TV censor Ofcom will not be investigating complaints about sexy outfits worn by Britain's Got Talent judges Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon.
Some 89 viewers whinged to the censor and a few more contacted ITV, claiming that the pair's outfits with plunging necklines, were inappropriate for a family show .
An Ofcom spokesman explained:
We assessed a number of complaints about the clothing worn by two female judges being unsuitable before the watershed, but won't be taking the matter forward for investigation. In our view, the dresses appropriately covered the judges and they
were not portrayed in a sexualised way.
Amanda Holden previously spoke about the whingers saying in The Sun:
I don't give a shit. Well. It's important we listen to everyone's voice but 50 complaints in 10.5million viewers is a 0.000005 per cent share. Plus, I think an Amanda Holden Chest Appreciation Society would have more than 50 members.
The New Zealand Parliament has passed its third reading in Parliament. The final vote was carried with a 116 to 5 majority.
The Bill will:
Establish an Approved Agency to resolve complaints in a quick and efficient way
Give the District Court the power to issue take-down notices and impose penalties
Provide online content hosts with an Safe Harbour process for handling complaints
Make it an offence to send messages and post material online that deliberately cause serious emotional distress. The offence will be punishable by up to two years imprisonment or a maximum fine of NZ$50,000 for individuals, and a fine of up to
NZ$200,000 for companies.
Create a new offence of incitement to commit suicide that applies where the person does not attempt to take their own life
Amend existing laws to clarify that they apply to communications, regardless of whether tormentors use online or offline means, and future-proofing the laws against technological advances.
Just one party opposed the bill, the right-of-centre Act Party, which says it fears the Harmful Digital Communications Bill will be another case study in bad law-making .
Party leader and MP David Seymour said the Bill creates a strange asymmetry between the virtual world and the real world where different standards apply to online and offline speech. The ten communications principles written into the Bill, he
said, would be a good guide to desirable behaviour on a school camp.
The Bill was proposed after the two young women subject to digital bullying committed suicide and in the wake of the Roastbusters scandal, where the police were criticised for their response to online abuse,
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has abboiunced CBLDF Defender , a new free quarterly news magazine and is now available! It will be distributed at comic book stores across the US and also online at
Each issue of CBLDF Defender will bring engaging creator interviews, detailed analysis of current censorship news, and in-depth features that tell the story of the people fighting for the freedom to read! Neil Gaiman kicks off the first issue
with an in-depth interview on his battles with censorship. There's also news and analysis on the latest censorship battles raging in schools and libraries across the USA. Take a look at international cartoonist rights issues and the free speech
fallout from the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Plus, a lively history of Bill Gaines, the U.S government, and the birth of the Comics Code!
Channel 4's latest hit drama Humans is based on a Scandinavian series called Akta Manniskor (Real Humans). But while the characters and the plot are almost identical, the UK version is markedly less sexy.
The Swedish version features several sexual encounters between humans and machines which will not feature in the remake, while scenes featuring nudity have been toned down. Co-writer Sam Vincent told The Mail on Sunday:
There is no nudity in the British version. We do not want to be perceived as being exploitative.
Last week, teenager Toby try to touch the breasts of robot synth Anita, played by Gemma Chan. But she stopped him, declaring it inappropriate. However, in the Swedish version, Anita allows him to rub her intimately. In another scene from
the original, a male cyborg touches his female owner's breasts over the breakfast table before the couple are shown making love. This too is absent from the British version. And in another moment cut from the UK remake, the Swedish Anita removes
her top and examines her breasts in a mirror.
The Australian Advertising Standards Board investigated a complaint about a poster for Ted 2.
This poster advertisement features an image of Ted, an animated teddy bear. He has his back to the camera and the text reads, ted is coming, again. coming soon. Ted2TheMovie.com.au .
A complainant wrote:
In the poster we see Ted's back with both hands in front of him, out of view. Ted is in a pose that you might think he is urinating. The tagline for the poster says Ted is coming, again. I'm not offended by crass jokes,
though I don't find this funny or not funny. I find the poster very inappropriate for a public space where children, young teenagers and older people walk past. Most people won't make the connection to masturbating and ejaculation, but I did and
I found it inappropriate. Some fans of the Ted movie obviously will also make the connection and not be offended, but what about young kids, women, teenage girls? I do not think this sort of advertising should be allowed in a public space.
The Board noted that the image is directly related to the movie and that relevance of the image to the product or service advertised is relevant in determining whether the advertisement treats sex, sexuality or nudity with sensitivity to the
The Board noted that it had previously considered an advertisement of a similar nature where Ted was seen urinating at a urinal. In that case the Board considered that most members of the community would find the advertisement to be
lighthearted and would recognise that the image is directly related to the movie being promoted.
Consistent with the decision above the Board considered that members of the community who would likely watch the movie would be aware of the comical nature of the movie and the way the character Ted misbehaves. The Board noted that the
movie is directed to an adult audience, however the Board agreed that the image of a bear would be attractive to children. The Board noted that the Bear is not actually doing anything wrong and noted that there is no nudity and no evidence of any
Based on the above, the Board determined that the advertisement did not breach Section 2.4 of the Code.
To the casual observer, the black flag with unfamiliar white symbols looked out of place among the colourful outfits and banners at London's gay pride march.
CNN certainly thought so, running photographs of the flag above a banner headline, saying: Isis flag spotted at gay pride event. The segment was billed as an exclusive and the network even lined up one of its top security analysts, Peter
Bergen, to discuss its appearance.
However the flag was a spoof, with the apparent Arabic script actually being pictures of dildos, dongs and butt plugs.
Lucy Pawle, a CNN journalist, didn't spot the subtleties and went on air being surprised that no-one else had reacted to the flag. She said:
This man dressed in black and white waving what appears to be a very bad mimicry of the Isis flag, but a clear attempt to mimic the Isis flag, the black and white flag with the distinctive lettering.
She also said that she had alerted the police to its presence.
The first motion to legalise X rated films in an Australian state was tabled in the Victorian Parliament this morning by Fiona Patten of the Australian Sex Party. The motion reads:
That this House
(1) acknowledge that the National Classification Code defines X 18+ as a legal classification of film that contains real depictions of actual sexual activity between consenting adults in which there is no sexual violence or otherwise;
(2) acknowledge that, in Victoria, the sale and exhibition of X 18+ films is prohibited, but the ownership and purchase of such films is legal;
(3) note that this structure is not only illogical, but has enabled the availability of pirated and refused classification films that may feature sexual violence;
(4) change the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 to allow the sale and exhibition of X 18+ films, and bring the Act into line with the Federal Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, and
the Australian Law Reform Commission's 2012 recommendations;
(5) note that this change will allow for tighter regulations of X 18+ films in Victoria, so that adult material is sold only to adults from age restricted areas, ensuring that sexually violent material is not available, and helping to combat
Freedom of expression is more in danger today than in 2008 because of the right to be forgotten , the United Nation's former free expression rapporteur Frank La Rue told an internet conference. At the event La Rue told Index on Censorship:
The emphasis on the 'right to be forgotten' in a way is a reduction of freedom of expression, which I think is a mistake. People get excited because they can correct the record on many things but the trend is towards limiting people's access to
information which I think is a bad trend in general.
La Rue, who was the UN's rapporteur between 2008 and 2014, addressed lawyers, academics and researchers at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London, in particular covering the May 2014 right to be forgotten ruling from the Court
of Justice of the European Union, and its impact on free speech. On the ruling, La Rue said:
I would want to know the past. It is very relevant information. Everyone should be on the record and we have to question who is making these decisions anyway?
The state is accountable to the people of a nation so should be accountable here. Not private companies and especially not those with commercial interests.
The BBC explains its commendable policy in a blog post:
Since a European Court of Justice ruling last year, individuals have the right to request that search engines remove certain web pages from their search results. Those pages usually contain personal information about individuals.
Following the ruling, Google removed a large number of links from its search results , including some to BBC web pages, and continues to delist pages from BBC Online.
The BBC has decided to make clear to licence fee payers which pages have been removed from Google's search results by publishing this list of links. Each month, we'll republish this list with new removals added at the top.
We are doing this primarily as a contribution to public policy. We think it is important that those with an interest in the right to be forgotten can ascertain which articles have been affected by the ruling. We hope it will contribute to
the debate about this issue. We also think the integrity of the BBC's online archive is important and, although the pages concerned remain published on BBC Online, removal from Google searches makes parts of that archive harder to find.
The pages affected by delinking may disappear from Google searches, but they do still exist on BBC Online. David Jordan, the BBC's Director of Editorial Policy and Standards, has written a blog post which explains how we view that archive as a
matter of historic public record and, thus, something we alter only in exceptional circumstances. The BBC's rules on deleting content from BBC Online are strict; in general, unless content is specifically made available only for a limited
time, the assumption is that what we publish on BBC Online will become part of a permanently accessible archive. To do anything else risks reducing transparency and damaging trust.
One caveat: when looking through this list it is worth noting that we are not told who has requested the delisting, and we should not leap to conclusions as to who is responsible. The request may not have come from the obvious subject of a story.
Many major U.S. companies are barring sales of Confederate flags, along with goods bearing the insignia, in wake of the deadly rampage at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
eBay banned the flag calling it a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism.
Other big retailers to suspend sales of products with the Confederate battle flag include Amazon, Etsy a popular online seller of hand-made and other craft goods; Sears department stores, Spencer Gifts; Target and Walmart.
Apple joined the ban with Tim Cook saying in a post on Twitter that My thoughts are with the victim's families in SC. Let us honor their lives by eradicating racism & removing the symbols & words that feed it.
Apple have banned apps that use the flag but later made an exception for educational or historic uses.
