Censor Watch

 2018: March

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  It's the Wild West out there run by the Zuckerberg Gang, Butch Bannon and the Analytica Kid...

So when even the most senior internet figures can't keep our data safe, why does Matt Hancock want to force us to hand over our porn browsing history to the Mindgeek Gang?

Link Here 20th March 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
wild west character
Your data's safe with us

The Culture Secretary has vowed to end the Wild West for tech giants amid anger at claims data from Facebook users was harvested to be used by political campaigns.

Matt Hancock warned social media companies that they could be slapped with new rules and regulations to rein them in.

It comes amid fury at claims the Facebook data of around 50 million users was taken without their permission and used by Cambridge Analytica.

The firm played a key role in mapping out the behaviour of voters in the run-up to the 2016 US election and the EU referendum campaign earlier that year.

Tory MP Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture select committee, has said he wants to haul Mark Zuckerberg to Parliament to explain himself.

Hancock said:

Tech companies store the data of billions of people around the world - giving an unparalleled insight into the lives and thoughts of people. And they must do more to show they are storing the data responsibly,



Ofcom adds to its long list of religious broadcasters censured for hateful content

Link Here 20th March 2018

radio ikhlaspng logoPhone-in programme
Radio Ikhlas, 7 September 2017, 15:50

Radio Ikhlas is a community radio station serving the Asian (primarily Pakistani) community and other smaller ethnic communities in the Normanton area of Derby.

Ofcom received a complaint that the above programme included statements that constituted hatred against the Ahmadiyya community. The Ahmadi movement identifies itself as a Muslim movement, which follows the teachings of the Qur'an. However, it is regarded as heretical by orthodox Islam since they differ on the interpretation of the finality of prophethood. There are Ahmadiyya communities around the world. They face restrictions in many Muslim countries and are described in publicly available reports as one of the persecuted communities in Pakistan. There have been reports of discrimination and threats against the community in the UK.

With a long and in-depth explanation, Ofcom took the view that the broadcast contained material which amounted to abusive or derogatory treatment of the Ahmadiyya community and their religious beliefs. Ofcom added:

We consider these breaches are very serious and we are putting the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

prime tv logoContent relating to Burhan Wani
Prime TV, 6 July 2017, 18:34 onwards

Prime TV is a general entertainment satellite channel aimed at the Pakistani community in the UK and Europe.

Ofcom received a complaint that, during a broadcast of a current affairs programme, a social media campaign was repeatedly promoted to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of the Hizbul Mujahideen1 military leader Burhan Wani. The complainant expressed concern that the campaign was supporting a terrorist leader and encouraging terrorism in Indian administered Kashmir.

Ofcom again found the broadcaster to be in breach of Ofcom rules but this wasn't considered a breach that would be taken any further. Ofcom said:

Ofcom understands that while some members of the Kashmiri community may revere Burhan Wani, and the terrorist organisation he led, this view is far from universal. Therefore, the fact that some viewers may have perceived Burhan Wani to be a martyr or that the anniversary of his death was being promoted on various Pakistani media outlets, did not, in our view, justify Express TV broadcasting this content without challenge or other context. Similarly, the fact that this content was not the Licensee's own production or the fact that Express TV considered there was no clarity so far on the UK Government's view on Burhan Wani did not justify the broadcast of the content in this case. Hizbul Mujahideen, the group of which Burhan Wani was a member, has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the EU, India and the US. Therefore, we considered the Licensee could, and should, have been aware of Burhan Wani's controversial status both within Kashmir and outside. Ofcom is concerned that Express TV broadcast content expressing such strong, unchallenged support for, and glorification of, Burhan Wani and his violent actions as leader of a group which has been designated a terrorist organisation in various countries. This support was capable, in our view, of causing considerable offence.


  Unfair competition...

Paris feminists get wound by a sex doll 'brothel'

Link Here 20th March 2018
x dolls optionParis councillors are due to decide on the future of a business where clients are charged 89 euro to spend an hour with a silicon sex doll.

Communist councillors and feminist groups have been calling for the closure of Xdolls. Currently, Xdolls is registered as a games centre, but opponents argue it is effectively a brothel. (brothels are illegal in France)

Xdolls is located in an anonymous-looking flat in the French capital and opened last month near the Miromesnil Metro station.

Customers make their booking and payment online, and the exact address is kept secret. Not even the neighbours are aware of the nature of the business.

But its critics want to see it shut. Nicolas Bonnet Oulaldj, a communist councillor, is taking the matter before the Council of Paris. He claimed

Xdolls conveys a degrading image of the woman.

Lorraine Questiaux, lawyer and spokesperson for a Paris feminist association bizarrely claimed:

Xdolls is not a sex shop. It's a place that generates money and where you rape a woman.


 Offsite Article: Silent Night, Deadly Night...

Link Here 20th March 2018
Silent Night, Deadly Night Blu-ray Movie-Censorship.com reveals the US cuts

See article from movie-censorship.com


  Your Standard Rip-off...

The Digital Policy Alliance, a group of parliamentarians, waxes lyrical about its document purporting to be a code of practice for age verification, and then charges 90 quid + VAT to read it

Link Here 19th March 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
pas 1296 The Digital Policy Alliance is a cross party group of parliamentarians with associate members from industry and academia.

It has led efforts to develop a Publicly Available Specification (PAS 1296) which was published on 19 March.

Crossbench British peer Merlin Hay, the Earl of Erroll, said:

We need to make the UK a safe place to do business, he said. That's why we're producing a British PAS... that set out for the age check providers what they should do and what records they keep.

The document is expected to include a discussion on the background to age verification, set out the rules in accordance with the Digital Economy Act, and give a detailed look at the technology, with annexes on anonymity and how the system should work.

This PAS will sit alongside data protection and privacy rules set out in the General Data Protection Regulation and in the UK's Data Protection Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament. Hay explained:

We can't put rules about data protection into the PAS206 That is in the Data Protection Bill, he said. So we refer to them, but we can't mandate them inside this PAS 203 but it's in there as 'you must obey the law'... [perhaps] that's been too subtle for the organisations that have been trying to take a swing at it.

What Hay didn't mention though was that all of this 'help' for British industry would come with a hefty £ 90 + VAT price tag for a 60 page document.


  How much more symbolic can you get?...

Facebook censors France's iconic artwork, Liberty Leading the People

Link Here 19th March 2018  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
ugene delacroix le 28 juillet. la liberte guidant le peupleFacebook has admitted a ghastly mistake after it banned an advert featuring French artist Eugène Delacroix's famous work, La Liberté guidant le peuple, because it depicts a bare-breasted woman.

The 19th-century masterpiece was featured in an online campaign for a play showing in Paris when it was blocked on the social networking site this week, the play's director Jocelyn Fiorina said:

A quarter of an hour after the advert was launched, it was blocked, with the company telling us we cannot show nudity.

He then posted a new advert with the same painting with the woman's breasts covered with a banner saying censored by Facebook, which was not banned.

As always when Facebook's shoddy censorship system is found lacking, the company apologised profusely for its error.


  No freedom, before or after the revolution...

Egyptian play, Before the Revolution, is banned by censors

Link Here 19th March 2018
before the revolutionEgypt's state censors have banned a play on the day of its Cairo premiere, saying it cannot be shown without the removal of five key scenes.

As a result, writer and director Ahmed El Attar cancelled performances of Before the Revolution , a two-actor piece that depicts oppression and stagnation in Egypt before its 2011 popular uprising,

In a statement, organizers say El Attar has appealed for a second censorship committee to watch the show on March 19th, asking for it to be allowed to be shown without the censor cuts, which he said heavily distorted the piece.


 Commented: Not so smart, sounds more like a prison island...

Thailand considers tagging all its tourists in Phuket, so it can keep a watchful eye on them

Link Here 19th March 2018
electronic tagThailand's popular resort of Phuket has an ambition to turn the island into a 'smart city', according to Thailand's digital economy minister.

The province may also develop an electronic wristband system for foreign tourists so their identity and location would be known in case of untoward incidents, said Digital Economy and Society Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj.

He said the province has planned to develop the uses of wristbands to track tourists and to use Big Data to analyse information about tourists' habits.

He said the Phuket command centre would also link to all CCTVs on the island to work with face-recognition software to guard against crimes as well as to collect the data of tourists who use public boat services.

Comment: Alienation

19th March 2018. Thanks to Dave

letter writingWhy are the Thai Authorities doing everything they can to Alienate Tourists and Expats.

Raiding Darts Clubs, Bridge Clubs, putting them in Gaol for Smoking on the Beach.

The Police are constantly stopping Tourists on Scooters looking for international Driving License's, which were never needed before.

Now wristbands to track Tourists movements, registering Mobile Phones with your Passport.

Thailand is turning into another North Korea, The sooner we have Elections and get rid of the Army the better.


  Council vs Union...

Whilst the EU ramps up internet censorship, particularly people's criticism of its policies, the Council of Europe calls for internet censorship to be transparent and limited to the minimum necessary by law

Link Here 18th March 2018
Council of Europe flagThe Council of Europe is an intergovernmental body entirely separate from the European Union. With a wider membership of 47 states, it seeks to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law, including by monitoring adherence to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

Its Recommendations are not legally binding on Member States, but are very influential in the development of national policy and of the policy and law of the European Union.

The Council of Europe has published a Recommendation to Member States on the roles and responsibilities of Internet intermediaries. The Recommendation declares that access to the Internet is a precondition for the ability effectively to exercise fundamental human rights, and seeks to protect users by calling for greater transparency, fairness and due process when interfering with content.

The Recommendations' key provisions aimed at governments include:

  • Public authorities should only make "requests, demands or other actions addressed to internet intermediari es that interferes with human rights and fundamental freedoms" when prescribed by law. This means they should therefore avoid asking intermediaries to remove content under their terms of service or to make their terms of service more restrictive.
  • Legislation giving powers to public authorities to interfere with Internet content should clearly define the scope of those powers and available discretion, to protect against arbitrary application.
  • When internet intermediaries restrict access to third-party content based on a State order, State authorities should ensure that effective redress mechanisms are made available and adhere to applicable procedural safeguards.
  • When intermediaries remove content based on their own terms and conditions of service, this should not be considered a form of control that makes them liable for the third-party content for which they provide access.
  • Member States should consider introducing laws to prevent vexatious lawsuits designed to suppress users free expression, whether by targeting the user or the intermediary. In the US, these are known as " anti-SLAPP laws ".


  Censorship blows...

A Spanish book sellers association protests about a court ban on a book pending a libel case

Link Here 18th March 2018
Fariña A book about Spain's drug-smuggling underworld was banned last week by a Madrid courta. José Alfredo Bea Gondar, a former mayor of the coastal town of O Grove in Galicia, to freeze distribution of Fariña (Blow) by Nacho Carretero Pou because of references to his alleged involvement in the unloading of a shipment of cocaine and a supposed negotiation between Colombia's Cali cartel and local smugglers. The book is banned pending the hearing of libel case. 

Kicking against what they consider outdated censorship, a booksellers' association has reacted to the seizure of the non-fiction book 'Fariña' by launching a website to replicate it word for word. The website includes a digital tool that searches for and locates the 80,000 words that make up the banned book from within the text of Don Quixote , extracting them one by one to recompose the banned book. On Friday after two days online, the website had racked up over 30,000 hits, according to the Booksellers Guild of Madrid. Fernando Valverde, the Guild secretary explained;

It's a metaphor for the fact that in the digital era you can seize a book, but you cannot gag words.

