The Digital Economy Bill (DEBill) will require that porn sites verify the age of their users in order to prevent under 18s from viewing pornography. Despite concerns that this will leave porn users vulnerable to hacks and security risks, the Government
has failed to amend the Bill so that privacy is written into the legislation. Instead, Codes of Practice will place the responsibility for protecting people's privacy with porn sites not the companies supplying age verification technology.
Executive Director Jim Killock said:
Age verification is an accident waiting to happen. Despite repeated warnings, parliament has failed to listen to concerns about the privacy and security of people who want to watch legal adult content.
As we saw with the Ashley Madison leaks, the hacking of private information about people's sex lives, has huge repercussions for those involved. The UK government has failed to take responsibility for its proposals and placed the responsibility for
people's privacy into the hands of porn companies.
The Bill will also enable the creation of a censorship regime as the BBFC will be given powers to force ISPs to block legitimate websites without any judicial process. These powers were added to the Bill, when it became apparent that foreign porn sites
could not be compelled to apply age verification. During parliamentary scrutiny, they were extended to include other content, not just pornography, raising further concerns about the threat to free speech.
These new powers will put in place a vast system of censorship which could be applied to tens of thousands of adult websites. The BBFC will be under pressure to censor more and more legal content. This is a serious assault on free speech in the UK.
Almost 25,000 ORG supporters signed a petition calling for the Government to reject plans for blocking legal pornography.
Not sure if you were aware of this, but Tuesday 18th's premiere of Season 2, Episode 9 (Sic Transit Imperium) of Sky Atlantic's imported US Showtime drama BILLIONS , had a heavily censored subtitle track for Deaf/Hard of Hearing viewers added to
it. Every single swear-word was edited.
Fuck became heck, frick, frig, screw, freak, crap Fucking became sucking, fricking, frigging, freaking, freaky, fracking Shit became stuff, hell, crap Pussy became punk Bullshit became bullspit Goddam became gosh-darn, full-blown (yes, really!)
Motherfucker became money-grabber Fuck this became forget this
The only rude words that survived intact were crap and ass .
Whoever did that episode's subtitling clearly had an issue with all the adult language. I've never seen anything like this, since the 1980's/90's days of films on ITV (like ALIENS or DIE HARD).
Update: Freaking censors
29th April 2017. Thanks to Jon
Re the censored subtitling on Season 2, episodes 9 and 10 of BILLIONS (currently showing on Sky Atlantic).
Sky has now e-mailed Jon to say that the subtitles they broadcast, are the same ones used by Showtime in the USA.
Here's the video evidence
of what the audio sounds like, and what the subtitles claim are being said. It's funny...
A police unit to censor online insult and hate crime has been launched by London's mayor, Sadiq Khan.
The Online Hate Crime Hub is made up of five Met police officers who will try to identify, prevent and investigate online abuse. Sadiq Khan said officers would work with community 'experts' to develop the police's understanding of online hate .
The unit will cost £1.7m over two years. It is being funded by the Met and the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC), with £452,000 also being contributed by the Home Office Police Innovation Fund.I
Any online insult and hate crimes on the likes of Twitter and Facebook will be looked into by the unit.
City Hall said discussions were also under way with social media companies to develop appropriate online sanctions for perpetrators of online hate .
Offsite Comment: All hail Sadiq Khan's new Ministry of Truth
We're calling on social networks to be regulated and fined when they fail to protect children after it was revealed that 4 out of 5 children feel social media companies aren't doing enough to protect them
Out of 1,696 children and young people who took part in our Net Aware research, 1,380 thought social media sites needed to do more to protect them from inappropriate or harmful content. When asked about what they were coming across
on social media sites, children reported seeing:
bullying and hatred.
We're calling on Government to draw up minimum standards that internet companies must meet to safeguard children. These standards must include:
age-ratings in line with those for films set by the British Board of Film Classification
safe accounts automatically offered to under 18's -- with default privacy settings, proactive filtering of harmful content and mechanisms to guard against grooming
13 Reasons Why is a USA Netflix mystery drama
Starring Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford and Christian Navarro.
Thirteen Reasons Why, based on the best-selling books by Jay Asher, follows teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers a group of cassette
tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) -his classmate and crush-who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Through
Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, Thirteen Reasons Why weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect viewers.
In the US the show is rated as TV-MA, an advisory 14 rating.
In the UK the series was rated 18 for sexual violence, strong bloody images, suicide scene.
The New Zealand film censors of the OFLC have now introduced an RP18 certificate just for this show. RP18 means that the content is restricted to adults or to under 18's accompanied by their parents or guardians. It is not clear how this relates to home
viewing. The New censor already has RP13 and RP16 rage ratings with the same accompaniment exclusions.
The OFLC explains their new certificate in a press release:
The New Zealand Classification Office has created a new RP18 rating specifically for the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. The classification recognises that teens are watching and will continue to watch the series, while signalling the
strong content and emphasising the essential role of parents and caregivers in discussing this material with young people in their care.
The show 13 Reasons Why has caused controversy worldwide mainly for its treatment of teen suicide. The show -- aimed at a teen and young adult audience -- also includes bullying and intense violence, and strong scenes of sexual violence. Due to concerns
about the show, the Chief Censor made use of his power to 'call in' and require classification of the series.
Some aspects of the show have received praise from groups such as the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network, who have highlighted some positive messaging around consent and sexual violence in the show. The Mental Health Foundation New Zealand also identifies
the series as an opportunity to raise awareness around youth suicide and mental health.
