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Censor Watch

2020: April

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DAU: Degeneration...

The latest cinema cuts from the BBFC, for animal cruelty

Link Here30th April 2020

Dau: Degeneration - Episode 9 is a 2020 Germany / Ukraine / UK / Russia drama by Ilya Khrzhanovskiy and Ilya Permyakov.
Starring Vladimir Azhippo, Dmitry Kaledin and Olga Shkabarnya. BBFC link IMDb

A secret Soviet Institute conducts scientific and occult experiments on animals and human beings to create the perfect person. The KGB general and his aides turn a blind eye to erotic adventures of the director of the Institute, scandalous debauches of prominent scientists and their cruel and insane research. One day, a radical ultra right-wing group arrives in the laboratory under the guise of test subjects. They get a task - to eradicate the decaying elements of the Institute's community, and if needs be, destroy the fragile world of secret Soviet science.

The latest cinema cuts from the BBFC are to episode 9 of the Russian language arts film DAU: Degeneration. The film was rated 18 but only after cut for animal cruelty.

Thanks to Trash Panda who notes that the film has been streaming on for several weeks in its uncut format with an assumed BBFC 18 label. Of course BBFC certificates are essentially voluntary online and do not carry any legal force.

Trash Panda also notes that another film fro the DAU project, Dau: Natasha, has proven controversial as actors were actually hurt on set. Perhaps related to the BBFC cuts here, Dau Natsasha has just been hastily taken down from the DAU website. Maybe they realised they were being a bit presumptive when streaming the film with a BBFC 18 label.

Note that Dau: Degeneration episodes 7 and 9 contain real sex with an 18 rating. See Hardcore 18s List: DAU Degeneration

BBFC cut
cut: 32s
run: 68:01s
pal: 65:18s
sub: 68:01s
18 UK: Episode 9 was passed 18 for strong real sex, gory images after 32s of compulsory BBFC substitution cuts:
  • 2020 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • Compulsory cuts required to a scene in which a pig is killed, in a protracted and cruel fashion, by a knife hacking at its throat before its spinal cord is severed with an axe.



Rafiki remains banned...

Kenyan high court upholds the film censor's violation of constitutional rights to freedom of expression

Link Here30th April 2020
Full story: Film Censorship in Kenya...Ban happy KFCB particularly for gay themese

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

Rafiki, which means friend in Swahili,  is adapted from the 2007 Caine Prize-winning short story, Jambula Tree, by Ugandan writer Monica Arac Nyeko. It follows two close friends, Kena and Ziki, who eventually fall in love despite their families being on opposing sides of the political divide.

Rafiki was banned by Kenya's moralist film censor in April 2018 for its gay themes. The film makers have been pursuing the censorship through the courts, on the grounds that Kenya's constitution includes the right to artistic freedom of expression.

But now the High Court of Kenya has upheld the violation of the film makers' rights to freedom of expression ruling that the film's ban:

Does not in any way violate Artistic Freedom of Expression, but instead protect the society from moral decay

Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu expressed disappointment in the court's decision:

We are disappointed of course. But I strongly believe in the constitution and we are not going to give u. I think it is very important for us to define what freedom of expression means in Kenya as per our constitution. We are going to appeal. The ruling today is not a true reflection of what the constitution says.



Coronavirus Attack...

Game protesting against Chinese government is unsurprisingly banned from Steam in China

Link Here29th April 2020
China, the creator of covid-19 has banned the virus themed video game, Coronavirus Attack, from the localised Steam games distribution platform.

In order to win Coronavirus Attack, players have to stop selfish zombies from escaping a country infected with the virus.

The ban is hardly surprising as China is the butt of several humorous references. The game uses the same colour scheme as the Chinese flag, with virus-shaped animations in place of its stars. Players can also collect badges that include Liberate Honk Kong and Taiwan is not in China.

The creator behind the game, MythZ, told news site Abacus he had developed the project as a protest against the Chinese government .He said he was unhappy with how it had handled the pandemic.



Playing Chinese Roulette is enough for most people...

Online gambling companies to withdraw TV advertising during coronavirus lockdown

Link Here29th April 2020
All television and radio adverts for gaming are set to be removed during the Covid-19 lockdown by members of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) in a voluntary move by the gambling industry trade body.  The measure will run from May 7 to at least June 5, but in princip lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

Existing advertising slots will be replaced by safer gambling messages, donated to charities or removed from broadcast where contracts permitted.

The UK government has been putting pressure on the betting industry to do more to protect vulnerable punters during the lockdown.  Advertising for sports betting will be reviewed separately



Distanced from civil liberties...

