Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch


2019: June

 2008   2009   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   2015   2016   2017   2018   2019   2020   2021   2022   2023   Latest 
Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   May   June   July   Aug   Sep   Oct   Nov   Dec    

 

Government consultation on its internet censorship plans...

Monday is the last day to respond and the Open Rights Group makes some suggestions


Link Here 30th June 2019
The Government is accepting public feedback on their plan until Monday 1 July. Send a message to their consultation using Open Rights Group  tool before the end of Monday!

The Open Rights Group comments on the government censorship plans:

Online Harms: Blocking websites doesn't work -- use a rights-based approach instead

Blocking websites isn't working. It's not keeping children safe and it's stopping vulnerable people from accessing information they need. It's not the right approach to take on Online Harms.

This is the finding from our recent research into website blocking by mobile and broadband Internet providers. And yet, as part of its Internet regulation agenda, the UK Government wants to roll out even more blocking.

The Government's Online Harms White Paper is focused on making online companies fulfil a "duty of care" to protect users from "harmful content" -- two terms that remain troublingly ill-defined. 1

The paper proposes giving a regulator various punitive measures to use against companies that fail to fulfil this duty, including powers to block websites.

If this scheme comes into effect, it could lead to widespread automated blocking of legal content for people in the UK.

Mobile and broadband Internet providers have been blocking websites with parental control filters for five years. But through our Blocked project -- which detects incorrect website blocking -- we know that systems are still blocking far too many sites and far too many types of sites by mistake.

Thanks to website blocking, vulnerable people and under-18s are losing access to crucial information and support from websites including counselling, charity, school, and sexual health websites. Small businesses are losing customers. And website owners often don't know this is happening.

We've seen with parental control filters that blocking websites doesn't have the intended outcomes. It restricts access to legal, useful, and sometimes crucial information. It also does nothing to prevent people who are determined to get access to material on blocked websites, who often use VPNs to get around the filters. Other solutions like filters applied by a parent to a child's account on a device are more appropriate.

Unfortunately, instead of noting these problems inherent to website blocking by Internet providers and rolling back, the Government is pressing ahead with website blocking in other areas.

Blocking by Internet providers may not work for long. We are seeing a technical shift towards encrypted website address requests that will make this kind of website blocking by Internet providers much more difficult.

When I type a human-friendly web address such as openrightsgroup.org into a web browser and hit enter, my computer asks a Domain Name System (DNS) for that website's computer-friendly IP address - which will look something like 46.43.36.233 . My web browser can then use that computer-friendly address to load the website.

At the moment, most DNS requests are unencrypted. This allows mobile and broadband Internet providers to see which website I want to visit. If a website is on a blocklist, the system won't return the actual IP address to my computer. Instead, it will tell me that that site is blocked, or will tell my computer that the site doesn't exist. That stops me visiting the website and makes the block effective.

Increasingly, though, DNS requests are being encrypted. This provides much greater security for ordinary Internet users. It also makes website blocking by Internet providers incredibly difficult. Encrypted DNS is becoming widely available through Google's Android devices, on Mozilla's Firefox web browser and through Cloudflare's mobile application for Android and iOS. Other encrypted DNS services are also available.

Our report DNS Security - Getting it Right discusses issues around encrypted DNS in more detail.

Blocking websites may be the Government's preferred tool to deal with social problems on the Internet but it doesn't work, both in policy terms and increasingly at a technical level as well.

The Government must accept that website blocking by mobile and broadband Internet providers is not the answer. They should concentrate instead on a rights-based approach to Internet regulation and on educational and social approaches that address the roots of complex societal issues.

Offsite Article: CyberLegal response to the Online Harms Consultation

30th June 2019. See article from cyberleagle.com

Speech is not a tripping hazard

 

 

Updated: Corrosive PC...

Interesting BBC developments as it reconsiders its position after originally laughing off Jo Brand joking that Nigel Farage was more deserving of battery acid than milkshake


Link Here30th June 2019
Speaking on Radio 4's Heresy show last night, comedian Jo Brand joked:

 Certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore, and they're very, very easy to hate.

And I'm kind of thinking, why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?

That's just me, sorry, I'm not gonna do it, it's purely a fantasy. But I think milkshakes are pathetic, I honestly do. Sorry.

Presumably she was referring to Nigel Farage being hit with a milkshake whist campaigning before the European elections.

The gag was met with howls of laughter from the studio audience and show host Victoria Coren Mitchell didn't appear concerned by the remarks.

The gag has caused a bit of a flurry of complaints eliciting an initial response from the BBC.

The Sun reported that the BBC refused to apologise for the broadcast and said remarks on the comedy show were not intended to be taken seriously.  A spokeswoman said:

Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken seriously.

But this of course highlights rather obvious injustice in the kangaroo court system whose jurisdiction is political correctness. Had a male comedian joked about similarly about a female politician, then that comedian would have been marched off the premises, and the police would have been waiting on his doorstep when he arrived home. And I guess a similar thought would go through the mind of anyone reading about the BBC response to the joke.

But perhaps the BBC has realised that it has been to blatant in its biased version of PC justice and has taken the unusual action of asking interested viewers to be informed of the official response to the complaints by email rather than the BBFC publishing its response on its website.

Meanwhile Nigel Farage has responded saying: T his is incitement of violence and the police need to act.

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom confirmed it had received 19 complaints from angry listeners since the show was broadcast.

Perhaps it is about time that the politically correct police and media realised that it is simply unjust to tacitly support the milkshaking of politicians who are considered politically incorrect. It is demonstrating the human failing that anyone granted power over others, may and will use that power to abuse those less favoured. An observation that applies equally to all genders, sexualities, religions and races.

Update: Theresa May weighs in

14th June 2019. See article from bbc.com and article from bbc.co.uk

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the BBC should explain why a Jo Brand joke about throwing battery acid was appropriate content for broadcast. The prime minister's spokesman said

Mrs May has been clear politicians should be able to go about their work and campaign without harassment, intimidation or abuse.

The BBC has removed a Jo Brand joke from its iPlayer catch-up service after it was suggested that it condoned violence.

Update: Inequality at the BBC

15th June 2019. See article from telegraph.co.uk See also article from bbc.co.uk

Jo Brand will be back on Radio 4 next week, as police confirmed they will take no further action over her comments.

The Telegraph understands that internally, the BBC are resolutely supporting Brand, with one insider saying:

Jo Brand is a much loved comedian and part of the Radio 4 family -- she will continue to be so, and will continue to appear on our programmes.

The full BBC response which was belatedly published on its website reads:

Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken seriously. We carefully considered the programme before broadcast. It was never intended to encourage or condone violence, and it does not do so, but we have noted the strong reaction to it. Comedy will always push boundaries and will continue to do so, but on this occasion we have decided to edit the programme. We regret any offence we have caused.

It is good that the BBC is standing up against political correctness censorship but it seems unlikely that the BBC would be so supportive of a male comedian. In fact this case could set an interesting precedent as very few other complaints get quite so close to actually  inciting violence as Jo Brand's comment. So surely any future sacking for a PC joke will always be compared with this deciion.

Meanwhile Ofcom said they had received 287 complaints about the comments. Ofcom allows complaints about BBC programmes to be assessed by the BBC first, so it will take some time, if ever, before Ofcom considers the case.

Update: Final complaints tally

30th June 2019. See article [pdf] from downloads.bbc.co.uk

The BBC issues a fortnightly report on complaints received. The latest issue reveals that the BBC received 2971 complaints about Heresy. The BBC summarised that the complainants: Felt Jo Brand's humour was offensive or could incite violence

 

 

A Twitter badge of honour for Donald Trump...

Twitter will note that tweets from anyone of less standing would get censored for being politically incorrect


Link Here29th June 2019
Full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs
Twitter has announced a new punishment for Donald Trumps' tweets that it considers politically incorrect. Twitter will mark such tweets as 'abusive' and try and hide them away from being found in searches etc. However they will not be taken down. Twitter explains who its new censorship method will work:

In the past, we've allowed certain Tweets that violated our rules to remain on Twitter because they were in the public's interest, but it wasn't clear when and how we made those determinations. To fix that, we're introducing a new notice that will provide additional clarity in these situations, and sharing more on when and why we'll use it.

Serving the public conversation includes providing the ability for anyone to talk about what matters to them; this can be especially important when engaging with government officials and political figures. By nature of their positions these leaders have outsized influence and sometimes say things that could be considered controversial or invite debate and discussion. A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable.

With this in mind, there are certain cases where it may be in the public's interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules. On the rare occasions when this happens, we'll place a notice -- a screen you have to click or tap through before you see the Tweet -- to provide additional context and clarity. We'll also take steps to make sure the Tweet is not algorithmically elevated on our service.

Who does this apply to?

We will only consider applying this notice on Tweets from accounts that meet the following criteria. The account must:

  • Be or represent a government official, be running for public office, or be considered for a government position (i.e., next in line, awaiting confirmation, named successor to an appointed position);
  • Have more than 100,000 followers; and
  • Be verified.

That said, there are cases, such as direct threats of violence or calls to commit violence against an individual, that are unlikely to be considered in the public interest.

What happens to the Tweet that gets this notice placed on it?

When a Tweet has this notice placed on it, it will feature less prominently on Twitter, and not appear in:

  • Safe search
  • Timeline when switched to Top Tweets
  • Live events pages
  • Recommended Tweet push notifications
  • Notifications tab Explore

 

 

Reddit votes down Donald Trump...

Social medie website censors its popular The Donald forum, a home for Donald Trump supporters


Link Here28th June 2019

The Donald Forum is a Reddit forum, or subreddit, and is one of the internet's most popular forums where Donald Trump fans congregate for a chat.

It has now been shunted out of sight up an unsearchable backwater. Users must now click an opt-in button to access The_Donald forum, and its content no longer appears in Reddit's search results or recommendations.

The move seems to be part of general trend for US social media companies to censor politics that they do not like, particularly when it leans towards the US right.

The Donald forum has more than 760,000 subscribers and once hosted an ask me anything session with Donald Trump in which he replied to questions from the public before the presidential election.

One of the forum's moderators initially shared a message Reddit had sent explaining its reasons for the quarantine. The post was subsequently deleted, but its contents have been copied and posted elsewhere. It said the move had been prompted by threats made on the subreddit against the authorities in Oregon.

Last week, 11 Republican state senators staged a walkout in protest at a climate change bill. State troopers were then told to bring the senators back, which in turn prompted claims that militia groups opposing such an intervention might show up in the state capital Salem raising a threat of violence .

It seems a little weak that a heated argument can be cited as a reason for political censorship particularly when it can be seen as interefring with upcoming presidential elections.

 

 

Offsite Article: Don't let the porn block give MindGeek a monopoly...


Link Here28th June 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Age Verification providers that don't provide a way into Pornhub will only get the crumbs from the AV table

See article from medium.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Google's new reCAPTCHA has a dark side...


Link Here28th June 2019
Full story: Gooogle Privacy...Google's many run-ins with privacy
Analysing the way you navigate around websites and hassling those it considers aren't doing it right

See article from fastcompany.com

 

 

The Eight Hundred...

Movie banned for showing heroism by the wrong side of a Chinese civil war


Link Here27th June 2019
The Eight Hundred is a 2019 China war film by Hu Guan.
Starring Yi Zhang, Chen Yao and Haoming Yu. IMDb

In 1937, eight hundred Chinese soldiers fight under siege from a warehouse in the middle of the Shanghai battlefield, completely surrounded by the Japanese army.

The premiere of Chinese war epic The Eight Hundred has been cancelled after an influential group deemed it inappropriate ahead of Communist China's 70th anniversary. The Chinese Red Culture Research Association held an academic seminar on filmmaking in which the storyline of The Eight Hundred was criticised because it glorifies the heroic role of Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang). The Kuomintang eventually lost the civil war that led to the Communist Party's triumph and creation of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

Hailed as the Chinese Dunkirk, the film details a story of a Chinese army unit fighting against Japanese invaders in the 1937 Battle of Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

After consultation between the production team and other parties, the July 5 premiere was cancelled and will not be released this summer, according to a statement posted on Tuesday on the film's Weibo account, a Twitter like platform. The new release date will be announced at a later time, the statement said, without explaining the reasons behind the decision.

The movie had already been abruptly yanked from the Shanghai International Film Festival earlier this month due to technical issues -- a term often used as a euphemism for censorship.

The Eight Hundred is the first Chinese film shot entirely on digital IMAX cameras reportedly spent more than $80 million in production costs.

 

 

Offsite Article: Loss of face...


Link Here27th June 2019
Facial recognition is proving to be a privacy nightmare, this example being advances in software to match porn stars to social media

See article from newstatesman.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Sharing your number...


Link Here27th June 2019
Full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
Facebook Must Explain What it's Doing With Your Phone Number

See article from privacyinternational.org

 

 

The Australian judiciary proves its independence...

Independence from common sense, reason, and the wishes of the Australian people to enjoy the internet


Link Here26th June 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

Australian media companies and Facebook are scrambling to come to terms with a landmark ruling by an Australian judge that found publishers are legally responsible for pre-moderating comments on Facebook.

On Monday in the New South Wales supreme court judge Stephen Rothman found that commercial entities, including media companies, could be regarded as the publishers of comments made on Facebook, and as such had a responsibility to ensure defamatory remarks were not posted in the first place.

News Corp Australia responded to the judgement in a statement:

This ruling shows how far out of step Australia's defamation laws are with other English-speaking democracies and highlights the urgent need for change. It defies belief that media organisations are held responsible for comments made by other people on social media pages.

