Censor Watch

 2018: April

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BBFC Podcast Episode 82...

15 ratings for Boyhood and Lady Bird


Link Here 30th April 2018

 

 

Government given 6 months to restrict mass snooping data to be used against serious crimes only...

But of course successive governments have been systematically increasing maximum sentences for minor crimes so that they count as 'serious' crimes


Link Here 29th April 2018
Full story: Snooper's Charter Plus...2015 Cameron government expands the Snooper's Charter
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...

Kenya's first ever Cannes film is banned locally by the Kenyan film censor


Link Here 28th April 2018
Rafiki is a 2018 Kenya / South Africa drama by Wanuri Kahiu.
Starring Patricia Amira, Muthoni Gathecha and Jimmy Gathu. IMDb

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,

 

 

Little improvement...

Facebook finds a new wheeze to diminish 'fake news'... using a smaller font


Link Here 28th April 2018
Full story: Fake News...Declining respect for the authorities is blamed on 'fake' news

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.

Posts
Amber Rudd MP Amber Rudd MP
I was not aware of Home Office removals targets
BBC News
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 in the

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%.

 

 

Don't try this at home!...

Indian state debates adding censorship warnings when a film depicts violence against women


Link Here 28th April 2018

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.

 

 

Offsite Article: We're innocent guv...it was the algorithms that did it...


Link Here 28th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Chinese internet censors ban four news aggregation apps whose algorithms put jokes ahead of government propaganda

See article from page1.theindependent.sg

 

 

Offsite Article: Vetting for stereotypes: meet publishing's sensitivity readers...


Link Here 28th April 2018
Publishers hoping to avoid offence are increasingly turning to sensitivity readers. But is this good practice, censorship, or just another way of maintaining privilege?

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

The rise of the machines...

147 European organisations oppose a disgraceful new EU copyright law that will give rise to machines to automatically censor people's internet posts


Link Here 27th April 2018
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

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.

Yours sincerely,

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. 

MALTA
  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 Informação (APDSI). 

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). 

SLOVAKIA  120. Creative Commons Slovakia. 121. Slovak Alliance for Innovation Economy (SAPIE). 

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

 

 

Troubled times for Facebook mean they need to win over a few new friends...

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


Link Here 27th April 2018

Facebook took a step toward greater accountability this week, expanding the text of its community standards and announcing the rollout of a new system of appeals . Digital rights advocates have been pushing the company to be more transparent for nearly a decade, and many welcomed the announcements as a positive move for the social media giant.

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.

Through Onlinecensorship.org , 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 latest announcement , 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.

 

 

BBC gay film winds up the Catholic Church...

Church leaders say that it is bad taste to speak of tasteless communion wafers


Link Here 27th April 2018
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.

 

 

Threatening Behaviour...

Merseyside police warn people about bad taste posts about Alfie Evans


Link Here 27th April 2018
Full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Mersey side police have threatend

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.

 

 

All you need to know about the UK's porn block...

The BBC takes its turn in trying to summarise the current status of the upcoming internet porn censorship regime


Link Here 27th April 2018

 

 

Censor Overwatch...

Belgian censors identify 3 video games that must be censored for loot boxes, or else


Link Here 26th April 2018
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.

 

 

Extract: The Filthy 15...

The story of the US 'Explicit Lyrics' warning


Link Here 26th April 2018
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.

 

 

Standard US practice...

International standards organisation fends of US pressure to implement seemingly backdoored US encryption standards for the Internet of Things


Link Here 26th April 2018
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.

 

 

Offsite Article: Germany and the perils of online censorship...


Link Here 26th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
When social-media giants become the corporate wing of state censorship. By Steve Bremner

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

US vs EU...

The US media industry can't get its head round the fact that European GDPR privacy laws will prevent the internet whois service from revealing private contact details


Link Here 26th April 2018

 

 

Offsite Article: Another US bill is set to target the adult consensual sex industry in the name of trafficking...


Link Here 26th April 2018
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.

See article from avn.com

 

 

Offsite Article: The Incel Rebellion...


Link Here 26th April 2018
Modern day spikey and intolerant society is spawning ever more toxic identitarian factions and the prognosis does not look good

See article from theverge.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Bill restricting criticism of Israel sneaks through South Carolina Senate...


Link Here 26th April 2018
No doubt advice from the UK's Labour Party is that it would be best to avoid this potentially very destructive debate

See article from israelpalestinenews.org

 

 

Reporters Without Borders publishes its 2018 index of worldwide press freedom...

