High Court judges have given the UK government six months to revise parts of its Investigatory Powers Act. The government has been given a deadline of
1 November this year to make the changes to its Snooper's Charter.
Rules governing the British surveillance system must be changed quickly because they are incompatible with European laws, said the judges.
The court decision came out of legal action by human rights group Liberty. It started its legal challenge to the Act saying clauses that allow personal data to be gathered and scrutinised violated citizens' basic rights to privacy.
The court did not agree that the Investigatory Powers Act called for a general and indiscriminate retention of data on individuals, as Liberty claimed. However in late 2017, government ministers accepted that its Act did not align with European
law which only allows data to be gathered and accessed for the purposes of tackling serious crime. By contrast, the UK law would see the data gathered and held for more mundane purposes and without significant oversight.
One proposed change to tackle the problems was to create an Office for Communications Data Authorisations that would oversee requests to data from police and other organisations.
The government said it planned to revise the law by April 2019 but Friday's ruling means it now has only six months to complete the task.
Martha Spurrier, director of Liberty, said the powers to grab data in the Act put sensitive information at huge risk.
Javier Ruiz, policy director at the Open Rights Group which campaigns on digital issues, said:
We are disappointed the court decided to narrowly focus on access to records but did not challenge the general and indiscriminate retention of communications data.
Rafiki is a 2018 Kenya / South Africa drama by Wanuri Kahiu.
Starring Patricia Amira, Muthoni Gathecha and Jimmy Gathu.
Rafiki, which means friend in Swahili, is adapted from the 2007 Caine Prize-winning short story, Jambula Tree, by Ugandan writer Monica Arac Nyeko. It follows two close friends, Kena and Ziki, who eventually fall in love despite their
families being on opposing sides of the political divide.
The first Kenyan film to debut at the Cannes Film Festival has been banned in Kenya due to its lesbian storyline.
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) claimed the film seeks to legitimize lesbian romance. KFCB warned that anyone found in possession of the film would be in breach of the law in Kenya, where gay sex is punishable by 14 years.
The film's director Wanuri Kahiu told the BBC: I really had hoped that the classification board would classify it as an 18. Because we feel the Kenyan audience is a mature, discerning enough audience.
The film, which will be shown in Cannes next month,
Tell someone not to do something and sometimes they just want to do it more. That's what happened when Facebook put red flags on debunked fake
news. Facebook's red warning flags only made the post more interesting and more likely to be shared.
So Facebook ditched the red warning and replaced them with links to articles where the supposed fake news is debunked.
Now Facebook has dreamt up another couple of wheezes.
Amber Rudd MP I was not aware of Home Office removals targets
Amber Rudd claimed she was not aware of Home Office removals targets... but a memo leak suggests otherwise
First, rather than call more attention to fake news, Facebook wants to make it easier to miss these stories while scrolling. When Facebook's third-party fact-checkers verify an article is inaccurate, Facebook will shrink the size of the link post
News Feed. Facebook will also downrank the news to make it less likely that it will appear in news feeds at all.
Second, Facebook is now using machine learning to look at newly published articles and scan them for signs of falsehood. 'Fact checkers' will then prioritise high scoring articles so as to make more efficient use of their time.
Facebook now says it can reduce the spread of a false news story by 80%.
Cinema films in the Indian state of Kerala are soon set to display a statutory warning when showing scenes
that depict violence against women.
This comes after the Kerala State Human Rights Commission issued a directive to the regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), asking the board to include a statutory warning that violence against women is punishable under
the law, when showing scenes that portray crimes against the gender. The Commission claimed that showing violent sexual crimes on screen could influence youngsters and hoped that displaying the statutory warning may create a positive impact.
Regional officer of CBFC, A Prathibha, told TNM that the board is open to complying with the Commission's directive. He said:
We have informed the CBFC Chairman about the directive and hope to arrive at a decision within 30 days. Since we agree with the Commission's observation that a warning that such acts are punishable must be displayed, I am certain the Chairman
will issue a favourable order soon,
However, he added:
We don't have a clear picture as to how to implement this.
Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market destined
to become a nightmare
OPEN LETTER IN LIGHT OF THE 27 APRIL 2018 COREPER I MEETING
Your Excellency Ambassador, cc. Deputy Ambassador,
We, the undersigned, are writing to you ahead of your COREPER discussion on the proposed Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market.
We are deeply concerned that the text proposed by the Bulgarian Presidency in no way reflects a balanced compromise, whether on substance or from the perspective of the many legitimate concerns that have been raised. Instead, it represents a major
threat to the freedoms of European citizens and businesses and promises to severely harm Europe's openness, competitiveness, innovation, science, research and education.
A broad spectrum of European stakeholders and experts, including academics, educators, NGOs representing human rights and media freedom, software developers and startups have repeatedly warned about the damage that the proposals would cause.
However, these have been largely dismissed in rushed discussions taking place without national experts being present. This rushed process is all the more surprising when the European Parliament has already announced it would require more time
(until June) to reach a position and is clearly adopting a more cautious approach.
If no further thought is put in the discussion, the result will be a huge gap between stated intentions and the damage that the text will actually achieve if the actual language on the table remains:
Article 13 (user uploads) creates a liability regime for a vast area of online platforms that negates the E-commerce Directive, against the stated will of many Member States, and without any proper assessment of its impact. It creates a new
notice and takedown regime that does not require a notice. It mandates the use of filtering technologies across the board.
Article 11 (press publisher's right) only contemplates creating publisher rights despite the many voices opposing it and highlighting it flaws, despite the opposition of many Member States and despite such Member States proposing several
alternatives including a "presumption of transfer".
Article 3 (text and data mining) cannot be limited in terms of scope of beneficiaries or purposes if the EU wants to be at the forefront of innovations such as artificial intelligence. It can also not become a voluntary provision if we want to
leverage the wealth of expertise of the EU's research community across borders.
Articles 4 to 9 must create an environment that enables educators, researchers, students and cultural heritage professionals to embrace the digital environment and be able to preserve, create and share knowledge and European culture. It must be
clearly stated that the proposed exceptions in these Articles cannot be overridden by contractual terms or technological protection measures.
The interaction of these various articles has not even been the subject of a single discussion. The filters of Article 13 will cover the snippets of Article 11 whilst the limitations of Article 3 will be amplified by the rights created through
Article 11, yet none of these aspects have even been assessed.
With so many legal uncertainties and collateral damages still present, this legislation is currently destined to become a nightmare when it will have to be transposed into national legislation and face the test of its legality in terms of the
Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Bern Convention.
We hence strongly encourage you to adopt a decision-making process that is evidence-based, focussed on producing copyright rules that are fit for purpose and on avoiding unintended, damaging side effects.
The over 145 signatories of this open letter -- European and global organisations, as well as national organisations from 28 EU Member States, represent human and digital rights, media freedom, publishers, journalists, libraries, scientific and
research institutions, educational institutions including universities, creator representatives, consumers, software developers, start-ups, technology businesses and Internet service providers.
EUROPE 1. Access Info Europe. 2. Allied for Startups. 3. Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER). 4. Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties). 5. Copyright for Creativity (C4C). 6. Create
Refresh Campaign. 7. DIGITALEUROPE. 8. EDiMA. 9. European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA). 10. European Digital Learning Network (DLEARN). 11. European Digital Rights (EDRi). 12.
European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA). 13. European Network for Copyright in Support of Education and Science (ENCES). 14. European University Association (EUA). 15. Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU 16.
Lifelong Learning Platform. 17. Public Libraries 2020 (PL2020). 18. Science Europe. 19. South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO). 20. SPARC Europe.
AUSTRIA 21. Freischreiber Österreich. 22. Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA Austria).
BELGIUM 23. Net Users' Rights Protection Association (NURPA)
BULGARIA 24. BESCO -- Bulgarian Startup Association. 25. BlueLink Foundation. 26. Bulgarian Association of Independent Artists and Animators (BAICAA). 27. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. 28. Bulgarian Library and
Information Association (BLIA). 29. Creative Commons Bulgaria. 30. DIBLA. 31. Digital Republic. 32. Hamalogika. 33. Init Lab. 34. ISOC Bulgaria. 35. LawsBG. 36. Obshtestvo.bg. 37. Open Project
Foundation. 38. PHOTO Forum. 39. Wikimedians of Bulgaria. C ROATIA 40. Code for Croatia
CYPRUS 41. Startup Cyprus
CZECH R EPUBLIC 42. Alliance pro otevrene vzdelavani (Alliance for Open Education)
43. Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic. 44. Czech Fintech Association. 45. Ecumenical Academy. 46. EDUin.
DENMARK 47. Danish Association of Independent Internet Media (Prauda) E STONIA. 48. Wikimedia Eesti
FINLAND 49. Creative Commons Finland. 50. Open Knowledge Finland. 51. Wikimedia Suomi.
FRANCE 52. Abilian. 53. Alliance Libre. 54. April. 55. Aquinetic. 56. Conseil National du Logiciel Libre (CNLL). 57. France Digitale. 58. l'ASIC. 59. Ploss Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (PLOSS-RA). 60.
Renaissance Numérique. 61. Syntec Numérique. 62. Tech in France. 63. Wikimédia France.
GERMANY 64. Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Medieneinrichtungen an Hochschulen e.V. (AMH). 65. Bundesverband Deutsche Startups. 66. Deutscher Bibliotheksverband e.V. (dbv). 67. eco -- Association of the Internet
Industry. 68. Factory Berlin. 69. Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht (IGEL). 70. Jade Hochschule Wilhelmshaven/Oldenburg/Elsfleth. 71. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). 72. Landesbibliothekszentrum
Rheinland-Pfalz. 73. Silicon Allee. 74. Staatsbibliothek Bamberg. 75. Ubermetrics Technologies. 76. Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt (Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg). 77. University Library of
Kaiserslautern (Technische Universität Kaiserslautern). 78. Verein Deutscher Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare e.V. (VDB). 79. ZB MED -- Information Centre for Life Sciences.
GREECE 80. Greek Free Open Source Software Society (GFOSS)
HUNGARY 81. Hungarian Civil Liberties Union. 82. ICT Association of Hungary -- IVSZ. 83. K-Monitor
IRELAND 84. Technology Ireland
ITALY 85. Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights. 86. Istituto Italiano per la Privacy e la Valorizzazione dei Dati. 87. Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (CILD). 88. National Online
Printing Association (ANSO).
LATVIA 89. Startin.LV (Latvian Startup Association). 90. Wikimedians of Latvia User Group.
LITHUANIA 91. Aresi Labs.
LUXEMBOURG. 92. Frënn vun der Ënn.
93. Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning
NETHERLANDS 94. Dutch Association of Public Libraries (VOB) 95. Kennisland.
POLAND 96. Centrum Cyfrowe. 97. Coalition for Open Education (KOED). 98. Creative Commons Polska. 99. Elektroniczna BIBlioteka (EBIB Association). 100. ePan@stwo Foundation. 101. Fundacja Szkola z Klasa@
(School with Class Foundation). 102. Modern Poland Foundation. 103. Os@rodek Edukacji Informatycznej i Zastosowan@ Komputerów w Warszawie (OEIiZK). 104. Panoptykon Foundation. 105. Startup Poland. 106. ZIPSEE.
PORTUGAL 107. Associação D3 -- Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D3). 108. Associação Ensino Livre. 109. Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL). 110. Associação para a Promoção e Desenvolvimento da Sociedade da
ROMANIA 111. ActiveWatch. 112. APADOR-CH (Romanian Helsinki Committee). 113. Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) 114. Association of Producers and Dealers of IT&C equipment (APDETIC). 115. Center for Public
Innovation. 116. Digital Citizens Romania. 117. Kosson.ro Initiative. 118. Mediawise Society. 119. National Association of Public Librarians and Libraries in Romania (ANBPR).
SLOVENIA 122. Digitas Institute. 123. Forum za digitalno dru@bo (Digital Society Forum).
SPAIN 124. Asociación de Internautas. 125. Asociación Española de Startups (Spanish Startup Association)
126. MaadiX. 127. Sugus. 128. Xnet.
SWEDEN 129. Wikimedia Sverige
UK 130. Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA). 131. Open Rights Group (ORG). 132. techUK.
GLOBAL 133. ARTICLE 19. 134. Association for Progressive Communications (APC). 135. Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT). 136. COMMUNIA Association. 137. Computer and Communications Industry Association
(CCIA). 138. Copy-Me. 139. Creative Commons. 140. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). 141. Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL). 142. Index on Censorship. 143. International Partnership for Human Rights
(IPHR). 144. Media and Learning Association (MEDEA). 145. Open Knowledge International (OKI). 146. OpenMedia. 147. Software Heritage
Facebook publishes more details on its censorship than ever before and also introduces a better appeals system hopefully reducing the enormous number of 'mistakes' made be Facebook's over zealous censors
The changes are certainly a step in the right direction. Over the past year, following a series of controversial decisions about user expression, the company has begun to offer more transparency around its content policies and moderation
practices, such as the Hard Questions
series of blog posts offering insight into how the company makes decisions about different types of speech.
The expanded community standards released on Tuesday offer a much greater level of detail of what's verboten and why. Broken down into six overarching categories--violence and criminal behavior, safety, objectionable content, integrity and
authenticity, respecting intellectual property, and content-related requests--each section comes with a "policy rationale" and bulleted lists of "do not post" items.
But as Sarah Jeong writes
, the guidelines "might make you feel sorry for the moderator who's trying to apply them." Many of the items on the "do not post" lists are incredibly specific--just take a look at the list contained in the section entitled
"Nudity and Adult Sexual Activity"--and the carved-out exceptions are often without rationale.
And don't be fooled: The new community standards do nothing to increase users' freedom of expression; rather, they will hopefully provide users with greater clarity as to what might run afoul of the platform's censors.
Facebook's other announcement--that of expanded appeals
--has received less media attention, but for many users, it's a vital development. In the platform's early days, content moderation decisions were final and could not be appealed. Then, in 2011, Facebook
instituted a process
through which users whose accounts had been suspended could apply to regain access. That process remained in place until this week.
, we often hear from users
of Facebook who believe that their content was erroneously taken down and are frustrated with the lack of due process on the platform. In its
, VP of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert explains that over the coming year, Facebook will be building the ability for people to appeal content decisions, starting with posts removed for nudity/sexual activity, hate speech, or graphic
violence--presumably areas in which moderation errors occur more frequently.
Some questions about the process remain (will users be able to appeal content decisions while under temporary suspension? Will the process be expanded to cover all categories of speech?), but we congratulate Facebook on finally instituting a
process for appealing content takedowns, and encourage the company to expand the process quickly to include all types of removals.
Catholic Church leaders are to meet the head of BBC Scotland Donalda MacKinnon to discuss their concerns over
a digital film about being gay in 2018.
The piece, published on digital content stream The Social , included a clip saying the communion host tastes like cardboard and smells like hate.
Bishop of Paisley John Keenan said that was deeply insulting and offensive.
Ms MacKinnon has agreed to meet the Bishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews, Archbishop Leo Cushley who, along with Bishop Keenan, complained about the film titled Homophobia In 2018 : The Time for Love.
In an official statement, BBC Scotland explained that The Social existed uniquely to give young content creators a platform to express their views about matters that directly impacted on them. It added:
The 'Time for Love' piece is a personal polemic about being gay in 2018 and the experiences outlined in the film are intended to reflect those of the filmmaker.
As a young gay man, raised in the Catholic faith, it is seen though his eyes and told in his voice, and is intended to reflect the challenges and opinions he personally faced while growing up in Scotland.