It is ridiculous that the media company is held responsible while Facebook, which gives us no ability to turn off comments on its platform, bears no responsibility at all.

The ruling was made in a pre-trial hearing over a defamation case brought by Dylan Voller against a number of media outlets over comments made by readers on Facebook.

Paul Gordon, a social media lawyer at Wallmans lawyers in Adelaide explained the change to Guardian Australia:

Up until yesterday the general thread [was] if you knew or ought to have known a defamatory post was there, you had to take it down.

What the judge yesterday found was a bit different, because it wasn't alleged by Voller that the media companies had been negligent in failing to the take down the comments. Instead, the judge found the companies were responsible for putting them up in the first place.

That's really the key difference. You have a situation where now media companies are responsible not just for taking down comments when they see them, but for preventing them going up in the first place. It places a significantly bigger burden on media companies from what was previously in place.

News Corp Australia said it is reviewing the decision with a view to an appeal.

Perhaps the only way for companies to abide by this understanding  of the law is for them to take down their Facebook pages totally.

 

 

Law around non-consensual sexual images to be reviewed by the Law Commission...

Deep fake news, cyber flashing, upskirting and revenge porn


Link Here 26th June 2019

Laws around the making and sharing of non-consensual intimate images are to be reviewed under plans to ensure protections keep pace with emerging technology.

Justice Minister Paul Maynard and Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright have asked the Law Commission to examine whether current legislation is fit to tackle new and evolving types of abusive and offensive communications, including image-based abuse, amid concerns it has become easier to create and distribute sexual images of people online without their permission.

The review, which will be launched shortly, will consider a range of disturbing digital trends such as 'cyber-flashing' -- when people receive unsolicited sexual images of someone over the phone -- and 'deepfake' pornography -- the degrading practice of superimposing an individual's face onto pornographic photos or videos without consent.

The move builds on government action in recent years to better protect victims and bring more offenders to justice, including making 'upskirting' and 'revenge porn' specific criminal offences.

The review will also consider the case for granting automatic anonymity to revenge porn victims, so they cannot be named publicly, as is the case for victims of sexual offences.

Tackling sexual offences is a priority for this government, and in many cases this behaviour will already be caught by a number of existing offences such as 'voyeurism' under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

However, ministers are committed to ensuring the right protections are in place for the modern age, and alongside the review, a public consultation will be launched on strengthening the law -- seeking views from victims, groups representing them, law enforcement, academics and anyone else with an interest in the issue.

This review is part of joint work between the Ministry of Justice and Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport and Government Equalities Office to consider reform of communications offences, examining the glorification of violent crime and the encouragement of self-harm online, and whether co-ordinated harassment by groups of people online could be more effectively addressed by the criminal law.

 

 

Offsite Article: 'A very strange thing for Parliament to do, to regulate how bits travel over a wire'...


Link Here26th June 2019
The Internet Society warns off the UK government from trying legislate against internet protocols it does not like, namely encrypted DNS

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: The EU is the new China...


Link Here26th June 2019
Americans consider the impact of the EU's massive uptick in internet censorship via censorship machines and link tax

See article from xbiz.com

 

 

Clear data abuse proves too entrenched for the ICO to handle...

ICO reports on adtech snooping on, and profiling internet users without their consent


Link Here 25th June 2019
Full story: Behavioural Advertising...Serving adverts according to internet snooping

In recent months we've been reviewing how personal data is used in real time bidding (RTB) in programmatic advertising, engaging with key stakeholders directly and via our fact-finding forum event to understand the views and concerns of those involved.

We're publishing our Update report into adtech and real time bidding which summarises our findings so far.

We have prioritised two areas: the processing of special category data, and issues caused by relying solely on contracts for data sharing across the supply chain. Under data protection law, using people's sensitive personal data to serve adverts requires their explicit consent, which is not happening right now. Sharing people's data with potentially hundreds of companies, without properly assessing and addressing the risk of these counterparties, raises questions around the security and retention of this data.

We recognise the importance of advertising to participants in this commercially sensitive ecosystem, and have purposely adopted a measured and iterative approach to our review of the industry as a whole so that we can observe the market's reaction and adapt our thinking. However, we want to see change in how things are done. We'll be spending the next six months continuing to engage with the sector, which will give the industry the chance to start making changes based on the conclusions we've come to so far.

Open Rights Group responds

25th June 2019. See article from openrightsgroup.org

The ICO has responded to a complaint brought by Jim Killock and Dr Michael Veale in Europe's 12 billion euro real-time bidding adtech industry. Killock and Veale are now calling on the ICO to take action against companies that are processing data unlawfully.

The ICO has agreed in substance with the complainants' points about the insecurity of adtech data sharing. In particular, the ICO states that:

  • Processing of non-special category data is taking place unlawfully at the point of collection

  • [The ICO has] little confidence that the risks associated with RTB have been fully assessed and mitigated

  • Individuals have no guarantees about the security of their personal data within the ecosystem

However the ICO is proceeding very cautiously and slowly, and not insisting on immediate changes, despite the massive scale of the data breach.

Jim Killock said:

The ICO's conclusions are strong and very welcome but we are worried about the slow pace of action and investigation. The ICO has confirmed massive illegality on behalf of the adtech industry. They should be insisting on remedies and fast.

Dr Michael Veale said:

The ICO has clearly indicated that the sector operates outside the law, and that there is no evidence the industry will correct itself voluntarily. As long as it remains doing so, it undermines the operation and the credibility of the GDPR in all other sectors. Action, not words, will make a difference--and the ICO needs to act now.

The ICO concludes:

Overall, in the ICO's view the adtech industry appears immature in its understanding of data protection requirements. Whilst the automated delivery of ad impressions is here to stay, we have general, systemic concerns around the level of compliance of RTB:

  • Processing of non-special category data is taking place unlawfully at the point of collection due to the perception that legitimate interests can be used for placing and/or reading a cookie or other technology (rather than obtaining the consent PECR requires).
  • Any processing of special category data is taking place unlawfully as explicit consent is not being collected (and no other condition applies). In general, processing such data requires more protection as it brings an increased potential for harm to individuals.
  • Even if an argument could be made for reliance on legitimate interests, participants within the ecosystem are unable to demonstrate that they have properly carried out the legitimate interests tests and implemented appropriate safeguards.
  • There appears to be a lack of understanding of, and potentially compliance with, the DPIA requirements of data protection law more broadly (and specifically as regards the ICO's Article 35(4) list). We therefore have little confidence that the risks associated with RTB have been fully assessed and mitigated.
  • Privacy information provided to individuals lacks clarity whilst also being overly complex. The TCF and Authorized Buyers frameworks are insufficient to ensure transparency and fair processing of the personal data in question and therefore also insufficient to provide for free and informed consent, with attendant implications for PECR compliance.
  • The profiles created about individuals are extremely detailed and are repeatedly shared among hundreds of organisations for any one bid request, all without the individuals' knowledge.
  • Thousands of organisations are processing billions of bid requests in the UK each week with (at best) inconsistent application of adequate technical and organisational measures to secure the data in transit and at rest, and with little or no consideration as to the requirements of data protection law about international transfers of personal data.
  • There are similar inconsistencies about the application of data minimisation and retention controls.
  • Individuals have no guarantees about the security of their personal data within the ecosystem.

 

 

Maybe another Government angle for ID verification...

UK's Competition and Markets Authority reports on a thriving market in fake reviews for products on eBay and Amazon


Link Here25th June 2019

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found troubling evidence that there is a thriving marketplace for fake and misleading online reviews. After web sweeps performed in the period November 2018 to June 2019, the CMA was concerned about over 100 eBay listings offering fake reviews for sale. It also identified 203 during the same period 203 26 Facebook groups in total where people offered to write fake reviews or businesses recruited people to write fake and misleading reviews on popular shopping and review sites.

It is estimated that over three-quarters of UK internet users consider online reviews when choosing what to buy. Billions of pounds of people's spending is influenced by reviews every year. Fake and misleading reviews not only lead to people making poorly informed choices and buying the wrong products, but they are also illegal under consumer protection law.

The CMA is not alleging that Facebook or eBay are intentionally allowing this content to appear on their websites. Since the CMA wrote to the sites, both have indicated that they will cooperate and Facebook has informed the CMA that most of the 26 groups have been removed. The CMA welcomes this, and expects the sites to put measures in place to ensure that all the identified content is removed and to stop it from reappearing.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive said:

Lots of us rely on reviews when shopping online to decide what to buy. It is important that people are able to trust that reviews are genuine, rather than something someone has been paid to write.

Fake reviews mean that people might make the wrong choice and end up with a product or service that's not right for them. They're also unfair to businesses who do the right thing.

We want Facebook and eBay to conduct an urgent review of their sites to prevent fake and misleading online reviews from being bought and sold.

 

 

Meghan Markle's Royal Spark'l...

A few easily outraged viewes complain about a BBC send up of Meghan Markle


Link Here25th June 2019
 A few people have complained about a segment on the BBC comedy show, Tonight with Vladimir Putin. The segment titled Meghan Markle's Royal Spark'l met with a few angry tweets that Meghan Markle was being portrayed as trailer trash

Complainers accused the BBC of racism after portraying Markle as a foul-mouthed and aggressive puppet living in a caravan who threatened to attack her sister-in-law Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.

The BBC responded to the criticism, saying:

Viewers will clearly recognise this performance as a spoof and highly satirical, within the context of a programme which lampoons a wide range of public figures and the public's perception of them.

 

 

Setting a free speech thief to catch a free speech thief...

Is it a good idea to counter Google and Facebook's political bias by letting the government decide what is fair?


Link Here 25th June 2019

Despite its name, Senator Josh Hawley's Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act[pdf] would make the Internet less safe for free expression, not more. It would violate the First Amendment by allowing a government agency to strip platforms of legal protection based on their decisions to host or remove users' speech when the federal government deems that action to be politically biased. Major online platforms' moderation policies and practices are deeply flawed, but putting a government agency in charge of policing bias would only make matters worse.

The bill targets Section 230 , the law that shields online platforms, services, and users from liability for most speech created by others. Section 230 protects intermediaries from liability both when they choose to edit, curate, or moderate speech and when they choose not to. Without Section 230, social media would not exist in its current form--the risks of liability would be too great given the volume of user speech published through them--and neither would thousands of websites and apps that host users' speech and media.

Under the bill, platforms over a certain size--30 million active users in the U.S. or 300 million worldwide--would lose their immunity under Section 230. In order to regain its immunity, a company would have to pay the Federal Trade Commission for an audit to prove "by clear and convincing evidence" that it doesn't moderate users' posts "in a manner that is biased against a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint."

It's foolish to assume that anyone could objectively judge a platform's "bias," but particularly dangerous to put a government agency in charge of making those judgments.

Don't Let the Government Decide What Bias Is

Sen. Hawley's bill is clearly unconstitutional. A government agency can't punish any person or company because of its political viewpoints, or because it favors certain political speech over others. And decisions about what speech to carry or remove are inherently political.

What does "in a manner that is biased against a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint" mean, exactly? Would platforms be forced to host propaganda from hate groups and punished for doing anything to let users hide posts from the KKK that express its political viewpoints ? Would a site catering to certain religious beliefs be forced to accommodate conflicting beliefs?

What about large platforms where users intentionally opt into partisan moderation decisions ? For example, would Facebook be required to close private groups that leftist activists use to organize and share information, or instruct the administrators of those groups to let right-wing activists join too? Would Reddit have to delete r/The_Donald, the massively popular forum exclusively for fans of the current U.S. president?

The bill provides no guidance on any of these questions. In practice, the FTC would have broad license to enforce its own view on which platform moderation practices constitute bias. The commissioners' enforcement decisions would almost certainly reflect the priorities of the party that nominated them. Since the bill requires that a supermajority of commissioners agree to grant a platform immunity, any two of the five FTC commissioners could decide together to withhold immunity from a platform.

Section 230 Doesn't--and Shouldn't--Preclude Platform Moderation

Hawley's bill would bring us closer to that pre-230 Internet, punishing online platforms when they take measures to protect their users, including efforts to minimize the impacts of harassment and abuse--the very sorts of efforts that Section 230 was intended to preserve. While platforms often fail in such measures-- and frequently silence innocent people in the process --giving the government discretion to shut down those efforts is not the solution.

Section 230 plays a crucial, historic role in protecting free speech and association online. That includes the right to participate in online communities organized around certain political viewpoints. It's impossible to enforce an objective standard of "neutrality" on social media--giving government license to do so would pose a huge threat to speech online.

 

 

Gambling on internet blocking...

Switzerland preserves gambling monopoly by blocking foreign competition


Link Here25th June 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Switzerland...Starting with blocking foreign gambling sites
Swiss gamblers will be able to bet online only with an approved monopoly of casinos and lotteries.

The provision of the new Swiss gambling law which restricts online gambling to a few authorised Swiss-based casinos comes into effect on July 1.

Last June 73% of voters approved the overhaul of the country's gambling law despite claims by opponents of government censorship.

A list of unauthorised gambling providers will be published on the websites of the Federal Gaming Commission external link and the Lotteries and Betting Commission external link . Those on the blacklist will be automatically blocked by Swiss ISPs by means of DNS blocks.

Swiss gamblers signed up with foreign casinos will have to contact them directly for any money due as Swiss regulators have no jurisdiction over them. Or perhaps they will continue to use foreign websites using VPNs or encrypted DNS courtesy of Firefoox

 

 

Offsite Article: Verifiably Stupid...