It is not clear whether the ruse is a legal way for people to read it.


  Two weeks of hysteria...

Australian press work up a fuss about the popular video game, Fortnite

Link Here 18th March 2018
FORTNITE A video games panic is being whipped up by the Australian press. A press release claims:

Australian children are having their minds warped by an ultra-addictive new video game that has already attracted 45 million players worldwide, experts warn.

Fortnite -- which can be played on Xbox, Playstation and now on mobile phones -- pits players against each other in a survival of the fittest-type contest. Players must take out opponents using weapons such as grenades, assault rifles, crossbows and rocket launches as the map constantly shrinks.

Some experts are warning that the addictive nature of the Hunger Games style contest and the amount of time that children spend playing are a cause for concern.

Video game Fortnite released its iOS version of its game on Friday which already has 45 million players globally

Mary Rezk, a 40-year-old Beverly Park mother, told the Daily Telegraph that the game was like a drug to her three boys aged 14, nine, and six. All they do is fight about who wants to play, she explained, They're just so obsessed with it.

Last September a free-to-play Battle Royale edition of the game was released in which up to 100 players are dropped onto an island with the aim of killing each other and taking their equipment and weapons, referred to as loot by players.  This skyrocketed the game's popularity among PC and console users and, in January, the game's publisher Epic Games said that the title has more than 45 million players.

Interestingly the only 'expert' opinion quoted by the piece is totally mundane and obvious. Hardly supports the preceding panic laden text.

Clinical and Sports Psychologist Dr Jonathon Fader told GMA that, the difference with this game is that it is so interactive, recommending that parents look at the context, such as if gaming interferes with other activities, when looking at how much to limit screen time.


 Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 81: The censored snowflake version...

Link Here 18th March 2018
Girls - Season 1-4 DVD How do you discuss differences between 15 rated 'strong' sex references and 18 rated 'strongest' sex references without being able to mention any sex references? I have no idea...Nor has the BBFC

See article from bbfc.co.uk


  Authorities set to publish papers on how data protection laws will make age verification safe...

But will a porn site with an unadvertised Russian connection follow these laws, or will it pass on IDs and browsing histories straight to the 'dirt digging' department of the KGB?

Link Here 17th March 2018
open rights group 2016 logo The Open Rights Group, Myles Jackman and Pandora Blake have done a magnificent job in highlighting the dangers of mandating that porn companies verify the age of their customers.

Worst case scenario

In the worst case scenario, foreign porn companies will demand official ID from porn viewers and then be able to maintain a database of the complete browsing history of those officially identified viewers.

And surely much to the alarm of the government and the newly appointed internet porn censors at the BBFC, then this worst case scenario seems to be the clear favourite to get implemented. In particular Mindgeek, with a near monopoly on free porn tube sites, is taking the lead with its Age ID scheme.

Now for some bizarre reason, the government saw no need for its age verification to offer any specific protection for porn viewers, beyond that offered by existing and upcoming data protection laws. Given some of the things that Google and Facebook do with personal data then it suggests that these laws are woefully inadequate for the context of porn viewing.  For safety and national security reasons, data identifying porn users should be kept under total lock and key, and not used for any commercial reason whatsoever.

A big flaw

But there in lies the flaw of the law. The government is mandating that all websites, including those based abroad, should verify their users without specifying any data protection requirements beyond the law of the land. The flaw is that foreign websites are simply not obliged to respect British data protection laws.

So as a topical example, there would be nothing to prevent a Russian porn site (maybe not identifying itself as Russian) from requiring ID and then passing the ID and subsequent porn browsing history straight over to its dirty tricks department.

Anyway the government has made a total pigs ear of the concept with its conservative 'leave it to industry to find a solution' approach'. The porn industry simply does not have the safety and security of its customers at heart. Perhaps the government should have invested in its own solution first, at least the national security implications may have pushed it into at least considering user safety and security.

Where we are at

As mentioned above campaigners have done a fine job in identifying the dangers of the government plan and these have been picked up by practically all newspapers. These seem to have chimed with readers and the entire idea seems to be accepted as dangerous. In fact I haven't spotted anyone, not even 'the think of the children' charities pushing for 'let's just get on with it'. And so now its over to the authorities to try and convince people that they have a safe solution somewhere.

The Digital Policy Alliance

digital policy alliance logoPerhaps as part of a propaganda campaign to win over the people, parliament's Digital Policy Alliance are just about to publish guidance on age verification policies. The alliance is a cross party group that includes, Merlin Hay, the Earl of Erroll, who made some good points about privacy concerns whilst the bill was being forced through the House of Lords.

He said that a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) numbered 1296 is due to be published on 19 March. This will set out for the age check providers what they should do and what records they keep.

The document is expected to include a discussion on the background to age verification, set out the rules in accordance with the Digital Economy Act, and give a detailed look at the technology, with annexes on anonymity and how the system should work.

However the document will carry no authority and is not set to become an official British standard. He explained:

We can't put rules about data protection into the PAS... That is in the Data Protection Bill, he said. So we refer to them, but we can't mandate them inside this PAS -- but it's in there as 'you must obey the law'...

But of course Hay did not mention that Russian websites don't have to obey British data protection law.

And next the BBFC will have a crack at reducing people's fears

Elsewhere in the discussion, Hay suggested the British Board of Film and Internet Censorship could mandate that each site had to offer more than one age-verification provider, which would give consumers more choice.

Next the BBFC will have a crack at minimising people's fears about age verification. It will publish its own guidance document towards the end of the month, and launch a public consultation about it.


  Dressed to amuse...

Chinese censorship of The Shape of Water inspires a meme for recreating cinema scenes with the addition of little black dresses

Link Here 17th March 2018
The Shape of Water is a 2017 USA fantasy romance by Guillermo del Toro.
Starring Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Shannon and Octavia Spencer. IMDb
uncut original censored Chinese version

Uncut original

Censored Chinese version

Chinese audiences are used to censored, clean versions of Hollywood imports involving violence, nudity, sex scenes, or profanity. What Chinese moviegoers are allowed to see in theaters completely depends on the country's film censor, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China (SAPPRFT), which, in the recent release of 2017 Oscar winner The Shape of Water, altered scenes where actors are in states of undress by either adding clothes or else pixellating out the offending details.

According to a Weibo post by movie critic Feng Xiaoqiang CCC, in one scene of the Chinese revised version of the film, the female protagonist, Elisa, is covered in black shadows from her chest to her thighs, whereas in the original, the actress is fully naked with her back facing the camera.

That was my first time seeing this in a Chinese theater. I was stunned, Feng wrote. It almost looks like the actress is dressed in an all-black one-piece swimsuit, and it fits her well.

Some scenes are completely stripped from the movie, such as the opening sequence of Elisa masturbating in her tub and several sex scenes.

To avoid nudity, another method used in the movie is to zoom in the camera on the actress's face while cutting other parts of her body out of the frame.

However, with the removal of a few scenes, the modified version somehow still managed to maintain the same length of 123 minutes as its original. In his post, Feng said that since he didn't notice any replacement footage in the movie, his guess is that SAPPRFT has extended the time for opening or closing credits.

Amused by the fit swimsuit that SAPPRFT forced Elisa to wear, Chinese internet users started to dress characters in other movies to ridicule the prudishness of SAPPRFT.

See these amusing examples in the article from supchina.com


  'Welcome back Mr Jones, we see you have another new girlfriend, we've a special for you on condoms'...

7-Eleven convenience stores to snoop on customers using facial recognition technology

Link Here 17th March 2018
7 eleven logoThe convenience store 7-Eleven is rolling out artificial intelligence at its 11,000 stores across Thailand.

7-Eleven will use facial-recognition and behavior-analysis technologies for multiple purposes. The ones it has decided to reveal to the public are to identify loyalty members, analyze in-store traffic, monitor product levels, suggest products to customers, and even measure the emotions of customers as they walk around.

The company announced it will be using technology developed by US-based Remark Holdings, which says its facial-recognition technology has an accuracy rate of more than 96%. Remark, which has data partnerships with Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu, has a significant presence in China.

The rollout at Thailand's 7-Eleven stores remains unique in scope. It could potentially be the largest number of facial-recognition cameras to be adopted by one company. No corporate entity is so entrenched in Thai lives, according to a report from Public Radio International. And that may be crucial not only to the success of facial recognition in 7-Eleven stores in Thailand, but across the region.


 Offsite Article: Censorship Creep Is Setting In...

Link Here 17th March 2018
kowtowing As Social Media Companies Try To Stay Ahead Of European Lawmakers. By Tim Cushing

See article from techdirt.com


  Fans United 5 Government Authoritarians 0...

Scottish football fans win campaign to repeal law that criminalised football chants

Link Here 16th March 2018  full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up
fans against criminalisation logoFans Against Criminalisation campaigner Paul Quigley is celebrating momentous victory for the group which has lobbied for the repeal of the disgraceful Offensive Behaviour at Football Act for the last seven years.

The act was a knee jerk reaction to Celtic vs Rangers game where Celtic manager Neil Lennon was attacked on field and letter bombs were later sent to Lennon, Paul McBride QC and Trish Godman MSP.

The resulting legislation was nominally about tackling sectarianism but in reality gave the police carte-blanche powers to arrest fans for whatever they wished under the catch-all guise of offensiveness.

Paul Quigley explained:

A decision was taken to form a campaign to fight this, partly due to a deeply held collective ideological belief in the right to freedom of expression and equality before law, and partly due to the simple notion of self defence.

Fans of all clubs would be welcome to join our organisation and that we would help and campaign for all football fans who we deemed to be the subject of unjust treatment.

Fans Against Criminalisation was able to count on the support of thousands of passionate supporters of the campaign, as was evidenced by a demonstration at George Square which drew thousands of people in late 2011. In spite of this, the government seemed to assume that this would all die down in due course, and that the fan campaign would not have the capability or endurance required to give them real cause to reconsider their position.

The treatment that football fans have had to endure ever since has been appalling. The human cost of this legislation is often lost amid the political rabble rousing, among the doctored statistics and the nauseatingly disingenuous moral grandstanding. The reality of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act is this; it has ruined lives and caused serious damage in our communities.

In the face of all of this, football fans endured. In the years that followed, an incredible campaign challenged this treatment of supporters and lobbied for the repeal of this ill advised and illiberal piece of legislation. Today, the Scottish Parliament finally voted on this very question.

The Repeal Bill has passed, and this is the first time in the history of devolution that the Scottish Parliament has repealed its own legislation. This victory is historic not just for football fans, but for the country.

As a follow up. James Dornan, the MSP for Glasgow Cathcart and a candidate for deputy leader of the Scottish National Party, has decided to quit Twitter. He describes it as a cesspit of hate and bile, saying he has received abuse from football fans over his defence of the Offence Behaviour at Football Act (OBFA). His disgraceful 'defence' of the legislation was to try and suggest that the campaign was some sort Labour party political effort. The fans were not impressed and clearly gave him the slagging off he deserved. See more on this in article from spiked-online.com


  The Planter's Wife...