The BBC appreciates that some of our audiences will find it challenging in its approach to tackling some very difficult themes, but we do believe it important that we should provide platforms such as The Social to allow appropriate space for
artistic freedom of speech.
We've issued the following statement following reports of social media posts being made in relation to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation with Alfie Evans:
Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said: Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans.
I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.
Belgium has declared the loot box systems in FIFA 18, Overwatch , and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive illegal under Belgium gambling laws.
Belgium's Minister of Justice, Koen Greens stated that the offending content must be removed from the games. Failure to do so could result in fines of up to 800,000 euros and imprisonment.
To determine whether the loot box systems were illegal the Belgium Gaming Commision looked at two factors -- whether a purchase could lead to a profit or loss and whether or not the results of the "bet" were based on skill or merely
luck. It was decided that FIFA 18, Overwatch and CS:GO all had elements of chance in their MT systems and as such fall under the gambling laws of the country.
Belgium has not set a deadline for the removal of the loot boxes but is rather looking to open a discussion with game makers regarding the issue.
In 1985, a group of Washington women hit back at strong language in lyrics of some of pop's
biggest names. Now their parental advisory meddling -- and the 15 tracks they initially targeted -- have been turned into a riotous piece of musical revenge
First, I was stunned, then I got mad!" That's how Mary "Tipper" Gore -- wife of American senator Al Gore -- described the experience of buying Prince's mega-selling Purple Rain album for her 11-year-old daughter, and
listening to it with her. Mrs Gore's rage was triggered by the track Darling Nikki , which begins:
I knew a girl name Nikki
Guess you could say she was a sex fiend
I met her in a hotel lobby
Masturbating with a magazine.
Along with other wives of powerful American politicians, in 1985 Gore founded the PMRC -- Parents Music Resource Center -- to campaign for stronger censorship in music. The initial list of songs they considered "most offensive" -- dubbed
the Filthy 15 -- included some of pop's biggest names.
The Filthy 15
Prince: Darling Nikki
Sheena Easton:Sugar Walls
Judas Priest: Eat Me Alive
Vanity: Strap On Robbie Baby
Motley Crue: Bastard
AC/DC: Let Me Put My Love Into You
Twisted Sister: We're Not Gonna Take It
Madonna: Dress You Up
WASP: Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)
Def Leppard: High n Dry (Saturday Night)
Mercyful Fate: Into the Coven
Black Sabbath: Trashed
Mary Jane Girls: In My House
Venom : Possessed
Cyndi Lauper: She Bop
The furore went to the Senate and resulted in the "Parental advisory: explicit lyrics" sticker many of us grew up with. ]
A show based on this chapter of history, Powerplant: The Filthy Fifteen is at the Barbican, London, on 1 May.
Two new encryption algorithms developed by the US NSA have been
rejected by an international standards body amid accusations of threatening behavior.
The Simon and Speck cryptographic tools were designed for encryption of the Internet of Things and were intended to become a global standard.
But the pair of techniques were formally rejected earlier this week by the International Organization of Standards (ISO) amid concerns that they contained a backdoor that would allow US spies to break the encryption. The process was also marred by
complaints from encryption experts of threatening behavior from American snoops.
When some of the design choices made by the NSA were questioned by experts, the US response was to personally attack the questioners. While no one has directly accused the NSA of inserting backdoors into the new standards, that was the clear
suspicion, particularly when it refused to give what experts say was a normal level of technical detail. It took 3 years for the ISO to extract technical details about the encryption. But by then the trust had been undermined and the vote went
against the standards at a meeting in the US late last year.
Many large banks currently refuse accounts for adult industry businesses. The new legislation will allow the Treasury Department to place additional pressure in banks to refuse loans and accounts for adult businesses.
Reporters Without Borders has published its annual review of Worldwide press freedom.
The Index ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists. It is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety
of journalists in each country. It does not rank public policies even if governments obviously have a major impact on their country's ranking. Nor is it an indicator of the quality of journalism in each country.
The top 5 countries are Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland. The bottom 5 in descending order are China, Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea.
Reporters Without Borders offer a note about the UK's disgraceful 40th position in the rankings:
A worrying trend
A continued heavy-handed approach towards the press (often in the name of national security) has resulted in the UK keeping its status as one of the worst-ranked Western European countries in the World Press Freedom Index. The government began to
implement the Investigatory Powers Act -- the most extreme surveillance legislation in UK history -- with insufficient protection mechanisms for whistleblowers, journalists, and their sources. Home Secretary Amber Rudd repeatedly threatened to
restrict encryption tools such as WhatsApp and announced plans to criminalize the repeated viewing of extremist content. Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 remained on the books, presenting cause for concern since the law's punitive
cost-shifting provision could hold publishers liable for the costs of all claims made against them, regardless of merit.
Both the Conservative and Labour parties restricted journalists' access to campaign events ahead of the June 2017 general election, and BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg received extensive online abuse and threats, resulting in her being
assigned bodyguards to cover the Labour Party conference.
Offshore law firm Appleby sued the BBC and The Guardian for breach of confidence over the Paradise Papers source materials, making them the only two media outlets out of 96 in 67 countries to have analyzed the Paradise Papers and taken to court.
A post on the Facebook page of Suede Bar & Nightclub in Walsall, seen on 19 December 2017, included an
image of two full flute wine glasses with text that read Unlimited BOTTOMLESS PROSECCO For £5. Additional text in the post said Join us for bottomless Prosecco between 10pm and 12am on SATURDAY NIGHT for just 2£5 per person.
A complainant, who believed that the unlimited bottomless prosecco offer was likely to encourage excessive consumption of alcohol, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.
Suede Bar & Nightclub did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA was concerned by Suede Bar & Nightclub's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code. Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the
Code. We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that was likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise. The CAP Code also stated that marketing communications which
included a promotion must not imply, condone or encourage excessive consumption of alcohol.
We noted that the offer was available for individuals from 10pm to 12am on the night before Christmas Eve in December 2017, and that it was promoted to celebrate the start of the festive period. We considered that the references to unlimited and
bottomless suggested that there would be an abundance of alcohol available to be consumed in a short period of time. Given that the offer was available within the space of two hours, we considered that the ad was likely to encourage people to
drink as much as they could within that short period of time. In addition, we considered that some readers might associate Christmas with celebrations that involved drinking alcohol and that by promoting an unlimited and bottomless prosecco offer
to mark the start of the festive period, the ad was likely to encourage people to drink excessively during the celebrations, particularly in the context of the offer being available in a nightclub setting on a Saturday night.
For the above reasons, we considered the ad was likely to encourage excessive drinking and lead people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise. We therefore considered that the ad was irresponsible and breached the Code.
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Suede Bar & Nightclub to ensure that future ads did not imply, condone or encourage excessive consumption of alcohol and lead people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise.
India topped a survey of countries having firewalls and censorship systems to block web pages. Internet Service Providers
(ISPs) in the country have installed the highest number of censorshp systems, and have blocked the highest number of web pages.
According to a new investigation covering 10 countries by University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab along with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and The Indian Express found that India had 42 installations of technology marketed by
Canadian company Netsweeper that implement content censorship for national-level, consumer-facing ISPs. These installations were found in internet services offered by 12 ISPs in the country. India also had the highest number of blocked unique URLs
at 1,158 out of 2,464.
The data being released today accounts only for representative samples of censorship during the testing period between August 2017 and April 2018.
Other than those websites pertaining to porn or privacy, Indian ISPs have been found blocking access to websites and web pages belonging to domestic and foreign NGOs, United Nations organizations, human rights groups, health forums, feminist
groups, and political activists at different points during the test period.
Reddit India's twitter handle (@redditindia) and Twitter handles of @anilkohli54, @tajinderbagga and @i_panchajanya, three accounts followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi , were found blocked at some point or the other during the test period,
and instructions to block these Twitter handles are said to have been issued in August 2012.
Indian ISPs also blocked access to web pages of several media companies including those belonging to ABC News, Telegraph (UK), Al Jazeera, Tribune (Pakistan) with some of them dating back to 2012. The investigation also found ISPs blocking content
related to the Rohingya refugee issue, and the deaths of Muslims in Burma and India more generally, and even snapshots of these content stored in Internet Archive's Wayback Machine have been found to be blocked.
A Missouri state Senate committee is considering a resolution that would declare pornography a public health threat. The Republican-backed
resolution declares that pornography perpetuates a sexually toxic environment.
The resolution argues that pornography can contribute to emotional and medical illnesses, shape deviant sexual arousal and has negatively affected the family unit.
GOP state Senator Ed Emery, whinged:
In my opinion, what is unveiled by a personal moral failure may be a reflection of a disturbing and invasive social evil -- that of the proliferation of pornography and modern culture's ambivalence toward it.
Far too often, such behavior grows out of an exposure to pornography, he added. Where is the outcry against the evil of pornography?
Popular messaging service WhatsApp is introducing a minimum age restriction of 16yo, at least in Europe.
The Facebook owned service is changing the rules ahead of the introduction of new EU data privacy regulations in May.
The app,will ask users to confirm their age when prompted to agree new terms of service in the next few weeks. It has not said if the age limit will be enforced.
At present, WhatsApp does not ask users their age when they join, nor does it cross-reference their Facebook or Instagram accounts to find out. About a third of all UK-based 12- to 15-year-olds active on social media use WhatsApp, according to a
2017 report by the media regulator Ofcom. That made it the fifth most popular social network with the age group after Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube.
The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) includes specific rules to protect youngsters whose personal data is processed in order to provide them with online services. Such websites and apps are obliged to make reasonable efforts to
verify that a parent or guardian has given consent for their child's data to be handled. The law says this obligation applies to under-16s, although some countries - including the UK - have been allowed to set the cut-off limit lower, at 13.
Facebook, which has also been criticised for its handling of personal data, is taking a different approach to younger users on its main service. To comply with GDPR , the social network is asking those aged 13 to 15 to nominate a parent or
guardian to give permission for them to share information on the platform. If they do not, they will not see a fully personalised version of the platform.
The policy changes implemented in response to GDPR will surely have profound impact on the take up of social media services. Age restrictions (or the ability to ignore age restrictions) are incredibly important. For some apps, the dominant
services are those that connect the most people, (whilst others become dominant because the effectively exclude parents). A messaging app will be diminished for many if the kids are banned from it. And as you start chipping away at the reach of
the network so it would be less attractive to others on the network. Users could soon rift away to less restrictive alternatives.
Sheriff O'Carroll had told the court he did not believe Meechan had made the video only to annoy his girlfriend and ruled it was anti-Semitic. Fining Meechan, he said:
You deliberately chose the Holocaust as the theme of the video.
I also found it proved that the video contained anti-Semitic, and racist material, in that it explicitly and exclusively referred to Jews, the Holocaust and the role of the Nazis in the death of six million Jews in a grossly offensive manner. You
knew or must have known that.
The social work report on you is important. It is very favourable to you and, leaving aside the circumstances of this offence, shows you to have led a generally pro-social life thus far.
It also shows that you have learned a certain amount from your experiences and that you are of low risk of reoffending.
In these circumstances, I rule out a custodial sentence and therefore any alternative to a custodial sentence. You have a certain amount of income and other resources according to the reports. I now fine you the sum of 2£800.
Offsite Comment: Count Dankula and the death of free speech
On freedom of speech, Britain has become the laughing stock of the Western world. People actually laugh at us. I
recently gave a talk in Brazil on political correctness and I told the audience about the arrest and conviction of a Scottish man for publishing a video of his girlfriend's pug doing a Nazi salute for a joke and they laughed. Loudly. Some of them
refused to believed it was true.
Brussels may threaten social media companies with censorship laws unless they move urgently to tackle supposed 'fake
news' and Cambridge Analytica-style data abuse.
The EU security commissioner, Julian King, said short-term, concrete plans needed to be in place before the elections, when voters in 27 EU member states will elect MEPs.
Under King's ideas, social media companies would sign a voluntary code of conduct to prevent the misuse of platforms to pump out misleading information.
The code would include a pledge for greater transparency, so users would be made aware why their Facebook or Twitter feed was presenting them with certain adverts or stories. Another proposal is for political adverts to be accompanied with
information about who paid for them.
Google has released their latest transparency report, for Youtube takedowns. It contains information about the number of
government requests for terrorist or extremist content to be removed. For a number of years, the government has promoted the idea that terrorist content is in rampant circulation, and that the amount of material is so abundant that the UK police
alone are taking down up to 100,000 pieces of content a year.
These referrals, to Google, Facebook and others, come from a unit hosted at the Metropolitan Police, called CTIRU, or the Counter-Terrorism Internet Referrals Unit
. This unit has very minimal transparency about its work. Apart from claiming to have removed over 300,000 pieces of terrorist-related content over a number of years, it refuses to say how large its workforce or budget are, and has never defined
what a piece of content is.
Google and Twitter publish separate takedown request figures for the UK that must be largely from CTIRU. The numbers are much smaller than the tens of thousands that might be expected at each platform given the CTIRU figures of around 100,000
removals a year. For instance, Google reported 683 UK government takedown requests for 2,491 items through
Google and Twitter's figures imply that CTIRU file perhaps 2,000-4,000 removal requests a year, for maybe 12,000 items at most, implying a statistical inflation by CTIRU of around 1,000%.
A number of CTIRU requests
have been published on the takedown transparency database Lumen. These sometimes have more than one URL for takedown. However this alone does not explain the disparity.
Perhaps a 'piece of terrorist content' is counted as that 'piece' viewed by each person known to follow a terrorist account, or perhaps everything on a web page is counted as a piece of terrorist content, meaning each web page might contain a
Nonetheless, we cannot discount the possibility that the methodologies for reporting at the companies are in some way flawed. Without further information from CTIRU, we simply don't know whose figures are more reliable.
There are concerns that go beyond the statistics. CTIRU's work is never reviewed by a judge, and there are no appeals to ask CTIRU to stop trying to remove a website or content. It compiles a secret list of websites to be blocked on the public
estate, such as schools, departmental offices or hospitals, supplied to unstated companies via the Home Office. More or less nothing is known: except for the headline figure.
Certainly, CTIRU do not provide the same level of transparency as Google and other companies claim to be providing.
People have tried extracting further information from CTIRU, such as the content of the blacklist, but without success. Ministers have refused to supply financial information to Parliament, citing national security. ORG is the latest group to ask
for information, for a list of statistics
and a list of documents
; turned down on grounds of national security and crime prevention. In the case of statistics, CTIRU are currently claiming they hold no statistics other than their overall takedown figure; which if true, seems astoundingly lax from even a basic
The methodology for calculating CTIRU's single statistic needs to be published, because what we do know about CTIRU is meaningless without it. Potentially, Parliament and the public are be being misled; or otherwise, misreporting by Internet
platforms needs to be corrected.
Transport for London (TfL) has apologised for an 'insensitive' body shaming message written
on a service information whiteboard at Blackhorse Road Underground station
The sign, which was posted as a quote of the day read:
During this heatwave please dress for the body you have... not for the body you want!.
The PC lynch mob accused TfL of body-shaming, branding the message gross and disgusting , contrary to the usual insightful and witty quotes shared with commuters on its whiteboards.
No doubt the person who posted this didn't understand the complex PC pecking order of who is allowed to bully who. They will surely suffer 'appropriate', probably meaning extreme, punishment for their innocence. A TfL spokesperson told i:
We apologise unreservedly to customers who were offended by the insensitive message on the whiteboard at Blackhorse Road station.
Our staff across the network share messages on these boards, but in this instance the message was clearly ill-judged and it has been removed.
An investigation is underway to establish who thought such an unacceptable message was a good idea, so that the appropriate action can be taken.