The Classification Office also discussed the series with teens aged 14-18. Deputy Chief Censor Jared Mullen says that:
All the teens we spoke to felt the show addressed issues that were relevant to them, and that the series overall had positive messages relating to social awareness: treating others with respect and compassion, and raising awareness about suicide, sexual
violence, bullying, and other issues.
Nevertheless, there are real risks created by the portrayal of suicide in 13 Reasons Why . The suicide method is clearly shown -- contravening established health guidelines and creating the potential for copycat behaviour. The real links between mental
health and suicide are not discussed at all in the series. The choice of the lead character to kill herself is also portrayed quite fatalistically. In real life, most of those with suicidal thoughts recover, and do not go on to end their lives.
Deputy Chief Censor Jared Mullen:
These issues need to be talked about in a way that is informed and safe -- parents, guardians and other adults need to have open conversations with teens about the issues raised by the show. Parents should use their judgement about whether their teen is
ready to watch this show and then watch it with them. The series raises a lot of issues but often fails to fully address them, and it's really important that trusted adults can step in at that point.
13 Reasons Why is classified RP18 with the following warning note: "Series deals with suicide, bullying and depression. Episodes may contain violence, sexual material, drug use, and frequent offensive language. Some episodes contain graphic
depictions of suicide and rape".
The RP18 classification recognises that 16 and 17 year olds continue to be at high risk of suicidal thoughts, but also recognises that teens should continue to have access to the show with the support of the adults in their lives.
3 Generations is a 2015 USA drama by Gaby Dellal.
Starring Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning and Susan Sarandon.
Family living under one roof in New York must deal with a life-changing transformation by one that ultimately affects them all. Ray is a teenager who has come to the realization that he isn't meant to be a girl and has decided to transition from female
to male. His single mother, Maggie, must track down Ray's biological father to get his legal consent to allow Ray's transition. Dolly, Ray's lesbian grandmother, is having a hard time accepting that she now has a grandson. They must each confront their
own identities and learn to embrace change and their strength as a family in order to ultimately find acceptance and understanding.
The Weinstein Company and the MPAA have come to an agreement on the rating for upcoming trans film 3 Generations , settling on a PG-13 rating.
The film was originally slapped with an R-rating, which was challenged by TWC with support from GLAAD. According to a release from the studio, it made some cuts to the film as a compromise to ensure the PG-13 rating.
The film's new PG-13 rating is for mature thematic content, some sexual references and language. Its previous, stricter R-rating was for profanity and sexual references.
A change.org petition protesting the MPAA's original R rating garnered nearly 35,000 signatures since its launch last week.
3 Generations opens in New York and Los Angeles on May 5 and goes on general release a week later.
The 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reflects a world in which attacks on the media have become
commonplace and strongmen are on the rise. We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms 203 especially in democracies.
RSF's latest World Press Freedom Index highlights the danger of a tipping point in the state of media freedom, especially in leading democratic countries. (Read our analysis entitled Journalism weakened by democracy's erosion.) Democracies began falling
in the Index in preceding years and now, more than ever, nothing seems to be checking that fall.
The obsession with surveillance and violations of the right to the confidentiality of sources have contributed to the continuing decline of many countries previously regarded as virtuous. This includes the United States (down 2 places at 43rd), the
United Kingdom (down 2 at 40th), Chile (down 2 at 33rd), and New Zealand (down 8 at 13th).
Donald Trump's rise to power in the United States and the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom were marked by high-profile media bashing, a highly toxic anti-media discourse that drove the world into a new era of post-truth, disinformation, and fake
The Indian Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has directed the Central Board Film Certification (CBFC) to grant an adults-only A certificate to the Hindi film Lipstick Under My Burkha with cuts.
Upholding the appeal filed by the film's director Alankrita Srivastava and producer Prakash Jha, the Tribunal noted that there was no violation of guidelines. Neither the visuals nor the dialogues in the film were contemptuous of racial,
religious or other groups, as claimed by the CBFC. the tribunal also refuted other CBFC claims by noting: There was no targeting of women of certain community or religion.
The Tribunal explained that the examining committee and revising committee of the CBFC misdirected themselves in denying certification on the ground that the story of the film was women oriented. Tribunal head Justice Manmohan Sarin said:
There cannot be any embargo on a film being women oriented or containing sexual fantasies and expression of the inner desires of women.
The entire matter has to be considered in the perspective of the theme of the film, the story, the characters and the overall impact of the film. As a matter of general approach if the aspect of sexual desires and their expression is sensitively handled
without bringing coarseness, vulgarity or obscenity, pandering prurient tendencies, then it is not to be disallowed.
During hearing of the matter, the appellant offered voluntary cuts or reduction in the length of the sex scenes or others which may have been considered unduly long or unnecessary.
However all is not freedom and enlightenment at the FCAT, the tribunal suggested that the sex scenes should by censored as should one occurrence of an 'inappropriate' word.
Ofcom has received 62 complaints over Emmerdale scenes which saw the character Pierce Harris rape his wife Rhona Goskirk. The scenes, which aired in an episode which started at 7pm, showed Pierce being extremely aggressive and, while the camera
panned away so that the scenes were only implied, Rhona's screams for Pierce to stop made it clear what was happening.
A spokesperson for the TV censor Ofcom said: We will assess these complaints before deciding whether or not to investigate. A phrase which usually suggests that the complaints are already on their way to the litter bin.
Emmerdale have worked closely with Rape Crisis and Women's Aid throughout the preparation and execution of the storyline and an Emmerdale spokesperson said:
Emmerdale has a history of raising awareness of difficult subjects and consequently Rhona and Pierce's story was thoroughly researched and carefully signposted prior to transmission including a warning advising viewers of a shocking assault. In
accordance with rigorous compliance regulations, the drama was intentionally implicit rather than explicit.
