Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch


2019: July

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YouTube creators unionise against arbitrary and summary censorship...

YouTube has a long censorship list, including the politically right, the politically incorrect, and anyone who may offend touchy corporate advertisers. So more or less anybody could fall foul at any time


Link Here 31st July 2019
You'd think YouTube would be keen on supporting creators who generate content and income for the company. But Google is obviously a bit too rich to care much, and so content creators have to live with the knowledge that their livelihoods could easily be wiped out by even the most trivial of political or PC transgressions.

YouTube arbitrarily bans and demonitises those from a long list of no-noes, including being on the political right, offending the easily offended, being politically incorrect, or of course saying something corporate advertisers don't like.

Needless to say there is a long list of aggrieved creators that have an axe to grind with YouTube, and plenty more who are walking on eggshells trying to make sure that they are not the next victims.

And now they're fighting back. An obscure 'YouTubers union' has joined forces with IG Metall -- Germany an Europe's largest industrial union, to form the campaigning group FairTube.

FairTube has called for the following from YouTube and given it until 23 August to engage with it, or else.

  • Publish all categories and decision criteria that affect monetization and views of videos
  • Give clear explanations for individual decisions -- for example, if a video is demonetized, which parts of the video violated which criteria in the Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines?
  • Give YouTubers a human contact person who is qualified and authorized to explain decisions that have negative consequences for YouTubers (and fix them if they are mistaken)
  • Let YouTubers contest decisions that have negative consequences
  • Create an independent mediation board for resolving disputes (here the Ombuds Office of the Crowdsourcing Code of Conduct can offer relevant lessons)
  • Formal participation of YouTubers in important decisions, for example through a YouTuber Advisory Board

At first glance one may wonder if the union has any way to generate a little leverage over YouTube but they have been thinking up a few ideas:

  • Contesting the status of YouTube creators as self-employed, thus creating a greater duty of care on YouTube towards its creators.
  • Claiming GDPR violations due to YouTube's refusal to give creators the data it stores about them and which it does share with advertisers.
  • Old fashioned collective action -- not so much striking as spreading the word and joining the union to put collective pressure on YouTube and its own Google.
Lets hope they are on the right tracks.

 

 

Off Quay Language...

The human rights abusers of Salford City Council end ban on public swearing


Link Here31st July 2019
Salford City Council has decided not to continue with the banning of public speech it considers to be foul and abusive language. The banning of speech in Salford Quays was enabled through a 'Public Spaces Protection Order'.

The order was set up three years ago but will not now be renewed. It is understood the decision was made following discussions with residents and workers in the area, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Those who breached the censorship rules by swearing in public spaces could be issued with an on-the-spot fine of up to 1,000.However, no-one was ever fined for swearing in Salford Quays.

MarkThomas, who has protested the ban, reacted to the news by swearing when contacted by the BBC. He described the ban as

the most insane piece of censorship. Public Spaces Protection Orders enabled councils to bring in draconian legislation and outlaw types of activities and behaviour that were previously legal.

 

 

The People vs the Snooper's Charter... and the snoopers win...

Court Judgement allows the government to continue spying on us


Link Here 31st July 2019
Full story: Snooper's Charter Plus...2015 Cameron government expands the Snooper's Charter
Liberty writes:

In response to today's judgment in the People's vs the Snooper's Charter case Megan Goulding, Liberty lawyer, said:

This disappointing judgment allows the government to continue to spy on every one of us, violating our rights to privacy and free expression. We will challenge this judgment in the courts, and keep fighting for a targeted surveillance regime that respects our rights.

These bulk surveillance powers allow the state to hoover up the messages, calls and web history of hordes of ordinary people who are not suspected of any wrong-doing.

The Court recognised the seriousness of MI5's unlawful handling of our data, which only emerged as a result of this litigation. The security services have shown that they cannot be trusted to keep our data safe and respect our rights.

 

 

God's thugs...

Lebanese band with an openly gay singer is banned from a rock festival after christians threaten violence


Link Here31st July 2019
A major Lebanese music festival has cancelled a concert by the country's best-known rock band, Mashrou' Leila , to prevent bloodshed after church leaders accused the group of blasphemy.

The Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Byblos claimed last week that Mashrou' Leila's songs violate religious values and demanded the gig be pulled. Facebook users had threatened to stop the show by force, with some claiming to be God's Soldiers.

Lawmakers in Byblos urged the festival's organisers to pull the concert to respect sanctities and morals.

The Byblos festival duly cancelled explaining that it was forced to cancel the group's performance next week on security grounds. Christians had threatened to attack the concert if it went ahead.

Mashrou' Leila's lead singer is openly gay and the band tackles taboos that few other Arab musicians have explored.

The band blamed a defamatory campaign relying exclusively on fabrications that couldn't be further from the truth. The band said in a statement:

We are not on some sort of mission to arbitrarily blaspheme and disrespect people's religious symbols.

 

 

Updated: Not so incognito as you may expect...

Porn sites are tracking and snooping on users, and for some, their browsing may be classified as contrary to their public life.


Link Here31st July 2019

Elena Maris of Microsoft Research, Timothy Libert Carnegie Mellon University, and Jennifer Henrichsen University of Pennsylvania have penned a study examining tracking technologies from the likes of Google and Facebook that are incorporated into re world's porn websites. They write:

This paper explores tracking and privacy risks on pornography websites. Our analysis of 22,484 pornography websites indicated that 93% leak user data to a third party. Tracking on these sites is highly concentrated by a handful of major companies, which we identify [Google and Facebook].

Our content analysis of the sample's domains indicated 44.97% of them expose or suggest a specific gender/sexual identity or interest likely to be linked to the user. We identify three core implications of the quantitative results:

  • 1) the unique/elevated risks of porn data leakage versus other types of data,

  • 2) the particular risks/impact for vulnerable populations, and

  • 3) the complications of providing consent for porn site users and the need for affirmative consent in these online sexual interactions

The authors describe the problem:

One evening, Jack decides to view porn on his laptop. He enables incognito mode in his browser, assuming his actions are now private. He pulls up a site and scrolls past a small link to a privacy policy. Assuming a site with a privacy policy will protect his personal information, Jack clicks on a video. What Jack does not know is that incognito mode only ensures his browsing history is not stored on his computer. The sites he visits, as well as any third-party trackers, may observe and record his online actions. These third-parties may even infer Jack's sexual interests from the URLs of the sites he accesses. They might also use what they have decided about these interests for marketing or building a consumer profile. They may even sell the data. Jack has no idea these third-party data transfers are occurring as he browses videos.

The Authors are a bit PC and seem obsessed about trying to relate cookie consent with sexual consent but finally cnclude:

Through our results and connections to past porn site privacy and security breaches and controversies, we demonstrate that the singularity of porn data and the characteristics of typical porn websites' lax security measures mean this leakiness poses a unique and elevated threat. We have argued everyone is at risk when such data is accessible without users' consent, and thus can potentially be leveraged against them by malicious agents acting on moralistic claims of normative gender or sexuality. These risks are heightened for vulnerable populations whose porn usage might be classified as non-normative or contrary to their public life.

The authors seemed to think the porn sites are somehow ethical and should be doing the 'right' thing.  But in reality they are just trying to make money like everyone else and as they say, if the product is free the your data is the payment. But as the report points out, that price may be a prove a little higher than expected.

Update: An unconvincing denial from Google

20th July 2019. See article from avn.com

AVN notes that Google responded to the claims in a rather obtuse way. Google on Thursday attempted to deny the study's findings, as quoted by The Daily Mail newspaper.

We don't allow Google Ads on websites with adult content and we prohibit personalized advertising and advertising profiles based on a user's sexual interests or related activities online, the company said. Additionally, tags for our ad services are never allowed to transmit personally identifiable information.

The study, however, did not allege that Google had placed actual advertisements from its GoogleAds network on porn sites, and in its elliptical statement, Google did not specifically deny that its tracking code is embedded on thousands of adult sites.

In related news Google has also announced changes to incognito mode on its Chrome browser to make it just a little more incognito.

Chrome's Incognito Mode is based on the principle that you should have the choice to browse the web privately. At the end of July, Chrome will remedy a loophole that has allowed sites to detect people who are browsing in Incognito Mode.

People choose to browse the web privately for many reasons. Some wish to protect their privacy on shared or borrowed devices, or to exclude certain activities from their browsing histories. In situations such as political oppression or domestic abuse, people may have important safety reasons for concealing their web activity and their use of private browsing features.

We want you to be able to access the web privately, with the assurance that your choice to do so is private as well.

Google also noted a useful bit of info on evading article count restrictions imposed by some publishers with metered access policies

Today, some sites use an unintended loophole to detect when people are browsing in Incognito Mode. Chrome's FileSystem API is disabled in Incognito Mode to avoid leaving traces of activity on someone's device. Sites can check for the availability of the FileSystem API and, if they receive an error message, determine that a private session is occurring and give the user a different [more restricted] experience.

With the release of Chrome 76 scheduled for July 30, the behavior of the FileSystem API will be modified to remedy this method of Incognito Mode detection.

The change will affect sites that use the FileSystem API to intercept Incognito Mode sessions and require people to log in or switch to normal browsing mode, on the assumption that these individuals are attempting to circumvent metered paywalls.

Unlike hard paywalls or registration walls, which require people to log in to view any content, meters offer a number of free articles before you must log in. This model is inherently porous, as it relies on a site's ability to track the number of free articles someone has viewed, typically using cookies. Private browsing modes are one of several tactics people use to manage their cookies and thereby reset the meter count.

Of course it is probably a bit easier to find an addon that lets you block or delete the cookies for specific websites or else to try just turning javascript off.

Update: More incognito

31st July 2019. See article from venturebeat.com

And as promised, Google Chrome has been updated to make incognito mode a little more incognito.

Chrome 76 which was released today has but a stop to the common ways in which websites can work out that users are surfing the web incognito and then ban them from accessing content.

 

 

Offsite Article: Extreme censorship...


Link Here31st July 2019
New Zealand seems to be going well over the top in remanding a man in custody over the possession of the banned mosque massacre video

See article from nzherald.co.nz

 

 

You may as well go back to watching the BBC news on TV...

YouTube boss says that mainstream news companies will be given precedence over independent creators that are too often politically incorrect, wrong think, or right wing


Link Here 30th July 2019
Full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach

A YouTube chief has proposed giving precedence to mainstream media over indie creators

The company's chief product officer Neal Mohan claims that the platform has grown so much that it now needs new rules to regulate bad actors. Amid the recent observations of YouTube's biased censorship, the company announced it will crackdown further on what it calls racist content and disinformation. Mohan said:

YouTube has now grown to a big city. More bad actors have come into place. And just like in any big city, you need a new set of rules and laws and kind of regulatory regime.

We want to make sure that YouTube remains an open platform because that's where a lot of the magic comes from, even though there may be some opinions and voices on the platform that I don't agree with, that you don't agree with.

reclaimthenet.org commented:

Mohan suggested that positive discrimination could be applied to authoritative sources like traditional media outlets such as AFP or CNN or BBC or the AP or whoever, raising an issue already mentioned by the independent channels that made YouTube what it is today: their content is often obscured by search results and their subscribers miss the new content, while corporate media (that ironically is often a competitor to YouTube) is already being heavily promoted by YouTube.

 

 

Parasite...

The latest cinema film to be banned in China


Link Here30th July 2019
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Parasite is a 2019 South Korea comedy thriller by Joon-ho Bong (as Joon Ho Bong).
Starring Kang-ho Song, Yeo-jeong Jo and Woo-sik Choi. IMDb

All unemployed, Ki-taek's family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they get entangled in an unexpected incident.

The film was pulled from the FIRST film festival in Xining for technical reasons, a euphemism for being banned by the film censors.

No explanation was provided but it could be a simple as frosty relations between China and South Korea. No Korean films have been allowed to screen in China in the last two years.

 

 

Commented: Your Wife is hot!...

PC miserablist gets hot under the collar about an air con poster


Link Here29th July 2019
An advert for the Nottingham air conditioning company Not Just Cooling has been banned from local buses.

The ad was booked to appear on seven buses in the city but Adverta, which places adverts on buses and trams, blocked it and claimed it could cause offence.

Lee Davies, who designed the ad, said it was a little bit of harmless fun.

PC Miserablist, Professor Carrie Paechter, director of the Nottingham Centre for Children, Young People and Families, said that the advert was like something out of the 1950s and called for it to be banned. She whinged:

If I had young children, I wouldn't want them passing that on the way to school, because of the messages it gives them about society. The subliminal message about society is that it's OK to comment on women's bodies, and comment on women's bodies as if they are the possession of someone else - 'your wife'.

It also gives the subliminal message that it's the man of the house that's responsible for getting the air conditioning fixed.

I don't want to demonise the company or the company's owner ...BUT... it is a foolish advert and it needs to come down.

The Advertising Standards Authority decided this advert was not offensive or irresponsible in 2015 - but PC rules have changed since then.

The ASA said it had not received any complaints about the advert in the latest fracas.