A woman from Liverpool has been found guilty of sending a supposedly grossly offensive message after posting rap
lyrics on Instagram.
The post referenced lyrics from Snap Dogg's I'm Trippin' to pay tribute to a 13-year-old boy who had died in a road crash in 2017. It is not clear exactly which words were deemed to 'hate crimes' but the words 'bitch' and 'nigga' seem to be
the only relevant candidates.
Merseyside Police were anonymously sent a screenshot of the woman's Instagram update (on a public profile), which was received by hate crime unit PC Dominique Walker. PC Walker told the court the term the woman had used was grossly offensive to
her as a black woman and to the general community.
The Liverpool Echo reported that the woman's defence had argued the usage of the word had changed over time and it had been used by superstar rapper Jay-Z in front of thousands of people at the Glastonbury Festival.
The woman was given an eight-week community order, placed on an eight-week curfew and fined £585.
Prosecutors said her sentence was increased from a fine to a community order as it was a 'hate crime'.
Offsite Comment: Now it's a crime to quote rap lyrics? Censorship in Britain is out of control.
Brendan O'Neill notes that these are the lyrics she quoted:
Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I'm trippin.
Now I'm clutchin' on my forty, all I can think about is drillin''.
I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga.'
We now live under a bizarre tyranny of self-esteem, where hurt feelings can lead to court cases, and where the easily offended can marshal the state to crush those who dared to offend them. An unholy marriage between our wimpish offence-taking
culture and a state desperate to be seen as caring and purposeful has nurtured an insidious new censorship that targets everything from comedy and rap to criticism of Islam or strongly stated political views.
I agree with the BBFC's Approach as set out in Chapter 2
Re Age-verification Standards set out in Chapter 3
4. This guidance also outlines good practice in relation to age-verification to encourage consumer choice and the use of mechanisms that confirm age but not identity.
I think you should point out to porn viewers that your ideas on good practice are in no way enforceable on websites. You should not mislead porn viewers into thinking that their data is safe because of the assumption that websites will follow
best practice. They may not.
5c. A requirement that either a user age-verify each visit or access is restricted by controls, manual or electronic, such as, but not limited to, password or personal identification numbers
This is a very glib sentence that could be the make or break of user acceptability of age verification.
This is not like watching films on Netflix, ie entering a PIN and watching a film. Viewing porn is more akin to browsing, hopping from one website to another, starting a film, quickly deciding it is no good and searching for another, maybe on a
different site. Convenient browsing requires that a verification is stored for at least a reasonable time in a cookie. So that it can be access automatically by all websites using the same verification provider (or even different verification
providers if they could get together to arrange this).
At the very least the BBFC should make a clearer statement about persistence of PINs or passwords and whether it is acceptable to maintain valid verifications in cookies.(or age verifier databases). The Government needs adults to buy into age
verification. If the BBFC get too fussy about eliminating the risk that under 18s could view porn then the whole system could become too inconvenient for adults to be bothered with, resulting in a mass circumvention of the system with lots of
information in lots of places about how and where porn could be more easily obtained. The under 18s would probably see this too, and so this would surely diminish the effectiveness of the whole idea. The very suggestion that users age verify
each visit suggests that the BBFC is simply not on the right wavelength for a viable solution. Presumably not much thought has been put into specifying advance requirements, and that instead the BBFC will consider the merits of proposals as they
arise. The time scales for enactment of the law should therefore allow for technical negotiations between developers and the BBFC about how each system should work.
5d. the inclusion of measures that are effective at preventing use by non-human operators including algorithms
What a meaningless statement, surely the age verification software process itself will be non human working on algorithms. Do bots need to be protected from porn? Are you saying that websites should not allow their sites to be accessed by
Google's search engine bots? Unless there is an element of repeat access, a website does not really know that it is being accessed by a bot or a human. I think you probably have a more specific restriction in mind, and this has not been
articulated in this vague and meaningless statement
7. Although not a requirement under section 14(1) the BBFC recommends that age-verification providers adopt good practice in the design and implementation of their solutions. These include solutions that: include clear information for end-users
on data protection
When have websites or webs services ever provided clear information about data protection? The most major players of the internet refuse to provide clear information, eg Facebook or Google.
9. During the course of this age-verification assessment, the BBFC will normally be able to identify the following in relation to data protection compliance concerns: failure to include clear information for end-users on data protection and how
data is used; and requesting more data than is necessary to confirm age, for example, physical location information.
Excellent! This would be good added value from the BBFC At the very least the BBFC should inform porn viewers that for foreign non-EU sites, there will be absolutely no data protection, and for EU websites, once users give their consent then the
websites can do more or less anything with the data.
10. The BBFC will inform the Information Commissioner's Office where concerns arise during its assessment of the age-verification effectiveness that the arrangement does not comply with data protection legislation. The ICO will consider if
further investigation is appropriate. The BBFC will inform the online commercial pornography provider(s) that it has raised concerns with the ICO.
Perhaps the BBFC could make it clear to porn users, the remit of the ICO over non-EU porn sites, and how the BBFC will handle these issues for a non-EU website.
Re Data Protection and the Information Commissioner's Office
The world's major websites such as Facebook that follow all the guidelines noted in this section but end up telling you nothing about how your data is used, I don't suppose porn sites will be any more open.
3b Where an organisation processing personal data is based outside the EU, an EU-based representative must be appointed and notified to the individual
Will the BBFC block eg a Russian website that complies with age verification by requiring credit card payments but has no EU representative? I think the BBFC/ICO needs to add a little bit more about data protection for websites and services
outside of the EU. Porn viewers need to know.
Perhaps the BBFC could keep a FAQ for porn viewers eg Does the UK vetting service for people working with children have access to age verification data used for access to porn sites?
The Internet Watch Foundation released its Annual Report covering 2017 on April 18, 2018 The The IWF searches for and removes online child sexual abuse imagery and the report shows that more of this disturbing material is being found than ever
Whilst the IWF concentrates on its commendable work against child abuse images it does have a wider remit to censor adult content deemed to be criminally obscene, and also to censor cartoons and other non-photographic imagery sexually depicting
However in this annual report the IWF has announced that it no longer has any remit over adult porn. It writes:
6.4 Wider remit work
5,439 reports of alleged criminally obscene adult content were made to us. Almost all were not hosted in the UK, so they were not in our remit.
3,471 reports of alleged non-photographic images of child sexual abuse were made to us. None of these images were hosted in the UK, so they were not within our remit.
One URL depicted criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK received from a public source.
On 1 August 2017, criminally obscene adult content hosted within the UK was removed from IWF’s remit.
Presumably that role now belongs to the new internet porn censors at the BBFC. Anyway it is surely good for the IWF to rid itself of that toxic task, so it can concentrate on its good work that is supported by more or less everyone.
Russian lawmakers have proposed a draft law that would impose new obligations on the owners of public networks. Such owners with no registered
presence in Russia would be required to set up a local representative office. Other obligations would include identifying users by their mobile phone numbers, deleting fake news, and preventing the posting of materials that promote violence or
pornography, contain strong language, or otherwise breach Russian laws governing content.
This is so wrong on so many levels. Britain would undergo a mass tantrum.
How are parents supposed to entertain their kids if they can't spend all day on YouTube?
And what about all the privacy implications of letting social media companies have complete identity details of their users. It will be like Cambridge Analytica on speed.
Jeremy Hunt wrote to the social media companies:
Thank you for participating in the working group on children and young people's mental health and social media with officials from my
Department and DCMS. We appreciate your time and engagement, and your willingness to continue discussions and potentially support a communications campaign in this area, but I am disappointed by the lack of voluntary progress in those discussions.
We set three very clear challenges relating to protecting children and young people's mental health: age verification, screen time limits and cyber-bullying. As I understand it, participants have focused more on promoting work already underway and
explaining the challenges with taking further action, rather than offering innovative solutions or tangible progress.
In particular, progress on age verification is not good enough. I am concerned that your companies seem content with a situation where thousands of users breach your own terms and conditions on the minimum user age. I fear that you are
collectively turning a blind eye to a whole generation of children being exposed to the harmful emotional side effects of social media prematurely; this is both morally wrong and deeply unfair on parents, who are faced with the invidious choice of
allowing children to use platforms they are too young to access, or excluding them from social interaction that often the majority of their peers are engaging in. It is unacceptable and irresponsible for you to put parents in this position.
This is not a blanket criticism and I am aware that these aren't easy issues to solve. I am encouraged that a number of you have developed products to help parents control what their children an access online in response to Government's concerns
about child online protection, including Google's Family Link. And I recognise that your products and services are aimed at different audiences, so different solutions will be required. This is clear from the submissions you've sent to my
officials about the work you are delivering to address some of these challenges.
However, it is clear to me that the voluntary joint approach has not delivered the safeguards we need to protect our children's mental health. In May, the Department
for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will publish the Government response to the Internet Safety Strategy consultation, and I will be working with the Secretary of State to explore what other avenues are open to us to pursue the reforms we need.
We will not rule out legislation where it is needed.
In terms of immediate next steps, I appreciate the information that you provided our officials with last month but would be grateful if you would set out in writing your companies' formal responses, on the three challenges we posed in November. In
particular, I would like to know what additional new steps you have taken to protect children and young people since November in each of the specific categories we raised: age verification, screen time limits and cyber-bullying. I invite you to
respond by the end of this month, in order to inform the Internet Safety Strategy response. It would also be helpful if you can set out any ideas or further plans you have to make progress in these areas.
During the working group meetings I understand you have pointed to the lack of conclusive evidence in this area — a concern which I also share. In order to address this, I have asked the Chief Medical Officer to undertake an evidence review on the
impact of technology on children and young people's mental health, including on healthy screen time. 1 will also be working closely with DCMS and UKRI to commission research into all these questions, to ensure we have the best possible empirical
basis on which to make policy. This will inform the Government's approach as we move forwards.
Your industry boasts some of the brightest minds and biggest budgets globally. While these issues may be difficult, I do not believe that solutions on these issues are outside your reach; I do question whether there is sufficient will to reach
I am keen to work with you to make technology a force for good in protecting the next generation. However, if you prove unwilling to do so, we will not be deterred from making progress.
Police are to drop their controversial policy of automatically believing anyone who reports a crime.
A top-level report obtained by The Mail on Sunday says official guidance should be changed to tell detectives they must listen to victims and take them seriously -- but not automatically assume they are telling the truth.
The dramatic move follows a series of unjust inquiries based on false allegations that left dozens of innocent people's lives and reputations destroyed, including high-profile figures.
The U-turn has been drawn up by the College of Policing, which sets national standards, and after being considered by chief constables last week it will be sent to Home Office Ministers to become official policy.
Last night, former Police Minister David Mellor, who served under Leon Brittan, told the MoS: It's been obvious for years that the policy of automatic belief invites time-wasters and it's an invitation to cranks to come forward with ludicrous
allegations. He said:
Plainly if someone complains of a crime, that has got to be looked at, but the idea police should assume they're telling the truth invites dreadful injustice.
However, the change will be fiercely opposed by some feminist campaigners who seem to think that its ok to lock up innocent men, saying it will deter genuine rape victims from coming forward, for fear they will be disbelieved or ignored.
SESTA/FOSTA, a bill that president Donald Trump signed into law on April 11 continues to wreak havoc on the lives of sex workers
across the United States and abroad.
After getting kicked off of platforms like Craigslist and advertising forums or pre-emptively limiting their digital footprint on social media platforms like Twitter, thousands of sex workers joined an alternative, decentralized social media
platform called Switter, where they hoped to safely connect with and vet safe clients.
But on Wednesday, Assembly Four, the organization that developed Switter, announced that its content delivery network provided by the web-hosting company Cloudflare removed and blocked Switter.
At the time of writing, Switter has nearly 49,000 members and more than 376,500 posts, an explosion of activity since the service was launched in late March.
The Dutch Gaming Authority (kansspelautoriteit) has ruled on the matter of loot boxes i computer games and has determined that out of ten popular games with loot boxes the commission investigated, four don't comply with the country's Better Gaming
According to the Dutch Gaming Authority, the four games in violation of the Better Gaming Act because they feature elements in them that can also be found in the gambling world. Because loot box items could be traded for euro at fluctuating
prices, these items have economic value. And since players can earn money for rare items, the games violate the rules of chance.
Of the remaining six games the Dutch Gaming Authority investigated, they found that the loot boxes contained items that could not be traded. Thus they are in compliance with the Better Gaming Act. However, the group still criticized how loot boxes
were implemented as slot machines or roulettes.
Companies that do not comply with the Better Gaming Act can be fined or even prohibited from being sold in the Netherlands.
The games will only be officially identified if they don't take the required remedial action. However it has been reported that likely games requiring cuts are Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), Dota 2 , and Rocket League which
include items that can be traded through third-party services
The Hyderabad police have registered a case against Swathi Vadlamudi, a journalist working for an English daily, for
a cartoon she created in response to high profile rape cases in India.
A right wing online vigilante group called Hindu Sanghatan reported the cartoon to police after Vadlamudi posted it on her Facebook page.
Hindu Sanghatan describes itself on its website:
The intent of the Sanghatan is to find public posts, which ridicule and demean Hindus and take legal action against them.
There is a rise of pseudo-seculars and pseudo-liberals who are maligning Hindu religion in all protests. Hence we wanted to take legal action against those tainting Hindu religion.
Police registered a case against her under Section 295 (a) of the Indian Penal Code (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).
The president of Hindu Sanghatan commented:
There is nothing wrong in expressing her anger at Kathua incident and in fact, we, too, share her feelings. But where is the need draw Hindu gods into the incident?
The California Assembly has just passed legislation broad enough to ban the sale of books on the politically incorrect notion of being able to change sexual orientation.
AB 2943 cleared the chamber on a vote of 50-14. The measure adds advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual to the state's list of illegal unfair methods of competition and unfair or
deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer.
Sexual orientation change efforts are defined as any practices that seek to change an individual's sexual orientation. Other states have enacted narrower bans on conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, for minors, but CBS Sacramento
that California's is the first in the nation that would also prevent adults from voluntarily obtaining the treatment.
The bill is unprecedented for another reason, too: by classifying the subject under prohibited goods, which critics say means it would go so far as to ban the sale of books endorsing the practice, as well as other forms of
At its core, AB 2943 outlaws speech, Alliance Defending Freedom's (ADF) legal analysis of the bill reads. It says that licensed counseling, religious conferences, book sales, and paid speaking engagements could all potentially face legal penalties
for promoting gender reorientation.
The bill now moves on to the state Senate for consideration.
UK domain registrar Nominet explains that it will remove any personal details ffrom public whois service but will hand them over to anybody who has a 'legitimate interest', you know like copyright trolls
The BBFC is consulting on its procedures for deciding if porn websites have implemented adequately strictly such that under 18s
won't normally be able to access the website. Any websites not complying will be fined/blocked and/or pressurised by hosting/payment providers and advertisers who are willing to support the BBFC censorship.
Now I'm sure that the BBFC will diligently perform their duties with fairness and consideration for all, but the trouble is that all the horrors of scamming, hacking, snooping, blackmail, privacy etc are simply not the concern of the BBFC. It is
pointless to point out how the age verification will endanger porn viewers, it is not in their remit.
If a foreign website were to implement strict age verification and then pass over all the personal details and viewing habits straight to its blackmail, scamming and dirty tricks department, then this will be perfectly fine with the BBFC. It is
only their job to ensure that under 18s won't get through the ID checking.