1952 UK adventure drama by Ken Annakin cut for UK DVD release in 2018 on grounds of animal cruelty

Link Here 16th March 2018
planters wifeThe Planter's Wife is a 1952 UK adventure drama by Ken Annakin.
Starring Claudette Colbert, Jack Hawkins and Anthony Steel. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed PG for mild violence, threat after 1:18s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:

  • 2018 Strawberry Media video
The BBFC commented:
  • Compulsory cut required to remove sight of animal cruelty (cobra and mongoose fight) in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy.
Summary Notes

The marriage of rubber-plantation owner Jim Frazer and his wife, Liz, which has survived many disasters, including years in a Japanese internment camp, is at a breaking point. Under constant threats of bandit attacks and concerned with the safety of his plantation and the people on it, Jim spares no time for his marriage. Liz is to take their young son, Mike, home to school in England, and, without telling Jim, does not plan to return. A neighboring plantation is attacked and the owner killed just prior to her departure. Liz and Jim get arms and ammunition from a near-by town, and a night of terror follows as the bandits attack.


  Open sourced protest...

The EU's disgraceful censorship machines are inevitably aimed at a lot wider censorship than that cited of copyrighted movies and music, and github is fighting back

Link Here 16th March 2018
EU flagThe EU is considering a copyright proposal that would require code-sharing platforms to monitor all content that users upload for potential copyright infringement (see the EU Commission's proposed Article 13 of the Copyright Directive ). The proposal is aimed at music and videos on streaming platforms, based on a theory of a "value gap" between the profits those platforms make from uploaded works and what copyright holders of some uploaded works receive. However, the way it's written captures many other types of content, including code.

We'd like to make sure developers in the EU who understand that automated filtering of code would make software less reliable and more expensive--and can explain this to EU policymakers--participate in the conversation.

Why you should care about upload filters

Upload filters (" censorship machines ") are one of the most controversial elements of the copyright proposal, raising a number of concerns, including:

  • Privacy : Upload filters are a form of surveillance, effectively a "general monitoring obligation" prohibited by EU law
  • Free speech : Requiring platforms to monitor content contradicts intermediary liability protections in EU law and creates incentives to remove content
  • Ineffectiveness : Content detection tools are flawed (generate false positives, don't fit all kinds of content) and overly burdensome, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that might not be able to afford them or the resulting litigation

Upload filters are especially concerning for software developers given that:

  • Software developers create copyrightable works--their code--and those who choose an open source license want to allow that code to be shared
  • False positives (and negatives) are especially likely for software code because code often has many contributors and layers, often with different licensing for different components
  • Requiring code-hosting platforms to scan and automatically remove content could drastically impact software developers when their dependencies are removed due to false positives


  Whatever happened to British games censorship?...

Well the games censor has just awoken from a deep sleep and banned Omega Labyrinth Z

Link Here 16th March 2018
Omega Labyrinth Z The Video Standards Council is responsible for UK video games censorship. Normally the group rubber stamps European PEGI ratings but it retains the power to ban games. And in a rare example of usage of such powers, the group has joined Australian in banning Omega Labyrinth Z.

Omega Labyrinth Z is 2017 Japanese console game by Matrix Software

Banned in Australia and the UK in 2018.


Omega Labyrinth Z is a dungeon crawler game for the PS4 and Playstation Vita. It was submitted with a provisional PEGI 16 rating for depictions of erotic or sexual nudity. The game is set at the Anberyl Girls Academy and legend has it that a holy grail exists that can grant any wish. It is hidden in one of the ancient caves that is located somewhere in the school grounds. A group of female students set out to explore the caves with the aim of finding the grail.

UK: Banned in March 2018 by the Video Standards Council

The VSC Rating Board has ruled that the video game, Omega Labyrinth Z, will not be issued a UK Certificate of Classification.

This refusal is relevant to physical product only (disc, cartridge, etc.) Under the terms of the Video Recordings Act (1984), the VSC Rating Board is required to consider the likelihood of any game causing harm to the user and, subsequently, to wider society by the way in which the game deals with and portrays images of criminal, violent or horrific behaviour, illegal drugs and human sexual activity. The grounds for this decision are as follows: - The likely harm being caused to a viewer or potential viewer, e.g. children or young people.

The game is explicit in its setting within a school environment and the majority of the characters are young girls - one child is referred to as being a first year student and is seen holding a teddy bear. The game clearly promotes the sexualisation of children via the sexual interaction between the game player and the female characters. The style of the game is such that it will attract an audience below the age of 18.

There is a serious danger that impressionable people, i.e. children and young people viewing the game would conclude that the sexual activity represented normal sexual behaviour. There is a constant theme of sexual innuendo and activity throughout the game that suggests behaviour likely to normalise sexual activity towards children. As a means of reward gained by successfully navigating the game, the player has the means to sexually stimulate the female characters by using either a hand held remote device or touch screen software.

The VSC Rating Board believes this content in a game, which would have strong appeal to non-adult players, is an issue which would be unacceptable to the majority of UK consumers and, more importantly, has the potential to be significantly harmful in terms of the social and moral development of younger people in particular.

Update: Banned in Germany, New Zealand and Ireland

16th March 2018. See  article from bbc.com

In a tweet, distributor PQube said its appeal against the UK ban had been rejected. The game has also been refused a rating in Australia and Germany. PQube said it would also not be available in New Zealand and Ireland.


  Reducing waste...

Manitoba film censors to be shut down so as to reduce cost and red tape for film distributors

Link Here 15th March 2018
manitoba logoCanada has several province based film censors but Manitoba is now set to close down its own film censor and use the ratings from another province instead.

Culture Minister Cathy Cox said that she's started the dismantling of the Manitoba Film Classification Board and replacing it with the classifications designated by Consumer Protection British Columbia.

Cox told reporters she saw no problem accepting the standards of another province, especially one with an NDP government. She that this was not about cost to the state but was concerned with censorship costs borne by distributors. She said:

This is not about cost. The distributors pay the costs of classifying films shown and sold, and video games sold in stores in Manitoba. This is making it easier for distributors. This is an opportunity to reduce our footprint and to reduce red tape.

Her staff later supplied figures that the state censors had classified 377 films in Manitoba in 2016-2017.

Film festivals would be permitted under Cox's changes to classify their own films or use classifications provided by other jurisdictions


 Extract: But surely it is totally fair to hate someone that takes away free speech...

Nigeria considers making hate speech a capital offence

Link Here 15th March 2018

Nigeria flagThe Nigerian parliament is considering a bill under which anyone found guilty of hate speech that results in the death of another person shall die by hanging upon conviction.

The law also seeks the establishment of an Independent National Commission for Hate Speech, to enforce hate speech laws across the country, including jail terms and fines.

This is just the latest in a number of attempts to address what appears to be a rise in hate speech across Nigeria.

In a recent talk, titled, Hate Speech: Halting the Tide Before it is Too Late, the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, called for an organised war against hate speech.

Last year, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo likened hate speech to an act of terrorism.

[The government has] drawn a line against hate speech, he said. It will not be tolerated, it will be taken as an act of terrorism and all the consequences will follow.

...Read the full article from bbc.com


 Offsite Article: Turkey reveals the nasty capabilities of state snooping black boxes...

Link Here 15th March 2018  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
sandvine's packetlogic middleboxes GCHQ/NSA style super snooping 'middleboxes' are being used rather indiscreetly in Turkey to target a wide range of internet users

See article from scmagazineuk.com


 Offsite Article: Close the Windows...

Link Here 15th March 2018
tails logo The Tails operating system provides privacy and anonymity and it runs from a memory stick

See article from komando.com


 Offsite Article: The rise of the censorship machines...

Link Here 15th March 2018  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
european commission logo European Parliament has been nobbled by a pro censorship EU commissioner

See article from boingboing.net


 Offsite Article: Censorship is never the answer, Sadiq...

Link Here 15th March 2018
Spiked logo Hateful tweets are the price we pay for internet freedom. By Ella Whelan

See article from spiked-online.com


  US internet snooping...

EFF and 23 Groups Tell Congress to Oppose the CLOUD Act

Link Here 14th March 2018  full story: US Snooper's Charter...

US SenateEFF and 23 other civil liberties organizations sent a letter to Congress urging Members and Senators to oppose the CLOUD Act and any efforts to attach it to other legislation.

The CLOUD Act ( S. 2383 and H.R. 4943 ) is a dangerous bill that would tear away global privacy protections by allowing police in the United States and abroad to grab cross-border data without following the privacy rules of where the data is stored. Currently, law enforcement requests for cross-border data often use a legal system called the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, or MLATs. This system ensures that, for example, should a foreign government wish to seize communications stored in the United States, that data is properly secured by the Fourth Amendment requirement for a search warrant.

The other groups signing the new coalition letter against the CLOUD Act are Access Now, Advocacy for Principled Action in Government, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Campaign for Liberty, Center for Democracy & Technology, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Constitutional Alliance, Defending Rights & Dissent, Demand Progress Action, Equality California, Free Press Action Fund, Government Accountability Project, Government Information Watch, Human Rights Watch, Liberty Coalition, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Black Justice Coalition, New America's Open Technology Institute, OpenMedia, People For the American Way, and Restore The Fourth.

The CLOUD Act allows police to bypass the MLAT system, removing vital U.S. and foreign country privacy protections. As we explained in our earlier letter to Congress, the CLOUD Act would:

  • Allow foreign governments to wiretap on U.S. soil under standards that do not comply with U.S. law;

  • Give the executive branch the power to enter into foreign agreements without Congressional approval or judicial review, including foreign nations with a well-known record of human rights abuses;

  • Possibly facilitate foreign government access to information that is used to commit human rights abuses, like torture; and

  • Allow foreign governments to obtain information that could pertain to individuals in the U.S. without meeting constitutional standards.

You can read more about EFF's opposition to the CLOUD Act here .

The CLOUD Act creates a new channel for foreign governments seeking data about non-U.S. persons who are outside the United States. This new data channel is not governed by the laws of where the data is stored. Instead, the foreign police may demand the data directly from the company that handles it. Under the CLOUD Act, should a foreign government request data from a U.S. company, the U.S. Department of Justice would not need to be involved at any stage. Also, such requests for data would not need to receive individualized, prior judicial review before the data request is made.

The CLOUD Act's new data delivery method lacks not just meaningful judicial oversight, but also meaningful Congressional oversight, too. Should the U.S. executive branch enter a data exchange agreement--known as an "executive agreement"--with foreign countries, Congress would have little time and power to stop them. As we wrote in our letter:

"[T]he CLOUD Act would allow the executive branch to enter into agreements with foreign governments--without congressional approval. The bill stipulates that any agreement negotiated would go into effect 90 days after Congress was notified of the certification, unless Congress enacts a joint resolution of disapproval, which would require presidential approval or sufficient votes to overcome a presidential veto."

And under the bill, the president could agree to enter executive agreements with countries that are known human rights abusers.

Troublingly, the bill also fails to protect U.S. persons from the predictable, non-targeted collection of their data. When foreign governments request data from U.S. companies about specific "targets" who are non-U.S. persons not living in the United States, these governments will also inevitably collect data belonging to U.S. persons who communicate with the targeted individuals. Much of that data can then be shared with U.S. authorities, who can then use the information to charge U.S. persons with crimes. That data sharing, and potential criminal prosecution, requires no probable cause warrant as required by the Fourth Amendment, violating our constitutional rights.

