance will
continue to operate in a dark corner, routinely violating the Fourth Amendment and other core constitutional protections.
This is a disappointment to EFF and all our supporters who, for weeks, have spoken to defend privacy. And this is a disappointment for the dozens of Congress members who have tried to rein NSA surveillance in, asking that the intelligence
community merely follow the Constitution.
Today's House vote concerned S. 139, a bill to extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a powerful surveillance authority the NSA relies on to sweep up countless Americans' electronic communications. EFF vehemently
opposed S. 139 for its failure to enact true reform of Section 702.
As passed by the House today, the bill:
Endorses nearly all warrantless searches of databases containing Americans' communications collected under Section 702.
Provides a narrow and seemingly useless warrant requirement that applies only for searches in some later-stage criminal investigations, a circumstance which the FBI itself has said almost never happens.
Allows for the restarting of "about" collection, an invasive type of surveillance that the NSA ended last year after being criticized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for privacy violations.
Sunsets in six years, delaying Congress' best opportunity to debate the limits NSA surveillance.
Sadly, the House's approval of S. 139 was its second failure today. The first was in the House's inability to pass an amendment--through a 183-233 vote--that would have replaced the text of S. 139 with the text of the USA Rights Act, a bill that
EFF is proud to support. You can
read about that bill here .
The amendment to replace the text of S. 139 with the USA Rights Act was introduced by Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and included more than 40 cosponsors from sides of the aisle. Its defeat came from both Republicans and
S. 139 now heads to the Senate, which we expect to vote by January 19. The Senate has already considered
stronger bills to rein in NSA surveillance, and we call on the Senate to reject this terrible bill coming out of the House.
Customs officers are to gain permission to enter and search people's homes without a warrant in a law change a minister warns would allow them more powers than the police.
Kit Malthouse, a Conservative MP who became a minister in this week's reshuffle, said he is concerned about new powers for HM Revenue and Customs in the Finance Bill which is currently going through Parliament.
The changes were an extension of the old excise men's powers to deal with smugglers in ports and airports he said, questioning whether such powers are appropriate today.
He said: I hope that Ministers will think carefully about whether it might be more appropriate for a warrant to be obtained to access someone's premises, in the same way that the police do when they have suspicions.
A new undercover video from a group of conservative investigative journalists appears to show Twitter staff and former employees talking about how they censor content they disagree with.
James O'Keefe, Project Veritas founder, posted a video showing an undercover reporter speaking to Abhinov Vadrevu, a former Twitter software engineer, at a San Francisco restaurant on January 3.
There, he discussed a technique referred to as shadow banning, which means that users' content is quietly blocked without them ever knowing about it. Their tweets would still appear to their followers, but it wouldn't appear in search results or
anywhere else on Twitter. So posters just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it.
Olinda Hassan, a policy manager for Twitter's Trust and Safety team, was filmed talking about development of a system for down ranking shitty people.
Another Twitter engineer claimed that staff already have tools to censor pro-Trump or conservative content. One Twitter engineer appeared to suggest that the social network was trying to ban, like, a way of talking. Anyone found to be aggressive
or negative will just vanish.
Every single conversation is going to be rated by a machine and the machine is going to say whether or not it's a positive thing or a negative thing, Twitter software engineer Steven Pierre was filmed on December 8 saying as he discussed the
development of an automated censure system.
In the latest undercover Project Veritas video investigation, eight current and former Twitter employees are on camera explaining steps the social media giant is taking to censor political content that they don't like.
The comedian Hari Kondabolu has produced a TV documentary titled The Problem with Apu that claims that the Simpson's stereotypically Indian shopkeeper character, Apu, has a negative impact.
trailer for the upcoming truTV documentary The Problem with Apu shows Kondabolu's conversations with a number of South Asian actors and comedians, including Kal Penn, Hasan Minhaj, and Sakina Jaffrey, all talking about how the character has
affected their personal and professional lives.
Offsite comment: In defence of Apu
Don't let offence-takers kill off The Simpsons shopkeeper.
Religious moralist campaigners at One Million Moms are whingeing about a book publisher that supports gay parenting. They write:
Everyone is familiar with Scholastic Inc. Their book fairs are popular fundraisers at your child's school. However, Scholastic is not safe for your child and parents should be warned.
Scholastic Inc., the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, is using its platform to promote pro-homosexual and pro-transgender books for children.
The corporation, for example, published a pro-transgender book called George for 3rd graders. When people look at George, they think they see a boy, the book reads. But she [George] knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a
According to its website, Scholastic Inc. reaches 6 million children per week with its publications. It features morally toxic reading lists for children, such as:
Books for Two-Mommy Families
Great books for Two-Dad Families
Picture Books About Transgender Children
The American College of Pediatricians warns: Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.
Scholastic does not have our children's best interests at heart. Tell Scholastic to stop harming children.
Theresa May has vowed to overturn a disgraceful bid by peers to muzzle the press.
The House of Lords yesterday voted to force the vast majority of papers - including the struggling local press - to pay all legal costs in data protection cases even if they win.
Peers voted by 211 votes to 200, a majority of only 11, to introduce the new legal fees costs on the media.
Critics have pointed out that it will hamper the media's ability to investigate wrongdoing and corruption as criminals could drag the press through expensive courts without having to pay a penny themselves.
The PM said:
I think that the impact of this vote would undermine high-quality journalism and a free press.
I think it would particularly have a negative impact on local newspapers, which are an important underpinning of our democracy.
I believe passionately in a free press. We want to have a free press that is able to hold politicians and others to account and we will certainly be looking to overturn this vote in the House of Commons.
The Lords also voted by 238 votes to 209 for a new probe effectively mirroring the second part of the Leveson inquiry. This also attempts to punish the press by denying them justice by making them pay regardless of the merits of the case.