Big Brother Watch publishes report about the UK emergency powers used for the coronavirus lockdown

Link Here28th April 2020

Big Brother Watch review reveals staggering incompetence in use of emergency powers and demands lockdown exit strategy

The civil liberties group's review of coronavirus emergency powers one month after they came into force finds:

  • a new case of a teen wrongly convicted under Coronavirus Act and under powers for wrong country

  • a " postcode lottery of pandemic law " as forces deliver "inconsistent, heavy-handed and sometimes incompetent" policing

  • suspension of freedom of information relating to coronavirus policing

  • new curbs on free speech online

  • growing use of drones, ANPR, location tracking and warns of "a surveillance state in the UK of a scale never seen before"

An Oxford teenager who delivered money to his vulnerable mother was "wrongly convicted" under the emergency Coronavirus Act and under its Welsh provisions, according to civil liberties group Big Brother Watch. The group said it shows "staggering incompetence".

The case emerged in a Big Brother Watch review of the use of emergency powers a month after they came into force. The organisation protested that the Government's exit strategy from extreme restrictions is a "state secret" and urged for it to be made public.

The damning review, published today, identifies " an outbreak of inconsistent, heavy-handed and sometimes incompetent policing" including wrongful convictions, people being forced from their own gardens and driveways, and major discrepancies between forces in the number of penalty notices issued. Police " cannot maintain trust by swinging from public apology to public apology," the campaign group warned.

Zero tolerance

Thames Valley Police, which arrested the Oxford teenager before he was prosecuted under the Welsh emergency powers, ranked second among English police forces for issuing the most lockdown fines in the first 2.5 weeks, totalling 219.

Big Brother Watch's analysis shows that Lancashire Police issued vastly more lockdown fines than any other force in England at 380 which, proportional to population size, is 3.5 times as many as Thames Valley Police and 116 times more than Humberside Police, which issued the fewest fines at just 2.

Lancashire Police threatened on social media that its officers would take "a zero tolerance approach with those who ignore government guidance" days before the lockdown powers came into force.

Postcode lottery of pandemic law

The civil liberties group raised concerns of "senior police figures systematically rejecting legal advice" after several police forces appeared to oppose new guidance clarifying that people are allowed to drive a reasonable distance to exercise.

Dorset Police responded to the guidance with a statement claiming that allowing people to drive to exercise is "not within the spirit of what we are trying to achieve (...) regardless of whether it is 'lawful' or not." Big Brother Watch described the inconsistent policing it identified as creating a "postcode lottery of pandemic law".

Surveillance state

The use of ANPR, drone surveillance, mobile data tracking and citizen reporting could be normalised, the report warns, and result in " a surveillance state in the UK on a scale never seen before."

Concerns have been exacerbated by the "suspension" of freedom of information requests on coronavirus policing. Big Brother Watch uncovered a police strategy document which instructs forces to centralise and delay all freedom of information requests for transparency on policing of emergency powers until summer 2021.



The NHSX surveillance and contact tracing app...

Do app privacy settings achieve privacy when the state's surveillance system is watching all the internet interactions?

Link Here28th April 2020
NHSX, the digital arm of the NHS has been speaking to a parliamentary committee of its upcoming app to be used in the testing, tracking and contact tracing phase of dealing with coronavirus pandemic.

Apple and Google have developed their own contact tracing tools for apps that maximise privacy by keeping most of the key contacts detected via Bluetooth on people's phones. But it was a notable decision that was outlined today that the NHSX tracking app will not be using the Google/Apple system, and will instead be logging contact details with a central server.

However the NHSX app will be using much of the privacy language of the Google/Apple system coupled with the same anonymised contact data handling. Furthermore NHSX said it would be releasing the app code for public scrutiny to assure users that their data will be kept private.

But another key detail revealed was that NHSX was working with GCHQ to help out with security aspects of the app. One has to wonder if the purported privacy of the app is a bit of smokescreen when the GCHQ internet surveillance infrastructure can detect messages being sent to the central server.  The system will know the phone number doing the sending coupled with a pretty good estimate of the location.

But of course this more complete set of data will be extremely useful in combating the virus as it may give an indication of exactly where the virus is being transmitted.

It might be related information that the Big Brother Watch review of the emergency coronavirus legislation reveals that the government has written itself new powers to appoint a new set of people to oversee state internet surveillance. The report says:

On 26th March 2020, a new statutory instrument was made under the Coronavirus Act: The Investigatory Powers (Temporary Judicial Commissioners and Modification of Time Limits) Regulations 2020. This allows for the appointment of temporary Judicial Commissioners to approve authorities' use of investigatory powers including highly intrusive bulk powers. Subsequently, on 21st April, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner appointed 10 new temporary Judicial Commissioners (JCs).205

Presumably these new appointees will be compliant with changes required for the more extensive extraction of data from the tracking app.

If it sorts out the virus and lets the economy bounce back then maybe the ends justifies the means.



Counter privacy...

Child protection campaigners and companies form trade group to oppose free speech and privacy arguments

Link Here27th April 2020
Online technology companies have joined to form a trade group to promote the case for child protection as the Government's Online Harms internet censorship bill works its way through parliament.

The Online Safety Tech Industry Association (OSTIA) launched at Leeds Digital Festival April 27, 2020 and brings together companies who operate in the field of online safety.

Initiated by Edinburgh-based Cyan Forensics and PUBLIC, 14 separate tech companies have joined. Members include Yoti, Crisp, Securium, Super Awesome and Safe To Net.