The CLOUD Act is a bad bill. We urge Congress to stop it, and any attempts to attach it to must-pass spending legislation.


 Offsite Article: The Internet Censor's Dilemma...

Link Here 14th March 2018
express vpn The more countries try to restrict virtual private networks, the more people use them. By Josephine Wolff

See article from slate.com


 Offsite Article: Glorifying censorship...

Link Here 14th March 2018
Spanish flag Spanish anti-terror law has chilling effect on satire, says Amnesty International

See article from theguardian.com


 Offsite Article: UK porn laws could lead to blackmail, suicide -- and young Brits turning to extremism...

Link Here 14th March 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
sun newspaper logo A commendably negative take from The Sun. A legal expert has revealed the hidden dangers of strict new porn laws, which will force Brits to hand over personal info in exchange for access to XXX videos

See article from thesun.co.uk


  Perhaps the government just wants all internet viewing by everyone to be logged against ID...

Is it just me or is Matt Hancock just a little too keen to advocate ID checks just for the state to control 'screen time'. Are we sure that such snooping wouldn't be abused for other reasons of state control?

Link Here 13th March 2018
matt hancockIt's no secret the UK government has a vendetta against the internet and social media. Now, Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) wants to push that further, and enforce screen time cutoffs for UK children on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Talking to the Sunday Times, Hancock explained that the negative impacts of social media need to be dealt with, and he laid out his idea for an age-verification system to apply more widely than just porn viewing.

He outlined that age-verification could be handled similarly to film classifications, with sites like YouTube being restricted to those over 18. The worrying thing, however, is his plans to create mandatory screen time cutoffs for all children. Referencing the porn restrictions he said: People said 'How are you going to police that?' I said if you don't have it, we will take down your website in Britain. The end result is that the big porn sites are introducing this globally, so we are leading the way.

...Read the full article from alphr.com

Advocating internet censorship

See  article from gov.uk

Whenever politicians peak of 'balance' it inevitably means that the balance will soon swing from people's rights towards state control. Matt Hancock more or less announced further internet censorship in a speech at the Oxford Media Convention. He said:

Our schools and our curriculum have a valuable role to play so students can tell fact from fiction and think critically about the news that they read and watch.

But it is not easy for our children, or indeed for anyone who reads news online. Although we have robust mechanisms to address disinformation in the broadcast and press industries, this is simply not the case online.

Take the example of three different organisations posting a video online.

If a broadcaster published it on their on demand service, the content would be a matter for Ofcom.

If a newspaper posted it, it would be a matter for IPSO.

If an individual published it online, it would be untouched by media regulation.

Now I am passionate in my belief in a free and open Internet ....BUT... freedom does not mean the freedom to harm others. Freedom can only exist within a framework.

Digital platforms need to step up and play their part in establishing online rules and working for the benefit of the public that uses them.

We've seen some positive first steps from Google, Facebook and Twitter recently, but even tech companies recognise that more needs to be done.

We are looking at the legal liability that social media companies have for the content shared on their sites. Because it's a fact on the web that online platforms are no longer just passive hosts.

But this is not simply about applying publisher or broadcaster standards of liability to online platforms.

There are those who argue that every word on every platform should be the full legal responsibility of the platform. But then how could anyone ever let me post anything, even though I'm an extremely responsible adult?

This is new ground and we are exploring a range of ideas...

including where we can tighten current rules to tackle illegal content online...

and where platforms should still qualify for 'host' category protections.

We will strike the right balance between addressing issues with content online and allowing the digital economy to flourish.

This is part of the thinking behind our Digital Charter. We will work with publishers, tech companies, civil society and others to establish a new framework...

A change of heart of press censorship

It was only a few years ago when the government were all in favour of creating a press censor. However new fears such as Russian interference and fake news has turned the mainstream press into the champions of trustworthy news. And so previous plans for a press censor have been put on hold. Hancock said in the Oxford speech:

Sustaining high quality journalism is a vital public policy goal. The scrutiny, the accountability, the uncovering of wrongs and the fuelling of debate is mission critical to a healthy democracy.

After all, journalists helped bring Stephen Lawrence's killers to justice and have given their lives reporting from places where many of us would fear to go.

And while I've not always enjoyed every article written about me, that's not what it's there for.

I tremble at the thought of a media regulated by the state in a time of malevolent forces in politics. Get this wrong and I fear for the future of our liberal democracy. We must get this right.

I want publications to be able to choose their own path, making decisions like how to make the most out of online advertising and whether to use paywalls. After all, it's your copy, it's your IP.

The removal of Google's 'first click free' policy has been a welcome move for the news sector. But I ask the question - if someone is protecting their intellectual property with a paywall, shouldn't that be promoted, not just neutral in the search algorithm?

I've watched the industry grapple with the challenge of how to monetise content online, with different models of paywalls and subscriptions.

Some of these have been successful, and all of them have evolved over time. I've been interested in recent ideas to take this further and develop new subscription models for the industry.

Our job in Government is to provide the framework for a market that works, without state regulation of the press.


  Now that the BBFC has taken on a new role as internet censor...

Will it change its name back to the British Board of Film Censors? The Daily Mail seems to think so

Link Here 13th March 2018  full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
british board of film censorship The Daily Mail today ran the story that the DCMS have decided to take things a little more cautiously about the privacy (and national security) issues of allowing a foreign porn company to take control of databasing people's porn viewing history.

Anyway there was nothing new in the story but it was interesting to note the Freudian slip of referring to the BBFC as the British Board of Film Censorship.

My idea would be for the BBFC to rename itself with the more complete title, the British Board of Film and Internet Censorship.


 Offsite Article: Uncut Prey Comparison-Norman J Warren...

Link Here 13th March 2018
Prey DVDBlu-rayCombo Checking out the new Vinegar Syndrome restoration

See video from YouTube


 Offsite Comment: A handful of platforms control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared...

Link Here 13th March 2018
tim berners-lee) Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the the World Wide Web, laments the power grab of the internet by commercial giants

See article from alphr.com


  Video game violence Trumps real world violence...

Reports from Donald Trumps meeting with video game makers and their critics

Link Here 12th March 2018

donald trumpDonald Trump organised a private meeting with video games makers and their critics as a diversionary tactic to avoid the debate about gun control.

Republican lawmakers and moralist campaigners pressed the president at his meeting on Thursday to explore new restrictions on the video-game industry.

Some participants urged Trump to consider new regulations that would make it harder for young children to purchase those games. Others asked the president to expand his inquiry to focus on violent movies and TV shows too.

Trump himself opened the meeting by showing a montage of clips of various violent video games.

Video-game executives who attended the meeting Thursday included Robert Altman, the CEO of ZeniMax, the parent company for games such as Fallout; Strauss Zelnick, the chief executive of Take Two Interactive, which is known for Grand Theft Auto, and Michael Gallagher, the leader of the Entertainment Software Association, a Washington-focused lobbying organisation for the industry.

We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry's rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices, ESA said in a statement.

The Parents Television Council Program Director Melissa Henson participated in the meeting and commented in a post-meeting statement:

Stop Media Violence What I heard in today's meeting is that the entertainment industry is still fighting to maintain the status quo and is not ready or willing to confront the impact that media violence has on our children. But time is up for the entertainment industry to put a stop to marketing graphic, explicit, and age-inappropriate content to our children.

The video game representatives pulled out their same old talking points that have long been refuted. During the meeting, I was able to interject and say just how untrue their excuses are.

Representative Vicky Hartzler, a Republican from Missouri, said she was open to crafting legislation that would make it harder for youngsters to buy violent games. She said:

Even though I know there are studies that have said there is no causal link, as a mom and a former high school teacher, it just intuitively seems that prolonged viewing of violent nature would desensitise a young person.

The White House already has hinted at sustained, broader scrutiny still to come. A day before the meeting, a spokeswoman for Trump said the sit-down with video-game executives and their critics is the first of many with industry leaders to discuss this important issue.

  Trump's opening gambit


  The UK's controversial online porn block has been delayed...

A few more details from the point of view of British adult websites

Link Here 12th March 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
wired logo


 Offsite Article: OFCOM's Revisionist History...

Link Here 12th March 2018
Family At War: Complete Set DVD The problem with old films and TV shows, of course, is that they sometimes reflect the attitudes of the times in which they were made.

See article from reprobatemagazine.uk


 Offsite Article: China steps up internet censorship of criticism of Xi Jinping...

Link Here 12th March 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
chinese long reign And a little humorous criticism seems sure to warrant a police visit

See article from theglobeandmail.com


  Facing down researchers (and their governments)...

Facebook is commendably refusing to hand over private Facebook data to researchers who want to see how fake news (and no doubt other politically incorrect content) spreads

Link Here 12th March 2018
Facebook logo


  Pause for thought...

The Government announces a new timetable for the introduction of internet porn censorship, now set to be in force by the end of 2018

Link Here 11th March 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
DCMS logoIn a press release the DCMS describes its digital strategy including a delayed introduction of internet porn censorship. The press release states:

The Strategy also reflects the Government's ambition to make the internet safer for children by requiring age verification for access to commercial pornographic websites in the UK. In February, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) was formally designated as the age verification regulator.

Our priority is to make the internet safer for children and we believe this is best achieved by taking time to get the implementation of the policy right. We will therefore allow time for the BBFC as regulator to undertake a public consultation on its draft guidance which will be launched later this month.

For the public and the industry to prepare for and comply with age verification, the Government will also ensure a period of up to three months after the BBFC guidance has been cleared by Parliament before the law comes into force. It is anticipated age verification will be enforceable by the end of the year.


 Offsite Article: First words from Britain's new internet porn censor...

Link Here 11th March 2018  full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
BBFC logo The BBFC takes its first steps to explain how it will stop people from watching internet porn

See article from bbfc.co.uk


  Every Day...

BBFC category cuts required for 2018 cinema release

Link Here 10th March 2018
every dayEvery Day is a 2018 USA romance by Michael Sucsy.
Starring Maria Bello, Debby Ryan and Justice Smith. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 12A for moderate bad language, infrequent suicide references after 4s of BBFC category cuts for:

  • 2018 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to remove images of suicide techniques in order to obtain a 12A rating. An uncut 18 classification was available.

In the US the film is uncut and rated PG-13 for thematic content, language, teen drinking, and suggestive material.

Summary Notes

Based on David Levithan's acclaimed bestselling novel, EVERY DAY tells the story of Rhiannon, a 16-year old girl who falls in love with a mysterious spirit named "A" that inhabits a different body every day. Feeling an unmatched connection, Rhiannon and "A" work each day to find each other, not knowing what or WHO the next day will bring. The more the two fall in love, the more the idea of loving someone who is a different person every 24 hours takes a toll on Rhiannon and "A", leaving them to make a decision that will change their lives forever.


  Nanny Hancock...

UK censorship minister seems in favour of state controls on screen time for children

Link Here 10th March 2018
matt hancockChildren could have time limits imposed when they are on social media sites, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and censorship has suggested.

Matt Hancock told The Times that an age-verification system could be used to restrict screen time. He aid:

There is a genuine concern about the amount of screen time young people are clocking up and the negative impact it could have on their lives.