Update: No hot wives in Nottingham

29th July 2019. See article from reprobatepress.com

Less a story of moral panic and censorship wrapped up as a fight against gender stereotyping -- though it's definitely that too -- and more a prime example of how the BBC will manipulate news reports to fit their own agenda

Read the full article from reprobatepress.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Would you alter a flag on a jacket patch to be able to sell a film to China...hell yes!...


Link Here29th July 2019
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
American Movie Studios Are Wrong to Appease Chinese Censors. By John Fund

See article from nationalreview.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Would you pay 2 quid a month to be told that the Daily Mail is unreliable for news...


Link Here29th July 2019
Full story: Fake news in the UK...Government sets up fake news unit
NewsGuard, self styled fake news hunters, are trying to monetise their alerts, perhaps to try and get ISPs to pay on your behalf

See article from ispreview.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: Encryption is dead at the hands of Facebook...


Link Here29th July 2019
Full story: Internet Encryption...Encryption, essential for security but givernments don't see it that way
If Facebook can 'filter' or 'backup' your 'encrypted' communications then this proves that encryption is compromised, as does continued operation in any country that demands backdoors

See article from forbes.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Unannounced censorship...


Link Here28th July 2019
Opposition leaders silenced on Pakistan TV almost mid sentence

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

 

Forget Chrome...

Nominet outlines the UK stance on maintaining state censorship via DNS over HTTPS and Google will comply


Link Here27th July 2019
Full story: DNS Over Https...A new internet protocol will make government website blocking more difficult
Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, Britain's domain name authority has outlined the UK's stance on maintaining UK censorship and surveillance capabilities as the introduction of encrypted DNS over HTTPS (DoH) will make their job a bit more difficult.

The authorities' basic idea is that UK ISPs will provide their own servers for DNS over HTTPS so that they can still use this DNS traffic to block websites and keep a log of everyone's internet use. Browser companies will then be expected to enforce using the governments preferred DoH server.

And Google duly announced that it will comply with this censorship request. Google Chrome will only allow DoH servers that are government or corporate approved.

Note that this decision is more nuanced than just banning internet users from sidestepping state censors. It also applies to users being prevented from sidestepping corporate controls on company networks, perhaps a necessary commercial consideration that simply can't be ignored.

Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet explains:

Firefox and Google Chrome -- the two biggest web browsers with a combined market share of over 70% -- are both looking to implement DoH in the coming months, alongside other operators. The big question now is how they implement it, who they offer to be the resolvers, and what policies they use. The benefit offered by DoH is encryption, which prevents eavesdropping or interception of DNS communication. However, DoH raises a number of issues which deserve careful consideration as we move towards it.

Some of the internet safety and security measures that have been built over the years involve the DNS. Parental controls, for example, generally rely on the ISP blocking particular domains for their customers. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) also ask ISPs to block certain domains because they are hosting child sexual abuse material. There may also be issues for law enforcement using DNS data to track criminals. In terms of cyber security, many organisations currently use the DNS to secure their networks, by blocking domains known to contain malware. All of these measures could be impacted by the introduction of DoH.

Sitting above all of these is one question: Will users know any of this is happening? It is important that people understand how and where their data is being used. It is crucial that DoH is not simply turned on by default and DNS traffic disappears off to a server somewhere without people understanding and signing up to the privacy implications. This is the reason what we have produced a simple explainer and will be doing more to communicate about DoH in the coming weeks.

DoH can bring positive changes, but only if it is accompanied by understanding, informed consent, and attention to some key principles, as detailed below:

Informed user choice:

users will need to be educated on the way in which their data use is changing so they can give their informed consent to this new approach. We also need some clarity on who would see the data, who can access the data and under what circumstances, how it is being protected and how long it will be available for.

Equal or better safety:

DoH disrupts and potentially breaks safety measures that have built over many years. It must therefore be the responsibility of the browsers and DoH resolvers who implement DoH to take up these responsibilities. It will also be important for current protections to be maintained.

Local jurisdiction and governance:

Local DoH resolvers will be needed in individual countries to allow for application of local law, regulators and safety bodies (like the IWF). This is also important to encourage innovation globally, rather than having just a handful of operators running a pivotal service. Indeed, the internet was designed to be highly distributed to improve its resilience.

Security:

Many organisations use the DNS for security by keeping suspicious domains that could include malware out of networks. It will be important for DoH to allow enterprises to continue to use these methods -- at Nominet we are embracing this in a scalable and secure way for the benefit of customers through our cyber security offering.

Change is a constant in our digital age, and I for one would not stand in the way of innovation and development. This new approach to resolving requests could be a real improvement for our digital world, but it must be implemented carefully and with the full involvement of Government and law enforcement, as well as the wider internet governance community and the third sector.

A Google developer has outlined tentative short term plans for DoH in Chrome. It suggest that Chrome will only allow the selection of DoH servers that are equivalent to approved non encrypted servers.

This is a complex space and our short term plans won't necessarily solve or mitigate all these issues but are nevertheless steps in the right direction.

For the first milestone, we are considering an auto-upgrade approach. At a high level, here is how this would work:

  • Chrome will have a small (i.e. non-exhaustive) table to map non-DoH DNS servers to their equivalent DoH DNS servers. Note: this table is not finalized yet.

  • Per this table, if the system's recursive resolver is known to support DoH, Chrome will upgrade to the DoH version of that resolver. On some platforms, this may mean that where Chrome previously used the OS DNS resolution APIs, it now uses its own DNS implementation in order to implement DoH.

  • A group policy will be available so that Administrators can disable the feature as needed.

  • Ability to opt-out of the experiment via chrome://flags.

In other words, this would upgrade the protocol used for DNS resolution while keeping the user's DNS provider unchanged. It's also important to note that DNS over HTTPS does not preclude its operator from offering features such as family-safe filtering.

 

 

Media and internet companies demonstrate their left wing bias...

Media and internet companies unite to bully Campaign magazine over an article about Nigel Farage's PR talent


Link Here 27th July 2019
Campaign is a trade magazine for the advertising industry that has an international reach but is based in the UK.

The latest issue has a photo of Farage on the cover, trailing a profile interview with him inside the magazine. The profile was fairly sympathetic. Campaign acknowledged that, like the best marketing gurus, Farage knows how to get a simple message across with maximum effect. Clearly, Campaign believes that a successful politician, one whose party used social media and political messaging to good effect in the EU elections in May, is an apt subject matter for a magazine that deals in the issue of changing minds and making a splash.

But this simple observation did not impress some of the magazines high profile readers. A group of major media and internet companies got together to give Campaign a good roasting for not giving Farage a harder time. A group called Media for All wrote:

Campaign's cover story offering lessons from Nigel Farage felt like an insult to the advertising community and what it tries to do every day. The decision to publish a lengthy profile interview without a contribution from the many groups that Farage's politics demonise is also hard to understand, given Campaign's long support for equality and diversity in our industry.

No-one is disputing Nigel Farage's political successes or his right to voice his opinions on prominent platforms.

However, the playbook he and his political allies have employed to achieve success is about hate and it is simple: identify people who look different, mobilise anger against them and hold them up as the people everyone else should blame.

The only lesson our industry should draw from this playbook is not to have any part in it.

Campaign's failure to understand that is why the feature provoked such dismay. Media for All welcomes your response and we would like to be part of the future debate. Like you, we believe that media is a brilliant industry and should be welcoming to all.

The media industry is making many positive steps towards being a more representative and diverse place. But this cover story was a step in the wrong direction.

Yours sincerely,

Media for All

Bhavit Chandrani, sponsorship controller, ITV
Akama Ediomi Davies, director of global solutions, Xaxis; co-founder, We Are Stripes
Sarah Jenkins, chief marketing officer, Grey London
Desiree Lopez, chief executive, Flamingo Group
Priya Matadeen, general manager commercial, Dazed Media
Dora Michail, managing director for commercial growth, Telegraph Media Group
Liam Mullins, managing partner, the7stars
Dino Myers-Lamptey, former managing director, Mullenlowe Mediahub
Dara Nasr, managing director, Twitter
Naren Patel, chief executive, Primesight
Rak Patel, head of sales, Spotify
Jay Rajdev, EMEA vice-president of brand solutions, Videology
Nishma Robb, marketing director, Google
Mimi Turner, brand strategist, Mimi Turner Associates

Offsite Comment: Silicon Valley thinks journalists shouldn't talk to Nigel Farage 

See article from spiked-online.com by Brendan O'Neill

When Campaign magazine interviewed Farage, social-media bigwigs went crazy.

 

 

Blasphemy...

Pakistan's internet censors calls on the government to ban foreign social media and replace it with locally based versions


Link Here27th July 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
The chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) Amir Azeem Bajwa has called on the government to block social media websites in the country in consideration to the circulation of blasphemous content through these mediums.

Briefing a Senate Standing Committee, Bajwa asked the government to formulate a policy to block social media networks which are being operated outside the country, and in its stead develop indigenous social networking websites, just as in the UAE and China.

Bajwa said that the PTA has blocked more than 39,000 URLs since 2010, and blocked as many as 8,000 websites related to pornography. In addition, the PTA has received over 8,000 complaints regarding blasphemous content on the internet.

 

 

Offsite Article: Silicon Valley vs Free Speech...


Link Here27th July 2019
Silicon Valley Is Helping The US Government Circumvent The First Amendment

See article from forbes.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Why we should keep hold of cash...


Link Here27th July 2019
A cashless society could lead to a surveillance state. By John Glynn

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Toxic foreign relations...

Ofcom fines Russian propaganda channel 200,000 for biased news on the Salisbury poisoning


Link Here26th July 2019

Ofcom has fined the news channel RT 200,000 for serious failures to comply with our broadcasting rules -- and required the channel to broadcast a summary of our findings to its viewers.

Ofcom has rules in place requiring broadcast news to be presented with due impartiality.

Our investigation found that RT failed to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programmes between 17 March and 26 April 2018.

Taken together, these breaches represented serious and repeated failures of compliance with our rules. We were particularly concerned by the frequency of RT's rule-breaking over a relatively short period of time.

The programmes were mostly in relation to major matters of political controversy and current public policy -- namely the UK Government's response to the events in Salisbury, and the Syrian conflict.

Ofcom decided to impose a financial penalty of 200,000; and direct RT to broadcast a summary of Ofcom's findings, in a form and on dates to be determined by Ofcom. We consider this sanction to be appropriate and proportionate. It takes into account the additional steps that RT has taken to ensure its compliance since we launched our investigations; and that we have not recorded any further breaches of our due impartiality rules against RT to date.

Ofcom will await the conclusion of RT's application for judicial review of our breach decisions before enforcing the sanction.

 

 

Grand Theft Auto at The Diamond Casino and Resort...

The latest excursion from Rockstar Games courts controversy as it is set in casino where players can buy chips but can't cash them in


Link Here26th July 2019
Full story: Grand Theft Worldwide...International certificates for GTA IV game
Grand Theft Auto Online's newest scenario is the Diamond Casino and Resort in Los Santos. And of course the games features a rather one-sided form of gambling where only the house can win.

Players can buy game money which can be used to gamble at the tables of the Diamond Casino. There's no mechanism to cash in any winnings for real money, but presumably it can be used elsewhere in the game. But just like the real world, players can certainly lose and may be tempted to spend more real money in a forlorn hope of winning their losses back.

Given that loot boxes are causing so much controversy around the world, then this latest venture is surely asking for trouble. Forbes comments:

And in the sense that gambling is the sort of thing that can lead to problematic behavior, it's not hard to imagine how these new mechanics could start causing people with addictive personalities some issues.

Reddit has published a list of 50 countries where online gambling has been banned, and it is speculating that these could lead to the game being blocked in those countries. And indeed there have already been reports of the game being blocked in several countries, but these reports seem in need of confirmation.

 

 

Obituary: Rutger Hauer dies aged 75...

'The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long... and you have burned so very very brightly'


Link Here24th July 2019

Rutger Hauer (his real name) died on 19th July 2019 aged 75. His death wasn't publicly announced until the funeral.

He was a Dutch actor, writer, and environmentalist. He acted in both Dutch and English-language TV series and films. He had enormous stage presence and incredibly intense eyes, enabling strong portrayals of both menace and deep humanity, most famously presented as the fugitive replicant Roy in Blade Runner.

His career began in 1969 with the title role in the Dutch television series Floris . His film credits include Flesh+Blood , Blind Fury, Blade Runner, The Hitcher, Escape from Sobibor (for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor), Nighthawks, Wedlock, Sin City, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Ladyhawke, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Osterman Weekend, The Blood of Heroes, Batman Begins, Hobo with a Shotgun , and The Rite.

Hauer founded the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, an AIDS awareness organization.

 

 

Loot boxes have little worth...

UK Gambling Commission recognises issues with game monetisation but does not consider loot boxes to be gambling and so these are out of remit


Link Here24th July 2019
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games

The UK Gambling Commission has told MPs that it does not currently oversee the purchase of in-game content like Fifa player packs and video game loot boxes.

