Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2016: March

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Offsite Article: A history of adult animation...

Link Here31st March 2016
As Seth Rogen's NSFW CGI comedy Sausage Party reminds us, things like anthropomorphized food need not only exist for the delight of children

See article from



Taboo word...

Advert censor bans posters for fashion brand as the name includes the world child

Link Here30th March 2016

Two poster ads displayed on bus shelters, for the clothing brand Nobody's Child, seen in November 2015:

  • a. One ad featured a female model wearing a black jumpsuit and heeled shoes, sitting on the arm of a sofa with one leg bent in front of her resting on the sofa and her arms in a relaxed position. She was looking at the camera. Text stated nobody' .

  • b. The other ad featured the same model wearing a tartan dress, sitting on a chair facing towards the camera. One leg was slightly raised. Text stated nobody' .

The ASA received three complaints.

  1. The complainants, who believed the poses and facial expressions of the model sexualised someone who they considered appeared to be a child, challenged whether the ads were irresponsible and offensive.

  2. One complainant additionally challenged whether the ads were irresponsible and offensive because they believed the images, in conjunction with the brand name Nobody's Child , implied the images were of a vulnerable child.

1. & 2. Nobody's Child Ltd t/a nobody' said they appreciated that visual imagery was open to personal interpretation, but considered the model in the ads was not sexualised and would not be perceived as being a child or vulnerable. They said the model was 21 years old and they had chosen not to style her in heavy makeup or bright lipstick in order to avoid projecting any kind of vulgarity.

They said the name Nobody's Child was intended to reflect the feeling their target audience experienced, that they were no longer children and were now their own person. They said the name was, therefore, recognition that their target audience had reached an age where they could make their own decisions and be their own people, rather than conveying vulnerability.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA noted that while the model was fully clothed in both ads, in ad (a) her breast was partially exposed. She leaned casually against a wall with one leg resting up on a sofa armrest, and looked directly into the camera with her mouth partially open. In ad (b) she sat in an over-sized chair with one leg slightly raised and her hands loosely clasped together, looking directly toward the camera. We considered that her poses and gaze in both ads were mildly sexually suggestive, and that her pose in ad (b) in particular also suggested vulnerability.

We understood the model featured in the ads was 21 years of age but considered she appeared younger, and that when shown in conjunction with the prominent brand name nobody' , would be regarded as appearing to be a child. In that context, we considered that the model's poses implied vulnerability and sexual precocity. We therefore concluded the ads portrayed a model who appeared to be a child in a way that was sexually suggestive and could be perceived as being vulnerable. We concluded that the ads were irresponsible and likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Nobody's Child Ltd t/a nobody' to ensure the images used in their ads, particularly when presented in conjunction with their brand name, did not sexualise those who appeared to be a child and depict them as being vulnerable.



Power Grab...

Indonesia Broadcasting Commission demands the power to censor TV programmes before they air

Link Here30th March 2016
In light of numerous warning letters sent to national television stations, which it says have fallen on deaf ears, the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has requested that the House of Representatives amend the Broadcasting Law to give the body authority to censor TV programs.

KPI commissioner Amiruddin said the KPI wanted the authority to oversee the content of all television programs, including the power to censor content before it was aired. He added that the House of Representatives was enthusiastic about strengthening the KPI. He said:

With the authority to supervise the content of programs, KPI will be able to monitor programs before they are aired to prevent any inappropriate content.

Under the current Broadcasting Law, the KPI does not have the authority to monitor television programs before they are aired.



Update: Propaganda Control Center...

Center for Monitoring Propaganda and Disinformation Online Set to Open in Russia

Link Here30th March 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media

In December 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the Internet Economy Forum, where he suggested Russian federal security service and other state agencies should make information threats their top priority and seek out tools for monitoring such threats online.

Now, a new center for monitoring information attacks is set to be launched in Innopolis, a new Russian smart city. Natalia Kasperskaya, CEO of InfoWatch and co-founder of the antivirus giant Kaspersky Lab, is launching her project there.

Kasperskaya told Vedomosti news outlet that the center is part of the response to Putin's suggestion to boost information security. Russia already has agencies that work to oppose and respond to cyberattacks, she says, but insists that her organization will be the first of its kind, monitoring and preventing information attacks online.

Kasperskays says she's currently looking for investors for the project, but acknowledges that at the outset it will function mostly with grant money and government funding, and will serve state and public needs.

The new monitoring center is the joint brainchild of Kasperskaya and Igor Ashmanov, CEO of Ashmanov and partners, a big player in the Russian media and communications market. The partners envision that the center will monitor the web using technology developed by Kribrum--another joint project of Kasperskaya and Ashmanov. Kribrum's social media analytics and reputation management software can scrape online content and analyze it for sentiment and emotion. Ashmanov says its capabilities are sophisticated enough to be able to predict an information attack online as soon as it starts, as well as to spot its organizers. Most of the monitoring efforts will likely target the Russian social networks and blogosphere, where political debates and metaphorical "mud flinging" are the most active.

Russian human rights NGO Agora reports that although content filtering and blocking remain the main tools of Russian Internet policy, they are largely regarded as ineffective due to the sheer volume of individual acts of censorship. In an effort to more effectively suppress dissemination of information and free speech, the Russian authorities are attempting to increase the pressure on users--and this is where evidence from monitoring initiatives such as the one proposed by Kasperskaya and Ashmanov could be seen as useful, especially when charging Internet users with legal violations such as posting extremist materials. Agora notes that the increasingly real prison sentences handed down for liking and sharing information published on social media aim to intimidate users and deter them from discussing sensitive social and political issues online.



Update: Bowing out...

Editor of prominent Chinese newspaper resigns saying he's been bowing to government for so long, he can't stand it anymore

Link Here30th March 2016
Full story: News Censorship in China...State control and sensitive news
The editor of a prominent Chinese newspaper has published a resignation letter denouncing the country's media censorship, the latest in a series of public outbursts criticising tightening media controls under President Xi Jinping.

Yu Shaolei, a culture editor at the Southern Metropolis Daily , posted a photo of his resignation form on his Weibo social media account. In seven large Chinese characters, the resigning journalist simply said he could no longer follow your surname in a box asking his reasons for leaving.

The phrase is a clear reference to Mr Xi's high-profile visit of the country's top-level state-run news outlets last month, where he sought to remind staff members that the country's media must be surnamed party and lived to serve the government. Yu said in a Weibo post accompanying the photo of his resignation form:

This spring, let's make a clean break, I'm getting old; after bowing for so long, I can't stand it anymore. I want to see if I can adopt a new posture.

The post was swiftly deleted by internet censors.

Yu's resignation is the latest in a series of public criticism of Mr Xi's tightening media controls, highlighting the central government's evolving challenges to keep public opinion online and on social media in check.



Offsite Article: Why China banned Winnie the Pooh and why it matters...

Link Here30th March 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
A round up of recent Chinese internet censorship. By Jeremy Luedi

See article from



Offsite Article: How we're unwittingly letting robots censor the Web...

Link Here30th March 2016
The world goes mad with copyright seeking bots swarming over the internet without anyone monitoring whether they are being fair or not

See article from



Update: Small victory...

US small ads website,, wins appeal with the court agreeing that the website is not responsible for the posts added by users

Link Here29th March 2016
Full story: Adult Services Ads in the US...US politicians target small ads for sex workers
Advertising website, which includes small ads for sex workers, won an appeal on the 14 th of March, 2016. The ruling states that Backpage is not responsible for any trafficking that may happen because of the advertisements on their website.

Backpage provides free or cheap advertisements and has been used a lot by sex workers since the removal of Craigslist in 2010. Ads are moved to the front using Bitcoin transactions after credit card companies were pressured to stop working for the website. In recent years, the website has been subject to multiple lawsuits in different states. The website has also been subject to hearings in the United States Congress, as NSWP reported here .

Three young women who alleged they had been trafficked through ads on Backpage brought the civil case forward. They were all minors at the time the events occurred. As Mike Masnick reports at Techdirt , the case alleged that Backpage was responsible for this activity under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorisation Act (TVPRA) of 2008. The TVPRA states that, anyone who "knowingly benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value from participation in a venture which that person knew or should have known has engaged" in an act of sex trafficking.

However, Backpage argued that they were not responsible because they are protected through section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 states that websites are not responsible for the actions of their users.

The three women argued that Backpage was aware of and encouraged sex trafficking on their website. The court did not accept this assessment, upholding their protection under section 230.



Offsite Article: Speechless...

Link Here29th March 2016
Another attempt at technology to self censor movies for the easily offended

See article from



Update: France demands that it should be the World's internet censor...

France ludicrously claims the right to censor the World's internet and fines Google for not blocking Americans from viewing content censored in the EU

Link Here 26th March 2016
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU

Europe's right to be forgotten is a nasty and arbitrary censorship power used to hide internet content such as past criminal history. Many think it tramples on the public's right to know, as quite a few examples have born out.

It seems that France and the EU thinks that such content should be censored worldwide, and have fined Google 100,000 euro for allowing non EU internet viewers to see information censored in the EU.

Since EU laws don't apply elsewhere, Google at first just deleted right to be forgotten requested results from its French domain. However, France pointed out that it would be easy to find the info on a different site and ordered the company to scrub results everywhere. In an attempted compromise, Google started omitting results worldwide as long as it determined, by geolocation, that the search was conducted from within France.

But now EU internet censors have rejected that idea (as it would be easy to get around with a VPN) and fined Google effectively for allowing Americans to see content censored in the EU. Google commented:

We disagree with the [regulator's] assertion that it has the authority to control the content that people can access outside France.

In its ruling, France's CNIL censor says that geolocalizing search results does not give people effective, full protection of their right to be delisted ... accordingly, the CNIL restricted committee pronounced a 100,000 euro fine against Google.

Google plans to appeal the ruling.



Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 46...

Link Here26th March 2016
An interesting episode about Natural Born Killers at the BBFC

See article from



Lost Business...

BBFC bows out of rating cinema adverts

Link Here25th March 2016

From 31 March 2016, the BBFC will delegate to the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) the regulation of all cinema advertisements in the UK.

Following a Government consultation, the BBFC and the CAA agreed to end the dual regulation of advertisements shown in UK cinemas. Henceforth, the CAA will assess and classify all cinema advertisements. The BBFC retains its classification role in relation to trailers, public information films, campaigning films and all other theatrical works.

DCMS carried out a public consultation in May 2012 on the future regulation of cinema advertising. At the time, the BBFC and the CAA both classified cinema advertisements. The BBFC and the CAA argued in favour of removing this dual regulation and duplication of responsibility. As a result, the BBFC has stepped back from the day-to-day classification of cinema advertisements and sub-contracted responsibility for classifying such advertisements to the CAA.

In the event of there being any doubt as to whether a particular film should be considered an advertisement, the BBFC shall determine whether such film requires to be classified in accordance with its Classification Guidelines and will inform the CAA accordingly.




Film banned in Malaysia for depicting gay lifestyles

Link Here25th March 2016
Banglasia is a 2015 Malaysia comedy by Namewee IMDb

An irreverant comedy from the Malaysian director Namewee was banned by government film censors for promoting homosexual lifestyles, mocking troops and ridiculing national security issues.

Namewee's film Banglasia, which centres on a group of individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds who find themselves forced to accept each other's differences, was banned from cinemas last year after 31 scenes were deemed inappropriate by local censors.

The Malay Mail reports that the Malaysian home ministry has published its official reasons for refusing the film a licence, in response to a written request from MP and human-rights activist Sivarasa Rasiah:

This film has a title, theme, storyline, scenes and double-meaning dialogue with implicit messages that were feared could raise controversy and public doubt, the response reads, adding that it mocked national security issues, specifically the Lahad Datu intrusion ... ridiculed the capacity and role of security troops in maintaining peace as well as national security ... includes allegations and negative perceptions towards government agencies related to citizenship ... and accentuates negative sociocultural lifestyles such as lesbian gay bisexual transgender (LGBT).



Daily Mail targeted at aged readers, not youngsters...

Daily Mail let off by the advert censor for trailing a 15 rated ghost film before a One Direction music video

Link Here24th March 2016

a. A pre-roll video ad for the certificate 15 film Paranormal Activity - The Ghost Dimension , seen on 21 October 2015, on the Mail Online website, before a clip relating to the boy band One Direction.

b. The same ad was seen on a playlist of pre-selected Disney and music lyric videos accessed via the Vevo app on an Apple TV.

The complainant, who believed the ads appeared before content likely to appeal to children, challenged whether the ads were responsibly targeted. parental controls that could have prevented the ad from being shown were available on the Apple TV device.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

We understood that the ad was for a certificate 15 film. We noted that the ad contained screams of a young girl who appeared to be possessed, with visuals that suggested supernatural activity and atmospheric music. We considered that the ad was serious in tone and that, while it would not cause fear or distress to older people (including the target demographic of 15- to 24-year-olds), it was unsuitable for display before content under 15s were likely to be watching.