New Zealand's outgoing chief censor has urged the Government to hurry up and deliver the law change it proposed on
streaming services like Netflix.
Eight months since the Government announced a plan to update broadcasting rules, including making online streaming services subject to classification and content standards, chief censor Andrew Jack has revealed his frustration at what he says has been a
total lack of progress.
Jack spoke to the Herald on Sunday in the final week of his six-year tenure at the top of the classification office and cited concerns around pornography as well as how issues like suicide, rape and sexual violence are being used by entertainment
companies for commercial gain - beyond the reach of regulation. He whinged:
Nothing has actually happened, just nothing. And I have to say that is a source of significant frustration. We know some of this material is causing harm, we know the measures which can improve the situation, but nothing has actually happened.
The only entities winning out of the current situation are the entities selling depictions of sexual violence as entertainment.
In my view, you can't just announce you're going to do something, and not do it.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry said the Government intends to refer the bill to a select committee this year. She said:
Work on the bill has been fairly complex. It needs to be future-proofed in an era of rapid technological change, as well as being practical for existing providers and not putting barriers to the entry of new services.
In his final days as chief censor, a role he wanted to continue but was unsuccessful in seeking a third term, Jack said there were other aspects to consider, specifically around pornography and depictions of suicide and sexual violence. Jack said there
was absolutely a concern over pornography becoming an unwelcome form of sex education in young generations, though more research needed to be done to understand what exactly young Kiwis are consuming online.
Jack spoke of complains about the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why:
I can't talk specifically about the series you talked about because the classification office has called that in and is in the process of deciding whether that needs to be subject to a restriction or a warning on it.
Historically as a country we've tried the 'let's not talk about it' approach [to suicide] which has not been successful. We've an appalling rate of youth suicide.
Where those issues are dealt with in a positive way, it's a really good thing. But it's where you get depictions of suicide which are instructional, or two-dimensional or suggest it's a viable option for dealing with some of the tribulations life
sometimes deals at you.
The Annual Report 2016
reveals how our work has changed and how ASA adapted to a fast changing advertising landscape where nearly half of the work now involves regulating online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads , material that just five years ago wasn’t covered by
2016 marked the five year anniversary of the ASA and CAP extending the advertising rules to cover companies’ and other organisations’ own ad claims on their own websites and social media spaces, for example on You Tube, Facebook and
Twitter. The Annual Report reveals the impact of that change. In the last five years:
The ASA has resolved 41,383 complaints about 36,872 online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads
Those ads accounted for 1 in 3 complained about to the ASA
88% of complaints about online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads were about misleadingness, compared to 73% for complaints across all media.
The report highlights the regulatory challenges the changing advertising landscape poses, with the lines between offline and online and between paid-for, ‘owned’ and ‘earned’ advertising becoming increasingly blurred. And the
report shows how technological change has influenced the ASA’s strategy to have more impact and be more proactive.
Key figures for 2016 included:
The ASA resolved 28,521 complaints about 16,999 ads
4,824 ads were changed or withdrawn as a result of ASA and CAP action (a record year and a 5% increase on 2015)
CAP delivered 281,061 pieces of training and advice to industry to help companies and organisations get their ads right (another record year and a 10% increase on 2015)
The ASA and CAP delivered strong enforcement, with 8 websites taken down, one successful prosecution of an alternative therapy provider following referral to our legal backstop, Trading Standards, and two arrests pending prosecution
The Russian government is preparing to scale-up its war on people accessing blocked webssites by hitting services that provide workarounds. A new bill
developed by the government requires VPNs and other anonymizing services to stop providing access to blocked domains. If they do not, they themselves will also be blocked. Search engines also face sanctions for linking to banned sites.
When it comes to blocking websites, Russia is quickly emerging as a world leader. Tens of thousands of sites are now blocked in the country on copyright infringement and a wide range of other censorship grounds.
Of course, Russian citizens are not always prepared to be constrained by their government, so large numbers of people regularly find ways to circumvent ISP blockades. The tools and methods deployed are largely the same as those used in the West,
including VPNs, proxies, mirror sites and dedicated services such as Tor.
To counter this defiance, the Russian government has been considering legislation to tackle sites, tools and services that provide Internet users with ways to circumvent blockades. According to local news outlet Vedomosti , that has now resulted in a
tough new bill.
Russia's plan is to issue a nationwide ban on systems and software that allow Internet users to bypass website blockades previously approved by telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor. This means that if a VPN, proxy or similar tool unblocks torrent site
RuTracker, for example, it will be breaking the law. As a result, it too will find itself on Russia's banned site list.
The publication says it has confirmed the bill's existence with a federal official and several Internet service provider sources.
As previously reported , Russia also has search engines in its sights. It wants to prevent links to banned sites appearing in search results, claiming that these encourage people to access banned material. The new bill reportedly lays out a new framework
which will force search engines to remove such links. Failing to do so could result in fines of up to $12,400 per breach, clearly a significant issue for companies such as Google and local search giant Yandex.
A video ad on the online drinks retailer 31Dover.com's website and on Youtube, seen in February 2017, opened on a blurred background and title text The Karma Shotra appeared. Bar paraphernalia including glasses, bottles and a variety of alcohol
products were then shown with doodle drawings such as arms and faces overlaid on them. These characters were shown smiling and touching each other in a sexual manner. Subtitles appeared throughout such as The Cork Screw and The Rim Job ,
each followed by the characters engaging in sexual activity.