Link Here24th June 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The UK Porn Block's Latest Failure. By David Flint

See article from reprobatepress.com

 

 

Ireland proposes to set up an internet censor...

With the added twist that Google and co are based in Ireland. The government is also keen to follow the UK's lead in censoring porn through age verification


Link Here23rd June 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Ireland...Ireland considers the UK's lead in censoring porn and social media
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland will police video content on Facebook under new proposals before the Irish Government.

The Sunday Independent reports the BAI aims to become an enlarged media commission to enforce European censorship rules.

The BAI currently regulates Irish commercial radio and television as well as RTE and TG4.

With the social media giants based in Ireland, it will now regulate content on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in Ireland and throughout the EU.

The BAI proposals also want an Online Safety Commissioner to form part of its increased censorship role. They also speak pf age verification, parental controls and a complaints mechanism.

The Government is also keen to emulate the UK internet porn censorship regime. Irish MP Leo Varadkar said the Irish government will consult with the UK about its new porn block and how it is working, with a view to perhaps rolling out a similar age verification system for Ireland.

Varadkar said that he was wary of moralising . ..BUT... suggested engagement with UK government a year or two after the law has been rolled out would be wise. He said that this engagement could help ascertain if the proposals could work here.

During Leaders' Questions, he confirmed that an online age verification system can be discussed by the Oireachtas Communications Committee, and confirmed that legislation to set up the office of a Digital Safety Commissioner is on the way.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has also said the Irish government will consider a similar system to the UK's porn block law as part of new legislation on online safety.

 

 

Uphill battle...

Greek island authorities don't take kindly to livelihood threatening PETA adverts


Link Here23rd June 2019
Full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media
Authorities on the Greek is land of Santorini have refused to allow an ad campaign that shows an exhausted donkey next to the words Donkeys Suffer for Tourists. Please Don't Ride Them to be run on local buses and taxis. The ads were intended to be placed on vehicles across the island in time for the peak tourist season.

A local ad company representative explained that because many bus and taxi drivers also own donkeys who transport tourists up steep steps, the municipality of Santorini refused to issue the necessary authorisation to run the ads.

 

 

Offsite Article: How can YouTube have such a thriving business in kids videos when it has a 13+ age limit?...


Link Here23rd June 2019
Full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
YouTube can't remove kid videos without tearing a hole in the entire creator ecosystem. By Julia Alexander

See article from theverge.com

 

 

Evil Spirits...

An Arabic Netflix original series, Jinn, riles the easily offended in Jordan


Link Here22nd June 2019
Jinn is the first Arabic original TV series produced by Netflix. And it din not take long for a few Jordanians to become 'outraged'

Even before the audience had a chance to watch the first few episodes, people were calling for a ban on the series that showed Jordanian teenagers kissing and swearing.

The series , produced by Netflix and Kibrit Productions, takes a look at the friendship and budding romances between the students of a private high school in Petra, Jordan, after they unwittingly unleash a jinn, an evil spirit in Islam .

A few whingers attacked the series and accused it of promoting pornography, drugs and alcohol use among students. Journalist Wael al-Bteiri who launched the hashtag #Punish_Jinn told Al-Monitor that he considered the series to be an American infiltration that aimed to damage Jordan through its dirty scenes and offensive language. He said

[It] encourages people to fornicate, drink alcohol and smoke weed. They want to drag our youths down into the decadence of the West. Everyone should take action to stop this mockery.

Dozens of Jordanian women signed a statement June 18 that called the series an offense against Jordan's moral fibre. The statement said:

We strongly refuse the superficiality of this series, as well as [its scenes] that are offensive to public decency and that exploit minors. It reflects an inappropriate image of Jordan, as it was shot in Petra. The historical city was depicted as a hub for the jinn and a place of deviance.

On June 16, the Public Prosecutor of Amman called on the Cyber Crime Unit to take the necessary measures to ban the series.

Netflix responded to the controversy with a statement June 14 that it would not tolerate offensive statements or action toward the actors that starred in Jinn.

 

 

Korean missile joke proves a damp squib...

Jimmy Carr accused of racism for a straight forward joke but it is hard to see why


Link Here22nd June 2019
The Australian  TV show 20 To One has been forced to apologise to Korean boys band BTS over a segment that's been claimed to be racist and mocking.

It seems that the band has large fanbase dubbed the Army who follow their every move and will defend their greatness to the ends of the earth.

And it seems that the Army didn't much care for the mocking tone of the Australian show.

Co-hosts Erin Molan and Nick Cody began the segment by calling BTS the biggest band you've never heard of BTS at the Grammys.

Irish comedian Jimmy Car was involved in the show and in an interview segment he quipped:

When I first heard something Korean had exploded in America, I got worried. So it could have been worse. But not much worse.

The fans weren't impressed, one wrote

We demand sincere apology for your report full of racist, misogyny, malice on BTS and their fans. Also for the insensitive reference of missile threat.

This forced the show to issue an apology on social media in English and Korean that read: We apologise for any disrespect and offence taken.

Mean while in another incident, Jimmy Car was on far stronger, proper politically incorrect form  with his Terribly Funny stand up show currently on tour. He offended with the quip: Is a dwarf an abortion that made it?

Charity Little People UK has asked Carr to drop the joke -- while fellow comedian TanyaLee Davis has also called him out over the gag.

Davis, who makes light about her own 3ft 6in height in her routines, asked Carr on Twitter: You have met me. Am I an abortion who made it?

 

 

Playing catch up...

Tanzanian lawmakers consider a bill that will establish an official film censor


Link Here22nd June 2019
A Tanzanian bill was made public on June 19, proposes several changes to the country's censorship laws.

One proposed amendment would remove the current ban on publishing information that could discredit official statistics, but would add an onerous approval process for those wishing to challenge government data or publish non-official statistics, with criminal penalties for non-compliance.

The bill also establishes a statutory film board, which would have the power to censor films exhibited in the country, and add a requirement that all foreign companies shooting films in Tanzania, including documentaries, submit raw footage of their work to the board.

The bill, formally known as the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No3) Act, 2019, is dated May 30, but was not released for public review until June 19.

 

 

Commented: A harmful and offensive attack on free speech...

ASA starts enforcing its new PC rule to censor gender stereotypes that it does not like


Link Here22nd June 2019

ASA's new rule banning harmful gender stereotypes in ads has come into force.

The new rule in the Advertising Codes, which will apply to broadcast and non-broadcast media (including online and social media), states:

[Advertisements] must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.

This change follows a review of gender stereotyping in ads by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).  Following the review, CAP (the rulle writing arm of ASA) consulted publicly on specific proposals to ban harmful gender stereotypes in ads, underpinned by the evidence collected by the ASA. The proposed restrictions were supported by a majority of respondents.

The evidence does not show that the use of gender stereotypes is always problematic and the new rule does not seek to ban gender stereotypes outright, but to identify specific harms that should be prevented.

The advertising industry has had six months to get ready for the new rule. The ASA will now deal with any complaints it receives on a case-by-case basis and will assess each ad by looking at the content and context to determine if the new rule has been broken.

Scenarios in ads likely to be problematic under the new rule include:

  • An ad that depicts a man with his feet up and family members creating mess around a home while a woman is solely responsible for cleaning up the mess.

  • An ad that depicts a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender e.g. a man's inability to change nappies; a woman's inability to park a car.

  • Where an ad features a person with a physique that does not match an ideal stereotypically associated with their gender, the ad should not imply that their physique is a significant reason for them not being successful, for example in their romantic or social lives.

  • An ad that seeks to emphasise the contrast between a boy's stereotypical personality (e.g. daring) with a girl's stereotypical personality (e.g. caring) needs to be handled with care.

  • An ad aimed at new mums which suggests that looking attractive or keeping a home pristine is a priority over other factors such as their emotional wellbeing.

  • An ad that belittles a man for carrying out stereotypically female roles or tasks.

The rule and its supporting guidance doesn't stop ads from featuring:

  • A woman doing the shopping or a man doing DIY.

  • Glamorous, attractive, successful, aspirational or healthy people or lifestyles.

  • One gender only, including in ads for products developed for and aimed at one gender.

  • Gender stereotypes as a means to challenge their negative effects.

CAP will carry out a review of the new rule in 12 months' time to make sure it's meeting its objective to prevent harmful gender stereotypes.

Offsite Comment: No, adverts don't make us sexist

22nd June 2019. See article from spiked-online.com

The UK ban on ads with gender stereotypes is illiberal and patronising.

 

 

Who pays for Age Verification? You do of course...one way or another!...

Maybe its a good job the government has delayed Age Verification as there are a still a lot of issues to resolve for the AV companies


Link Here 21st June 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The AV industry is not yet ready

The Digital Policy Alliance (DPA) is a private lobby group connecting digital industries with Parliament. Its industry members include both Age Verification (AV) providers, eg OCL, and adult entertainment, eg Portland TV.

Just before the Government announcement that the commencement of adult verification requirements for porn websites would be delayed, the DPA wrote a letter explaining that the industry was not yet ready to implement AV, and had asked for a 3 month delay.

The letter is unpublished but fragments of it have been reported in news reports about AV.

The Telegraph reported:

The Digital Policy Alliance called for the scheme to be delayed or risk nefarious companies using this opportunity to harvest and manipulate user data.

The strongly-worded document complains that the timing is very tight, a fact that has put some AVPs [age verification providers] and adult entertainment providers in a very difficult situation.

It warns that unless the scheme is delayed there will be less protection for public data, as it appears that there is an intention for uncertified providers to use this opportunity to harvest and manipulate user data.
 

The AV industry is  unimpressed by a 6 month delay

See article from news.sky.com

Rowland Manthorpe from Sky News contributed a few interesting snippets too. He noted that the AVPs were unsurprisingly not pleased by the government delay:

Serge Acker, chief executive of OCL, which provides privacy-protecting porn passes for purchase at newsagents, told Sky News: As a business, we have been gearing up to get our solution ready for July 15th and we, alongside many other businesses, could potentially now be being endangered if the government continues with its attitude towards these delays.

Not only does it make the government look foolish, but it's starting to make companies like ours look it too, as we all wait expectantly for plans that are only being kicked further down the road.
 

There are still issues with how the AV providers can make money

And interestingly Manthorpe revealed in the accompanying video news report that the AV providers were also distinctly unimpressed by the BBFC stipulating that certified AV providers must not use Identity Data provided by porn users for any other purpose than verifying age. The sensible idea being that the data should not be made available for the the likes of targeted advertising. And one particular example of prohibited data re-use has caused particular problems, namely that ID data should not be used to sign people up for digital wallets.

Now AV providers have got to be able to generate their revenue somehow. Some have proposed selling AV cards in newsagents for about £10, but others had been planning on using AV to generate a customer base for their digital wallet schemes.

So it seems that there are still quite a few fundamental issues that have not yet been resolved in how the AV providers get their cut.
 

Some AV providers would rather not sign up to BBFC accreditation

See article from adultwebmasters.org

Maybe these issues with BBFC AV accreditation requirements are behind a move to use an alternative standard. An AV provider called VeriMe has announced that it has the first AV company to receive a PAS1296 certification.

The PAS1296 was developed between the British Standards Institution and the Age Check Certification Scheme (ACCS). It stands for Public Accessible Specification and is designed to define good practice standards for a product, service or process. The standard was also championed by the Digital Policy Alliance.

Rudd Apsey, the director of VeriMe said:

The PAS1296 certification augments the voluntary standards outlined by the BBFC, which don't address how third-party websites handle consumer data, Apsey added. We believe it fills those gaps and is confirmation that VeriMe is indeed leading the world in the development and implementation of age verification technology and setting best practice standards for the industry.

We are incredibly proud to be the first company to receive the standard and want consumers and service providers to know that come the July 15 roll out date, they can trust VeriMe's systems to provide the most robust solution for age verification.

This is not a very convincing argument as PAS1296 is not available for customers to read, (unless they pay about 120 quid for the privilege). At least the BBFC standard can be read by anyone for free, and they can then make up their own minds as to whether their porn browsing history and ID data is safe.

However it does seem that some companies at least are planning to give the BBFC accreditation scheme a miss.
 

The BBFC standard fails to provide safety for porn users data anyway.

See article from medium.com

The AV company 18+ takes issue with the BBFC accreditation standard, noting that it allows AV providers to dangerously log people's porn browsing history:

Here's the problem with the design of most age verification systems: when a UK user visits an adult website, most solutions will present the user with an inline frame displaying the age verifier's website or the user will be redirected to the age verifier's website. Once on the age verifier's website, the user will enter his or her credentials. In most cases, the user must create an account with the age verifier, and on subsequent visits to the adult website, the user will enter his account details on the age verifier's website (i.e., username and password). At this point in the process, the age verifier will validate the user and, if the age verifier has a record the user being at least age 18, will redirect the user back to the adult website. The age verification system will transmit to the adult website whether the user is at least age 18 but will not transmit the identity of the user.

The flaw with this design from a user privacy perspective is obvious: the age verification website will know the websites the user visits. In fact, the age verification provider obtains quite a nice log of the digital habits of each user. To be fair, most age verifiers claim they will delete this data. However, a truly privacy first design would ensure the data never gets generated in the first place because logs can inadvertently be kept, hacked, leaked, or policies might change in the future. We viewed this risk to be unacceptable, so we set about building a better system.