We understood that Paramount Pictures utilised a targeting strategy where the ad was served on music content that had been shown to be popular with 15 to 24-year-olds. Examples of artists used to target consumers included One Direction, Beyonce and Selena Gomez. We noted that the ad was further targeted by only being served to those with an online profile that indicated they were over the age of 15.

We understood that ad (a) appeared before a clip about the popular boyband One Direction. Although we acknowledged that the group were popular with people of various ages, including under 15s, we considered that the Mail Online contained current affairs content that was not likely to appeal to children, and that ad (a) had therefore not been irresponsibly targeted before that clip on the site.

We understood ad (b) was served before videos in a playlist that the complainant had created within her own Apple account. We understood that her playlist was likely to have been targeted because it featured videos by the selected artists and because she was signed into her Apple TV account which indicated she was over 15. We noted that the ad had appeared before videos from artists who would be popular with people of various ages, including under 15s, but that they appealed primarily to the target demographic of 15- to 24-year-olds. As such, we did not consider that the ad was placed within content specifically aimed at children or likely to appeal to them particularly.

For those reasons, we concluded that the ads had not been irresponsibly targeted.



Censorship Foretold...

Dystopian film about Hong Kong's future apparently banned by Bejing

Link Here24th March 2016
Ten Years is a 2015 Hong Kong drama by Jevons Au, Chow Kwun-Wai...
Starring Peter Chan, Lau Ho-Chi and Kin-Ping Leung. IMDb

Five thought-provoking shorts imagine what Hong Kong will be like ten years from now. In Extras, two genial low-level gangsters are hired to stage an attack, but they're mere sacrificial lambs in a political conspiracy. Rebels strive to preserve destroyed homes and objects as specimens in the mesmerizing Season of the End. In Dialect, a taxi driver struggles to adjust after Putonghua displaces Cantonese as Hong Kong's only official language. Following the death of a leading independence activist, an act of self-immolation outside the British consulate triggers questions and protests in the searing yet moving Self-Immolator. In Local Egg, a grocery shop owner worries about his son's youth guard activities and where to buy eggs after Hong Kong's last chicken farm closes down.

It's the Hong Kong movie that Beijing doesn't want people to see. Made on a shoestring budget, Ten Years became a surprise hit with local audiences for its dystopian view of the former British colony's future under Beijing's rule.

The filmmakers imagine a Hong Kong in which protesters set themselves on fire, political assassinations are used to scare the population into supporting repressive laws and children are enlisted as neighborhood political watchdogs reminiscent of Mao's Red Guards.

The film, an anthology of five short stories, each by a different director, has provoked widespread discussion and raised the ire of Beijing, with China's Communist Party newspaper Global Times denouncing the film as absurd.

It was a hit at the box office, earning more than 6 million Hong Kong dollars ($770,000), or more than 10 times its budget. But it abruptly disappeared from cinemas in January after an eight-week run, leading many to wonder whether pressure from Beijing was responsible. Now the only way to see it is at private screenings at universities and community centers, where it's often followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers.

The film is up for the Best Picture award at the Hong Kong Film Awards. However, the organizers have reportedly indicated the ceremony likely won't be broadcast this year to mainland Chinese audiences by online company Tencent and state-owned China Central Television.



Offsite Article: You Need a VPN...

Link Here24th March 2016
Or You're Screwed. By John C Dvorak of PCMag

See article from



Sexist and violent and funny...

Australian advert censor whinges about a witty advertising board

Link Here23rd March 2016
Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has banned an ad by Fantastic Framing for supposedly perpetuating sexism and violence. The picture framing shop had put a witty sign outside of the shop saying:

We can shoot your wife and frame your mother-in-law. If you want we can hang them too.

A complainant who saw the advertisement outside of the store window whinged it is sexist and violent .

The ASB says while the spot makes reference to female family members it is not sexist, explaining that advertisers are free to depict or make reference to whomever they wish in their advertisements . The board adds that stereotyping mothers-in-law is a common part of cultural narrative in Australia and therefore acceptable.

However the board determines the advertisement does portray violence that is unjustifiable in the context advertised. The board said:

The intended humour has now worn off and the double meaning of the advertisement is not relevant in contemporary society given the high level of community concern with regards to violence towards women.

The majority of the board acknowledged that the advertiser's intent was to inject humour in to the ad but considered that making a joke about using a gun or hanging a person would not be found funny by most members of the community, the board says.

The ad must be modified or discontinued.




Religious vandals censor advert on back of a removals van

Link Here23rd March 2016
A New York removals company has had one of its trucks censored by religious extremists.

Members of Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community have painted over an advert on the back of the truck.

The advert is used on a fleet of lorries used by the Dumbo Moving and Storage Co. It shows a couple poised for sex whilst surrounded by removals boxes.

Owner Lior Rachmany spoke of hundreds of angry calls he had received, many from rabbis in Midwood and Flatbush:

Some people say we're going to burn in hell, we're going to pay for our sins,

Two weeks later one of Rachmany's trucks was defaced near a Flatbush yeshiva, where it had been parked for roughly four hours. The vandals painted the back of the truck gray to cover the ad. Rachmany said:

We received a phone call that was quite normal to us by now, [saying] if we don't remove the truck, we're gong to have to face some sort of consequence. We arrived a couple of hours after, and the back of the truck was painted with gray color.



Update: Police Suck...

New Zealand police report Wicked Campervans to the censors over unpolitically correct slogans

Link Here21st March 2016
New Zealand police have asked New Zealand censors to consider the unpolitically correct advertising slogans painted on rental vans from the company Wicked Campervans.

Chief Censor Andrew Jack said:

I can confirm that we have received a submission in respect of some of the Wicked campervans from the police, and we'll be working through the classification process and testing those publications against the criteria in the Films, Videos, and Publications Act to determine whether or not they need to be age restricted or might be objectionable.

This is the first time a publication, in respect of Wicked Campers, has been submitted to us.

We have to make sure that if something is going to be restricted or banned, you have to try to take into account the fact that people do have a right to freedom of expression, and it is a big deal to ban or restrict something.

Jack said the censorship process would take about a month.

Associate Minister of Tourism Paula Bennett told Morning Report she would not rule out legislating against the company, but would rather the Chief Censor dealt with the problem. She whinged:

I'm pretty determined to find an avenue to close these slogans down.



Updated: Parents TV Council Recommends...

Of Kings and Prophets, a new US TV miniseries on ABC

Link Here21st March 2016
Full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence
The Parents Television Council, a US morality campaign group is warning families about the violent content in a new TV miniseries, Of Kings and Prophets airing on ABC.

The PTC's review indicated that the first episode contains a number of battles with swords, knives, spears, and other graphically violent content that ranges between the type of violent content found in The Lord of the Rings movies and 300 . There is some mild sexual content in the first episode. As such, the PTC cannot recommend this show for children. PTC President Tim Winter said:

Despite the fact that the miniseries is based on a book that most families in America have at home -- that book being the Bible -- parents should be forewarned that Of Kings and Prophets will not be appropriate for family viewing. While we are grateful that the show runner, Chris Brancato, personally invited us to preview the first episode, it remains difficult for us to recommend this show to families given the graphic content. And given Mr. Brancato said that he'll be ' fighting with broadcast standards and practices ' and that ' we're going to go as far as we can' throughout the series, there's likely to be even more explicit content in upcoming episodes

The real question here is, why wouldn't ABC and the show's producers want to reach the largest audience possible by making a series, based on the Bible, able to be viewed by families? Instead it appears that their primary objective was to be edgy and explicit, rather than to entertain with a biblical story. And in so doing, they're carving away a large percentage of their potential market. This further demonstrates a disconnect between what the entertainment industry wants to produce and what family audiences want to consume.

We hope that families will be forewarned about the content of this show and not mistakenly watch with their children. No doubt the network will rate the program TV-14, suggesting to parents that the material is appropriate for children as young as fourteen.

Update: Cancelled

21st March 2016. See  article from

The Parents Television Council responded to the news that ABC cancelled Of Kings and Prophets after only two episodes aired:

The only reason networks cancel a show without burning off the remaining episodes is that there is no advertiser support. The dollars simply aren't there, and it is more economical for them to air something else entirely -- despite the fact that they've paid for those unaired episodes. And based on the conversations we've had over the past few days with several of the most premiere sponsors in the country -- during which we questioned their underwriting such over-the-top graphic violence in 'Of Kings and Prophets,' it was clear that advertiser support for the show was quickly evaporating. While we applaud ABC's cancellation of the show, we can't help but wonder why they would choose to air it in the first place.



How the Snooper's Charter enables a searchable database...

The Snooper's Charter has first debate in parliament but MPs are keeping quiet about the searchable database being set up for the authorities to fish for data about our web browsing and phone calls

Link Here 20th March 2016
Tuesday saw the first debate of the Investigatory Powers Bill in the House of Commons.

The debate raised some useful arguments, but many speeches avoided the key point: that the Bill would bring in a huge, unparalleled extension of surveillance powers that had never been debated by MPs before.

The Open Rights Group, ORG, will be proposing amendments to change the Bill. It's unfit for purpose at the moment, permitting and extending mass surveillance. We're particularly concerned about the lack of discussion of the filter which turns retained data into a massive searchable police database of your location, phone and Internet data. We've delved into the significant new powers for the police below.

The debate on the Investigatory Powers Bill has focused a lot on the new extension to police powers, and the collection of Internet Connection Records to keep a log of everyone's web browsing. Critics like myself worry about the ability this creates to see into everyone's most intimate thoughts and feelings; while proponents are prone to say that the police will never have time to look at irrelevant material about innocent people.

However, the really novel and threatening part of this proposal isn't being given anywhere near the level of attention needed.

The truly groundbreaking proposal is the filter , which could be seen as a government Google search to trawl your call records, Internet and location data. The filter is clearly named so that it sounds helpful, perhaps boring or else maybe something that filters down information so that it is privacy friendly. It is anything but. It is so intrusive and worrying, I would rather you think of the Filter as the PHILTRE: the Police Held Internet Lets Them Read Everything.

Remember when these proposals started, back in the late 2000s, under the last Labour government? Maybe not, but that's how long Home Office officials have been trying to make this happen. Their original plan was to build a single database that would store everything they could find about who you email, message and what you read?, and where you are, as logged by your mobile phone. Place all that information in a single searchable database and the dangers become obvious. So obvious that the Conservative opposition was up in arms.

How on earth would you stop abuse, if all this information was placed into a single database? Surely, it would lead to fishing trips, or police searches to find lists of all the environmental protesters, trades unionists or libertarians, and to identify who it is that seem to be their leaders? How would you stop the police from producing pre-arrest lists of miscreants before demonstrations, or from deciding to infiltrate certain public meetings? Indeed, who would be able to resist using the database from working out who was at the location of relatively petty offenses, perhaps of littering or vandalism, or calculating who had been speeding by examining everyone's mobile phone location data.

So the current government does not want try to hoard everyone's data into a single database. Instead, they've come up with the PHILTRE, which can query lots of smaller, separate databases held by each private company. As this PHILTRE can be applied to separate data stores, all at once, we are in effect back with a proposal for a single government database and all the same problems -- but in a way that government can claim that it is not a single government database .

But as long as the data can be queried and sorted in parallel, it becomes immensely powerful and just as intrusive. For instance, for a journalist to protect against revealing a whistleblower, they would need to avoid not just phoning them, but meeting them while both were carrying their mobiles and creating matching location logs. All of the profiling and fishing expeditions are just as easily achievable.

Most worrying is the authorisation process. Police, agencies and tax authorities will continue to authorise their own access of our personal data, just as they do today with phone call records -- there's not a judge anywhere near the day to day use of this search facility.

The Home Office is selling this Google-style search through the population's mind as a privacy enhancement. Only the relevant search results will be returned. Masses of irrelevant information about other people will not have to be given to officers. They give the example of mobile phone mast data -- where the filter could cut the required information down to just that about the person you need to know about.

This might sometimes be true. But two things make me suspect this is a highly partial story. For one thing, the search engine can tell you about the kinds of things it thinks it might tell you -- perhaps social graphs, location histories, dodgy website visits, organisations supported -- before you ask it. This is to educate and help police get the right information. It is also an invitation to make increasing use of the tool. If it is limited in its purpose, this seems an unnecessary step.

Secondly, there are no limits to what results the search engine might be asked to produce. Nothing for instance, says that only a single person or place can be searched against, so that only one person's contacts might be returned, or just the people at a single crime scene. Thus the prospect of fishing trips is given no legislative limit. The only serious limit is that this information might be kept for no longer than 12 months.

For years privacy campaigners have been trying to explain how your web history and location data can be dangerous tools for personal and whole population surveillance. Now it seems the UK government wants to engage in a whole population experiment to show us what it really means. Parliament, the courts, but most of all, you, can help stop them.



Fewer freedoms, the state will take care of that...

Geert Wilders on trial for inciting hatred against Dutch Moroccans

Link Here20th March 2016
Geert Wilders, the far-right politician who was acquitted five years ago of making anti-Islam remarks, goes on trial again on Friday for allegedly inciting hatred against the Dutch Moroccan minority.