New Culture Secretary Matt Hancock also weighed in against the lords saying that the proposed changes would be a hammer blow to the local press and made clear he would seek to overturn the changes in the elected House of Commons
It is interesting to note that ASA now uses American spellings in preference to UK English spellings
Two Facebook posts for the Buck Inn, a pub in Darlington:
a. The first post, dated 8 September 2017, stated German Grub Night at The Buck Inn Dont mention ze war!. The post included an image of a poster titled german night with text stating Set 3 Course Meal Including Popular German Dishes 2£19.95pp,
Graham Ze Chef, Don't Mention Ze War!. The poster also showed a black and white image depicting a uniformed Nazi soldier performing a Nazi salute with the right arm, and a swastika on the left sleeve. A smiling, caricature-style, sketched image
of the face the chef had been superimposed on to the Nazi soldier. The text font of the headline german night and colour scheme in the poster also resembled the stylisation and colours typical of Nazi imagery.
b. The second post, dated 12 September 2017, showed that the Buck Inn had updated their Facebook profile picture to an image of a newspaper article about the german night poster. The article featured an image of the poster and was titled Pub's
German night 'Nazi' poster criticised. The Buck Inn had also liked a number of comments by other individuals on their Facebook page in relation to the posts.
Three complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive.
The Buck Inn said that Dont mention ze war was a quote from Fawlty Towers and the use of this phrase in the ad, in conjunction with a cartoon image of their chef's head on a German soldier, was intended to be light hearted and humorous. They said
that the poster advertised a German cuisine night and that the design of the ad was inspired by the comedy in this particular episode of Fawlty Towers. They also stated they were not promoting the Nazi party in the ad and it was not intended to
mock the Second World War in any way.
The Buck Inn also said that the ad was seen on Facebook by over 500,000 people, and the fact that only three complaints were received indicated most people had interpreted the ad in the way they had intended.
With regard to the Buck Inn liking a number of comments by other individuals on their Facebook page, they said they liked every comment by users on their page as they considered that it helped to improve their interaction with consumers on
Facebook and that the users would be more likely to see the their future Facebook posts.
ASA Decision: Complaints upheld
The ASA acknowledged the phrase Don't mention the war was a fairly well known quote from the sitcom Fawlty Towers. However, we considered that the use of an image of a Nazi soldier wearing a swastika and performing a Nazi salute to advertise the
pub's German cuisine night, in a humorous tone, was inappropriate and trivialised the events of the Second World War and actions of the German Nazi party. Furthermore, the ad appeared to link German culture intrinsically with Nazi Germany and the
war. We therefore considered that ad (a) was likely to cause serious or widespread offense.
We also considered that the Buck Inn's activity on Facebook in ad (b) trivialised the reported offense that ad (a) was likely to cause, particularly in the use of the newspaper article as a Facebook profile picture. In particular we considered
that the Buck Inn's liking of various comments by other users on their Facebook page, many of which contained distasteful jokes and puns in reference to the Holocaust, was also likely to cause serious or widespread offense.
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told the Buck Inn to ensure that they did not cause serious or widespread offence by using Nazi references or imagery in their advertising, or by trivialising the events of the Second World
War and actions of the German Nazi party. We also told the Buck Inn to ensure that comments made by other users on their Facebook page, which in themselves were likely to cause serious or widespread offense, were not liked.
Last September, Swiss legislators approved changes to its gambling laws will introduce website blocking for foreign competitors to Switzerland's own gambling industry.
This domain-blocking plan, set to take effect in 2019, met with pushback from Swiss ISPs and civil libertarians, who decided Swiss voters should have a say in this flirtation with authoritarian censorship. Swiss law allows voters a referendum on
contentious legislation provided 50k citizens sign the necessary petition within 100 days of the law's passage.
On Tuesday, Swiss media outlet Blick reported that a coalition of three political parties and the Internet Society Switzerland Chapter had so far collected around 65k signatures, of which 25k have been certified by the state. The group has
until January 18 to certify the additional 25k signatures needed for the referendum to be approved.
Andri Silberschmidt, president of the youth organization of Switzerland's Free Democratic Party, told Blick that his group was intent on combatting digital isolation, mindful that once a government starts banning what its citizens can do online,
even tighter restrictions are usually not far behind. Freedom for the economy and the internet, has great support in Switzerland.
The local casino industry, which has long complained that its falling revenue was due to competition from international gambling sites. But the most recent data from the Swiss Federation of Casinos showed the nation's 21 licensed brick-and-mortar
casinos posted a modest year-on-year revenue gain in 2016. Lottery and sports betting revenue enjoyed even larger gains in 2016, rising 8.3% year-on-year. So it appears that there are bluffs to call.
Two significant Apple shareholders, hedge fund Jana Partners and California State Teacher's Retirement System (CalSTRS) have just penned an open letter to Apple, urging the iPhone maker to take the lead on studying the impact smartphones have
on kids and offer parents improved software tools that would allow them to better manage their children's access to smartphone apps.
The two organizations want more iOS features that would give them more granular control, consistent with a kid's development.
Rosenstein and CalSTRS's director of corporate governance Anne Sheehan said in the open letter that they worked with experts to review studies that found links between the use of electronic devices and adverse effects on health, sleep, empathy,
The two organizations urge Apple to take more responsibility and reinvent parental controls in iPhone and iPad. In their opinion, the current settings offer an all or nothing approach, which lets parents block or allow access to certain features.
They think Apple could take the lead in redefining parental controls in smart devices, to keep up with recent studies and try to prevent various health issues that may be caused by smartphone addition:
The Egyptian Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media established in December a specialized committee to monitor TV series and weed out the ones that it considers to be against the country's customs and traditions. The decision raised
criticism and concern within Egyptian artistic and cultural circles, as well as questions about the future of Egyptian drama.
At the committee's third meeting on 3rd January, participants agreed that the TV channels will not sign a contract or broadcast any drama productions that have not previously received a permit from the TV censors of the General Directorate for
the Censorship of Artistic Works, a body that reviews the scripts of films and drama series and gives them permits to shoot.
In the past, the directorate had expressed dissatisfaction that the satellite channels did not care whether the series they aired had this permit or not, as the censorship body has no legal authority over the channels.
According to Ahmed Salim, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, the new committee will set standards for drama producers in Egypt to abide by during the series-filled season of Ramadan 2018. Salim said
that the committee, studying the TV series aired during the last Ramadan, observed many violations such as offensive words and topics that are contrary to Egyptian customs and traditions. He claimed that these series ruined Egypt's image and that
is why the committee, which consisted of art critics, directors and members of the film sector's professional organizations, was formed to control these series.