Almost all age verification solutions set to roll out in July 2019 do not provide two-way anonymity for both the age verifier and the adult website, meaning, there remains some log of?204?or potential to log -- which adult websites a UK based user visits.

In fact one AV provider revealed that up until recently the government demanded that AV providers keep a log of people's porn browsing history and it was a bit of a late concession to practicality that companies were able to opt out if they wanted.

Note that the logging capability is kindly hidden by the BBFC by passing it off as being used for only as long as is necessary for fraud prevention. Of course that is just smoke and mirrors, fraud, presumably meaning that passcodes could be given or sold to others, could happen anytime that an age verification scheme is in use, and the time restriction specified by the BBFC may as well be forever.

 

 

Updated: Out of order...

Moralist campaigners call on Netflix to ban the Amazon Prime TV series Good Omens


Link Here21st June 2019
About 20,000 people in the US have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Good Omens , the television series adapted from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's 1990 fantasy novel. Unfortunately they  addressed their petition to Netflix when the series is made by Amazon Prime.

The six-part series was released last month, starring David Tennant as the demon Crowley and Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale, who collaborate to prevent the coming of the antichrist and an imminent apocalypse.

But Christians marshalled by the Return to Order campaign, an offshoot of the US Foundation for a Christian Civilisation, disagree. More than 20,000 supporters have signed a petition in which they say that Good Omens is another step to make satanism appear normal, light and acceptable, and mocks God's wisdom. They are calling on Netflix to cancel the show.

The publisher and science fiction critic Cheryl Morgan tweeted:

Miraculously God has already done it. Don't tell them She put it on Amazon instead.

Update: Netflix see the funny side

21st June 2019. Thanks to Wynter

netflix good omens

 

 

Updated: Oops...

I guess that many TV companies and diplomats would prefer that Jeremy Cunt doesn't get elected as prime minister


Link Here21st June 2019
Victoria Derbyshire is the BBC's arch social justice warrior and a daytime news presenter. She was introducing an interview with several Tory party leadership candidates including Jeremy Hunt. She introduced him as Jeremy Cunt, a nickname popular with those opposing his policies to privatise parts of the NHS.

And is if to confirm the underlying psyche that gave rise to this Freudian slip, Derbyshire went on to have a knock at men saying this was something that men usually say.

Having heard the nickname, it has a certain rhythm to it and sticks in the mind. I sure that this won't be the last time that this gets aired.

Update: The BBC publishes its official response

21st June 2019. See article from bbc.co.uk

Complaint

We received 387 complaints about the occurrence of strong language on this edition.

Our response:

We appreciate some viewers were offended by Victoria misspeaking while saying Jeremy Hunt's name on 10 June. She apologised immediately for the mistake.

We also recognise that some viewers were unhappy with how she phrased her apology. As you will appreciate this is a live show and she did not intend to cause any further upset with her remarks, and is sorry if that was the case.

Please note also we have removed that section of the broadcast from BBC iPlayer.

 

 

Age Verification for porn delayed by 6 months...

Jeremy Wright apologises to supporters for an admin cock-up, and takes the opportunity to sneer at the millions of people who just want to keep their porn browsing private and safe


Link Here20th June 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport addressed parliament to explain that the start data for Age Verification scheme for porn has been delayed by about 6 months. The reason is that the Government failed to inform the EU about laws that effect free trade (eg those that that allow EU websites to be blocked in the UK). Although the main Digital Economy Act was submitted to the EU, extra bolt on laws added since, have not been submitted. Wright explained:

In autumn last year, we laid three instruments before the House for approval. One of them204the guidance on age verification arrangements204sets out standards that companies need to comply with. That should have been notified to the European Commission, in line with the technical standards and regulations directive, and it was not. Upon learning of that administrative oversight, I instructed my Department to notify this guidance to the EU and re-lay the guidance in Parliament as soon as possible. However, I expect that that will result in a delay in the region of six months.

Perhaps it would help if I explained why I think that six months is roughly the appropriate time. Let me set out what has to happen now: we need to go back to the European Commission, and the rules under the relevant directive say that there must be a three-month standstill period after we have properly notified the regulations to the Commission. If it wishes to look into this in more detail204I hope that it will not204there could be a further month of standstill before we can take matters further, so that is four months. We will then need to re-lay the regulations before the House. As she knows, under the negative procedure, which is what these will be subject to, there is a period during which they can be prayed against, which accounts for roughly another 40 days. If we add all that together, we come to roughly six months.

Wright apologised profusely to supporters of the scheme:

I recognise that many Members of the House and many people beyond it have campaigned passionately for age verification to come into force as soon as possible to ensure that children are protected from pornographic material they should not see. I apologise to them all for the fact that a mistake has been made that means these measures will not be brought into force as soon as they and I would like.

However the law has not been received well by porn users. Parliament has generally shown no interest in the privacy and safety of porn users. In fact much of the delay has been down belatedly realising that the scheme might not get off the ground at all unless they at least pay a little lip service to the safety of porn users.

Even now Wright decided to dismiss people's privacy fears and concerns as if they were all just deplorables bent on opposing child safety. He said:

However, there are also those who do not want these measures to be brought in at all, so let me make it clear that my statement is an apology for delay, not a change of policy or a lessening of this Government's determination to bring these changes about. Age verification for online pornography needs to happen. I believe that it is the clear will of the House and those we represent that it should happen, and that it is in the clear interests of our children that it must.

Wright compounded his point by simply not acknowledging that if, given a choice people, would prefer not to hand over their ID. Voluntarily complying websites would have to take a major hit from customers who would prefer to seek out the safety of non-complying sites. Wright said:

I see no reason why, in most cases, they [websites] cannot begin to comply voluntarily. They had expected to be compelled to do this from 15 July, so they should be in a position to comply. There seems to be no reason why they should not.

In passing Wright also mentioned how the government is trying to counter encrypted DNS which reduces.  the capabilities of ISPs to block websites. Instead the Government will try and press the browser companies into doing their censorship dirty work for them instead:

It is important to understand changes in technology and the additional challenges they throw up, and she is right to say that the so-called D over H changes will present additional challenges. We are working through those now and speaking to the browsers, which is where we must focus our attention. As the hon. Lady rightly says, the use of these protocols will make it more difficult, if not impossible, for ISPs to do what we ask, but it is possible for browsers to do that. We are therefore talking to browsers about how that might practically be done, and the Minister and I will continue those conversations to ensure that these provisions can continue to be effective.

 

 

A snapshot of injustice...

US adult performers protest the injustice of Instagram who summarily remove accounts without warning, explanation, or right to appeal


Link Here20th June 2019
Dozens of adult performers have picketed outside of Instagram's Silicon Valley headquarters over censorship guidelines and the arbitrary inconsistent enforcement of the rules. They said that this has led to hundreds of thousands of account suspensions and is imperiling their livelihoods.

Adult performers led the protest on Wednesday, but other users including artists, sex workers, queer activists, sex education platforms and models say they have been affected by the platform's opaque removal system. The action was organized by the Adult Performer Actors Guild, the largest labor union for the adult film industry.

They were complaining in particular in the way that the company takes down accounts without warning or explanation and provide no real recourse or effective appeal system.

Amber Lynn, an American porn star based in Los Angeles, said her account was terminated without warning or explanation two months ago. She had more than 100,000 followers.

I sent [Instagram] multiple emails through my lawyer and they will still not tell me why they did it, she said. They do not answer you, do not give you an opportunity to correct any problems or even tell you what problems they had to begin with so you can avoid it in the future.

 

 

Uncovering Pakistan's secret human rights abuses...

Pakistan officially complains about a news article on the BBC website.


Link Here19th June 2019
Pakistan has officially objected to a news article appearing on the BBC news website. Pakistan claimed that the report, Uncovering Pakistan's secret human rights abuses, was defamatory, called for the article to be taken down, and also demand an apology from the BBC. The news report is available in English and Urdu.

The official letter has been written by the Director General External Publicity Samina Waqar to the Ofcom, UK, and the BBC, against the report. The letter claimed the story not only presented a fabricated theme, but also violated journalistic ethos. The letter goes on:

The story also violates BBC's editorial policy by not incorporating the point of view of all stakeholders/citing credible sources/quoting authentic evidence etc,, adding that it amounted to indicting the state of Pakistan for so-called 'secret human rights abuses' without any cogent evidence.

We demand that the BBC remove this defamatory and malicious story and issue a clear-cut apology. We also expect the BBC to ensure that in the future such fake stories specifically targeting Pakistan will not be disseminated.

The complaint explains that the Pakistan government expects the BBC to abide by its editorial policy and journalists' ethos in the future, asking that Ofcom look into the content of the mala-fide, incorrect and misleading story and take measures as per the BBC's editorial guidelines 1.2.11 -- (Accountability: We will be open in acknowledging mistakes when they are made and encourage a culture of willingness to learn from them.)

Pakistan has warned that the government has the right to pursue all legal options in Pakistan or the UK if BBC authorities fail to retract the libellous and defamatory story and take action against its writer, with the letter saying the content of this story reflects bias, spin and the angling of facts, and that there are judgemental expressions that are a clear violation of journalistic norms of impartiality and objectivity.

 

 

Tammy and the T-Rex: The Gore Cut...

A new version of the cult film screens at the Cinepocalypse film festival


Link Here19th June 2019
Tammy and the T-Rex is a 1994 USA comedy Sci-Fi film by Stewart Raffill.
Starring Denise Richards, Theo Forsett and Paul Walker. IMDb

An evil scientist implants the brain of Michael, a murdered high school student, in an animatronic Tyrannosaurus. He escapes, wreaks vengeance on his high school tormentors and is reunited with his sweetheart Tammy. Together, the couple try to elude the mad scientist and the police and find a more appropriate vessel for Michael's brain.

The film was originally shot as an R-rated horror comedy, including a bunch of bloody violence and gore, but the producers thought better of it and cut it down to a child friendly version.

However the original R rated version, now tagged as the Gore Cut, has been resurrected and has just been screened at Cinepocalypse in the US. And according to bloody-disgusting.com , it went down well, adding:

For those who remember the movie from the 90s, the "gore cut" is very similar to the version you saw on VHS. It's got more cursing and more sexual content, but what really differentiates it, not surprisingly, the splattery violence. Heads are bitten off, people are disemboweled, skulls are crushed, bodies are flattened, all with the kind of gory excess that recalls the splatstick comedies of Peter Jackson rather than the realism of Tom Savini.

The Gore Cut will be released on home video later this year.

 

 

Desert Island Dicks...

Health campaigners whinge about smoking and drink as featured in reality TV being seen by children on catch up TV


Link Here19th June 2019

New research has found that reality TV programmes like Love Island , TOWIE and Geordie Shore have exposed children and young people to smoking and alcohol, partly because they're available on catch-up outside the 9pm watershed.

The study by the University of Nottingham's Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies found that reality shows contain much higher levels of tobacco and alcohol content than other primetime TV programme genres. The in-depth analysis is published in the Journal of Public Health.

The research team previously reported high levels of tobacco imagery, including branding, in the 2017 series of Love Island. However, after complaints over the level of smoking in that series, an editorial decision was made to remove smoking content. The team's new study found no tobacco content in the 2018 series of Love Island.

For this new study, the researchers measured depictions of alcohol and tobacco products on Made in Chelsea, The Only Way is Essex, Geordie Shore and Love Island and the now discontinued Celebrity Big Brother ,all airing on UK channels for a total of 112 episodes between January and August 2018. They measured the number of one-minute intervals containing tobacco and/or alcohol imagery, including actual use, implied use, tobacco or alcohol-related materials, and product-specific branding, and estimated viewer exposure to the imagery on screen.

Audience viewing figures were combined with mid-year population estimates for 2017 to estimate overall and individual impressions -- separate incidents seen -- by age group for each of the coded episodes.

Alcohol content appeared in all 112 episodes and in 2,212 one-minute intervals, or 42% of all intervals studied. 18% of intervals included actual alcohol consumption, while 34% featured inferred consumption, predominantly characters holding alcoholic drinks. The greatest number of intervals including any alcohol content occurred in Love Island. Alcohol branding occurred in 1% of intervals and was most prevalent in Geordie Shore (51 intervals, 69% of episodes). Forty brands were identified, the most common being Smirnoff vodka (23 intervals, all but one of which occurred in Geordie Shore).

Tobacco content appeared in 20 episodes, in 110 or 2% of all intervals studied. Almost all (98%) of this content occurred in a single reality TV series, Celebrity Big Brother. This included actual tobacco use, inferred tobacco use, and tobacco paraphernalia. Tobacco branding was not present.

When all the data were combined with audience viewing figures and population estimates, the researchers estimate that the 112 episodes delivered 4.9 billion overall alcohol impressions to the UK population, including 580 million to children under the age of 16, as well as 214 million overall tobacco impressions, including 47 million to children under 16.

Lead researcher on the study, Alexander Barker, from the University's Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, said:

Starting to smoke or drink alcohol at a young age is a strong predictor of dependence and continued use in later life. Recent data shows that 44% of 11 to 15-year-olds in England have had an alcoholic drink, and 19% have tried smoking.

Given that seeing alcohol or tobacco imagery in the media promotes use among young people, our study therefore identifies reality television shows as a major potential driver of alcohol and tobacco consumption in young people in the UK. Tighter scheduling rules, such as restricting the amount of content and branding shown in these programmes, could prevent children and adolescents from being exposed to the tobacco and alcohol content.

 

 

UK Internet Regulation Part II...