State prosecutors say Wilders asked a crowd of supporters in March 2014 whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands, triggering the chant Fewer! Fewer! Fewer! , to which a smiling Wilders responded: We'll take care of that.

It seems a bit of weak case, with for example, many in Germany calling for fewer Syrians without this suggesting anything threatening or hateful to Syrians. But of course there is probably more to the case than the headlines report.



Update: Iconic censorship...

Rajan Zed calls on European art galleries to censor the artwork, Barbie Kali

Link Here20th March 2016
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Perennial hindu whinger Rajan Zed is calling on Rome and Paris museums to censor an iconic Barbie doll as goddess Kali in their Barbie exhibitions, claiming it to be highly inappropriate. Zed said it trivialized the highly revered deity of Hinduism.

Barbie The Icon exhibition at Museo delle Culture in Milan, which reportedly carried an Argentinean artists' created Barbie portrayed as goddess Kali with a dagger and plate carrying a severed head, is ending on March 13. It was said to be moving to Complesso del Vittoriano gallery in Il Vittoriano monument in Rome (April 15 to October 30) and Musee des Arts decoratifs in Paris (till September 18).

Zed claimed that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the feelings of devotees. Goddess Kali and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not meant to be reduced to a Barbie character.

Rajan Zed repeated his ludicrous claim that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more ...BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Artists should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, Zed added.



Offsite Article: Fearful Censorship...

Link Here20th March 2016
Index on Censorship says theatremakers are self-censoring plays to avoid islamic backlash

See article from



Holy time dilation Batman...

Batman V Superman to be 30 minutes longer on R rated home video

Link Here18th March 2016
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 USA action Sci-Fi fantasy by Zack Snyder.
Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams. Youtube link IMDb

A great opening line in a Cinema Blend piece on the R rated version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:

Do you like movies? Do you like movies so much that you prefer for them to never end? If your answer is yes, then have we got good news for you. When Zack Snyder adds the footage that will turn Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice from a PG-13 popcorn movie into an R-rated violence opera (ok, it's not really that bad), it's going to turn an already long film into an absolute epic, specifically by making it a full half-hour longer.

Zack Snyder explained:

[The DVD version] is a half-hour longer, and some of that additional material is some of the stuff we took out for the rating. I was like, Cool, I can put it back in for the director's cut. There was nothing by design. This was the material I just put back in, and then when [the MPAA] looked at it again, they were like, Oh, now the movie's rated R. And, by the way, it's not a hard R. There's no nudity. There's a little bit of violence. It just tips the scale.



World Day Against Cyber Censorship...

AdBlock replaces blanked adverts by anti-censorship campaign messages

Link Here18th March 2016

Saturday was World Day Against Cyber Censorship and in a unique partnership Amnesty International and AdBlock combined to deliver 156,789,119 impressions of messages by prominent privacy and free speech advocates Edward Snowden, Ai Wei Wei, and Pussy Riot in a campaign conceptualized and brokered by advertising agency ColensoBBDO.

Amnesty International experienced their highest ever daily web traffic.

For 24 hours AdBlock served banners with messages from these three influential individuals where they would normally remove banners altogether. During this period it's estimated that over 50 million internet users were reached with these thought provoking messages speaking out against the dangers of cyber censorship.

At the heart of ad block usage is the users desire to tailor their online experience, but for many people around the world, their online experiences are tailored by what their governments are willing to let them see. This made this channel the perfect way to share quotes and information from Snowden, Ai Wei Wei, and Pussy Riot, who are heavily censored themselves, to be broadcast across the internet whilst creatively bypassing a number of current censorship restrictions.

Gabriel Cubbage, CEO of AdBlock, explained why Adblock got behind this campaign.

People use Adblock for a number of reasons but ultimately no one except you has the right to control what shows up on your screen, or who has access to the contents of your hard drive. Not the websites, not the advertisers, not the ad blockers. And not your government, either.

This is a view, which is shared by Salil Shetty, International Secretary General at Amnesty International:

Some states are engaged in Orwellian levels of surveillance, particularly targeting the lives and work of the people who defend our human rights -- lawyers, journalists and peaceful activists. This continuing development of new methods of repression in reaction to increased connectivity is a major threat to our freedom of expression,.



Update: Banning onions...

Russia proposes to ban information about website blocking circumvention

Link Here18th March 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media

Tor. VPNs. Website mirroring. The mere mention of these and other online tools for circumventing censorship could soon become propaganda under proposed amendments to Russian law.

Russian state media regulator Roscomnadzor plans to introduce fines for propaganda of online circumvention tools that allow users to access blocked webpages. The changes also equate mirror versions of blocked websites with their originals.

According to news outlet RBC, which claims to possess a copy of the draft document, Roscomnadzor would punish propaganda of circumvention tools online with fines of 3,000-5,000 rubles (USD $43-73) for individuals or officials, and fines of 50,000-100,000 rubles (USD $730-1460) for corporate entities. While the proposed fines may not be exorbitant, they set a dangerous precedent for the future.

Beyond restricting tips on accessing blocked websites, the bill also defines mirror websites and allows copyright holders to ask the court to block both the original website containing pirated content and all of its mirrors-- derivative websites that have similar names and content, including those translated into other languages.

In February 2016, Russian copyright holders suggested a similar draft bill mandating a fine of 50,000 rubles (USD $730) for ISPs that published information about circumvention. At the time, the bill's creators claimed Roscomnadzor supported the bill, but the state regulator denied it. Circumvention crackdown is bad for free speech

On the surface, Roscomnadzor's new bill seems to be aimed at protecting copyright holders and limiting access to pirated content online. But the implications of banning circumvention tools would be far greater. Russian officials have debated restrictions on VPNs and anonymizers for quite a while, but have so far stopped shy of branding the tools--or information about them--as illegal.

As with other Internet-related legislation in Russia, experts see the new amendments as deliberately overreaching and broad, making them ripe for abuse and further restrictions on free speech. If the legislative changes were applied literally, many innocuous pages with mere mentions of circumvention technology could be branded as propaganda.

Irina Levova, director for strategic projects at the Institute of Internet Research, told RBC that if the legislative changes were applied literally, many innocuous pages with mere mentions of circumvention technology could be branded as propaganda.

Levova believes Roscomnadzor and Russian copyright holders are deliberately pressuring ISPs in order to excessively regulate access to information online. According to her, Internet providers in Russia are technically capable of blocking up to 85% of websites on the RuNet, and any additional restrictive capability would involve mass IP-address blocking, which means even more law-abiding websites could suffer. Kremlin's creeping war on anonymity

To date, the biggest row around circumvention tools on the RuNet erupted after the website of RosKomSvoboda , a Russian Internet freedom and human rights organization, was blocked.

In February 2016, the RosKomSvoboda website was added to the RuNet blacklist registry because of a page on the site that educates users on how to circumvent online censorship and access blocked materials. RosKomSvoboda said the blocking and the court ruling were absurd, since neither information about anonymizing tools, nor the services themselves, were forbidden by Russian law.

Vadim Ampelonsky, Roskomnadzor's spokesman, stressed that the ruling against RosKomSvoboda created a precedent, since the prosecutor in the case who was in charge of enforcing anti-extremist legislation was able to prove that this information creates conditions for users to access extremist materials. Ampelonsky said the ruling could inform the future work of prosecutors and courts, when it comes to policing information that helps Russians circumvent censorship.

It is worth nothing that just a month earlier, in January 2016, Ampelonsky told the news agency RBC TV that circumventing online censorship does not violate the law.

RosKovSvoboda's website was eventually unblocked after they changed the contents of their page with circumvention instructions. It now contains their report on the court battle and an official Ministry of Communications letter, which provides explanations for some of the circumvention tools that the page previously linked to and explained. The activists also moved information and links to some other anonymizing and encryption tools to a separate page for their Open RuNet campaign.

For now, Roscomnadzor's spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky has confirmed to RBC news that the regulator worked with a group of copyright owners in Russia to draft the amendments to Russia's law On information, information technologies and protection of information and the Administrative violations code. On March 17 the draft was discussed with Internet industry representatives at a Roscomnadzor roundtable on regulating the RuNet, with companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yandex and MailRu in attendance. The bill will now go to the Communications Ministry on March 21 before it moves to the Russian Duma for voting.



Update: Extreme censorship...

Saudi internet censors block 600,000 websites

Link Here18th March 2016
Saudi Arabia's Communications and Information Technology Commission has blocked 600,000 websites over 2 years that contained pornographic and other prohibited materials.

Those who have published and promoted pornographic content will face extreme punishments of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of 3 million Saudi riyals (about $800,000).



More Inappropriate Censorship...

Councils ban Roy Chubby Brown from its venues citing 'inappropriateness'

Link Here17th March 2016
Hundreds of people have called on Ashfield District Council in Nottinghamshire to lift its ban on the comedian Roy Chubby Brown appearing at one of its venues.

The council cancelled the show claiming that the comedian's material was not appropriate . It said in a statement it did not feel the booking was:

Appropriate for a council venue and not one that it wished to be associated with.

Ricky-Lee Cooke, who started a petition to overturn the decision, said people had the right to make their own choice. Roy Chubby Brown was due to appear at Festival Hall, in Kirkby, in October. Cooke, whose petition has 465 signatures, said:

I'm a big believer in freedom of speech... I do believe it's censorship. It's for the people to decide, no one is forcing [them] to go. They know what the show is like.

I do think [the material] is appropriate and I don't think the council should be making decisions like this.

Steven Lloyd, the comedian's manager, said:

We do shows for the fans, not for the council. This is purely a vendetta against Roy as they have not banned other comics from the venue.

They booked the show last November and it took them [until] now to cancel it because they didn't want 'his type'.

Update: Censored in Egremont, Cumbria

17th March 2016. See  article from

Comedian Roy Chubby Brown has been banned from bringing his show to Egremont in Cumbria by censors from the local council. Egremont Town Council decided the comic's October gig was somehow too inappropriate for the Market Hall.

Angry members of the public are already signing an online petition . Over 250 tickets had already been sold for the event - which was for over-18s only - leading Chubby's agent Steven Lloyd to vow never to bring an act to the town. He said:

I'm annoyed. We could have organised other shows for that night. I'll make sure we never play Egremont again. It was 3/4 sold out, we've sold over 250 tickets. I'll be trying to overturn it.

Concerns were raised by the easily offended councillor Sam Pollen. He spouted:

There is an act coming in October and people have asked me if it is appropriate in a family centre... It is adult humour, and it is offensive to many adults too.

The decision to ban Chubby's gig went to a vote. With councillors split 4-4, chairman Michael McVeigh got the final say.



No criticisms allowed of the most violent influences of our times...

Report finds an increase in support for restrictions on free speech about religion

Link Here 16th March 2016
A new report on identity and immigration has found that nearly half of England's population support legal limits on free speech when religion is concerned, and that support for freedom of expression has fallen significantly since 2011.

A poll of 4,015 people conducted by Populus for the Fear and HOPE 2016 report found that only 54% agreed people should be allowed to say what they believe about religion. 46% said there some things that you should not be able to say about religion .

In 2011 just 40% agreed that some statements about religion were off-limits, compared with 60% who agreed that people should be allowed to say what they believe about religion .

The report, on English attitudes towards identity, multiculturalism, religion and immigration was written by Professor Robert Ford of Manchester University and Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate. The report notes that support for limiting free speech to respect multicultural sensitivities had grown over the past five years . Limiting free speech is most popular among the young and among those most confident with multiculturalism. 58% of under 25s back similar limits on religion as exist for policing racial hate.

Stephen Evans, National Secular Society campaigns manager, said the report made for grim reading :

This report demonstrates how the concept of offense, and the violence that sometimes accompanies it, has created a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the UK. Whilst bigotry of all kinds should be robustly challenged, now is not the time to start sacrificing fundamental freedoms in order to protect 'religious sentiments'. Restricting free speech will do nothing to improve social cohesion -- and one satisfied demand to 'respect' religion will only lead to yet further demands.

Stringent penalties are in place for religiously-aggravated crimes but the law is not there to prevent us from feeling offended. Free speech is the cornerstone of democratic life any new legal restrictions would be counterproductive, only serving to stifle debate and erode hard-won civil liberties.



Updated: Homophobic Censorship...

Italian catholics ban the gay film Weekend from much of Italy

Link Here16th March 2016
Weekend is a 2011 UK gay romance by Andrew Haigh.
Starring Tom Cullen, Chris New and Jonathan Race. BBFC link IMDb

On a Friday night after a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club, alone and on the pull. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what's expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special. That weekend, in bars and in bedrooms, getting drunk and taking drugs, telling stories and having sex, the two men get to know each other. It is a brief encounter that will resonate throughout their lives. Weekend is both an honest and unapologetic love story between two guys and a film about the universal struggle for an authentic life in all its forms. It is about the search for identity and the importance of making a passionate commitment to your life.

The Catholic Church in Italy has effectively banned Weekend , a movie by British filmmaker Andrew Haigh, by declaring it unfit to be shown in any of the theaters owned by the church.

In an unusual move that prompted accusations of homophobic censorship, the Italian Conference of Bishops' Film Evaluation Commission classified the film as not advised, unusable and scabrous (indecent or salacious). The Commission listed the film's principal themes as drugs and homosexuality.