For an adult I wouldn't want to restrict the amount of time you are on a platform but for different ages it might be right to have different time cut-offs.


 Commented: Safe spaces get violent...

Hooded thugs disrupt free speech event at Kings College London

Link Here 10th March 2018  full story: Student Union Censorship...Students Vs Free Speech

kings college london logoHooded thugs have stormed a free speech event King's College London, throwing smoke bombs and attacking security guards.

Believed to be part of the anti-facist movement, violent protesters forced their way into a lecture hall before setting off smoke bombs and smashing windows. Thugs grabbed the speaker's microphone, while several security guards were punched during the melee.

A threatening note was also left for the compere.

Ten to 15 people dressed all in black, with black hoods and black face masks, leapt over the barriers and instantly engaged in a fight with two or three security guards, said witness Tristan Teller:

They tried to stop them but they just started punching them in the face. One guard, a grey-haired gentleman who looked to be in around 60, received several punches.

The event, which was organised by KCL Libertarian Society, saw YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad, real name Carl Benjamin, invited to speak alongside Ayn Rand Institute director Dr Yaron Brook.

The group were had dispersed by the time police arrived. There have been no reported injuries. No arrests. Enquiries continue.

Spiked logoUpdate: Antifa: the militant wing of authoritarianism

10th March 2018. See  article from spiked-online.com by Fraser Myers

The clash at King's College confirms anti-fascism now just means censorship.


 Offsite Article: The Death of Stalin...

Link Here 10th March 2018  full story: Film Censorship in Russia...Censorship in the guise of banning strong language
The Death of Stalin DVD Russia Banned My Movie. Hold Your Applause. By the film's director, Armando Iannucci

See article from nytimes.com


 Offsite Article: The hate at the heart of identity politics...

Link Here 10th March 2018
Spiked logo Hatred, demonisation and the treatment of large swathes of society as backward are key elements of the politics of identity.

See article from spiked-online.com


  Appeals for free speech...

Germany looks to create an appeals body to contest false censorship caused by the undue haste required for take downs

Link Here 9th March 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
governmet germany logoA German law requiring social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to remove reported hate speech without enough time to consider the merits of the report is set to be revised following criticism that too much online content is being blocked.

The law, called NetzDG for short, is an international test case and how it plays out is being closely watched by other countries considering similar measures.

German politicians forming a new government told Reuters they want to add an amendment to help web users get incorrectly deleted material restored online.

The lawmakers are also pushing for social media firms to set up an independent body to review and respond to reports of offensive content from the public, rather than leaving to the social media companies who by definition care more about profits than supporting free speech.

Such a system, similar to how video games are policed in Germany, could allow a more considered approach to complex decisions about whether to block content, legal experts say.

Facebook, which says it has 1,200 people in Germany working on reviewing posts out of 14,000 globally responsible for moderating content and account security, said it was not pursuing a strategy to delete more than necessary. Richard Allan, Facebook's vice president for EMEA public policy said:

People think deleting illegal content is easy but it's not. Facebook reviews every NetzDG report carefully and with legal expertise, where appropriate. When our legal experts advise us, we follow their assessment so we can meet our obligations under the law.

Johannes Ferchner, spokesman on justice and consumer protection for the Social Democrats and one of the architects of the law said:

We will add a provision so that users have a legal possibility to have unjustly deleted content restored.

Thomas Jarzombek, a Christian Democrat who helped refine the law, said the separate body to review complaints should be established, adding that social media companies were deleting too much online content. NetzDG already allows for such a self-regulatory body, but companies have chosen to go their own way instead. According to the coalition agreement, both parties want to develop the law to encourage the establishment of such a body.


  National concern...

Far right video gets Google a warning that it could be held in contempt of Parliament

Link Here 9th March 2018
House of Commons logoGoogle has been warned it could be in contempt of Parliament if it fails to permanently remove a video by the banned far right group National Action .

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, strongly criticised the tech giant after being told it had broken a promise to take down extremist material from YouTube. He suggested the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee should haul Google bosses back before it -- or make an application to him alleging contempt of the House. That is a recourse open to her if people do not comply and do not honour their undertakings

Labour MP Yvette Cooper had protested that the National Action video remained available online, despite Google repeatedly promising it would be taken down and take steps to prevent it reappearing.

The four-and-a-half minute propaganda video at the centre of the controversy was removed within hours of his warning, but the uploader had called on viewers to preserve the footage by re-uploading it in other forms. It features a National Action demonstration in Darlington, which took place a month before the group was banned, showing members marching through the streets with the group's black flag and performing Nazi salutes. A leader is seen using a loudhailer to claim that white British people will become a despised and persecuted minority.


  Seduction techniques fail to win over Sony...

Sony bans Super Seducer, a video game based on dating tips

Link Here 9th March 2018
super seducerSony has blocked the publication of a video game based upon chat up lines and seduction techniques.

Super Seducer was scheduled for release on the PlayStation 4 on Tuesday. But feminists have taken issue with the themes of the game.

Sony has confirmed that the game has been banned bit has not explained the reasoning behind its censorship.

Super Seducer has, however, been released for PCs and Macs via Valve's Steam platform.

The Motherboard news site was among the first to notice that the PlayStation version had not been released. Seth Barton, editor of MCV, a trade publication commented:

While it's an unappealing title, I'm uncertain whether PS4 owners would be happy with Sony censoring the games they can play, especially as they can't go elsewhere to buy software.

Super Seducer does not feature nudity, but does show women in their underwear sitting next to its British creator, Richard La Ruina, as he delivers advice. Live-action sequences show the author grabbing parts of a date's body and attempting to kiss a woman he has just met to illustrate actions the player should avoid.


 Updated: Traditional state censorship...

South Africa's lower house passes bill to apply traditional pre-vetting censorship to commercial content on the internet

Link Here 9th March 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in South Africa...Proppsal to block all porn from South Africans
South Africa flagSouth Afric's Film and Publications Amendment Bill will apply traditional pre-vetting style censorship t everything posted on the internet in the country.

The National Assembly has approved the bill in a vote of 189 in favour, with 35 against and no abstentions. The bill must now come before the National Council of Provinces for its approval before it can be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa to be signed into law.

Opposition parties say the Film and Publications Amendment Bill amounts to censorship - and may be unconstitutional. The Inkatha Freedom Party's Liezl van der Merwe said:

This bill through the Films and Publications Board, seeks to take wholesale control of the internet. Among some of the provisions, this bill requires everyone who generates some type of revenue from distributing content online to register, pay a fee and have their content approved and classified before they can post it.

The party's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says the red berets are prepared to challenge it in the Constitutional Court if necessary.

Update: Further details

9th March 2018. See  article from businesstech.co.za

Speaking to BusinessTech, legal expert and long time opponent of the bill, Nicholas Hall, explained some of the details of the censorship provisions. Hall said that the FPB now has the power to classify and potentially ban films, games and 'other publications'.

Other publications are defined as:

  • Any newspaper, book, periodical, pamphlet, poster or other printed matter;
  • Any writing or typescript which has in any manner been duplicated;
  • Any drawing, picture, illustration or painting;
  • Any print, photograph, engraving or lithograph;
  • Any record, magnetic tape, soundtrack or any other object in or on which sound has been recorded for reproduction;
  • Computer software which is not a film;
  • The cover or packaging of a film;
  • Any figure, carving, statue or model; and
  • Any message or communication, including a visual presentation, placed on any distributed network including, but not confined to, the internet.

Hall said that YouTubers and streamers are most likely to be affected by the new laws:

While the amendment bill will give the FPB the power to potentially classify any content uploaded online, including private communications, they generally will only have this power if someone complains to them about the specific content.

Films and games are treated differently, however. Under the bill, a distinction is made between 'commercial distributors' and 'non-commercial distributors'. Non-commercial distributors of films and games are treated much like the creators of 'other publications', their content can only be classified if someone complains.

However, commercial distributors are required to have their content classified prior to distribution or face criminal prosecution.

Hall added that this distinction was particularly problematic as it is unclear what is defined as a 'commercial purpose', and that this could be as simple as enabling advertising on uploaded videos.

All content platforms (Youtube, Netflix, Steam etc) will now also be required to register as distributors and pay an annual fee, based on the number titles they have in their library.

The other concern is that they have built in provisions to allow them to enforce this system, one of which is to force ISPs (eg Telkom, Mweb, and Afrihost) to block access to content platforms that do not comply.


 Offsite Article: That's the way the cookie crumbles...

Link Here 9th March 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
mindgeek ageid logo Age verification providers say that a single login will be enough, but for those that use browser incognito mode, repeated logins will be required

See article from trustedreviews.com


 Offsite Article: Perhaps because it is fun to wind up the authorities by spreading fake news...

Link Here 9th March 2018  full story: Fake News...Declining respect for the authorities is blamed on 'fake' news
mit logo Study finds fake news spreads faster and further on Twitter than truth. It estimates that a false story is 70% more likely to be retweeted than a true one

See article from engadget.com


  Monsters with guns...

Well if computer games are creating monsters, then why is Donald Trump defending their rights to bear arms

Link Here 8th March 2018
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition US President Donald Trump is to meet video games company representatives on Thursday to discuss violent content. The meeting comes in the wake of last month's shooting at a school in Florida in which 17 people died.

The Electronic Software Association (ESA), which represents the games industry in the US, said it would be attending. It said in a statement:

The upcoming meeting at the White House will provide the opportunity to have a fact-based conversation about video game ratings, our industry's commitment to parents, and the tools we provide to make informed entertainment choices,

Also at the meeting will be the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the organisation responsible for offering age and content guidance for games.

A report from the Washington Post suggested some games developers had also been invited to attend, including Take Two Interactive, the publisher of the controversial Grand Theft Auto series. The company did not return the BBC's request for comment on the meeting. The Post also said key critics of the games industry would be at the table, including Brent Bozell, founder of the Parents Television Council.

On several occasions, President Trump has pointed to video game violence as being a problem potentially affecting American youths. He wrote on Twitter in December 2012:

Video game violence & glorification must be stopped. It is creating monsters!

The games industry has routinely and robustly defended itself against claims its products provoke real-life violence. The ESA explained in a statement:

Video games are enjoyed around the world and numerous authorities and reputable scientific studies have found no connection between games and real-life violence,

Like all Americans, we are deeply concerned about the level of gun violence in the United States. Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation.


  Police ratchet...

Ratcheting up the requirements for social networks to report posters of terrorist content to the police

Link Here 8th March 2018  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim
Metropiltan Police badgeSocial media giants have been ramping up internet censorship to prevent or take down terrorist posts. However the police are now complaining that the companies are not proactively reporting such posters to the police.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the outgoing chief of UK counter-terror policing, said they are threatening public safety to maximise profit and customer satisfaction. Speaking at a counter-terror conference in London, Mr Rowley said social media firms should work with police in the same way banks had been made to co-operate on tracing dirty money. He said:

The online extremists seem able to act with impunity, occupying spaces owned and managed by legitimate and very wealthy corporations.

I am disappointed that in the UK as a police service we are yet to receive a direct referral from them when they have identified such behaviour.

They are effectively private tenants to their communication service provider landlords. In the real world if a landlord knew their property was being used to plan or inspire terrorist attacks you would expect them to show corporate responsibility by informing the authorities and evicting them forthwith. We want to see those same standards applied in the virtual world.