The fourth film in the Jurassic Park series has already taken more than £370 million worldwide and is the UK's No 1 movie. But the scenes of bloodthirsty dinosaurs in 3D have left a few young children in floods of
tears. Commentators have noted that the film is a fang fest and by far the bloodiest chapter in the Jurassic saga .
The cinema film has a 12A certificate, which allows children under the age of 12 to view it if they are accompanied by an adult.
The Daily Mail noted 2 or 3 cases where very young children have been frightened by the film. Eg one parent wrote: Don't be fooled by the 12A and take a six- or seven-year-old.
A spokesman for the BBFC said:
The film is a solid 12A and not close to the 15 borderline. A 15 classification would of course have had the consequence that 14- and 13-year-olds would not have been able to see the film and this would, in our view, have been wholly
unnecessary, and no doubt deeply unpopular as well.
Offsite Comment: Why We Have 12A and What It Means
Turning back to Jurassic World , we see an example of a film, based on our research and Guidelines, that is likely to be suited to those aged 12 or older, particularly 12-14 year olds. It is therefore not entirely surprising to read some feedback
about 5, 6 and 7 year old children being frightened by the film. It is worth noting that the PG certificate is generally suitable for children aged 8 and older, and we offer this guidance on our website. Therefore younger children accessing a 12A
film and being upset is not surprising, though other kinds of questions about suitability come into play if the issues at 12A are language or sex references.
What Jurassic World shows is a film firmly at the 12A level, not close to the 15 borderline, but which contains sequences and action a younger child is likely to find frightening. We make this information known and it is ultimately the choice of
the parent to ensure their child views content that suits them. Our job is to help parents make that choice.
Government sources have denied reports that media regulator Ofcom was set to take over regulation of the BBC.
The forthcoming green paper on the BBC is likely to call for the abolition of the BBC Trust without backing an alternative regulator, according to sources close to the government.
There is going to be an open consultation, said one source. To say a decision has been taken is just nonsense.
Options for alternative regulatory structures are likely to form part of the green paper set to be published before parliamentary recess on 20 July. The consultation exercise is likely to include a cross section of people within the industry as
well as the public.
According to sources, there are due to be four or five key themes that the green paper will explore, including governance and, perhaps more controversially, privatisation or part-privatisation of BBC Worldwide .
An evangelical preacher who described Islam as satanic and heathen is to be prosecuted for insult.
Speaking to his congregation in north Belfast on 18 May, McConnell said:
A new evil had arisen and there are cells of Muslims right throughout Britain.
Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell.
In a statement, Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said the firebrand preacher had refused to accept a lesser punishment which meant the case would not have gone to court. A spokespersector said:
I can confirm that following consideration of a complaint in relation to an internet broadcast of a sermon in May 2014, a decision was taken to offer an individual an informed warning for an offence contrary to the Communications Act 2003.
That offence was one of sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive. The offer of an informed warning was refused by the defendant and accordingly
the matter is now proceeding by way of a summary prosecution in the Magistrates Court.
Pastor McConnell initially defended his remarks made during a sermon at his Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle last May but, following a huge public outcry he apologised for any offence or distress caused.
Offsite Comment: A disgraceful use of the Communications Act
New Look fashion store in Tunbridge Wells has removed a shop mannequin after a few people whinged about an unrealistic mannequin with a very slim waist.
One shopper was so 'disgusted' she took a photo of it and posted it online. It sparked a few whinges claiming it presented an unrealistic and unhealthy body image for young girls.
Marg Oaten, of Seed - Eating Disorders Support Services, told ITV News Meridian:
I thought this mannequin was hideous when I saw it. These retailers need a reality check about what they are portraying. It is a harmful body image. It can destroy people.
New Look responded in a Facebook statement:
We hear and understand your concerns and I'm pleased to tell you that the decision has been made to remove the mannequin from display at the Tunbridge Wells store at Longfield Road with immediate effect.
We are also going to start an investigation to ensure this style of mannequin isn't used in any other stores or is removed as appropriate.
At New Look we would never want to encourage women to aim for an unhealthy or unattainable image or life style.
Nabil Ayouch's film about sex workers in Morocco has already been banned by the country's film censors, but now the authorities have summoned the filmmakers to court on charges of supposed pornography, indecency and inciting minors to
The film, Much Loved (Zin Li Fik), which lifts the lid on the Moroccan sex industry is directed by Nabil Ayouch and stars Loubna Abidar, who plays a prostitute. Now both have been asked to defend the allegedly immoral content of the movie before a court in Marrakech next month, according to reports from the Moroccan press .
Their decision to ban the film was based on two clips leaked on the internet, one of which showed three sex workers in a car speaking about their clients, with one saying she hoped to get a Saudi Arabian man who is good looking, nice and has a
small penis .
The film also depicts a fumble in a parked van, a failed attempt to achieve an erection, which results in violence, and other scenes of violent sex. An actor playing a homeless boy is also depicted admitting that European men regularly abuse him
for sex at £5 a time.
Abidar has received death threats for starring as a prostitute in the film. The actress wrote on her Facebook page that she had received an anonymous call to her home phone from an unknown person threatening to kill her. She has appeared on
Moroccan radio to defend her part in the film, saying she was only playing the role of many prostitutes that exist in Morocco .
The film is currently being shown at the 33rd Munich Film Festival.
When BBC Films announced it was to remake Swallows and Amazons, it stressed that the production would stay true to Arthur Ransome's classic. At least as far as political correctness would allow. The pluckiest of the Walker children has been
renamed after it was decided a character called Titty would offend the easily offended, and so the character has been renamed Tatty.
Ransome based the characters on a real-life family, the Altounyans. One of their number, Mavis, was nicknamed Titty after the Joseph Jacobs' children's story Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse.
Christine Langan, head of BBC Films, alluded to the ludicrous political correctness and commented that the film harks back to a pre-health and safety generation .
TG Storytime is a free community website for transgender authors, operated by Joe Six-Pack, himself a transgender author and publisher. If you look up the registration details of Joe's domain tgstorytime.com using the WHOIS application, you only
see the contact details of a proxy.
If anyone really needs to know Joe's physical address or telephone number, they can apply for a court order or subpoena requiring his privacy service to disclose them.
At least, that is how it works now. But under a proposal currently being considered by ICANN, that may all change. It is proposed that domains used for commercial purposes might no longer be eligible to use proxy registration services. Is TG
Storytime used for commercial purposes? Well, Joe currently covers the site's expenses, but also notes that ads and donations may be used in the future to cover costs , and sites that run ads have been judged as commercial in domain name
disputes. If a similar broad definition is adopted by ICANN, Joe might well be forced to give up his privacy if he begins to run ads on his site.
Joe is far from alone. Thousands of responses have already been received by ICANN on this topic from others who are concerned about how the proposed policy change will affect them. Amongst them is a message from one user who wrote:
I'm a single female and live alone. I don't want my personal address available to every pervert/troll/angered citizen that wants it after visiting my small website. Seemingly innocent topics, like vegan cooking, can spark outrage in certain
This change is being pushed by US entertainment companies, who told Congress in March that privacy for domain registration should be allowed only in limited circumstances. These and other companies want new tools to discover the identities
of website owners whom they want to accuse of copyright and trademark infringement, preferably without a court order.
The limited value of this change is manifestly outweighed by the risks to website owners who will suffer a higher risk of harassment, intimidation and identity theft. The ability to speak anonymously protects people with unpopular or marginalized
opinions, allowing them to speak and be heard without fear of harm. It also protects whistleblowers who expose crime, waste, and corruption. That's why EFF opposes the new proposal to roll back anonymity.
New Zealand ISPs who defied TV company demands to switch off their VPN services have caved in following legal threats. CallPlus and Bypass Network Services faced action from media giants including Sky and TVNZ for allowing their customers to
access geo-restricted content. Their Global Mode services will be terminated by September 1.
Unlocking geo-restricted digital content is an activity carried out by millions every day, but the practice diverts revenue from local media companies in favour of the US.
In April, media companies SKY, TVNZ, Lightbox and MediaWorks told several Kiwi ISPs that if they didn't stop providing geo-unblocking services to their subscribers, legal action wouldn't be far ahead. Within days and following claims of breaches
of the Copyright Act, Unlimited Internet pulled its VPN service. However, CallPlus and Bypass Network Services stood firm and stated that they weren't going to be bullied .
Now, just two months later, both providers have caved in to the demands of the media companies. The news was revealed in the briefest of announcements posted to the NZX by Sky TV:
The legal proceedings against 'Global Mode' service providers have been settled. As a result, from 1 September 2015, the 'Global Mode' service will not be available to any person for use in New Zealand.
The news will come as a blow to users of the Global Mode service who will now have to find alternatives if they wish to continue accessing geo-locked content. While that will be extremely easy , Global Mode was a free product so it's
likely that additional costs could be on the horizon.
InternetNZ, the non-profit group that oversees the Internet in New Zealand, says it is deeply disappointed by the news. InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter said:
Global Mode was a great example of Internet-based innovation that challenged traditional content distribution models. It was by no means clear that the service was illegal, and we were keen to see the matter go before the courts to provide users
and the industry with clarity.
Withdrawing the service and settling before court seems a worse outcome for all concerned. The media companies have said that they wanted to clarify their own legal rights over content -- a settlement doesn't achieve this, and leaves us all none
Australia's Internet censorship bill has been passed by the Senate, and will become the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015. The new law provides an accelerated process for rightsholders to obtain court orders for ISPs to block
sites that have the primary purpose of infringing copyright, or facilitating its infringement--a term that the law does not define.
During debate the government rejected a series of safeguards that the Australian Greens attempted to introduce to mitigate the risk of abuse of the new law. Besides tightening the definitions, these amendments would have provided affected parties
with a right of appeal, and explicitly protected providers of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), who now may face claims that their services are designed to facilitate copyright infringement.