And Britain is 40th, amongst the lowest in western Europe


Link Here 25th April 2018
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.


2018 World Press Freedom Index
 

  • 1 Norway 7.63
  • 2 Sweden 8.31
  • 3 Netherlands 10.01
  • 4 Finland 10.26
  • 5 Switzerland 11.27
  • 6 Jamaica 11.33
  • 7 Belgium 13.16
  • 8 New Zealand 13.62
  • 9 Denmark 13.99
  • 10 Costa Rica 14.01
  • 11 Austria 14.04
  • 12 Estonia 14.08
  • 13 Iceland 14.10
  • 14 Portugal 14.17
  • 15 Germany 14.39
  • 16 Ireland 14.59
  • 17 Luxembourg 14.72
  • 18 Canada 15.28
  • 19 Australia 15.46
  • 20 Uruguay 15.56
  • 21 Surinam 16.44
  • 22 Samoa 16.69
  • 23 Ghana 18.41
  • 24 Latvia 19.63
  • 25 Cyprus 19.85
  • 26 Namibia 20.24
  • 27 Slovakia 20.26
  • 28 South Africa 20.39
  • 29 Cabo Verde 20.39
  • 30 Liechtenstein 20.49
  • 31 Spain 20.51
  • 32 Slovenia 21.69
  • 33 France 21.87
  • 34 Czech Republic 21.89
  • 35 OECS 22.11
  • 36 Lithuania 22.20
  • 37 Andorra 22.21
  • 38 Chile 22.69
  • 39 Trinidad and Tobago
  • 40 United Kingdom 23.25
  • 41 Burkina Faso 23.33
  • 42 Taiwan 23.36
  • 43 South Korea 23.51
  • 44 Romania 23.65
  • 45 United States 23.73
  • 46 Italy 24.12
  • 47 Belize 24.55
  • 48 Botswana 25.29
  • 49 Comoros 25.30
  • 50 Senegal 25.61
  • 51 Tonga 25.68
  • 52 Argentina 26.05
  • 53 Papua New Guinea
  • 54 Madagascar 26.20
  • 55 Guyana 26.25
  • 56 Mauritius 26.45
  • 57 Fiji 26.55
  • 58 Poland 26.59
  • 59 Dominican Republic
  • 60 Haïti 26.82
  • 61 Georgia 27.34
  • 62 Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • 63 Niger 27.40
  • 64 Malawi 27.43
  • 65 Malta 27.44
  • 66 El Salvador 27.78
  • 67 Japan 28.64
  • 68 Lesotho 28.78
  • 69 Croatia 28.94
  • 70 Hong Kong 29.04
  • 71 Mongolia 29.05
  • 72 Mauritania 29.09
  • 73 Hungary 29.11
  • 74 Greece 29.19
  • 75 Albania 29.49
  • 76 Serbia 29.58
  • 77 Northern Cyprus 29.59
  • 78 Kosovo 29.61
  • 79 Sierra Leone 29.98
  • 80 Armenia 29.99
  • 81 Moldova 30.01
  • 82 Côte d'Ivoire 30.08
  • 83 Guinea Bissau 30.09
  • 84 Benin 30.16
  • 85 Seychelles 30.17
  • 86 Togo 30.23
  • 87 Israel 30.26
  • 88 Peru 30.27
  • 89 Liberia 30.33
  • 90 Nicaragua 30.41
  • 91 Panama 30.56
  • 92 Ecuador 30.56
  • 93 Tanzania 30.65
  • 94 Bhutan 30.73
  • 95 East Timor 30.81
  • 96 Kenya 30.82
  • 97 Tunisia 30.91
  • 98 Kyrgyzstan 31
  • 99 Mozambique 31.12
  • 100 Lebanon 31.15
  • 101 Ukraine 31.16
  • 102 Brazil 31.20
  • 103 Montenegro 31.21
  • 104 Guinea 31.90
  • 105 Kuwait 31.91
  • 106 Nepal 32.05
  • 107 Paraguay 32.32
  • 108 Gabon 32.37
  • 109 Macedonia 32.43
  • 110 Bolivia 32.45
  • 111 Bulgaria 35.22
  • 112 Central African Republic
  • 113 Zambia 35.36
  • 114 Congo-Brazzaville 35.42
  • 115 Mali 36.15
  • 116 Guatemala 36.17
  • 117 Uganda 36.77
  • 118 Afghanistan 37.28
  • 119 Nigeria 37.41
  • 120 Maldives 37.95
  • 121 Angola 38.35
  • 122 Gambia 38.36
  • 123 Chad 38.45
  • 124 Indonesia 39.68
  • 125 Qatar 40.16
  • 126 Zimbabwe 40.53
  • 127 Oman 40.67
  • 128 United Arab Emirates
  • 129 Cameroon 40.92
  • 130 Colombia 41.03
  • 131 Sri Lanka 41.37
  • 132 Jordan 41.71
  • 133 Philippines 42.53
  • 134 Palestine 42.96
  • 135 Morocco / Western Sahara
  • 136 Algeria 43.13
  • 137 Myanmar 43.15
  • 138 India 43.24
  • 139 Pakistan 43.24
  • 140 Thailand 44.31
  • 141 Honduras 45.23
  • 142 Cambodia 45.90
  • 143 Venezuela 46.03
  • 144 South Sudan 46.88
  • 145 Malaysia 47.41
  • 146 Bangladesh 48.62
  • 147 Mexico 48.91
  • 148 Russia 49.96
  • 149 Tajikistan 50.06
  • 150 Ethiopia 50.17
  • 151 Singapore 50.95
  • 152 Swaziland 51.46
  • 153 Brunei 51.48
  • 154 Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 155 Belarus 52.59
  • 156 Rwanda 52.90
  • 157 Turkey 53.50
  • 158 Kazakhstan 54.41
  • 159 Burundi 55.26
  • 160 Iraq 56.56
  • 161 Egypt 56.72
  • 162 Libya 56.79
  • 163 Azerbaijan 59.73
  • 164 Iran 60.71
  • 165 Uzbekistan 60.84
  • 166 Bahrain 60.85
  • 167 Yemen 62.23
  • 168 Somalia 63.04
  • 169 Saudi Arabia 63.13
  • 170 Laos 66.41
  • 171 Equatorial Guinea
  • 172 Cuba 68.90
  • 173 Djibouti 70.77
  • 174 Sudan 71.13
  • 175 Vietnam 75.05
  • 176 China 78.29
  • 177 Syria 79.22
  • 178 Turkmenistan 84.20
  • 179 Eritrea 84.24
  • 180 North Korea 88.87