 Updated: Jail everybody especially men...

Labour MP calls for women to be able to snap their fingers and get men arrested for hate crimes for trivial reasons

Link Here 8th March 2018
melanie onnWomen should be able to report wolf-whistling, catcalling and unwanted attention on public transport to the police as hate crimes, according to Grimsby's MP, Melanie Onn.

The Labour front-bench politician has secured a debate in Parliament on Wednesday, March 7, to call for misogyny to be made a hate crime. The town's MP said women should not have to put up with unwanted behaviour in public and claims that a law change would make women more confident in reporting such behaviours.

Surely in tetchy and angry times, when so many are so 'easily offended, surely we don't want people to be given the power to cause so much harm to others for trivial reasons. EVeryone will just end up hating everyone else even more.

Offsite Article: Parliamentary debate

8th March 2018. See  article from dailymail.co.uk

The SNP s Mhairi Black today became the first MP to use the C-word in a Commons debate - and read it out five times as she revealed the scale of abuse against her online.

Ms Black, the youngest member of the Commons, told a debate about misogyny in Britain about the daily tirade of abuse she faced.

The debate also heard Women's Minister Victoria Atkins explain she had left Twitter entirely because of the volume of abuse.

Labour MP Melanie Onn, who called the debate in Westminster Hall this morning, called for a change in the law to make misogyny a hate crime.

...Read the full article from dailymail.co.uk


 Offsite Article: Less dead...

Link Here 8th March 2018
Night Of The Living Dead Blu-ray Movie-Censorship.com takes a look at the workprint just released with Night of the Living Dead

See article from movie-censorship.com


  It is about time someone said hold on, perhaps we should think about this a bit more...

So how come the BBFC are saying virtually nothing about internet porn censorship and seem happy for newspapers to point out the incredibly dangerous privacy concerns of letting porn websites hold browsing records

Link Here 7th March 2018

BBC logoThe BBC seems to have done a good job voicing the privacy concerns of the Open Rights Group as the article has been picked up by most of the British rpess,

The Open Rights Group says it fears a data breach is inevitable as the deadline approaches for a controversial change in the way people in the UK access online pornography.

Myles Jackman, legal director of the Open Rights Group, said while MindGeek had said it would not hold or store data, it was not clear who would - and by signing in people would be revealing their sexual preferences.

If the age verification process continues in its current fashion, it's a once-in-a-lifetime treasure trove of private information, he said.  If it gets hacked, can British citizens ever trust the government again with their data?

The big issues here are privacy and security.

Jackman said it would drive more people to use virtual private networks (VPNs) - which mask a device's geographical location to circumvent local restrictions - or the anonymous web browser Tor. He commented:

It is brutally ironic that when the government is trying to break all encryption in order to combat extremism, it is now forcing people to turn towards the dark web.

MindGeek, which runs sites including PornHub, YouPorn and RedTube, said its AgeID age verification tool had been in use in Germany since 2015. It said its software would use third-party age-verification companies to authenticate the age of those signing in.

AgeID spokesman James Clark told the BBC there were multiple verification methods that could be used - including credit card, mobile SMS, passport and driving licence - but that it was not yet clear which would be compliant with the law.

For something that is supposed to be coming in April, and requires software update by websites, it is surely about time that the government and/or the BBFC actually told people about the detailed rules for when age verification is required and what methods will be acceptable to the censors.

The start date has not actually been confirmed yet and the BBFC haven't even acknowledged that they have accepted the job as the UK porn censor..

The BBFC boss David Austin, spouted some nonsense to the BBC claiming that age verification was already in place for other services, including some video-on-demand sites. In fact 'other' services such as gambling sites have got totally different privacy issues and aren't really relevant to porn. The only method in place so far is to demand credit cards to access porn, the only thing that this has proved is that it is totally unviable for the businesses involved, and is hardy relevant to how the dominant tube sites work.

In fact a total absence of input from the BBFC is already leading to some alarming takes on the privacy issues of handing over people's porn viewing records to porn companies. Surely the BBFC would be expected to provide official state propaganda trying to convince the worried masses that they have noting fear and that porn websites have people's best interests at heart.

For instance, the Telegraph follow-up report writes (See  article from telegraph.co.uk :

Telegraph logoIncoming age verification checks for people who watch pornography online are at risk of their sexual tastes being exposed, a privacy expert has warned.

The Government has given the all clear for one of the largest pornography companies to organise the arrangements for verification but experts claim that handing this power to the porn industry could put more people at risk.

Those viewing porn will no longer be anonymous and their sexual tastes may be easily revealed through a cache of the websites they have visited, according to Jim Killock, director of Open Rights Group. He warned:

These are the most sensitive, embarrassing viewing habits that have potentially life-changing consequences if they become public.

In order for it to work, the company will end up with a list of every webpage of all of the big pornographic products someone has visited. Just like Google and Facebook, companies want to profile you and send you advertisements based on what you are searching for.

So what are AgeID going to do now that they have been given unparalleled access to people's pornographic tastes? They are going to decide what people's sexual tastes are and the logic of that is impossible to resist. Even if they give reassurances, I just cannot see why they wouldn't.

A database with someone's sexual preferences , highlighted by the web pages visited and geographically traceable through the IP address, would be a target for hackers who could use them for blackmail or simply to cause humiliation.

Imagine if you are a teacher and the pornography that you looked at - completely legally - became public? It would be devastating for someone's career.


 Updated: Wounded by censors...

A south African film with a gay theme has been effectively banned from mainstream cinema release by the film censor by unfairly classifying it as pornography

Link Here 7th March 2018
Poster Inxeba 2017 John Trengove Inxeba (The Wound) is a 2017 South Africa / Germany / Netherlands / France romance by John Trengove.
Starring Nakhane Touré, Bongile Mantsai and Niza Jay. IMDb

Xolani, a lonely factory worker, travels to the rural mountains with the men of his community to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. When a defiant initiate from the city discovers his best-kept secret, Xolani's entire existence begins to unravel.

Inxeba (The Wound) is a film centred around an African custom of adulthood initiation via a circumcision ritual. It contains two simulated sex scenes and has a gay storyline.

South African film censors at Film and Publication Board (FPB} originally awarded a straightforward 16 LS rating for language and sex.

The gay theme wound up local conservatives of the Gauteng branch of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) and cultural organisation the Man and Boy Foundation and an appeal against the rating was lodged.

The result of the appeal was that the rating was upgraded to an X18 rating which is generally reserved for explicit hardcore pornography. Similarly to the UK, the movie can then only be screened at licensed porn cinemas, and it is effectively banned from mainstream cinemas.

Clearly the producers of Inxeba are not well pleased and along with  leading South African film industry players say the fight over the movie being reclassified as pornographic by the FPB is far from over. They have vowed to take the matter to court. They accuse the FPB of censorship, homophobia and of not following its own governing act or classification guidelines by overturning the controversial, award-winning gay Xhosa initiation movie's original 16 LS ratin.

Update: Fake consultation?

23rd February 2018. See  article from heraldlive.co.za

The Film and Publication Board (FPB) has insisted the revision of its classification guidelines for films is not linked to controversial movie Inxeba.

This comes as the FPB has launched a countrywide roadshow to get input from the public on how the content-classification and censorship authority rates films.

But the Right2Know campaign has slammed the decision, saying the review process had been haphazardly organised as a response to the outcry over the reclassification of Inxeba.

Update: 15 rated in the UK

4th March 2018.

For comparison, the UK, the cinema release was passed 15 uncut for strong sex, language, drug misuse.


Update: Provisionally unbanned by the High Court

7th March 2018. See  article from iol.co.za

Inxeba (The Wound) has been unbanned by a Pretoria High Court Order and will be back on mainstream cinema screens again from Friday, March 9.

This is the result of a High Court order granted on Tuesday, in the urgent application brought by Webber Wentzel on behalf of the film's producers and distributor to reverse the X18 rating and enables the film to return to the public domain and be relieved of its imprisonment in sex shops, branded as pornography.

While this outcome has provided momentary relief to the film as it can be screened in mainstream cinema with the rating of 18, the lifting of the ban is, however, only temporary, pending the outcome of review proceedings before the court, which will be heard on March 28.


  Perhaps the problems of fake news, Russian propaganda etc are mostly hype...

German internet users aren't rushing to get Facebook posts censored

Link Here 6th March 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
governmet germany logoAuthorities in Germany said they have received far fewer complaints from citizens than expected since the country's social network censorship law (NetzDG) went into effect 01 January, reported Heise Online.

Germany's Federal Office for Justice (BfJ), the division of Germany's Federal Minister of Justice responsible for enforcing the law said they have received only 205 complaints since January, less than 1% of the amount predicted. The German government had assumed that citizens would file roughly 25,000 complaints with the BfJ .


 Offsite Article: Fake news law...

Link Here 6th March 2018  full story: Press Censorship in Malaysia...Newspapers forced to toe the government line
Malaysia flag All the hallmarks of a new government weapon for suppressing media freedom.

See article from rsf.org


  Pop-up censors...

Politicians, censors and campaigners scent blood in getting Facebook and Google to censor their pet peeves, in this case pop-up brothels

Link Here 5th March 2018

facebook-ads-small-businessGoogle and Facebook accused of supposedly profiting from pop-up brothels and sex clubs sweeping Britain

Ministers are reportedly considering new laws to make internet giants liable when sex workers use their sites to organise business.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) are supporting the propaganda and claim Google and Facebook are making profits from sex trafficking, according to the Times.

Pop up sex clubs have been discovered in Cornwall, Cambridge, Swindon and holiday cottages in the Peak District. Will Kerr, the NCA's 'head of vulnerabilities', claimed:

People are using the internet and social media sites to enable sexual exploitation and trafficking. It is clear that the internet platforms which host and make a profit out of this type of material need to do more to identify and stop these forms of exploitation.

Government figures want internet giants like Facebook to be held accountable, eying new US laws that are set to overturn more than 20 years of blanket immunity for sites for content posted by users. It will make firms liable if they knowingly assist, support or facilitate content that leads to trafficking.

Downing Street and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said they are looking at whether and how to replicate the action in the UK.


  Snap to it!...

Politicians, censors and campaigners scent blood in getting Facebook and Google to censor their pet peeves, in this case copyrighted and terrorist material

Link Here 5th March 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
european commission logoThe European Union has given Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other internet companies three months to show that they are removing extremist content more rapidly or face legislation forcing them to do so.

The European Commission said on Thursday that internet firms should be ready to remove extremist content within an hour of being notified and recommended measures they should take to stop its proliferation. Digital commissioner Andrus Ansip said:

While several platforms have been removing more illegal content than ever before ... we still need to react faster against terrorist propaganda and other illegal content which is a serious threat to our citizens' security, safety and fundamental rights.

The EC said that it would assess the need for legislation of technology firms within three months if demonstrable improvement is not made on what it describes as terrorist content. For all other types of 'illegal' content the EC will assess the technology firms' censorship progress within six months.

It also urged the predominantly US-dominated technology sector to adopt a more proactive approach, with automated systems to detect and censor 'illegal' content.


  Creating a banned list for Australian Customs to use...