There is a little privacy protection for porn websites with a presence in the EU, as the new GDPR rues have some generic things to say about keeping data safe. However these are mostly useless if you give your consent to the websites to use your
data as they see fit. And it seems pretty easy to get consent for just about anything just be asking people to tick a box, or else not be allowed to see the porn. For example, Facebook will still be allowed to slurp all you personal data even
within the constraints of GDPR, so will porn websites.
As a porn viewer, the only person who will look after you, is yourself.
The woeful flaws of this bill need addressing (by the government rather than the BBFC). We need to demand of the government: Don't save the children by endangering their parents.
At the very least we need a class of critically private data that websites simply must not use, EVER, under any circumstances, for any reason, and regardless of nominal user consent. Any company that uses this critically private data must be
liable to criminal prosecution.
Anyway there have been a few contributions to the debate in the run up to the end of the BBFC consultation.
AgeID says it wants to set the record straight on user data privacy under pending UK smut age check rules. As soon as a customer enters their login credentials, AgeID anonymises them. This ensures AgeID does not have a list of email addresses. We
cannot market to them, we cannot even see them
[You always have to be a bit sceptical about claims that anonymisation protects your data. Eg if Facebook strips off your name and address and then sells your GPS track as 'anonymised', when in fact your address and then name can be restored by
noting that you spend 12 hours a day at 32 Acacia avenue and commute to work at Snoops R Us. Perhaps more to the point of PornHub, may indeed not know that it was Damian@Green.com that hashed to 00000666, but the browsing record of 0000666 will be
stored by PornHub anyway. And when the police come along and find from the ID company that Damian@Green.com
hashes to 0000666 then the can simply ask PornHub to reveal the browsing history of 0000666.
Tell the BBFC that age verification will do more harm than good
MindGeek's age verification solution, AgeID, will inevitably have broad takeup due to their using it on their free tube sites such as PornHub. This poses a massive conflict of interest: advertising is their main source of revenue, and they have a
direct profit motive to harvest data on what people like to look at. AgeID will allow them to do just that.
MindGeek have a terrible record on keeping sensitive data secure, and the resulting database will inevitably be leaked or hacked. The Ashley Madison data breach is a clear warning of what can happen when people's sex lives are leaked into the
public domain: it ruins lives, and can lead to blackmail and suicide. If this policy goes ahead without strict rules forcing age verification providers to protect user privacy, there is a genuine risk of loss of life.
Update: Marc Dorcel Issues Plea to Participate in U.K. Age-Verification Consultation
French adult content producer Marc Dorcel has issued a plea for industry stakeholders to participate in a
public consultation on the U.K.'s upcoming age-verification system for adult content. The consultation period closes on Monday. The studio said the following about participation in the BBFC public consultation:
The time of a wild internet where everyone could get immediate and open access to porn seems to be over as many governments are looking for concrete solutions to control it.
U.K. is the first one to have voted a law regarding this subject and who will apply a total blockage on porn websites which do not age verify and protect minors. Australian, Polish and French authorities are also looking very closely into this
issue and are interested in the system that will be elected in the U.K.
BBFC is the organization which will define and manage the operation. In a few weeks, the BBFC will deliver the government its age-verification guidance in order to define and detail how age-verification should comply with this new law.
BBFC wants to be pragmatic and is concerned about how end users and website owners will be able to enact this measure.
The organization has launched an open consultation in order to collect the public and concerned professionals' opinion regarding this matter here
As a matter of fact, age-verification guideline involves a major challenge for the whole industry: age-verification processor cannot be considered neither as a gateway nor a toll. Moreover, it cannot be an instrument to gather internet users'
data or hijack traffic.
Marc Dorcel has existed since 1979 and operates on numerous platforms -- TV, mobile, press, web networks. We are used to regulation authorities.
According to our point of view, the two main requirements to define an independent age-verification system that would not serve specific corporate interests are: 1st requirement -- neither an authenticated adult, nor his data should belong to any
processor; 2nd requirement -- processor systems should freely be chosen because of their efficiency and not because of their dominant position.
We are also thinking that our industry should have two requests for the BBFC to insure a system which do not create dependency:
Any age-verification processor scope should be limited to a verification task without a user-registration system. As a consequence, processors could not get benefits on any data user or traffic control, customers' verified age would
independently be stored by each website or website network and users would have to age verify for any new website or network.
If the BBFC allows any age-verification processor to control a visitor data base and to manage login and password, they should commit to share the 18+ login/password to the other certified processors. As a consequence, users would only
have one age verification enrollment on their first visit of a website, users would be able to log in with the same login/password on any age verification system to prove their age, and verified adults would not belong to any processor to avoid
In those cases, we believe that an age-verification solution will act like a MPSP (multiple payment service provider) which processes client payments but where customers do not belong to payment processors, but to the website and where credit
card numbers can be used by any processor.
We believe that any adult company concerned with the future of our business should take part in this consultation, whatever his point of view or worries are.
It is our responsibility to take our fate into our own hands.
Children's cartoon required BBFC category cuts for a U rated cinema release
20th April 2018
The Little Vampire is a 2017 Netherlands / Germany / Denmark / UK family animation comedy by Richard Claus and Karsten Kiilerich.
Starring Rasmus Hardiker, Amy Saville and Jim Carter.
UK: Passed U for mild comic violence, threat, very mild bad language after 29s of BBFC category cuts for:
2018 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
Company chose to remove a scene of potentially dangerous imitable behaviour involving electricity in order to achieve a U classification. An uncut PG was available.
The story of Rudolph, a thirteen year old vampire, whose clan is threatened by a notorious vampire hunter. He meets Tony, a mortal of the same age, who is fascinated by old castles, graveyards and - vampires. Tony helps Rudolph in an action and
humor packed battle against their adversaries, and together they save Rudolph's family and become friends.
The first film screened in Saudi Arabia for 37 years was Black Panther albeit a little shorter than the
version playing in the rest of the world due to the censorship of a kiss at the end of the film.
Unsurprisingly movies screened in Saudi cinemas will be subject to approval by government censors. Still, it's a distinct improvement over a total cinema ban. Many Saudi clerics still view Western movies and even Arabic films made in Egypt and
Lebanon as sinful.
US-based AMC, one of the world's biggest movie theater operators, only two weeks earlier signed a deal with Prince Mohammed to operate the first cinema in the kingdom. AMC and its local partner hurriedly transformed a concert hall in the Saudi
capital, Riyadh, into a cinema complex for Wednesday's screening.The new movie theater also came equipped with prayer rooms to accommodate the daily Muslim prayer times.
Screenings are gender segregated in a manner customary at restaurants and cafes. Screenings will generally have a seating area for women who may be accompanied by male relatives, and another area for men only. Some screenings could be designated
as solely for woman+families or for men only.
The cinema won't open to the public for a few days as the first screenings are private, invitation-only events.
A survey commissioned by the Royal Society for Public Health has claimed that four in five people want social media firms to be regulated
to ensure they do more to protect kids' mental health. Presumably the questions were somewhat designed to favour the wished of the campaigners.
Some 45% say the sites should be self-regulated with a code of conduct but 36% want rules enforced by Government.
The Royal Society for Public Health, which surveyed 2,000 adults, warned social media can cause significant problems if left unchecked.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has previously claimed that social media could pose as great a threat to children's health as smoking and obesity. And he has accused them of developing seductive products aimed at ever younger children.
The survey comes as MPs and Peers today launch an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) that will probe the effect of social media on young people' mental health. It will hear evidence over the coming year from users, experts and industry, with the
aim of drawing up practical solutions, including a proposed industry Code of Conduct. Labour MP Chris Elmore, who will chair the APPG.
The European Commission has outlined new requirements for telecoms companies, clouds, email service providers, and
operators of messaging apps, to produce snooping data on a specified individual within six hours of a rquest.
The proposed European Production Order will allow a judicial authority in one Member State to request electronic evidence (such as emails, text or messages in apps) directly from internet companies with an office in any Member State. The data may
be nominally held overseas but will still have to be produced.
That super-short deadline will only be imposed in the case of an emergency. Less urgent investigations have been offered a ten-day deadline.
A European Preservation Order will also be issued to stop service providers deleting data.
The Production Orders will be applicable only to crimes punishable with a maximum sentence of at least three years, but governments have been artificially increasing maximum sentences for quite a while now to ensure that relatively minor crimes
can be classed as 'serious'.
The EU Commission has cited terrorism as the justifications for the new requirements, but a 3 year maximum sentence rather suggests that the these orders will be used for more widely than just for terrorism prevention.
Ofcom has today opened seven new investigations into the due impartiality of news and current
affairs programmes on the RT news channel.
The investigations (PDF, 240.5 KB) form part of an Ofcom update, published today, into the licences held by TV Novosti, the company that broadcasts RT.
Until recently, TV Novosti's overall compliance record has not been materially out of line with other broadcasters.
However, since the events in Salisbury, we have observed a significant increase in the number of programmes on the RT service that warrant investigation as potential breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.
We will announce the outcome of these investigations as soon as possible. In relation to our fit and proper duty, we will consider all relevant new evidence, including the outcome of these investigations and the future conduct of the licensee.
Russia's new war room.
Putin decrees that Russians don't play games.
Maybe it was misunderstood.
The Russian internet censor Roskomnadzor, has blocked 1,882 sites with gambling content in just a week.
The latest statistics were published by Betting Business Russia (BBR), an independent online magazine focused on the gaming and betting industry. The magazine estimates that the censor blocked 806 platforms that represent online casinos,
online lotteries or Internet poker rooms.
A large number of the blocked sites during the past week include mirror sites trying to work around previous block. The most nirrored site, with 298 blocked domains, is Fonbet, the country's largest sportsbook operator.
Despite not offering gambling content, another 172 websites were blocked in the period April 8 to April 14. The magazine explains that these sites publish information on bookmakers, casinos, gambling machines, and sweepstakes.
Earlier in March 2018, the censor blocked 7398 sites with gambling content.
Russia has strict anti-gambling laws that prohibit almost any form of betting or real-money games.
Russia's internet censor Roskomnadzor has blocked an estimated 16 million IP addresses in a massive operation against the banned
Telegram messaging app.
Telegram is widely used by the Russian political establishment, and prominent politicians and officials have openly flouted or criticised the ban. Data from the app showed several Kremlin officials had continued to sign in on Tuesday evening, four
days after a court ordered the service to be blocked.
Backed by Russia's federal security service (FSB) and a court decision, Roskomnadzor has pushed forward, banning subnets, totalling millions of IP addresses, used by Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud, two hosting sites that Telegram switched to
over the weekend to help circumvent the ban.
Andrei Soldatov, the co-author of The Red Web, an authoritative account of internet surveillance in Russia, said the campaign showed a no-holds-barred approach unconcerned with political fallout. He said:
They've decided the political costs of blocking Telegram and millions and millions of IP addresses used by Amazon and Google are not that high, Soldatov said. Once you cross the line, you can do anything. I think it means that they could move on
from Telegram to big services like Facebook and Google.
The tactic of effectively blocking all websites using a hosting company has worked in the past and the hosting companies have dropped websites as ordered by repressive politicians.
Two members of veteran Greek extreme metal band Rotting Christ were detained on terrorism charges ahead of show in Georgia last Thursday, after authorities accused them of practising satanism, their record label has said.
According to a statement from Season of Mist, frontman Sakis Tolis was detained alongside his brother, drummer Themis, after being arrested on arrival in Tbilisi on charges allegedly relating to their band name. Sakis explains:
After the regular document check at the border, my brother and I were stopped by the police on our way out from the airport. After some minutes, we were ordered to follow police to another area of the airport under the pretence of further
questioning before entering the country. Instead, we had our passports and mobile phones taken away and were led into a prison cell.
When we demanded to be told the reason for this arrest, we were simply told this information would be 'confidential'. Our lawyers informed us later that we are on a list of unwanted persons [regarded a threat to] national security that branded us
as satanists and therefore suspects of terrorism.
Sakis says the pair were locked in a small and rather dirty cell, and without being permitted any contact to the outside world or legal representation or our embassy for 12 hours, before the promoters of the RedRum event , Sweden's Terror Crew
Promotions and Georgia's Locomotive Promotion, intervened and the band were released without charge.
Due to the hard work of the local promoter, who involved legal experts, journalists, and activists in Georgia, we were finally released, he explains. We are extremely grateful to everybody involved in this process. In the end, we were even able to
perform our show and it turned out to be a fantastic night.
A gony is a 2018 US survival horror by Madmind Studio
Players begin their journey as a tormented soul within the depths of Hell without any memories about their past. The special ability to control people on their path, and possess minded demons, gives the player the necessary measures to survive in
the extreme conditions they are in
The publishers of the Kickstarter funded video game Agony have been explaining that release delays are down to censorship problems at the ESRB. The game features nudity which does not sit well with the M (17yo+) rating needed to avoid the
commercial ban on adults only games in the US. PlayWay explains:
In order to be able to publish the game, we had to make some compromises. Otherwise, we would have had to to delete the whole project and never release it. With that in mind, we have spent a lot of time to make sure that censorship will not
affect the perception of the game. That is why for many months we have been conducting interviews with age-rating companies in order not to cut out entire scenes from the game but at the same time modify it enough (e.g. just slightly changing the
camera's frame) to get an M (Mature) rating instead of AO (Adult-Only) rating. AO rating means that the game could not be released on PS4 and Xbox One, and we would not keep the promise made on the Kickstarter.
We also want to confirm that we are preparing a special, optional patch for PC that will remove the aforementioned censorship. We would love to do something similar for consoles but from a technical and legal point of view it is simply not
Many of you ask us what exactly we had to censor, fearing that the game you have been supporting for years will not be the same experience you hoped for. We do not want to list exactly what's been censored due to possible spoilers, but it is
important for you to understand that none of the elements you have seen in Agony's promotional materials (gameplay, trailers, screenshots, GIFs) have been censored. Do not be afraid, the full version of Agony is much heavier than what you've seen
so far anyway.
Chinese users of the Twitter-like Weibo have started an online protest with the hashtag I am gay in response to a recent government ban of gay
About 170,000 Weibo members had used the protst hashtag by midday Saturday before they were censored..
Weibo announced on Fridaythat it has launched a three-month clean-up campaign to get rid of illegal posts including manga and videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence or (related to) homosexuality. It is also targeting violent
video games, like Grand Theft Auto.
Weibo's move is perceived as a crackdown by President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party on ideas.
There can be no homosexuality under socialism? a Weibo user wrote, according to AFP. It is unbelievable that China progresses economically and militarily but returns to the feudal era in terms of ideas.
Chinese social media network Sina Weibo has backtracked from a controversial gay content ban after a massive outcry.
Last Friday the microblogging platform said that posts related to homosexuality would be taken down. It prompted a deluge of posts from outraged netizens protesting against the decision. On Monday, Sina Weibo said it would reverse the ban.
Over the weekend many in the LGBT community took to the network to protest against the decision, using hashtags such as #IAmGay# and #ScumbagSinaHelloIAmGay#.
Some tried testing the ban and uploaded pictures of themselves with partners or gay friends or relatives. Among them
was LGBT rights activist Pu Chunmei, whose impassioned post accompanied with pictures of her with her gay son quickly went viral. The picture was captioned: Be yourself, don't hide.
As of early Monday morning many such posts were still online, as censors appeared to struggle to keep up with the deluge.
Then Sina Weibo made another announcement: it said its clean-up would no longer apply to homosexual content. We thank everyone for their discussion and suggestions, the company added.
BBFC waives animal cruelty cuts for 1963 UK comedy adventure by Tony Richardson
17th April 2018
Tom Jones is a 1963 UK comedy adventure by Tony Richardson.