 

 

From ASA's bottomless pit of miserableness...

Advert censor bans decent drinks promotion at Suede Club in Walsall


Link Here 25th April 2018

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 is the most miserable place to surf the internet...

According to a Citizen Lab survey


Link Here 25th April 2018
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 perpetual politically toxic environment in Missouri...

Politicians propose resolution claiming all the worlds ills should be blamed on porn rather than more likely cause, politicians


Link Here 25th April 2018
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?

 

 

Family apps...

WhatsApp set to ask users to say that they are 16+


Link Here 25th April 2018
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.

 

 

Sky reporter says 'gas the jews'...

Count Dankula wittily points out that, despite what the court sheriff thinks, context matters


Link Here 24th April 2018
Full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Free speech hero Count Dankula got one over on a news reporter from Sky who wanted to do his boot to stick the establishment boot in.

Count Dankula was well up for the challenge and wiped Mr snotty's nose into the ground.

See video from YouTube

 

 

Commented: Grossly offensive prosecution...

Free speech hero Count Dankula fined 800 pounds for Nazi pug Youtube gag


Link Here 24th April 2018
Full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter

Youtuber Count Dankula who filmed his girlfriend's pet dog doing a Nazi salute has been fined £800.

Mark Meechan was sentenced at Airdrie Sheriff Court after he was found guilty last month of a 'hate crime'.

He recorded his girlfriend's pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as gas the Jews and Sieg Heil by raising its paw during the footage called M8 Yur Dug's a Nazi .

The original Youtube video had been viewed more than three million times on YouTube.

Surely free speech has dropped to a new low in Britain but the widespread disquiet at the verdict may have helped keep Count Dankula out of prison.

Free speech campaigners orgainised a protest in London to coincide with the announcement of the sentencing. See video from YouTube

Update: Sheriff's comments

24th April 2018. See  article from dailymail.co.uk

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

24th April 2018. See  article from blogs.spectator.co.uk by Brendan O'Neill

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.

Read the full  article from blogs.spectator.co.uk

 

 

Pots call fake kettles black...

The EU Security Commissioner threatens censorship laws if social media companies don't censor themselves voluntarily


Link Here 24th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
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 or CTIRU: who is fibbing about terror takedowns?...