Two complainants, who believed the ad strongly linked alcohol to seduction, sexual activity and sexual success, objected that the ad was socially irresponsible and breached the Code.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
The ASA considered that the video as featured on the advertiser's own website and on their YouTube channel was an ad which fell within the remit of the CAP Code. The video featured alcohol products and referred throughout to the website URL where
products could be purchased and was therefore clearly directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods and services provided by 31Dover.com.
We considered that the ad strongly linked alcohol to sexual activity. The ad plainly features sexual innuendo, sexual references and sexual activity in association with the promotion of alcohol products and 31Dover.com. We did not consider that because
there was no human and alcohol interaction and there were no specific alcohol products or brands featured that this impression would have been eclipsed. Because the ad linked alcohol with sexual activity, we concluded it was socially irresponsible and
breached the code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 18.1 18.1 Marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that is likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that are unwise. For example, they should not encourage
excessive drinking. Care should be taken not to exploit the young, the immature or those who are mentally or socially vulnerable. and 18.5 18.5 Marketing communications must neither link alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success nor imply
that alcohol can enhance attractiveness. (Alcohol).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told 31Dover.com to prepare future advertising in a socially responsible way and not to link alcohol to sexual activity in their future marketing communications.
The Portnam Group is a drinks industry panel which investigates complaints about the marketing of alcoholic drinks. The latest
A complaint about the packaging of Old English Gin promoting excessive drinking has not been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel).
The complainant believed that due to the fact that the product is sealed with a wine-style cork it is less practical than a more usual spirit closure --.and will encourage purchasers to drink the bottle more quickly than they would otherwise
The Panel were presented with the bottle of Old English Gin sealed to gauge if it could be opened easily. The Panel proceeded to open the bottle and reseal it with the cork. Whilst disappointed with the Company's short response, the Panel found that the
bottle was straightforward to reseal; with the brand name etched upside down on the cork so that when it was inserted into the neck the writing on the cork was the right-way up. The Panel noted this design feature and that the product was unlikely to
deteriorate quickly and therefore would not encourage consumers to drink the product more quickly. The Panel therefore concluded that the product did not breach the Code.
An email from Selfridges, seen in January 2017, showed a model standing side on in a long blue dress.
A complainant, who believed the model looked unhealthily thin, challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible.
ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld
The ASA acknowledged that while the image did emphasise the model's slenderness through pose and the style of clothing, she appeared to be in proportion. We considered most people, including young children and women, would interpret the ad as focusing on
the design and fit of the dress, rather than on desirable body image. We considered that, although the model was slim, she did not appear to be unhealthily thin or significantly underweight and therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible.
After watching two broadcasts of Music Hall (1934), one in the morning and one late at night, on the Talking Pictures TV channel. I
noticed that certain words were blanked out of the performance by GH Elliott.
After a small bit of research I realised that the word coon had been removed twice on both occasions.
Being a fan of music hall I was rather disappointed.
Does this mean that language other than swearing will be regularly removed whether shown before, or after the Watershed, whether in context, or not?
I have written to Ofcom to complain, but as you are aware they very rarely write back.
Tesco has apologised for any offence from a beer advertisement that claimed Good Friday
just got better .
The ad ran in some newspapers to promote great offers on beer and cider in the run-up to Easter.
Vicar and broadcaster, the Reverend Richard Coles, claimed the advert was extraordinarily and unnecessarily ignorant and causes unnecessary offence to many. It didn't need to.
Michael Wakelin, a former head of BBC religious programmes, chipped in
Tesco got it badly wrong with the crass advert. It was also a decidedly poor way of treating such a holy day.
I'm sure there was no attempt to offend, I'm sure that wasn't in their mind. It is just religious illiteracy; ignorance if you like, around what religious people hold dear, and that is my main concern.
A Tesco spokesperson told the BBC:
We know that Easter is an important time of the year for our customers. It is never our intention to offend and we are sorry if any has been caused by this advert.
New Zealand film censor surveys feminists, anti-sex work campaigners, police and academics to find that child protection issues re sexual violence in the media can be mitigated by extending film censorship to the internet
New Zealand's film censors of the OFLC are calling for the extension of their remit to internet streaming services such as Lightbox and Netflix.
Currently, apart from some one-off cases, the New Zealand censor has no influence over the labelling and warnings that come with streamed content.
Deputy chief censor Jared Mullen claimed that the public wanted such services too be censored by the OFLC:
Forty-seven percent of New Zealanders are now accessing streaming services regularly - that's at least weekly. So I think it is becoming more a part of New Zealanders lives and parents and young people are telling us the same thing. Their expectations
for content labelling are high, they want more specific information and they want that before they watch the show.
Ninety-two percent of Kiwis who are responsible for choosing entertainment for children actually use the classification and labels, which is an extraordinary number.
Mullen said the participants involved in new research generally agreed that content regulation laws should be extended to cover increasingly popular streaming services. However this is hardly surprising when noting that the surveyed group were feminist
campaigners, anti-sex work campaigners, police and feminist dominated academia.
Mullen noted that the groups were canvassed:
On their views of firstly what they're seeing in terms of sexual violence portrayal in entertainment media, and how they are seeing it effect young people. The concern across all of those groups is the portrayal of sexual violence... is often
unrealistic, it can be sensationalised and is often portraying some really harmful myths about sexual violence which don't accord with reality.
Asked about the legal practicalities of extending film censorship to the internet, Mullen said there were half a dozen pieces of legislation that would need changing:
Relatively easy amendments - there's a range of regulations that would need to change, but other than that, no - it's not difficult.
The German broadcasting authority, the Landesmedienanstalt , has issued a temporary ruling requiring streamers using services such as Twitch and YouTube
to obtain a broadcasting license to avoid penalties. This license, known in German as the Rundfunklizenz , can cost anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 euro to obtain.