Salim also stressed that the committee would not seek to censor the work of writers but cooperate with the TV channels to ensure that the drama series that violate the committee's criteria will not be aired. We aim to provide a clean screen that
will preserve the customs and traditions of Egyptian homes. We do not want any scenes of violence, drug use or any other bad examples, he said.
The Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, formed in April 2016 by a presidential decree of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is authorized to fine or suspend broadcasts or temporarily close down TV channels that broadcast materials it
classifies as immoral or in violation of professional standards. In 2017, it suspended several TV programs and advertisements, some of which criticized the current regime's policy, including one that draws attention to difficulties of finding
clean water .
The Papua New Guinea Office of Censorship has banned three local songs with lyrics deemed as inappropriate for listeners.
Chief Censor Steven Mala revealed that the three songs are Sigarapim saksak, Private Nangu and Meri Sunam by Jaro local.
The ban follows complaints on social media regarding the song Sigarapim saksak and the other two songs.
Chief Censor Steven Mala's description of the songs was harmful and not listener friendly, especially to the younger audience.
The Chief Censor has invited the concerned artists behind the banned songs to have an open dialogue with his office if they feel the need to justify why their songs should not be banned. We don't want be seen as we are just there to penalize any
musicians, we want to work together with them in becoming professionals in the Music Industry and not just allowing them to produce something that is offensive to the public
Twitter said that it would not ban a world leader, Donald Trump, from its platform....BUT... that it reserved the right to delete official statements by heads of state of sovereign nations as it saw fit
Matt Hancock MP was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Censorship, Media and Sport on 8 January 2018. He was previously Minister of State for Digital from July 2016 to January 2018.
Matt Hancock is the MP for West Suffolk, having been elected in the 2010 general election. Since July 2016 he has served at DCMS as Minister of State for Digital and is responsible for broadband, broadcasting, creative industries, cyber and
the tech industry.
The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for strategy and policy across the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The department's main policy areas are:
arts and culture
cultural property, heritage and the historic environment
gambling and racing
media ownership and mergers
museums and galleries
the National Lottery
telecommunications and online
Hancock has already been working on the new law to serve up porn viewers on a platter to scammers, fraudsters, blackmailers and identity thieves, so there is unlikely to be a change of direction there.
Germany's justice minister fell victim to the rules he himself championed against online social media when one of his tweets was deleted following several complaints.
The censored tweet dated back to 2010, when Heiko Maas was not yet minister. in the tweet he had called Thilo Sarrazin, a politician who wrote a controversial book on Muslim immigrants, an idiot.
Maas told Bild on Monday that he did not receive any information from Twitter about why the tweet was deleted, or whether it would be deleted from Twitter.
Germany meanwhile signalled on Monday it was open to amending the controversial law which combats online hate speech. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said an evaluation would be carried out within six months to examine how well the new law
Darwin Day is on February 12. It's the great man's birthday, celebrated by Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture as Academic Freedom Day.
It's time to solicit your nominations for the 2018 Censor of the Year. This award recognizes particularly egregious Darwinist efforts to block discussion, research, and reporting about weaknesses in evolutionary theory and about evidence for
intelligent design. Past winners include biologist Jerry Coyne (2014) and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (2015).
Darwinists do not go so far as to burn books by proponents of intelligent design. However, their actual tactics in suppressing open debate are far more effective because, for the most part, they are practiced behind a veil of secrecy.
Most Darwinist censorship works via self-censorship. In academic and other contexts, the intimidation need not be explicit. It is practiced quietly, without drawing attention to itself. The victims, the censored, understandably don't want to
imperil their work, their income, or their reputation. So they keep quiet both about their doubts on Darwinian evolution and about the power structure in their institutions that maintains the informal speech code.
Germany's NetzDG internet censorship law has been in force since the New Year and has already sparked multiple controversies. Opposition parties across the political spectrum already say its time for change.
Senior figures in the rival Free Democratic (FDP), Green and Left parties on Sunday demanded lawmakers replace Germany's recently passed online hate speech law. The call comes after Twitter decided to delete allegedly offensive statements by
far-right politicians and suspend the account of a German satirical magazine.
The last few days have emphatically shown that private companies cannot correctly determine whether a questionable online statement is illegal, satirical or tasteless yet still democratically legitimate, the FDP's general secretary Nicola Beer
told Germany weekly Die Welt am Sonntag .
Beer said Germany needed a law similar to the one the FDP proposed before Christmas that would give an appropriately endowed authority the right to enforce the rule of law online rather than give private companies the right to determine the
illegality of flagged content.
Green Party Chairwoman Simone Peter has also called for a replacement law that would take away the right of private companies to make decisions regarding flagged content. He said:
It is not acceptable for US companies such as Twitter to influence freedom of expression or press freedoms in Germany. Last year, we proposed a clear legal alternative that would hold platforms such as Twitter accountable without making them
Greens' internet policy spokesman, Konstantin von Notz, also criticized the current statute, telling the newspaper that the need for reform the law was overdue.
Left leader Sarah Wagenknecht added:
The law is a slap in the face of all democratic principles because, in a constitutional state, courts rather than private companies make decisions about what is lawful and what is not.
Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FFC), Ajit Pai, has been forced to cancel his scheduled appearance at the world's biggest tech conference, CES, after receiving death threats.
That's according to a report by Recode, which cites two agency sources familiar with the matter. This seems to be in response to the disgraceful FCC decision to scrap the US government's net neutrality rules, made in December last year.
For those not up-to-date, net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers should enable equal levels of access to all web services. The decision enables big business to assert a lot more control over the internet and to let them
charge websites and customers for differing levels of service.
Iran's embassy in London has written an official letter to the UK TV censor Ofcom claiming of bias in Britain's media coverage of the ongoing anti-government protests in Iran.
Ofcom said on Friday that the letter is being carefully evaluated.
Iranian state media says its government is complaining about what it calls a propaganda campaign orchestrated by UK-based Persian-language broadcasters.
The letter claims that the media outlets violated UK and international media regulations and tried to incite protesters into using violent tactics.
In an attempt to shut down protests and manage the unrest, Iran's government blocked access to the encrypted Telegram messaging app and the photo-sharing app Instagram, which now join Facebook and Twitter in being banned.