The Open Rights Group calls for more transparency from the police as published figures don't seem to add up


Link Here 24th April 2018

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 Jan-June 2017 .

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 terrorist web font, terrorist Javascript and terrorist CSS file.

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 management perspective.

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.

 

 

Holier than thou fashion vigilantes caught fat shaming on London Underground...

PC lynch mob descends on jokey poster


Link Here 24th April 2018
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.

 

 

Offsite Article: Expect a schoolyard black market in adult login-codes...


Link Here 24th April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
The Economist does a piece on porn age verification and quotes some bollox from the BBFC about the requirements not making life harder for adult porn viewers

See article from economist.com

 

 

Commented: Hurt feelings in Liverpool...

Woman convicted for commonly used racial insults from a rap song, that are then ramped up to 'hate' crimes by the personal perception of the investigating police officer


Link Here 23rd April 2018
Full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
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.

See article from spiked-online.com By Andrew Doyle

So we are facing the bizarre situation in which a teenager has been given an eight-week community order and curfew because one police officer perceives a black musician's work to be inherently racist.

Offsite Video: Liverpool hate speech verdict

See video from YouTube By The Britisher, An eloquent examination of yet another British free speech failure.

Update: The Death of free speech

See  article from blogs.spectator.co.uk by Brendan O'Neill

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.'

O'Neill comments:

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.

 

 

When have internet companies ever followed 'best practice'?...

Response to the BBFC consultation on UK internet porn censorship


Link Here 23rd April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Re Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements

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.

General

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?

 

 

Concentrating on what it does best...

IWF publishes its annual report for 2017 and notes that it now longer has the role to censor adult porn on the internet


Link Here 23rd April 2018
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 before.

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 under 18s.

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.

 

 

Extract: Id required for social media users...

Yet more internet censorship laws on the way in Russia


Link Here 23rd April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

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.

...Read the full article from jdsupra.com

 

 

Parents will be driven nuts if their kids can't spend all day on YouTube and Facebook...

Jeremy Hunt demands that social media companies immediately ban under 13s from using their apps and websites


Link Here 22nd April 2018
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:

Dear Colleagues,

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 them.

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 decide to return from the planet where women never lie and all men are rapists...

Police decision to end the injustice of automatically believing complainants proceeds through the system


Link Here 22nd April 2018
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.

 

 

Web host Cloudfare bans sex workers social media site, Switter...

America's new FOSTA censorship law is proving devastatingly effective as adult consensual sex work related content has already been deleted from the US internet


Link Here 22nd April 2018
Full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers
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.

 

 

Offsite Article: Ideas for a sportswear shop...


Link Here 22nd April 2018
Scotland's richest man started out as a video nasty trader

See article from heraldscotland.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Right To Be Forgotten...


Link Here 22nd April 2018
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Should Google Decide Alone? By Ray Walsh

See article from bestvpn.com

 

 

Player Unknowns in Censorship Battlegrounds...

Netherlands censors put 4 video games on notice that they will be banned if they don't remove loot boxes


Link Here 21st April 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
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 Act.

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

 

 

Hurt feelings in Hyderabad...

Journalist's cartoon winds up online vigilantes


Link Here 21st April 2018
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?

 

 

Straight talking to be banned in California...

A bill progresses hat will ban the promotion of anything that purports to change sexual orientation


Link Here 21st April 2018
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 constitutionally-protected speech.

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.

 

 

Offsite Article: We haven't even got our GDPR privacy rights yet and they are already being chipped away...


Link Here 21st April 2018
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

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 

Don't forget the BBFC age verification consultation ends on Monday...

Note that BBFC has now re-opened its web pages with the consultation details


Link Here 20th April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
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.

The Digital Economy Act -- The Truth: AgeID

20th April 2018. See  article from cbronline.com

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

20th April 2018. See  article from backlash.org.uk

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

20th April 2018. See  article from xbiz.com

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 any dependency.

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.

 

 

The Little Vampire...

Children's cartoon required BBFC category cuts for a U rated cinema release


Link Here 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. BBFC link IMDb

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.

Summary Notes

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.

 

 

Cinema returns to Saudi Arabia after 37 years of being banned...

And of course the first film was cut by the censors


Link Here 20th April 2018
Full story: Cinema in Saudi...First steps to re-opening cinemas in Saudi
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.

 

 

Four in five people 'want' an internet censor to stop youngsters from going mad...

It sounds like the government is ramping up the propaganda machine to suggest that people 'want' the creation of a state social media censor


Link Here 19th April 2018
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.