Open Rights Group reports on how the Online Harms Bill will harm free speech, justice and liberty


Link Here18th June 2019

This report follows our research into current Internet content regulation efforts, which found a lack of accountable, balanced and independent procedures governing content removal, both formally and informally by the state.

There is a legacy of Internet regulation in the UK that does not comply with due process, fairness and fundamental rights requirements. This includes: bulk domain suspensions by Nominet at police request without prior authorisation; the lack of an independent legal authorisation process for Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) blocking at Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and in the future by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), as well as for Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) notifications to platforms of illegal content for takedown. These were detailed in our previous report.

The UK government now proposes new controls on Internet content, claiming that it wants to ensure the same rules online as offline. It says it wants harmful content removed, while respecting human rights and protecting free expression.

Yet proposals in the DCMS/Home Office White Paper on Online Harms will create incentives for Internet platforms such as Google, Twitter and Facebook to remove content without legal processes. This is not the same rules online as offline. It instead implies a privatisation of justice online, with the assumption that corporate policing must replace public justice for reasons of convenience. This goes against the advice of human rights standards that government has itself agreed to and against the advice of UN Special Rapporteurs.

The government as yet has not proposed any means to define the harms it seeks to address, nor identified any objective evidence base to show what in fact needs to be addressed. It instead merely states that various harms exist in society. The harms it lists are often vague and general. The types of content specified may be harmful in certain circumstances, but even with an assumption that some content is genuinely harmful, there remains no attempt to show how any restriction on that content might work in law. Instead, it appears that platforms will be expected to remove swathes of legal-but-unwanted content, with as as-yet-unidentified regulator given a broad duty to decide if a risk of harm exists. Legal action would follow non-compliance by a platform. The result is the state proposing censorship and sanctions for actors publishing material that it is legal to publish.

 

 

Offsite Comment: Bloody stupid idea...


Link Here18th June 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Porn Block Demonstrates the Government Is More Concerned With Censorship Than Security

See article from gizmodo.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: UK security services could get Facebook-style data analysis tools...


Link Here 18th June 2019
Counter-terror officials may be able to scan data from across population, official report says

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Parents TV Council recommends...

Euphoria, a new TV series from HBO


Link Here17th June 2019
Full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence

The Parents Television Council has issued an urgent warning to parents ahead of the premiere of HBO's teen-targeted show Euphoria.  PTC President Tim Winter said:

Just as MTV did with Skins and as Netflix is doing with 13 Reasons Why , HBO, with its new high school centered show Euphoria , appears to be overtly, intentionally, marketing extremely graphic adult content -- sex, violence, profanity and drug use -- to teens and preteens.

HBO might attach a content rating suggesting that it is intended for mature audiences, but let's be real here: who watches a show about high school children, except high school and junior high school-aged children?

While HBO is a premium cable network, parents who are HBO subscribers may be blindsided by HBO's new attempt to market such explicit content directly to minors. And the parental blindside is greatly exacerbated by ubiquitous streaming apps that deliver such explicit content directly to a teen's phone or computer screen. Parents urgently need to be aware of HBO's grossly irresponsible programming decision.

 

 

Offsite Article: It's Time to Switch to a Privacy Browser...


Link Here17th June 2019
There's a new battleground in the browser wars -- over user privacy

See article from wired.com

 

 

The Nightingale causes 'outrage' at the Sydney Film Festival...

'I was so outraged that I walked out, I was so outraged by my outrage that I walked back in again!'


Link Here 16th June 2019
The Nightingale is a 2018 Australia adventure thriller by Jennifer Kent.
Starring Sam Claflin, Damon Herriman and Aisling Franciosi. IMDb

Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.

The director of a brutal historical drama -- containing numerous visceral rape scenes that prompted cinemagoers to walk out of a Sydney screening on Sunday -- has defended her film, saying it's historically accurate.

Aussie film The Nightingale, directed by Jennifer Kent, was screened as part of the Sydney Film Festival to a sold-out audience of more than 1000 people.

Some audience members were so distressed by the on-screen violence, that they yelled out in protest and walked out.

However, Kent responded saying that the unflinching rape-revenge story, set in 1825, contains historically accurate depictions of colonial violence and racism towards our indigenous people:

We've made this film in collaboration with Tasmanian Aboriginal elders, and they feel it's an honest and necessary depiction of their history and a story that needs to be told, she said. I remain enormously proud of the film.

However, it was clear some in Sydney on Sunday didn't feel the level of sexual violence was warranted in telling the story of Clare, tweeting:

The Nightingale made me do something I thought I would never do. I walked out. There was a point when I just needed to take myself away from that brutal space. But I recognised that this is an important film so I walked back in and watched the rest of the movie.

Viewers also walked out during later scenes in the film that showed horrific levels of violence towards babies, children and mainly indigenous people -- with close-up shots of faces being mashed up, brutal stabbings and even more drawn-out rapes.

Despite the criticism, The Nightingale received a sustained round of applause as the credits rolled at the Ritz last night.

 

 

Commented: The New Zealand Chief Censor Recommends...

The Perfection on Netflix


Link Here16th June 2019
The Netflix film The Perfection has been reclassified in New Zealand as 18+ following concerns raised by a few viewers over its graphic content.

Netflix had rated the film as 16+ with a content note of language, violence, nudity.

New Zealand generally accepts Australian age ratings as a default unless queried. The Australian Classification Board settled on an MA 15+ rating for Strong themes of sexual violence, violence, sex and coarse language.

The film had also caused a bit of a stir in Australia too. Netflix's own classification tool had assigned the film an MA15+ rating. The rating included consumer advice that warned of, among other things, strong blood and gore.

After hearing reports of viewers becoming physically ill, the Australian Classification Board decided to audit the Netflix rating. The director of the Classification Board, Margaret Anderson, confirmed that Netflix was not only right to classify the film MA15+, but that its strong blood and gore warning was not necessary.

In New Zealand, however, the classification has been raised to 18+ with warnings about rape, sexual violence, suicide references, graphic violence. Chief Censor David Shanks noted that

The film wasn't viewed by any authority until after it had launched on Netflix, which demonstrates a serious problem with the classifications system.

A member of the public flagged the film to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) on May 26 - when it had already been available on Netflix in New Zealand for two days.

Streaming services are not subject to any formal regime. I can call them in using my powers under the act but it's reactive and usually it's out there and people have seen it before we can get the thing addressed.

Note that the BBFC agreed with the 18 rating, passing the film 18 uncut for sexual violence, suicide references.

Update: Why we changed the rating for The Perfection

16th June 2019. See article from classificationoffice.govt.nz by Chief Censor David Shanks

The content that most concerns Kiwis is quite different to what gets under the skins of people in other countries, such as Australia, the United States, or most other places in the world.

We have our own culture and values to be proud of, and our own very real problems to deal with.

At our office we try to ensure that Kiwis get all the information they need before they watch a movie or series, so people can make viewing choices that are right for them. Increasingly we are less about censorship and more about empowering Kiwis to make their own informed choices.

This is straightforward when it comes to traditional media such as DVDs or movies at the cinema, but content on streaming services like Lightbox or Netflix is not currently covered by our legislation, which makes things a little more complex!

A good example popped up this week after my office was told about themes of sexual violence and child abuse in a film called The Perfection. It initially landed via Netflix as 16+ with a note for Language, violence, nudity. This looks to me like a US rating. I checked with my counterparts overseas, and found that the Aussies initially rated it as MA15+, with the note Strong Nudity, Strong Violence, Strong Blood and Gore, Strong Coarse Language, Strong Horror Themes, Horror Violence and the Brits gave it an 18, with a note for Sexual violence, suicide references.

That illustrates the issue. Different audiences are concerned with different things. In the States people often want to be warned about coarse language and nudity, but here in NZ Kiwis have told us sexual violence and suicide are topics people want to be warned about in advance. These are big issues that many in our community care deeply about, and have lived experience of.

Once we'd seen the movie, we knew it had content that our audiences would expect to know about, - including suicide references and sexual violence. The warning note that Netflix had for this one really needed to change to be effective for a NZ audience. In terms of age rating we felt it was on the line between a 16+ and a 18+ rating, but the range of content and the format suggested the higher age rating.

Fortunately Netflix recognises the needs of our own domestic audience, and do genuinely want to engage with us, and be responsive to a NZ audience. So they were happy to change the information. It is now 18+ with the consumer advice, Rape, sexual violence, suicide references, graphic violence.

From my point of view, this is just another case illustrating the fact that we're all just working within a legislative system that was designed for media back in the eighties and nineties, and wasn't built to deal with the international availability of streaming media online.

There is room for optimism as the Government is looking at changing this. We see getting consumer information, particularly as content management tools and support for parents in the future will likely depend on accurate ratings to work properly.

 

 

Offsite Article: The UK porn block is now one month away, and it's still a terrible idea...


Link Here 16th June 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Filtering filth won't save the children, but the block could be bad news for you. By Carrie Marshall

See article from techradar.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Torn apart...


Link Here16th June 2019
The vicious PC war over young adult books. By Leo Benedictus

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Visions of Ecstasy...


Link Here15th June 2019
Banned in 1989. In this ongoing series, Sam Inglis casts a retrospective look on films that were banned from exhibition by the British censor.

See article from thelondoneconomic.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Christian Concerns...


Link Here15th June 2019
Who'd have thought that a Christian Campaign Group would be calling on its members to criticise the government's internet censorship bill in a consultation

See article from christianconcern.com

 

 

Logging your porn history (in the name of fraud yer know)...

Open Rights Group Report: Analysis of BBFC Age Verification Certificate Standard June 2019


Link Here 14th June 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

Executive Summary

The BBFC's Age-verification Certificate Standard ("the Standard") for providers of age verification services, published in April 2019, fails to meet adequate standards of cyber security and data protection and is of little use for consumers reliant on these providers to access adult content online.

This document analyses the Standard and certification scheme and makes recommendations for improvement and remediation. It sub-divides generally into two types of concern: operational issues (the need for a statutory basis, problems caused by the short implementation time and the lack of value the scheme provides to consumers), and substantive issues (seven problems with the content as presently drafted).

The fact that the scheme is voluntary leaves the BBFC powerless to fine or otherwise discipline providers that fail to protect people's data, and makes it tricky for consumers to distinguish between trustworthy and untrustworthy providers. In our view, the government must legislate without delay to place a statutory requirement on the BBFC to implement a mandatory certification scheme and to grant the BBFC powers to require reports and penalise non-compliant providers.

The Standard's existence shows that the BBFC considers robust protection of age verification data to be of critical importance. However, in both substance and operation the Standard fails to deliver this protection. The scheme allows commercial age verification providers to write their own privacy and security frameworks, reducing the BBFC's role to checking whether commercial entities follow their own rules rather than requiring them to work to a mandated set of common standards. The result is uncertainty for Internet users, who are inconsistently protected and have no way to tell which companies they can trust.

Even within its voluntary approach, the BBFC gives providers little guidance to providers as to what their privacy and security frameworks should contain. Guidance on security, encryption, pseudonymisation, and data retention is vague and imprecise, and often refers to generic "industry standards" without explanation. The supplementary Programme Guide, to which the Standard refers readers, remains unpublished, critically undermining the scheme's transparency and accountability.

Recommendations

  • Grant the BBFC statutory powers:

  • The BBFC Standard should be substantively revised to set out comprehensive and concrete standards for handling highly sensitive age verification data.

  • The government should legislate to grant the BBFC statutory power to mandate compliance.

  • The government should enable the BBFC to require remedial action or apply financial penalties for non-compliance.

  • The BBFC should be given statutory powers to require annual compliance reports from providers and fine those who sign up to the certification scheme but later violate its requirements.

  • The Information Commissioner should oversee the BBFC's age verification certification scheme

Delay implementation and enforcement:

Delay implementation and enforcement of age verification until both (a) a statutory standard of data privacy and security is in place, and (b) that standard has been implemented by providers.

Improve the scheme content:

Even if the BBFC certification scheme remains voluntary, the Standard should at least contain a definitive set of precisely delineated objectives that age verification providers must meet in order to say that they process identity data securely.

Improve communication with the public:

Where a provider's certification is revoked, the BBFC should issue press releases and ensure consumers are individually notified at login.

The results of all penetration tests should be provided to the BBFC, which must publish details of the framework it uses to evaluate test results, and publish annual trends in results.

Strengthen data protection requirements:

Data minimisation should be an enforceable statutory requirement for all registered age verification providers.

The Standard should outline specific and very limited circumstances under which it's acceptable to retain logs for fraud prevention purposes. It should also specify a hard limit on the length of time logs may be kept.

The Standard should set out a clear, strict and enforceable set of policies to describe exactly how providers should "pseudonymise" or "deidentify" data.

Providers that no longer meet the Standard should be required to provide the BBFC with evidence that they have destroyed all the user data they collected while supposedly compliant.

The BBFC should prepare a standardised data protection risk assessment framework against which all age verification providers will test their systems. Providers should limit bespoke risk assessments to their specific technological implementation.

Strengthen security, testing, and encryption requirements:

Providers should be required to undertake regular internal and external vulnerability scanning and a penetration test at least every six months, followed by a supervised remediation programme to correct any discovered vulnerabilities.

Providers should be required to conduct penetration tests after any significant application or infrastructure change.

Providers should be required to use a comprehensive and specific testing standard. CBEST or GBEST could serve as guides for the BBFC to develop an industry-specific framework.