This is because there is no official way to monetise what is inside them. A prize has to be either money or have monetary value in order for it to fall under gambling legislation.

However, there are unauthorised third party sites which buy and sell in-game content or enable it to be used as virtual currency. Gambling Commission programme director Brad Enright admitted that games publisher EA, which sells the football team management game Fifa, faced a constant battle against unauthorised secondary markets.

Dozens of parents have complained that their children are spending hundreds of pounds on in-game purchases, and have criticised the process as a form of gambling as there is an element of chance in the outcome and their children are then tempted to buy again in order to try to get the result they want.

Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McCarthur admitted that there were significant concerns around children playing video games in which there were elements of expenditure and chance. However, he added that under current legislation it did not classify as gambling.

 

 

Offsite Article: A Dangerous Edge...


Link Here24th July 2019
A technical article explaining how Microsoft's internet browser Edge sends all your page URLs to Microsoft in the name of blocking phishing websites

See article from bleepingcomputer.com

 

 

Offsite Article: US Attorney General gets aggressive about encryption...


Link Here 24th July 2019
'The status quo is exceptionally dangerous, it is unacceptable and only getting worse. It's time for the United States to stop debating whether to address it and start talking about how to address it'

See article from apnews.com

 

 

Peace sanctions...

Ofcom report several serious code breaches on the religious Peace TV channel for hate speech, abusive treatment and offence


Link Here22nd July 2019
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
  • Kitaab-ut-Tawheed, Part 59, Peace TV Urdu, 22 November 2017, 09:00
  • Strengthening Your Family: The Valley of the Homosexuals Episode 9, Peace TV, 1 1 March 2018, 11:30
  • Media and Islam, War or Peace?, Peace TV, 13 November 2017, 07:30 and 14:00
  • Better Half or Bitter Half, Peace TV, 13 November 2017, 18:30
  • Umdatul Akhaam, Part 162, Peace TV, 13 November 2017, 22:30

This Bulletin sets out Ofcom's Decisions on the five programmes above.

Peace TV Urdu's licence is held by Club TV Ltd. Peace TV's licence is held by Lord Production Inc Ltd. Both licensees are majority controlled by Universal Broadcasting Corporation Limited1.

Through monitoring, Ofcom identified content raising issues under the Code in four of these programmes. We received a complaint about the other programme.

In accordance with our published procedures, Ofcom watched all the programmes and took careful account of all the relevant information, including the individual facts of each case and the representations made by the licensees.

Ofcom has decided that four of the five programmes breached the Code, and one did not. The reasons are set out in full in each of the corresponding decisions which follow this summary. We have notified the relevant licensees that we will consider the breaches in two of the programmes, Kitaab-ut-Tawheed and Valley of the Homosexuals, for the imposition of statutory sanctions.

  • Kitaab-ut-Tawheed: A religious scholar gave a view on the practice of magic. The programme breached Rule 3.1 (incitement to crime), Rule 3.2 (hate speech), Rule 3.3 (abusive treatment) and Rule 2.3 (offence).
     
  • Strengthening Your Family: The Valley of the Homosexuals. The presenter discussed a religious perspective on homosexuality. The programme breached Rules 3.2 (hate speech), Rule 3.3 (abusive treatment) and Rule 2.3 (offence).
     
  • Media and Islam, War or Peace?: The presenter gave a religious view on the punishment for apostasy. The programme breached Rules 3.2 (hate speech), Rule 3.3 (abusive treatment) and Rule 2.3 (offence).
     
  • Better Half or Bitter Half: The presenter gave a religious view on child marriage. The programme breached Rule 2.3 (offence).
     
  • Umdatul Akhaam, Part 162: The presenter discussed specific religious texts on prescribed punishments. We did not consider this programme was in breach of our rules.

 

 

Offsite Article: So where's the GDPR 'consent' for Experian's social scoring...


Link Here 22nd July 2019
When local councils use data tools to classify us, what price freedom? By Kenan Malik

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

I am not a number!...

No...But you soon will be. The UK government seeks ideas on creating a digital ID card


Link Here21st July 2019

The government writes:

A new call for evidence will explore the role of government and the private sector in the development of digital identities - the way people prove they are who they say they are using digital technology - and seek views on how to achieve higher levels of trust between the public and organisations checking their identities.

Err...how about making it totally illegal for organisations to use sensitive data. How about no more government laws that let age verification providers do what the fuck they like with your porn browsing data? No more 'voluntary standards' governing the keeping of porn browsing data?

The government continues:

With people increasingly required to prove their identity to access services, whether it is to buy age-restricted items on and offline or make it easier to register at a new GP surgery, these plans aim to help make doing so easier and more secure.

By cutting down on the need for physical documents, which could be misplaced or stolen, they also aim to reduce fraud. Reports suggest that unlocking the value of digital identity could add 3 per cent to UK GDP by 2030 - positioning the country as a world-leading place to develop cutting-edge innovation.

Recent figures show identity fraud is a growing problem across the UK and last year the fraud prevention service Cifas reported 189,000 incidents of identity theft.

Err... so how is it going to make it safer to put all your ID eggs in one basket and pass the basket around to all and sundry.

The government continues:

A small pilot scheme will be launched to help people speed up their applications for services, for example applying for a credit card, by allowing organisations to digitally check their identity using British passport data, where they have used this to register for government services. It will begin with companies who currently provide digital identity services to Government.

Individuals applying to access selected services online could have their identity verified this way if they choose to. The scheme will then be opened up to a small cohort of additional private sector companies for use across a range of services.

Err... like Facebook, Google, Cambridge Analytica, Ashley Madison, Pornhub...

The government continues:

No organisation would be given access to government-held data under these proposals, identity providers would simply get a yes or no as to whether the document was validly issued, and no personal data not already provided by the individual would be used or shared.

Any new solutions will be compliant with recently strengthened data protection laws and set out requirements for the secure transfer of data. There will be no central identity database and individuals will be in control of their personal data.

The pilot scheme will also test if there is a market for these new types of digital identity checking services.

 

 

What have Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Cambridge Analytica clients got in common?...

They deserve and need investigating...but Aaron Banks' wallet says otherwise


Link Here21st July 2019
The businessman Arron Banks and the unofficial Brexit campaign Leave.EU have issued a legal threat against streaming giant Netflix in relation to The Great Hack, a new documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the abuse of personal data.

The threat comes as press freedom campaigners and charity groups warn the government in an open letter that UK courts are being used to intimidate and silence journalists working in the public interest.

In a joint letter to key cabinet members, they call for new legislation to stop vexatious lawsuits, highlighting one filed last week by Banks against campaigning journalist Carole Cadwalladr. The letter says:

Following the recent global conference on media freedom held in London by the UK government, we write to draw your attention to what appears to be a growing trend to use strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPP) lawsuits as a means of intimidating and silencing journalists working in the public interest.

Such legal threats are designed to inhibit ongoing investigations, and prevent legitimate public interest reporting. Abuse of defamation law, including through SLAPP lawsuits, has become a serious threat to press freedom and advocacy rights in a number of countries, including the UK.

Fears have been expressed in the UK and abroad, and by the European parliament that this legal tactic was being deployed against the murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who at the time of her death in October 2017 was subject to 42 civil libel suits against her, many of which were brought through UK-based law firms, acting for foreign banks and wealthy individuals. Twenty-seven of these vexatious lawsuits remain open more than 21 months after her assassination. A range of other Maltese media have faced threats of similar suits, including investigative outlet the Shift News.

Numerous legal and online threats have been made against Carole Cadwalladr, whose journalism for the Observer and a range of other publications has stimulated a global debate about the power of online platforms to influence the behaviour of citizens, and raised important questions about the regulation of digital technology.

The legal claim against Ms Cadwalladr, issued on 12 July by lawyers acting for Arron Banks, is another example of a wealthy individual appearing to abuse the law in an attempt to silence a journalist and distract from these issues being discussed by politicians, the media and the public at a critical time in the life of our democracy.

The increasing deployment of what appear to be SLAPP lawsuits in the UK poses a threat to media freedom and public interest advocacy, and demands a robust response. We believe that new legislation should be considered to prevent the abuse of defamation law to silence public interest investigative reporting. We also urge you to take a clear public stance condemning such practices and supporting investigative journalism and independent media.

We urge you to address this issue as a matter of priority. Action has been discussed within the institutions of the European Union, but it is important that the government makes clear that the UK remains a country that welcomes and celebrates the role and value of independent public interest reporting.

Paul Webster, editor, the Observer, Rebecca Vincent, UK bureau director, Reporters Without Borders, Jodie Ginsberg, CEO, Index on Censorship, John Sauven, executive director, Greenpeace UK, Thomas Hughes, executive director, Article 19, Carles Torner, executive director, PEN International, Carl MacDougall, president, Scottish PEN, Summer Lopez, senior director of Free Expression Programs, PEN America, Tom Gibson, EU representative, Committee to Protect Journalists, Flutura Kusari, legal adviser, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, Scott Griffen, deputy director, International Press Institute, Caroline Muscat, co-founder and editor, the Shift News, Dr Justin Borg-Barthet, senior lecturer, University of Aberdeen School of Law, Matthew Caruana Galizia, director, Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Paul Caruana Galizia, finance editor, Tortoise, Corinne Vella, sister of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Andrew Caruana Galizia, son of Daphne Caruana Galizia

See details of The Great Hack from theguardian.com

 

 

Comments: A line has been crossed...

A Former Guardian editor notes that the police need classes in the basics of free speech.


Link Here21st July 2019

pupils lining up for class
 

What, you wonder, do they teach them in police college these days? Gangs, cyber crime, forensics, public safety, drugs --there's doubtless a lot to learn. But I would like to suggest a new and compulsory course, let's call it The Basics Of Free Speech.

Lesson number 1. The police do not tell newspaper editors what to write.

You think this is too basic? That in 21st Century Britain no police officer would dream of telling a newspaper editor not to publish information and meekly to hand back any leaked documents to their rightful owners?

If you think that, then you haven't been paying attention. You evidently missed Friday's statement from one of the most senior officers [Neil Basu] in the , advising owners, editors, publishers -- along with anyone on social media -- exactly what they shouldn't publish.

See article from dailymail.co.uk by Alan Rusbridger

 

Offsite Comment: We must protect the free British press from state bullies

21st July 2019. See article from dailymail.co.uk by David Davis

 Press freedom is the most vital freedom because it underpins all the others. When governments allow that freedom to be corroded they undermine the very foundations of our democracy.

For that reason we need a new Official Secrets Act, and a general protection for press freedom against the rapidly developing intrusive powers of the modern State.

The events of the past few weeks have demonstrated only too clearly why this is necessary.

...Read the full article from dailymail.co.uk

See also How the country's most powerful civil servant and the Met Police plotted an extraordinary attack on press freedom from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

Updated: Midsommar...

The Daily Mail picks up on the censorship and a Director's Cut


Link Here20th July 2019
Midsommar is a 2019 USA horror mystery thriller by Ari Aster.
Starring Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor and William Jackson Harper. BBFC link IMDb

A young American couple, played by Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor, fly to a rural town in Sweden for a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival after experiencing a death in the family. Not long after the couple's arrival, their trip unfolds into a hallucinatory nightmare when the visitors are invited to drink some sort of concoction that seemingly screws with their perception of time, and are targeted by the sinister leaders of a pagan cult.

The Daily mail has somewhat uncharacteristically published an article about censors cut and a Director's Cut for Ari Aster's Midsommar.

Film producer A24's critically-acclaimed horror film Midsommar is winning rave reviews from fans and critics alike, who will get to see an even longer version soon.

Midsommar writer-director Ari Aster held a Reddit Q&A, where he was asked about a potential director's cut, and reports that he had to cut a whopping 80 minutes from the theatrical cut, which spanned a lengthy 147 minutes.

Aster was asked if the director's cut will be part of the film and not just a special feature, while the director responded by saying the extended cut will have a half hour of new footage.

Another fan also asked if the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave them any trouble for a scene involving Jack Reynor having an erection. Aster responded:

Yes, we had an NC-17 for 6 weeks. Lots of back-and-forth with them

Update: Director's Cut confirmed

20th July 2019. See article from hypebeast.com

Ari Aster's director's cut is now confirmed and is set to debut next month in New York City.  The screening will take place at the Lincoln Center in New York City on August 17 and will be titled as a Director's Cut as opposed to just an extended cut.

On the 30 minutes of additional footage, Aster has teased:

A more nuanced picture of Harga, more rituals and more nuance for the relationship between Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor), and more by way of the thesis competition between Josh (William Jackson Harper) and Christian.

 

 

It's Over!...

Man sacked by Asda for sharing a comic Billy Connelly rant against religion has been reinstated


Link Here20th July 2019

Brian Leach, the man sacked by Asda for sharing a video clip of the comedian Billy Connolly mocking religion on social media has been reinstated. His dismissal last month caused nationwide outrage and lots of bad press for Asda.

Leach was sacked after a colleague complained that a sketch he shared, in which Connolly said religion is over and called suicide bombers wankers, was anti-Islamic.