 

 

European Production Orders...

The EU proposes that mass snooping data must be produced by internet companies with 6 hours of a police request


Link Here 19th April 2018
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.

 

 

Offsite Article: Old injustices...


Link Here 19th April 2018
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook found to be issuing posting punishments for years old posts that were OK at the time but are now contrary to recently updated censorship rules

See article from avn.com

 

 

Censorship in contemporary comedy...

How feminists and the politically correct have the whip hand over stand up comics. By Alfie Noakes


Link Here 19th April 2018

 

 

Offsite Article: Internet users left searching for help...


Link Here 19th April 2018
Google has redesigned its tools so that anti-censorship tools can no longer user Google as a proxy to evade state internet blocking

See article from theverge.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Whois confused.com...


Link Here 19th April 2018
Time has run out and the internet overlords are still confused about what to do about the domain 'whois' service that will soon be illegal under EU GDPR privacy protection.

See article from eff.org

 

 

Offsite Article: Facebook responds to the EU GDPR privacy requirements...


Link Here 19th April 2018
Full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
With a pretty new settings pages that boil down to either consenting to Facebook tracking your internet use or else deleting your Facebook account

See article from independent.co.uk

 

 

Ofcom get heavy with RT seemingly with an intent to ban it...

The government does not like Russian propaganda channel casting doubt about Salisbury murder attempt and the Syrian chemical weapon attack


Link Here 18th April 2018

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.

 

 

Russians don't play games...

Russia blocks thousands of websites connected to casino games and sports betting


Link Here 18th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Putin's war room

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.

 

 

Threatening clouds...

Russia blocks millions of websites to try and force hosting companies to take down the encrypted messenger app, Telegram


Link Here 18th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
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.

 

 

Rotting Christ...

Heavy metal band jailed as they enter Georgia for gig


Link Here 18th April 2018
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.

 

 

Agonising cuts...

Publishers explain that they are having to censor the upcoming video game, Agony, to get an ESRB M rating


Link Here 17th April 2018
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 possible.

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.

 

 

Updated: Just sayin' but the most strident anti-gay politicians often turn out to be gay themselves...

Chinese social media site Weibo launches a 3 month campaign against gay content


Link Here 17th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
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 content.

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.

Update: Backtracking

16th April 2018. See  article from bbc.com

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.

 

 

Commented: Tom Jones...

BBFC waives animal cruelty cuts for 1963 UK comedy adventure by Tony Richardson


Link Here 17th April 2018
Tom Jones is a 1963 UK comedy adventure by Tony Richardson.
Starring Albert Finney, Susannah York and George Devine. BBFC link IMDb

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 (cockfighting).

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

Censorship History

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.

Promotional Material

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.

 

 

Russia fails to steam open the envelopes...

As Russian court announces Telegram ban, users stand defiant, amused... and worried


Link Here 16th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

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

16th April 2018. See  article from rsf.org

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.

 

 

Offsite Podcast: Podcast: Steve Winyard - Age Verification and AV Secure...


Link Here 16th April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Perhaps the most hopeful age verification technology where you can be age verified for porn at your local supermarket without providing any ID whatsoever

See article from itsadult.com

 

 

Offsite Article: The Full Treatment...


Link Here 16th April 2018
Movie-Censorship.com reveals a scene cut from previous releases of this Hammer thriller but now restored for 2018 Blu-ray

See article from movie-censorship.com

 

 

One law for the rich and no law for the poor...

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


Link Here 15th April 2018
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
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 down.

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 in jail.

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?

 

 

Offsite Article: At least the Great Firewall helps protect the west from Chinese online competitors...


Link Here 15th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China's internet censorship should be lifted for the sake of the economy and innovators

See article from scmp.com

 

 

Offsite Article: AI censors are just round the next corner...


Link Here 15th April 2018
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
A good report from Mark Zuckerberg's grilling at the US Congress

See article from lawfareblog.com

 

 

Offsite Article: High School DXD Season 4...


Link Here 15th April 2018
Funimation explains how the first US streaming will feature a censored version until the release window allows the streaming of the uncensored version

See article from comicbook.com

 

 

Facebook censored criticism of the mainstream media...

A Facebook poster who was censored in the name of Germany's NetzDG law wins a first skirmish in a German court


Link Here 14th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
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.

 

 

Updated: A history lesson with relevance today...

BBC defends the radio broadcast of Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech on its 50th anniversary


Link Here 14th April 2018
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.