The BBFC should build on already-established strong security frameworks, such as the Center for Internet Security Cyber Controls and Resources, the NIST Cyber Security Framework, or Cyber Essentials Plus.

At a bare minimum, the Standard should specify a list of cryptographic protocols which are not adequate for certification.

 

 

ThinkSpot...

Jordon Peterson launches discussion and subscription platform that won't be censored on grounds of political correctness


Link Here14th June 2019
An upcoming free speech platform promises to provide users the best features of other social media, but without the censorship.

The subscription based anti-censorship platform Thinkspot is being created by popular psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson. It's being marketed as a free speech alternative to payment processors like Patreon in that it will monetize creators and also provide a social media alternative to platforms like Facebook and YouTube.

Peterson explained in a podcast that the website would have radically pro-free speech Terms of Service, saying that once you're on our platform we won't take you down unless we're ordered to by a US court of law.

That will be a profound contrast to platforms that ban users for misgendering people who identify as trans, or for tweeting learn to code at fired journalists.

The only other major rule on comments he mentioned was that they need to be thoughtful. Rather than suggesting that some opinions are off limits, Peterson said they will have a minimum required length so one has to put thought into what they write.

If minimum comment length is 50 words, you're gonna have to put a little thought into it, Peterson said. Even if you're being a troll, you'll be a quasi-witty troll.

All comments on the website will have a voting feature and if your ratio of upvotes to downvotes falls below 50/50 then your comments will be hidden, people will still be able to see them, if they click, but you'll disappear. He later added that these features could be tweaked as the website is still being designed.

 

 

The Iron-Fisted Monk...

BBFC cuts just waived


Link Here14th June 2019

The Iron-Fisted Monk is a 1977 Hong Kong action comedy drama by Sammo Kam-Bo Hung.
Starring Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Sing Chen and James Tien. BBFC link IMDb

Cut by the BBFC for 18 rated DVD in 2001. Uncut and 18 rated since 2019 Blu-ray. Uncut and MPAA R rated in the US.

The 2001 cuts of 1:16s were for sexual violence. The BBFC commented at the time:

  • Cuts were required to remove eroticising shots of the forced exposure and groping of breasts, and of volume of nudity of victim during a rape scene under the Board's guidelines and sexual violence policy.

BBFC uncut
93:01s
18UK: Passed 18 uncut for sexual violence with previous BBFC cuts waived:
  • 2019 Eureka video

Summary Review: Good Addition

Here is yet another excellent kung fu movie done by Sammo Hung. The fighting is outstanding consisting of multiple kung fu styles facing off against each other, all done with superior speed and precision. Also sword and other weapons battles round out the action. There are still a ton of fight scenes but not quite as many as some of his other films, probably short by just a couple. The story is good and has decent acting. It is done well enough to keep your interest throughout and contains some scenes not normally seen in these type of films (nude, rape, a whore house). I was quite surprised with the amount of nudity shown (female). This movie is definitely not for children.

The Iron Fisted Monk is definitely a good addition to any kung fu collection.

 

 

Ripping Yarns...

Irish councillor calls for a ban of rock group Behemoth over bible ripping stunt


Link Here14th June 2019
A Limerick councillor is calling on Ireland's Minister for Justice to ban the Polish rock group Behemoth from playing a concert in the county next week.

The issue seems to be that the band's lead singer has previously ripped up a bible on stage.

Fianna FŠil councillor Kevin Sheehan claimed the people of Ireland are not entertained by acts such as these. He said:

People who come to our country and intend - and I hope they don't do it -- to tear up bibles on public platforms for the entertainment of people.

To me it's disgusting and it's disgraceful and it's not my type of entertainment.

We do not want it here in this country.

Behemoth is due to perform at King John's Castle on Monday night.

 

 

Offsite Article: Another feminist in need of consent training...


Link Here13th June 2019
Andrea Bower's artwork supporting #MeToo runs into issues for failing to obtain consent

See article from artsy.net

 

 

Offsite Article: Fruits of Philosphy...


Link Here13th June 2019
The story of a Victorian book which was considered obscene for informing people about sex and contraception

See article from southwarknews.co.uk

 

 

Small island values...

Rocketman banned by Samoa's film censor for its gay content


Link Here12th June 2019
Rocketman is a 2019 UK / USA musical music biography by Dexter Fletcher.
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron Egerton and Richard Madden. BBFC link IMDb

A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.

The Elton John biopic Rocketman was banned by Samoa's film censor last week due to its depiction of homosexuality onscreen. Film censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui said:

We're concerned with the cultural values and also the Christian beliefs here in Samoa -- it's not appropriate for public viewing,

Samoa recently also edited scenes from a screening of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody n the same grounds.

In Samoa, sodomy is illegal and is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

 

 

Maybe one day science will be able to cure the easily outraged...

Lytham theatre stands up to PC lynch mob and allows Ann Widdecombe's Strictly Ann show to go on


Link Here 12th June 2019
Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe became the focus of a PC lynch mob when she touched on the topic of homosexuality when being interviewed on Sky's Sophie Ridge on Sunday. She speculated:

I also pointed out that there was a time when we thought it was quite impossible for men to become women and vice versa and the fact that we now think it is quite impossible for people to switch sexuality doesn't mean that science may not be able to produce an answer at some stage.

This seems to acknowledge the current thinking on the subject and adds a idle speculation about the future. It hardly seems to be anything to get worked up about and much of the 'outrage' seems to have been generated by partially reporting the quote as if she was speaking about something more current.

The resulting lynch mob managed to get her touring stage show, Strictly Ann: An Evening with Ann Widdecombe, banned from several venues.

But The Lowther Pavilion in Lythm, Lancashire bravely allowed her show to go on. Tim Lince, chairman of Lowther Theatre's Trust, said:

I do not feel we should be in the business of censorship. I believe the theatre is open for everybody to speak and that's a very important thing we should all defend. If there had been an incident where something had been said that had led to police action, the board would have had no place in that. The Lowther would not support anything where there has been police action.

Ihe theatre issued a statement in which it said:

The right of free speech in the theatre was long fought and should be protected so that all opinions can be represented. Lowther Pavilion has always had an inclusive performance and use policy and this has been represented by previous and future presentations booked at the theatre.

About 25 people protested outside the theatre with little effect.

 

 

Culture of Censorship...

Spanish Government includes age verification for porn in its programme


Link Here12th June 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Spain...Age verification debated in Parliament

AN MP in Spain is leading an initiative to force porn websites operating in the country to install strict age verification systems.

The recently elected 26-year-old Andrea Fernandez has called to end the culture of porn among young people. The limitation of pornographic contents online was included in the electoral programme of the the newly elected Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez (Social Democrats). The goal of the new government is to implement a new strict age verification system for these kind of websites.

 

 

Scottish Parliament debates violent safe spaces...

Perhaps they should debate why those protected by hate legislation so often turn out to be the biggest offenders


Link Here12th June 2019
MSPs from all parties in the Scottish Parliament have backed a motion condemning violence against women and supporting the right of universities to host controversial discussions on campus.

Scottish Labour's Jenny Marra has lodged a motion supporting a discussion on women's rights which took place at Edinburgh University last week, but which had been branded anti trans and was marred by an attempted assault on one of the speakers.

Her motion, which also states there is no place for violence or threats of violence towards women engaging in public life in Scotland has been backed by Ruth Davidson and 24 other MSPs from across the political spectrum.

The event in the university's George Square lecture halls last Wednesday evening, which was addressed by academics including Professor Rosa Freedman and Professor Sarah Pedersen as well as feminist campaigner and author Julie Bindel, was attended by around 200 people.

The university came under pressure from LGBT students and its staff Pride Network to cancel the event claiming discussing women's sex-based rights was exclusionary of transgender women. However principal Peter Mathieson refused to do so and said he believed universities must be safe places for complex and sometimes controversial discussions to take place.

A protest outside the event was held - but it was when the discussion was over that an alleged attempted assault took place on speaker Julie Bindel. Ms Bindel has described how she was verbally abused, lunged at and almost punched in the face by a transwoman as she left to catch her taxi to Edinburgh Airport. Only the intervention of security staff prevented her from being physically assaulted, she claimed. A transwoman, Cathy Brennan, later admitted on social media that she had lost her shit at Ms Bindel.

 

 

Hobbs and Shaw...

Supporting the hype about 'MPAA cuts'


Link Here11th June 2019
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is a 2019 USA action adventure by David Leitch.
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Idris Elba and Eiza GonzŠlez. IMDb

Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.

In this Fast and Furious spinoff, Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Jason Statham's characters find themselves having to stop Idris Elba s Brixton Lore from unleashing a deadly virus on humanity.

One of the big fights will unfold when Luke Hobbs, Deckard Shaw and Vanessa Kirby's Hattie Shaw team up with Hobbs family to clash with Brixton Lore and his goons in Samoa. Johnson shared how it was initially planned for him to bite and spit out his opponent's eye. He claimed:

Unfortunately the scene where I bite the bad guy's eye out and spit it on the dirt didn't make it. MPAA ratings board forbid us to show it because it was too violent.

PG-13 movies are granted a fair amount of leeway when it comes to action and violence, but naturally there are some things that are off limits within that rating. Luke Hobbs removing a man's eye from his socket would have been shocking, brutal and badass, but the MPAA wasn't having it, so we'll have to make due with Johnson's character simply tossing his adversary to the ground and bludgeoning him senseless.

 

 

Offsite Article: Rated PG-13: Suitable for globalisation...


Link Here11th June 2019
Sex is disappearing from the big screen, and it's making movies less pleasurable. By Ann Hornaday

See article from sfgate.com

 

 

Offsite Article: UK Crypto control...


Link Here11th June 2019
Censoring open source cryptocurrency software through money laundering requirements

See article from eff.org

 

 

To the UK Government: Don't block my legal porn and I'll be happy to use the IWF feed...

The catastrophic impact of DNS-over-HTTPs. The IWF makes its case


Link Here10th June 2019

Here at the IWF, we've created life-changing technology and data sets helping people who were sexually abused as children and whose images appear online. The IWF URL List , or more commonly, the block list, is a list of live webpages that show children being sexually abused, a list used by the internet industry to block millions of criminal images from ever reaching the public eye.

It's a crucial service, protecting children, and people of all ages in their homes and places of work. It stops horrifying videos from being stumbled across accidentally, and it thwarts some predators who visit the net to watch such abuse.

But now its effectiveness is in jeopardy. That block list which has for years stood between exploited children and their repeated victimisation faces a challenge called DNS over HTTPS which could soon render it obsolete.

It could expose millions of internet users across the globe - and of any age -- to the risk of glimpsing the most terrible content.

So how does it work? DNS stands for Domain Name System and it's the phonebook by which you look something up on the internet. But the new privacy technology could hide user requests, bypass filters like parental controls, and make globally-criminal material freely accessible. What's more, this is being fast-tracked, by some, into service as a default which could make the IWF list and all kinds of other protections defunct.

At the IWF, we don't want to demonise technology. Everyone's data should be secure from unnecessary snooping and encryption itself is not a bad thing. But the IWF is all about protecting victims and we say that the way in which DNS over HTTPS is being implemented is the problem.

If it was set as the default on the browsers used by most of us in the UK, it would have a catastrophic impact. It would make the horrific images we've spent all these years blocking suddenly highly accessible. All the years of work for children's protection could be completely undermined -- not just busting the IWF's block list but swerving filters, bypassing parental controls, and dodging some counter terrorism efforts as well.

From the IWF's perspective, this is far more than just a privacy or a tech issue, it's all about putting the safety of children at the top of the agenda, not the bottom. We want to see a duty of care placed upon DNS providers so they are obliged to act for child safety and cannot sacrifice protection for improved customer privacy.

 

 

DCMS continues to legislate for a miserable life...

Advertisers slam the government over more censorship proposals to restrict TV junk food adverts and to ludicrously impose watershed requirements online


Link Here10th June 2019
Full story: UK Government food censorship...Resticting advertising for junk (pretty much all) food
Advertisers have launched a scathing attack on the government's plans to introduce further restrictions on junk food advertising, describing them as totally disproportionate and lacking in evidence.

In submissions to a government consultation, seen exclusively by City A.M. , industry bodies Isba and the Advertising Association (AA) said the proposals would harm advertisers and consumers but would fail to tackle the issue of childhood obesity.

The government has laid out plans to introduce a 9pm watershed on adverts for products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) on TV and online .

But the advertising groups have dismissed the policy options, which were previously rejected by media regulator Ofcom, as limited in nature and speculative in understanding.

The AA said current restrictions, which have been in place since 2008, have not prevented the rise of obesity, while children's exposure to HFSS adverts has also fallen sharply over the last decade.

In addition, Isba argued a TV watershed would have a significant and overwhelming impact on adult viewers, who make up the majority of audiences before 9pm.

They also pointed to an impact assessment, published alongside the consultation, which admitted the proposed restrictions would cut just 1.7 calories per day from children's diets.

 

 

Offsite Article: 18 Rated Porn And BBFC Hypocrisy...


Link Here10th June 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
When is a porn film not a porn film?

See article from reprobatepress.com

 

 

Offsite Article: The use of the word 'terror' is banned by BBC News...


Link Here10th June 2019
For an organisation that claims to be unbiased, it does like to unconvincingly pretend that terror is unconnected with a 'protected' institution whilst it shouts loud and proud about the rest

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

'I don't like women's football'...

French intellectual Alain Finkielkraut set off a firestorm in France. When asked if he was going to watch the Women's World Cup, he dared to simply say 'I don't like women's football'.