The National Secular Society has been in touch with Leach throughout an internal appeals process and has now learned that he has been given his job back. NSS chief executive Stephen Evans said the decision was:

A victory for common sense. We welcome Asda's decision to reinstate Brian Leach, although this case raises broader concerns about the extent to which employers can legitimately restrict their employees' freedom of expression on social media.

Leach had removed the relevant social media post and apologised to his colleagues before he was sacked.

Jesus And Mo had a fine take on the episode:

Jesus and Mo: Billy

 

 

Offsite Article: UK YouTube head hypocritically speaks out against proposed government censorship...


Link Here20th July 2019
Full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
YouTube does not want government censors to silence people the government doesn't like, whilst YouTube actively censors people it does not like, especially those on the right

See article from reclaimthenet.org

 

 

Offsite Article: Don't Let Encrypted Messaging Become a Hollow Promise...


Link Here 20th July 2019
Full story: Internet Encryption...Encryption, essential for security but givernments don't see it that way
The EFF publishes a technical discussion on how the authorities are circumventing encryption used by messaging services

See article from eff.org

 

 

Brexit has its upsides...

The EU seeks to extend and centralise internet censorship across the EU


Link Here19th July 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
According to a leaked EU internet censorship document obtained by Netzpolitik, a German blog, the European Commission (EC) is now preparing a new Digital Services Act to unify and extend internet censorship across the EU.

The proposals are partially to address eCommerce controls required to keep up with technological changes, but it also addresses more traditional censorship to control 'fake news' political ideas it does not like and 'hate speech'.

The new rules cover a wider remit of internet companies covering all digital services, and that means anything from ISPs, cloud hosting, social media, search engines, ad services, to collaborative economy services (Uber, AirBnB etc).

The censorship regime envisaged does not quite extend to a general obligation for companies to censor everything being uploaded, but it goes way beyond current censorship processes. Much of the report is about unifying the rules for takedown of content.

The paper takes some of the ideas from the UK Online Harms whitepaper and sees requirements to extend censorship from illegal content to legal-but-harmful content.

The authors perceive that unifying censorship rules for all EU countries as some sort of simplification for EU companies, but as always ever more rules just advantages the biggest companies, which are unfortunately for the EU, American. Eg requiring AI filtering of content is a technology very much in the control of the richest and most advanced companies, ie the likes of Google.

Actually the EU paper does acknowledge that EU policies have in the past advantaged US companies. The paper also notes unease at the way that European censorship decisions, eg the right to be forgotten, have become something implemented by the American giants.

 

 

German film censors achieve 70 years of film censorship...

And describe a timetable for all but 18+ ratings to go self rated from next year


Link Here 19th July 2019
The German film censors of the FSK started up 70 years ago. After World War II, according to the Allies, a post was supposed to replace military censorship and thus block propaganda films with National Socialist content. Politicians wanted to seize the opportunity and connect it with a state control authority for the protection of minors.

Although there is no legal obligation in Germany to have films examined by the FSK, according to the Youth Protection Act, cinema and video films must be provided with an age-approval mark. That is, a film that has no FSK certificate, may only be seen or purchased by adults.

Saying that, the rules for selling 18 rated videos seem very onerous in Germany and it has led to large numbers of films being cut for the easier to retail 16 rating.

The FSK charges film distributors 1000 euro for its age rating. A movie is rated by five examiners. The odd number is important because it is decided by a simple majority. The chairman is the Permanent Representative of the Supreme State Youth Authorities, in addition to a youth protection expert, for example, from the youth welfare office, and a public representative, for example, of churches, the Central Council of Jews or the Federal Youth. Two examiners are selected by the FSK although they must be independent of the film industry.

Going self rated in 2020

Age ratings can be self applied for online films so an FSK rating is not required. In addition, the online streaming competition is rather diminishing the market for DVDs. And the declining DVD sales makes the censorship fees every more burdensome.

So to tray and reduce costs the FSK wants to start a new test procedure next year. The distributors will fill in a questionnaire with information, such as hard violence, explicit sex scenes or similar. A computer program calculates an age rating. Releases of 18+ years or for controversial/contested cases will still be consider by an FSK panel.

In addition to the cost savings, the FSK hopes with the new system to find a connection on the international market.

 

 

Instacensor...

Instagram adds another reason to ban users but promises better warnings of impending censorship and also a better appeal process


Link Here19th July 2019
Instagram explains in a blog post:

Under our existing policy, we disable accounts that have a certain percentage of violating content. We are now rolling out a new policy where, in addition to removing accounts with a certain percentage of violating content, we will also remove accounts with a certain number of violations within a window of time. Similarly to how policies are enforced on Facebook , this change will allow us to enforce our policies more consistently and hold people accountable for what they post on Instagram.

We are also introducing a new notification process to help people understand if their account is at risk of being disabled. This notification will also offer the opportunity to appeal content deleted. To start, appeals will be available for content deleted for violations of our nudity and pornography, bullying and harassment, hate speech, drug sales, and counter-terrorism policies, but we'll be expanding appeals in the coming months. If content is found to be removed in error, we will restore the post and remove the violation from the account's record. We've always given people the option to appeal disabled accounts through our Help Center , and in the next few months, we'll bring this experience directly within Instagram.

 

 

Ofcom not quite so independent state censors...

Government enacts rule that requires Ofcom to run most decisions past the government 24 hours before publication


Link Here19th July 2019

Written ministerial statement by the Secretary of State Jeremy Wright updating the House on Ofcom's statutory duty to share information with Government in advance of publication, introduced under section 24A of the Communications Act 2003:

I would like to update the House on Ofcom's statutory duty to share information with Government at least 24 hours before publication, introduced under section 24A of the Communications Act 2003, inserted by the Digital Economy Act 2017. This early access to information from Ofcom is important in supporting the Government's wider policy responsibilities in safeguarding and improving the delivery of essential communications services on which consumers rely.

To commence the duty I must specify by regulations what categories of information will be exempt from this duty, following consultation with Ofcom. Our consultation with Ofcom has now concluded and I can inform the House of our intention to proceed with the implementation of the duty via a negative Statutory Instrument later in the Autumn.

The categories of information to be listed as exempt in these regulations include broadcasting content standards and broadcasting licensing enforcement. This is to ensure that there can be no accusations or perceptions that the Government has had inappropriate prior knowledge or been involved in these functions. Corporate functions will also be excluded. Other types of information Ofcom proposes to publish, which fall outside of the above exemption regulations, will need to be shared with the Government at least 24 hours before publication by Ofcom once the duty comes into force, unless there are exceptional circumstances or prior agreement is reached.

 

 

Offsite Article: Warning! Harmful Trigger Warnings...


Link Here19th July 2019
Trigger warnings do more harm than good. A growing body of evidence says they are damaging to education and mental health. By Matthew Lesh

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Something must be done!...

Historical records show that former PM John Major agitated for more TV and video censorship


Link Here18th July 2019
Documents released from the National Archives show former prime minister John Major frequently called for more censorship of TV and video. He was also frustrated at always being told there was no way to tackle violent videos.

John Major claimed there would be a public backlash over the widespread availability of pornography and violent videos, yet felt his Conservative government was not doing enough to stop it.

For example a note prepared by Downing Street aide shows he suggested that it might be possible to abolish the idea of the 9pm watershed, which he felt was becoming obsolescent in the age of time-shifting video recording. The briefing added:

The prime minister said he was still not satisfied that the Government was doing enough.

In a few years time when the public saw violent and pornographic material readily available they would ask why the government had not acted.

He was not convinced by arguments that this was just a matter of personal responsibility. He believed this area should be followed up.

One file notes the emerging popularity of satellite and cable television channels which did not observe the terrestrial watershed.

It was suggested that the government might push the ITC (regulator the Independent Television Commission) on more restrictions on the encrypted channels and might use the legislation to renew the BBC Charter to introduce more general regulatory broadcasting legislation.

 

 

Government minister for Digital, Censorship, Media and Sport...

Margot James resigns over Brexit


Link Here 18th July 2019
Margot James has resigned as digital minister after she voted against the government for an amendment to block the next prime minister from suspending parliament and forcing through a no-deal Brexit.

James was the minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and MP for Stourbridge. Her remit included steering through the woefully inept age verification regime set to establish the BBFC as the UK internet porn censor.

 

 

Negligent UK lawmakers devised an age verification scheme with no data protection for porn users...

Now it appears that users who try to protect themselves with VPNs may be unknowingly handing their browsing data over to the Chinese government


Link Here17th July 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

ICO's Data Protection Training
The Pavlov Method
 
nodding dog
 ☑  Yes I won't read this message. and yes you can do what the fuck you like with my porn browsing data
 ☑  Yes please do, I waiver all my GDPR rights
 ☑  Yes I won't read this message. and yes, feel free to blackmail me
 ☑  Yes you can do anything you like 'to make my viewing experience better'
 ☑  Yes, no need to ask, I'll tick anything
With callous disregard for the safety of porn users, negligent lawmakers devised an age verification scheme with no effective protection of porn users' identity and porn browsing history.

The Government considered that GDPR requirements, where internet users are trainer to blindly tick a box to give consent to the internet companies doing what the fuck they like with your data. Now internet users are well conditioned like Pavlov's dog to tick the hundreds of tick boxes they are presented with daily. And of course nobody ever reads what they are consenting to, life's too short.

After a while the government realised that the total lack of data protection for porn users may actually prevent their scheme form getting off the ground, as porn users simply would refuse to get age verified. This would result in bankrupt AV companies and perverse disinsentives for porn websites. Those that implement AV would then experience a devastating drop off in traffic and those that refuse age verification would be advantaged.

So the government commissioned a voluntary kitemark scheme for AV companies to try and demonstrate to auditors that they keep porn identity and browsing history safely. But really the government couldn't let go of its own surveillance requirements to keep the browsing history of porn users. Eventually some AV companies won the right to have a scheme that did not log people's browsing history, but most still do maintain a log (justified as 'fraud protection' in the BBFC kitemark scheme description).

well Now it appears that those that try to avoid the dangers of AV via VPNs may be not s safe as they would hope. The Henry Jackson Society has been researching the VPN industry and has found that 30% of VPNs are owned by Chinese companies that have direct data paths to the Chinese government.

Surely this will have extreme security issues as privately porn using people could then be set up for blackmail or pressure from the Chinese authorities.

The government needs to put an end to the current AV scheme and go back to the drawing board. It needs to try again, this time with absolute legal requirements to immediately delete porn users identity data and to totally ban the retention of browsing logs.

Anyway, the Henry Jackson Society explains its latest revelations:

Chinese spies could exploit Government's new porn laws to gather compromising material on businessmen, civil servants and public figures, say think tanks.

They say Chinese firms have quietly cornered the market in technology that enables people to access porn sites without having to register their personal details with age verification firms or buy an age ID card in a newsagent.

The new law require those accessing porn sites to prove they are 18 but the checks and registration can be by-passed by signing up to a Virtual Private Network (VPNs). These anonymise the location of a computer by routing its traffic through a server based at remote locations.

It has now emerged through an investigation by security experts that many of the VPNs are secretly controlled by Chinese owned firms -- as many as 30% of the networks worldwide.

It means that a VPN users' viewing habits and data can not only be legally requested by the Chinese Government under its lax privacy laws but the VPNs could themselves also be state-controlled, according to the Adam Smith Institute and Henry Jackson Society.

Sam Armstrong, spokesman for the Henry Jackson Society, said:

A list of billions of late-night website visits of civil servants, diplomats, and politicians could -- in the wrong hands -- amount to the largest-ever kompromat file compiled on British individuals.

Those in sensitive jobs are precisely the types of individuals who would seek to use a VPN to circumvent the trip to the newsagent to buy a porn pass.

Yet, the opaque ownership of these VPNs by Chinese firms means there is a real likelihood any browsing going through them could fall into the hands of Chinese intelligence.

 

 

The Current War...

Cut in the US for an MPAA PG-13 rated theatrical release


Link Here17th July 2019
The Current War is a 2017 USA historical biography by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.
Starring Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tuppence Middleton. BBFC link IMDb

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse, THE CURRENT WAR is the epic story of the cutthroat competition between the greatest inventors of the industrial age over whose electrical system would power the new century. Backed by J.P. Morgan, Edison dazzles the world by lighting Manhattan. But Westinghouse, aided by Nikola Tesla, has seen fatal flaws in Edison's direct current design. Igniting a war of currents, Westinghouse and Tesla bet everything on risky and dangerous alternating current. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) and written by playwright Michael Mitnick (Sex Lives of our Parents), THE CURRENT WAR also stars Katherine Waterston, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Matthew Macfadyen, and Tuppence Middleton.

The film is MPAA PG-13 rated in the US but only after cuts so as to tone down the consumer advice.

The film was originally uncut and MPAA PG-13 rated for some disturbing/violent images, and thematic elements.

The distributors made cuts and resubmitted the film. it was then passed PG-13 for some violent content and thematic elements.

Presumably the US version was cut to remove the disturbing images.

For comparison the film is uncut and 12A rated in the UK.