Update: BBC response

14th April 2018. See  article from bbc.co.uk

Complaint

We received complaints from people who feel it is irresponsible to broadcast Enoch Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood speech.

Response:

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.

 

 

Offsite Article: Another moral panic about rap...


Link Here 14th April 2018
Drill music is not the cause of youth violence. By Fraser Myers

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Now they want to lock up Rod Liddle and ban Quentin Letts...


Link Here 14th April 2018
Joking about the Welsh or criticising black actors is the new limit to free speech. By Mick Hume

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Offsite Article: GrayKey...


Link Here 14th April 2018
Police are buying a $30,000 box that can crack iPhone passwords by brute force

See article from alphr.com

 

 

Eying the UK policy to save the children by endangering their parents...

Moralist campaign group in New Zealand seems to be persuading the government to consider UK style age verification for porn viewing


Link Here 13th April 2018
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.

 

 

Paying a heavy price for repression...

Tanzania introduces an unviably steep tax on blogging


Link Here 13th April 2018
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 bloggers."

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.

 

 

Offsite Article: PC Culture and Censorship May Be Causing the Left to Implode...


Link Here 13th April 2018
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

See article from thenewamerican.com

 

 

Mr. Sorry Goes to Washington...

Mark Zuckerberg apologises again for Facebook's disdain of privacy protection


Link Here 12th April 2018
Full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
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).

 

 

Mr. Sorry skips Westminster...

Matt Hancock roasts two execs about Facebook's disdain of privacy protection


Link Here 12th April 2018
Full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
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 forward.

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 happily sells out its 300 million souls to the US corporate devil...

The EU's latest copyright proposal is so bad, it even outlaws Creative Commons licenses


Link Here 12th April 2018
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

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.

Under the new rules, anyone who allows the public to post material will have to maintain vast databases of copyrighted works claimed by rightsholders , and any public communications that matches anything in these databases has to be blocked. These databases have been tried on much more modest scales -- Youtube's Content ID is a prominent example -- and they're a mess. Because rightsholders are free to upload anything and claim ownership of it, Content ID is a font of garbagey, sloppy, fraudulent copyright abuse: five different companies claim to own the rights to white noise ; Samsung claims to own any drawing of its phones ; Nintendo claims it owns gamers' animated mashups ; Sony claims it owns stock footage it stole from a filmmaker whose work it had censored; the biggest music companies in the world all claim to own the rights to "Silent Night" , a rogues' gallery of sleazy copyfraudsters claim to own NASA's spacecraft landing footage -- all in all, these systems benefit the large and the unethical at the cost of small and nimble.

That's just for starters.

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.

 

 

The EU hates Facebook too...

But then again, its doesn't much care for its own people either


Link Here 12th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
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.

 

 

Taking tips from Putin on how to censor the internet...

Trump signs bill to censor websites offering services for sex workers


Link Here 12th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
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 work.

Operators of websites that let sex workers interact with clients could face 25 years in prison under the new law.

 

 

Pinned...

Netflix US introduces new PIN options for parental control and on screen age ratings


Link Here 12th April 2018

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.

 

 

Offsite Article: Porn Age Verification Rules...


Link Here 12th April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
Expensive, Ineffective and a Hacker's DelightIncrease. By Vince Warrington, Founder Protective Intelligence

See article from cbronline.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Free speech and Nazi dogs...


Link Here 12th April 2018
Full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
David Baddiel on the disgraceful prosecution of Count Dankula

See article from the-tls.co.uk

 

 

Now you have to pay tax for the privilege of having your data exploited...

Uganda dreams up the idea to tax social media usage


Link Here 11th April 2018
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 implemented anyway.

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.

 

 

Censorship straight out of the Ministry of Truth...

Crazed Californian senator proposes law to require all local websites to get all news items censored by a government approved fact checker


Link Here 11th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
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 information.

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.

conservativedailynews.com notes:

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.

 

 

Un-freedom...

Banned film now available online to Indian Netflix subscribers


Link Here 11th April 2018
Full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Unfreedom is a 2015 USA / India crime romance by Raj Amit Kumar.
Starring Victor Banerjee, Adil Hussain and Bhanu Uday. Youtube link IMDb

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.

 

 

Slapdash censorship...

CBS Action cuts Diagnosis Murder for early evening broadcast


Link Here 10th April 2018
Diagnosis Murder is a USA TV  crime mystery series
Starring Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke and Victoria Rowell. IMDb

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.