Starring Albert Finney, Susannah York and George Devine.
The BBFC has just made the unusual decision to waive animal cruelty cuts. In this case the cuts were to a cockfight.
The BBFC does seem more likely these days to waive cuts to animal cruelty shown to be staged, but maybe this case is different in that the BBFC commented in 2003 that cuts to Tom Jones were r equired to sight of real animal cruelty
The BBFC has also uprated the age classification from the previous PG rating to a 12 rating this time.
An upcoming BFI release will feature the Theatrical Version and shorter Director's Cut and have both just been rated 12 for moderate sex references, violence, language
Passed X uncut by the BBFC for 1963 cinema release. BBFC have required animal cruelty cuts for all releases from 1971 until 2018 when the cuts were waived for home video release. The film exists in a longer original version and a shortened
Director's Cut. Both versions are available MPAA Unrated and so without censor cuts in the US.
In the early 1960s, at the height of the British New Wave, a movement whose gritty realism they had helped establish, director Tony Richardson and playwright John Osborne set out for more fanciful narrative territory. Tom
Jones brings a theatrical flair to Henry Fielding s canonical eighteenth-century novel, boisterously chronicling the misadventures of the foundling of the title (Albert Finney, in a career-defining turn), whose easy charm seems to lead him astray
at every turn from his beloved, the wellborn Sophie Western (Susannah York). This spirited picaresque, evocatively shot in England s rambling countryside and featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast, went on to become a worldwide sensation,
winning the Oscar for best picture on the way to securing its status as a classic of irreverent wit and playful cinematic expression.
Update: Re the BBFC and faked/real animal cruelty
16th April 2018. Thanks to Jon
There was a foreign-language film from a few years back called A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE, and that features scenes of a simian being experimented on and electrocuted!
The scenes had been faked by clever CGI and animatronics, but if you've seen the film, and didn't know that the cruelty was faked, it looks horrendously real, and abhorrent!
The film received a 12A rating (for disturbing images ) and the BBFC DIDN'T mention anything in the BBFC Advice about the cruelty. When I emailed them about it, they said as long as the cruelty is fake, they can and will pass it!
If animal cruelty has been faked, and the BBFC are shown evidence to backup that fakeness, then it can be passed, at any rating.
As a Moscow court ordered the ban of messenger app Telegram on April 13, 2018, Deputy Communications Minister Alexey Volin tried
to sound reassuring: those who want to keep using it, he said, will look for ways to bypass the blocking. In a rare moment of consensus with the Russian authorities, many Telegram users agreed.
Though conceived as a messenger app similar to WhatsApp, Telegram earned its popularity in Russia thanks to its "channels," a blogging platform somewhere between Twitter and Facebook which quickly attracted political commentators,
journalists and officials. Telegram channels are a booming business, they are widely used in political and corporate wars. Last year Vedomosti, a business newspaper, claimed that political ads (or damaging leaks) on Telegram's most popular
channels could cost as much as 450,000 rubles ($7,500.)
But Telegram's CEO Pavel Durov has repeatedly and vocally refused to comply with the demand of Russian security services to give up the messenger's encryption keys . And as the year-long battle between Telegram and the Russian authorities seemed
to draw to a close with the decision to block the app, reaction to the announcement has been passionate and often derisive.
Kristina Potupchik, formerly a press officer for a pro-Kremlin youth movement, wrote:
Russia has finally become the world's second largest economy after China! At least in the field of permanently blocking Telegram.
Channels dedicated to Russian politics and the inner workings of the Kremlin --among the most popular on the platform-- also largely claimed they were not worried by the ban. About 85% of our users have installed one [a VPN] in the last 24
hours. If you haven't, here are the instructions, channel "Karaulny" (The Sentinel) told its 66,000+ followers.
So far, Telegram remains available in Russia, though sources have told the Interfax news agency that blocking could start as early as April 16.
Comment: Russia crosses another red line in online censorship
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns today's decision by a Moscow court to order the immediate blocking of the popular encrypted
messaging service Telegram after it refused to surrender its encryption keys to the Russian intelligence agencies. The decision represents yet another escalation in online censorship and an additional obstacle to journalism in Russia, RSF said.
Johann Bihr, the head of RSF's Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. said:
By blocking Telegram, the Russian authorities are crossing another red line in their control of the Internet. This is a major new blow to free speech in Russia. It also sends a strong intimidatory signal to the digital technology giants that are
battling with the Russian authorities. The authorities are targeting a tool that is essential for the work of journalists, especially for the confidentiality of their sources and data.
It takes 10s of 1000s of pounds for the justice system to consider the nuances of censorship and the right to be forgotten yet we hand over the task to Google who's only duty is to maximise profits for shareholders
A businessman fighting for the right to be forgotten has won a UK High Court action against Google.
The unnamed businessman who won his case was convicted 10 years ago of conspiring to intercept communications. He spent six months in jail. He as ked Google to delete online details of his conviction from Google Search but his request was turned
The judge, Mr Justice Mark Warby, ruled in his favour on Friday.
But he rejected a separate but similar claim made by another businessman who had committed a more serious crime. The other businessman, who lost his case, was convicted more than 10 years ago of conspiring to account falsely. He spent four years
Google said it would accept the rulings.
We work hard to comply with the right to be forgotten, but we take great care not to remove search results that are in the public interest, it said in a statement:
We are pleased that the Court recognised our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgements they have made in this case.'
Explaining the decisions made on Friday, the judge said one of the men had continued to mislead the public while the other had shown remorse.
But how is Google the right organisation to arbitrate on matters of justice where it is required to examine the level of remorse shown by those requesting censorship?
A Berlin court has issued an injunction ordering Facebook not to block a user and not to delete a comment
The order appears to be the first such court intervention against censorship in Germany.
Last year a new law called the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) came into effect that effectively frces Facebook to over censor just in case it gets hit by ludicrously large fines. And it was an example of this over reaction by Facebook that is
being challenged in court
The comment in question was placed by Gabor B under a Basler Zeitung article that referenced anti-immigrant statements by Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister. The Germans are becoming ever more stupid, Gabor B's comment, posted in January,
read. No wonder, since they are every day littered with fake news from the left-wing Systemmedien about 'skilled workers', declining unemployment rates or Trump.
When Facebook removed his comment and hit him with a 30-day account suspension, Gabor B retained conservative Hamburg lawyer Joachim Steinhöfel who is well known for taking on free-expression cases and is running something of a crusade against
what he sees as Facebook's overenthusiastic application of the NetzDG.
The BBC has defended a decision to air Enoch Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood speech on Radio 4.
The Archive on 4 programme, presented by BBC media editor Amol Rajan, will on Saturday broadcast the right-wing MP's anti-immigration speech - voiced by an actor - in full, for the first time.
The decision to do so was criticised as an incitement to racial hatred. The peer Andrew Adonis has called for the broadcast to be banned, and has written to the TV censor Ofcom. He wrote: What is happening to our public service broadcaster?
He said the speech was the worst incitement to racial violence by a public figure in modern Britain. He added: Obviously this matter will be raised in parliament should the broadcast go ahead.
Presumably critics are worried that the concerns voiced by Enoch Powell still exist today, and so may chime with listeners. Surely if this is the case, then it would be better if views were aired so that the authorities could address the concerns.
For instance if politicians had been better aware of such opinions, they would not have called the incredibly divisive Brexit referendum.
The BBC said there would be rigorous journalistic analysis and the show was not endorsing controversial views.
Delivered to local Conservative Party members in Birmingham, days before the second reading of the 1968 Race Relations Bill, then MP Powell referenced observations made by his Wolverhampton constituents including in 15 or 20 years' time the black
man will have the whip hand over the white man. He ended with a quote from Virgil's Aeneid, when civil war in Italy is predicted with the River Tiber foaming with much blood.
The anti-immigration speech ended his career in Edward Heath's shadow cabinet.
Archive on 4 will broadcast on Radio 4 on Saturday at 8pm.
We received complaints from people who feel it is irresponsible to broadcast Enoch Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood speech.
BBC Radio 4's well established programme Archive on 4 reflects in detail on historical events. Many people know of this controversial speech but few have heard it beyond soundbites and, in order to assess the speech fully and its impact on the
immigration debate, it will be analysed by a wide range of contributors including many anti-racism campaigners.
This is a rigorous journalistic analysis of a historical political speech. It is not an endorsement of the controversial views and we believe people should wait to hear the programme before they judge it.
The New Zealand moralist campaign group Family First have been campaigning for new laws to censor pornography.
Family First national director Bob McCoskrie is calling for an expert panel to consider health and social issues supposedly created by pornography, and somehwhat presumptively, how to solve the problems identified.
More than 22,000 people signed McCoskrie's petition, and this week he spoke to the Governance and Administration Select Committee at Parliament, where he said porn was feeding the health crisis of the digital age.
Parliament's Governance and Administration Select Committee is currently considering the petition and whether to set up an 'expert' panel.
Chief censor David Shanks seems to have been caught up in the pre-censorship momentum. He said more needs to be done to understand porn use, and the effects. Then NZ can get to work tackling the issue. He added that New Zealand needs to take a
societal approach to tackling the pervasive effects of porn, including further regulation.
As far as regulation goes, Shanks said New Zealand could consider making similar moves to the United Kingdom, where anyone wanting to watching online porn had to go through an official age verification process. An ISP-level ban, where pornography
viewers had to opt in to viewing pornographic content, could also be part of the solution.
The Office of Film and Literature Classification, headed by the chief censor, was dedicating its major research project for the year to the prevalence, and effects of porn.
Justice Minister Andrew Little said he was aware of the issues surrounding pornography use, and he was open to suggestions on what regulatory approach New Zealand could take to tackle problems. However, there was no specific legislation in the
pipeline at the moment.
Blogging has been popular in Tanzania for more than a decade, enabling writers and independent journalists to express views and report news that
might not otherwise appear in mainstream media. But as of last month, this kind of work will come with a price tag.
On March 16, 2018, the United Republic of Tanzania issued the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations demanding that bloggers must register and pay over USD $900 per year to publish online.
Application 2. These Regulations shall apply to online content including: (a) application services licensees; (b) bloggers; (c) internet cafes; (d) online content hosts; (e) online forums; (f) online radio or television; (g) social media; (h)
subscribers and users of online content; and (i) any other related online content.
The new regulations have far-reaching implications for freedom of expression and human rights. Bloggers must fill out official regulatory forms and avoid publishing prohibited content including nudity, hate speech, explicit sex acts, extreme
violence, "content that causes annoyance" fake news, and "bad language" among other restrictions.
The new regulations grant unrestrained power to the Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority ( TCRA ) to prescribe and proscribe. Under Part II, Number 4, TCRA then has the authority:
(a) to keep register of bloggers, online forums, online radio and online television;
(b) to take action against non-compliance to these Regulations, including to order removal of prohibited content
iAfrikan News further explains :
Online content publishers (blogs, podcasts, videos) will apply for a license at a fee of 100,000 Tanzanian Shillings (44 USD) pay an initial license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings (440 USD) and an annual license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian
Shillings (440 USD). This means to run something as simple as a personal blog (text) if you live in Tanzania, you'd have to spend an initial (approximately) $900 (USD) in license fees.
[A quick look at average salary figures on Wikipedia suggests that the average annual salary in Tanzania ia about 900,000 Tanzanian Shillings, so the licence fees are simply impossible for the majority of Tanzanians].
According to Tanzania Bloggers Network Secretary-General Krantz Mwantepele, as quoted in The Citizen, many Tanzanian bloggers cannot afford these fees because the "license applications and annual subscriptions are way beyond earnings of many
What is clear is that breaches of the new law will be punishable with a fine of "not less than five million Tanzanian shillings" (around USD $2,500), or imprisonment for "not less than 12 months or both."
Blogging as alternative news in Tanzania
Blogging emerged in Tanzania around 2007 and became popular as an alternative news platform with educated, middle class people, as well as politicians and political parties.
In Tanzania, where media historically holds strong ties to government interests, blogging opened up possibilities for individuals to establish private news outlets that proved immensely powerful in terms of reach and readership.
Before the rise of mobile apps, access to a stable Internet connected and laptop were imperative for bloggers. This set a relatively high barrier to participation for people with limited income.
It's getting harder and harder to be a good leftist these days. As the high priests and priestesses of the PC cult keep narrowing acceptable points of view, reasonable liberals are finding it difficult to toe the line
Grovelling to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, Mark Zuckerberg apologised that Facebook had not taken a broad enough view
of its responsibility for people's public information. He ssaid:
It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here.
Zuckerberg said its audit of third-party apps would highlight any misuse of personal information, and said the company would alert users instantly if it found anything suspicious.
When asked why the company did not immediately alert the 87 million users whose data may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica (CA) when first told about the improper usage in 2015, Zuckerberg said Facebook considered it a closed case after CA
said it had deleted it. He apologised:
In retrospect it was clearly a mistake to believe them.
Zuckerberg's profuse apologies seem to have been a hit at the stock exchange but techies weren't impressed when he clammed up when asked for details on how Facebook snoops on users (and non-users).
UK Censorship Culture Secretary Matt Hancock met Facebook executives to warn them the social network is not above law.
Hancock told US-based Vice President of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert, and Global Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Stephen Deadman he would hold their feet to the fire over the privacy of British users.
Hancock pressed Facebook on accountability, transparency, micro-targeting and data protection. He also sought assurances that UK citizens data was no longer at risk and that Facebook would be giving citizens more control over their data going
Following the talks, Hancock said:
Social media companies are not above the law and will not be allowed to shirk their responsibilities to our citizens. We will do what is needed to ensure that people's data is protected and don't rule anything out - that includes further
regulation in the future.
The EU is mooting a new copyright regime for the largest market in the world, and the Commissioners
who are drafting the new rules are completely captured by the entertainment industry, to the extent that they have ignored their own experts and produced a farcical Big Content wishlist that includes the most extensive internet censorship regime
the world has ever seen, perpetual monopolies for the biggest players, and a ban on European creators using Creative Commons licenses to share their works.
Since these filter systems are incredibly expensive to create and operate, anyone who wants to get into business competing with the companies that grew large without having to create systems like these will have to source hundreds of millions in
capital before they can even enter the market. Youtube 2018 can easily afford Content ID; Youtube 2005 would have been bankrupted if they'd had to build it.
And then there's the matter of banning Creative Commons licenses.
In order to bail out the largest newspapers in the EU, the Commission is proposing a Link Tax -- a fee that search engines and sites like Boing Boing will have to pay just for the right to link to news stories on the web. This idea has been tried
before in Spain and Germany and the newspapers who'd called for it quickly admitted it wasn't working and stopped using it.
But the new, worse-than-ever Link Tax contains a new wrinkle: rightsholders will not be able to waive the right to be compensated under the Link Tax. That means that European creators -- who've released hundreds of millions of works under Creative
Commons licenses that allow for free sharing without fee or permission -- will no longer be able to choose the terms of a Creative Commons license; the inalienable, unwaivable right to collect rent any time someone links to your creations will
invalidate the core clause in these licenses.
Europeans can write to their MEPs and the European Commission using this joint Action Centre
; please act before it's too late.
The European Copyright Directive was enacted in 2001 and is now woefully out of date. Thanks in large part to the work of Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, many good ideas for updating European copyright law were put forward in a report of the
European Parliament in July 2015. The European Commission threw out most of these ideas, and instead released a legislative proposal in October 2016 that focused on giving new powers to publishers. That proposal was referred to several of the
committees of the European Parliament, with the Parliament's Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee taking the lead.