The result, according to its distributor Teodora Film, was that the film was shunned by the more than 1,100 cinemas which are owned by the Church and make up the bulk of Italy's network of independent/arthouse theatres.

The country's official film board approved Haigh's Nottingham-set drama for audiences over 14, compared with an 18 rating in the UK.

The large number of Italian cinemas owned by the Church are a legacy of the days when every parish had its own cinema and local priests controlled projections, regularly cutting sections of films they deemed unsuitable for parishioners. Most of these cinemas are now rented out to operators who do not have to be religious but do have to sign a contract which includes a clause agreeing to go along with the guidance issued by the bishops.

Only very rarely does the guidance make it clear the Church does not want a film shown at all with the only other recent example being Chilean director Pablo Larrain's El Club , in which the main characters are all Catholic priests, including one with a history of sexually abusing children.

Update: Weekend triumph

16th March 2016. See  article from

Weekend has now become a surprise box office smash in Italy, despite the attempt by the Catholic church to paralyse its release. The film achieved the highest per-screen average in the country this weekend, according to Variety . One screening at Rome's famous Quattro Fontane art house cinema pulled in receipts of more than 16,000 euro, the cityl's top haul.

Weekend, which was brought to Italy by distributor Teodora Film following the 2015-16 awards season success of Haigh's Oscar-nominated film 45 Years.

Variety reports 11 more Italian cinemas are now said to be interested in screening Weekend in the upcoming frame.



Commented: Brought to Book...

Irish book censor bans book for the first time in 18 years

Link Here16th March 2016

A book has been banned in Ireland on the grounds of obscenity for the first time in 18 years because of the nature of its content.

The Censorship of Publications Board banned all editions of The Raped Little Runaway , written by Jean Martin.

The book was brought to the attention of the board who banned it because it contains numerous explicit descriptions of the rape of a child.

Board chairman Shane McCarthy said the decision was unanimous among the five board members. He said:

It was the only resort. We either ban it or allow it. It isn't like a film where you can put in an age restriction. It is black or white.

Offsite Comment: The tyranny of censorship: Ireland's war on evil books

16th March 2016. See  article from by Brendan O'Neill

The Irish state has just banned an obscene novel. That is outrageous. As if it isn't bad enough that Ireland still has a Censorship of Publications Board, at the weekend we discovered that this archaic outfit is still active.

Update: Conviction

1st May 2019. See article from

A man has been convicted under Section Six of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act. In particular he was convicted of the possession of The Raped Little Runaway by Jean Martin. He was arrested 4 month before the ban of the book so presumably the charges weren't based on possession of a banned book. Perhaps it was the arrest that led to the book being considered by the book censors.



Updated: Art Attack...

Kenyan censors get wound up by gay music video

Link Here16th March 2016
The Kenyan Film Classification Board ( KFCB ) has ordered Google to pull down a video that the agency considers as promoting gay relationships.

KFCB Chief Executive, Ezekiel Mutua wrote to Google Kenya and other state agencies asking them to take action against creators and distributors of the music video titled Same Love by Art Attack whose lyrics, he said, advocate gay rights in Kenya. He spewed:

Kenya must not allow its people to become the Sodom and Gomorrah of the current age through psychological drive from such content. We have written to Google to remove the video from their platforms. We expect they will do it within one week from now to avoid further violation of the law.

He reiterated that Article 45 of the Kenyan Constitution defines marriage as a union between persons of the opposite sex and the Penal Code Section 162 to 165 criminalises homosexual behaviour.

Update: Hit video

13th March 2016. See  article from

Banned gay music video becomes a hit Last month Kenyan censors banned the country's first gay-themed music video -- and the Streisand Effect immediately kicked in. The video, Same Love has so far attracted over 135,000 views.

The song is a remix by Kenyan rapper Art Attack  The artist said of the video:

We expected that this will create controversy. We expected that a lot of people will talk about it but we didn't expect the amount of publicity it has received. The erotic scenes were meant to show that these people also fall in love.

In a news conference, Ezekiel Mutua from Kenya's film classification board said:

The video currently circulating on YouTube consists of lyrics that strongly advocate for gay rights in Kenya, complete with graphic sexual scenes between people of the same gender, as well as depiction of nudity and pornography.

Last year, Kenya's ungodly deputy president has said there is no room for homosexuality in Kenya's godly society.

Update: Google refuse to censor

16th March 2016. See article from

The Kenya Films Classification Board has failed in its attempt to get a gay music video removed from Google.

President of the KFCB, Ezekiel Mutua, has said he'll take the matter to court.

Google Kenya are apparently being a bit coy about refusing the censor board's request, saying it merely doesn't regulate the YouTube content. The video is still very much live on YouTube.



Offsite Article: The godmother of manga sex in Japan...

Link Here16th March 2016
Full story: Manga in Tokyo...Tokyo considers age restrictions on comic books
A recent UN report included manga in a list of content with violent pornography. The BBC spoke to a leading female manga artist, Keiko Takemiya, attributed as a pioneer of sexually explicit manga

See article from



Star Signing...

Well known for good work defending obscenity cases, Myles Jackman is appointed Legal Director for Open Rights Group

Link Here15th March 2016

Myles Jackman who once described online pornography as the canary in the coalmine of free speech and is best known for his cutting edge practice in obscenity law and sexual freedom of expression, has been appointed as the Legal Director for Open Rights Group.

Myles was awarded the Law Society's Junior Lawyer of the Year award in 2012 having represented Michael Peacock and Simon Walsh in their landmark obscenity prosecutions, the #ObscenityTrial and the #PornTrial. He has campaigned for reform in this area, accusing the legal system of being twenty years behind social values and technological change in the area of sexual freedom and privacy.

About his appointment, Myles said:

I am delighted to have been appointed as ORG's Legal Director, since their cutting edge campaigning work for digital freedom and against surveillance chimes perfectly with my personal privacy and freedom of expression agenda.

This is particularly timely given the passage of the current Investigatory Powers Bill with its authorisation for State-sponsored mass hacking and intrusion into individual privacy and personal freedom.

Executive Director Jim Killock said:

I am excited to announce this legal rock star signing. I hope that Myles' recognition outside the legal sphere will attract new supporters to ORG's campaign for digital rights and privacy.



Update: Investigatory powers bill not up to the task...

200 senior lawyers write a letter to the Guardian about the snooper's charter

Link Here15th March 2016
Full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping

The UK's investigatory powers bill receives its second reading on Tuesday. At present the draft law fails to meet international standards for surveillance powers. It requires significant revisions to do so.

First, a law that gives public authorities generalised access to electronic communications contents compromises the essence of the fundamental right to privacy and may be illegal. The investigatory powers bill does this with its bulk interception warrants and bulk equipment interference warrants .

Second, international standards require that interception authorisations identify a specific target -- a person or premises -- for surveillance. The investigatory powers bill also fails this standard because it allows targeted interception warrants to apply to groups or persons, organisations, or premises.

Third, those who authorise interceptions should be able to verify a reasonable suspicion on the basis of a factual case. The investigatory powers bill does not mention reasonable suspicion -- or even suspects -- and there is no need to demonstrate criminal involvement or a threat to national security.

These are international standards found in judgments of the European court of justice and the European court of human rights, and in the recent opinion of the UN special rapporteur for the right to privacy. At present the bill fails to meet these standards -- the law is unfit for purpose. The stories you need to read, in one handy email Read more

If the law is not fit for purpose, unnecessary and expensive litigation will follow, and further reform will be required. We urge members of the Commons and the Lords to ensure that the future investigatory powers legislation meets these international standards. Such a law could lead the world.

Paul Ridge, Jaani Riordan, Patrick Roche, Deborah Russo, Adam Sandell, Joseph Savirimuthu, Anton Schutz, Dr Kirsteen Shields, Bethany Shiner, Gus Silverman, Natasha Simonsen, Martha Spurrier, Alison Stanley, Angela Stevens, Dr Sujitha Subramanian, Samantha Taylor, Gwawr Thomas, Anna Thwaites, Chris Topping, Dr Maria Tzanou, Anthony Vaughan, Dr Asma Vranaki, John Wadham, Adam Wagner, Amos Waldman, Liam Walker, Tony Ward, Camille Warren, Sue Willman, Dr Maggie Wykes, Adrienne Yong, Dr Alison Young, Dr Hakeem O Yusuf, Dr Aldo Zammit Borda, Dr Reuven Ziegler, Dr Stephen J Murdoch University College London, Helen Mowatt, Imran Khan, Kemi Spector, Dr Gavin W Anderson University of Glasgow, Colin Murray Newcastle University, Aidan O’Donnell University of Strathclyde, Professor Daniel Wilsher City University, Mikhil Karnik, Conor McCormick Queen’s University Belfast, Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas Queen Mary University of London, Graeme Hall, Christopher McCorkindale University of Strathclyde,



Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 45...

Link Here15th March 2016
Full story: The Hunger Games...UK version gets cut for a 12A
The Hunger Games

See article from



Offsite Article: The Spectre of Censorship...

Link Here15th March 2016
Public response to silly censor cuts to the latest James Bond film has left India's censors shaken and stirred

See article from



An Elephant Joke...

Sacha Baron Cohen speaks of cuts in the US to avoid an NC-17 rating

Link Here14th March 2016
Grimsby is a 2016 UK action comedy by Louis Leterrier.
Starring Penélope Cruz, Rebel Wilson and Isla Fisher. Youtube linkBBFC link IMDb

The BBFC asked for category cuts to achieve a 15 rating. The BBFC was a little secretive and just noted that the cuts were to a couple of scenes of crude humour.

It seems that according to a video interview with Sacha Baron Cohen that the film also suffered category cuts in the US to achieve an R rating. It seems that censors from the MPAA were convinced that an 'elephant scene' fell into the category of bestiality. (But surely bestiality would need to be cut at any level and wouldn't be suitable at NC-17 either).

Cohen says that he challenged the MPAA's definition of bestiality and also cut 6 minutes from a 9 minute scene. He suggested that the cuts were a ploy to obtain the scene he wanted and that the cut material had been added just to be offered as cuts in negotiations.

It will be interesting to see if both the US and UK cuts end up being the same version.



Updated: Well they do have a tendency to believe in ludicrous things!...

Utah House and Senate pass resolution claiming that porn is creating a public health crisis

Link Here 14th March 2016
After passing the state Senate with ease, a resolution claiming that pornography is a public health hazard appears on course for passing in the House too.

The resolution's sponsor, Sen. Todd Weilersaid it had drawn national attention. He said:

The world is watching what we're doing with this resolution, and I couldn't be more thrilled

SCR9 claims that pornography contributes to the hypersexualization of teens, increases the demand for sex trafficking and has stoked desire among adolescents to engage in risky sexual behavior.

Weiler said the research to back up the resolution's claims mostly come from a symposium organized by the anti porn campaign group, National Center on Sexual Exploitation, formerly known as Morality in Media Inc. A group not exactly known for properly conducted science based research. He said of his cockamamie idea:

I want this committee to know this is not some cockamamie idea. Some of it's social science, some of it's hard science. [but most of it is moralistic bullshit]

Weiler spoke of the follow up to the resolution:

A lot of people have asked me, 'Where are you going with this? Are you trying to ban pornography?'

The short answer is no, according to Weiler, but he said that much like tobacco, lawmakers should be trying to limit children's access to it. Weiler said he supports measures in the U.K. that would make the Internet pornography-free by default and require Internet users to actively opt-in to get sexually explicit content.

Update: House too

14th March 2016. See  article from

The Utah House of Representatives has passed a resolution claiming pornography to be a public health crisis. The resolution is the first of its kind in the country.

The resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis will now be sent to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature.

Update: Governor too

20th April 2016. See article from

Utah's Governor Gary Herbert signed the resolution that calls for increased education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level to combat pornography. Herbert sputed:

We realize this is a bold assertion and there are some out there who will disagree with us, We're here to say it is, in fact, the full-fledged truth.

The non-binding resolution claims:

Pornography perpetuates a sexually toxic environment. Efforts to prevent pornography exposure and addiction, to educate individuals and families concerning its harms, and to develop recovery programs must be addressed systemically in ways that hold broader influences accountable.



Update: Next battle in the US Crypto Wars...

US authorities turn their attention to breaking the end to end encryption used by WhatsApp

Link Here14th March 2016

In Saturday's edition of the New York Times, Matt Apuzzo reports that the Department of Justice is locked in a prolonged standoff with WhatsApp. The government is frustrated by its lack of real-time access to messages protected by the company's end-to-end encryption . The story may represent a disturbing preview of the next front in the FBI's war against encryption.

It appears that the Department of Justice is considering pursuing another, similarly dangerous legal attack on encryption. The fact that the government is even considering such an action proves that our worst fears were right.