A censorship row has erupted in Paris after publishing house Gallimard announced it would publish a collection of pro-Hitler pamphlets by the otherwise notable novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline.
Céline is hailed as one of France's most brilliant writers for his 1932 novel Journey to the End of the Night, regarded as one of the greatest French works of the 20th century.
Gallimard has insisted it will go ahead with the publication of Bagatelles pour un massacre, a collection of 1930s pamphlets by Céline, who called for the extermination of Jews. The publication date is not set but Gallimard has
insisted its intention is to frame the texts with a critical commentary.
When Gallimard was reported to be about to publish the collection last spring, the government stepped in and summoned the publisher. The government urged the publisher to include notes giving the full context drawn up by specialists, including
historians. The editor is understood to have rejected this, claiming that notes by a literary expert on Céline would suffice.
Serge Klarsfeld, a French lawyer and Nazi-hunter has demanded the publication be stopped, threatening legal action if Gallimard continues. He said he supported historians studying the texts, but said that presenting a shiny new edition of
Céline's "abject" writing in bookshops would be "intolerable" and no amount of footnotes could temper that.
The book has already been published in Canada in 2012, although Le Monde warned that the Canadian edition's notes were insufficient.
The Twitter account of German satirical magazine Titanic was blocked after it parodied anti-Muslim comments by AfD MP Beatrix von Storch.
She accused police of trying to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men by putting out a tweet in Arabic.
On Tuesday night, the magazine published a tweet parodying von Storch, saying:
The last thing that I want is mollified barbarian, Muslim, gang-raping hordes of men.
Titanic said on Wednesday its Twitter account had been blocked over the message, presumably as a result of a new law requiring social media sites to immediately block hateful comments on threat of massive fines. There is no time allowed or
economic reason for assessing the merits of censorship claims, so social media companies are just censoring everything on demand, just in case.
China's social media giants are ramping up efforts to get their users to snitch on people circulating taboo content.
China's tech giant Tencent said it was hiring 200 content censors to form what the company is calling a penguin patrol unit, after the company's penguin mascot. The brigade, made of 10 journalists, 70 writers who use Tencent's content platforms,
and 120 regular internet users, will flag content that transgresses China's repressive censorship rules.
Reviewers will be required to make at least 300 snitch reports each month about transgressive information, including porn, sensational headlines, plagiarism, fake news, or old news. Those who complete the mission will get 30 virtual coins which
can be used to purchase items on Tencent's QQ chat app. Those who fail to meet the reporting quota three times will be booted from the unit.
The UK government slipped out its impact assessment of the upcoming porn censorship law during the Christmas break. The new law requires porn websites to be blocked in the UK when they don't implement age verification.
The measures are currently due to come into force in May but it seems a tight schedule as even the rules for acceptable age verification systems have not yet been published.
The report contains some interesting costings and assessment of the expected harms to be inflicted on porn viewers and British adult businesses.
The document notes the unpopularity of the age verification requirements with a public consultation finding that 54% of respondents did not support the introduction of a law to require age verification.
However, the government has forged ahead, with the aim of stopping kids accessing porn on the grounds that such content could distress them or harm their development.
The governments censorship rules will be enforced by the BBFC, in its new role as the UK porn censor although it prefers the descriptor: age-verification regulator . The government states that the censorship job will initially be funded by
the government, and the government is assuming this will cost £4.5 million based upon a range of estimates from 1 million to 8 million.
The government has bizarrely assumed that the BBFC will ban just 1 to 60 sites in a year. The additional work for ISPs to block these sites is estimated £100,000 to £500,000 for each ISP. Probably to be absorbed by larger companies, but will be
an expensive problem for smaller companies who do not currently implement any blocking systems.
Interestingly the government notes that there wont be any impact on UK adult businesses notionally because they should have already implemented age verification under ATVOD and Ofcom censorship rules. In reality it will have little impact on UK
businesses because they have already been decimated by the ATVOD and Ofcom rules and have mostly closed down or moved abroad.
Te key section of the document summarising expected harms is as follows.
The policy option set out above also gives rise to the following risks:
Deterring adults from consuming content as a result of privacy/ fraud concerns linked to inputting ID data into sites and apps, also some adults may not be able to prove their age online;
Development of alternative payment systems and technological work-arounds could mean porn providers do not comply with new law, and enforcement is impossible as they are based overseas, so the policy goal would not be
The assumption that ISPs will comply with the direction of the regulator;
Reputational risks including Government censorship, over-regulation, freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
The potential for online fraud could raise significantly, as criminals adapt approaches in order to make use of false AV systems / spoof websites and access user data;
The potential ability of children, particularly older children, to bypass age verification controls is a risk. However, whilst no system will be perfect, and alternative routes such as virtual private networks and
peer-to-peer sharing of content may enable some under-18s to see this content, Ofcom research indicates that the numbers of children bypassing network level filters, for example, is very low (ca. 1%).
Adults (and some children) may be pushed towards using ToR and related systems to avoid AV where they could be exposed to illegal and extreme material that they otherwise would never have come into contact with.
The list does not seem to include the potential for blackmail from user data sold by porn firms, or else stolen by hackers. And mischievously, politicians could be one of the groups most open to blackmail for money or favours.
Another notable omission, is that the government does not seem overly concerned about mass VPN usage. I would have thought that the secret services wanting to monitor terrorists would not be pleased if a couple of million people stared to use
encrypted VPNs. Perhaps it shows that the likes of GCHQ can already see into what goes on behind VPNs.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has warned Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to tighten up their age controls and kick off underage users.
The ICO stepped in after it became aware that millions of British children join the platform before they were 13. New ICO guidelines state that social media giants must examine whether they put children at risk -- by showing minors adverts for
alcohol or gambling, for example.
The guidance, which is under consultation, also calls on the firms to do a better job of kicking underage users off their platforms, and to stop or deter children from sharing their information online.
Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, threatened:
Whether designing services to provide protection for children or having a system to verify age, organisations, including social media companies, need to change the way they offer services to children.
It's also vital that we ensure children's interests and rights are protected online in the same way they are in all other aspects of life.