Link Here10th June 2019

 

 

Updated: Few complaints...

Irish Film Classification Office publishes its annual report covering 2018


Link Here9th June 2019
Full story: Irish Film Censors at IFCO...IFCO: the Irish film censor board
IFCO has published its annual report covering 2018.

It notes that teh number of cinema films passed is about the same as the previous year with 448 releases in 2018. However it reports that video DVD submissions (presumably including Blu-ray) has declined by 15% to 2621 submission in 2018.

IFCO reports on 2 appeals in 2018, both appeals were rejected and the rating remained unaltered. The two films were the 18 rated The First Purge , and the 12A rated Bumblebee.

The number of complaints received by IFCO has always been minimal. IFCO writes:

During 2018, IFCO received 18 complaints from the public which related specifically to classifications awarded. The most received in respect of any one title was 6 in the case of SHOW DOGS, a comedy classified PG for Mild violence, language and rude humour. Of these, two were from people who had not seen the film.

IFCO has also just upgraded its website to make it a bit smarter. IFCO acknowledged that it needs to up its game in interacting with the public. IFCO wrote in the report:

It is to be hoped that the updated website will be more visited and perhaps encourage people to contact IFCO. All constructive input, whether positive or negative is very welcome and informs as to people's expectations of IFCO service

See the updated website at ifco.ie .

Update: Censor slump

9th June 2019. See article from thetimes.co.uk

The Irish Film Classification Office (Ifco) is suffering a rapid decline in revenue as a result of the collapse of DVD sales. The state censor has experienced a 23% drop in income over two years.

In its recently published 2018 report Ifco said the slump in DVDs being submitted for classification meant its financial situation would have to be closely monitored.

 

 

Offsite Article: Suspected of spreading malicious rumours...


Link Here9th June 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
A Fascinating article from a BBC reporter based in Beijing who became a marked man when posted images from a Hong Kong vigil remembering the Tiananmen Square massacre

See article from bbc.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Censorship by copyright claim...


Link Here9th June 2019
DMCA Takedowns Try to De-list Dozens of Adult Homepages from Google

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Draw a Line at the Border...


Link Here9th June 2019
Privacy International start campaign against governments snooping on social media accounts handed over as part of a visa application

See article from privacyinternational.org

 

 

Trading cenorship...

China censors news websites over Tiananmen Square massacre and financial websites over US trade war issues


Link Here8th June 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
The Chinese government appears to have launched a major new internet purge, blocking users from accessing The Intercept's website and those of at least seven other Western news organizations.

People in China began reporting that they could not access the websites of The Intercept, The Guardian, the Washington Post, HuffPost, NBC News, the Christian Science Monitor, the Toronto Star, and Breitbart News.

It is unclear exactly when the censorship came into effect or the reasons for it. But Tuesday marked the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and Chinese authorities have reportedly increased levels of online censorship to coincide with the event.

On a second front censors at two of China's largest social media companies appear to have taken aim at independent financial bloggers, as Beijing continues pumping out propaganda to garner public support for its trade dispute with the US.

At least 10 popular financial analysis blogs on social media app WeChat had all present and past content scrubbed, according to screenshots posted by readers. The Weibo accounts of two non-financial popular bloggers, including Wang Zhian, a former state broadcast commentator who wrote about social issues, were also blocked.

 

 

Final Warning...

Russia set to block VPNs that refuse to censor websites blocked by Russia


Link Here8th June 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media
Back in March, ten major VPN providers including NordVPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish and HideMyAss were ordered by Russian authorities to begin blocking sites present in the country's national blacklist. Following almost total non-compliance, the country's internet censor says that blocking nine of the services is now imminent.

Back in March, telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor wrote to ten major VPN providers -- NordVPN, ExpressVPN, TorGuard, IPVanish, VPN Unlimited, VyprVPN, Kaspersky Secure Connection, HideMyAss!, Hola VPN, and OpenVPN -- ordering them to connect to the database. All teh foreign companies refused to comply.

Only teh Russia based company,Kaspersky Secure Connection, connected to the registry, Roscomnadzor chief Alexander Zharov informs Interfax .

Russian law says unequivocally if the company refuses to comply with the law -- it should be blocked. And it appears that Roscomnadzor is prepared to carry through with its threat. When questioned on the timeline for blocking, Zharov said that the matter could be closed within a month.

 

 

Commented: EU vs. Free Speech...

European Court of Justice moves towards a position requiring the international internet to follow EU censorship rulings


Link Here8th June 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
TechDirt comments:

The idea of an open global internet keeps taking a beating -- and the worst offender is not, say, China or Russia, but rather the EU.

We've already discussed things like the EU Copyright Directive and the Terrorist Content Regulation , but it seems like every day there's something new and more ridiculous -- and the latest may be coming from the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). The CJEU's Advocate General has issued a recommendation (but not the final verdict) in a new case that would be hugely problematic for the idea of a global open internet that isn't weighted down with censorship.

The case at hand involved someone on Facebook posting a link to an article about an Austrian politician, Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, accusing her of being a lousy traitor of the people, a corrupt oaf and a member of a fascist party.

An Austrian court ordered Facebook to remove the content, which it complied with by removing access to anyone in Austria. The original demand was also that Facebook be required to prevent equivalent content from appearing as well. On appeal, a court denied Facebook's request that it only had to comply in Austria, and also said that such equivalent content could only be limited to cases where someone then alerted Facebook to the equivalent content being posted (and, thus, not a general monitoring requirement).

The case was then escalated to the CJEU and then, basically everything goes off the rails

See  detailed legal findings discussed by techdirt.com

 

Offsite Comment: Showing how Little the EU Understands About the Web

8th June 2019. See article from forbes.com by Kalev Leetaru

As governments around the world seek greater influence over the Web, the European Union has emerged as a model of legislative intervention, with efforts from GDPR to the Right to be Forgotten to new efforts to allow EU lawmakers to censor international criticism of themselves. GDPR has backfired spectacularly, stripping away the EU's previous privacy protections and largely exempting the most dangerous and privacy-invading activities it was touted to address. Yet it is the EU's efforts to project its censorship powers globally that present the greatest risk to the future of the Web and demonstrate just how little the EU actually understands about how the internet works.

 

 

Offsite Article: Blocking encrypted messaging and VPNs...


Link Here8th June 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
Pakistan buys in a new censorship and snooping system for the internet

See article from dawn.com

 

 

No right to know...

Facebook taken to court in Poland after it censored information about a nationalist rally in Warsaw


Link Here7th June 2019
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
A Polish court has held a first hearing in a case brought against Facebook by a historian who says that Facebook engaged in censorship by suspending accounts that had posted about a nationalist rally in Warsaw.

Historian Maciej Swirski has complained that Facebook in 2016 suspended a couple of accounts that provided information on an independence day march organised by far-right groups. Swirski told AFP:

I'm not a member of the National Movement, but as a citizen I wanted to inform myself on the event in question and I was blocked from doing so,

This censorship doesn't concern my own posts, but rather content that I had wanted to see.

Facebook's lawyers argued that censorship can only be exercised by the state and that a private media firm is not obligated to publish any particular content.

The next court hearing will take place on October 30.

 

 

Going shopping...

Chief TV and internet censor to step down


Link Here7th June 2019

The Ofcom Board has announced that Sharon White is to step down as Chief Executive.

Sharon is leaving to become Chairman of The John Lewis Partnership. She is expected to leave Ofcom around the turn of the year.

Sharon joined Ofcom in March 2015.

The Ofcom Board will now begin the process to appoint a successor.

 

 

Social media users to benefit...

New York senator introduces a bill requiring companies that hoover up user data must benefit the user before using the data for profit


Link Here7th June 2019
A new bill introduced last week in the New York State Senate would give New Yorkers stronger online privacy protection than residents of any other state, notably California which was ahead of the game until now.

The New York bill authored by Long Island senator Kevin Thomas goes further than California and requires platforms such as Google, Facebook and others to to attain consent from consumers before they share and/or sell their information.

Unlike the California law, however, the proposed New York bill gives users the right to sue companies directly over privacy violations, possibly setting up a barrage of individual lawsuits, according to a report on the proposed legislation by Wired magazine .

The New York bill also applies to any online company, while the California law exempts any company with less that $25 million annual gross revenue from its requirements.

And as a final flourish, the bill required that any company that hoovers up user data must use that data in ways that benefit the user, before they use it to turn a profit for themselves.

 

 

Artificial Intelligence the size of a planet...

But Google still cannot cannot distinguish educational material from the glorification of Nazis


Link Here6th June 2019
Full story: YouTube Blocking...International sport of YouTube blocking

YouTube has decided to adopt a widespread censorship rule to ban the promotion of hate speech. Google wrote:

Today, we're taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.

However for all the Artificial Intelligence it has at its disposal the company cannot actually work out which videos promote hate speech. Instead it has taken to banning videos referencing more easily identifiable images such as Nazi symbology, regardless of the context in which they are presented.

For example YouTube has blocked some British history teachers from its service for uploading archive material related to Adolf Hitler.

Scott Allsopp, who owns the longrunning MrAllsoppHistory revision website and teaches at an international school in Romania, had his channel featuring hundreds of historical clips on topics ranging from the Norman conquest to the cold war deleted for breaching the rules that ban hate speech. Allsopp commented:

It's absolutely vital that YouTube work to undo the damage caused by their indiscriminate implementation as soon as possible. Access to important material is being denied wholesale as many other channels are left branded as promoting hate when they do nothing of the sort.

While previous generations of history students relied on teachers playing old documentaries recorded on VHS tapes on a classroom television, they now use YouTube to show raw footage of the Nazis and famous speeches by Adolf Hitler.

Richard Jones-Nerzic, another British teacher affected by the crackdown, said that he had been censured for uploading clips to his channel from old documentaries about the rise of Nazism. Some of his clips now carry warnings that users might find the material offensive, while others have been removed completely. He said he was appealing YouTube's deletion of archive Nazi footage taken from mainstream media outlets, arguing that this is in itself form of negationism or even holocaust denial.

Allsopp had his account reinstated on Thursday following an appeal but said he had been contacted by many other history teachers whose accounts have also been affected by the ban on hate speech. Users who do not swiftly appeal YouTube's decisions could find their material removed for good.

 

 

Updated: But isn't this a gender equivalence to 'blackface'?...

Artist Spencer Tunick and the National Coalition Against Censorship organise a Facebook challenging array of male nipples in New York


Link Here6th June 2019
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
P hotographer Spencer Tunick and  the National Coalition Against Censorship organise a nude art action outside the Facebook's New York headquarters on June 2, when some 125 people posed naked in front of Facebook's building as Tunick photographed them as part of the NCAC's #WeTheNipple campaign.

In response Facebook agreed to convene a group--including artists, art educators, museum curators, activists, and employees--to consider new nudity guidelines for images posted to its social-media platforms.

The NCAC said it will collaborate with Facebook in selecting participants for a discussion to look into issues related to nude photographic art, ways that censorship impacts artists, and possible solutions going forward.

However before artists get their expectations up, they should know that it is standard policy that whenever Facebook get caught out censoring something, they always throw their arms up in feigned horror, apologise profusely and say they will do better next time.

They never do!

 

 

Offsite Article: Just how bad is the ICO's draft age appropriate design code?...


Link Here 6th June 2019
Full story: ICO Age Appropriate Design...ICO calls for age assurance for websites accessed by children
Foreign websites will block UK users altogether rather than be compelled to invest time and money into a nigh-impossible compliance process. By Heather Burns

See article from webdevlaw.uk

 

 

Strangling UK business and endangering people's personal data...

Internet companies slam the data censor's disgraceful proposal to require age verification for large swathes of the internet


Link Here 5th June 2019
Full story: ICO Age Appropriate Design...ICO calls for age assurance for websites accessed by children
The Information Commissioner's Office has for some bizarre reason have been given immense powers to censor the internet.

And in an early opportunity to exert its power it has proposed a 'regulation' that would require strict age verification for nearly all mainstream websites that may have a few child readers and some material that may be deemed harmful for very young children. Eg news websites that my have glamour articles or perhaps violent news images.

In a mockery of 'data protection' such websites would have to implement strict age verification requiring people to hand over identity data to most of the websites in the world.

Unsurprisingly much of the internet content industry is unimpressed. A six weerk consultation on the new censorship rules has just closed and according to the Financial Times:

Companies and industry groups have loudly pushed back on the plans, cautioning that they could unintentionally quash start-ups and endanger people's personal data. Google and Facebook are also expected to submit critical responses to the consultation.

Tim Scott, head of policy and public affairs at Ukie, the games industry body, said it was an inherent contradiction that the ICO would require individuals to give away their personal data to every digital service.

Dom Hallas, executive director at the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), which represents digital start-ups in the UK, said the proposals would result in a withdrawal of online services for under-18s by smaller companies:

The code is seen as especially onerous because it would require companies to provide up to six different versions of their websites to serve different age groups of children under 18.

This means an internet for kids largely designed by tech giants who can afford to build two completely different products. A child could access YouTube Kids, but not a start-up competitor.

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association -- which represents companies including Amazon, Sky, Twitter and Microsoft -- said the ICO needed to conduct a full technical and economic impact study, as well as a feasibility study. He said the changes would have a wide and unintended negative impact on the online advertising ecosystem, reducing spend from advertisers and so revenue for many areas of the UK media.