This time they're targeting WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app which started adding strong end-to-end encryption in 2014 . According to the New York Times, the government has obtained a wiretap order, authorizing real time acquisition of the WhatsApp messages (probably text chats rather than voice calls, but that's unclear at this stage) in an ongoing criminal investigation. WhatsApp is, of course, unable to provide decrypted text in response to the wiretap order, just as it was unable to comply with a similar order by a Brazilian court earlier this month. The whole point of end-to-end encryption is that no one but the intended recipient of a message is able to decipher it.

From the New York Times' reporting, it looks like the government has so far only obtained an initial wiretap order--demanding WhatsApp to turn over message content it can't access. The Department of Justice has not yet decided whether to ask the court for a follow-on order that would compel WhatsApp to decrypt the messages. Presumably, that second order would look similar to the San Bernardino order and direct WhatsApp to write code that would break its own encryption and allow it to provide plain text in response to the wiretap order.

If the government decides to seek that second order against WhatsApp, it would almost certainly be grounded, not in the All Writs Act but in the technical assistance provision of the Wiretap Act . So while the result of the All Writs Act litigation in San Bernardino wouldn't directly control the outcome of any Wiretap Act case against WhatsApp, courts apply similar tests in the two contexts. In both All Writs and Wiretap Act cases, courts evaluate whether compliance with an order would constitute an undue burden. Therefore all the rather convincing arguments Apple has made in San Bernardino would be available to WhatsApp as well.

As of now, we're unable to find any additional publicly available information regarding the order against WhatsApp. The New York Times reports that, unlike in the San Bernardino case, the WhatsApp litigation is being kept under seal. We'll keep an eye out for any additional documents, and will continue to blog as more becomes public. For now however, we applaud WhatsApp (and Facebook) for standing strong in the face of orders, whether Brazilian or American, to do the impossible or to compromise our security for the sake of enabling click-of-the-mouse surveillance.



Update: Banning words: a thinspirational response...

Study finds that it doesn't take long for the wit of man to dream up new words to replace those banned by Instagram

Link Here13th March 2016
Full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo sharing website gets heavy on the censorship
A scientific study has found that Instagram' s decision to ban certain words linked to pro-anorexia posts may have actually made the problem worse.

The study, conducted by a team at Georgia Tech, found that the censoring of terms like 'thighgap, thinspiration and secretsociety, commonly used by anorexia sufferers, initially caused a decrease in use.

However, they found that users adapted by simply making up new, almost identical words to get around Instagram's moderation, often by altering spellings to create terms like thygap and thynspooo .

Instagram's censoring of pro-eating disorder (ED) content began in 2012, when they began limiting what users could see when searching for certain terms.

Some terms, like #thinspiration, simply return no results when searched for in the app. Other terms, like #thin, are still searchable, but users first have to read a message warning them about the content and directing them towards ED support services before they can see any pictures.

The researchers believe that by accidentally prompting the creation of these terms, Instagram polarised the vulnerable pro-ED community and actually increased how much members engaged with the content. Munmun De Choudury, an assistant professor at the school, said: Likes and coments on these new tags were 15 to 30 per cent higher than the originals.



Banning Words: Covertly imposing a censorial ethos...

Birmingham's Education Commissioner bans the words 'Trojan horse' to describe attempts by groups to take over schools and covertly impose a muslim ethos.

Link Here13th March 2016
Birmingham's education commissioner says he has banned the use of the term Trojan Horse to describe alleged attempts by groups to take over schools and covertly impose a Muslim ethos.

Mike Tomlinson, appointed in the wake of the controversy, says the phrase was not helpful to attempts to improve Birmingham's schools. He claimed that it could have an adverse impact on teacher recruitment. Tomlinson said no-one in his department was now allowed to use the phrase.



Mediawatch-UK recommends...

Versailles on BBC2

Link Here13th March 2016
The new BBC blockbuster Versailles is described by the Corporation as a delicious treat for viewers, but MPs and morality campaigners are 'outraged' by its nudity and sex scenes, and have described it as porn dressed up in a cravat and tights .

The Daily Mail gushes:

The lavish French-made series, which depicts the decadent and debauched life of France's Sun King, Louis XIV, is set to be the most sexually graphic costume drama ever shown on British TV.

The drama produced by Canal Plus has been shown in France and caused immediate controversy about it being filmed in English.

In the Conservative MP and sound bite provider Andrew Bridgen whinged:

There are channels where, if you wish to view this sort of material, you would have to pay for it. BBC viewers don't have a choice. They have to pay for it whether they approve or not.

Is this an example of the BBC dumbing down and seeking more sensationalised programming? That's an arms race to the bottom -- quite literally in this case.

Norman Wells, director of the morality campaign group Family Education Trust whinged:

Public service broadcasting is meant to be for the public benefit, but it is very difficult to see whose benefit is being served by showing such highly graphic and explicit scenes on TV.

Sam Burnett, of Mediawatch UK, whinged:

Dressing up pornography and violence in a cravat and tights doesn't make it cultural.

The BBC is yet to confirm a broadcast time for the ten-part series, which is expected to be screened in May. Asked if the BBC would be running the drama in full, a spokesman said: Why wouldn't we be? Sue Deeks, BBC head of programme acquisition, added: Versailles will be a delicious treat for BBC2 viewers.



Kidscape Recommends...

BBC3 Online

Link Here13th March 2016
Claude Knight, of the campaign group Kidscape has been kindly pointing out some of the most interesting highlights of BBC3.

Shows broadcast online since the move last month include Meet the Devotees which showed a disabled woman wearing just her underwear and a coat in her wheelchair to satisfy fetishists as well as amputees making porn for able-bodied people.

Another graphic programme available is People Pay Me For My Underwear , which shows a young student selling her knickers online to pay for her degree.

Other programmes include The Virtual Reality Virgin, which shows a debate about whether having virtual sex with a robot is cheating, and a short programme about sex work called Everybody Cries Their First Time , where a young sex worker Posie discusses her traumatic first time .

Knight whinged :

We have to ask why the public's licence fee is being spent on channels which offer such a tawdry view of life. It is giving a very disturbing view of the world. Why would the BBC be promoting or supporting this?

A spokesman for BBC3 said:

BBC3 informs, educates and entertains a young audience and doesn't shy away from covering issues that affect them. We're proud of the role it plays in helping young people understand issues and make sense of the world.



One Million Moms Recommend...

The Real O'Neal's

Link Here13th March 2016
One Million Moms is a christian morality campaign. The group had a whinge about a new US TV programme saying:

ABC's newest sitcom The Real O'Neals is described as: just your typical all-American, Catholic, divorcing, disgraced, law breaking, gay family and continues on to say their family is a perfect mess.

It is now airing on Tuesday evenings at 8:30/7:30 p.m. CT.

The Real O'Neals mocks Christianity and insults Catholicism. 1MM recognizes this show ridicules people of faith, and Christians across America are offended by it.

It is almost impossible to describe the depth of depravity found in the sitcom The Real O'Neals. It is impossible to list them all, so here are a few scenes from this TV -- PG - D rated show:

  • Jesus appears where only the gay son can see and talk to Him, and He is annoyed by the mom's strict guidelines for her family.
  • The daughter steals money she is supposedly raising for charity.
  • The daughter "attempts to prove" that there is no God in a science fair project.
  • ABC network refers to this highly dysfunctional family as "the perfect Irish-Catholic family."
  • A statue of Mary is kept above the O'Neal's toilet to remind the boys to put the seat down.
  • The first jab at Jesus comes only 52 seconds into the first episode.
  • The mother encourages her 16-year-old gay son to "try sex" with a girl.
  • Vulgar language (ex. Vagina).
  • The mom makes pancakes shaped like the face of Jesus to guilt trip her anorexic son into eating.
  • One of the show's producers is anti-Christian bigot Dan Savage, and the show is said to be loosely based on his life.



Offsite Article: Passed...

Link Here13th March 2016
VPN Provider's No-Logging Claims Tested in FBI Case

See article from



Censor Unity...

Two South African censorship bodies sign agreement to work together

Link Here12th March 2016
South Africa's communications censor Icasa and the Film & Publication Board plan to sign an agreement in terms of which the two organisations will work together on issues of co-jurisdiction .

The agreement is aimed at establishing a formal relationship between the FPB and Icasa to deal with the:

uniform classification and labelling of content by the industry including the wireless application service providers, electronic communications service providers and broadcasters, and creation of awareness on compliance with applicable laws.

[The agreement will] promote information sharing and research between the two entities on matters of mutual interest in the realm of content regulation as well as promote awareness of the role of Icasa and the FPB in the protection of children against undesirable content.

The parties are set to sign the agreement on 14 March.



Policing Punchlines...

The might of the Canadian state lays into a comedian for telling a bad taste joke

Link Here12th March 2016



David 'Fat Cat' Austin...

New boss of the BBFC will be known by the title CEO, rather than the previous title Director, to better reflect that film censorship has become big business

Link Here11th March 2016

David Austin (OBE) is the new Chief Executive (CEO) of the British Board of Film Classification.

The position, previously referred to as the Director of the BBFC, is delegated to make executive decisions on behalf of the Board of Classification. The CEO is responsible for formulating and ensuring the execution of policy, management of the BBFC and handling external relations with the industry, the public and relevant bodies.

The title of Director is changing to CEO to better reflect the remit of the role and to be more consistent with other UK media regulators and organisations with a child protection role.

David Austin said:

The BBFC is a transparent and agile media regulator, working to reflect evolving public opinion, protect children from unsuitable content and develop, in partnership with industry, classification services that are up to date with digital technology. Changing the title of my role from Director to CEO reflects the evolution of the BBFC and the Director's role. As CEO I will continue to develop the BBFC's work in line with digital technology and in areas beyond film classification where our expertise in child protection and content regulation can be helpful.

David Austin joined the BBFC in 2003 as an Examiner following a career in the Diplomatic Service, serving in South Asia, Central Africa and the former Yugoslavia. In 2011 David moved to the role of Assistant Director Policy and Public Affairs where he coordinated the BBFC's policy work and led on its public affairs efforts. He was also responsible for managing the BBFC's research, communications and education programmes.

Since 2008 the BBFC has developed a new voluntary online regulation services for Video-on-Demand content, introduced a classification framework for mobile network operators, and launched an initiative to age rate UK online music videos. The BBFC continues to work to published Classification Guidelines based on large scale public consultation. The last Classification Guidelines consultation, in 2013, involved more than 10,000 members of the public from the across the UK. The process to update the Guidelines is repeated every 4-5 years and is supplemented with expert research into issues including depictions of sexual and sadistic violence and glamour works.



Miserable Canada...

Ontario PC extremists whinge about sexy uniforms at Hooters

Link Here11th March 2016
Political correctness enforcers in Ontario are calling for an end to sexy uniforms used to allure customers to the likes of Hooters or the Tilted Kilt restaurants.

Ontario's bizarrely named 'Human Rights' Commission claims that sexualized dress codes they believe discriminates against female and transgender workers.

Chief PC Enforcer Renu Mandhane says employers must make sure their dress codes don't reinforce sexist stereotypes. Mandhane claims policies requiring women to wear low-cut tops, short skirts or high heels could violate the 'Human Rights' code, and they send a message than an employees' worth is tied to how they look.

The PC extremists spouted about sexualised dress requirements in a policy position paper:

This treatment is often visible in bars, restaurants and other services that require women to dress in high heels, tight dresses, low-cut tops and short skirts. These dress codes persist across the restaurant industry, despite human rights decisions that have found them to be discriminatory. They may make employees more vulnerable to sexual harassment, contribute to discriminatory work environments and exclude people based on sex, gender identity...or creed.



You Will Comply!...

Whispers of troubles at the BBFC where examiners are being downgraded to compliancy checkers

Link Here11th March 2016
Apparently the BBFC's new Director, David Austin, is not only notable for being the first director appointed internally, but also the first to take up the post during an industrial dispute.

Unconfirmed third hand reports speak of BBFC managers getting rid of the examiners and replacing them with compliance officers, the kind they have at the Beeb and Sky etc. They get paid a lot less than the examiners, but then again they are also young, and inexperienced.

Existing examiners, with the collective knowledge and experience accumulated over years, are being made redundant unless they take a huge pay cut and take the compliancy jobs as well.

Joshua comments:

I don't know about everyone else but I actually value some of the work they do there, especially looking out for the protection of children, and shafting these people seems pretty damn short sighted to me.

Comment: Age ratings you trusted

11th March 2016. By phantom on the Melon farmers Forum

The BBFC's downgrading of staff should be welcome by any person concerned about censorship issues. For years the BBFC have claimed to possess nigh on mythical 'expertise' in matters of taste and decency in films. It should be interesting to see them publicly trying to continue these claims when they internally insist that such expertise does not exist among their staff and therefore need not be paid for in wages.



Update: Excessive Snooping...

The UN's Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy condemns Investigatory Powers Bill

Link Here10th March 2016
Full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping

The Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy has heavily criticised the Investigatory Powers Bill in his first report to the Human Rights Council.

The report calls for disproportionate, privacy-intrusive measures such as bulk surveillance and bulk hacking as contemplated in the Investigatory Powers Bill [to] be outlawed rather than legitimised.

Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group responded to the report's findings:

The Special Rapporteur's report is yet another damning criticism of the Investigatory Powers Bill. Not only does it call for the disproportionate powers in the Bill to be 'outlawed rather than legitimised', it points out that the Bill does not comply with recent human rights rulings, which means it could be open to legal challenges.

The report also voices another serious concern -- that the impact of this extreme legislation will be felt around the world, and copied by other countries.

The Government cannot continue to ignore the overwhelming evidence that the IPB is a deeply flawed piece of legislation.



Clear message...

US human rights organisations write to the Whitehouse concerned about government attempts to make technology companies weaken the security of their products

Link Here10th March 2016

The Honorable John Holdren, Director of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
The Honorable Susan Rice, United States National Security Advisor
The Honorable Jeffrey Zients, Director of the White House National Economic Council

RE: Civil Society Input on Human Rights and Civil Liberties Protections Online

Dear Mr. Holdren, Ms. Rice, and Mr. Zients,

The undersigned organizations recognize that the U.S. government faces complex security challenges, and we appreciate the role of a variety of stakeholders including technology companies. However, we are writing to you today because we believe that when the government sits down with private sector entities to discuss the future of free expression and privacy online, civil liberties and human rights advocates need to be at the table, too.

Over the past year, technology companies have been under increasing pressure from a range of policymakers to weaken the security of their products and to aggressively monitor, censor, or report to the government users' communications, with the hope that such steps will help to prevent or investigate acts of terrorism. This campaign to push the tech sector to police the Internet at the government's behest was recently highlighted by the White House's high-profile visit to Silicon Valley for a confidential meeting with top tech company CEOs.

In international fora, the United States has consistently promoted a multi-stakeholder approach to decision-making concerning the Internet, an approach that includes not only government and corporate stakeholders, but civil society as well. As this Administration has regularly asserted, when billions of people rely on the Internet to exercise their human rights to speak freely and communicate privately, it only makes sense that experts and advocates whose primary goal is to protect those rights be included in discussions about the Internet's future. Such participation helps ensure that governments do not unduly pressure companies to take steps that would harm human rights, and where such pressure is applied, ensures that all stakeholders can respond accordingly with appropriate evidence and objections, and a suggested path forward.

We are heartened that, based on reporting about the memos circulated to attendees of the recent Silicon Valley meeting, the Administration appears to recognize that there are serious questions raised by enlisting broad voluntary assistance from Internet companies. The potential threat to human rights is especially acute because so-called U.S. counter-extremism

programs, while framed as not addressing a particular ideology or religion, currently overwhelmingly target Muslim and other marginalized communities and individuals.

However, the best ways to ensure that human rights are protected are:

First, for the Administration to engage in a dialogue with those civil society organizations that focus on the protection of human rights and civil liberties online, to the same extent that it is in dialogue with the Internet companies themselves, and to provide to civil society any proposals provided to those companies; and

Second, for both the Administration and the companies to be as transparent as possible regarding the steps being taken in response to the government's requests, especially in regard to any changes in the security features of any products or services, or any changes to policies or practices that determine what speech is censored or reported to the government.

Internet freedom begins at home. When the government sits down secretly with those companies that have practical control over a broad swath of public speech and private communication, and especially if and when those conversations lead to voluntary surveillance or censorship measures that would be illegal or unconstitutional for the government to undertake itself, the consequences are truly global. The U.S. government may embolden abusive governments around the world to continue exerting pressure on tech companies to assist in crackdowns on dissent and the targeting of human rights defenders. The U.S. could also set dangerous examples to ally governments who are likewise contemplating new counter extremism measures.

While the United States certainly faces complex national security risks, forfeiting human rights principles and the protections laid down in the Constitution is not the solution. Therefore we look forward to working with your team to ensure that as the government and the Internet industry discuss how best to address the threats the U.S. faces, the rights of all people--both in the U.S. and around the world--are duly represented.

  • Access Now
  • The Constitution Project
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Free Press Action Fund
  • American Library Association
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Amnesty International
  • New America's Open Technology Institute
  • Brennan Center for Justice
  • Niskanen Center
  • The Center for Democracy and Technology



New internet censors...

India sets a date for the completion of a censorship system for online films

Link Here10th March 2016
India's Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry has announced that an online film censorship process will be operational by March 2017. A senior I&B official said:

We have invited bids for the software to be used for tracking the status of the films.

Once the system becomes online, there will be minimum human interference and hence there will be more transparency. The producer will have to come just once for submission of the film to the CBFC.

The official said while the rudimentary set up is likely to be ready in the next six months, the system should be fully operational by March 2017.

The new online film certification system will be operational under the existing Cinematograph Act, 1952.



Offsite Article: Do video games make children violent?...

Link Here10th March 2016
Nobody knows...and this is why

See article from



Offsite Article: Chinese magazine challenges government over censorship...

Link Here 9th March 2016
Full story: News Censorship in China...State control and sensitive news
One of China's most respected current affairs magazines has lashed out at Communist party censorship of its work

See article from



Policy and PR...

The BBFC announces new Policy Director Alexandra Evans.

Link Here8th March 2016

The Policy Director is the principal adviser on policy and public affairs to the Chief Executive. Alexandra Evans today takes over from David Austin (OBE), who in turn is appointed to replace BBFC Director David Cooke, when he retires from his role as Director on 10 March.

The Policy Director is responsible for coordinating the BBFC's policy work and managing and leading on its public affairs effort. The role is also responsible for managing the BBFC's research, communications and education programmes.

Alexandra Evans, BBFC Policy Director said:

The BBFC is an expert in the field of content regulation and upholds this expertise through regular consultation with the public, child protection experts and industry. I look forward to continuing David Austin's work to ensure the BBFC provides the best possible level of child protection and information provision for those making decisions about the content children are watching. I will also be working with the BBFC's Communication and Education teams to ensure the BBFC's services and education resources continue to be available to the public, academics and school children in the most accessible ways possible.

Prior to joining the BBFC, Alexandra established and ran an independent publishing house on behalf of the Chairman Emeritus of the law firm Mishcon de Reya. Alexandra is a qualified solicitor and worked for many years as a policy lawyer at Mishcon de Reya where she specialised in developing and implementing multifaceted advocacy strategies on behalf of a wide range of clients. She has advised on numerous public interest and human rights law issues, in particular the right to freedom of expression.



Update: Clowns and Censors...

Malaysian Internet Censorship is Going from Bad to Worse

Link Here8th March 2016

Following our previous articles about increasing political censorship of the Internet in Malaysia, things have quickly gone from bad to worse. In fact since July 2015, the Malaysian government has blocked at least ten websites, including online news portals and private blogs, for reporting about the scandal surrounding Malaysian Prime Minister Najib tun Razak over his mysterious private dealings with $700 million in funds.

Among the latest developments include the state's blocking of online news portal, The Malaysian Insider , due to their reporting on the scandal--a blatant act of press censorship which drew official comment from the U.S. Department of State. Local activist Fahmi Reza has also come under investigation for his parody clown images depicting the Prime Minister posted to his Twitter account .

And the Malaysian government still clamors for more censorship authority, adding to its existing broad powers under the Penal Code and the Sedition Act. Currently, the government is planning to table the amendments to both the Official Secret Act (OSA) and the Communication & Multimedia Act (CMA) during its upcoming March or May Parliamentary sessions, to strengthen its control over content providers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and end users.

As it stands, the CMA is already very expansive (although, we argue , not expansive enough to make current acts of Internet censorship lawful). In its present form, section 211 of the CMA addresses intermediaries such as ISPs, and section 233 addresses users, both in somewhat similar terms. In both cases, criminal penalties are imposed for any "comment, request, suggestion or other communication which is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person."

As concerns ISPs, proposed changes would remove the intention requirement of that provision, making it much easier for ISPs to be held liable for content of their users, regardless of their complicity or knowledge of the motivations with which it was posted. Fines for breaching this provision would increase twenty-fold, with an additional daily fine to increase one hundred-fold, potentially putting intermediaries out of business for a single infringement.

For the users who post such content, penalties would also increase: fines would double and and prison terms triple. Not only this, but ISPs would be placed under new data retention obligations, allowing users' activities to be tracked online--perhaps to the level of granularity of recording their Web browsing history, although this remains unclear.

The government also aims to add the power to immediately require the removal or blocking of offending content merely on the basis of a complaint, and unwarranted complaints would be penalized with merely a $50 slap-on-the-wrist. In "serious" casesincluding those that fall within sections 211 or 233, as well as terrorism, pornography, and phishing, these blocks are permanent. In other cases, such as copyright infringement, the block would last for 5 days before they can be renewed by court order. Blocking by court order is actually an improvement, if you can call it that, from the present situation in which such blocks are being made illegally in response to mere requests from government agencies.

Finally, foreign websites will be deemed to be subject to local laws, including Malaysia's restrictive content rules--amongst the films that Malaysia has banned is Zoolander. Any foreign websites that do not comply with Malaysia's demands could be legally blocked, thereby consigning Malaysian Internet users to a government-approved walled garden of sanitized content.

What can Malaysians and their friends around the world do about these new censorship moves by the increasingly repressive Malaysian regime? One simple step that you can take now is to click below to join a petition to unblock Medium, which was blocked in its entirety because, amongst its millions of pages, it also mirrored the content of the banned Sarawak Report . Unfortunately Malaysia is not the only country within its region whose residents are suffering online censorship--read more about the state of free expression online in Southeast Asia .



Update: Slaves to PC...

Designer sandals labelled as 'slave sandals' generates a little 'outrage'

Link Here8th March 2016
A few easily offended tweeters have been 'outraged' by the Italian designer label Dolce & Gabbana after a pair of shoes were listed as slave sandals on their website.

The colourful pom-pom flats are part of the brand's new Spring-Summer 2016 collection.

But a few easily offended tweeters were 'outraged' and claimed the company were racist and accused them of glorifying slavery .

One commentator whinged:

Did slaves even wear shoes let alone sandals for D&G to be selling a 'slave sandal for $2,300?

fAnother commented:

Dolce & Gabbana. I love you, but why are you glorifying slavery? RELATED ARTICLES

However Tim Blanks, an editor at large at The Business of Fashion, explained to the New York Times:

That term was quite common in the industry at one time, especially at the height of the Hollywood biblical epics, the likes of Ben Hur and Spartacus, and people do still use it today.

I think they just were carrying over a lot from that era into the collection and got swept away, he added. Although I'm surprised it wasn't picked up sooner as something that might be inflammatory in this day and age. Although it's not as if the term 'gladiator sanda' as an alternative is really that much better.'

The sandals were later renamed on the retailer's website to decorative flat sandal in Napa leather with pompoms .



Offsite Article: The Company You Keep...

Link Here8th March 2016
A nasty case of copyright trolling comes to the attention of MPs and ministers

See article from



Offsite Article: Is your smartphone listening to you?...

Link Here7th March 2016
Numerous reports of the likes of Facebook snooping on people by turning on their microphones without permission

See article from



Update: A nightmare scenario of police stepping in to sort out personal squabbles...

Police chief calls for a simplification of law concerning online insults so that it is clearer when a crime is being committed

Link Here 6th March 2016
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media
The chief constable of Essex has called for new legislation to tackle an unimagined scale of online abuse that he clains is threatening to overwhelm the police service. Stephen Kavanagh argues it is necessary to consolidate and simplify offences committed online to improve the chance of justice for tens of thousands of victims:

There are crimes now taking place -- the malicious use of intimate photographs for example -- which we never would have imagined as an offence when I was a PC in the 80s. It's not just the nature of it, it is the sheer volume.

The levels of abuse that now take place within the internet are on a level we never really expected. If we did try to deal with all of it we would clearly be swamped.

No police chief would claim the way we deliver police services has sufficiently adapted to the new threat and harms that the internet brings

A group of cross-party MPs will introduce a private member's bill into parliament on Wednesday to update the law on cyber-enabled crime. The draft legislation, being introduced by Liz Saville Roberts, a Plaid Cymru MP, calls for a review and consolidation into one act of all the legislation currently being used against digital crime. It also calls for new powers to outlaw the use of spyware or webcams on digital devices without permission.

There are currently more than 30 pieces of legislation currently being used against online crimes. These include the Contempt of Court Act 1981, Protection from Harassment Act 1997, Malicious Communications Act 1988, Communications Act 2003, Offences Against the Person Act 1861, Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992, Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Computer Misuse Act 1990, and the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

[What a nightmare it would be if the police got involved a wider remit of online insult. Injustice would surely prevail with the police always taking sides with the complainant. People would be quick to use false or trivial claims to settle scores with the ability to get people into serious trouble for minor insults or political incorrectness etc].



Updated: Playing Fear of Outrage...

Australian games retail uses plain packaging for 18 rated video games

Link Here6th March 2016
Major retailer Target Australia is now using plain packaging to display adult rated games on its store shelves.

The video game packaging just shows the big R18+ logo, the title, and nothing else.

Target Australia has bad reputation for censorship, unilaterally pulling Grand Theft Auto V after a little hoo-hah from morality campaigners.

Shoppers can still look at the normal covers for games in stores such as EB Games and JB Hi Fi.