As the final text must also be accepted by the Council of the European Union (which can be considered as the second part of the EU's bicameral legislature), the Council Presidency has recently been weighing in with its own "compromise"
proposals (although this is something of a misnomer, as they do little to improve the Commission's original text, and in some respects make it worse). Not to be outdone, German MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Axel Voss last month
introduced a new set of his own proposals [PDF] for "compromise," which are somehow worse still. Since Voss leads the JURI committee, this is a big problem.
A loss of trust in Facebook in the light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal could prompt the EU to
scrap its voluntary code of conduct on the removal of online hate speech in favour of legislation and heavy sanctions, European commission Vera Jourová said.
The EU's executive is examining how to have hateful content censored swiftly by social media platforms, with legislation being one option that could replace the current system.
JJourová said she would be grilling Sheryl Sandberg , Facebook's chief operating officer, later this week over unanswered questions about the company's past errors and future plans.
Jourove said she was wary of following the German path, because of the thin line between removing offensive material and censorship, but said all options were on the table.
President Donald Trump has signed the internet censorship FOSTA/SESTA bill into law, paving the way for more law
enforcement actions against websites that facilitate prostitution.
Websites started shutting down sex-work forums even before Trump signed the bill. Craigslist removed its Personals section, Reddit removed some sex-related subreddits, and the Erotic Review blocked any user who appears to be visiting the website
from the United States.
The bill becoming law will likely lead to more voluntary site shutdowns or law enforcement actions against sites that continue to be used for prostitution.
The SESTA and FOSTA acronyms (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) suggest that the new law is aimed at cracking down on sex trafficking. But the law barely distinguishes between trafficking and consensual sex
Operators of websites that let sex workers interact with clients could face 25 years in prison under the new law.
At Netflix, we offer a wide variety of series and films catering to an equally broad variety of tastes and
sensibilities. With that in mind, we are improving some long-standing Netflix features that provide members with the information and tools they need to make wise decisions about what's right for themselves and for their families. We're rolling out
these improvements across the many devices used by Netflix members, and across our global markets, in the coming months.
The first change involves introducing a PIN parental control for individual movies and series to give parents and guardians more specific control over what children can watch on the service. We understand that every family is different and that
parents have differing perspectives on what they feel is appropriate to watch at different ages. While we already provide PIN protection for all content at a particular maturity level for Netflix accounts, PIN protection for a specific series or
film provides families with an additional tool to make decisions they are comfortable with.
In addition, we will also begin displaying more prominently the maturity level rating for a series or film once a member hits play on a title. While these maturity ratings are available in other parts of the experience, we want to ensure members
are fully aware of the maturity level as they begin watching. We are also continuing to explore ways to make this information more descriptive and easier for our members to understand with just a quick glance.
One of the great benefits of internet TV is that it allows for amazing variety and provides viewers with complete control over their experience. At Netflix, we are proud to create and deliver to our members a large catalog of compelling stories
crossing many genres from all over the world, while also giving them great control over how and when to enjoy them. These latest steps are part of our continuous efforts to keep members better informed, and more in control, of what they and their
families choose to watch and enjoy on Netflix.
There is no shortage of hostility towards Facebook at the moment, as a result of recent revelations about their exploitation of user data and
dissemination of supposed 'fake news'.
And the Ugandan Government has taken this to a whole new level and come up with a novel approach to try and steer Ugandan social media users away from US social media like Facebook and WhatsApp; a social media tax.
The social media tax proposal has been widely mocked by Ugandan internet users and experts, but it seems that the idea, which is thought to have emanated from the long-standing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni himself, is destined to be
His justification was that because social media apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp were developed overseas, Ugandan's are merely consumers of their services and profits from these apps are all being made overseas.
Information minister Frank Tumwebaze claimed that the Ugandan Government wanted to foster online innovation at home and claimed that by taxing these overseas services, Ugandan's would be encouraged to develop their own rival apps.
Exactly how the tax will work in practice is still unclear.
There is no shortage of hostility towards Facebook at the moment, as a result of recent revelations about their exploitation of user data
and dissemination of supposed 'fake news'.
And the Californian Government has taken this to a whole new level and come up with a tradition approach to demand that all online news in the state is censored by government approved 'fact checkers'.
California State Senator Richard Pan introduced the bill SB1424 Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan. that requires any online communication to be run through government-approved censors fact-checkers.
This bill would require any person who operates a social media Internet Web site with a physical presence in California to develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Web site. The bill would require the plan to include, among
other things, a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false
Although the bill initially suggests that this would apply only social media companies, the definitions confirm that it would apply to all internet communications from individuals, and companies large and small. The scope is defined in the bill:
As used in this section, social media means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or
accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.
The bill stands little chance of passing and, if it did, would face serious challenges in court as an infringement of The First Amendment, but it is astonishing that a legislator would even consider such a thing in America.
Unfreedom is a 2015 USA / India crime romance by Raj Amit Kumar.
Starring Victor Banerjee, Adil Hussain and Bhanu Uday.
In New York arrives a violent and angry man imprisoned by his brutal past, Mohammed Husain. His mission - to kidnap and kill a peaceful Muslim scholar, Fareed Rahmani. On the other side of the world, Leela Singh, a homosexual girl in New Delhi,
kidnaps her bisexual lover, Sakhi Taylor. Her mission - to marry her lover and live happily ever after. In a brutal struggle of identities against unfreedom, four characters, in two of the world's largest cities, come face to face with most
gruesome acts of torture and violence. The choices they make when they are most cornered in life, expose the blemished reality of contemporary world.
Almost three years after Unfreedom was banned in India by the Pahlaj Nihalani-led Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), on the grounds that it would ignite unnatural passions, the film has been acquired by Netflix and can be watched by the
streaming service's subscribers.
After the film was refused certification by CBFC, the makers appealed at the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), only to be refused again.
Talking about the film's release by Netflix, director Raj Amit Kumar said in a press statement:
I am glad that Unfreedom finds such a popular platform like Netflix after the ban in India and the efforts of censorship guardians in India to stop the film. It also exposes the hypocrisy and divide between reality and fantasy of censorship
system in India. There is no way they can control and censor content in digital age, yet, they try their best to choke filmmakers like me who have something relevant to say that makes them feel threatened.
CBS Action cuts Diagnosis Murder for early evening broadcast
10th April 2018
Thanks to Dave
Diagnosis Murder is a USA TV crime mystery series
Starring Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke and Victoria Rowell.
Dr. Mark Sloan is a doctor at Community General Hospital, and he is a consultant for the police department. His son Steve Sloan is a detective for the department. He and his father, along with emergency room resident Dr. Jesse Travis and Dr.
Amanda Bentley, who is the pathologist at the hospital help to solve some very strange murder cases in Diagnosis Murder.
I couldn't help, but notice CBS Action on Freeview censoring a Diagnosis Murder season II episode 16 called A Blast from The Past on Wednesday night's 4th April early evening showing and its following repeat the next morning. A firm favourite with
students and the unemployed back in the 90's including this former university undergraduate, the BBC always showed all episodes uncut in the afternoon slot, but not CBS I'm afraid with its reruns! Maybe the recent Hollywood sex scandal has hit
home causing panic to TV censors?
I compared it with my R1 NTSC 30fps and at around 31 mins 45 seconds there was a 2 second or so cut by CBS to the TV version scene when the bad guy punches/slaps (it's so quick) his pretty girlfriend in the face and it fades out black. Obviously
this would be earlier at PAL speed. CBS just showed the fade out instead, missing the entire slap and went straight to the commercial break. The uncut version is pretty mild by today's standards and the BBFC gives a 12 to all seasons of this
usually tame murder mystery comedy drama starring the ever likeable Dick Van Dyke as the doctor detective Mark Sloan.
After Instagram removed a video detailing a corruption investigation into Russia's ruling elite, it's time to talk about
social networks and the Kremlin.
The one thing that compensates for the strictness of Russian laws is the lack of necessity to follow them. The Russian writer Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin may have penned this aphorism in the mid-19th century, but it's still relevant in
2018 -- especially when discussing the specifics of doing business in Russia and interacting with the Russian government.
A recent practical lesson in this reality emerged when president Putin signed the Personal Data Domestication Law (PDDL) in 2015. The PDDL, effective from 1 September 2015, demanded that every piece of personal data of Russian citizens operated by
any online service should be stored in a data warehouse within the Russian Federation's geographical borders.
This is a quite remarkable (and typical) piece of Russia's legislative absurdity. Imagine a small online store somewhere in France selling, for instance, carpets. It stores its customers' data on a cloud service without even knowing the
whereabouts of physical servers. In France? Iceland? Is the data somehow distributed throughout the globe by the hosting service provider? Even if the store managed to somehow separate its customers with Russian citizenship (and here don't forget
the homesick employees of the French embassy in Moscow ordering carpets from home, still not being subject to the PDDL), it is hard to imagine our hypothetical store would be capable to setup technical infrastructure to comply with the PDDL.
Of course, Russian legislators were not concerned with small online stores (though a verbatim reading of the PDDL leaves no chance of excluding them). The law is targeted at messaging services and social networks: Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, Skype
and so on. Roskomnadzor (the Russian government internet censorship agency) has been very clear -- Facebook and Google should move their servers to Russia, making their users data and, most important, messages subject to SORM, the
internet surveillance system created and run by the Russian security services.
An online petition addressed to Google, Facebook and Twitter urging them not to comply with the PDDL and thus to protect privacy and data of their customers from the FSB was launched in summer 2015. It quickly collected over 50,000 signatures, and
some of the best known Russian internet gurus among them. It's hard to say whether the petition was effective or that the internet companies calculated their expenses for fulfilment of the PDDL, but the fact is three years later, in 2018, none of
the major players (Viber being the only exception among messengers) agreed to follow the PDDL. No sanctions from Roskomnadzor followed, though it did threaten them on a number of occasions.
Why so? Dura lex, sed lex, surely? The legislation could be perfectly absurd, yet still it might be hard for a western reader to imagine how a corporation (with all its lawyers and compliance departments) could just disobey it and walk away. But
this is Russia -- not a democracy, but an authoritarian regime. And there is no rule of law, but the rule of political momentum.
Shutting down Twitter in Russia, where politicians loyal to Putin have accounts and enjoy tweeting, or including Instagram on Roskomnadzor's blacklist (which would imply an immediate block by any ISP in Russia), making million of young Instagram
users unhappy just before the parliamentary and presidential elections -- any decision of this kind has to be approved by the Russian president himself. No court and no other part of the regime would dare to take responsibility given
the possible political consequences. Anything that could make people unhappy and drive them to the streets is decided by Putin. This is the way an autocracy operates.
Once you realise this fact, it's easy to see why LinkedIn was selected by Roskomnadzor as the first victim of PDDL in summer 2016.
Indeed, LinkedIn is still the only victim. It was selected by Roskomnadzor carefully: sure, it's a big brand, with an even a bigger one behind it (Microsoft), but LinkedIn's popularity in Russia has been limited to a small part of the white-collar
audience working for or doing business with western companies. A rather small audience. And what's more important: this is not the kind of audience that would march on the streets against internet censorship. LinkedIn was chosen to scare off
larger players. On the technical and legal side, there was absolutely no difference between how LinkedIn and how Facebook stored and dealt with the personal data of their Russian users. The only thing that made a difference was politics.
This PDDL case has been an important lesson, and it's a pity that not everyone has learnt it for good. In February, Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader unlawfully banned from the presidential election, but who remains Putin's most
prominent and feared critic, published a video proving that Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to US lobbyist Paul Manafort, secretly met with Sergey Prikhodko, deputy prime minister of Russian government who oversees foreign
policy. Indeed, the leaked conversation happened during a yacht trip off the Norwegian coast in August 2016. Several escort girls were also present.
This could be the missing link between Manafort and Putin -- and perhaps it was, judging from the Russian government's reaction. The day after Navalny's investigation was published online on YouTube and Instagram, a court in the small
southern Russian city of Ust'-Labinsk (which happens to be Deripaska's hometown) decided that Navalny's video violated the oligarch's and deputy prime minister right to a private life (!). It ordered every instance of the video to be blacklisted
by Roskomnadzor, effective immediately. This pace was record-breaking: usually any lawsuits relating to violation of an individual's right to a private life take years. For instance, in summer 2016, the FSB leaked footage of Navalny fishing with
his family on a lake. This surveillance video was included as part of a documentary on a state-owned TV-channel, and used as evidence that opposition leader spends his vacation in too chic a manner. The court is still due to set a hearing date.
But what does it mean when Roskomnadzor is required to block some video from the technical point of view? When a website is blacklisted, it is included on the registry of forbidden content, which Roskomnadzor updates several times a day and
distributes among all Russians ISPs. The latter face huge fines or the revocation of their license if they fail to restrict access their customers' access to every website included in the registry. If a website uses HTTPS, a secure connection
protocol, though, the ISP doesn't possess the information concerning which exact URL a user is trying to reach. Technically, in the Deripaska case, only two entries on Navalny's blog have been included in the blacklist registry, but all the ISPs
blocked the entire domain of Navalny.com (some of them even blocked all the subdomains, including the website of Navalny's presidential campaign). They simply had no choice. Similarly, should any single YouTube video be included in the registry,
YouTube will become inaccessible for customers of Russian ISPs on the same day. Should any Instagram story be put on the blacklist, millions of Instagram users will get angry. This is already politics.
Thus, having a valid (albeit speedy) court decision beforehand, Roskomnadzor immediately blacklisted navalny.com and a few dozen other websites which dared to publish Navalny's investigation -- but not the YouTube and Instagram videos
with exactly the same information and mentioned in the same court decision alongside other prohibited URLs. At the end of the day, Roskomnadzor are not fools: they are well aware of the risk of shutting down YouTube -- this kind of
action nearly led to a coup in Brazil recently. Instead, Roskomnadzor started sending emails. They informed YouTube and Instagram that Navalny's video is recognised as illegal in Russia and asked them to remove it voluntarily. YouTube contacted
Navalny's office and asked him to remove it. Navalny refused. Youtube refused also. Instagram took the video down without even attempting to contest Roskomnadzor's email. Roskomnadzor threatened Google with sanctions because of YouTube's
disobeyal. Google ignored it.
A month later, the video (which has over seven million views) is still freely accessible on the YouTube. No sanctions were applied to Google. After two weeks of threats, Roskomnadzor officially admitted it is not considering shutting down YouTube
in Russia. So Google, via YouTube, has outplayed internet censorship and once again, as in the case of PDDL, proven its readiness to put its customers' interests first. Meanwhile, Facebook, in the form of Instagram, should be considered a company
that is ready to help Putin clean up the Manafort mess by censoring material online.
Legal compliance shouldn't be the only way of doing business in authoritarian states, where the regime can easily undertake unlawful actions to pursue political goals. Politics is another consideration. So is protecting your customers.
The US authorities have taken control of a classified adverts website used by sex workers to advertise their services.
A notice was posted on Backpage.com's various international front pages late last week to inform visitors.
The site had previously shut down the adult section of its US site, but critics had alleged that prostitution ads had simply moved to other pages.
The authorities claim that some of the adverts were for trafficked sex workers, but such claims are generally hyped up by those campaigning to prohibit adult consensual sex work and rarely amount to any more than a few cases when properly
The US media has also reported that Backpage's co-founder Michael Lacey was arrested last week and his home raided.
The Californian authorities had previously attempted to close Dallas-based Backpage.com in 2016, when the state prosecuted the business's chief executive and two ex-owners - including Mr Lacey - over claims they had committed pimping offences and
generated millions of dollars by hosting sex trade ads. However, the case was dismissed on the grounds that the US's Communications Decency Act said that publishers should not be held responsible for content created solely by their users.