 

 

Pet Whinges...

ASA dismisses complaints about the poster for Pet Sematary


Link Here17th July 2019

A poster for the cinema release of the film Pet Sematary (2019) seen on the side of a bus, in April 2019, featured an image of children with animal masks and carrying various objects, including a spade, a crucifix and a wheelbarrow, walking through the woods with crucifixes in the background. Text beneath stated SOMETIMES DEAD IS BETTER.

Issue 1. Three complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because they believed it might encourage suicide; and

2. one complainant challenged whether the ad would cause unjustifiable distress to people who were grieving the loss of loved ones.

ASA Assessment 1 & 2 Not upheld

The ASA considered that it was clear from the placement, prominence and context of the text Sometimes dead is better that it was a strapline for a horror movie. While we acknowledged that particular care must be taken to prepare ads with a sense of responsibility and ensure that they in no way encouraged or condoned suicide, the ad did not directly reference suicide, nor did it go into any further or specific detail about death or dying.

We noted that the ad included an image of crucifixes, a misty woodland and children in animal masks. We considered that although the ad featured children and referenced death, it did not go so far as to encourage suicide, amongst young people in particular or otherwise. We considered that while the text Sometimes dead is better might be distasteful, it was in keeping with the content of the film and that it was not unusual for death to be referenced in relation to a horror film.

We considered that although the references to death might be upsetting to those who were recently bereaved, we did not consider it excessive in the context of an ad for a horror film. For those reasons, while we acknowledged that the ad may be seen as distasteful, we considered that it did not encourage suicide nor did it cause unjustifiable or excessive distress. We therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible and did not breach the Code.

 

 

13 Reasons Why...

Cuts in the uncut version have been cut from the Netflix version


Link Here16th July 2019
Netflix has censored the climatic suicide scene in the finale of season 1 of 13 Reasons Why . The original uncut version is no longer available on Netflix

The Netflix series' creator Brian Yorkey decided to edit the scene after seeking the advice of medical experts, Netflix said in a statement to PEOPLE. Netflix continued:

As we prepare to launch Season 3 later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show, the statement continues. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from Season 1.

The scene, which takes place part way through the finale episode in the first season, no longer includes footage of Hannah, played by actress Katherine Langford, dying by suicide. Instead, the scene goes from Hannah looking at herself in a mirror to her parents' reaction to her death.

The original uncut version is still available on DVD. It was passed 18 uncut by the BBFC for a suicide scene.

 

 

Switch to Swtich...

Another example of game censored by Sony but uncensored by Nintendo


Link Here16th July 2019
Nintendo has made it very clear that they won't be stepping in to ask developers/publishers to censor content on their platforms. They'll leave the content monitoring to game rating organizations, as Nintendo believes those organizations will do their job and rate games appropriately.

The latest example of Nintendo's hands-off approach is Raspberry Cube in Japan. The PS4 version of the game is cut has been rated CERO C, while the Switch version is uncut had has a higher CERO D rating (17+)

 

 

Updated: Devotion to censorship...

Extreme punishment for a Taiwan games company that included the Winnie the Pooh meme in a game


Link Here16th July 2019
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
Back in February Kotaku UK reported on a game called Devotion disappearing from Steam , following the discovery of a piece of in-game art that mocked Chinese president Xi Jinping. We checked back in May, and the game had not reappeared .

The Chinese Communist Party, world-famous for its sense of humour, has now decided that merely disappearing this game was not enough. Now it has revoked the business license of one of the game's publishers, Indievent.

Without a business license, you cannot legally operate in China. So that's that for Indievent. worldwide. Devotion was developed by the Taiwanese studio Red Candle, but of course the Chinese market is essential for its economic viability.

And of course another point of this extreme censorship is that it sends a message to game publishers worldwide. Now doubt most of them have an eye on the possibility of sales to China.

Update: Snuffed out

16th July 2019. See article from dailydot.com

It seems that Devotion has been totally sunk by the Winnie the Pooh incident. Red Candle Gamessaid in a statement:

For the past four months, the art asset incident related to Devotion has caused immeasurable harm to Red Candle Games and our partner, (Chinese publisher Indievent),

While mediation is still in progress, Red Candle's co-founders have reached a unanimous decision to not re-release 'Devotion' in the near term, including but not limited to obtaining profit from sales, revision, IP authorization, etc. to prevent unnecessary misconception.

The studio extended its apologies to all impacted teams and personnel, and is taking full responsibility for any and all losses.

 

 

Commented: YouTube speaks out against the censorship proposed in the Online Harms white paper...

YouTube is reluctant to censor drill music videos


Link Here16th July 2019
Full story: Drill Music...Drill music videos banned by UK police
Ben McOwen Wilson the head of YouTube UK said that the website not remove drill music videos from the platform saying that they provide a place for those too often without a voice.

He Said that YouTube must work with government and regulators to find a balance on removing content.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, McOwen Wilson had a knock at the vague government internet censorship plan outline in the Online Harms white paper. He said it was right that anything which is illegal offline should not be permitted online, but added that deciding when to remove videos which were legal but could be considered potentially harmful was a greater issue facing the tech industry.  He said:

Drawing a line on content that should be removed isn't always clear. For example, as communities are working to address the issue of gang violence, we too find ourselves developing the right way to play our part.

While some have argued there is no place for drill music on YouTube, we believe we can help provide a place for those too often without a voice.

To strike this balance, we work with the Metropolitan Police, community groups and experts to understand local context and take action where needed.

Offsite Comment: YouTube is right to defend drill

The British state's war on rappers is authoritarian and racist.

16th July 2019. See article from spiked-online.com by Jason Reed

 

 

Extract The Hidden Sword...

Chinese film censorship leaves little chance that its films can find international success and the resulting insipid films are hardly setting China's box office alight


Link Here16th July 2019
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

The Hidden Sword is a 2017 China action drama by Haofeng Xu.
Starring Qing Xu, Jue Huang and Aoyue Zhang. IMDb

Latest film of Xu Haofeng, a new master of Chinese Wu Xia films, screenwriter of Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster. The new film tells a Chinese Wu Xia story happened in 1930s, but with a new presentation.

Long-awaited martial-arts film The Hidden Sword announced Monday that its theatrical release this Friday in China has been cancelled, presumably the latest casualty of a censorship campaign that is damaging the country's box office.

The Chinese film censors had granted the film at least enough permission to appear at international film festivals and it won awards at Montreal and Taiwan.

However the censors seemed to get cold feet at the domestic premiere. It was banned just 4 days before its premiere.

See Chinese Box Office Self-Harm Continues With Axing of 'The Hidden Sword' from variety.com

 

 

Today's the day when porn internet censorship was to have begun...

Margot James apologises for the delay whilst the Open Rights Group points out the scheme is still not safe for porn viewers


Link Here 15th July 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

ICO's Data Protection Training
The Pavlov Method
 
nodding dog
 ☑  Yes I won't read this message. and yes you can do what the fuck you like with my porn browsing data
 ☑  Yes please do, I waiver all my GDPR rights
 ☑  Yes I won't read this message. and yes, feel free to blackmail me
 ☑  Yes you can do anything you like 'to make my viewing experience better'
 ☑  Yes, no need to ask, I'll tick anything

Digital Minister Margot James has apologised for the six-month delay on the so-called porn block, which had been due to take effect today (16th July). It is designed to force pornography websites to verify users are over 18.

But the law has been delayed twice - most recently because the UK government failed to properly notify European regulators. James told the BBC:

I'm extremely sorry that there has been a delay. I know it sounds incompetent. Mistakes do happen, and I'm terribly sorry that it happened in such an important area,

Of course the fundamental mistake is that the incompetent lawmakers cared only about 'protecting the children' and gave bugger all consideration to the resulting endangerment of the adults visiting porn sites.

It took the government months, but it finally started to dawn on them that perhaps they should do something to protect the identity data that they are forcing porn users to hand over that can then be pinned to their porn browsing history. They probably still didn't care about porn users but perhaps realised that the scheme would not get of the ground if it proved so toxic that no one would ever sign up for age verification at all.

Well as a belated after thought the government, BBFC and ICO went away to dream up a few standards that perhaps the age verifiers ought to be sticking to try and ensure that data is being kept safe.

So then the whole law ended up as a bag of worms. The authorities now realise that there should be level of data protection, but unfortunately this is not actually backed up by the law that was actually passed. So now the data protection standards suggested by the government/BBFC/ICO are only voluntary and there remains nothing in law to require the data actually be kept safe. And there is no recourse against anyone who ends up exploiting people's data.

The Open Rights Group have just written an open letter to the government to ask that government to change their flawed law and actually require that porn users' data is kept properly safe:

The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Re: BBFC Age Verification Privacy Certification Scheme

Dear Secretary of State,

We write to ask you to legislate without delay to place a statutory requirement on the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to make their privacy certification scheme for age verification providers mandatory. Legislation is also needed to grant the BBFC powers to require compliance reports and penalise non-compliant providers.

As presently constituted, the BBFC certification scheme will be a disaster. Our analysis report, attached, shows that rather than setting out objective privacy safeguards to which companies must adhere, the scheme allows companies to set their own rules and then demonstrate that these are being followed. There are no penalties for providers which sign up to the standard and then fail to meet its requirements.

The broadly-drafted, voluntary scheme encourages a race to the bottom on privacy protection. It provides no consistent guarantees for consumers about how their personal data will be safeguarded and puts millions of British citizens at serious risk of fraud, blackmail or devastating sexual exposure.

The BBFC standard was only published in April. Some age verification providers have admitted that they are not ready. Others have stated that for commercial reasons they will not engage with the scheme. This means that the bureaucratic delay to age verification's roll-out can now be turned to advantage. The Government needs to use this delay to introduce legislation, or at the least issue guidance under section 27 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, that will ensure the privacy and security of online users is protected.

We welcome the opportunity to bring this issue to your attention and await your response.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Killock Executive Director Open Rights Group

 

 

Nationalists call for a ban on anti-national messaging...

India's ruling party resurrects its call to ban the short video app TikTok


Link Here 15th July 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
Short video-sharing app TikTok came into the spotlight in India in the spring of this year. The app was accused of facilitating the distribution of pornography.

The app was banned for a while but was restored after it introduced a minimum age of at least 13 for new accounts. It also implemented automatic censorship tools that detected and blocked nudity.

Now the app has reappeared in the spotlight. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of the Indian ruling party Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has again called for video sharing site TikTok to be banned in India. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the SJM said:

To prevent such applications from operating in India, we would humbly request the creation of a new law that requires testing and also regulation to protect our national security as well as the privacy of Indian users from countries with inimical interests to India. Until such a law is notified, all such Chinese applications, including TikTok and Helo should be banned by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In recent weeks, TikTok has become a hub for anti-national content that is being shared extensively on the application. We have been notified of videos advocating views that promote religious violence, anti-Harijan sentiments, and mistreatment of women. There have also been various instances of deaths being caused due to TikTok across India.

The essence seems to be that if people are going to communicate with anti state ideas then they could at least use an Indian app rather than a Chinese one.

 

 

Alarm Bells Identified...

DCMS will consult about online ID cards so that your porn viewing and all your PC misdemeanours on social media can be logged against your social score


Link Here14th July 2019

Despite concern among some groups of witnesses, a shift in approach in the UK Government's position seems on the horizon. The Minister for Digital and the Creative industries, for example, implied support for a universal digital ID in a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2019:

think there are advantages of a universally acclaimed digital ID system which nowhere in the world has yet. There is a great prize to be won once the technology and the public's confidence are reconciled.

On 11 June 2019, DCMS and the Cabinet Office announced their intentions to launch a consultation on digital identify verification in the coming weeks. The following actions were set out:

  • A consultation to be issued in the coming weeks on how to deliver the effective organisation of the digital identity market.

  • The creation of a new Digital Identity Unit, which is a collaboration between DCMS and Cabinet Office. The Unit will help bring the public and private sector together, ensure the adoption of interoperable standards, specification and schemes, and deliver on the outcome of the consultation.

  • The start of engagement on the commercial framework for using digital identities from the private sector for the period from April 2020 to ensure the continued delivery of public services.

Single unique identifiers for citizens can transform the efficiency and transparency of Government services. We welcome the Government's announcement in June 2019 that it will consult shortly on digital identity. While we recognise that in the UK there are concerns about some of the features of a single unique identifier, as demonstrated by the public reaction to the 2006 Identity Card Act, we believe that the Government should recognise the value of consistent identity verification. The Government should facilitate a national debate on single unique identifiers for citizens to use for accessing public services along with the right of the citizen to know exactly what the Government is doing with their data.

Offline Comment: Privacy International explains some of the reasons why this is a bad idea

14th July 2019. See article from privacyinternational.org

The debate shouldn't be about having insight into how your identifier is used. It should be about making sure that identifiers are never usable.