The news comes after popular Twitch streaming channel PietSmiet said it was told it will need a license by April 30 if it wants to continue streaming. The changes apply to all online streamers with a very low threshold of 500 or more followers.
More than a dozen state legislatures are considering a bill called the " Human Trafficking Prevention Act
," which has nothing to do with human trafficking and all to do with one man's crusade against pornography at the expense of free speech.
At its heart, the model bill would require device manufacturers to pre-install "obscenity" filters on devices like cell phones, tablets, and computers. Consumers would be forced to pony up $20 per device in order to surf the Internet without
state censorship. The legislation is not only technologically unworkable, it violates the First Amendment and significantly burdens consumers and businesses.
Perhaps more shocking is the bill's provenance. The driving force behind the legislation is a man named Mark Sevier, who has been using the alias "Chris Severe" to contact legislators.
According to the Daily Beast
, Sevier is a disbarred attorney who has sued major tech companies, blaming them for his pornography addiction, and sued states for the right to marry his laptop. Reporters Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny uncovered a lengthy legal history for Sevier,
including an open arrest warrant and stalking convictions, as well as evidence that Sevier misrepresented his own experience working with anti-trafficking non-profits.
The bill has been introduced in some form Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. We recommend that any legislator who has to consider this bill read the Daily
But that's not why they should vote against the Human Trafficking Prevention Act. They should kill this legislation because it's just plain, awful policy. Obviously, each version of the legislation varies, but here is the general gist.
Manufacturers of Internet-connected devices would have to pre-install filters to block pornography, including "revenge porn." Companies would also have to ensure that all child pornography, "revenge pornography," and "any hub
that facilitates prostitution" are rendered inaccessible. Most iterations of the bill require this filtering technology to be turned on and locked in the on position, by default.
This is terrible for consumer choice because it forces people to purchase a software product they don't necessarily want. It's also terrible for free speech because it restrains what you can see. Because of the risk of legal liability, companies are more
likely to over-censor, blocking content by default rather than giving websites the benefit of the doubt. The proscriptions are also technologically unworkable: for example, an algorithm can hardly determine whether an item of pornography is
"revenge" or consensual or whether a site is a hub for prostitution.
To be clear, unlocking such filters would not just be about accessing pornography. A user could be seeking to improve the performance of their computer by deleting unnecessary software. A parent may want to install premium child safety software, which
may not play well with the default software. And, of course, many users will simply want to freely surf the Internet without repeatedly being denied access to sites mistakenly swept up in the censorship net.
A Censorship Tax
The model bills would require consumers to pay a $20 fee to unlock each of their devices to exercise their First Amendment rights to look at legal content. Consumers could end up paying a small fortune to unlock their routers, smartphones, tablets, and
Anyone who wants to unlock the filters on their devices would have to put their request in writing. Then they'd be required to show ID, be subjected to a "written warning regarding the potential dangers" of removing the obscenity filter, and
then would have to sign a form acknowledging they were shown that warning. That means stores would be maintaining private records on everyone who wanted their "Human Trafficking" filters removed.
The Censorship Machine
The bill would force the companies we rely upon to ensure open access to the Internet to create a massive censorship apparatus that is easily abused.
Under the bill, tech companies would be required to operate call centers or online reporting centers to monitor complaints that a particular site isn't included in the filter or complaints that a site isn't being properly filtered. Not only that, but the
bill specifically says they must "ensure that all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible on the product" putting immense pressure on companies to aggressively and preemptively block websites to avoid legal liability out of
fear of just one illegal or forbidden image making it past their filters. Social media sites would only be immune if they also create a reporting center and "remain reasonably proactive in removing reported obscene content."
It's unfortunate that the Human Trafficking Prevention Act has gained traction in so many states, but we're pleased to see that some, such as Wyoming, have already rejected it. Legislators should do the right thing: uphold the Constitution, protect
consumers, and not use the problem of human trafficking as an excuse to promote this individual's agenda against pornography.
German ministers have recently approved plans to fine technology companies if they fail to censor posts that are
claimed to be hate speech or 'fake news'.
The law introduces fines to the tune of approximately £42.7m if technology companies do not censor complalined about posts within 24 hours of it being reported (or seven days to deal with less clear-cut cases). The approval comes one month after the
draft law, the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, was unveiled.
Google, Facebook and Twitter are likely to be particularly affected.
Many have raised concerns over the censorship process. The head of the Digital Society Association, Volker Tripp, said: It is the wrong approach to make social networks into a content police.
The implementation of the law will now mean that all contended posts will now be rapidly and routinely removed regardless of the voracity of the complaint. After all this is the age when complainants are always right.
New Zealand's Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has announced the appointment of David Shanks as the Chief Censor of Film and
Literature for a three-year term. Dunne said:
Mr Shanks is a senior public servant who has held roles as chief legal officer and a number of acting deputy chief executive positions.
His senior management and legal experience in the public sector will be of great benefit to the Classification Office.
I would also like to acknowledge the significant work of outgoing Chief Censor, Dr Andrew Jack and thank him for his passion and commitment over the last six years.
During his time, Dr Jack has overseen a number of complex classification decisions that have involved careful balancing of freedom of expression with avoiding potential harm, and continued to advance the public debate about censorship issues in a modern
The Chief Censor is responsible for protecting New Zealanders from material likely to cause harm while balancing the important right to freedom of expression.
The Office of Film and Literature Classification is an independent Crown entity, established under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 to examine and censor publications, including films, videos, books, magazines, sound recordings
and computer files.