An ICO spokesperson said:

We are aware of various industry concerns about the code. We'll be considering all the responses we've had, as well as engaging further where necessary, once the consultation has finished.

 

 

Doctor Who and the Monstering...

BBC drops author's contribution to a Doctor Who anthology after an old jokey tweet about 'trannies' was dragged up from a couple of years ago


Link Here5th June 2019
Gareth Roberts was commissioned by BBC Books to write a short story for an anthology of Dr Who stories. Roberts has previously written several TV episodes and many Dr Who books.

He completed the commission and submitted the work. Fans became aware of the upcoming publication due to be announced this month.

A lynch mob formed after becoming aware of a couple of jokey tweets about 'trannies' from 2017

Other contributing authors to the book threatened to withdraw if Roberts was involved.

BBC Books immediately folded to these demands, and decided that the Roberts contribution would not be included. The author would be paid though.

See Gareth Robert's full account in an article from medium.com

 

 

Labyrinth Life...

Japanese game is notable for including an English language option


Link Here4th June 2019
Full story: Games Censorship in Japan...Anime based games a little out of synch with the world

No western release has been announced for Labyrinth Life on the PlayStation 4, or its Nintendo Switch counterpart, Omega Labyrinth Life. However, it has been confirmed that the Japanese releases will feature English-language options, making these titles even more accessible.

Note though that the Playstation version, Labyrinth Life is a censored family friendly version while Omega Labyrinth Life on the Switch is fully uncensored.

The game's main hook is known as Omega Power, which augments the characters' chest sizes, and not coincidentally, their stats. Expect these elements to be more edited on the PlayStation 4.

Both versions will release on August 1, 2019.

 

 

Junk politics...

Tom Watson supports call for a ban on cartoon characters on the packaging of nearly all food products


Link Here4th June 2019
In a new survey by Action on Sugar and Action on Salt based at Queen Mary University of London, in association with Children's Food Campaign , has found half (51%) of 526 food and drink products which use cartoon animations on pack to appeal to children are unnecessarily high in fat, saturated fat, sugar and/or salt. Manufacturers and retailers are accused of deliberately manipulating children and parents into purchasing dangerously unhealthy products, which can encourage pester power and excessive consumption.

Action on Sugar, Action on Salt, Children's Food Campaign and other organisations are calling for a complete ban of such marketing tactics on unhealthy products and for compulsory traffic light nutrition labelling, giving parents the chance to make healthier choices. If marketing on children's packaging were to follow the same advertising codes as set by the Committee for Advertising Practices for broadcast advertising, half would fail the eligibility criteria and therefore would not be allowed to be advertised to audiences under the age of 16. The campaigners call for this criteria to be extended to all forms of media, and to any programme watched by a child, as is currently being discussed in the Governments latest consultation on further advertising restrictions for products high in fat, salt and sugar

Alarmingly Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party agreed with teh call for censorship saying:

This research reveals the scale of irresponsibility in the industry. We're in the midst of a child obesity crisis and companies are using cartoons to advertise their junk foods to kids. It's unacceptable. It's time we changed the rules to get these cartoons off our packs.

 

 

Over mature and ripe for improvement...

The US Communications Regulator publishes a report criticising the TV ratings system


Link Here3rd June 2019
America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published a report about the US TV rating classification system.

The familiar TV ratings, TVY, TV7, TVG, TVPG, TV14, TVMA are essentially self administered by the TV companies but there is an overview body called The TV Parental Guidelines (Oversight) Monitoring Board. The board describes itself:

The TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board is responsible for ensuring there is as much uniformity and consistency in applying the Parental Guidelines as possible. The Monitoring Board does this by reviewing complaints and other public input and by facilitating discussion about the application of ratings among members of the Board and other relevant industry representatives. The Monitoring Board typically meets annually or more often, if necessary, to consider and review complaints sent to the Board, discuss current research, and review any other relevant issues. The Board also facilitates regular calls among industry standards and practices executives to discuss pending and emerging issues in order to promote ratings consistency across companies.

In addition to the chairman, the Board includes 18 industry representatives from the broadcast, cable and creative communities appointed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), NCTA 203 The Internet and Television Association, and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and five public interest members, appointed by the Board chairman.

The chairman id Michael Powell and the board representatives are from

  • 21st Century FOX
  • ABC
  • A+E Networks
  • AMC Networks
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America
  • Call for Action
  • CBS
  • Discovery, Inc.
  • Entertainment Industries Council
  • HULU
  • Lifetime Networks
  • National PTA
  • NBC Universal
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Turner Broadcasting System
  • Univision
  • Viacom Media Networks

The TV ratings are frequently criticised, at least by morality campaign groups and recently the FCC responded by undertaking a review of the TV rating system. The FCC has just published its findings and concurs with much of the criticism. The FCC writes:

After reviewing the record as a whole, our primary conclusion is that the Board has been insufficiently accessible and transparent to the public. For example, when the Bureau began its work on this report, the Board's website did not even include a phone number that someone could call to reach it. We are pleased that this problem was recently fixed. But in our view, additional steps should be taken to increase awareness of the Board's role and the transparency of its operations. Below are suggestions along those lines that we submit for Board and industry consideration.

First, we urge the Board and the video programming industry to increase their efforts to promote public awareness of the Board and its role in overseeing the rating system. We urge the Board and the industry to increase their outreach efforts concerning the existence of the rating system and consider additional ways in which they can publicize the ability of the public to file complaints, along with instructions on how complaints can be filed. In this regard, as noted, the Board recently reactivated a telephone number for use in contacting the Board and also provides a post office box where physical mail can be sent.

Second, we suggest that the Board consider ways to inform the public regarding the number of complaints it receives, the nature of each complaint, the program and network or producer involved, and the action taken, if any, by the network/producer or the Board in response to the complaint. For instance, the Board could consider issuing an annual report on the complaints it has received about the ratings of programs, how those complaints were adjudicated, and whether complaints led to the rating of a program being changed in future airings.

Third, we suggest that the Board hold at least one public meeting, that is publicized with adequate notice, each year. This would permit the public to express their views directly to the Board and help the Board better understand public concerns regarding program ratings.

we suggest that the Board consider doing random audits or spot checks analyzing the accuracy and consistency of the ratings being applied pursuant to the TV Parental Guidelines. This information could be used, in addition to the survey data already collected by the Board, to help assess, and if necessary, improve ratings accuracy. Such information would also allow the Board and the industry to consider whether any changes are needed to the guidelines themselves to ensure that they are as helpful as possible to today's viewers, consistent with the Board's commitment.

We note the ratings system has not changed in over 20 years and, despite its longevity, many commenters contend that the rating system is not well-understood or useful to parents.

 

 

Offsite Article: High Impact Classification...


Link Here3rd June 2019
Jotting down a few thoughts on the 2018 BBFC Annual Report

See highimpactclassification.wordpress.com

 

 

Updated: Blast off...

Rocketman censored in Russia for gay scenes, drugs and alcohol


Link Here2nd June 2019
Rocketman is a 2019 UK / USA musical music biography by Dexter Fletcher.
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron Egerton and Richard Madden. BBFC link IMDb

A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.

During the Russian premiere of Rocketman on 30th May in Moscow, film goers noticed the 40s gay male sex scene between Elton John (Taron Egerton) and manager, John Reid (Richard Madden) was missing.

Film critic Anton Dolin saw the original version in Cannes and remarked the Russian edit cut out scenes of kissing, sex and oral sex between men. This included a photo of Elton John and his husband David Furnish in the closing credits. It also didn't show scenes featuring drug and alcohol use. Around five minutes in total was missing from the Russian cut of Rocketman.

Maybe the 5 minutes may be an exaggeration. Not also that there are Russian laws banning the 'promotion' of gay sex so such censorship may be a legal necessity rather than a morality decision by the film censor.

Update: Russian distributors blasted by Elton John

2nd June 2019. See article from edition.cnn.com

Elton John has hit out at Russian film distributors for editing out gay sex scenes from his biopic Rocketman, adding that it was a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in.

The local film distributor, Central Partnership company told news agency TASS that it cut the scenes to comply with Russian legislation

The decision to remove the scenes was made solely by the distributor, Russia's Culture Ministry told TASS, adding that it issued no recommendations concerning the scenes.

Film critic Dolin said the grossest thing about the Russian edit was that the final caption had been removed from the closing credits. In the original, it says that Elton John found the love of his life and is raising children with the man he loves (there is a dramatic moment in the film when his mother says to him 'you are doomed to be lonely'). In the Russian version it says the musician set up a foundation to fight AIDS and is still working with a long-time co-author.

 

 

Updated: Tech companies criticise the government's Online Harms white paper...

The harms will be that British tech businesses will be destroyed so that politicians can look good for 'protecting the children'


Link Here 2nd June 2019
A scathing new report, seen by City A.M. and authored by the Internet Association (IA), which represents online firms including Google, Facebook and Twitter, has outlined a string of major concerns with plans laid out in the government Online Harms white paper last month.

The Online Harms white paper outlines a large number of internet censorship proposals hiding under the vague terminology of 'duties of care'.

Under the proposals, social media sites could face hefty fines or even a ban if they fail to tackle online harms such as inappropriate age content, insults, harassment, terrorist content and of course 'fake news'.

But the IA has branded the measures unclear and warned they could damage the UK's booming tech sector, with smaller businesses disproportionately affected.  IA executive director Daniel Dyball said:

Internet companies share the ambition to make the UK one of the safest places in the world to be online, but in its current form the online harms white paper will not deliver that, said

The proposals present real risks and challenges to the thriving British tech sector, and will not solve the problems identified.

The IA slammed the white paper over its use of the term duty of care, which it said would create legal uncertainty and be unmanageable in practice.

The lobby group also called for a more precise definition of which online services would be covered by regulation and greater clarity over what constitutes an online harm. In addition, the IA said the proposed measures could raise serious unintended consequences for freedom of expression.

And while most internet users favour tighter rules in some areas, particularly social media, people also recognise the importance of protecting free speech 203 which is one of the internet's great strengths.

Update: Main points

2nd June 2019. See article from uk.internetassociation.org

The Internet Association paper sets out five key concerns held by internet companies:

  • "Duty of Care" has a specific legal meaning that does not align with the obligations proposed in the White Paper, creating legal uncertainty, and would be unmanageable;
  • The scope of the services covered by regulation needs to be defined differently, and more closely related to the harms to be addressed;
  • The category of "harms with a less clear definition" raises significant questions and concerns about clarity and democratic process;
  • The proposed code of practice obligations raise potentially dangerous unintended consequences for freedom of expression;
  • The proposed measures will damage the UK digital sector, especially start-ups, micro-businesses and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and slow innovation.

 

 

Offsite Article: US Drugs Censor...


Link Here2nd June 2019
How the US Drug Enforcement Administration keeps TV on the 'right track' when depicting drugs

See article from shadowproof.com

 

 

IWF calls for censorship law requiring its block list to be implemented by encrypted DNS servers...

Well perhaps if the UK wasn't planning to block legal websites then people wouldn't need to seek out circumvention techniques, so allowing the laudable IWF blocking to continue


Link Here1st June 2019
A recent internet protocol allows for websites to be located without using the traditional approach of asking your ISP's DNS server, and so evading website blocks implemented by the ISP. Because the new protocol is encrypted then the ISP is restricted in its ability to monitor websites being accessed.

This very much impacts the ISPs ability to block illegal child abuse as identified in a block list maintained by the IWF. Over the years the IWF have been very good at sticking to its universally supported remit. Presumably it has realised that extending its blocking capabilities to other less critical areas may degrade its effectiveness as it would then lose that universal support.

Now of course the government has stepped in and will use the same mechanism as used for the IWF blocks to block legal and very popular adult porn websites. The inevitable interest in circumvention options will very much diminish the IWF's ability to block child abuse. So the IWF has taken to campaign to supports its capabilities. Fred Langford, the deputy CEO of IWF, told Techworld about the implementation of encrypted DNS:

Everything would be encrypted; everything would be dark. For the last 15 years, the IWF have worked with many providers on our URL list of illegal sites. There's the counterterrorism list as well and the copyright infringed list of works that they all have to block. None of those would work.

We put the entries onto our list until we can work with our international stakeholders and partners to get the content removed in their country, said Langford. Sometimes that will only be on the list for a day. Other times it could be months or years. It just depends on the regime at the other end, wherever it's physically located.

The IWF realises the benefit of universal support so generally acknowledged the benefits of the protocol on privacy and security and focusing on the needs for it to be deployed with the appropriate safeguards in place. It is calling for the government to insert a censorship rule that includes the IWF URL List in the forthcoming online harms regulatory framework to ensure that the service providers comply with current UK laws and security measures. Presumably the IWF would like its block list t be implemented by encrypted DNS servers worldwide. IWF's Fred Langford said:

The technology is not bad; it's how you implement it. Make sure your policies are in place, and make sure there's some way that if there is an internet service provider that is providing parental controls and blocking illegal material that the DNS over HTTPS server can somehow communicate with them to redirect the traffic on their behalf.

Given the IWF's respect, then this could be a possibility, but if the government then step in and demand adult porn sites be blocked too, then this approach would surely stumble as every world dictator and international moralist campaigner would expect the same.


 2008   2009   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   2015   2016   2017   2018   2019   2020   2021   2022   2023   Latest 
Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   May   June   July   Aug   Sep   Oct   Nov   Dec    

Censor Watch logo
censorwatch.co.uk

 

Top

Home

Links
 

Censorship News Latest

Daily BBFC Ratings

Site Information