But last month, Congress passed a new law, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (Fosta). It states that websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts should no longer be granted the
It has been reported that President Trump will sign a Senate-approved version of the act into law this week.
The European Commission proposes designating internet censors, which it euphemistically calls 'trusted flaggers', and then requiring internet hosting companies to censor whatever the 'trusted flaggers' say
The EU Commission has recommended an internet censorship decision sounding like something straight out of China. The
system consists of designating police, state censors, commercial censors acting for the state, and perhaps independent groups like the IWF. These are euphemistically known as trusted flaggers.
Website and content hosting companies will then be required to remove any content (nominally illegal content) in a timely manner.
The IWF usefully summarises the proposals as follows:
The EU Commission's proposals to tackle illegal content online include:
Hosting providers and Member States being prepared to submit all monitoring information to the Commission, upon request, within six months (three months for terrorist content) in order for the Commission to assess whether
further legislation is required.
Recommends introducing definitions for "illegal content" and "trusted flaggers".
Fast track procedures should be introduced for materials referred by trusted flaggers.
Hosting providers to publish a list of who they consider to be a "trusted flagger".
Automated takedown of content is encouraged, but should have safeguards such as human oversight.
Terrorist content should be removed within one hour.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking to create a database that would monitor news outlets, journalists and
media influencers around the world, it has been reported.
DHS is looking to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, television, and radio, according to a request for information. It will also look at trade and industry publications, local, national and
international outlets, and social media, according to documents.
The plans also encompass media coverage being tracked in more than 100 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, with instant translation of articles into English.
The DHS Media Monitoring plan would allow for 24/7 access to media influencer database, including journalist, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc to identify any and all media coverage of a particular event.
Steve Allen presents the early weekday morning breakfast show between 04:00 and 07:00 on the speech based radio station LBC 97.3FM. The format of the programme is based on the presenter expressing his views on a range of topical issues and
encouraging listeners to interact and express their opinions via text message and online.
A listener complained that presenter Steve Allen made discriminatory comments about the traveller community during this programme.
We noted that during the programme, the presenter, Mr Allen, made reference to a news story in which businesses in the village of Parkend, Gloucestershire, were instructed by police to close following violent disturbances from a group of visitors
to a holiday village. Mr Allen said the following:
“’Brawling travellers shut down a holiday village’. Why do we have to start being nice to travellers? Every time I read a story in the newspaper its either thieving, robbing or brawling. And this one was terrible, all the businesses had to close
and everything else. We had them moving in to a hospital car park a short while ago, it was all very odd. What is the matter with them? What is the matter with them?”
We considered Rule 2.3:
“In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…”.
Ofcom decision: Breach of rule 2.3
Mr Allen was responding to a news story about violent disorder in a Gloucestershire town which, according to the Licensee, Mr Allen had believed at the time referred to members from the travelling community.As a result, Mr Allen went on to ask
Why do we have to start being nice to travellers? Every time I read a story in the newspaper its either thieving, robbing or brawling206what is the matter with them? What is the matter with them?
In Ofcom's view, these remarks could be interpreted as offering a highly pejorative and generalised view about members of the traveller community, a protected racial group under the Equality Act 2010, and as such had the potential to cause offence
to listeners. The likely level of offence in this case would have been increased by Mr Allen's repeated and emphatic use of the rhetorical question what is the matter with them?. In our view, this would have served to reinforce Steve Allen's
attribution of a clearly negative stereotype of certain forms of anti-social and criminal behaviour (i.e. thieving, robbing or brawling) to all members of the travelling community.
Violence cuts to Umberto Lenzi's 1981 video nasty have just been waived by the BBFC, but cuts to animal cruelty remain
8th April 2018
Cannibal Ferox is a 1981 Italy horror adventure by Umberto Lenzi.
Starring Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Lorraine De Selle and Danilo Mattei.
UK: Passed 18 for strong bloody violence, gore after some previous cuts waived but still with 1:55s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:
2018 Argent Films video
The BBFC commented:
Compulsory cuts required to sequences of real animal cruelty.
The previous submission to the BBFC was in 2001 when the video ended up with about 7 minutes of cuts. Just 6s of these cuts were formally required by the BBFC but the BBFC concurred with 6:51s of pre-cuts.
The 2001 BBFC cuts were:
Cut required to sight of small animal on end of rope banging against side of a jeep
From IMDb, the 2001 pre-cuts were:
Removed scene of coati being eaten by a snake whilst the adventurers look on.
Removed scene of a monkey being attacked by a jaguar.
Removed scene of iguana fending off snake
Removed scenes of Pat & Mike tormenting a native girl about being a virgin and then threatening to hurt her with a knife drawn across her naked breasts
Removed scene of live turtle having its head an legs chopped off.
Removed scene of Mike removing a native's eye with a knife.
Shortened scene of Joe getting speared and his innards becoming a cannibal feast.
Removed scene of Mike being castrated with a machete and then the natives eating the tasty morsel.
Removed flashback to Mike's ex-girl being kicked in the head.
Removed scene of a crocodile being killed and devoured by natives
Removed scenes of Mike's hand being chopped off.
When Zora Kerowa is killed, this edited version plays as though she has disappeared, never once showing either the actual event of the aftermath of the famous "hooks through the breasts" death.
After having his skull sliced off, cuts to natives eating his brains.
And previous to that, the video was banned on pre-cert VHS as one of the most notable of the video nasties.
Anthropologists take a trip to the jungles of Colombia to study native cannibals. Instead, they find a band of drug dealers, using the natives to harvest coca leaves. After awhile, the natives are tired of being tortured slaves, and turn on their
masters, as well as the anthropologists, thus filling the screen with gruesome splatter!
The government has announced a new Offensive Weapons Bill, which will be brought forward within weeks. It will ban the sale of the most
dangerous corrosive products to under-18s and introduce restrictions on online sales of knives. It will also make it illegal to possess certain offensive weapons like zombie knives and knuckle-dusters in private.
The government notes that the new legislation will form part of the government's Serious Violence Strategy, which will be launched tomorrow.
Along with other issues the Serious Violence Strategy will examine how social media usage can drive violent crime and focus on building on the progress and relationships made with social media providers and the police to identify where we can take
further preventative action relevant to tackling serious violence.
When the strategy is launched tomorrow, the Home Secretary will call on social media companies to do more to tackle gang material hosted on their sites and to make an explicit reference to not allowing violent gang material including music and
video on their platforms.
TruNews is a 'YouTube channel run by the outlandish evangelist Rick Wiles. It has just been targetted by Google's censorship
policies nad has been kicked into the unsearchable long grass.
Perhaps banned for being 'fake news' but in reality it is a little too unbelievable to even count as 'fake'. freethinker.co.uk
offer an amusing description of why the channel has been censored:
Why? Because Wiles's broadcasts are so damned nutty they serve as a warning to viewers that this is what happens when people's brain's are running on Jesus.
Of course, Wiles is even more miffed. He alludes to Google not following its 'don't be evil' mantra:
I have warned for years that a spirit of Nazism is rising up inside the USA. The new Nazis are here. America is on the verge of a French Revolution-style upheaval during which leftist mobs will seek to execute Christians and conservatives in
order to purge American society.
But this isn't the only example of Google being 'evil'.
from YouTube titled YouTube Admits Not Notifying Subscribers & Screwing With Algorithms
Jimmy Dore notes that independent news sites often no longer qualify for monetisation, they are booted into the unsearchable long grass (as noted by TruNews) and now Google no longer informs subscribers when new videos are added. He contends that
the powers that be want news videos from mainstream media to be the dominant news source for YouTube viewers.
An American video game that allows players to bomb Tiananmen Square has become the focal point of the latest Chinese censorship crack down.
Although Call of Duty Black Ops II was first released in 2012, officials in the eastern province of Jiangxi singled it out in a recent crackdown that ordered internet cafes to stop their customers playing banned games. A short sequence in
the game's alternative reality, in which a character recalls a fictional Second World War bombing raid in the heart of the Chinese capital, appears to have particularly angered the censors.
Another game that fell foul of the censors was a locally produced one, Red Alert 2: Glory of the Republic, which allows players to fight against the People's Liberation Army.
Provincial authorities from the culture ministry visited 39 internet cafes in the province in the last week of March to make sure they were not offering banned games, the report added. More than 5,000 internet cafes in the province have now
installed a government surveillance system on their computers. Officials will be notified if users have been playing banned games in the cafes. Nag screens regularly interrupt players at internet cafes without the latest update of the games
YouTube-MP3 was the world's largest YouTube-ripping service but last year it shut down following a lawsuit filed by the world's largest record labels. But what about companies that supply rip-it-yourself downloading tools
BBFC details belatedly published for the recent Criterion release including a recently discovered workprint version
7th April 2018
Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 US horror film by George A Romero. With Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman.
UK: The Restored Theatrical Version was passed 15 uncut for strong injury detail, threat, violence: UK: The Work print titled Night of Anubis was passed 15 uncut for:
2018 Sony/Criterion [Restored Version + Workprint] RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon
Cut by the BBFC for 1969 cinema release. Uncut by the BBFC afterwards but there are several variant versions. Uncut and MPAA Unrated in the US. A shortened workprint was found and restored for 2018 Criterion Blu-ray release.
For 2018 release the BBFC has updated its previous consumer advice from moderate horror and violence to strong injury detail, threat, violence
George Romero said at the Monster Mania horror convention that a once-lost 16mm work print has finally been found. The work print turned up when elements were being gathered for a brand new restoration of the film.
Movie-Censorship.com takes a look at the workprint just released with Night of the Living Dead. There are a few extra clips in the workprint but the major change is a 10 minute scene that is in the move, but not the workprint
It seems that original distributors asked for a version without a 9 minute scene that takes place at the jump cut in the basement. This includes the largest zombie scene in the film. However the 10 minute scene was in place by the time of the
Night of the Living Dead - Added Value - Disc 2 [Additional Material]
Night of the Living Dead [Additional Material, Audio Commentary With Russell Streiner, Vincent Survinski, Judith O'dea, Bill Hinzman, Kyra Schon and Keith Wayne]
Night of the Living Dead [Additional Material, Audio Commentary With George Romero, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman and John Russo]
Night of Anubis [Additional Material, Night of the Living Dead]
A Depraved Classic of Adult Anime Returns to the Big Screen
Originally released in the US in 1993 to much puzzlement and shock, a rare 35mm print of Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend will screen at Nitehawk (136 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) on April 6 and 7.
The occasion generates a recap of censorship history in the US and UK:
The film's notoriety lies in its extreme violence and visceral visuals. The film's women get the worst treatment; female students are lecherously lensed, starting with scenes of half-clothed locker room horseplay and continuing in excessive
up-skirt shots. Maimed and mutilated female bodies randomly litter the background of other scenes. Perhaps the most prominent atrocities are the repeated scenes of rape, with the film's most infamous attack featuring phallic tentacles accosting
and probing an unwilling victim. This tentacled violation, which occurs in an early scene, is often cited as the representative moment of this feature-length depravity.
Urotsukidoji was initially released in three parts, between 1987 and 1989, as an original video animation (or OVA), ie it was not made as a broadcast TV series.
The first part was released in the US edited into a feature length film after 30 minutes of censor cuts for material deemed too extreme for the US. It ended up being rated NC-17. The film gained a reputation as the cinematic obscenity that forged
the stereotype that All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles .
US media has a bit of a downer on Donald Trump so they had great fun reporting Trump's less than diplomatic description of African states as 'shithole countries'.
Politico reporter John Hendel has revealed that US TV censors of the Federal Communications Commission have received complaints from at least 162 people about the uncensored, bleep-free coverage of Trump's colourful phrase by news organizations.
Many of the viewer complaints over the controversy implored the FCC to take action against one of Trump 's favorite targets: CNN, but unfortunately for them, CNN is a cable station and is not bound by FCC strong language rules.
However this doesn't stop the FCC reporting the complaints. In a complaint report the FCC cited complaints about specific CNN journalists, such as Don Lemon and Jim Acosta, and called the network fake news. One suggested most members of the media
hate Trump and his voters and said the use of such indecent language is 'responsible for the growing animosity that leads to riots and other crimes and is in fact tearing our country apart'.
China's VPN ban came into effect on March 31, 2018, but virtual private network providers are still claiming their users have access to their services in the country.
NordVPN has reportied a lack of information from Chinese authorities about how and when exactly the ban will be implemented. The company also said businesses have reported that so far there have been no announcements from authorities about the
ban. The company commented:
We understand the concern of local and international businesses in China, as well as the needs of scholars, scientists, students, and others who vitally need VPNs to freely access the World Wide Web,
Perhaps the rest of the world would well appreciate Chinese VPN blocking, it must surely make trade a bit tougher for Chinese companies to be cut off from the world.
Today's headlines are dominated by the role of misinformation campaigns or "fake news" in undermining democracy in the West. From ongoing accusations of Russian meddling in Trump's election to Russian efforts to sway the Brexit and
French Presidential election votes, these countries are confronting "fake news" as an ongoing and urgent threat to democracy. Yet in Latin America, where misinformation campaigns have prevailed throughout the twentieth century, concerns
over "fake news" are hardly new . Latin American media concentration, disinformation campaigns, and biased coverage have long undermined informed civic discourse .
"Fake News" as a pretext for curbing free expression in Latin America
In 2018, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica, among others, will undergo electoral processes involving their respective presidencies. These governments are beginning to exploit concerns over "fake news," as though it were
a novel phenomenon, in order to adopt proposals to increase state control over online communications and expand censorship and Internet surveillance. Such rhetoric glosses over the fact that propaganda from traditional Latin American media
monopolies has long been the norm in the region, and that Internet companies have played a critical role in counterbalancing this power dynamic. Frank La Rue, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Free Expression, remarked at the 2017 Internet
Governance Forum on the inherent risks of importing the term "fake news" to Latin America:
I don't like the term "fake news" because I think there is a bit of a trap in it. We are confronting campaigns of misinformation. So we should talk about information and disinformation.
La Rue believes that when distinctions between fake and real news are drawn, they are done ultimately to dissuade the public from reading news or thinking independently. He argues that "the problem again is that fake news becomes a perfect
excuse to just silence or shut down any alternative or any dissident voice." To respond to this threat, EFF co-signed an open letter along with other 34 Latin American NGOs at the end of last year.
When Brazil set up a council to counter fake news, the Army and the Brazilian intelligence agency--entities with a long track record of crushing minority or dissenting voices--were invited to join. The specter of "fake news" has also
been a pretext for draconian bills in Brazilian parliament. The latest one, a recent proposal of unknown authorship , led to a great controversy when it was submitted to the Communication Council of National Congress' analysis without prior
notice. The text defined as a crime the creation or sharing of false news, imposing detention penalties for those who propagate information the government deemed false. It also sought to modify a key component of Brazilian civil rights framework,
the Marco Civil da Internet, by making companies liable for failing to remove or block reported posts within 24 hours or for not providing an easy tool by which the user can check whether the news is trustworthy. Internet companies would be
subject to a staggering fine of up to 5% of their revenue in the previous fiscal year if they failed to remove content. Although the proposal was withdrawn as a reaction to public outcry, other bills with similar content remain in the parliament.