In November, an Ofcom report revealed that half of British 12-year-olds and more than a quarter of ten-year-olds have their own social media profiles. At the moment, all the major web giants demand that users are over 13 before they get an
account -- but they do next to nothing to enforce that rule.
Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat insist it is unrealistic to have to verify the age of users under the age of 18.
The ICO does not seem to have addressed the enormity of their demand. Facebook and social networks are the very essence of smart phones. If children aren't allowed to share things, how does any website or app feed up news and articles to anyone
if it does now what the reader likes nor who is linked to that person. Typing in what you want to see is no longer practical or desirable, so the basic idea of sending people more of what they have already shown they liked is the only game in
town. Of course the kids could play games all day instead, but maybe that has a downside too.
CAP is a subgroup of the advert censors at ASA that writes the rules for general advertising. BCAP is a similar group tasked with the rules for adverts broadcast on TV and radio. ASA has announced a new rule described as follows:
Following public consultation, and a six-month implementation period, CAP and BCAP's stricter rules prohibiting the sexual portrayal or sexual representation of under-18s (and those who appear to be under 18) in advertising have come into force
The new rules are:
New CAP Code rule:4.8 Marketing communications must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to marketing communications whose principal function is to promote the welfare
of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.
New BCAP Code rule to replace rule 5.5:4.13 Advertisements must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to advertisements whose principal function is to promote the
welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.
Germany starts enforcing an internet censorship law where contested content has to be taken down pronto by social media who will suffer massive fines of they don't comply.
The law is supposedly targeted at obviously illegal hate speech, but surely it will be used to take down content anyone doesn't like for any reason. The threats of fines and short time allowed simply means that websites will opt for the easiest
and most economic policy, and that is to take down anything contested.
The new law states the sites that do not remove obviously illegal posts could face fines of up to 50m euro. The law gives the networks 24 hours to act after they have been told about law-breaking material.
Social networks and media sites with more than two million members will fall under the law's provisions. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be the law's main focus but it is also likely to be applied to Reddit, Tumblr and Russian social network
VK. Other sites such as Vimeo and Flickr could also be caught up in its provisions.
Facebook has reportedly recruited several hundred staff in Germany to deal with reports about content that breaks the NetzDG and to do a better job of monitoring what people post.
Update: First examples of fair free speech being censored in Germany
Sophie Passmann is an unlikely poster child for Germany's new online hate speech laws.
The 24-year-old comedian from Cologne posted a satirical message on Twitter early on New Year's Day, mocking the German far right's fear that the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that have entered the country in recent years would endanger
Germany's culture. Instead of entertaining her more than 14,000 Twitter followers , Passmann's tweet was blocked within nine hours by the American social media giant, telling users in Germany that Passmann's message had run afoul of local laws.
Germany's rightwing AfD party have been busy with political posters pointing out that they will be the likely victims of censorship under Germany's new law.
And they will certainly have a good claim. The new law will surely over censor, and any complaint will end up in a censored post, regardless of the merits of the claim. A slightly UnPC post by AfD is likely to be blocked, and so the AfD will
rightly be able to highlight the censorship.
The publicity for examples of censorship will surely chime with a significant proportion of the German population, and so will add to the general level of disaffection with the political elite.
Perhaps Germany ought to at least ensure that censorship should be based on the merits of the case, not implemented by a commercial company who only cares about the cheapest possible method of meeting the censorship requirements.
China's media censor is being taken to court over its view that homosexual activities are abnormal.
Following a crackdown on showing homosexuality in the country's media, a Beijing court has made the unusual move of accepting a legal challenge brought by a member of the public.
In the unlikely event that Fan Chunlin wins his case, China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) would be forced to publicly clarify a regulation banning gay sex.
With China's courts, the media and the SAPPRFT all controlled by the ruling communist party, the chances of Fan winning the case are small. However, Fan's lawyer, Tang Xiangqian, said that he hoped that the legal challenge will raise awareness of
rights for homosexual people in the country.
A decision on the case is expected within six months.
For a long time in China there have been numerous censorship rules about storylines that could or could not appear in films. Stories with magical elements were strictly limited to taking place during ancient times, modern horror films depicting
seemingly supernatural elements had to explain by the end of the film that the ghosts were just hallucinations or tricks setup by crazed killers, exceedingly bloody or violent scenes were nowhere to be seen.
The entire process of getting a film made was also once strictly supervised at every step of the way from the beginning of production all the way to right before a film hit theaters. But 2017 provided some hints that things are relaxing in the
In March of 2017, the government introduced the China Film Industry Promotion Law. One aspect of this new law has been to make it easier for films to start production. According to new regulations films that do not touch upon national security,
diplomacy, ethnic minorities, religion, the military and other sensitive subjects, no longer need to hand in their scripts for approval prior to shooting.
A few example storylines have already surfaced that would not have been made a couple of years ago. In Hanson and the Beast , for example. The film takes place in modern times, yet tells the story of a zoo keeper who encounters and falls
in love with a fox spirit. Many Chinese filmgoers were surprised to see spirits and demons straight out of Chinese legends depicted as living in modern China. The film does spend a few minutes of sci-fi hand-waving to explain why these fantasy
creatures from Chinese legends actually exist.
Another example is the upcoming animated dark comedy Have a Nice Day , contains explicit violent imagery in its depiction of criminal gang activity. The film was selected to compete for the Golden Bear Award at the 67th Berlin
International Film Festival last year, but many moviegoers in China thought that the film wouldn't see a release in its original form since it depicted the dark side of Chinese society. The film wasn't quite in its original form though as a few
lines of dialogue were censored.
Perhaps China has realised that highly sanitised films are no good for selling to the west.
A large number of games apps are snooping on players using the smart phone's microphone to listen to what is playing on TV, The apps recognise TV audio and report back what is being watched to home base, supposedly to help in targeted
Software from Alphonso, a start-up that collects TV-viewing data for advertisers, is used in at least 1000 games. The games do actually seek user consent to use the microphone but users may not be fully aware of the consequences of leaving an
open mike in their house or in their children's rooms
Alphonso's software can detail what people watch by identifying audio signals in TV ads and shows, sometimes even matching that information with the places people visit and the movies they see. The information can then be used to target ads more
precisely and to try to analyze things like which ads prompted a person to go to a car dealership.