Update: Only in South Australia

6th March 2016. See  article from

Target of Australia has responded to the news report saying:

We can assure you this plain packaging display is not policy nation-wide. We are currently investigating the origins of this image. There are some legal guidelines in SA around how R rated video games can be displayed, so we believe the image may have originated from SA. Please don't hesitate to let us know if there's anything further we can assist you with.



Updated: Sad Ass Censorship...

The Reel Cinema in Plymouth blacks out Deadpool poster slogan

Link Here6th March 2016
A Devon cinema has censored the word 'ass' from posters advertising newly released superhero film Deadpool . The Reel cinema in Plymouth used black tape to censor the lines: Bad Ass, Smart Ass, Great Ass, Deadpool.

One cinema goer commented to the newspaper:

I kind of think they were right to censor it, but also think it's probably overkill. Surely it's pretty tame in this day and age, but if your kids are outside queuing for Chipmunks it's a different matter.

The article writer adds a good riposte:

But Alvin and the Chipmunks, Road Chip itself features one use of the word crap and extensively uses the song Baby Got Back by Sir Mix a lot - a track about women with large backsides.

Update: Guernsey too

6th March 2016. Thanks to wynterstwytter

Here's the view from Guernsey...



Batman v Superman v CBFC...

Indian film censors require cuts

Link Here6th March 2016
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 USA action Sci-Fi fantasy by Zack Snyder.
Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams. Youtube link IMDb

Indian film censors have found some 'fleeting nudie figure' that requires cuts for a U/A rating (children admitted if accompanied by adults.

DNA India quotes a source from the Board:

The CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) was very keen that the film be seen by youngsters. But some of the content isn't completely suitable for viewing by underage audiences. While the violence is done in the spirit of a comicbook adventure, the film was rated UA (suitable for underage viewers accompanied by an adult), with just one visual cut... of a fleeting nude figure.

For comparison, the submitted Theatrical Version was passed PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality. In fact some material was removed to reduce 'intensity' for the PG-13 that will later be restored for an R rated Ultimate Edition.



Updated: Respecting the norms of a repressive morality...

Indonesia bans ladyboys and effeminate gays from TV

Link Here6th March 2016
Indonesia has banned television stations from showing male actors behaving effeminately or dressing as women.

The Indonesian Broadcasting Company, KPI, issued a directive banning men from wearing:

Feminine fashion and feminine make-up, and using feminine body language including walking style, sitting style, hand gestures and other behaviour.

Based on the results of monitoring and complaints that we have received, there are still broadcast programs featuring men who behave and dress like a woman.

KPI assess these things are not in accordance with the provisions of respect for the norms of decency and morality prevailing in society and the protection of children and adolescents.

Update: China too

6th March 2016. See  article from

Homosexuality and other abnormal sexual relationships have been banned from Chinese TV dramas.

The China Television Drama Production Industry Association and the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television recently released a new set of TV content production guidelines , which detail plans to censor all dramas that feature inappropriate sexual behavior, such as incest, sexual assault, adultery, one-night-stands and homosexuality.



Offsite Article: Poking fun at whingers...

Link Here6th March 2016
Bookie Paddy Power has fun with Kayvan Novak fronting a series of TV adverts playing the bookie's head of complaints

See article from



Update: Supporting the EU's disgracefully arbitrary 'right to be forgotten' censorship...

Google starts censoring for countries affected by EU censorship demands

Link Here 5th March 2016
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
If you use Google in Europe, your search results will be censored under the EU's's disgraceful 'right-to-be-forgotten'.

Until now if you used rather than, say,, you could still find results that have been arbitrarily removed based on how loud people shout.

The censorship has been implemented as follows. Assume that someone in Germany files a Right To Be Forgotten request to have some listing censored for their name. If granted, the censorship will work like this for searches on that person's name:

  • Listing censored for those in Germany, using ANY version of Google.
  • Listing censored for those in the EU, using a European version of Google.
  • Listing NOT censored for those outside Germany but within the EU, using non-European versions of Google.
  • Listing NOT censored for those outside the EU, using ANY version of Google.

Google's Peter Fleischer explained the reasons for the censorship:

We're changing our approach as a result of specific discussions that we've had with EU data protection regulators in recent months.

We believe that this additional layer of delisting enables us to provide the enhanced protections that European regulators ask us for, while also upholding the rights of people in other countries to access lawfully published information.



The Whingeing Brit Awards 2016...

...And the most ludicrous whinge of the year is...there's plenty of competition this year...

Link Here5th March 2016
The Daily Star has received some of puerile whinges made to Ofcom about this year's live TV broadcast of the Brit Awards:
  • One viewer took the trouble to write in claiming they were personally offended legendary singer Annie Lennox was invited to the event at all.
  • Another kicked off because the cameras homed in on a vodka bottle on one of the party tables.
  • One viewer even protested that hosts Ant and Dec should not have called one of the guest presenters sexy .
  • Another blasted the TV duo's dangerous behaviour for joking about turning off a smoke alarm at the venue.
  • And a parent grumbled that one of the women on stage was too thin and a bad role model to her kids.
  • Another viewer raged about someone in the audience making rude gestures on camera behind Ant and Dec. And one person even moaned that people had to complain to Ofcom!

TV censor Ofcom received 88 complaints about the show.

A show source commented:

These complaints are a joke. Do people have nothing better to do than moan to Ofcom because Annie Lennox and a vodka bottle are on the box after 9pm?

The Daily Star interestingly noted that nobody complained about Adele using the word 'fuck'. There were far more trivial things to whinge about.

Update: Complaints dismissed

23rd March 2016. See  article from

Inevitably Ofcom dismissed all the complaints without the need for investigation.



Update: Yesterday's Zaman...

Turkey forcibly censors critical opposition newspaper

Link Here5th March 2016
Turkish police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse crowds protesting outside the headquarters of the opposition Zaman newspaper. They moved in to secure the premises following a government decision to forcibly take over the management of the media group.

The daily confirmed that police had gone to the management floor in the building, and were preventing editors from entering their offices. The journalists were shut out of their offices while police allegedly confiscated their cell phones, according to reports on social media.

The raid began shortly before midnight after a day of standoffs between police and opposition protesters furious about a government crackdown on the free press.

Responding to an unlikely claim about terrorist groups influencing the newspaper, a  court had earlier ordered the sacking of the entire management and the editorial team of Feza Media Group companies and to replace the entire group's administration with a three-member board appointed by the state court.

Following the court ruling the newspaper editorial team released a statement through its English-language sister publication, Today's Zaman, calling the takeover the darkest and gloomiest for the freedom of the press. The statement added that media organizations and journalists are being silenced via threats and blackmail.

After the ruling, hundreds of people gathered outside the newspaper's offices in Istanbul protesting against the move, before police fired tear gas at protesters as they stormed the head office building.

Amnesty International has condemned the move to silence the opposition press. Even Washington, while reaffirming Turkey's crucial role as a NATO member and US ally in the region, had to admit that the Turkish government's recent actions are not fully consistent with the spirit of democracy.  State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said:

We see this as the latest in the series of troubling judicial and law enforcement actions taken by the Turkish government targeting media outlets and others critical of it...We call on the Turkish government to ensure full respect for due process and equal treatment under the law. Court-ordered supervision of a media company's finances and operations should not prompt changes to the newsroom or editorial policy.



Backing Censorship...

Lithuania blocks well known international gambling websites

Link Here5th March 2016
The Gaming Control Authority under the Ministry of Finance of Lithuania has announced that it has blocked further online gambling websites that do not adhere to new restrictions introduced in the country earlier this year.

In January, the Lithuanian gambling censor pledged to take strict legal action against operators that organise remote gambling contrary to the wishes of Lithuania. The Gaming Control Authority has followed up on this by blocking a number of companies that have transgressed the restrictions. Websites on the list include Betway, Unibet, William Hill, PokerStars, Marathonbet and 188bet.

Virginijus Dauksys, director of the Gaming Control Authority, said:

It is surprising that certain world-wide known companies, reluctant to legalise their activity, are blatantly violating the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

Changing of the internet domain name in order to avoid the legal measures and to operate illegally in Lithuania can be treated as smuggling activity.

The Gaming Control Authority will continue by all means available to ensure the protection of Lithuanian gambling market from illegal offers and protection of customers of the Republic of Lithuania from uncontrolled gambling flows to prevent compulsive and minors gambling.



Protecting children and their pocket...

Complaining about the number of New Zealand censorship bodies who want paying to rate films already rated by others

Link Here5th March 2016



Offsite Article: Apple vs FBI...

Link Here5th March 2016
A detailed write up the cases for and against secure encryption and law enforcement access

See article from



A Warrior's Tale...

Russian animation requires BBFC category cuts for a PG rated cinema release

Link Here4th March 2016
A Warrior's Tail is a 2015 Russia children's cartoon by Maksim Fadeev.
Starring Maksim Chukharyov, Konstantin Khabenskiy and Armen Dzhigarkhanyan. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed PG for mild fantasy violence, threat, rude humour, mild bad language after 1s of BBFC category cuts for:

  • 2016 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to remove a single use of strong language ('motherfucker') in order to achieve a PG classification. A 15 uncut was available.

Summary Notes

An international animation project that is coming out in Russian and English languages. It is a fairytale about a grand life journey of a 10-year old boy Savva devoted to help his Mom and fellow village people to break free from the vicious hyenas. Trying to escape from hyenas Savva finds himself in a magical world he had only heard stories of.



Thin skinned politicians...

Government turns down MP's request to allow the use of Parliament TV footage for much deserved mockery

Link Here4th March 2016
Chris Grayling, the Leader of the House of Commons, has refused a request from Rupa Huq, a Labour MP who is the sister-in-law of comedian Charlie Brooker, to consider relaxing censorship rules on how parliamentary TV footage can be used.

The rule, agreed by broadcasters in 1989 as part of a deal to admit television cameras into the Commons, states that footage cannot be used in any light entertainment programme or in a programme of political satire .

However, parliamentary scenes can be included in 'magazine' programmes which also contain music or humorous features, such as This Week, the late-night political show hosted by Andrew Neil, provided that the different types of item are kept separate .

Brooker said that the rules were ridiculous and inconsistent and that the ridiculous ban meant that the government was officially scared of clowns . Other satirists were equally scathing. Rory Bremner said that the advent of the internet meant that the ship has already sailed , while fellow Spitting Image star John Sessions said the obsolete rules represented the last gasp of deference .



Outrage Watch...

A trivial petition and a trvial whinge about a Breitling shop display are enough for an 'outrage' story in the Daily Mail

Link Here4th March 2016
A display model with blonde hair and a capacious bust that strains against her top, sits astride a missile in the Breitling shop window in Bluewater and has 'outraged' a few of the easily offended.

Kirsty Russell who started the petition on, whinged:

Breitling must have lost confidence in the quality of their watches to sell themselves and have stooped to this.

Their shop display has a woman sitting on either side of a missile with exaggerated breasts, nipples highlighted by a spotlight and her gusset on show.

Russell said she contacted both Bluewater and Breitling but her complaints were rebuffed so started the petition. The petition has attracted just 400 signatures.

A Bluewater spokesman said:

We are aware of some customer comments regarding Breitling's store display and the matter is now being dealt with directly by the retailer.



Updated: Registered as repressive...

Sri Lanka implements news censorship via website registration requirements

Link Here4th March 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in Sri Lanka...Installing ISP website blocking
Sri Lanka's new government which came to power promising media freedom, has revived a move to censor news web sites.

The Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media took out an advertisement in the state-run Daily News websites that they must register before the end of this month or will be considered unlawful.

Former government of Mahinda Rajapaksa slapped restrictions on news websites which had become the most effective medium of dissent during his decade in power. However, there is no law in Sri Lanka to implement such a registration.

The ministry in its latest advertisement did not say under what law it required websites to register. However, a purported Application for Registration of News Casting Web sites demanded to know the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all contributors.

Update: Reversed for the moment

4th March 2016. See  article from

Sri Lanka's government has now admitted it had no legal authority to call for the registration of news websites and rolled back an order which amounted to regulation and potential censorship of the Internet.

The Parliamentary Affairs and Media Ministry had taken the cover of two supreme court decisions on website regulation, but it was pointed out that the highest court had only asked the ministry to come up with guide lines.

Deputy minister Karunaratne Paranavithana agreed that the court had not conferred legislative powers on his ministry and that what they proposed to do had no legal basis. But he added:

We are in the process to develop a mechanism. We will introduce it to parliament, only then will it become law.



Offsite Article: Censorship Overkill...

Link Here4th March 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
A new report peels back the curtain on how the Twitter-like service Weibo handles Chinese censorship requests

See article from



Abusive Council...

Salford Council introduces human rights abusing, arbitrary, undefined restrictions on what people can say in public

Link Here3rd March 2016
Human rights abusers on Salford Council have introduced a Public Space Protection Order to cover the Quays area where it will be deemed a criminal offence if anyone is caught using foul and abusive language .

But the order fails to give any guidance on which words will be considered foul and abusive enough to constitute a criminal offence. Anyone breaching the conditions faces an on-the-spot fine.