What were some of the arguments in favor of the censorship law that came up in debate ? They range from less than compelling, to flat-out wrong. Paul Fletcher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, stated that:
Provisions of the kind contained in the bill have been used in other jurisdictions, including the UK, Ireland and Singapore, and in these jurisdictions an injunction is often ordered without any opposition from the internet service provider
That's not quite true--for example, there has not been a single concluded case yet in Singapore (a country that also bans unlicensed public assemblies, and chewing gum). We can also add a couple of other entries to Fletcher's list-- Russia also
recently introduced copyright censorship laws, shortly after its laws banning LGBT propaganda , and Turkey has had a similar provision in its copyright law since 2004, which it exercises regularly, besides also blocking social media sites
such as Twitter and Facebook. Australia can now be proud to join that illustrious club.
Senator David Coleman foreshadowed the movement of web blocking outside of the legal regime established by the new censorship law, and into the darkness of informal backroom arrangements:
I concur with others in this debate in saying that I think the way that this will play out is that in the early days you will probably see a number of court actions initiated. You will see some court orders issued for take-down notices for
infringing material. But then what will happen, logically, over time, is that ISPs and content providers will work together in a sensible way. No doubt they will circumvent much of that court formality and work together in a constructive fashion
to take down offending material, and that is as it should be.
Amongst the minority of Senators who not only spoke against the law, but also voted against it, was David Leyonhjelm who labelled it bad law and said:
Website blocking is a drastic remedy and a blunt tool. The bill has the potential to be used against a range of legitimate sites and has inadequate protections for non-party interests. Meanwhile, placing increased emphasis on enforcement without
addressing the other overdue reforms of the Copyright Act risks a ridiculously unbalanced copyright regime.
Similar criticisms were made by Senator Scott Ludlam, who did at least manage to successfully introduce one amendment requiring the government to finally respond to the Australian Law Reform Committee's (ALRC) report on Copyright and the Digital
Economy , which had recommended that Australia adopt a fair use exception in its copyright law. The government has repeatedly brushed off this recommendation while pursing its own copyright enforcement agenda, but will now at least be required to
provide the ALRC with the courtesy of a formal response by September 17--almost two years after the report was issued.
After bombarding Australians with one heavy-handed enforcement measure after another over the past twelve months--including mandatory data retention and a co-regulatory graduated response code (which is pending registration), the very least that
Australian users deserve in return is for fair use to be given a fair hearing.
Offsite Article: Porn will be next on Australia's website-blocking agenda...
Gardeners have ridiculed the BBC after a presenter apologised for Alan Titchmarsh using the term bastard trenching on the Breakfast Show . Titchmarsh used the term while explaining the practice of double digging, a technique
used to improve soil drainage. He said:
There's also another name for it, which sounds dreadful, it's called 'bastard trenching' and by the end of it you realise it's a very fitting name for it.
Moments later, presenter Louise Minchin told viewers:
We just have to apologise for some of the language that was used in the last couple of minutes.
Titchmarsh protested saying:
Oh no, no, no, no, it's a term in a gardening book. I shan't repeat it, but it's not offensive at all.
Gardeners and viewers expressed their incredulity at the BBC's apology, with some rightfully noting the BBC as utterly ridiculous and pathetic .
Titchmarsh said he had been bemused by the BBC's apology but added that he was rather heartened that almost everybody said 'oh, how ridiculous' as that was my reaction as well.
A BBC spokesprat defended the show's decision to apologise to viewers for using a gardening term:
For those viewers who had missed Alan Titchmarsh's earlier explanation regarding the gardening term, we decided to say sorry as courtesy in case there was any offence caused.
The European Union is threatening the long-established principle of freedom of panorama -- meaning some major landmarks in public spaces may have to be blocked out from videos and photographs for fear of infringing on the owner's
The principle -- which has been long-established in a number of jurisdictions across Europe and the United States -- is that works such as the London Eye, the Angel of the North, or sculptures displayed in public spaces may be photographed and
those photographs may be used for commercial use.
But the EU apparatchiks have stepped in to curtail the freedom, adding an amendment to a recent report that sought to enshrine the principle formally into EU law.
Germany's Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda submitted the original proposals to protect freedom of panorama in a report earlier this month, but the European Parliament's legal committee, while approving most of the report, implemented several
amendments -- one of these reading, The commercial use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in physical public places should always be subject to prior authorisation from the authors or any proxy
acting for them.
This means that photographers using images of major public spaces may have to consult with copyright owners before publishing images or video, even if the piece of work is not the primary subject of the image.
The rule mimics bizarre French and Belgian rules on taking photographs of the European Parliamentary buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg. Most Members of the European Parliament have at some point taken pictures of the buildings and are
therefore in breach of the law. Indeed in Belgium, pictures adhering to the law are blacked out, as can be seen on the Atomium's Wikipedia page .
The European Parliament is set to vote on the matter on July 9th, with the European Commission responsible for the final legislation.
Over the weekend of June 20th to 21st, the results of the first three months of the International Age Rating Coalition trial were dumped into the Classification Board's database. They reveal censorship on a scale never before seen in Australia.
The first mobile game/app is listed as being banned (Refused Classification) on March 18th. At the time of writing, a total of 242 have been banned.
Interestingly, the Classification Board has chosen not to give a reason why they have been banned. Several of the banned apps have innocuous titles so perhaps there is a technical explanation such as not filling in the forms correctly.
Germans will only be able to buy adult eBooks between 10pm and 6am, according to a ridiculous new law.
Other such media have long been banned during the daytime, and real books that are violent or erotic are kept under the counter of bookstores. But a new ruling means that eBooks will be treated like films or TV, and so can only be sold during the
night time window.
The 10pm to 6am window was originally instituted in a 2002 law -- Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag, or Youth Media Protection Act -- that was intended to restrict adult cinemas from showing films in the day. But many have pointed out that
applying the rule on the internet, where products can be bought at all hours of the day, is impractical.
The change has been as part of a legal complaint around a German erotica eBook called SchlauchgelÃ¼ste (Pantyhose Cravings), according to blog The Digital Reader, a memoir of a transgender person which has caused problems because it was readily
available. READ MORE Amazon to start paying authors based on how far readers get through their books Grey: 8 things we learn in new Fifty Shades of Grey book told through Christian's eyes How e-readers took the embarrassment out of erotic fiction
None of the sites selling selling such material are yet shutting down in the day, according to reports. But the law allows for people to be fined up to â?¬500,000 if they are found to be selling the material.
The German booksellers' association is looking to provide a way that eBook stores can be sure that they're not selling the books to young people without having to check through the contents of every book that they sell, according to Boersenblatt
the website for the German book trade. Such systems might require publishers to say whether books are erotic, and then place them in a special section of the website that ensures that they can't be seen by children.
Google has been getting more aggressive about redirecting users from Google.com to the the national versions of the sites.
According to a person close to Google, this move to redirect users is part of the company's attempts to persuade judges and lawmakers that applying any censorship orders on a national level is sufficient. This person, who spoke on
condition of anonymity, suggested the company is hoping to demonstrate that, in countries like France and Germany, relatively few people now go to Google.com in the first place -- which obviates the need for broader orders.
Given the recent decree in France, however, this strategy appears to be coming up short. The fallback strategy, then, is to employ a more technical solution: Using IP addresses (which reveal a person's location) to censor Google.com on a
country-by-country basis. This would entail Google configuring its search results to detect that a person is in France -- and blocking any offending search results accordingly on Google.com -- while at the same time displaying the missing results
to Google.com visitors in Norway, the United States, and elsewhere.
Google is not employing such measures yet, but comments by the company's top lawyer, David Drummond, suggest it is willing and able to do so.
The Australian government has given itself powers to censor the internet starting with websites facilitating copyright infringement.
In the eyes of at least one intellectual property academic, the passing of controversial anti-piracy, website blocking legislation in the senate represented a very dark day for the internet in Australia .
The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, introduced into parliament by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull in March to curb online piracy of film and TV shows, was passed with Labor's support 37-13.
The legislation allows rights holders to go to a Federal Court judge to get overseas websites, or online locations , blocked that have the primary purpose of facilitating copyright infringement. If a rights holder is successful in
their blocking request, Australian internet providers, such as Telstra and Optus, will need to comply with a judge's order by disabling access to the infringing location.
Sites such as The Pirate Bay and KickAssTorrents are expected to be among the first websites in rights holder's sights.
Dr Matthew Rimmer, an associate professor at the ANU College of Law and one of the bill's critics, labelled the bill quite radical :
It's a very dark day for the internet in Australia because there's been bipartisan support for this Luddite censorship bill.
He said sites that don't intend to host infringing material could get caught up and blocked, pointing to file-sharing sites like mega.co.nz and dropbox.com.
Protesters gathered outside a Tel Aviv theater with tape across their mouths to protest Culture Minister Miri Regev's repeated vows to censor voices that insult Israel.
Regev, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu s right-wing Likud Party who has been unabashed in her disdain for artistic projects that criticize the Israeli occupation, was at Tel Aviv's Einav Theater to present an award. She was booed by
the protesters as she entered the theater, and heckled by several audience members as she took the stage.
The event occurred one day after Regev, in a televised interview on Israel's popular Channel 2 network, referred to artists as "tight-ass, hypocritical and ungrateful" people, comments she later backpedaled from a bit by clarifying that
she only meant two specific left-wing artists.
The background to the tension is that filmmakers and producers rely heavily on public funds for most of their productions. Regev has repeatedly said she will not hesitate to cut public funding for projects that she feels defame or threaten the
State of Israel, and earlier this week she blocked funds for Haifa's Al-Midan Arab Theater, which is currently staging a controversial production about the life of an Arab terrorist. She threatened to do the same for a joint Arab-Jewish theater
after its director, the actor Norman Issa, refused to perform in the occupied West Bank. Issa later relented, and his funding was not cut.