Alphonso claims that its software does not record human speech. The company claims that it did not approve of its software being used in apps meant for children. But it was, as of earlier this month, integrated in more than a dozen games like
Teeth Fixed and Zap Balloons from KLAP Edutainment in India, which describes itself as primarily focusing on offering educational games for kids and students.
The app can record audio from the microphone when the game is being player or when it is still running in background on the phone.
Comment: Alphonso knows what you watched last summer
Technology startup Alphonso has caused widespread concern by using smartphones microphones to monitor the TV and media habits of games and apps users.
The New York Times has published a story about a company called Alphonso that has developed a technology that uses smartphone microphones to identify TV and films being played in the background. Alphonso claims not to record any conversations,
but simply listen to and encode samples of media for matching in their database. The company combines the collected data with identifiers and uses the data to target advertising, audience measurement and other purposes. The technology is embedded
in over one thousand apps and games but the company refuses to disclose the exact list.
Alphonso argues that users have willingly given their consent to this form of spying on their media consumption and can opt out at any time. They argue that their behaviour is consistent with US laws and regulations.
Even if Alphonso were not breaking any laws here or in the US, there is a systemic problem with the growing intrusion of these types of technologies that monitor ambient sounds in private spaces without sufficient public debate. Apps are sneaking
this kind of surveillance in, using privacy mechanisms that clearly cannot cope. This is despite the apps displaying a widget asking for permission to use the microphone to detect TV content, which would be a "clear affirmative action"
for consent as required by law. Something is not working, and app platforms and regulators need to take action.
In addition to the unethical abuse of users' lack of initiative or ignorance - a bit like tobacco companies - there could be some specific breaches of privacy. The developers are clearly following the letter of the law in the US, obtaining
consent and providing an opt out, but in Europe they could face more trouble, particularly after May when the General Data Protection Regulaiton (GDPR) comes into force.
One of the newer requirements on consent under GDPR will be to make it as easy to withdraw as it was to give it in the first place. Alphonso has a web-page with information on how to opt out through the privacy settings of devices, and this
information is copied in at least some of the apps' privacy policies, buried under tons of legalese. This may not be good enough. Besides, once that consent is revoked, companies will need to erase any data obtained if there is no other
legitimate justification to keep it. It is far from clear this is happening now, or will be in May.
There is also a need for complete clarity on who is collecting the data and being responsible for handling any consent and its revocation. At present the roles of app developers, Apple, Google and Alphonso are blurred.
We have been asked whether individuals can take legal action. We think that under the current regime in the UK this may be difficult because the bar is quite high and the companies involved are covering the basic ground. GDPR will make it easier
to launch consumer complaints and legal action. The new law will also explicitly allow non-material damages, which is possible already in limited circumstances, including for revealing "political opinions, religion or philosophical
beliefs" . Alphonso is recording the equivalent of a reading list of audiovisual media and might be able to generate such information.
Many of these games are aimed at children. Under GDPR, all data processing of children data is seen as entailing a risk and will need extra care. Whether children are allowed to give consent or must get it from their parents/guardians will depend
on their age. In all cases information aimed at children will need to be displayed in a language they can understand. Some of the Alphonso games we checked have an age rating of 4+.
Consumer organisations have presented complaints in the past for similar issues in internet connected toys and we think that Alphonso and the developers involved should be investigated by the Information Commissioner.
Emmanuel Macron has vowed to introduce a law to censor 'fake news' on the internet during French election campaigns. He claimed he wanted new legislation for social media platforms during election periods in order to protect democracy.
For fake news published during election seasons, an emergency legal action could allow authorities to remove that content or even block the website, Macron said. If we want to protect liberal democracies, we must be strong and have clear rules.
He said France's media censor, the CSA, would be empowered to fight against any attempt at destabilisation by TV stations controlled or influenced by foreign states. Macron said he wanted to act against what he called propaganda articulated
by thousands of social media accounts.
Macron has an axe to grind about fake news, during the election campaign in spring 2017 he filed a legal complaint after Le Pen, the Front National leader, referred to fake stories about him placing funds in an offshore account in the Bahamas.
Also a bogus website resembling the site of the Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported that Saudi Arabia was financing Macron's campaign. Le Soir totally distanced itself from the report.
Singapore film censors have banned a documentary about Palestine from screening at film festivals.
Government censors at the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) claimed that the film has a skewed narrative which could cause disharmony in Simgapore.
The 2016 film, Radiance of Resistance, tells the story of Ahed al-Tamimi, then 14, and her 9-year-old friend Janna Ayyad, often called the youngest journalist in Palestine. The pair join protests in Palestine against heavily armed Israeli
The one-hour documentary, directed by Jesse Roberts, an American humanitarian and filmmaker, was scheduled to be screened at the Singapore Palestinian Film Festival 2018 on Thursday.
But on Tuesday, the IMDA cancelled the screening, saying that the documentary explores the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the eyes of the two young protagonists, without a counterbalance. The censors said in a statement:
The skewed narrative of the film is inflammatory and has the potential to cause disharmony amongst the different races and religions in Singapore.
The film was rated as 'not allowed for all ratings (NAR)'.
Adela Foo, the festival's organiser, told local journalists that she was disappointed, but wouldn't appeal the IMDA's decision given time constraints.
An Israeli military court charged Ahed al-Tamimi, the film's main subject, with assault, for slapping an Israeli soldier. Since her arrest, politicians, royals, and celebrities have spoken out for Ahed, now 16. Her father has said that his
daughter's actions caught on video happened after Israeli soldiers shot her 14-year-old cousin, Mohammed al-Tamimi, with a rubber bullet in his face.
Poundland will play the Spirit of Christmas Just Past whilst ASA is set to play Scrooge
4th January 2018
THE UK's advert censor ASA has launched an investigation into Poundland's X-rated Christmas elf campaign.
A few miserable gits have whinged about a series of Twitter ads showing a naughty elf in various sexual poses.
ASA has confirmed it has launched an investigation into the ads after receiving 80 complaints that the adverts were offensive and not suitable to be seen by children.
One advert showed a picture of the elf standing over a female doll and asking: How do you like your tea? One lump or two?
The pic also featured a box of Twinnings Classic teabags, with the company accusing Poundland of misusing its product.