After all, any unique identifier will not be limited to government use. Whether through design or commercial necessity, any such number will also find it's way into the private sector. This was another fear highlighted in the mid-2000s, but it has played out elsewhere. For example, the Indian Supreme Court, in their ruling on the Aadhaar system that provided a unique number to more than a billion people, that there were dangers of its use in the private sector: Allowing private entities to use Aadhaar numbers will lead to commercial exploitation of an individual's personal data without his/her consent and could lead to individual profiling.

Given everything that's happened since, the 13 years since the 2006 ID Card Act (that was repealed in 2010) can seem like a lifetime. But it's clear that the concerns expressed then remain prescient now. Now that we know so much more about the risks that the exploitation of people's data plays - and the targeting, profiling and manipulating of individuals and groups - we should be even more fearful today of such a system than we were a decade ago. Furthermore, it's been shown that we do not need such a unique identifier for people to securely access government services online, and it's on such concepts we must build going forward.

See the full article from privacyinternational.org

 

 

Harmless fun...

Anti-smoking campaigners persuade video game developer to drop all smoking from Gears 5


Link Here14th July 2019
Gears 5 , the forthcoming installment in the Gears of Wars third-person shooter game franchise, will be set in a smoking free environment.

The game, set for Sept. 10 release, comes from Xbox Game Studios and game developer The Coalition. The decision to remove all smoking references from Gears 5 came after the anti-smoking campaigners from Truth Initiative approached media company Turner has broadcast rights to the title, about making the change. Turner collaborated with The Coalition to strip out smoking from the game.

Past Gears of War titles have included occasional scenes with tobacco use, with certain characters holding cigarettes or cigars.

Of course, Gears 5 still includes a ton of shooting and, arguably, glorifies violence. The game is rated M (for audiences 17+) for blood and gore, strong language and intense violence.

 

 

Sweet Little Sixteen...

Drinks range censored for appealing to children


Link Here14th July 2019
The drink censors of the Portman Group have upheld a recent complaint about Sweet Little Drinks (Sweet Little Glitter Bubble Gum Gin Liqueur, Sweet Little Glitter Bomb Love Heartz and Sweet Little Pink Vanilla Candy Floss Gin Liqueur). The group said:

The complaint was referred to us from the Advertising Standards Authority, with concern expressed that the Sweet Little Drinks appear to promote alcohol to children through the labels, artwork, product names, the colouring and bottle shapes, along with the brand name Sweet Little.

Reviewing the products in detail, the Panel felt:

  • They may have a particular appeal to children and look like part of a children's confectionary range.
  • They could be considered to look more similar in design to a bubble bath product than an alcoholic drink, if they were placed in a home environment.
  • The face in the "Sweet Little" logo was the profile of young girl's face and conveyed the impression that the brand was not targeting an adult market.
  • The direct link to the Love Hearts sweet brand together with the Love Heart style of font used and the dark pink colour of the drink, could lead the product to appeal to teenage girls.
  • In the case of Sweet Little Glitter Bomb Bubble Gum Gin Liqueur and Glitter Bomb Love Heartz Gin Liqueur, despite containing positive alcoholic descriptors on the bottle, these were in a difficult to read font on a clear label on a glitter based product which may cause further consumer confusion as to the alcoholic nature of the product.

The Panel concluded that the cumulative impact of sweetie cues on each individual label, together with the Sweet Little brand name and logo, had unintentionally created a particular appeal to under 18s in each case. The Panel felt that Sweet Little Drinks need to make an effort to ensure that they do not cause any consumer confusion or appeal to children, by going to greater lengths when communicating their alcoholic nature. The Panel therefore accordingly upheld the complaint against the products.

 

 

Offsite Article: Revealed: Top-Secret User Manual for Cops' surveillance and tracking database app...


Link Here 14th July 2019
Motherboard obtained a Palantir user manual through a public records request, and it gives unprecedented insight into how the company logs and tracks individuals.

See article from vice.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Definitely not Dr. Dolittle...


Link Here13th July 2019
Peter Fonda recalls that the US film censor's moralising over The Trip inspired him to write the classic Easy Rider

See article from finance.yahoo.com

 

 

Jordan is addicted to censorship...

Jordan's game censors ban PlayerUnknown's Battleground and six other games are set to follow


Link Here12th July 2019
PlayerUnknown's Battleground is a 2017 South Korea Battle Royale by PUBG Corporation

Jordan's game censors at the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) have banned PUBG.

A statement claimed that the action came after a wave of complaints from citizens and authorities alike. However, the TRC said one of its main reasons for implementing the ban was a World Health Organization study that classified PUBG as a violent game leading to addiction and social isolation, further stating that children who play violent games are more violent than their peers.

Director of Beneficiaries Affairs at the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), Eng. Mohammad AlWathiq Shaqrah, revealed that after PUBG game was banned in Jordan, the TRC is planning to ban six other video games. He said that Fortnite is one of the games expected to be banned.

 

 

Offsite Article: An always on home microphone is always going to be too tempting for snoops and spooks...


Link Here12th July 2019
Belgian researchers reveal recordings from Google's home assistant that are clearly not activated by an 'OK Google'

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: Streaming online pornography produces as much CO2 as Belgium...


Link Here 12th July 2019
Climate campaigners already want to take away your car, holidays abroad, and your Sunday roast, now they've got their beady eyes on your porn and Netflix

See article from newscientist.com

 

 

Twitter bans the clergy from tweeting about their flock...

Twitter has updated its rules and will now ban tweets dehumanising religious groups to animals


Link Here 11th July 2019
Full story: Twitter Privacy...The sharing of user data for advertising purposes
Twitter has blogged about its recent censorship rules update:

Our primary focus is on addressing the risks of offline harm, and research shows that dehumanizing language increases that risk. As a result, after months of conversations and feedback from the public, external experts and our own teams, we're expanding our rules against hateful conduct to include language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion.

Starting today, we will require Tweets like these to be removed from Twitter when they're reported to us:

Religious groups are viruses. They are making this country sick.

It is always one of the unintended consequences of censorship is that it often applies most to those that are supposed to be in need of protection. Eg religious groups are the ones that are most likely to be pulled up for hate directed at other religious groups.

So will Twitter ban such bible quotes as:

But [Moses] made his own people go out like sheep -- Distinguishing between them and the Egyptians, as a shepherd divideth between the sheep and the goats, having set his own mark upon these sheep, by the blood of the Lamb sprinkled on their door-posts. And they went forth as sheep, not knowing whither they went. And guided them in the wilderness -- As a shepherd guides his flock.

(Psalm 78:52-54)

 

 

Ethical censorship...

Danish education minister proposes the establishment of a censor board for influencers on social media


Link Here11th July 2019

Denmark is considering the censorship of social media after an Instagram influencer's suicide note kicked off a controversy.

Instagram personality Fie Laursen posted a suicide note which received 30,000 comments and 8,000 likes. The public suicide note remained online for two days before Laursen herself took it down, having received treatment in a local hospital for an attempted overdose.

In the aftermath, Danish Minister of Children and Education Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil has proposed that influencers and bloggers must adhere to press based rules to avoid 'harm' to the wider public. Rosenkrantz-Theil said:

All journalists are familiar with the press ethics rules that, for example, that one must be careful about talking about suicide in the public space. When managing popular blogs with hundreds of thousands of followers, I think we can make the same demands.

Rosenkrantz-Theil proposes the formation of a governmental censorship board to enforce such rules which would be granted the authority to remove material in breach of whatever guidelines were created. The politician also outlined a scenario whereby the influencers would have to designate three people to have the password for their accounts. These people can then remove a post if they believe it violates the press ethics.

The proposed Press Board would be afforded the right to criticize and ultimately, to censor, offending posts that broke any potential ethical guidelines. The censor's remit would be limited to those influencers with more than 5,000 followers.

 

 

Eastern Condors...

The BBFC confirms that the previous animal cruelty cuts have been waived for 2019 Blu-ray release


Link Here10th July 2019

Eastern Condors is a 1987 Hong Kong action war drama by Sammo Kam-Bo Hung.
Starring Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Biao Yuen and Haing S Ngor. BBFC link IMDb

Passed 18 after cuts for animal cruelty for cinema , VHS and DVD. The BBFC cuts were waived for 18 rated Blu-ray in 2019

The previous BBFC cuts were for animal cruelty, pulling the head off a snake.

BBFC uncut
98:18s
18UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong bloody violence with previous BBFC cuts waived:
  • 2019 Eureka [Three Films With Sammo Hung] (RB) Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 23rd September 2019

Promotional Material

Presented here are three highlights from Sammo Hung s incredible career, showcasing his incredible skill and artistry both in front of, and behind the camera.

The Iron-Fisted Monk [1977] Sammo Hung s directorial debut, The Iron-Fisted Monk introduced many of the choreographic and editing techniques that would become commonplace in modern action cinema. A significantly darker and more violent film than audiences were used to, the film was originally cut when released on UK home video, but is presented here fully uncut for its worldwide Blu-ray debut from a brand new 2K restoration .

The Magnificent Butcher [1979] Directed by the legendary Yuen Woo-ping as a spiritual successor to his earlier smash hit, Drunken Master, The Magnificent Butcher stars Sammo as Butcher Lam Sai-wing, a pupil of Wong Fei-hung (the role Jackie Chan portrayed in Drunken Master , but here played by Kwan Tak-hing who played the legendary folk hero in over 70 films). When Lam is framed for murder by a rival clan, he must track down the real murderer and fight to clear his name. To be strong enough to have a chance of winning, he must train under the original Drunken Master, Beggar So! Presented from a brand new 2K restoration .

Eastern Condors [1987] Quite possibly Sammo s best film, this high-kicking tribute to The Dirty Dozen sees ten convicts offered amnesty if they undertake a deadly mission behind enemy lines in Vietnam to destroy a top-secret munitions dump. Presented here fully uncut for the first time ever in the UK, and from a brand new 2K restoration , this film is an absolute must-see!

BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
  • Stunning 1080p presentation of all three films on Blu-ray, from brand new 2K restorations and in their original widescreen aspect ratios.
  • Original Cantonese mono tracks for all three films
  • English audio options, all three films include the option of classic English dubs from the films original international releases, and the newer English dubs produced for later home video releases
  • The Iron-Fisted Monk - Fully Restored Cantonese mono track, with original sound effects reinserted after being absent from previous releases
  • The Magnificent Butcher Alternate Cantonese mono track featuring a unique mix and different music cues
  • Eastern Condors: The Export Version [94 mins] Presented in 2K, a shorter edit of the film released to international markets
  • Newly translated English subtitles (optional) for all three films
  • Brand new audio commentaries on Eastern Condors and The Magnificent Butcher by martial-arts cinema authority Mike Leeder and filmmaker Arne Venema
  • Brand new audio commentary on The Iron-Fisted Monk and Eastern Condors by Asian film expert Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival)
  • Multiple interviews with Sammo Hung, talking about his work on each film
  • Interview with actor and stuntman Yuen Wah, talking about his work on Eastern Condors
  • Interview with Yuen Woo-ping, talking about his work on The Magnificent Butcher
  • Eastern Condors Live! a live performance from the 1987 Miss Hong Kong Pageant
  • Trailers for all three films
  • O-Card Slipcase
  • Limited Edition Collector s booklet [First Print Run of 2000 units ONLY] featuring new writing on all three films by James Oliver

 

 

On the naughty step...

Ofcom demands that Starz UK channel broadcasts a statement of Ofcom censure for broadcasting a jewish caricature submitted by a viewer


Link Here10th July 2019

Ofcom has directed Trace UK World Ltd to broadcast a statement of findings in relation to antisemitic content broadcast by CSC Media Group (CSC), a subsidiary of Colombia Pictures.

The service Starz -- a UK satellite television channel which broadcasts music videos alongside texts and photographs submitted by viewers -- broadcast a viewer-submitted antisemitic caricature.

In this case, an image submitted by a viewer was shown, which depicted a cartoon caricature of a man wearing what appeared to be a prayer shawl (or tallit) which was decorated with a blue Star of David and blue and white stripes. The man was caricatured as having a large hooked nose and drooping eyelids. Set against a backdrop of gold coins, he was smiling widely and had his hands flat against his cheeks framing his open mouth.

Viewers pay for the broadcast of submissions and Ofcom therefore treats them as advertisements. Under the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code), advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society. Advertisements must also not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards. Nor must they condone or encourage harmful discriminatory behaviour or treatment. Advertisements must not prejudice respect for human dignity.

After an investigation, Ofcom concluded that the serious nature of the breaches warranted the imposition of a statutory sanction. As a sanction, Ofcom directed that a statement of Ofcom's findings should be broadcast on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

 

 

Updated: I nominate ISPA for ISPA's Internet Villain award...

UK ISPA trade association colludes with the state censors and claims that heroic Mozilla is an internet villain for implementing censor evading encrypted DNS in Firefox


Link Here10th July 2019
Full story: UK Concerns over Encrypted DNS...UK internet censors vs DNS over HTTPS
The Internet Services Providers' Association has announced the finalists for what its members consider as the 2019 Internet Hero and Villain.

The Internet Hero nominations this year include those campaigning to improve trust and confidence online; mapping out the UK's evolving broadband landscape; and working on global internet governance issues. While, the Villain nominees take in the impact of new technical standards on existing online protections, the balance between freedom of expression and copyright online and the global telecoms supply chain.