Germany has approved a draft law that will enable businesses to run open WiFi hotspots without being held liable for
the copyright infringements of their customers. Copyright holders will still have the ability to request that certain sites are blocked to prevent repeat infringement.
In most jurisdictions it's standard practice for those who commit online copyright infringement to be held responsible for their own actions. However in Germany there is a legal concept known as Störerhaftung (interferer liability) where a third
party who played no intentional part in someone else's infringements can be held responsible for them. This type of liability has raised its head in a number of file-sharing cases where WiFi owners have been considered liable for other people's piracy.
As a direct result of this precarious legal position, Germany has found itself trailing behind its European neighbors when it comes to providing public Internet hotspots. Some have described the situation as an embarrassment for one of the most advanced
countries in the world.
Under pressure and in response to a European Court of Justice opinion on the matter last March, the government eventually decided to rescind liability for open WiFi operators. Since then the government has been working on changes to local law to bring it
into line with EU standards. A third draft presented by Brigitte Zypries, Minister for Economics and Energy, has now been adopted by the cabinet.
Should the amendments receive parliamentary approval, businesses will be free to offer open WiFi to their customers, without fear of being held liable for their actions. They will also be able to offer truly open WiFi, with no requirement to verify the
identities of users or have them log in with a password.
While copyright holders won't be pleased by the changes, they will still have opportunities to clamp down on infringement. If a certain WiFi location is connected with online piracy, a properly filed complaint will require the operator to bar access to
websites connected with the infringement.
An ad on the advertiser's YouTube channel, seen in December 2016, for the mobile game app Mobile Strike , featured two women wearing bikinis and sitting on sun-loungers. They were playing the game on their phones. In another scene, shot in
slow motion, a third woman, who was wearing a swimsuit, was seen walking down a path towards them and also playing the game on her mobile phone. As she approached, she flicked her hair back from her face and then stopped and looked into the camera. In
the final scene, she approached the other two women and stood with one hand on her hip whilst looking and smiling at the two other women.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because they believed it objectified women.
Machine Zone Inc explained that their mobile app game Mobile Strike, was a modern military-themed combat game where players could battle against other players. One important feature of the game was that it could be played on mobile devices, the game was
therefore portable and could be played anywhere. They believed the juxtaposition between what people normally did by the pool (i.e. relax and lounge) with the visuals of the players battling it out with jets and tanks was what made the ad so striking.
That theme was used in other ads for the game -- for example, players battling one another in cafes, restaurants and the launderette. The intention was to show that the Mobile Strike game could liven up a player's time spent in everyday, sometimes
They did not believe the ad objectified women. They said that because of the setting, the women were wearing bathing suits. The intention was to feature real-sized women and reference mythical warrior women like Amazons and Wonder Woman ,
as the women were seen making strategic moves in battle against one another. They said they had concerns that the complainant's objection was the size of the women featured rather than what they were wearing or doing in the ad. They suspected that had
the women been typically thin models seen in ads, it was unlikely that a complaint would have been made. They had decided to feature real-sized women as a nod to their diverse player base.
They said they had run the ad globally for a number of months and had not received any other complaints about it. In fact, they said they had received considerable support from their players for featuring real-sized women in their ad, as they were often
YouTube said the ad did not violate their Community Guidelines or Advertising Policies. They said the ad had been served through AdWords, a self-administered system and it was the advertiser's responsibility to choose appropriate targeting of their ads,
as well as to abide by applicable law and regulations, including the CAP Code.
ASA Assessment. Complaint Upheld
The ASA noted that the images of the women wearing swimwear bore no relation to the product being advertised -- a combat-themed mobile game app. We also noted that in some of the scenes, the mannerisms of the women were seductive or sexually-charged. For
example, in one scene, a woman wearing a thong bikini was seen walking towards a sun lounger and the camera angle was taken from below and behind so that as she walked into the scene, only her legs and her thong bikini bottoms were in view. We noted that
another scene featuring one of the women wearing a swimsuit was shot in slow motion, and the emphasis was on her body rather than the mobile game app she was playing. One of the camera angles was shot side-on which highlighted her waist and chest. As she
approached the camera, she flicked her hair back, stopped and looked seductively into the camera. We noted that the ad featured plus-sized models but we considered that fact was irrelevant. For those reasons, we considered that the ad objectified women
and was therefore offensive.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Machine Zone Inc to ensure that its ads in future did not objectify women and cause offence.
Effective from 3 April 2017, Ofcom has become the BBC's first external TV censor.
The BBC Trust has therefore ceased to be. The remaining governance functions carried out by the BBC Trust will move to the new BBC unitary board.
Programmes made for UK audiences: The BBC's spending on brand new UK commissioned programmes fell 30% in real-terms between 2004 and 2015. Therefore, we are proposing quotas for first-run UK originations programmes to be shown on BBC One, BBC Two,
CBeebies and CBBC.
Under our plans, three quarters of all programme hours on the BBC's most popular TV channels should be original productions, commissioned for UK audiences. During peak viewing time 203 from 6pm to 10.30pm 203 at least 90% of programmes on BBC Two
should be original, matching the current requirement for BBC One (see table below).
News and current affairs: We plan to increase the previous requirements for news and current affairs 203 including for BBC One and BBC Two 203 where they have been exceeded, to safeguard this important genre. During peak listening periods, Radio 2 would
be required, for the first time, to air at least three hours of news and current affairs per week, and Radio 1 to broadcast an extended news bulletin in peak-time listening each weekday. Neither station currently has these obligations during peak
Music: The BBC plays a unique role in showcasing musical talent and genres to people across the country. Our rules would mean a significant proportion of the new music played by Radio 1 and Radio 2 should be from new and emerging UK artists. Radio 3
should continue to play a central role in supporting the UK's classical music scene, commissioning at least 25 new musical works each year, and developing relationships with non-BBC UK orchestras, opera companies and festivals.