 

 

Even Russian internet censors consider public outcry when blocking social media...

Why are western internet companies cooperating with the Putin regime to censor the web


Link Here 10th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

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.

 

 

Widespread censorship to target a small proportion of crime...

US Authorities censor backpage.com featuring small ads by sex workers advertising their services


Link Here 10th April 2018
Full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers
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 investigated.

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 same protection.

It has been reported that President Trump will sign a Senate-approved version of the act into law this week.

 

 

Offsite Article: Endangering the people...


Link Here 10th April 2018
Full story: US Crypto Wars...US authorities look to breaking the encryption used to keep people safe
US 'Democrats' re-visit legislation demanding that the US authorities should be given a backdoor key to encrypted communications

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: When is sex work decent work?...


Link Here 10th April 2018
Liz Hilton of the Empower Foundation in Thailand is unimpressed by the state persecution of sex workers in the name of preventing trafficking

See article from opendemocracy.net

 

 

Sounds like China...

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


Link Here 9th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
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.

 

 

Sounds like China...

US to generate a database of global news sources, journalists, social media influencers and bloggers etc so that they will know where to send the boys round when somebody says something they shouldn't


Link Here 9th April 2018
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.

 

 

Political correctness trumps free speech...

LBC Radio censured for a talk show criticising travellers


Link Here 9th April 2018

Steve Allen
LBC 97.3FM, 28 December 2017, 04:00

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 rhetorically:

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.

Breach of Rule 2.3

 

 

Offsite Article: Does a Pinocchio nose defeat facial recognition software?...


Link Here 9th April 2018
Facebook's move to roll out previously banned facial recognition technology in Europe, just when new privacy rules are coming into force, is causing an uproar. By Mark Scott and Naomi O'Leary

See article from politico.eu

 

 

Cannibal Ferox...

Violence cuts to Umberto Lenzi's 1981 video nasty have just been waived by the BBFC, but cuts to animal cruelty remain


Link Here 8th April 2018
Cannibal Ferox is a 1981 Italy horror adventure by Umberto Lenzi.
Starring Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Lorraine De Selle and Danilo Mattei. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

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.

See further details at Melon Farmers Film Cuts: Cannibal Ferox

Summary Notes

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!

 

 

Grime busters...

The Government launches a Serious Violence Strategy that will consider further censorship of gang related content in music and videos on social media platforms


Link Here 8th April 2018
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.

 

 

YouTube Nazis...

YouTube are banning, censorsing and de-monitising independent voices seemingly to put mainstream media back in control


Link Here 8th April 2018
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'.

See video 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.

 

 

Bombing an iconic line of tanks...

China bans Call of Duty Black Ops II as players can choose to bomb Tiananmen Square


Link Here 8th April 2018
Full story: Games censorship in China...A wide range of censorship restrictions
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 snooping program.

 

 

Offsite Article: Porn from the 1920s Was More Wild and Hardcore Than You Could Imagine...


Link Here 8th April 2018
And the NSFW art form is disappearing. By Mark Hay

See article from vice.com

 

 

Offsite Article: If YouTube-Ripping Sites Are Illegal, What About Tools That Do a Similar Job?...


Link Here 8th April 2018
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

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

 

Night of the Living Dead...

BBFC details belatedly published for the recent Criterion release including a recently discovered workprint version


Link Here 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. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

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

Versions

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

See article from ihorror.com :

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.

See pictorial version details from movie-censorship.com .

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 original release.

Additional Material:
  • 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]

 

 

Offsite Article: Are your phone camera and microphone spying on you?...


Link Here 7th April 2018
Taping over the lens is just the first step in keeping online snoopers out of your business. By Dylan Curran

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Spawning the legend that all anime is naughty tentacles...

A rare New York screening of Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend prompts a retelling of its part in the history of film censorship


Link Here 6th April 2018
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 .

... Read the full article from hyperallergic.com

... See further BBFC cuts details at Melon Farmers Film Cuts: Urotsukidoji

 

 

Word games...

The US TV censors of the FCC receive 162 complaints about explicit TV coverage of Trump's 'shithole countries' remark


Link Here 6th April 2018
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'.

 

 

Trump should declare reverse tariffs to charge Chinese companies more to use US VPNs...

The Chinese VPN ban hasn't kicked in yet


Link Here 6th April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

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.

 

 

Fake News Offers Latin American Consolidated Powers...

An Opportunity to Censor Opponents


Link Here 6th April 2018
Full story: Fake News...Declining respect for the authorities is blamed on 'fake' news

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.