This year's nominations for the 2019 Internet Heroes and Villains in full are:

ISPA Internet Hero

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee -- for spearheading the Contract for the Web campaign to rebuild trust and protect the open and free nature of the Internet in the 30 th anniversary of the World Wide Web
  • Andrew Ferguson OBE, Editor, Thinkbroadband - for providing independent analysis and valuable data on the UK broadband market since the year 2000
  • Oscar Tapp-Scotting & Paul Blaker, Global Internet Governance Team, DCMS -- for leading the UK Government's efforts to ensure a balanced and proportionate agenda at the International Telecommunications Union Conference

ISPA Internet Villain

  • Mozilla -- for their proposed approach to introduce DNS-over-HTTPS in such a way as to bypass UK filtering obligations and parental controls, undermining internet safety standards in the UK
  • Article 13 Copyright Directive -- for threatening freedom of expression online by requiring content recognition technologies across platforms
  • President Donald Trump -- for causing a huge amount of uncertainty across the complex, global telecommunications supply chain in the course of trying to protect national security

The winners of this year's Heroes and Villains will be chosen by the ISPA Council, and will be announced at the ISPA Awards Ceremony on 11th July in London

Update: Villainous ISPs decide that colluding with censors and snoopers is bad PR

10th July 2019. See article from ispa.org.uk and article from techdirt.com

The villains of ISPA have withdrawn their nomination of the heroic Mozilla as an internet villain. ISPA writes:

Last week ISPA included Mozilla in our list of Internet Villain nominees for our upcoming annual awards.

In the 21 years the event has been running it is probably fair to say that no other nomination has generated such strong opinion. We have previously given the award to the Home Secretary for pushing surveillance legislation, leaders of regimes limiting freedom of speech and ambulance-chasing copyright lawyers. The villain category is intended to draw attention to an important issue in a light-hearted manner, but this year has clearly sent the wrong message, one that doesn't reflect ISPA's genuine desire to engage in a constructive dialogue. ISPA is therefore withdrawing the Mozilla nomination and Internet Villain category this year.

TechDirt noted that the ISPA nomination was kindly advertising Mozilla's Firefox option for DNS over HTTPS:

ISPA nominated Mozilla for the organization's meaningless internet villain awards for, at least according to ISPA, undermining internet safety standards in the UK:

Of course Mozilla is doing nothing of the sort. DNS over HTTPS not only creates a more secure internet that's harder to filter and spy on, it actually improves overall DNS performance, making everything a bit faster. Just because this doesn't coalesce with the UK's routinely idiotic and clumsy efforts to censor the internet, that doesn't somehow magically make it a bad idea.

Of course, many were quick to note that ISPA's silly little PR stunt had the opposite effect than intended. It not only advertised that Mozilla was doing a good thing, it advertised DNS over HTTPS to folks who hadn't heard of it previously. Matthew Prince P (@eastdakota) tweeted:

Given the number of people who've enabled DNS-over-HTTPS in the last 48 hours, it's clear @ISPAUK doesn't understand or appreciate @mmasnick's so-called "Streisand Effect."

 

 

Offsite Article: I bet the authorities are looking forward to age verification for TV...


Link Here 10th July 2019
A primary school headmaster has sent a letter to parents complaining pupils as young as eight were emulating behaviour seen on TV show Love Island.

See article from bbc.com

 

 

Happytimes at the censor's office...

Malaysia's chief censor reports on 8 films banned in 2018


Link Here9th July 2019
Full story: Censored Films in Malaysia...Film censors and censorship
Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz, chairman of the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) has been interviewed by the New Straits Times.

He reported that eight films had been banned in 2018:

  • Dua -- Dunia Untuk Aku (Malaysia)
  • Padmaavat (India)
  • Iruttu Arayil Murattu Kuthtu (Malaysia)
  • Love, Simon (US)
  • A Fantastic Woman (Chile / Germany / Spain / USA)
  • Bilal (Malaysia)
  • 18.05.2009 (India)
  • The Happytime Murders (US)

He also made a fe comments as to why these had been banned

Any film with LGBT elements, whether directly or indirectly promoting or propagandising this element, will be banned. That was why Dua -- Dunia Untuk Aku was banned.

The animated film Bilal was banned as its portrayal of Islam was not in accordance with the Sunnah practised in Malaysia.

The Bollywood movie Padmaavat , meanwhile, was axed as it depicted Muslims negatively.

The other movies contained LGBT elements or had extreme sexual scenes.

Zamberi also spoke of the board's discussions to add an extra age certificate to Malaysia's line up. Currently, films are classified as U, P13 or 18. Zamberi said most of the time, local distributors and producers seek a U or P13 classification.

He said that there was a significant gap between the P13 and 18 categories and so the LPF is mulling introducing new classifications, like P15 or P16, to bridge this gap.

 

 

Offsite Article: Who Has the Most Censored Internet?...


Link Here9th July 2019
After China and North Korea...obviously...

See article from gizmodo.com

 

 

Die Kasseler Liste...

Canadian professor compiles an international database of banned books


Link Here8th July 2019
A list of banned books is over 118,000 titles long and it's constantly growing, according to a professor from the University of British Collumbia.

Professor Florian Gassner is the co-leader of a project to compile a digital list of censored books that is publicly available and searchable.

The project is called Die Kasseler Liste and it was inspired by an art installation in Germany that recreated the Parthenon using banned books.

Gassner says the first hurdle he and his team of students team had to overcome was deciding what constitutes censorship. They decided to include titles banned by governments as well as books that were taken off the shelves of public institutions -- like schools and libraries -- after public pressure.

Gassner says government censorship is still a reality in countries like China, Russia, and Nigeria. He doesn't mention the current trend for banning books in the west on grounds of political correctness.

Gassner also wants people to understand that censorship goes beyond book-banning; it limits what can be written in the first place.

 

 

Vice nannies join the intimacy supervisors at Netflix...

Netflix vows to stub out smoking in its productions


Link Here 8th July 2019
From chain-smoking time traveller Nadia in Russian Doll , to frazzled single mom Joyce Byers rarely seen without a pack in her shaking hands in Stranger Things , Netflix's characters love to smoke. But that looks set to change.

Anti smoking campaigners, the Truth Initiative, published campaign material noting that Stranger Things was among the programs that showed most smoking on screen. Other series that featured were Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Orange Is The New Black.

Netflix is now vowing to curtail the appearance of cigarettes on screen in all its new projects. In a statement to Variety, Netflix pledged to make all their programming aimed at young people -- anything with a rating below PG-13 or TV-14 -- smoking and e-cigarette free, except for reasons of historical and factual accuracy. Meanwhile, for their content aimed at older viewers, there will be no smoking or e-cigarette use unless it's either essential or character-defining.

 

 

Offsite Article: Drawing a straight line...


Link Here8th July 2019
Amazon removes books about gay conversion therapy and videos about anti-vaxx. Where should we draw the line between censorship and fraud prevention?

See article from dailywire.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Why TikTok social media app is facing greater scrutiny...


Link Here 8th July 2019
Because adults don't get it and they aren't policing the children's playground

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Updated: In a strange parallel universe across the channel...

France proposes draconian law with extreme punishments for politically incorrect insults posted on social media


Link Here7th July 2019
Laetitia Avia was hailed as a symbol of French diversity when she entered parliament for Emmanuel Macron' s centrist party in 2017. But the daily racist abuse against her on social networks pushed her to draw up an extreme censorship law to put a stop to her critics.

It states that hateful comments reported by users must be removed within 24 hours by platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. This includes any hateful attack on someone's dignity on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. If the social media platforms and tech companies do not comply, they will face huge fines of up to 4% of their global revenue. Penalties could reach tens of millions of euros. There will also be a new judiciary body to focus on online hate.

The online hatred bill will be debated by the French parliament next week and could be fast-tracked into force in the autumn.

The bill is part of Macron's drive to internet censorship. He announced the planned crackdown on online hate at a dinner for Jewish groups last year, amid a rise of antisemitic acts in France, saying that hateful content online must be taken down fast and all possible techniques put in place to find the identities of those behind it.

Last month, after meetings with Macron, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg agreed to hand over to judges the identification data on its French users suspected of hate speech.

Update: Passed by the National Assembly

7th July 2019. See article from indianexpress.com

The French law to censor politically incorrect insults on social media websites by the National Assembly on Friday.

Under the French draft law, social media groups would have to put in place tools to allow users to alert them to clearly illicit content related to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

In the event a network fails to react in due course and/or offer the necessary means to report such content, they could face fines up to 4 per cent of their global revenues.

France's broadcasting censor, CSA, would be responsible for imposing the sanctions and a dedicated prosecutor's office would be created.

Several internet and freedom of speech advocacy groups have pointed out that bill paves the way for state censorship because it does not clearly define illicit content.

Imposing a 24-hour limit to remove clearly unlawful content is likely to result in significant restrictions on freedoms, such as the overblocking of lawful comments or the misuse of the measure for political censorship purposes, said Quadrature du Net, a group that advocates free speech on the internet.

The group also highlighted that a law adopted in 2004 already demanded the removal of hateful content, but in a responsive way, leaving enough time to platforms for assessing the seriousness of the content under review.

The bill now passes to the French Senate for further debate.

 

 

Aborting right wing views...

Given that Google are clearly censoring right wing commentators, then it seems entirely plausible that they are similarly interfering on other political issues, including abortion in Ireland


Link Here7th July 2019

Google has been accused of blacklisting pro-life YouTube search entries ahead of last year's vote in Ireland on legalizing abortion. Pundits call it a deliberate manipulation and demand that the company be held accountable.

Allegations that Google's manual interference with YouTube search results may have played a role in the 2018 referendum on abortion in Ireland surfaced last week, when Project Veritas website published an insider-based article on the matter. Blocked terms reportedly included abortion is murder, Irish Catholic, pro-life and other terms.

Google responded, saying that there was no distinction between pro-life or pro-choice queries on YouTube at the time and that their whole procedure was transparent.

This is hardly a credible response from Google, their processes are never transparent, so how can one believe the other half of the statement?

 

 

Offsite Article: Cold Fear of Cold Fire...


Link Here7th July 2019
Brave Thai band who criticised their government now living in exile fear for their lives after a string of disappearances and murders

See article from abc.net.au

 

 

A new blasphemy law...

The National Secular Society Government online harm plans could curb free expression


Link Here6th July 2019

The National Secular Society has warned that government plans to require social media companies to censor hateful and offensive content could act as a de facto blasphemy law.

In its response to the government's white paper on online harms , the NSS said efforts to confront and challenge hateful speech and behaviour must not undermine free speech on religion.

The white paper outlines plans to create a regulator with the power to fine online platforms and block websites. The regulator will be required to create guidance for social media companies, outlining what constitutes hateful content online.

The guidance would include content which is not necessarily illegal, content which may directly or indirectly cause harm to other users and some offensive material in that definition.

The NSS said censoring content that could be considered offensive would severely restrict freedom of expression, including the freedom to criticise or satirise religion. The society added that the question of offence was an entirely subjective matter.

The NSS also noted that a requirement on companies to demonstrate 'continuous improvement' in tackling hateful material could encourage them to be more censorious.

The NSS also challenged a claim in the white paper that offending online is just as serious as that occurring offline. The NSS said this line lowered the threshold for hate crimes, because people's ability to commit such crimes is much more limited online than offline.

The society raised the example of a man who was recently arrested on suspicion of hate crime after publishing a video on Facebook of himself mocking Islamic prayer in a hospital prayer room. The NSS noted that threats of death and violence were made towards the man and were reported to the police, but no action appeared to have been taken against the perpetrators to date.

The NSS also criticised the government's definition of hate crime which is contained within the white paper. The definition says hate crimes include crimes demonstrating hostility on the grounds of an individual's actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

The NSS said this definition was too broad, meaning any incident in which an individual demonstrates hostility toward another individual based on the listed characteristics could be treated as a hate crime.

The society said strong critics of religion or Christians who preach that gay people will go to Hell were examples of those who risk being charged with hate crimes.

NSS spokesperson Megan Manson said the white paper had given too much ground to those who attempt to shut down legitimate expression, including on religion.

The government should treat the fundamental right to free expression as a positive value in its attempts to promote social cohesion. Instead it has proposed cracking down on what people can say on social media, based largely on vague and broad definitions of what constitutes 'hateful' material. In the process it risks significantly undermining free expression for all and stirring social resentment.

Ministers must not treat the civil liberties of British citizens as an afterthought in their efforts to tackle online harms.

 

 

VPNs, CBDs and Psychodelics...

The BBFC makes its quarterly report of appeals against unnecessary ISP censorship of websites accessed on mobile devices


Link Here6th July 2019
Every 3 months the BBFC reports on appeals from the public and website owners about excessive blocking by mobile ISPs.