Arts and learning: Our plans would mean that BBC One and BBC Two would have tougher requirements for showing arts, music and religious programmes, including new requirements to show some during peak viewing times.
Children: New rules would require CBBC to show at least 400 hours 203 and CBeebies at least 100 hours 203 of brand new UK commissioned programming each year. CBeebies would have to provide content in a number of genres that support pre-school children's
Sport: The BBC should provide distinctive sports coverage for fans in all the UK's nations. Ofcom's research found that people want the BBC to cover a wide range of sports. So we will require Radio 5 Live to provide live commentary, news and programmes
covering at least 20 sports, to help support those that are not getting the attention they deserve.
Reflecting the whole UK: Ofcom wants all parts of the UK to be reflected, and invested in, by the BBC. So we are introducing minimum quotas for each UK nation. This means the BBC must spend the same on programmes, per head, in England, Northern Ireland,
Scotland and Wales, as well as ensuring that at least half of all programmes shown nationally and produced in the UK are made outside of London.
Also, we will soon review our guidance on programmes made outside London, to ensure these productions make a genuine contribution to the creative economies of the UK's nations and regions, which could include greater programme making or investment in
There would be a new Diversity Code of Practice to set how the BBC will commission programmes that authentically portray the whole UK population. And the BBC will have to report annually on how it has reflected, represented and served the diverse
communities of the whole UK 203 focusing on age, gender, disability and race, among other characteristics.
High programme standards: To hold the BBC's programmes to the highest standards, Ofcom has today published updates to the Broadcasting Code 203 the rulebook for UK broadcasters which sets standards for the content of programmes. Today's changes will see
that, for the first time, the Code applies in full to BBC broadcasting services and the iPlayer.
The Advertising Standards Authority Chairman, Chris Smith, has announced the appointment of four new Council members -- Neil Stevenson, Tracey Follows, Tess Alps and Nita Patel. The Council is the body responsible for deciding if an ad has broken the
advertising rules. It also operates as the Board of the ASA.
The Council is formed of 13 members of whom two-thirds are independent of industry. The remaining third have a recent, or current, knowledge of the advertising or media sector.
New Council members will begin their terms in April 2017, with the exception of Ms Patel, who will commence her term in April 2018. The new appointments will be replacing Sir Martin Narey, Ray Gallagher and Hamish Pringle, who have all come to the end of
their terms on the Council.
Tracey Follows is Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at The Future Laboratory. She has 20 years' experience in advertising; agency side at Cogent, McCanns, Lowe and VCCP, rising to CSO at J Walter Thompson; and client side as International Advertising
Manager at T-Mobile and Head of Consumer Communications at BT.
Tess Alps is the Chair of Thinkbox and was its first CEO. She is a Fellow of the Royal Television Society, a member of BAFTA and currently sits on the corporate board of The Royal Academy of Arts. Her advertising background includes ITV companies
Television South-West, Yorkshire TV and Tyne-Tees TV and thirteen years as a director of PHD Media, latterly as Chair.
Neil Stevenson is the Chief Executive of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. He currently sits on the Board of the General Dental Council and is Chair of its Remuneration Committee. His past experience includes 11 years at the Law Society of
Scotland and being a founder Director of the Scottish Arbitration Centre. He has a keen interest in equality, and for five years was a member of the advisory group on diversity to the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland.
Nita Patel is a Corporate Communications and Sustainability specialist. Through her business Planet Communications, she has worked with a number of well-known companies helping develop and deliver their sustainability communications. She is also the
co-founder of new coffee shop and co-working space, CAYA, providing a multi-purpose venue for freelancers and nomad workers to eat, work and share space in a flexible fashion. This is her first Board position.
Marvel Comics have embraced political correctness and have generated a number of diverse new characters and re-imagined several old
favourites with a sex change.
Recent storylines have included black female character taking over as Iron Man, a biracial Spider-Man, a female version of Thor, and a Muslim teenage girl as the new Ms. Marvel.
However it seems that some of their retailers aren't impressed by sales figures. At the recent Marvel Retailer Summit, the issue was brought up by geek culture trade magazine ICv2 who asked Marvel's vice president of sales, David Gabriel, why sales were
down? Gabriel relied:
What we heard was that people didn't want any more diversity. They didn't want female characters out there. That's what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don't know that that's really true, but that's what we saw in sales.
We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against. That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new,
exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked.
Note that Gabriel isn't saying Marvel thinks that diversity and female characters are a problem but rather that's the feedback he's getting from many retailers. In fact Marvel are very supportive of diversity and have employed may writers and artists
with like minded ideals. But nevertheless the comments offended the PC lynch mob resulting in several media articles denying that diverse characters are impacting sales, it must be that that they are not trying hard enough reach the market of PC leaning
comic book readers.
Marvel is a business, but it's a business that attempts to sell comics to a demographic that has demonstrated a categorical, historical (and ultimately violent) disinterest in anything that is not built explicitly for them, rather than seeking to expand
by making concerted efforts to entice other people into the fold. Marvel is certainly subject to the demands of capitalism, but it sets its attempts at inclusivity up for failure when it continues to push white men as its real audience and makes
them the metric for success.