A Poundland spokesperson wittily told The Sun Online:
This is a storm in a tea cup.
It is actually 23 complaints contrasted with the thousands of people who said they loved our naughty elf pictures - not least because it reminded them that Britain is famous for the saucy postcard and panto.
Other pics show elf playing strip poker with a group of naked dolls, drawing a Christmas tree that looks suspiciously like a man's penis, and riding a cuddly toy donkey with the caption Don't tell Rudolph I've found a new piece of ass.
Australia's Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell has gone into bat for Australia's sex industry, slamming the banks for discriminating against legal businesses by withdrawing or failing to provide financial services. Carnell said in a statement:
It's hypocritical that banks do not provide services to the adult industry when businesses are appropriately registered and regulated. Access to banking services is essential for a legitimate business to operate.
Carnell was responding to a recent report by the Eros Association, which found the vast majority of adult industry businesses experienced unfair treatment by financial service providers .
The association estimates there are more than 1000 adults-only businesses in Australia employing around 25,000 people, with the overall industry turning over $2.6 billion annually.
One respondent quoted in the report, the operator of an adult retail and wholesale business, said their merchant facilities were withdrawn after more than 20 years with the same bank.
The London Fire Brigade has accused the BBC of sexism after one of its children's shows referred to a character as a fireman rather than a firefighter.
The CBeebies show Hey Duggee was called out on Twitter by the Greenwich fire crew in south London, who said the term was very outdated.
This term is VERY outdated and the term 'firefighter' is the preferred, respectful, inclusive, non-sexist, non-gendered term that should be widely used by all media but especially the BBC.
Surely words can be allowed to evolve at their own pace. What good does getting all aggressive do? If you DEMAND respect, the best you can hope to get, is begrudging compliance, whilst adding to a general disrespect for authority due it going PC
ASA bans Captain Morgan rum advert, unusually on own accord without a cited public complaint. ASA also decides that an 18+ age registered on Snapchat is not reliable enough for alcohol advert targeting
A Snapchat lens advertising Captain Morgan, seen in June 2017, included a cartoon icon of a pirate. The lens, which made the user's face look like Captain Morgan, featured two glasses of a mixed alcoholic drink clinking
together on screen, a seagull that flew a scroll on to the screen, which said Live like the Captain, a voice-over that said Captain and the sound of people cheering.
The ASA challenged whether the lense was:
of particular appeal to people under 18
directed at people under 18.
Snap Inc said in the UK they only directed alcohol advertising to users who provided a date of birth which showed them to be over 18 and that at the time the lens ran, they could only target lenses by age and geolocation.
CAP Code rule 18.14 18.14 Marketing communications must not be likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. They should not feature or portray real or
fictitious characters who are likely to appeal particularly to people under 18 in a way that might encourage the young to drink. People shown drinking or playing a significant role (see rule 18.16) should not be shown behaving in an adolescent or
juvenile manner. required that alcohol ads were not likely to appeal particularly to under 18s. We noted that the lens icon which appeared in the Snapchat user's carousel was of a cartoon pirate and that in order to use the lens the user would
need to click the icon. We considered that the icon was a bright, child-like cartoon image which we noted was similar in style to the other icons for non-paid for Snapchat lenses. In that context, we considered that the icon image of a cartoon
pirate was of particular appeal to under 18s.
The lens, which appeared when the icon was scrolled onto, presented the user with an augmented reality which manipulated their environment. That included the user's face appearing like Captain Morgan, a seagull flying across
the screen with a scroll which read Live like the Captain and two glasses which clinked in front of the user's face. Further, the lens was accompanied by a male voice which said Captain? Captain! with further animated high-pitched voices cheering
and repeating the word Captain. We noted that the lens did not, however, use particularly bright colours, but it did age and add a beard to the user's face which we considered was of comedic effect. Taken together with the lens icon, we
considered that the specific interactive and augmented elements of the lens, such as the user's face being made to look like a buccaneer, the clinking glasses, references to Captain and the cheering, were likely to appeal particularly to those
We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The CAP Code required that marketing communications for alcoholic drinks must not be directed at people under 18 through the selection of media or the context in which they appear. No medium should be used to advertise
alcoholic drinks if more than 25% of its audience was under 18 years of age.
The lens was delivered directly to users who were logged into accounts with a registered age of 18 or older, and who were in certain locations. Because the ad was targeted at a defined set of users, we did not consider it
relevant that less than 25% of the total platform audience was under 18. We therefore considered whether the ad had been directed at people under 18 through the selection of media (i.e. the Snapchat lens).
We understood that at the time the lens ran Snap Inc. were only able to target lenses by a user's age group and geolocation. We understood that Captain Morgan had chosen for the lens to target users who were registered as
being over 18 and in the UK. Snap Inc. shared confidential data with us about their UK audience. From their response, we understood that a significant minority of UK based Snapchat users were registered as being between 13 and 17 years old and
that they represented one of the largest groups of their total UK audience. We also noted separately that research undertaken by Ofcom showed that out of a group of 343 of those aged 12--15 years who had reported that they had a social media
account, the proportion who said they had a Snapchat account increased from 51% in 2016 to 58% in 2017. We also noted that a large number of the total population of 13- to 17-year olds in the UK had Snapchat accounts. From the above, we
considered that Snapchat was popular amongst younger audiences.
We understood that the minimum age for a person to have an account with Snapchat was 13. Research undertaken by Ofcom in 2016 showed that out of a group of 104 of those aged 8--11 years who had social media accounts, 34% had
Snapchat profiles. The 2017 Ofcom report stated that in the group of test subjects there were too few social media users aged 3--11years old to report on individual sites in detail. The data in the 2016 report did not give any indication of the
age those users claimed to be when they signed up, including whether they were registered as 18 or over and therefore would have been able to access the lens through their account. We considered that the report was indicative that at least some
of the audience of children on Snapchat were younger than the minimum age of 13 years old. We considered that this called into question the adequacy of self-reported age as the sole means of targeting alcohol advertising on Snapchat.