These appeals follow very much the pattern followed by previous reports. The ISPs clearly have a policy to slap an 18 rating on sites selling VPNs and CBD products (cannabis related, but without psycho active effects).  The BBFC continues to find that neither of these topics requires an 18 rating. But the ISPs clearly don't take heed, as there will surely be another set next quarter.

This month the BBFC did find that an 18 rating was required for a website campaigning for the legalisation of psychedelic drugs.

 

 

Tyranny...

Virginia becomes the first US state to ban deep fake nude images and videos


Link Here6th July 2019

Virginia has become the first US state to impose criminal penalties on the distribution of non-consensual deepfake images and video. New laws in Virginia take effect on July 1. The state's General Assembly passed the bill in early March, and it was signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam later that month.

The new law amends existing law that defines distribution of nudes or sexual imagery without the subject's consent as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The new bill updated the law by adding a category of falsely created videographic or still image to the text:

Any person who, with the intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate, maliciously disseminates or sells any videographic or still image created by any means whatsoever that depicts another person who is totally nude, or in a state of undress so as to expose the genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast, where such person knows or has reason to know that he is not licensed or authorized to disseminate or sell such videographic or still image is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. For purposes of this subsection, another person includes a person whose image was used in creating, adapting, or modifying a videographic or still image with the intent to depict an actual person and who is recognizable as an actual person by the person's face, likeness, or other distinguishing characteristic.

A small handful other states are working to develop legislation making the use of deepfakes for election manipulation or sexual exploitation unlawful.

But of course the question is now how quickly the law will be used to outlaw political comment, criticism, jokes and internet memes.

 

 

Offsite Article: Met Police use of facial recognition could be unlawful...


Link Here 6th July 2019
The first independent report into use of facial recognition technology by the police found a number of shortcomings around trials that would not withstand legal scrutiny

See article from computerweekly.com

 

 

The pirate flag reaches top mast in Brussels...

Pirate Party MEP has been elected as a Vice-President of the EU Parliament.


Link Here5th July 2019
Full story: Pirate Party...The Pirate Party starts up arund the world
The Pirate Party political movement owes its early success to sticking up for The Pirate Bay, following a raid in Sweden. In recent years Pirates have delivered many excellent politicians and Marcel Kolaja, one of the new MEPs, has just been elected as a Vice-President of the EU Parliament.

4 Pirate MEPS were elected at the last European Election with one from Germany and three from the Czech Republic.

During the last term, the excellent Julia Reda was at the forefront of many lawmaking discussions, particularly with regard to the new Copyright Directive. While Reda recently left Parliament, the new MEPs obviously have similar ambitions.

With 426 votes, Marcel Kolaja was elected with an absolute majority in the second voting round. He will serve as one of the fourteen Vice-Presidents tasked with replacing the President as chair of the plenary if needed, as well as a variety of other tasks.

 

 

The ICO has a Baldric inspired 'cunning plan' to require age verification for nearly all websites...

But the News Media Association points out that it would force websites to choose between being devoid of audience or stripped of advertising


Link Here4th July 2019
Full story: ICO Age Appropriate Design...ICO calls for age assurance for websites accessed by children
For some bizarre reason the ICO seems to have been given powers to make wide ranging internet censorship law on the fly without needing it to be considered by parliament. And with spectacular incompetence, they have come up with a child safety plan to require nearly every website in Britain to implement strict age verification. Baldric would have been proud, it is more or less an internet equivalent of making children safe on the roads by banning all cars.

A trade association for news organisations, News Media Association, summed up the idea in a consultation response saying:

ICO's Age Appropriate Code Could Wreak Havoc On News Media 

Unless amended, the draft code published for consultation by the ICO would undermine the news media industry, its journalism and business innovation online. The ICO draft code would require commercial news media publishers to choose between their online news services being devoid of audience or stripped of advertising, with even editorial content subject to ICO judgment and sanction, irrespective of compliance with general law and codes upheld by the courts and relevant regulators.

The NMA strongly objects to the ICO's startling extension of its regulatory remit, the proposed scope of the draft code, including its express application to news websites, its application of the proposed standards to all users in the absence of robust age verification to distinguish adults from under 18-year olds and its restrictions on profiling. The NMA considers that news media publishers and their services should be excluded from scope of the proposed draft Code.

Attracting and retaining audience on news websites, digital editions and online service, fostering informed reader relationships, are all vital to the ever evolving development of successful newsbrands and their services, their advertising revenues and their development of subscription or other payment or contribution models, which fund and sustain the independent press and its journalism.

There is surely no justification for the ICO to attempt by way of a statutory age appropriate design code, to impose access restrictions fettering adults (and children's) ability to receive and impart information, or in effect impose 'pre watershed' broadcast controls upon the content of all currently publicly available, free to use, national, regional and local news websites, already compliant with the general law and editorial and advertising codes of practice upheld by IPSO and the ASA.

In practice, the draft Code would undermine commercial news media publishers' business models, as audience and advertising would disappear. Adults will be deterred from visiting newspaper websites if they first have to provide age verification details. Traffic and audience will also be reduced if social media and other third parties were deterred from distributing or promoting or linking titles' lawful, code compliant, content for fear of being accused of promoting content detrimental to some age group in contravention of the Code. Audience measurement would be difficult. It would devastate advertising, since effective relevant personalised advertising will be rendered impossible, and so destroy the vital commercial revenues which actually fund the independent media, its trusted journalism and enable it to innovate and evolve to serve the ever-changing needs of its audience.

The draft Code's impact would be hugely damaging to the news industry and wholly counter to the Government's policy on sustaining high quality, trusted journalism at local, regional, national and international levels.

Newspapers online content, editorial and advertising practices do not present any danger to children. The ICO has not raised with the industry any evidence of harm, necessitating such drastic restrictions, caused by reading news or service of advertisements where these are compliant with the law and the standards set by specialist media regulators.

  blackadder cast
The Information Commissioner's Office has a 'cunning plan'

Of course the News Media Association is making a strong case for its own exclusion from the ICO's 'cunning plan', but the idea is equally devastating for websites from any other internet sector.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham was called to give evidence to Parliament's DCMS Select Committee this week on related matters, and she spoke of a clearly negative feedback to her age verification idea.

Her sidekick backtracked a little, saying that the ICO did not mean Age Verification via handing over passport details, more like one of those schemes where AI guesses age by scanning what sort of thing the person has been posting on social media. (Which of course requires a massive grab of data that should be best kept private, especially for children). The outcome seems to be a dictate to the internet industry to 'innovate' and find a solution to age verification that does not require the mass hand over of private data (you know like what the data protection laws are supposed to be protecting). The ICO put a time limit on this innovation demand of about 12 months.

In the meantime the ICO has told the news industry that age verification idea won't apply to them, presumably because they can kick up a hell of stink about the ICO in their mass market newspapers. Denham said:

We want to encourage children to find out about the world, we want children to access news sites.

So the concern about the impact of the code on media and editorial comment and journalism I think is unfounded. We don't think there will be an impact on news media sites. They are already regulated and we are not a media regulator.

She did speak any similar reassuring words to any other sector of the internet industry who are likely to be equally devastated by the ICO's 'cunning plan'.

 

 

VPNs claimed to be unlicensed ISPs...

Indonesia's internet censor to consider a ban on VPNs


Link Here4th July 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Indonesia...Indonesia passes internet porn bill
VPNs recently came under the scrutiny of the Indonesian government after authorities placed restrictions on social media during the May 21-22 election protests. At that time, the government temporarily banned certain features of social media to censor the communications that it did not like. Inevitably many Indonesians turned to using VPNs to bypass the ban, causing a sharp increase in VPN downloads.

In response, the government claimed that VPNs, especially the free ones, may pose threats to users' private data and that they should be uninstalled.

Now the Information and Communications Ministry (Kominfo) chipped in saying that Kominfo will not hesitate to block VPNs that aren't licensed in Indonesia. The licensing requirement seems to be a tenuous correlation that VPNs are somehow equivalent to ISPs, and ISPs Indonesia must be licensed.

This connection is not quite confirmed as yet and Kominfo is set to meet with the Association of Internet Service Providers in Indonesia (APJII) to discuss a possible VPN provider ban.

 

 

Offsite Article: 'Carry On Films weren't ALL bad'...


Link Here4th July 2019
The Guardian's high priestesses of PC sit in judgement of the Carry On Films

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Beastly attitudes...

51,000 Kenyans sign petition calling for Disney films to be banned over their inclusion of gay themes


Link Here3rd July 2019
A petition in Kenya was signed by 51,000 people seeking to ban any content by Disney from showing in Kenya.

The petition cited the examples of Frozen 2 and Beauty & the Beast whose inclusion of gay characters was referred to the films being laced with gay connotations and sexual undertones not suitable for children.

The petition also cited a gay pride parade held at the Disney theme park in Florida .

However, the Kenyan film censor Ezekiel Mutua said his team had combed through the trailers of the contentious movies and couldn't identify areas that would warrant a total ban. He added that the board would only make a decision on the movie for its release on November 22, 2019.

 

 

Offsite Article: How about exemptions from Government censorship for ALL internet forums?...


Link Here 3rd July 2019
Press Gazette apposes the government's internet censorship proposals in the Online Harms white paper but only calls for the exemptions for themselves

See article from pressgazette.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: Poetic injustice...


Link Here3rd July 2019
The US authorities harass man who criticised immigration policy in a poem

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

The EU flag unravels...

German politicians seek to make EU flag burning a crime


Link Here2nd July 2019

Brexit party MEPs show their disrespect of EU institutions by turning their backs on the EU anthem
 

German politicians have proposed that people who desecrate the European flag could be faced with a prison sentence.

German politicians, in the east German state of Saxony, are now trying to use the law to force people to respect EU symbols. Saxony state's justice minister has drafted a bill that, if passed, would mean that anyone who denigrates the EU anthem or removes, destroys, damages, or makes useless or unrecognisable the EU flag could face up to three years' imprisonment or a hefty fine.

There is already a similar law in Germany to protect German flags and symbols and this change would extend the principle to EU equivalents

 

 

Facebook loses count of the number of censorship requests...

Germany fines Facebook for a transparency report that did not detail the amount of claims of illegal content that Facebook received


Link Here 2nd July 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
Germany has fined Facebook for failing to detail the number of complaints received in a transparency report.

The Federal Office for Justice (BfJ,) a subdivision of the German justice ministry, announced that it had issued Facebook a fine of 2 million euro for failing to meet the requirements of Berlin's Network Enforcement Act, a law against illegal content, in its transparency report for the first half of 2018.

In the penalty charge notice, the BfJ reprimands in particular that in the released report, the number of received complaints about unlawful content is incomplete, the office said in its announcement, adding that this is creating a distorted image in the public about the extent of unlawful content [on the platform] and the way the social network is dealing with it.

 

 

Belatedly filed...

The EU notes that it has now received notification of the BBFC rules on censoring adult porn


Link Here2nd July 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The implementation of teh UK's new pron censorship regime was recently delayed by 6 months due not not filing the details with the EU as required by European law. Well the BBFC censorship rules have now been duly filed.

The EU websites note that they were filed on 1st July 2019 and there is now a period for people to comment up until 2nd October 2019.

When announcing the delay censorship minister Jeremy Wright noted that at the end of this period another month or so may required to respond to comments.

The EU website noted above provides for comments but maybe only MEPs and the like can hold of the process by asking questions or making comments. Or perhaps any European can comment.

 

 

Delicate Flowers...

A few twitterers get all easily offended at a gag about Welsh language on a road sign for botanic gardens


Link Here2nd July 2019
Comic Omid Djalili has upset a few social media users in Wales with a joke about the Welsh language.

The comedian posted a picture of a road sign for Nantgaredig and the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, bearing the translation Gardd Fotaneg Genedlaethol. Djalili tweeted:

There are worse things than being Welsh, dyslexic & having a terrible stutter. But not many.

A few people responded eg Marc Jones wrote:

Disappointing that someone with Iranian heritage reckons it's OK to have a pop at a minority culture.

 

 

Offsite Article: The UK Is Trying to Censor the Internet...


Link Here2nd July 2019
Here's what the Online Harms White Paper means for UK internet users

See article from pcmag.com

 

 

And when Farage becomes prime minister, Channel 4 will be the first against the wall...

Nigel Farage criticises comedy depicting the assassination of a character based on the politician


Link Here1st July 2019
Channel 4's preposterous Victorian-era comedy Year Of The Rabbit has raised a few eyebrows with its Neil Fromage character, cleared based on Nigel Farage.

Nigel Farage is now calling for Channel 4 to censor a scene which shows a right-wing politician been assassinated. Farage branded the scene as totally sick and frankly irresponsible.

In the period crime comedy a sniper is on the loose in London -- and one of his victims is a character called Neil Fromage, shot in the head while making a speech about the dangers of immigration.

Speaking to the Daily Star Sunday Farage criticised the show:

I think with Channel 4 we have reached a point where they are so partisan politically in everything they do that they now consistently go beyond what's acceptable.

A Channel 4 spokesman responded by pointing out it is a purposefully outrageous and heightened comedy featuring exaggerated and ridiculous fictional characters.


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