Gabriel has since followed up with a corrective statement that spun around his previous comments:
Contrary to what some said about characters 'not working,' the sticking factor and popularity for a majority of these new titles and characters like Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, The Mighty Thor, Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and Moon Girl, continue to prove
that our fans and retailers ARE excited about these new heroes. And let me be clear, our new heroes are not going anywhere! We are proud and excited to keep introducing unique characters that reflect new voices and new experiences into the Marvel
Universe and pair them with our iconic heroes. We have also been hearing from stores that welcome and champion our new characters and titles and want more! They've invigorated their own customer base and helped them grow their stores because of it. So
we're getting both sides of the story and the only upcoming change we're making is to ensure we don't lose focus of our core heroes.
Perhaps a more straightforward commentary was from Jack Brooks in the comments to the article. He noted:
Marvel's classic male heroes have built a following over the decades. Marvel needs the financial coattails of the original characters for the replacement characters to survive, but then Marvel messes all over the male originals. Why? To show off their
Except that most of the female characters aren't prospering. Nearly all of the female versions are doing poorly in sales except Jane Foster Thor (though she was outsold last month by Original Thor). Moon Girl and Ms. Marvel are in the cancellation zone.
Spider-Gwen's sales are anaemic. Spider-Woman was the best-written of the group (in my opinion) and it was just cancelled. And Marvel in Civil War 2 ruined Carol Danvers' character.
Someone at the top needs to recognize that they have allowed Marvel to turn into a propaganda mill. Extreme left-wingers make up a small percentage of the total population, but seem to comprise the majority of Marvel's writers. It's wildly imbalanced.
Bring in new talent who are moderates, or who at least don't use characters to preach.
Outlast 2 is a first person survival horror shooter from Warner Brothers. It is PEGI 18 rated in Europe and and M rated in the US.
Kotaku Australia has learned that Outlast 2 has been banned in Australia, predominately for the depiction of implied sexual violence.
Australia's Censorship Board provided a detailed explanation of the reasons to Kotaku. The censors identified multiple scenes where sexual violence is implied in hallucinatory scenes involving the main character, Blake.
One particular scene shows a female creature thrusting against the main character while his wife is tied up in chains. The censors explained:
[ Spoilers! hover or click text ]
In one cut-scene in the game ... a female creature prepares Blake for a ritual. She says, I want to see your true face. Your seed will burn this world. Shortly afterwards, he objects to having psycho-active dust blown into his face, yelling, Nope! Nope!
before he stumbles into a forest clearing.
His vision blurring, he witnesses what appears to a ritualistic orgy. His wife, Lynn, calls out for his help, saying, It hurts! Oh god!, as she hangs from chains on a raised platform at the front of the clearing. Humanoid creatures, their skin
grey, spattered with blood and scarred, implicity have sex as others pray, or chant, or gesticulate.
One creature has another bent over a rock, thrusting as they implicitly have rear-entry sex, another sits astride the pelvic region of a creature prone on the ground, moving their hips rhythmically as they too implicitly have sex. Two other pairs of
creatures in the clearing are also implicitly having sex.
As Blake yells for the creatures to Get away from her! a female creature, her greyish breasts bared, pushes him onto his back, holds his arms to the ground and repeatedly thrusts her crotch against him. As Blake protests, saying No! Stop that!
the creature thrusts again, before placing its face over his midsection and then sitting up and wiping its mouth.
Although much of the contact between the creature and Blake is obscurred, by it taking place below screen, the sexualised surroundings and aggressive behaviour of the creature suggest that it is an assault which is sexual in nature. The Board is of the
opinion that this, combined with Blake's objections and distress, constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence.
In the Board's opinion, the above example constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence and therefore cannot be accommodated within the R18+ classification category and the game is therefore Refused Classification.
The Board's report also notes that the game could be passed R18+ should the offending scene be cut.
The Australian Censorship Board has now passed a cut of Outlast 2 with the adults only rating R18+ for high impact horror themes, violence, blood,
gore and sex.
The board told IGN it is satisfied that that the original version of the game that was refused classification has been modified to allow the game to be classified R18+, implying that the game's previously objectionable sexually violent content has
Developer Red Barrels then issued a statement saying that they have adopted this cut version for worldwide distribution:
Outlast 2 has been rated R18+ by the Classification Branch in Australia and will be released 26th April 2017. There will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide.
Update: The cut version was the intended version all along
The game producers have now claimed that the version cut to obtain an Australian R18+ was the version that the intended to release
all along and that it should not be therefore be referred to as a cut version when it is distributed worldwide. Red Barrels said:
The original submission of Outlast 2 sent to the Australian Classification Branch contained the final game code and a video file for reference taken from an Alpha version of the game. This video file should not have been sent along with the game code, as
its content was not representative of the final game.
In the second submission, the same game code was submitted with a video file reflecting the final game content. The game was then approved for release with an R18+ rating. There will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide.
Following in the footsteps of Utah and South Dakota, Arkansas has become the third U.S. state to pass a resolution claiming that pornography is a
public health crisis of epidemic proportions.
The resolution, which was passed unanimously last week, states that online porn is responsible for a host of social problems relating to sexuality and sexual violence. Representative Karilyn Brown, a sponsor of House Resolution 1042, whinged:
It is no longer just available in sleazy stores and distributed in brown paper bags.
The resolution claims that pornography proliferates abuse of women and children by depicting rape and abuse as if such acts are harmless, hyper-sexualization among youth, and a slew of other things related to so-called pornography.
All claims stated within the resolution, such as the idea that porn lessens the desire to marry and increases the demand for sex trafficking of young girls, are presented without sources.
The resolution does not have any specific or immediate impacts, it is intended for use by the state's Department of Health for education, prevention, and policy change at the community and societal levels.
Another similar resolution is now being considered in Tennessee.