We noted that Snap Inc. had reported that it now had the means to target ads to specific audiences using Audience Lenses, including by way of inferring the audience age using interest based factors. However, at the time the
lens ran, the only targeting data available to Diageo on Snapchat was unverified supplied ages collected when users signed up and geolocation information. We considered that because the platform was popular with under 18s, that was not sufficient
to ensure that marketing communications were not targeted at people under 18. We therefore concluded that through the selection of media, Captain Morgan had not taken sufficient care to ensure that the ad was not directed at people under 18 and
therefore the ad breached the Code.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Captain Morgan to ensure their ads were appropriately targeted in the future and that they were not of particular appeal to under 18s.
Update: Diageo pulls all worldwide advertising from Snapchat
ASA has surely opened a bag of worms if it has recognised that age statements are worthless in the world of social media. The censors are surely correct, but this means an awful lot of advertising throughout an entire industry is now porbably
Diageo responded to ASA's censorship noting that took reasonable steps to make sure its Snapchat ads were not seen by anyone under the age of 18, and that it had snow totally uspended advertising with Snapchat. A spokeswoman said:
We have a strict marketing code, take our role as a responsible marketer very seriously and acknowledge the ASA's ruling. We took all reasonable steps to ensure the content we put on Snapchat was not directed at under 18s - using the data
provided to us by Snapchat and applying an age filter.
We have now stopped all advertising on Snapchat globally whilst we assess the incremental age verification safeguards that Snapchat are implementing.
21 Months of Hell is a 2017 documentary by Yadu Vijayakrishnan.
In June 25th 1975, Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi declared Emergency on the nation which bestowed her the authority to rule by decree, allowing elections to be suspended and civil liberties to be curbed. This resulted in the mass arrests
of leaders and activists of opposition who she saw as a threat to her political life. With the introduction of the new law MISA(Maintenance of Internal Security Act), anyone could be arrested without fair trial or evidences. Making use of the
political atmosphere and direct orders from the government, the police department exercised their aggression at free will. For the pro-democracy activists, India became a literal hell from the day of declaration of the Emergency until its
withdrawal 21 months later. The documentary '21 Months of Hell' explores the ingenious torture method administered by the Police for intimidating political prisoners at that time. With the real life accounts of surviving victims of the torture.
A documentary about India's Emergency , titled 21 Months of Hell , has been banned by Kerala's regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The Emergency refers to a state of Emergency called in India from 1975-77 when Indira Gandhi was granted almost unlimited powers to quell unrest.
The 78-minute documentary deals with the alleged methods of torture employed by the police against detainees during the Emergency.
The director Yadu Vijayakrishnan told PTI that the documentary mainly features interviews of victims of the Emergency along with the re-enactment of scenes of the alleged tortures methods recreated with actors
Vijayakrishnan said the CBFC asked for proof of the torture methods used by the police during the Emergency. Though there are testimonies of surviving victims and case reports, the Board wanted written government proof of the torture methods of
that time. And of course the government is hardy likely to allow public access to records proving its own recourse to torture.
Life-size pillows of the K-Pop group GFriend have caused 'concern' in South Korea. Goods that are tribute to K-pop girl band GFriend have angered fans because the objects can apparently be used as sex toys.
The life-size bolster pillows, 180 centimetres long and 60 centimetres wide with a full body image of each member colour-printed on top, are the target of a little ludicrous outrage.
A few people whinged that the goods for encouraging fans to hug the objects and perhaps do more than just hugging them.
They claim that the objects reminded them of Japanese dakimakura pillows which are adorned with life size sexy characters from manga or anime.
A few fans on the band's social network site said that they would boycott the band's merchendise. The boycott movement carries the hashtag #GFRIEND_goods_not buying.
Source Music said online it had decided to withdraw the products from sale.
Apparently merchandise has become a new barometer of popularity among K-pop fans and that sales are best not disrupted by anything controversial.
Britain's security minister Ben Wallace has threatened technology firms such as Facebook, YouTube and Google with punitive taxation if they fail to cooperate with the government on fighting online extremism.
Ben Wallace said that Britain was spending hundreds of millions of pounds on human surveillance and de-radicalisation programmes because tech giants were failing to remove extremist content online quick enough.
Wallace said the companies were ruthless profiteers, despite sitting on beanbags in T-shirts, who sold on details of its users to loan companies but would fail to give the same information to the government.
Because of encryption and because of radicalisation, the cost of that is heaped on law enforcement agencies, Wallace told the Sunday Times. I have to have more human surveillance. It's costing hundreds of millions of pounds. If they [tech firms]
continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivising them or compensating for their inaction.
Because content is not taken down as quickly as they could do, we're having to de-radicalise people who have been radicalised. That's costing millions. They [the firms] can't get away with that and we should look at all options, including tax.
Maybe its a good idea to extract a significantly higher tax take from the vast sums of money being siphoned out of the UK economy straight into the hands of American big business. But it seems a little hopeful to claim that quicker blocking of
terrorist related material will 'solve' the UK's terrorism problem.
One suspects that terrorism is a little more entrenched in society, and that terrorism will continue pretty much unabated even if the government get its way with quicker takedowns. There might even be a scope for some very expensive legal bluff
calling, should expensive censorship measures get taken, and it turns out that the government blame conjecture is provably wrong.
Trinidad and Tobago's media censor has banned a trivial calypso song from radio and TV.
The Telecommunications Authority Of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has banned the chutney song Rowlee's Mudda Count by Nermal 'Massive' Gosein being played by the country's radio and television stations.
TATT caution broadcasters over the song being played as it was deemed inappropriate and denigrating to women, with particular reference to mothers.
Many have come to Gosein's defence following the release of the song including Former CEO at the Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) Ken Ali who said he could not recall such an intervention from the regulator of the electronic media in the 43 years
he has been a media practitioner.
He noted that the song was e as a too-thinly-veiled odious and divisive commentary whose street popularity stems directly from the inverse disapproval for the national leadership of its subject. Presumably referring to prime minister Keith
He stressed that radio stations have always been guided by their own standards and values, the laws of the land, its publics and the guidelines of their respective licences.
TATT Chairman Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson, has since denied that there was any ban on Gosein's now infamous song ...BUT.. He is quoted as saying that there was no political interference, and broadcasters were urged to pay due
regard to the obligations of your concession and the conditions within the Draft Broadcasting Code and take appropriate action in the interest of ethical and moral standards.