The BBC were a little bit PC and refused to specify what exactly was being complained about in the broadcast of The Wrong Mans . It seems likely that it was the Season 2 episode: Action Mans + Wise Mans. The words to the Twelve
Days of Christmas are interrupted by screeching tyres and a siren, resulting in a shocked utterance: Jesus fucking Christ!
The BBC comments:
A viewer who had otherwise enjoyed this post-watershed comedy thriller complained about a sequence in which a character expressed astonishment by coupling Jesus Christ with one of the strongest swear-words.
Research makes clear that viewers and listeners find the combination of the strongest swear-words with holy names significantly more offensive than either when used separately. The phrase in question calls for stronger editorial justification
than was apparent in this case.
The finding has been shared with BBC Television's Compliance Managers and senior management. They have been reminded that any proposal to use the phrase in question would require very strong editorial justification.
Google plans to enable people to flag revenge porn so that it can be excluded from its internet searches in future.
Amit Singhal, a senior vice-president, announced in a post on the Google public policy blog on Friday that the company would soon issue online forms through which members of the public will be able to request that revenge porn content involving
them no longer show up in Google searches.
Links to such images will not be included in Google search results on that person, though images will remain online.
The step is a major shift for the leading search engine, which normally resists attempts at censorship on internet content showing up in searches. But Google decided to make an exception regarding the unauthorised sharing of nude photos, images
often posted by ex-spouses or partners or extortionists demanding money to take down such pictures, all without the consent of the people shown.
It is not clear if Google will implement an appeals procedure for the inevitable false claims that will be generated.
Several groups representing the interests of big media companies have won a judicial review challenging the UK Government's decision to allow copying for personal use. According to the High Court, there's insufficient evidence to prove that the
legislation doesn't hurt musicians and the industry.
last year the UK Government legalized copying for private use , a practice which many citizens already believed to be legal.
The change was in the best interest of consumers, the Government reasoned, but several music industry organizations challenged the decision as they felt it harmed their own interests.
In November the Musicians' Union (MU), the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and UK Music applied for a judicial review of the new legislation. They disagreed with the Government's conclusion that the change would
cause no financial harm to the music industry.
Instead of keeping copies free, they suggested that a tax should be applied to blank media including blank CDs, hard drives, memory sticks and other blank media. This money would then be shared among rightsholders, a mechanism already operating
in other European countries.
The High Court largely agreed with the music industry groups. The Government's conclusion that copyright holders will not suffer any significant harm was based on inadequate evidence, Mr Justice Green claimed. The judge wrote:
In conclusion, the decision to introduce section 28B [private copying] in the absence of a compensation mechanism is unlawful.
The UK music groups are happy with the outcome and are eager to discuss possible changes with lawmakers.
The High Court scheduled a new hearing next month to decide what action should be taken in response to the judgment, including whether the private copying exceptions should be scrapped from law.
In just a few days EU lawmakers will vote on a new scheme that could facilitate the spread of a restrictive link tax online. This backwards censorship plan is pushed by a politician named Jean-Marie Cavada.
In just a few days, key lawmakers will vote on a new scheme that will facilitate the spread of a restrictive link tax online. The link tax was initially targeted at Google's News service gaining from links to news websites, but its
applications are inevitably wider once the concept is established.
This backwards censorship plan is supported by a politician named Jean-Marie Cavada. A classic Internet villain who wants to hold onto the past.
We know Cavada hopes to usher in new powers that could see links and comments on Soundcloud, Facebook, and WhatsApp to your favorite blog redirected or blocked entirely.
Have you seen those not available in your area geo-block-like messages? Yeah, more of that sort of thing. We hate them too. If Cavada gets his way we'll see much more of that frustrating Internet censorship and it will affect users
everywhere. Let's all send him a message he can't ignore now .
Here's the rub: Cavada's link censorship plan is about to be voted on in a powerful EU parliamentary committee he chairs. Regardless of where you live many of your favourite websites and key web infrastructure will be covered by his irresponsible
As it stands, if Cavada gets his way you could see some of your favourite websites being forced to pay a link tax for pointing to information that's freely available elsewhere.
Get this: he even tried to scrub the input from Internet users from this decision-making process. He then tried to block a UN free expression expert from talking to key decision-makers about the problems with his restrictive plan. Who does that?
For Cavada to back off he needs to hear from as many of us as possible right now. The vote is in just a few days.
Mastizaade is a 2015 India film by Milap Zaveri.
Starring Sunny Leone, Zachary Coffin and Tusshar Kapoor.
After being banned by the Examining Committee and the Revising Committee, the new Sunny Leone starrer Mastizaade directed by Milap Zaveri has now been refused certification by the appeals Tribunal. The Appeals Tribunal wrote:
There is no redeeming feature of any sort in the film. The film is only concerned with the exploration of the different parts of the human anatomy, both male and female, and is such as to deprave the minds of the audience. We are thus
constrained to hold that. Freedom of expression cannot and should not be interpreted as a license for the cine-magnates to make huge sums of money by pandering to shoddy and vulgar tastes.
Author Horus Gilgamesh had a hit with his book, Awkward Moments (Not Found In Your Average) Children's Bible. An irreverent look at the christian Bible. He had been planning a similar treatment for the Koran but has now had second
thoughts. He explained:
I believe in religious freedom, the right for anyone to worship whatever gods they choose to believe in (as long as those beliefs do not infringe on the rights and freedom of others). I also believe in free speech, the
power to challenge rational societies into asking important questions. Lastly, I believe in the right to live without fear. Sadly, as is the case with many religions, these concepts are often mutually exclusive.
After a great deal of consideration and wise counsel, I've decided to cancel the controversial Kid's Koran project we've been and hinting about over the past year. Why?
Because of a small group of fringe maniacal radical bullies who equate the transfer of lead and pigments into shapes on paper as blasphemy, punishable by death.
Two of my collaborators are ex-Muslims living in areas of Europe with extreme tension at the moment and are no longer comfortable being associated with the project.
We have been receiving more suspicious phishing attempts than usual, coming from Arabic (not necessarily Muslim) characters offering to buy our pages, inviting us to speak at events, wanting to conduct
in-person interviews, etc (As long as we first provide our personal information for verification of payments.)
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much time and energy any response would require, taking us away from the primary focus of this page and related projects that are focused on the Bible and
Christianity (the majority religion/culture that most regularly affects me as an American.) In short, there are only so many hours in the day, and I need to pick my battles strategically. (After all, this is not my day job.) God's Little
Helper - Christian Death Threats
I'll admit, I do take the threats from militant/radical/extremist Islamic fundamentalists much more seriously. For someone who spends a large amount of time illustrating and speaking about the challenges posed by any
religion, I don't think this makes me a bigot, but a realist, as more and more cartoonists are murdered, threatened, and silenced for good.
The British-Indian artist behind a controversial Queen's Vagina sculpture at Versailles has blasted an intolerance towards art in France , after the installation was vandalised.
Vandals have sprayed paint on a controversial sculpture in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles that has become known as the queen's vagina, the estate's management said:
Damage to the work 'Dirty Corner' was discovered Wednesday morning. It was lightly sprayed with paint. The work is being cleaned.
The 60-metre long, 10-metre high steel-and-rock abstract sculpture, by British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor, resembling a funnel in the form of an orifice, is set up in the garden aimed directly at the royal chateau.
The artist lamented an intolerance towards art in France. He told Le Figaro newspaper:
What a tragedy. How sad. You have to put this in perspective. If this act of vandalism says something, it's that there is a certain intolerance in France towards any kind of art.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has decided that Delfi, an Estonia-based news website, holds responsibility for defamatory comments made by anonymous readers.
Access, a digital rights organization, weighed in on the decision, calling it a worrying setback. Furthermore, the organization argues that the ruling contradicts the European Union's E-Commerce Directive, which protects intermediaries
that employ notice-and-takedown mechanisms to deal with user comments.
Access noted that Delfi's case received disappointing rulings from other courts, even though Estonia has adopted the EU's E-Commerce Directive. Access says that it denounces the ECHR's ruling, stating that it creates a worrying
precedent that could force websites to censor content.
The ECHR defended its ruling by citing the extreme nature of the comments which the court considered to amount to hate speech, the fact that they were published on a professionally-run and commercial news website.
The Center for Democracy & Technology notes:
Holding content hosts liable for their users' speech is a shortcut to censorship for governments and private litigants who cannot easily identify an anonymous speaker or seek a judgment against her. The threat of liability creates strong
incentives for content hosts to preview and approve all user comments, and to censor with a broad brush, limit access to their services, and restrict users' ability to communicate freely over their platforms. In a world where all online speech
is intermediated by web servers, news portals, social media platforms, search engines, and ISPs, the collateral consequences of intermediary liability are potentially enormous.
Myanmar's authorities are intensifying restrictions on media as the country approaches elections in November, using threats, harassment and imprisonment to stifle independent journalists and outlets, Amnesty International said in a new
The Amnesty report, titled Caught between state censorship and self-censorship: Prosecution and intimidation of media workers in Myanmar, shows how, despite Myanmar's much-touted political opening since 2011, authorities are relying
on old and new methods to intimidate media and restrict freedom of expression. The clampdown has intensified over the past year, today at least 10 media workers are languishing in prison, all of them jailed in the last 12 months. All are
prisoners of conscience.
Myanmar's media landscape has changed dramatically since the reform process started in 2011. From a handful of media outlets controlled through strict pre-publication censorship, today there exists a vibrant media scene with several independent
newspapers and broadcast channels. Yet widespread repression of media continues in Myanmar, as authorities rely on a range of draconian, vaguely formulated laws to imprison journalists.