Latam Trends

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 news".

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 pressures.

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.

 

 

Offsite Article: Europe is trying to force Facebook to take customers' privacy seriously...


Link Here 6th April 2018
The US has been reluctant to step in on tech regulations. The EU is barreling ahead.

See article from vox.com

 

 

Facebook repent for you have sinned...

You have rejected Jesus Christ whilst accepting tainted coin from those that would corrupt the lambs that have entrusted their souls to you as their shepherd


Link Here 5th April 2018
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
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:

  • shocking content

  • sensational content

  • 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 better?

 

 

Extract: Your thoughts may be recorded for training purposes...

Mark Zuckerberg admits that private conversations via Facebook are monitored and may be censored


Link Here 5th April 2018
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

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.

...Read the full article from forbes.com

 

 

Power crazed EU maniacs now want to stop people giving away their own content free...

Head of copyright committee wants to deny EU creators the right to share


Link Here 5th April 2018

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.

 

 

Messing with people's livelihoods...

Gun spree at Google offices may be related to YouTube's de-monitisation censorship policies


Link Here 5th April 2018
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.

 

 

Updated: The full feast...

Blood Feast remake is set for a US theatrical release in its uncut MPAA unrated form


Link Here 5th April 2018
Blood Feast is a 2016 Germany / USA horror by Marcel Walz.
Starring Robert Rusler, Caroline Williams and Sophie Monk. IMDb

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 dreadcentral.com :

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.

Update: The long and the short of it

5th April 2018. See article from laemmle.com

It seems a little confusing as to the rating for the premiere.  The cinema booking page looks awfully R rated whilst the running time mentioned looks MPAA Unrated.

 

 

Offsite Article: Let's stand up for the right to be offensive...


Link Here 5th April 2018
Full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Shame on those comedians who are siding with the courts against Count Dankula. By Andrew Doyle

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Outlaw, ignore or exploit?...


Link Here 5th April 2018
Full story: Fake News...Declining respect for the authorities is blamed on 'fake' news
How Asia is exploiting fake news for increased censorship. by Jonathan Head of the BBC

See article from bbc.com

 

 

Offsite Article: A radical proposal to keep your personal data safe...


Link Here 5th April 2018
The surveillance imposed on us today is worse than in the Soviet Union. We need laws to stop this data being collected in the first place. By Richard Stallman

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Stupid selfie kids get their deserved comeuppance...

ASA bans gory 'Chainsaw Massacre' advert for OnePlus mobile phones


Link Here 4th April 2018
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:

  1. Twenty-one complainants, who believed that the content of the ad was excessively gory, challenged whether the ad was unduly distressing; and
  2. 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.

 

 

Fake justification...

India's attempt to use 'fake news' to justify government censorship was just a little too blatant


Link Here 4th April 2018
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has abandoned an attempt to censor the country's press in the name of 'fake news'.

Information minister Smriti Irani's had propsed that the government would suspend the accreditation of journalists found producing fake news.

Indian journalists and editors had called it an attack on press. The proposal did not attempt to define fake news and so pretty much left it the government to define what should be censored.

 

 

Offsite Article: Facebook Isn't Telling the Whole Story...


Link Here 4th April 2018
Full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
About Its Decision to Stop Partnering With Data Brokers

See article from eff.org

 

 

Real repression vs fake news...

Malaysia's parliament passes another internet censorship law


Link Here 3rd April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet
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 corruption scandal.

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.

 

 

Pakistan leads the way while the UK will soon follow...

Pakistan's internet censor blocks 400,000 porn sites and 10,000 proxy sites


Link Here 3rd April 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has blocked around 0.4 million porn websites and 9,846 proxy sites as well.

The figures were revealed when Additional Attorney General Nayyar Rizvi reported to the Supreme Court (SC).

His report also revealed that PTA has blocked several illegal satellite programming and content relayed by local cable operators.

 

 

Justice seen to not being done...

After a disgraceful string of cases of injustice and stitch ups of innocent people, the police decide that perhaps they should reconsider their policy of always believing complainants


Link Here 2nd April 2018

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 campaigners happy.

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.

 

 

Offsite Article: Scrubbed clean: why a certain kind of sex is vanishing from the internet...


Link Here 2nd April 2018
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

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

#RightToBreathe...

Chiang Mai governor censors protest against air pollution citing lese majeste law


Link Here 1st April 2018
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

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 ancestors.

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.

 

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