Australian police ask the film censors to get involved in identifying terrorist materials

Link Here 5th March 2018
Australian Film Classification BoardThe Australian Federal Police Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) is seeking rulings from the country's Film Classification Board that will help it ban the import and supply of magazines that promote Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.

Since August 2017 the JCTT has made several applications to the board asking it to determine that materials from ISIS and Al-Qaeda should be refused classification in Australia. The Classification Board has upheld applications on 22 different pieces of material.

The list of materials now banned in Australia includes magazines produced by ISIS from 2014 to 2016 called Dabiq that were used as a recruitment tool by the organisation. Material that is listed as refused classification in Australia cannot be imported into, or exported out of, the country, and there are substantial restrictions on their dissemination.


 Offsite Article: Moral Panics, Media Manipulation And Kneejerk Legislation...

Link Here 5th March 2018
reprobate logo How Bad Laws Happen. By David Flint

See article from reprobatemagazine.uk


 Offsite Article: Which VPN Services Keep You Anonymous in 2018...

Link Here 5th March 2018
torrentfreak logo Torrent Freak surveys VPN providers that may be useful when UK internet porn censorship starts

See article from torrentfreak.com


  The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect recommends...

A new video game, Detroit: Become Human

Link Here 4th March 2018
Detroit: Become Human An Australian campaign group, The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, writes:

This Playstation game involves the player acting as a housemaid to stop a single violent father beating his daughter. In some scenes the father is seen choking the housekeeper by the neck and hitting her with a fist, and going upstairs to beat his daughter with a belt. At one point you can see him place his dead daughters body on the bed whist saying it's all over now, daddy isn't angry anymore.

The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect has called on Australian stores not to stock it. However there are Australian retailers already taking pre-orders for this violent and disturbing game.

Family violence is a big issue in this country and is not something that should ever be considered entertainment. Retired psychologist Dr Glenn Cupit said that "games like this are worse than films as they are immersive and involve young people in the act of violence".

When we have one woman a week being killed by family violence in Australia we do not need this fantasy violence adding to an already violent society.

Shame on SONY for allowing the release of such filth, and I call on Australia to take a stand against it and ban it from sales on our shores.


  But not so much of a risk as guns or religion...

Idaho state lawmakers pass a resolution declaring pornography to be a public health risk.

Link Here 4th March 2018  full story: US politicans and porn harms...US states claim porn to be a public health hazard
idahoIdaho lawmakers on Friday approved a proposal declaring pornography a public health risk.

The resolution, sent to the House floor for debate by the House State Affairs Committee, does not call for a ban but rather is a symbolic gesture that urges state agencies and local officials to recognize the need for education, research and possible policy changes to protect Idahoans -- particularly teenagers -- from pornography.

Representative Lance Clow, a Republican who is backing the resolution spouted:

Pornography has and does have adverse impacts on all members of society. It leads to the abuse men, women and children, destroys marriages and has impacts on young and old Families are being torn apart by this epidemic.


  Trump rated PG for political guidance suggested...

Yes, President Trump, movie ratings exist, but as an MPAA historian explains, they're just as frustratingly opaque as ever

Link Here 4th March 2018
MPAA logo


  The 3 H's: Heaven, Hell and Heroin...

Coronation Street a few viewers with a drug taking scene in a church

Link Here 3rd March 2018
coronation street churchA few viewers of Coronation Street are 'outraged' at a scene showing the resident vicar taking heroin in church.

The character, Billy Mayhew, has been battling an addiction to painkillers. However, he fell to new lows after his drug dealer brother Lee sold him heroin. The pair shot up in church, and as they were slumped against the pews Lee said: This must be what heaven feels like.

Ofcom received 82 complaints from viewers about the scene.

An ITV statement said that it had dealt with the issue in a responsible way, and that further episodes would show the negative side of Billy's drug taking.

However, the following episode opened with the vicar blaspheming, before going on to take more heroin and becoming aggressive towards his adopted daughter while high.


  Satire is lost on Facebook...

Facebook censors Christian satire website with an obviously ludicrous story about CNN 'spinning' news in an industrial sized washing machine

Link Here 3rd March 2018  full story: Fake News...Declining respect for the authorities is blamed on 'fake' news
babylon bee logo Facebook has revealed just how shoddy its 'fake news' and censorship process is when it censored an obvious joke after it passed through the censorship system without anyone at Facebook noticing how stupid they were being.

thefederalist.com explains:

The Babylon Bee set off Facebook's alarm bells by publishing a satirical piece stating that CNN had purchased an industrial-size washing machine to spin news before publication. This is obviously a joke and is clearly marked satire and is published on a site entirely devoted to satire.

But the uptight jerks over at Snopes decided to fact check the Bee's claim, to ensure that no one actually thought that CNN made a significant investment in heavy machinery.

The article was duly confirmed as fake news resulting in Facebook saying that it would censor The Babylon Bee by denying them monetisation.

And as per the normal procedure, when alerted about stupid censorship, Facebook admitted it was a ghastly mistake and apologised profusely. Fair enough, but in passing it still shows exactly how shoddy the process is behind the scenes.


  Under the carpet law...

Singapore has a proposed law allowing the government to ban reporting from the scene of a terrorist act

Link Here 3rd March 2018
Singapore flagReporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the absurd provisions of a bill unveiled this week in Singapore that would prohibit photo and video reporting from the scene of a terrorist attack.

A ban on media coverage is  the main aim of the Public Order and Safety Bill presented by Singapore's home affairs ministry , which would allow the police to enforce a communications stop order.

Journalists and members of the public would face up to two years in prison or a fine of 20,000 Singaporean dollars (15,000 US dollars) if they took photos or video of a terrorist attack or communicated text or audio messages about the ensuing police operations.

Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF's Asia-Pacific desk said:

No one disputes the need for special measures in the event of a terrorist attack, but it is not the interior ministry's job to decided what journalists can broadcast or publish.

By depriving the public of coverage of such grave events, this ban would put the public in danger. This proposed law would be completely counter-productive if the aim of the authorities is to protect the population. But it would be very effective if their aim is to gag independent media.


  Death Wish...

Eli Roth remake has been cut for a 15 rated cinema release

Link Here 2nd March 2018
death wish Death Wish is a 2017 USA action crime thriller by Eli Roth.
Starring Bruce Willis, Vincent D'Onofrio and Elisabeth Shue. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 15 for strong violence, injury detail, language after 14s of BBFC category cuts for:

  • 2018 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to make reductions to a scene of torture in order to obtain a 15 classification. An uncut 18 classification was available.

A few days earlier Death was passed 18 uncut for strong violence, scene of torture, but the distributors preferred a cut 15 rated release.

Summary Notes

A mild-mannered father is transformed into a killing machine after his family is torn apart by a violent act.



2018 version by Kit Monkman has been cut for a 12A rated cinema release

Link Here 2nd March 2018
Poster Macbeth 2018 Kit Monkman Macbeth is a 2016 UK drama by Kit Monkman.
Starring Al Weaver, James Atherton and David Bradley. BBFC link IMDb

UK: A pre-cut version shorter by 39s was passed 12A for moderate sex, violence, gore without further BBFC cuts for:

  • 2018 cinema release

The film was previously submitted in January 2018 and was passed 15 uncut for infrequent strong sex.

Clearly the 'strong sex' was cut.


  Someone will be hacked off...

The government abandons the disgraceful and unjust press censorship laws associated with Leveson

Link Here 2nd March 2018
matt hancockMatt Hancock said in a statement to Parliament:

Over many centuries in Britain, our press has held the powerful to account and been free to report and investigate without fear or favour. These principles underpin our democracy and are integral to the freedom of our nation.

Today in a world of the Internet and clickbait, our press face critical challenges that threaten their livelihood and sustainability - with declining circulations and a changing media landscape.

Mr Speaker, it is in this context that we approach the Leveson Inquiry, which was set up seven years ago in 2011, and reported six years ago in 2012, in response to events over a decade ago.

The Leveson Inquiry was a diligent and thorough examination of the culture, practices and ethics of our press in response to illegal and improper press intrusion.

There were far too many cases of terrible behaviour and having met some of the victims, I understand the impact this had.

I want, from the start, to thank Sir Brian for his work.

The Inquiry lasted over a year and heard evidence from more than 300 people including journalists, editors and victims.

Three major police investigations examined a wide range of offences, and more than 40 people were convicted.

The Inquiry and investigations were comprehensive.

And since it was set up, the terms of reference for a Part 2 of the Inquiry have largely been met.

There have also been extensive reforms to policing practices and significant changes to press self-regulation.

IPSO has been established and now regulates 95% of national newspapers by circulation. It has taken significant steps to demonstrate its independence as a regulator.

And in 2016, Sir Joseph Pilling concluded that IPSO largely complied with Leveson's recommendations. There have been further improvements since and I hope more to come.

In November last year, IPSO introduced a new system of low-cost arbitration.

It has processed more than 40,000 complaints in its first three years of operation; and has ordered multiple front page corrections or clarifications.

Newspapers have also made improvements to their governance frameworks to improve internal controls, standards and compliance.

And one regulator, IMPRESS, has been recognised under the Royal Charter.

Extensive reforms to policing practices have been made.

The College of Policing has published a code of ethics and developed national guidance for police officers on how to engage with the press.

And reforms in the Policing and Crime Act have strengthened protections for police whistleblowers.

So it is clear that we have seen significant progress, from publications, from the police and also from the newly formed regulator.

And Mr Speaker, the media landscape today is markedly different from that which Sir Brian looked at in 2011.

The way we consume news has changed dramatically.

Newspaper circulation has fallen by around 30 per cent since the conclusion of the Leveson Inquiry.

And although digital circulation is rising, publishers are finding it much harder to generate revenue online.

In 2015, for every 100 pounds newspapers lost in print revenue they gained only 3 pounds in digital revenue.

Our local papers, in particular, are under severe pressure. Local papers help to bring together local voices and shine a light on important local issues - in communities, in courtrooms, in council chambers.

And as we devolve power further to local communities, they will become even more important.

And yet, over 200 local newspapers have closed since 2015, including two in my own constituency.

There are also new challenges, that were only in their infancy back in 2011.

We have seen the dramatic and continued rise of social media, which is largely unregulated.

And issues like clickbait, fake news, malicious disinformation and online abuse, which threaten high quality journalism.

A foundation of any successful democracy is a sound basis for democratic discourse. This is under threat from these new forces that require urgent attention.

These are today's challenges and this is where we need to focus.

Especially as over 48 million pounds was spent on the police investigations and the Inquiry.

During the consultation, 12% of direct respondents were in favour of reopening the Leveson Inquiry, with 66% against. We agree and that is the position that we set out in our Manifesto.

Sir Brian, who I thank for his service, agrees that the Inquiry should not proceed on the current terms of reference but believes that it should continue in an amended form.

We do not believe that reopening this costly and time-consuming public inquiry is the right way forward.

Considering all of the factors that I have outlined to the House today, I have informed Sir Brian that we will be formally closing the Inquiry.

But we will take action to safeguard the lifeblood of our democratic discourse, and tackle the challenges our media face today, not a decade ago.

During the consultation, we also found serious concerns that Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 would exacerbate the problems the press face rather than solve them.

Respondents were worried that it would impose further financial burdens, especially on the local press.