Mexico is also approaching election season; the country is set to hold the largest election in its history. In July 2018, Mexicans will elect not only a new president but also all federal legislators and nine state governors. The country's
National Election Institute (INE) has recently signed an agreement with Facebook Ireland to fight fake news. The INE is expected to sign similar agreements with Google and Twitter. The agreement , a copy of which was obtained by the newspaper El Universal
, includes the use of Facebook's tools to measure civic participation, access to real-time data of voting results granted by INE, and the provision of a physical space in the Institute's office where, on election day, the company is expected
to perform activities such as posting live videos. While neither party is meant to get involved in deciding what is true or false, transparency is a must. Luis Fernando Garcia, of Mexican NGO Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales, told EFF:
We need complete transparency about the nature of the relationship between INE and Facebook. Facebook should also refrain from adopting measures that discriminate against some media outlets and benefit others in the name of combating "fake
We need an Internet where we are free to meet, create, organize, share, associate, debate and learn. And we also need elections to be free from manipulation. As we have said before , people should be empowered by the tools they use, not left
passive by others' use of such technology. But platforms should remain wary of purporting to validate news even in the face of calls to do so; if they assume this role, it will raise obvious concerns about how they'll respond to political
Like "fake news," policies around hate speech are often used as cover for censorship. It has served as a convenient pretext for advancing a repressive Honduran draft bill on Internet content regulation. After fraud accusations marred
2017 Honduras' presidential elections, Honduras finds itself in a grave political crisis. Amidst the turbulence, a bill regulating online speech was introduced in the Honduran National Congress in February 2018. The bill, which was widely
criticized by civil society , provides broad leeway for Internet companies to block Internet content in the name of protecting users from hate speech, discrimination, or insults. The bill compels companies to take down third-party content within
24 hours in order not to be fined or even find their services blocked. This pro-censorship bill has also spurred recent debates on the creation of a national cybersecurity committee assigned to deal with, among other issues, fake news.
Efforts to keep "fake news" in check are spreading across Latin America. Disinformation campaigns cannot serve to wreck democracy and free speech. EFF will be monitoring this issue as this year's Latin American elections progress.
An almost theological question for, what will AI make of religion? What will it make of people who proclaim peace whilst inciting violence; who preach tolerance whilst practising intolerance; and whose hypocrisy about sexuality is simply perverse?
Anyway, Facebook have excelled themselves by banning an image of Jesus Christ on the cross in a context of religious education.
A post on the Franciscan University blog explains:
We posted yesterday a series of ads to Facebook to promote our online MA Theology and MA Catechetics and Evangelization programs.
One ad was rejected, and an administrator of our Facebook page noticed this rejection today. The reason given for the rejection?
Your image, video thumbnail or video can't contain shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content.
Our ad was rejected because it contained:
excessively violent content
What was the offending image?
And indeed, the Crucifixion of Christ was all of those things. It was the most sensational action in
history: man executed his God.
It was shocking, yes: God deigned to take on flesh and was obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)
And it was certainly excessively violent: a man scourged to within an inch of his life, nailed naked to a cross and left to die, all the hate of all the sin in the world poured out its wrath upon his humanity.
Although the university owned up to the 'violent' image Facebook then decided that of course the image wasn't violent and yet again issued a grovelling apology for its shoddy censorship process. So do you think AI censorship process will be any
One of the more understated but intriguing statements in Zuckerberg's Vox interview this past Monday was his public
acknowledgement at long last that the company uses computer algorithms to scan all of our private communications on its platform, including Facebook Messenger. While users could always manually report threatening or illegal behavior and
communications for human review, Zuckerberg acknowledged for the first time that even in private chat sessions, Facebook is not actually a neutral communications platform like the phone company that just provides you a connection and goes away --
Facebook's algorithms are there constantly monitoring your most private intimate conversations in an Orwellian telescreen that never turns off.
The company emphasized in an interview last year that it does not use mine private conversations for advertising, but left open the possibility that they might scan them for other purposes.
In his interview this week, Zuckerberg offered that in cases where people are sending harmful and threatening private messages our systems detect that that's going on. We stop those messages from going through. His reference to our systems detect
suggested this was more than just humans manually flagging threatening content. A spokesperson confirmed that in this case the first human recipients of the messages had manually flagged them as violations and as large number of users began
flagging the same set of messages, Facebook's systems deleted future transmission of them. The company had previously noted that it uses similarity detection for its fake news and other filters, both matching exact duplicates and highly similar
content. The company confirmed that its fingerprinting algorithms (which the company has previously noted include revenge porn, material from the shared terrorism database and PhotoDNA) are applied to private messages as well.
Over the last few years the European Union has been working on revising its rules on copyright . But the latest
proposal from the head of the copyright committee would deny creators the right to refuse remuneration -- the right to share a work without getting paid -- which could undermine the use of CC licenses if approved.
Ever since the European Commission released a lackluster draft Directive on copyright in 2016, Creative Commons, Communia Association , and dozens of other organisations have been engaging policymakers in the Parliament to make crucial changes in
order to protect user rights and the commons, enable research and education, and promote creativity and business opportunities in the digital market.
But as evidenced by the latest proposal, the direction of the copyright reform seems to be getting worse, not better. This week Axel Voss, the lead member of the European parliament (MEP) for the influential legal affairs committee, released his
own proposed changes to an especially controversial part of the draft Directive, Article 11. This is the provision that would introduce an additional right for press publishers to extract fees from news aggregators for incorporating short snippets
of--or even linking to--their content.
This press publisher's right (also commonly known as the "Link Tax") already poses a significant threat to an informed and literate society. But Voss wants to amplify its worst features by asserting that press publishers will
receive--whether they like it or not--an "inalienable right to obtain an [sic] fair and proportionate remuneration for such uses." This means that publishers will be required to demand payment from news aggregators.
This inalienable right directly conflicts with publishers who wish to share freely and openly using Creative Commons licenses. As we've warned before , an unwaivable right to compensation would interfere with the operation of open licensing by
reserving a special and separate economic right above and beyond the intention of some publishers. For example, the Spanish news site eldiario.es releases all of their content online for free under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
license . By doing so, they are granting to the public a worldwide, royalty-free license to use the work under certain terms. Other news publishers in Europe using CC licenses that could also find themselves swept up under this new provision
include La Stampa , 20 Minutos , and openDemocracy .
Forcing publishers who use CC to accept additional inalienable rights to be remunerated violates the letter and spirit of Creative Commons licensing and denies publishers the freedom to conduct business and share content as they wish. The proposal
would pose an existential threat to the over 1.3 billion CC-licensed works online, shared freely by hundreds of millions of creators from around the world.
We support authors and creators, and we firmly believe in their right to choose to share, or to seek compensation for all or some uses of their works. At the same time, we must find solutions that also honor those au thors who choose to share with
few or no restrictions.
Voss' proposal must be rejected, and Article 11 should be deleted . It's been clear all along that an additional right for press publishers won't do much of anything to support quality journalism or grow the digital single market. Instead, it will
negatively affect access to information and the ability for publishers to share using the platforms, technologies, and terms beneficial to them.
Nasim Najafi Aghdam, the woman who allegedly opened fire at YouTube's headquarters in a suburb of San Francisco, injuring three before killing
herself, was apparently furious with the video website because it had stopped paying her for her clips.
No evidence had been found linking her to any individuals at the company where she allegedly opened fire on Tuesday.
Two of the three shooting victims from the incident were released from hospital on Tuesday night. A third, is currently in serious condition.
Aghdam's online profile shows she was a vegan activist who ran a website called NasimeSabz.com, meaning Green Breeze in Persian, where she posted about Persian culture and veganism, as well as long passages critical of YouTube .
Her father, Ismail Aghdam, told the Bay Area News Group from his San Diego home on Tuesday that she was angry with the Google-owned site because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, and that he had warned the police
that she might be going to the company's headquarters.
Blood Feast is a 2016 Germany / USA horror by Marcel Walz.
Starring Robert Rusler, Caroline Williams and Sophie Monk.
Fuad Ramses and his family have moved from the United States to France, where they run an American diner. Since business is not going too well, Fuad also works night shifts in a museum of ancient Egyptian culture. During these long, lonely nights
he is repeatedly drawn to a statue representing the seductive ancient goddess ISHTAR. He becomes more and more allured by the goddess as she speaks to him in visions.
A couple years ago after playing uncut on the film festival circuit it was announced that Blood feast had been cut by about 4 minutes for an MPAA R rating. This cut version was released on US Blu-ray in February 2018.
But now director Marcel Walz is taking matters into his own hands, and the UNRATED version of the film will be embarking on a nationwide theatrical roll-out, starting with a red carpet premiere on April 6th in Los Angeles. Walz told
We found a way to bring the unrated version to the theaters! I know horror fans want to see the unrated version, and I was looking for a way to show them every single blood drop! That's the reason why it took so long.
The unrated premiere is set for 6th April 2018 and the theatrical release starts on 13th April.
A video ad for mobile phone retailer, OnePlus, appeared in various online media throughout August and September 2017. The ad started with a shot of a cabin by a lake in the woods and red on-screen text that stated LAKE BLOOD.
A teenage girl was seen reading on the porch of the cabin and looked up to find a masked man holding a chainsaw standing amongst the trees. The girl smiled and raised her smartphone to record the masked man, and whispered Awesome!, as he slowly
came towards her with the chainsaw turning. A teenage boy with blood stains on his clothes and blood pouring down his hands and legs then emerged from the bushes and ran towards the cabin, overtaking the masked man. The boy shouted Go! What are
you doing? Are you insane? What's wrong with you? The boy then knocked the smartphone out of the girl's hands and said to the girl You should be using one of these. as he handed her the OnePlus5. The boy then proceeded to record the masked man
with the smartphone, and encouraged the girl to get in the shot. As the girl posed in front of the masked man, the chainsaw stopped working and the masked man was seen to attempt to start it again. As the masked man managed to start the chainsaw
and raised it above his head, the boy then took a photo on the phone and said There we go. Awesome. The ad then cut to a scene with an image of the smartphone with a photo of the girl posing with the masked man, and text on-screen stated OnePlus 5
Dual Camera. Clearer Photos. The final scene showed the masked man, who was covered in blood, sitting on the porch and taking a selfie with the smartphone, with a chainsaw, a pair of legs and an arm, all covered in blood, next to him.I
The ASA received 28 complaints:
Twenty-one complainants, who believed that the content of the ad was excessively gory, challenged whether the ad was unduly distressing; and
Eight complainants, who believed that the content of the ad was too distressing for children, challenged whether it was inappropriately placed where children might see it.
ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA understood that the ad was intended to be a parody of horror films. We noted that the narrative of reckless or ignorant American high school teenagers and violent masked murderers, characters that were both featured
in the ad, were well known tropes used in the slasher film genre.
We noted that in the majority of the ad, the scenes showing blood and gore, namely when the teenage boy appeared with dripping blood and a laceration on his leg, were brief and not excessive. We noted that suspenseful and
unsettling music played in the background as the teenage girl encountered the masked man; it was only the scene in which the teenage boy handed the OnePlus 5 phone to the teenage girl that cheerful ukulele music began to play. We noted OnePlus'
comments that, in addition to the change in music, the jovial conversation between the boy and the girl alleviated any tension that had been created in prior scenes prior. Notwithstanding that, we noted that the masked man's menacing laughter and
grunts, as well as the noises from the chainsaw, could still be heard in the background as the ad progressed and as the masked man edged closer to the teenage characters. We therefore considered that the suspense had not been fully assuaged.
In the final scene, the teenagers' bloody corpses were seen to have been strewn on the porch and at the front of the porch; the chainsaw and the masked man were covered in blood, whilst he was taking a selfie. We considered
that some viewers would find the final image excessively graphic, notwithstanding that it was intended to be comedic. We further considered that the contrast in bloodiness and goriness between the preceding scenes, which were moderate, and the
ending scene was unexpected and would be shocking for some viewers, particularly as they might have expected the preceding cut screen, in which an image of the product was shown against a white background, to be the conclusion of the ad. Because
of the unanticipated amount of gore at the end of the ad, we considered that the ad was likely to cause undue distress.
Because of the nature of the ad and in particular its unexpectedly shocking content in the final scene, we considered that some adult viewers would find the ad distressing and in addition, that it was unsuitable for a child
audience. We therefore considered that careful targeting was required to ensure that the ad was only shown to an appropriate audience, for example, to those who had expressed an interest in content aligned with the horror or slasher genre, or
those whose previous activity indicated that they were comfortable with viewing such content. We further considered that the ad should have been targeted in a manner that it did not appear around content that was likely to appeal to children.
However, whilst we noted that OnePlus's media plan targeted audiences above the age of 16, it had not otherwise been targeted towards audiences that were less likely to be distressed by the content, and in one instance the ad was seen by the
complainant's 7-year-old child on a video sharing platform account with parent controls settings in place, before a video that was related to Thomas the Tank Engine.
For the above reasons, we considered that the ad had not been appropriately targeted and was likely to cause undue distress. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told OnePlus to ensure that similar future ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause undue distress to its likely audience.
Malaysia passed a repressive new law today that would punish citizens on social media or those working at a digital publication for publishing
material deemed to be 'fake news' with a 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) fine and a possible a prison sentence of up to six years.
Led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Anti-Fake News bill passed in parliament today despite opponents who had criticized the bill for impeding free speech and attempting to censor the prime minister's involvement in a multibillion-dollar
A draft of the bill had specified a prison sentence of up to 10 years as punishment, but the government toned it down to six in the finalized version. 'Fake news' cases will be handled by a court process. Violators could even include those outside
of Malaysia as long as they're writing about the country or its people.
The Malaysian law defines fake news as news, information, data and reports which is or are wholly or partly false. News includes stories, video, and audio content.
Justice is not seen to being done in the UK. A string of cases have emerged where men have been prosecuted for
rape whilst evidence suggesting their innocence has been kept hidden away by the authorities. The presumption is that the authorities are willing to let innocent people be convicted so as to inflate the rape conviction rates to keep feminist
But once exposed, this failure in justice is surely very corrosive in trying to keep society ticking over in increasingly tetchy times.
So even the police have decided something needs to be done about this disastrous approach to justice. Met police commissioner Cressida Dick has announced that the police will abandon the policy of automatically believing 'victims '. [but
using the word 'victims' rather suggests the she still automatically believes complainants].
Dick said officers must investigate rather than blindly believe an allegation, and should keep an open mind when a 'victim' has come forward. It is very important to victims to feel that they are going to be believed , she told the Times.
[But what about when they are out and out lying]. She added:
Our default position is we are, of course, likely to believe you but we are investigators and we have to investigate.
Dick spoke about several other topics including a whinge about the violent undercurrent in some music, especially grime.
Meanwhile Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecution overseeing this disgraceful period of injustice, will not get her contract renewed by the government.
A US government effort to fight online sex trafficking has cleansed many sites of personal ads and consensual eroticism, in a shift advocates say amounts to dangerous censorship. By Erin McCormick in San Francisco
The governor of Thailand's Chiang Mai province has sued a local magazine in an attempt to silence a protest
highlighting dangerous levels of local air pollution.
Protestors had contributed pictures of themselves and others wearing pollution masks to a Facebook campaign. One student had painted a picture of a famous local statue of 3 ancient kings, adding pollution facemasks.
The local governor seized on the country's extreme lese majeste laws to put an end to the protest. The broadly-interpreted crime of lese majeste - which can carry decades-long sentences - has cemented a culture of fear and necessary
self-censorship across the kingdom. The governor said:
I assigned my official to file a complaint with police yesterday that the picture may have violated the Computer Crime Act as it's inappropriate. The statues of three kings are very sacred and respected by Chiang Mai residents, they were our
In an official letter to police, the governor said the painting may affect Chiang Mai's image and its tourism, causing the city economic instability. He did not mention how a reputation for repression and extreme punishment for trivial offences
may also have a negative effect on people wanting to visit the country.