Amnesty International's interviews with media workers revealed that the threat of imprisonment and constant surveillance have led to widespread self-censorship. Journalists are well aware of what red lines they cannot cross, mainly stories
relating to the military, extremist Buddhist nationalism and the plight of the Rohingya minority, and often shy away from covering these issues.
The case of the Unity media workers is one such example. Five workers at the paper were each jailed for seven years in July 2014 after their newspaper published a story on an alleged secret chemical weapons factory. Their imprisonment is
frequently cited by journalists as an example of what can happen if they step over the line in their reporting on the army.
Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International's Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific said:
What we are seeing in Myanmar today is repression dressed up as progress. Authorities are still relying on the same old tactics, arrests, surveillance, threats and jail time to muzzle those journalists who cover inconvenient topics.
As people in Myanmar go to the polls later this year, a free press will be more important than ever to inform the public about the choices they face and strengthen their access to information. The government must immediately release all
journalists jailed for simply carrying out their work peacefully, publicly commit to respect freedom of expression, and repeal all laws used to silence peaceful dissenting voices and critics.
The international community also has a key role to play in pushing the Myanmar authorities to end the repression of media. They must actively and publicly push for the release of imprisoned media workers and all other prisoners of conscience,
while keeping a close watch over the fragile human rights situation in the months leading up to the elections.
Japan has repealed an old law banning dancing after midnight. But of course politicians can't entirely let go of their control freakery and have retained the ban in low-light venues.
Japan's parliament voted to relax the laws, which date from 1948. The laws were introduced during the US occupation amid supposed concerns that the relatively liberal social attitudes of the Americans were corrupting Japan's youth. It was also an
attempt to curb prostitution.
In recent times enforcement of the law had declined, but after decades of turning a blind eye to the clubs, police unilaterally decided to resurrect the law following the 2010 death of a 22-year-old student after a fight in an Osaka club.
Hit by a wave of raids by police who claimed they wanted to prevent an excessively hedonistic atmosphere at clubs, most of the city's venues were shut down for licensing violations, pulling the plug on Osaka's thriving dance scene.
This ban on midnight dancing drew fierce criticism from dance and music industry figures who said the government should promote Japan's growing, vibrant dance culture.
Under the new law, which is expected to take effect by June next year, dancing after midnight will be allowed if the club has a light level of at least 10 lux. This light level is approximately equivalent to what a movie theatre looks like with
the lights on.
Brazil's Supreme Court has ruled unanimously to overturn a 13-year-old federal ban on unauthorized biographies. All nine judges agreed that articles within Brazil's Civil Code that force writers to obtain permission before publishing biographical
books for commercial purposes are unconstitutional, and represent unlawful censorship.
However, the court explained that musicians, politicians, actors, or any subjects of a biography, maintain the right to sue in court if they do not agree with the book's contents, but only after the book is published.
Judge Cármen Lúcia argued that freedom of speech cannot be trumped by a public figure's right to privacy. She said:
Censorship is a way of silencing others. Even worse, it is a way of silencing the Constitution. I do not believe it is constitutional to shred the freedom of all for the freedom of one, she said.
A notoriously anti-gay Russian politician has suggested popular TV show and book Game of Thrones is harmful and should be banned.
Vitaly Milonov, who is a deputy in the St Petersburg legislature, and who was behind Russia's anti-gay propaganda law in its earliest form, claimed that one in ten characters in Game of Thrones is a sexual deviant . He told TASS:
We can see that the Internet and television have assumed a leading function in education, replacing or ousting altogether traditional methods of education and upbringing of the young generation. Denying the fact or pretending that nothing of the
kind is going on is a short-sighted position.
It is not the point of scenes of violence or elements of advocating violence which is at issue. The point is that practically any product of culture, which is brought to us from the West, advocates values which provoke the formation of a certain
paradigm of views on politics and the reality.
Nowadays, any game or a TV film series is not merely a merry thing to see. For example, in The Game of Thrones book every tenth character is a sexual deviant. Such products and their popularisation in this country might bring ideas to our minds
that a certain conduct is a matter of fact thing.
Google has 15 days to comply with a demand from France's internet censor to extend the right to be forgotten to all its search engines.
Google has responded to European censorship under the right to be forgotten by only removing the required information for the copy of the search engine specific to the censoring country. And in particular leaves the links live in the global
French censor CNIL said Google could face sanctions if it did not comply within the time limit.
In response, Google said in a statement:
We've been working hard to strike the right balance in implementing the European Court's ruling, co-operating closely with data protection authorities.
The ruling focused on services directed to European users, and that's the approach we are taking in complying with it.
An official video game rating system has just recently been established by the Saudi government . It has warning symbols for violence, religious offence, alcohol use, gambling, sex, violence and online play. And unsurprisingly also includes a
Horror or violence
Smoking, alcohol, drugs or subversive ideas
Nudity, sexuality, kink or sex out of wedlock
Online games with user content that may transgress classification
The 'classifications' have so far been used for bans of Assassin's Creed II, The Last of US, and Hitman.
They really seem to be going after young Pandora. The classic "you couldn't make this up" bit is that they actually get their knickers in a twist over the free video made by Pandora and Amelia Rutherford (aka Ariel Anderssen) as a
fundraiser for fighting against ATVOD!
And this on the day in which Carole Cadwalladr, interviewing Max Mosley in the Observer, says S&M has gone mainstream.
Absolutely Anything is a 2015 UK / USA comedy Sci-Fi film by Terry Jones.
Starring Kate Beckinsale, Simon Pegg and Robin Williams.
UK: Passed 12A for infrequent strong language, moderate sex references after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:
2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
This film was originally seen for advice. The company was advised the likely classification was 15 but that their preferred 12A could be achieved by reducing the quntity of strong language. When the film was submitted for formal classification,
the number of uses of strong language had been reduced and the film was therefore classified 12A.
A group of eccentric aliens confer a human being with the power to do absolutely anything, as an experiment.
Still the Water is a 2014 France / Japan / Spain romance by Naomi Kawase.
Starring Nijirô Murakami, Jun Yoshinaga and Miyuki Matsuda.
UK: Passed 15 for infrequent strong sex after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:
2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
Scenes from this film were originally shown to the BBFC for advice. The company was informed that one scene was likely to be in breach of the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 and was therefore unlikely to be suitable for classification.
When the film was submitted for formal classification, this scene had been cut.
On the subtropical Japanese island of Amami, traditions about nature remain eternal. During the full-moon night of traditional dances in August, 16-year-old Kaito discovers a dead body floating in the sea. His girlfriend Kyoko will attempt to
help him understand this mysterious discovery. Together, Kaito and Kyoko will learn to become adults by experiencing the interwoven cycles of life, death and love.
The UK's Independent Review of Terrorism Legislation has said, it is time for a clean slate when it comes to surveillance law in the UK. In his report, David Anderson QC condemned the current legislative framework as, fragmented,
obscure, under constant challenge and variable in the protections that it affords the innocent .
Anderson was tasked with reviewing surveillance law as a requirement of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act, one of the concessions gained by Labour and the Lib Dems in return for their support in rushing the Bill through
Parliament last July.
Anderson, unsurprisingly, does not condemn mass surveillance in principle and endorses bulk collection by the security services, but the report does call for a radical overhaul of how surveillance is regulated.
Here are some of the key points:
Since the Snowden revelations began two years ago, Parliament has further legislated for surveillance through DRIPA, the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and amendments to the Computer Misuse Act that legitimise hacking by the security
services. Anderson's damning verdict that the law, is variable in the protections that it affords the innocent can't be ignored. The report says: A comprehensive and comprehensible new law should be drafted from scratch, replacing the
multitude of current powers and providing for clear limits and safeguards on any intrusive power that it may be necessary for public authorities to use.
Under the current system, warrants for surveillance are signed off by government ministers, who are not independent. Anderson's recommendations that warrants should be signed off by judicial commissioners is a welcome shift away from politicial
authorisation but it would be preferable for warrants to go through the courts and be signed by serving judges to help make sure that surveillance is necessary and proportionate .
Anderson says that extending capabilities through a new Snoopers' Charter should only happen if there is, a detailed operational case needs to be made out, and a rigorous assessment conducted of the lawfulness, likely effectiveness,
intrusiveness and cost of requiring such data to be retained . So far the Government hasn't made such a case. In addition, it has made a report by Sir Nigel Sheinwald top secret. That report is believed to have suggested that a new
international treaty could be a legal alternative to the Snoopers' Charter. Despite this, the Home Secretary Theresa May today told the House of Commons that the re-drafted Snoopers' Charter would be laid before Parliament in the autumn -
although it would be scrutinised by a Joint Committee.
It is unlikely that Anderson's review and the Intelligence and Security Committee's Privacy and Security report would have happened were it not for Edward Snowden's revelations. Two years on, there are still many battles to be fought but one
thing is certain - the status quo cannot continue. MPs from all parties must act to ensure that the UK has surveillance powers fit for a democracy.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, announced yesterday morning that the Investigatory Powers Bill will be published in draft form in the autumn. A joint committee of MPs and Peers will scrutinise the bill.
The police and intelligence services should be able monitor people suspected of serious crimes. But it's completely unclear that collecting information about everyone, all of the time is an efficient or cost-effective way of investigating
crime. And it's even less likely that this is in line with our fundamental human rights to privacy and freedom of speech.
If you agree, can you
sign our petition? We think the police and intelligence agencies should have powers that are effective and genuinely protect our privacy and freedom of speech.
The Odeon group has said it will not refuse entry to men to a film being screened as part of the London Israeli Film Festival.
Israeli Charedi film-maker Rechy Elias said she did not want men to see her historical romance, Gift of Fire.