One high profile figure put it very clearly. He said:

'Newspapers...are already operating in a tough environment. These proposals will make it tougher and add to the risk of self-censorship'.

'The threat of having to pay both sides' costs - no matter what the challenge - would have the effect of leaving journalists questioning every report that named an individual or included the most innocuous data about them.'

He went on to say that Section 40 risks 'damaging the future of a paper that you love' and that the impact will be to 'make it much more difficult for papers...to survive'.

These are not my words Mr Speaker, but the words of Alastair Campbell talking about the chilling threat of Section 40. [political content removed]

Only 7 per cent of direct respondents favoured full commencement of Section 40. By contrast, 79 per cent favoured full repeal.

Mr Speaker, we have decided not to commence Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 and to seek repeal at the earliest opportunity.

Action is needed. Not based on what might have been needed years ago - but action now to address today's problems.

Our new Digital Charter sets out the overarching programme of work to agree norms and rules for the online world and put them into practice.

Under the Digital Charter, our Internet Safety Strategy is looking at online behaviour and we will firmly tackle the problems of online abuse.

And our review into the sustainability of high quality journalism will address concerns about the impact of the Internet on our news and media.

It will do this in a forward looking way, so we can respond to the challenges of today, not the challenges of yesterday.

Mr Speaker, the future of a vibrant press matters to us all.

There has been a huge public response to our consultation. I would like to thank every one of the 174,000 respondents as well as all those who signed petitions.

We have carefully considered all of the evidence we received. We have consulted widely, with regulators, publications and victims of press intrusion.

The world has changed since the Leveson Inquiry was established in 2011.

Since then we have seen seismic changes to the media landscape.

The work of the Leveson Inquiry, and the reforms since, have had a huge impact on public life. We thank Sir Brian Leveson for lending his dedication and expertise to the undertaking of this Inquiry.

At national and local levels, a press that can hold the powerful to account remains an essential component of our democracy.

Britain needs high-quality journalism to thrive in the new digital world.

We seek a press - a media - that is robust, and independently regulated. That reports without fear or favour.

The steps I have set out today will help give Britain a vibrant, independent and free press that holds the powerful to account and rises to the challenges of our times.


  'Polish death camp' law goes into effect...

It is now a crime to use the phrase lest sensitive listeners get confused between a geographical and political usage of the adjective 'Polish'

Link Here 2nd March 2018
Poland flagA controversial Polish law censoring certain claims regarding the Holocaust and banning the use of the phrase Polish death camps went into effect Thursday.

Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the bill into law, after it passed by wide margins in both chambers of the Polish legislature.

The law bans the phrase Polish death camps, and outlaws claims of collusion by the Polish nation with the Holocaust. Anyone found guilty of ascribing responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich could be sentenced to as much as three years in prison under the new law.

In the meantime the phrase "Polish death camps' has never been heard quite so often as in the last couple of months.


  Trump comes out all guns blazing...

And the targets are video game producers

Link Here 2nd March 2018
Rambo: The Video Game US President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with members of the video game industry next week to discuss violence in games. The announcement comes a week after Trump suggested a link between violent video games and youth violence.

Likely comapnies that will be involved are Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, Activision, Ubisoft.

Trump said recently:

I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts, said Trump last week, after a mass shooting left 17 people dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida. And then you go the further step, and that's the movies. You see these movies, and they're so violent, and yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn't involved, but killing is involved, and maybe they have to put a rating system for that.

Of course the idea is to deflect blame for frequent killing sprees from guns to games. But if Trump is right and people are readily corrupted by video games, then surely games players need to banned from owning guns, and that's pretty much the whole population.


  Beat Bigotry with a Smile....but not on Facebook...

The National Secular Society notes that extreme preachers can say their thing on Facebook but criticism of what they say is banned

Link Here 2nd March 2018
veedu vidzThe National Secular Society has called Facebook's decision to remove the page of a satirist who mocks Islamist preachers a very poor reflection on its attitude to free expression.

Waleed Wain, a British comedian who goes by the name Veedu Vidz online, makes videos satirising well-known Islamist preachers, Islamic extremism and anti-Muslim bigotry.

In a video published on 23 February Wain said Facebook had removed his page indefinitely. The page was previously banned for one month after offended viewers repeatedly reported the videos.

When the ban was lifted in February, the Veedu Vidz Facebook page shared the video Halal Movie Review: The Lion King . The video parodies Zakir Naik, an Islamist preacher who has been banned in the UK and other countries for promoting terrorism. Within 24 hours of sharing the video, the Veedu Vidz page was unpublished.

Wain has appealed against Facebook's decision to unpublish his page. On Tuesday Facebook said it had reviewed his appeal and the page could once again be viewed publicly. Wain said:

I did not realise posting videos of Zakir Naik or Dawah Man [another Islamist preacher parodied on Veedu Vidz] could get you banned, especially when they can post their own videos talking about their own beliefs pretty frequently, pretty clearly, openly.

And they should be allowed to express their opinions, and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that, but when I express my opinion on them, I get banned.

The current situation is that while preachers such as Zakir Naik, who support terrorism and the death penalty for LGBT people and apostates, are given a platform on Facebook, those who challenge or mock these views are censored. This is a very poor reflection on Facebook and its attitudes to liberal values and to free expression.


  Hidden costs...

US games ratig group adds label to inform customers of 'in-game purchases'

Link Here 1st March 2018  full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
esrb logoThe Entertainment Software Rating Boar d (ESRB) has announced that it will begin assigning a new "In - Game Purchases" label to physical ( e.g., boxed) games.

The In - Game Purchases label is one of several interactive elements that ESRB currently assigns to notify consumers about the interactive or online features of a digital or mobile game. Consumers can expect to start seeing this new notice on all games that can be purchased in stores and wherever those games can be downloaded in the near future.

ESRB president Patricia Vance said:

The video game industry is evolving and innovating continually, as is the ESRB rating system. ESRB's goal is to ensure that parents have the most up-to-date and comprehensive tools at their disposal to help them decide which games are appropriate for their children/ With the new In-Game Purchases interactive element coming to physical games, parents will know when a game contains offers for players to purchase additional content. Moreover, we will be expanding our efforts to educate parents about the controls currently at their disposal to manage in-game spending before their kids press 'Start'."

The new In-Game Purchases label will be applied to games with in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency, including but not limited to bonus levels, skins, surprise items (such as item packs, loot boxes, mystery awards), music, virtual coins and other forms of in-game currency, subscriptions, season passes and upgrades (e.g., to disable ads).

The ESRB also launched ParentalTools.org , an easy - to - use one - stop resource for parents


  Australian newspaper censorship...

Censors get in a tangle deciding whether reporting about terrorism may somehow be supporting terrorism

Link Here 1st March 2018
Australian Film Classification BoardIn May 2017, the Australian major news platform, news.com.au published an article titled Islamic State terror guide encourages luring victims via Gumtree, eBay

A week after it was published on May 31, 2017, the Attorney-General's office contacted news.com.au to demand it be taken down, saying the Classification Board had ruled it should be refused classification as it directly or indirectly advocated terrorist acts.

It appears to be the first time section 9A of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 has been used to censor a news report, since it was first added in 2007. The action has alarmed the publisher of news.com.au as Australian media in general were not informed the Classification Board had the power to ban news stories or that the eSafety Commissioner had the power to instigate investigations into news articles.

A separate Press Council investigation into the article was commissioned and the Council has ruled in news.com.au favour, accepting there was public interest in its article publicising the disturbing ways Islamic State was trying to target potential victims.

News.com.au has just published the Press Council decision and it reveals that news.com.au was not given the opportunity to defend the article prior to it being censored.

News.com.au editor-in-chief Kate de Brito said any censorship of the media by a government department raised serious concerns about press freedom.

This is a deeply concerning development of media censorship. The Classification Board has silenced the reporting of a legitimate threat to the Australian public, she said. Australians have a right to know if their safety or lives are being placed at risk -- there can be few more important matters of public interest.

The secretive way the Classifications Board acted in this way is a direct attack on freedom of the press and journalists should condemn it.


  They can't tell art from arse...

Another in the long lists of shoddy Facebook censorship decisions

Link Here 1st March 2018  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
venus of willendorfCases of art censorship on Facebook continue to surface. The latest work deemed pornographic is the 30,000 year-old nude statue famously known as the Venus of Willendorf, part of the Naturhistorisches Museum (NHM) collection in Vienna. An image of the work posted on Facebook by Laura Ghianda, a self-described artivist, was removed as inappropriate content despite four attempts to appeal the decision.

The NHM reacted to Ghianda's Facebook post in January, requesting that Facebook allow the Venus to remain naked. There has never been a complaint by visitors concerning the nakedness of the figurine, says Christian Koeberl, the director general of NHM. There is no reason to cover the Venus of Willendorf and hide her nudity, neither in the museum nor on social media.


  A vote for jobs...

Presumably the Italian authorities are behind the banning a porn star from repeating an election stunt involving free blowjobs for votes

Link Here 1st March 2018
il pompa tourAn Italian porn star who dreamt up a fun filled stunt at a recent referendum has been banned from Instagram ahead of a general election lest she repeat it.

Paola Saulino previously promised a blow job for those that voted against constitutional reforms. The reforms were duly rejected Paola launched her Pompa Tour - which translates as Oral Tour - during which she claimed to have pleasured 700 men.

She says she has just been barred from contacting her 430,000 followers over fears she may try and swing the vote, which is due to take place on Sunday.

Saulino said she has complained to Instagram about being banned, saying she is paying the price for her lifestyle

It is a little bizarre that a government that has been in office for long enough to pass plenty of laws that effect people's lives. Presumably if they feel a little insecure, it is because they haven't done a good job in doing things that attract support. And then to think that elections can be swung by trivial propaganda or a silly stunt, it's insulting to the electors, and so the politicians deserve to be kicked out.


 Updated: 'N' for No...

China gets even for aggressive in trying to stifle internet debate about a proposal to let the president reign for life.

Link Here 1st March 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
chinese long reignChinese censors are battling to silence criticism of Xi Jinping's bid to set himself to reign over China for the rest of his life.

The Communist party claim that the move is an acknowledgement of overwhelming support for Xi. However, there has been widespread online push-back in China since it was announced on the eve of an annual political congress in Beijing. So the Chinese censors have ramped up their efforts to stifle discontent with the proposal.

In a blog post, Victor Mair, a University of Pennsylvania China expert, said censors had taken quick, drastic action after the internet was flooded with complaints. For instance the following earch terms have been blocked on Twitter-like Weibo:

  • Ten thousand years, used as a term like Long live!
  • Disagree
  • Xi Zedong, a hybrid of the names of Xi and Chairman Mao Zedong
  • Shameless
  • Lifelong
  • 'Personality cult'
  • Emigrate
  • Immortality
  • the letter N, for unknown reasons, perhaps even a typo

China has also been aggressive in criticising the west for joining in the debate.

king winnieUpdate: The amazing banned memes from China

1st March 2018. See article from indexoncensorship.org

China is having a meme moment and it's driving the censors mad

See article from indexoncensorship.org


 Offsite Article: The history of US film censorship...

Link Here 1st March 2018
Poster Miracle 1959 Irving Rapper and Gordon Douglas How a Miracle intervened to restore constitutional free speech rights to movie makers

See article from daily.jstor.org


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