Comedian Mark Thomas is performing at The Lowry arts centre and has prepared a list of words he intends to use which he is sending to the council - to see if they breach the order.

And now leading human rights group Liberty has written to Salford council saying the move risks breaching right to freedom of expression . Liberty says the order could have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. Liberty's Rosie Brighouse has requested clarification on four points:

Does the language have to be both foul and abusive to breach the PSPO, or is its purpose to ban both language that is foul but not abusive, and language that is abusive but not foul?

What is the difference between language that is foul and language that is abusive? What legal test will be applied to determine whether language is foul and/or abusive?

If someone uses foul and/or abusive language in the area covered by the PSPO, but there is no one present to hear it, will that amount to a criminal offence?

This is a staggering example of the misuse of a Public Space Protection Order - so vaguely worded it's impossible for anybody to know whether they're in danger of breaking the law.

The right to say what we want should not be restricted at the whim of council officials, able to issue fixed penalty notices on the basis of a poorly defined legal order. Without the freedom to offend, real freedom of expression cannot exist.

Liberty is concerned that, in its current vaguely worded form, the Order will have a 'chilling effect on artistic performers and political activists in the Salford Quays area - which encompasses the renowned Lowry theatre.



Treating Apoplexy...

A few miserable whinges about a Robin Thicke style first aid video

Link Here3rd March 2016
A German video promoting first aid has 'outraged' a few of the easily offended. The video shows women in sexy nurses' outfits dancing provocatively to pop hits with new lyrics on how to perform CPR.

They're seen recreating scenes from music videos , including Robin Thicke's hit, Blurred Lines , and Taylor Swift's Shake It Off.

Produced by Germany's Workers' Samaritan Federation (ASB), the lyrics focus on CPR and other life-saving techniques.

The video has gone viral , with more than a million views on Facebook so far, but there have been a few miserable whingers. One wrote:

In 2016, you should know the difference between empowering, sexy, and sexist.

Alexandra Valentino, of ASB, said that just 17% of Germans know how to perform chest compressions for people suffering heart issues. She said the video was a great way of spreading the message.



Family First and the New Zealand Parliament recommend...

Wicked Campervans

Link Here 3rd March 2016
Family First NZ launched a campaign two weeks ago whingeing at Wicked Campersfor supposedly offensive advertisements and messages on their vehicles.

Family First NZ  welcomed comments by National MP Dr Shane Reti in Parliament when he said:

New Zealanders from all over the country are writing to Associate Minister for Tourism, the Hon Paula Bennett, and to me complaining about the filthy signage on Australian campervan firm Wicked Campers. The Minister and I have spoken and to Wicked Campers I say this: Your offensive signage is unacceptable. Your disgusting degrading of women and children is unacceptable. Your signage is an affront to public decency and no parent including me should have to explain it to their children. High-quality tourism is what this Government and what New Zealanders are investing in. So Wicked Campers-respect New Zealand's advertising standards or go home, because New Zealanders deserve better than your garbage.

Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ spouted:

Many families have been offended by the offensive signs on Wicked Campers that travel around NZ but have felt powerless to stop them. This campaign will focus on complaints being made to the local Council that the signage breaches the signage bylaws in that area.

The Advertising Standards Authority has made 13 rulings against Wicked Campers, and has expressed disappointment at its refusal to respect the principles of self-regulation. Police expressed concerns about a Wicked rental van that depicts Snow White smoking a crack pipe and tells people to enjoy the class A drug.

We would argue that any public advertising should be G-rated and suitable for children to view. It is vital that families continue to speak up rather than accept offensive material and the sexualisation of girls and women in the media and on billboards and vehicles.



A Culture of Censorship...

UK culture secretary rails against adblockers

Link Here3rd March 2016

You will watch the adverts!

In a speech at the Oxford Media Convention , the UK culture secretary John Whittingdale said the fast-growing use of software that blocked advertising presented an existential threat to the newspaper and music industries.

He vowed to set up a round table involving major publishers, social media groups and adblocking companies in the coming weeks to do something about the problem. He said:

Quite simply -- if people don't pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist. And that's as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the new album from Muse.

Stopping short of announcing an outright ban on adblocking, he said he shared the concern of the newspaper industry about the impact of the technology and would consider what role there is for government after hearing all sides of the argument. He added:

The newspaper industry brought this to my attention and did not understate the severe consequences if this trend continues.

It is probably quite easy to write a basic adblocker. A simply browser add-on could elect not to load anything from a different domain to the page being displayed.



Untrusted Censors...

Government commission report calls for Ofcom to become the TV censors for the BBC

Link Here2nd March 2016
The government crusades against the BBC continue with a government commissioned report recommending that BBC censorship should be taken over by Ofcom.

The BBC Trust is flawed and should be scrapped, with governance of the corporation moving to  Ofcom, a report has concluded. David Clementi, who led the 'independent' review. Clementi, previously a deputy governor of the Bank of England, said:

The BBC Trust model is flawed. It conflates governance and regulatory functions within the Trust. The BBC should have a unitary Board charged with responsibility for meeting the obligations placed on it under the Royal Charter and Agreement, and responsibility for the interests of Licence Fee payers.

Regulatory oversight should pass wholly to Ofcom, which is already the public service regulator for the UK's broadcasting industry and has the ability to look at the BBC in the context of the market as a whole. Ofcom would be a strong regulator to match a strong BBC.

The report was  commissioned by the Government as part of the BBC Charter Review process.



Update: German court clicks the new Facebook dislike button...

German court fines facebook 100,000 euro over failure to implement a court order about privacy terms and conditions

Link Here2nd March 2016
Full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
Facebook has been fined 100,000 euros in Germany after failing to follow orders regarding clearer privacy terms and conditions for users.

The regional court of Berlin ruled that the company did not sufficiently alter the working of an intellectual property clause in its terms and conditions, despite being told to do so following a complaint filing by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations. The entity's head, Klaus Mueller, said that Facebook keeps attempting to evade customer laws in Germany as well as in the entire continent.

In March 2012, a German court originally ruled that the company's terms and conditions were vague on the extent to which it could go with users' data and intellectual property, implying Facebook could license its users' photos and videos to third parties for business reasons. However, the authorities' primary issue was Facebook's compliance with the US government to provide data for its mass surveillance programs. After Edward Snowden's revelations on the US government's spying programs and how the tech industry complies, the issue has gained more gravity.

While Facebook complied with the ruling four years ago, the Berlin court now concludes that it merely changed the wording of the clause in question without changing the message that it conveyed. Meanwhile, the company defended itself saying that it had complied with the original ruling and was issued the fine because it couldn't implement the changes quickly enough.



Offsite Article: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire...

Link Here2nd March 2016
BBFC Podcast Episode 44. BBFC Director David Cooke speaks about the first Harry Potter film to be classified 12A.

See article from



Update: NUS: Revise Safe Space and No Platform Policies...

Free speech campaigners write open letter to the National Union of Students calling on it to back off from its pro-censorship policies

Link Here1st March 2016
Full story: University Censorship...Universities vs Free Speech

On 17 March 2016 from 5-6pm, we will be holding a protest at the office of the NUS, Macadam House, 275 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8QB. Join Us. Also Tweet "I call on @nusuk to revise safe space and no platform policies to facilitate not restrict free expression and thought; or email the NUS stating the same at

We are deeply concerned by the increasing attempts by the National Union of Students (NUS) and its affiliated Student Unions to silence dissenters -- including feminists, apostates, LGBTI rights campaigners, anti-racists, anti-fascists and anti-Islamists -- through its use of No-Platform and Safe Space policies.

We stand against all prejudice and discrimination. We agree that free speech does not mean giving bigots a free pass. A defence of free speech includes the right and moral imperative to challenge, oppose and protest bigoted views.

Educational institutions must be a place for the exchange and criticism of all ideas -- even those deemed unpalatable by some -- providing they don't incite violence against peoples or communities. Bigoted ideas are most effectively defeated by open debate, backed up by ethics, reason and evidence.

The student body is not homogeneous; there will be differences of opinion among students. The NUS's restrictive policies infringe upon the right of students to hear and challenge dissenting and opposing views.

We, therefore, call on the NUS to revise its No-Platform and Safe Space policies to facilitate freedom of expression and thought, rather than restrict it.

Alicia McElhill, President City of Leicester NUT
Asher Fainman, President of Goldsmiths ASH society
Author, Jesus & Mo
Becky Lavelle, President, Hull University Secularist, Atheist, and Humanist Society
Benjamin David, President of Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists
Bread and Roses TV
Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked
Chris Moos, secularist activist
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
David Browne, LLM Student in International Human Rights Law
Durham Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
Elham Manea, Academic and human Rights advocate
Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize
Fariborz Pooya, Host of Bread and Roses TV
Feminism in London
Fireproof Library
Frederick Money, Undergraduate, Merton College Oxford
Gita Sahgal, Centre for Secular Space
Gush Bhumbra, President, Leicester Secular Society
Halima Begum, ExMuslim Researcher & Blogger
Helen Chamberlain, President, Durham Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
Houzan Mahmoud, Women's Rights Activist, Kurdistan
Hull University Secularist, Atheist, and Humanist Society
Ian Leaver, Secretary City of Leicester NUT
Imad Iddine Habib, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
James Burchett, Activist
Julie Bindel, Justice for Women and the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize
Justice for Women
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
Kenan Malik, Author
Keziah Conroy, UCLU Atheist, Secularity and Humanist society President
Kojin Mirizayi, Law student, President of the Kurdish Society at the University of Kent
Lee Jones, Queen Mary, University of London
Lisa-Marie Taylor, Chair of Feminism in London
Maajid Nawaz, Author and Counter-extremism Activist
Maggie Hall, Chair, Brighton Secular Humanists
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, One Law for All and Host of Bread and Roses TV
Matt Corden, undergraduate at Newcastle University
Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Nick Cohen, Author
Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) at the University of East London
Ollie Burton, President, Newcastle University Atheists' & Secular Humanists' Society
One Law for All
Peter Flack, Leicester Social Forum
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
Rayhana Sultan, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Richard Dawkins, Scientist and Author
Roy Brown, International Representative and former president of IHEU
Rumana Hashem, Founder of Community Women's Blog and Adviser at Nari Diganta
Rumy Hasan, Senior Lecturer (SPRU -- Science Policy Research Unit), University of Sussex
Salil Tripathi, Writer
Sarah Peace, Fireproof Library
Stephen Evans, Campaigns Manager, National Secular Society
Tehmina Kazi, Director of Media, Outreach and Lobbying, British Muslims for Secular Democracy
Tom Holland, Author and Historian
University of Leicester Atheist, Humanist and Secular Society



It's a woman's world these days...

Dutch suit company generates a little 'outrage' with its Toy Boy advertising campaign

Link Here1st March 2016
Dutch menswear label, Suit Supply, received a bit of a PC backlash on social media this week after releasing its Spring 2016 campaign featuring suited men posing against a backdrop of bikini clad women.

The campaign, dubbed Toy Boys , launched last Tuesday featuring a look book of images that all vary on the same theme: a suited man posing with a large-scale bikini-clad woman as the backdrop.

Although some have praised the campaign's innovative approach, but some have accused it of having misogynistic undertones\.

The accompanying Suit Supply press release states:

Sometimes it seems like it's a woman's world these days, and we just live in it.

So what's a guy to do? You're a modern gentleman, but the tables have turned. You have a certain way with the ladies...that is, until they have their way with you. You're a playboy, but what happens when the playboy becomes the plaything?

A few people whinged Twitter to voice their 'outrage'. One man tweeted yo @suitsupply are you selling suits or misogyny this season? whilst another tweeted wow @suitsupplies, your latest campaign is terrible in so many ways #everydaysexism .

Meanwhile an Amsterdam billboard was defaced by covering it with 'outraged' messages and sanitary towels.



Update: Searching for tax...

Indonesia looks for the likes of Google to pay a fair share of tax and also to censor content that the government does not like

Link Here1st March 2016
Full story: Google Censorship...Google censors adult material froms its websites
Indonesia's Ministry of Communications and Informatics spokesperson Ismail Cawidu told Reuters that in March, the Ministry aims to issue a new law to streaming and messaging providers, as well as social media websites. He cited national interests on taxes as well as controlling terrorism and pornography-related content as the main reasons for the proposal. He added:

If they do not comply, Indonesia will reduce their bandwidth or block them entirely..

Meanwhile, Minister of Communication and Informatics Rudiantara said that the Ministry estimated that the country's digital advertising sector was worth about US$800 million in 2015, but the business was left untaxed because of loopholes in regulations. He noted:

Google has an office in Indonesia, but digital age transactions do not go through that office. That is what we're looking to straighten out.



Offsite Article: British fetish film-makers are organising against censorship...

Link Here 1st March 2016
30 British fetish film-makers met to discuss UK porn censorship, particularly the news that at the start of 2016 video-on-demand regulator ATVOD was shut down and re-absorbed into its parent body, Ofcom

See article from



Offsite Article: The Guardian's High Priestess of PC recommends...

Link Here1st March 2016
Sacha Baron Cohen's Grimsby

See article from

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