Venues JW3 and the Odeon cinema in Swiss Cottage had agreed to a female only audience despite complaints from men who have requested to see the film. But, Odeon has now decided to lift the restriction. A spokesman said:
We offer a wide range of films throughout the year for all our guests to enjoy. We do not, and will not, restrict entry to any film based on gender.
Festival organisers responded to the Odeon statement by saying they:
Will stand outside the cinema and stop men from going in if we have to.
In response to the Odeon deciding not to enforce gender segregation, the co-founders of the festival, Odelia Haroush, Anat Koren and Patty Hochmann released a joint statement saying they were withdrawing the film. They said:
We could not accommodate Mrs Elias's religious requirements and enable the cinema to maintain its policy not to restrict entry to any film based on gender.
The film contains women dancing and singing, and the Charedi community, and indeed many religious Jews, do not feel that men should be watching this.
We respect the position of the filmmaker and the cinema alike, but have decided at this time we need to honour both parties and the only way to do so is to cancel the screening at Odeon Swiss Cottage.
A licensed brothel in the city of Salzburg, Austria, has been offering free drinks and free sex in a protest against what its owner says is unfair taxation.
The Kronen Zeitung tabloid reports that the news has spread like wildfire, with punters lining up to get inside . Salzburg's red light district king Hermann Pascha Müller, who owns the well-known Pascha brothel, told the paper that he no
longer wants to be the tax office's pimp.
Müller said that he's already had to turn away hundreds of disappointed customers as he has had a full house since the summer special went on offer.
The stunt has been great publicity for him and he says that he plans to continue it for four to eight weeks. Drinks are on the house and Müller is paying the sex workers out of his own pocket. He explains
The problem is, the tax office wants more and more, and they are not cracking down on illegal street and apartment prostitution.
He also complained that officials come to check up on the business at Pascha every 14 days.
He said that the summer special would be offset by any profits made in his other establishments, and that Pasha would not be liable for any tax during the special offer. Presumably the tax is levied on turnover or profit.
Carry On... Up the Khyber is a 1968 UK comedy adventure by Gerald Thomas.
Starring Kenneth Williams, Sidney James and Charles Hawtrey.
Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond looks after the British outpost near the Khybar pass. Protected by the kilted Third Foot and Mouth regiment, you would think they were safe. But the Khazi of Kalabar has other ideas. He wants all the British dead! But his
troops fear the "skirted-devils"; they are rumoured not to wear anything underneath. Then one is caught with his pants on...
Carry On... Up The Khyber was passed A on film after three cuts to remove risque dialogue, including a line considered to play on the f-word , when the character Bungdit Din, (Bernard Bresslaw) said: He's just a travelling fakir .
In 1968, the A certificate permitted persons under 16 to see the film, provided they were accompanied by an adult.
Carry On... Up The Khyber was submitted for video classification in April 1987, with Bungdit Din's line re-instated. The Examiner report available here, notes the innocuous nature of the line, compared to an earlier use of Fakir off ,
which depends much more on similarities to the f-word .
Christopher Lee, the most notable Dracula of the 20th century and a memorably irrepressible villain in James Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun , in the Star Wars films and in The Lord of the Rings , has died aged 93.
Lee appeared in 10 films as Count Dracula, as Frankenstein's Monster in 1957's Frankenstein and as the lord of the manor in The Wicker Man.
Lee was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011 and received the BFI Fellowship in 2013. Lee considered his best performance to be that of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the biopic Jinnah
(1998), and his best film to be the British horror film The Wicker Man (1973).
Belgravia Car Wash's own website and Facebook page.
a. The advertiser's own website www.belgraviacarwash.com featured five images of two women wearing bikinis posed on or against a car. One image showed both women washing a car with soapy water, three images showed one of the women squeezing a
sponge of soapy water over themselves and one image showed one woman washing the other woman with a soapy sponge.
b. The Facebook page featured the same collection of images as its cover photo.
A complainant, who believed the images were sexist and degrading to women, challenged whether the ad was offensive.
Belgravia Auto Valet Ltd did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA was concerned with Belgravia Auto Valet Ltd's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay).
We noted that the images showed the women were posed in bikinis, lying back or leaning against the car, with their buttocks directed at the camera or against the car, holding soapy sponges, which they were using to wash each other, themselves or
the car, with soapy water on their bodies. We considered the images were sexually suggestive and the use of the models had no relevance to the advertised service and was, therefore, demeaning to women. Because the images were sexist and degrading
to women, we concluded the ads were likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Belgravia Auto Valet Ltd to ensure future marketing communications were not likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We referred the matter to CAP's Compliance team.
Russia is to push ahead with a new right to be forgotten censorship law modelled on the EU version. The Kremlin has been eyeing up the European censorship and wants its own version running by January 2016.
The Russian versions goes a little further and includes an imperative for search engines to comply with requests made under the proposed Russian version rather than decide for themselves about whether de-linking is warranted.
Igor Shchyogolev, an aide of Russian president Vladimir Putin, claimed: Citizens must be able to use the right to be forgotten.
In Russia right to be forgotten censorship will be administered by state internet censors, Roskomnadzor.
Film-makers including Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Peter Kosminsky have called on the Curzon and Odeon cinema chains and Bafta to drop screenings for an Israeli film festival opening this week.
Seret 2015 , the London Israeli film and television festival opens at Bafta followed by screenings at cinemas including Curzon Soho and Odeon Swiss Cottage in London.
In a letter to the Guardian, more than 40 artists and film-makers express sadness and disappointment that the festival has been given a berth. It says the Israeli state is promoting this festival and supporting it financially.
By hosting it, these cinemas are ignoring the 2004 call by Palestinian civil society for sanctions against Israel until Israel abides by international law and ends its illegal displacement of Palestinians, discrimination against them, and
occupation of their land.
An interview with Liz Bales, Chief Executive of the British Video Association (BVA) about its role in the Home Entertainment industry. A not particularly interesting unashamed promotional piece about the trade group promoting UK video.
Richard Johnson (30 July 1927 - 6 June 2015) was an English actor, writer and producer, who starred in several British films of the 1960s and also had TV roles and a distinguished stage career.
Johnson was director Terence Young's choice for the role of James Bond, but he turned the role down as he did not favour a lengthy contract. He also appeared in several Italian films, including Lucio Fulci's cult classic, Zombi 2 and
Sergio Martino's L'isola degli uomini pesce (aka Island of the Fishmen).
Zombi 2 is better known in the UK as Zombie Flesh Eaters which earned a notable listing as a Video Nasty. Johnson played Dr Menard who tries to find a cure for a disease that zombifies the locals.
Johnson recent appearances included Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. He also appeared in several TV films: in 2005 he appeared as Stanley Baldwin in Wallis & Edward , in 2007 as Earl Mountbatten
in Whatever Love Means , and in 2009 in Lewis . He contributed to British episodic TV, including Spooks, Waking the Dead , twice in Midsomer Murders , and twice in Doc Martin . From 2007, he led the cast of the
BBC's award-winning hit radio comedy series Bleak Expectations which attained its 4th series in 2010.[
The misleadingly named European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) is a campaign group backed by European Jewish leaders, and a gaggle of former EU heads of state and government. It calls for pan-European legislation outlawing
antisemitism and criticism of religion, coining a phrase, 'group libel' to mirror the muslim phrase 'defamation of religion'.
The group recently published a document proposing to outlaw antisemitism as well as criminalising a host of other activities of what the group deems to be violating fundamental rights on religious, cultural, ethnic and gender grounds. The group
cleverly heads the list with some justifiable prohibitions, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, polygamy, but then slip in extensive censorship and blasphemy items, eg criminalising xenophobia, and creating a new crime of group libel
, ie public defamation of ethnic, cultural or religious groups.
The proposed legislation would also curb freedom of expression on grounds of a bizarre definition of 'tolerance'. The document twists the meaning of tolerance to try and justify the end to the right of freedom of expression:
Tolerance is a two-way street. Members of a group who wish to benefit from tolerance must show it to society at large, as well as to members of other groups and to dissidents or other members of their own group.
There is no need to be tolerant to the intolerant. This is especially important as far as freedom of expression is concerned: that freedom must not be abused to defame other groups.
But the document goes much further, calling for the criminalisation of overt approval of a totalitarian ideology, xenophobia or antisemitism.
The group has now appointed Tony Blair as chairman.
Comment: Tony Blair's plans to tackle extremism will stifle free speech
Index on Censorship considers Tony Blair's proposals on hate speech to be dangerous and divisive. Blair has defended plans to lower the the barriers on what constitutes incitement to violence and make Holocaust denial illegal. Jodie
Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship said:
These suggestions, far from protecting people, are likely to have the opposite effect, driving extremist views underground where they can fester and grow Instead, we should be protecting free expression, including speech that may be
considered offensive or hateful, in order to expose and challenge those views.
Individuals should always be protected from incitement to violence and that protection already exists in law, as do stringent laws on hate speech. Further legislation is not needed.
Comment: NSS criticises Tony Blair's plans to entrench religion in public life across Europe
The National Secular Society (NSS) has criticised Blair ahead of his appointment as chair of the ECTR as ill thought out and counter-productive .
The former Prime Minister has defended proposals lowering the barriers to what constitutes incitement to violence and pan-European plans to make Holocaust denial illegal and to entrench state funding for religious institutions
The NSS is adamant that measures such as 'group libel' would be counter-productive, have a massive chilling effect on free speech and would be likely to restrict the open debate necessary to resolve problems.
Keith Porteous Wood, NSS executive director, said:
Britain already has draconian legislation on religious insults -- a possible seven year jail term with a low prosecution threshold. Politicians have already called for the outlawing of Islamophobia, playing into the hands of those intent on
closing down honest debate about and within Islam.
There is no need for more laws, and the ones we already have fail to adequately protect freedom of expression. A robust civil society with a deep commitment to free expression is our best hope for challenging and countering bigoted narratives
and misguided views. Driving extremist views underground will only allow them to fester and allow their proponents to present themselves as martyrs.
Outlawing Holocaust denial completely undermines the West's defence of freedom of speech at home and abroad and removes our moral authority to propound freedom of expression abroad. No one has the right in a plural society not to be offended
and ideas should not be proscribed but people should be defended from incitement to violence.
A European-wide Holocaust denial law would be exhibit A in every response from dictators abroad - and Islamists at home - when we criticise their appalling human rights records or challenge their rhetoric and beliefs.
The NSS has also accused Blair of being confused over the role of religion .
For Mr Blair to dismiss those intent on justifying violence in the name of religion as abusing religion and using it as a mask reveals that his enthusiasm for religion has once more led him to misunderstand one of the roots of this problem.
While few would suggest that extremists' interpretations of their faith are mainstream in today's society, it is naive and counterproductive to deny the role that such interpretations play in their religio-political motivations.
Comment: BBC to be forced to report the news under a narrow set of acceptable values .
Tony Blair's new role as chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) is in fact supporting an organisation that is a danger to free speech. Paul Nuttall, UKIP Deputy Leader and MEP for the North West, said the ECTR
wants public broadcasting companies like the BBC to be forced under legal statute to report the news under a narrow set of acceptable values . He explained:
Tony Blair is joining an organisation that explicitly wants to see legislative control of news output.
The ECTR sent a framework statute to members of the European Parliament with the intention of it becoming law that frankly caused great concern. It included dictatorial powers to demand that 'public broadcasting (television and radio) stations
will devote a prescribed percentage of their programmes to promoting a climate of tolerance'. It also called for private and public media to be controlled by a Media Complaints Commission driven by a narrow set of acceptable values.
The ECTR also called for certain new 'thought' crimes to be regarded as aggravated criminal offences, such as the 'overt approval of a totalitarian ideology, xenophobia'. This is very dangerous stuff and is utterly against the great tradition of
free speech in this country. Do we really want our news reports to be dictated by a political organisation led by Blair?
Even worse is that Mr Blair's organisation also proposes re-education programmes, which brings to mind the 1930s. It proposes young people 'convicted of committing crimes listed will be required to undergo a rehabilitation programme designed to
instil in them a culture of tolerance'. It's very worrying that in championing the ECTR, Mr Blair appears to want to enforce an Orwellian-style 'Ministry of Information' regime upon the population without taking it to the ballot box.
Offsite Comment: Tony Blair has just joined the crew of reckless muzzlers
Dangerous Pictures victims are waiting up to two years for cases to come before the courts, as police are struggling to keep on top of mountains of computer evidence.
A surge in the seizure of people's computers is leading to some victims facing longer waits for a court date. Laptops, PCs, tablets and mobile phones displaying the internet are increasingly involved in investigations with a huge amount of
data being processed by the county force.
Carlisle's top judge, Paul Batty QC, raised concerns over one case before him at the city's crown court after it took about two years to reach its conclusion.
Detective Inspector Neil Cooper, of Cumbria Police, explained how the force dealt with the rise. He said:
In the past few years an increasing number of crimes investigated by the police involve the use of computers, internet-enabled mobile phones and other data storage devices. As a result Cumbria Constabulary's hi-tech crime unit are examining an
increasing number of devices, many of which have a huge amount of data on them.
Each case is risk assessed and the examinations are prioritised in order to ensure that the cases where there is the greatest risk to the public are dealt with the quickest. On occasions, other cases where there is a low ongoing risk to the
public do take longer to be completed.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how one case where a man downloaded extreme porn featuring animals took two years to reach its conclusion. The case against Victor Noble came to light in 2013, but it only appeared before the city court this
month. Noble admitted five counts of possessing extreme pornography and was made the subject of a community order.
Jilly Cooper's novel Rider is a tale of saucy goings-on in the Cotswolds showjumping set with an iconic cover showing a woman holding a riding crop, with a man's hand place firmly on her derriere.
But in these politically correct times, the image has been sanitised on the new cover for the latest edition, much to the disapproval of Jane Warner, owner of the bottom in question.
The former Page 3 model, said changes to make the image less provocative were a damn shame and showed there was nothing naughty but nice any more :
To me it is pointless, it is too PC. It seems a sign of the times -- things are going that way, things are more sanitised.
In the 1970s and 1980s there was a lot of fun then but it was harmless fun, it was just nice. I think now there's always a slur to it, there's always something people think is wrong or rude or pornographic when it's not.
It is one of (Jilly Cooper's) naughtiest novels so what is wrong with that picture? Why change it? They should leave it as it was. My bottom is quite curvy but in the picture on the new cover it seems flat. I think men prefer curves.
On the new cover her bottom has been slimmed down and the hand of the man grasping it has been moved upwards to near her hip. The close-up shot has been replaced with a wider version which reveals her waist and the top of her riding boots.
Author Marian Keyes spoke for the politically correct saying it showed society was more enlightened and more respectful and more responsible about women's bodies , adding: They're not people's property.
Christian campaign group, One Million Moms writes:
TV Land calls their new program Impastor an irreverend new comedy. Christians are calling it disgusting!
Impastor is a show set to air July 15 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT that includes a man stealing someone's identity who happens to be a pastor. The main character, posing as a gay preacher, recently hired sight unseen by a church that was aware of
his lifestyle choice, but then start to notice other characteristics not typical of a pastor. The previews which air earlier in the evening are including the pastor having extensive knowledge of the quality of drugs and insinuating sexual
relations with fruit such as cantaloupe. The church secretary catches the pastor sleeping around with women and other behaviors not typical of a Christian, much less a pastor.
This show not only depicts pastors in a negative light, but the entire program will also be based on lies about Christianity. TV Land has crossed the line by belittling the Christian religion with foul jokes.
Canada's Ontario Film Review Board routinely brings in a $1.8 million annual profit, a substantial amount of that from the pornography industry.
However, Government and Consumer Services Minister David Orazietti says he expects the OFRB's unintentional profitability to end through restructuring and the creation of the Ontario Film Authority.
The OFRB is an arm's-length agency responsible for classifying all films sold or exhibited in the province. This includes adult films, which are mostly sold through pay-per-view channels, on DVD or Blu-Ray.
But it has a mandate to help the film industry, not profit from it. So the looming reorganization as a delegated administrative authority is expected to include a review of the fee structure currently in place for all films. Orazietti said:
I think that when the OFA is operational it will be very fitting to have a review of those fees, and how the revenue translates into the services that are provided for the sector.
The goal, he added, will be to make less money. Orazietti hopes that this restructuring will be completed by the end of this year
According the OFRB's online database, the review board screened an average of 20 pornographic films a day in 2013-14, generating a daily average of around $6,900 in classification fees. While the overall year-over-year revenue has dipped, porn
viewing has increased dramatically compared to mainstream films, with adult films contributing three times as much revenue in 2013-14.
The 21-member board of government appointees are each paid a per diem of about $400 for each day spent classifying films (excluding Davis, who gets paid $627 as chair). The OFRB makes its money by charging a flat classification fee of $4.20
for one minute of screen time. Foreign films are charged $78.75 per movie.
AdBlock Plus has successfully defended itself in court for the second time in five weeks. The browser add-on prevents ads from appearing on websites unless it has given them permission to be displayed. AdBlock Plus has been downloaded about
400 million times.
German broadcasters RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 had argued that browser plug-in was anti-competitive and threatened their ability to offer users content for free .
However, a court in Munich ruled in favour of AdBlock's owner Eyeo. With a rather technical reason that too few people were using Eyeo's products for it to be judged to have a dominant position that might justify the antitrust intervention
requested by the broadcasters.
Ben Williams, a spokesman for the German company, told the BBC:
This is the fourth time that massive publishers have brought legal proceedings against our start-up.
Thankfully, the court sided with users and with compromise. So, we're pleased to say that Adblock Plus will continue to provide users with a tool that helps them control their internet experience. RTL news site RTL's news website features pop-up
ads, which do not appear if the AdBlock Plus plug-in is installed
A spokeswoman for RTL responded:
We are weighing a possible course of action against the ruling and assessing the prospects of an appeal.
Last month Eyeo successfully defended itself against similar claims by two other German publishers - Die Zeit and Handelsblatt - at a court in Hamburg. It still faces a further case brought by another local publisher, Axel Springer, in Cologne.
The High Court internet censors have granted an application by The Publishers Association to have several major pirate eBook sites blocked at the ISP level. The action, a first for book publishers, requires BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk
and EE to block sites including Ebookee, LibGen and Freshwap within 10 days.
The High Court handed down its ruling in favor of the publishers. The outcome was never really in question -- UK ISPs have long since given up defending these cases.
A few days The Football Association and Premier League Limited achieved an extension of the UK blocklist with the addition of popular sports streaming sites Rojadirecta, LiveTV and Drakulastream.
This brings the total number of blocked sites to 128 and more domains are expected to follow in the months to come.
An online video ad, which was featured on the Charlton Athletic YouTube channel, for Charlton Athletic Football Club pitch hire in the style of candid CCTV footage showed a man and a woman entering the empty stadium late at night and running onto
the pitch. They then appeared to start to have sex in the centre circle of the pitch and after a few seconds the stadium floodlights suddenly turned on. The woman, whose chest was pixellated, sat up and quickly drew her jacket around her. The
camera drew back to show the stands, which showed the stadium name "The Valley", and a voice-over then stated "Fancy scoring at The Valley in May? Contact the sales team now to book the pitch for your team".
A complainant, who believed that the ad was sexist and derogatory towards women, and unsuitable for children to view, challenged whether the ad was:
harmful and irresponsibly targeted.
1. Not Upheld
The ASA noted that the ad featured sexual activity, with the implication that the woman was partially dressed, and that the phrase "score at The Valley" referred both to scoring a football goal at CAFC's ground and a euphemism for sex.
We also noted that the woman was seen to initiate the break-in to the stadium and was not seen as a passive or unwilling participant, and understood that the euphemism 'score' related to sexual success by either gender. We therefore considered
that the woman's role in the ad was not gratuitous and that she was not objectified. We acknowledged that the humour in the ad largely derived from the woman's unintentional public nudity, but noted that this resulted from her decision to break
into the stadium and was likely to be understood as embarrassing rather than derogatory. Although we acknowledged that the humour, including the invitation to 'score' at the stadium, may be considered distasteful by some viewers, we concluded
that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence on the grounds of sexism.
The ASA considered that because the content of the ad was of a sexual nature it was therefore unsuitable for children and that care should therefore be taken to prevent it from appearing in places where children might view it. We acknowledged
CAFC's statements that they had targeted the ad through selection of media aimed at adult males. However, the ad had also appeared on CAFC's YouTube channel. We noted that the majority of videos appearing on the channel comprised match footage
and interviews with players and fans (including children), and considered that the channel was likely to attract children who were fans of the club. Because the ad had appeared in a place where children might see it we concluded that the ad had
been irresponsibly targeted.
The ad must not appear again in its current form on the Charlton Athletic Football Club YouTube channel or other untargeted media. We told FL Interactive Ltd to ensure that future ads that were unsuitable for viewing by children were
The High Court is hearing a legal challenge to the government's 'emergency' surveillance law brought by two MPs.
The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act was fast-tracked through Parliament in three days last July. It allows Britain's intelligence agencies to gather people's phone and internet communications data.
But former Conservative minister David Davis and Labour's Tom Watson will argue that the legislation is incompatible with human rights. The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act was rushed through Parliament in July 2014, after a ruling by
the European Union's Court of Justice rendered existing powers illegal.
The plans were supported by the three main parties, but opposed by civil liberties campaigners. 'Lives at risk'
However, Watson and Davis say the legislation was rushed and lacked adequate safeguards, and needs to be re-thought. They will argue that the legislation is incompatible with the right to a private and family life, and data protection, under both
the Human Rights Act and the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The Young & Prodigious T.S. Spivet is a 2013 France / Canada family adventure drama by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Starring Helena Bonham Carter, Robert Maillet and Judy Davis.
A presumably cut version was rated PG for thematic elements, language and some reckless behavior.
Thanks to Pooch who comments about the cuts to the UK 12/12A rated release
Towards the end of the film, the titular character does a TV interview, whilst being manipulated by the lady who runs the Smithsonian Institute. In the original film, after the interview spectacularly fails, she calls Spivet You motherfucker
, albeit at a distance, and from behind her, so you can't see her face/mouth!
In the UK version, motherfucker has been dubbed quite well by the same actress, or at least someone who sounds very similar, with the immortal You melon-farmer!
If it weren't for this, and two uses of the word fuck , which were all completely unnecessary and totally jarring, this would have been a PG-rated film, ideal for youngsters and families.
So it certainly sure that the film has been cut for a US PG rating, maybe even adopting the UK version.
A 10-year-old cartographer secretly leaves his family's ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother and travels across the country on board a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute.
Depending on the outcome of a pending case there that calls the viability of open wireless networks into question. EFF and its partners have formulated an open letter presenting our views on why a result that threatens open wireless would be a
serious loss to innovators, small businesses, travelers, emergency services and users at large.
One of the legal protections that currently supports open wireless is the principle that Internet intermediaries, such as ISPs and wireless hotspot operators, are not responsible for content that passes over their networks. In Europe, this
principle derives from Article 12 of the E-Commerce Directive , which immunizes a so-called mere conduit from liability for communications over their networks, only on condition that they did not initiate the communication, select its
recipient, or modify it in transit. This provision, however, does not shield such providers from various type of enforcement measures in aid of rights holders, such as website blocking. The permissibility of these measures then depends on a
simple rule: are they good for the society at large?
The application of this legal framework to open wireless networks has come under challenge in the McFadden reference (C-484/14) concerning a German shopkeeper whose free open wireless network was allegedly used to infringe copyright. In the
preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Europe's highest court is asked whether an enforcement practice requiring open wireless networks to be locked is an acceptable one. Germany's Federal Supreme Court in 2010
held that the private operator of a wireless network is obliged to use password protection in order to prevent abuse by third parties. If the CJEU affirms this finding, the effect could be to extend this bad precedent throughout Europe, grounding
the open wireless movement across the continent. If on the other hand it rejects that finding, German law could be forced to return to sanity, allowing thousands of hotspot operators to open up their networks again.
The main question point in the case turns on whether locking of open wireless networks would be a proportionate enforcement mechanism that advances the public interest. The open letter, co-written with Martin Husovec , Affiliate Scholar at
Stanford Law School's Center for Internet & Society (CIS), points out that prohibiting open wireless networks creates a serious obstacle to legitimate trade, that cannot be justified by the limited potential benefits of locked-down networks
to rightsholders. The letter highlights exact instances of social benefits that will be lost if locking of open wireless networks becomes a standard. Holding wireless network operators anyhow accountable for content that passes over their
networks thus should be against European law.
The open letter that we publish today has been supported by a coalition of other organizations from both sides of the Atlantic who support the ideals of the open wireless movement, and concur with our conclusion that an adverse decision in the
McFadden case that requires Europe to lock down its open wireless networks would be a blow to human rights, economic progress and innovation across the continent. We will be updating this post as additional signatories join the call.
Destructive Creations' first game, Hatred , is now available on Steam with an adults only AO rating from the ESRB. The game is described by its creators as a mass shooting simulator, though most reviews we've read so far suggest
that - besides the death animations (which can be a little over the top in the violence department) - the game is your average run-of-the-mill run and gun game.
Whether the game deserves the rating it got from the ESRB is still up for debate because - besides the dialog of the protagonist talking about all the killing he's doing and how he apparently hates everyone - the game isn't any more violent than
a Postal game or the latest version of Grand Theft Auto.
The game also only seems to be available on Steam, with other online digital distributors like GOG.com banning it. Twitch tried to be a bit subtle about its ban by changing its policies such that games rated AO by the ESRB are banned in general.
Rather signposting that ban was more or less specific to Hatred, Twitch is fine with adults only rating from all the other world games rating organisations. Most people have turned to Twitch competitor Hitbox to stream the game as a result.
Digital download service GOG has decided not to sell Hatred. Destructive explained in a Facebook reply regarding GOG's decision, saying that the service expressed interest in distributing the game and even tested it, and said that the game is
good, but 'we can't.' That's the whole story.
Polygon , a reliably hysterical gaming rag published by Vox Media, was first out of the gate in the 'outrage' stakes, saying the game caused them genuine revulsion . And then, as night follows day, eager social justice warriors
determined to prove what virtuous people they are chipped in, setting up a petition to have the game banned. Most of these people do not play, or even really care about, video games. They just enjoy whingeing.
The Twitter-like popular Chinese microblogging platform Weibo has just announced it will censor posts featuring images of women in lingerie or swimwear, as part of an effort to erase erotic images.
The move, announced by CEO Wang Gaofei, is seen as Weibo's move to comply with larger restrictions proposed by the government against vulgar and pornographic content circulating online.
Wang said that 'modeling agencies' that posted images of [models] in swimwear or black lace would be removed from accounts effective immediately. On Weibo, modeling agency is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of services
'Modeling agencies' who want to continue to have a social media presence on the website must submit accreditation and other identification of a legitimate business. Those who do not go through this approval process will be banned from the site.
Kuwait has issued a new decree partially partially removing the prior censorship requirement TV dramas and soaps.
The Ministry of Information issued decree no. 18/2015 saying:
This will allow companies to produce their works in a shorter period than in the past. This decree was prepared by a committee formed by Minister Sheikh Salman Al- Hmoud Al-Sabah in order to improve the content of local dramas and soap operas.
The decree canceled article 19 of law 61/2007 that forbade any changes, editing, canceling or adding to the approved script. It's now possible to do partial modification of the script as long as it doesn't change the idea or subject and is not in
conflict with the law and general morals or system.
However removing some constraints from pre-censorship requires additional post broadcast censorship. Khalid Al-Duwaihi, consultant of the minister of information, spoke about the formation of the committee that agreed on issuing the new decree,
which had 10 members including only four from the ministry and six from art unions and societies.
Pre-censorship continues for other genres of TV content.
The law that the NSA used to authorize its collection of vast amounts of information about the telephone calls of ordinary Americans is no more. It's likely a temporary reprieve though.
The Senate let three provisions of the Patriot Act expire: Section 215, the section the government uses to collect phone and other business records in bulk, the Lone Wolf provision , and the roving wiretap provision. Section 215 now
reverts to its pre-Patriot Act form , which doesn't permit any collection of financial or communications records, and requires the Government to provide specific and articulable facts supporting a reason to believe that the target is an
agent of a foreign power.
All indications are that this lapse will be temporary and that the Senate will soon pass the USA FREEDOM Act, which has small but important improvements over the now-lapsed section 215 and important additional transparency to the secret FISA
court. USA Freedom passed the House with overwhelming support.
Senate rules allow a final vote, which only needs a simple majority of 51, to occur early Tuesday morning. It's not clear whether any amendments will be offered and we'll keep watching on EFFLive and keep you posted as this saga continues.
But tonight, this is a historic baby step. We should all pause and for us at EFF who've been fighting mass surveillance since 2006, take a moment to smile.