The group says that one of its aims is to counter free speech and privacy arguments that hit a chord with the public in press coverage of the aborted age verification censorship measures included in the government's Digital Economy Act. The group states on its website:

Too often the debate about Online Safety is focused around what cannot be done, what is technically impossible, and the conflict with other rights such as privacy and freedom of speech. We seek to provide an alternative voice in the debate.

The UK government as welcomed the launch and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and NSPCC are also supporting the group. Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Digital and Culture in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

We are determined to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online and have set out world-leading proposals to put a duty of care on online companies, enforced by an independent regulator. We are backing the industry to support our work by developing new products to improve online security and drive growth in the digital economy. This new association will help bring together relevant organisations to collaborate, innovate and create a safer online world.



True censorship...

Thailand advertises for the job of international news censor for cable and satellite TV

Link Here27th April 2020
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
TrueVisions is the dominant pay TV provider for Thai cable and satellite TV. The company broadcasts all foreign news channels with an annoying 5 minute delay so that a Thai news censor can hit the 'censor' button should the channel report about a sensitive news topic.

Now the True company seems to have got in a spot of bother by openly posting a job listing for an international news censor on the nation's biggest job site.

TrueVisions has been criticized for its post on JobsDB for an employee to monitor inappropriate news from 17 foreign news channels and talk shows and report them to superiors.

According to the job post, any content deemed to violate Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the section known as lese majeste, which makes criticism of the royal family punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The job listing did not indicate salary or other information about the job. Today, it had been replaced by a message reading , We're very sorry. This job no longer exists.



EU bows to China...

EU pressurised by China into censoring report about Chinese disinformation about coronavirus

Link Here26th April 2020
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
An EU report about Chinese and Russian disinformation on coronavirus was watered down after pressure from Beijing.

Chinese diplomats exerted pressure on the EU to change the wording of the report. The report -- on narratives and disinformation around the coronavirus pandemic -- was finally published with heavily toned-down language on China.

Most strikingly, references to China running a global disinformation campaign and Chinese criticism of France's reaction to the pandemic were erased.



Scotland is set to modernise its blasphemy law...

Blasphemy law will be replaced by a wider protection against religious discrimination

Link Here25th April 2020
Scotland's justice secretary Humza Yousaf said the blasphemy law in Scotland would be modernised to cover discrimination against religion. Yousaf said the law would also cover discrimination against age, disability, race and sexual orientation. He said:

By creating robust laws for the justice system, parliament will send a strong message to victims, perpetrators, communities and to wider society that offences motivated by prejudice will be treated seriously and will not be tolerated.

Blasphemy laws were repealed in England and Wales in 2008.



Offsite Article: Author of 'Why Women are Blamed for Everything' blames men...

Link Here 25th April 2020
A fine example of how destructive and toxic all sides of identity politics has become

See article from



Updated: China proposes a new internet protocol...

Inevitably with baked in state central control

Link Here24th April 2020

The Chinese government and the Chinese telecommunications companies such as Huawei under its control are proposing a New IP addressing system for the internet to replace TCP/IP. The New IP system includes top-down checks and balances and such features as a shut up command that would allow a central controller to stop packets from being received or sent by a target New IP address. The China led proposal was first unveiled at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) meeting in September 2019. The associated power point presentation and formal proposal have been made available by Financial Times.

In it, the Chinese government and its state controlled telecommunications service and hardware providers (i.e. Huawei) make the case that TCP/IP is broken and won't scale for use in the future internet which will include things like holographs and space-terrestrial communications. China argues that these new technologies on the old system would require complex translators and increase the overall cost to society.

The New IP proposal admits that TCP/IP has achieved relatively good security. However, China feels that this is still far away from what we actually require in the future. If the security is admittedly relatively good, what could possibly be missing? Apparently, the answer to that question is trust. The proposal reads:

As universal connectivity develops, a better security and trust model need to be designed and deployed to provide a stable, trustworthy, and long-term environment for people to use.

Let's be clear: Trust should have no part in this. Especially this type of absolute trust in centralized institutions -- that have repeatedly proven to be unworthy of such trust -- which is exactly what China is trying to force down the internet world's throat. Let's not forget that China is the same country that already forces real name and identification to be tied to all internet or phone services and also runs a censorship campaign against the open internet so large that it's called the Great Firewall .

NATO report warns against China's New IP system and its proposed Splinternet

Oxford Information Labs (Oxil) has prepared a research report for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that does not look kindly on the New IP proposal or the breakneck pace that it is being rushed through the approval process. The report authors from Oxil spoke with and provided an advance copy of the NATO report to Infosecurity. Oxil summed up the problem with New IP concisely:

New IP would centralize control over the network into the hands of telecoms operators, all of which are either state run or state-controlled in China. So, internet infrastructure would become an arm of the Chinese state.

The New IP model also takes pot shots at current centralized parts of the internet, such as the Domain Name System (DNS), and offers Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) solutions under the guise of promoting a Decentralized Internet Infrastructure (DII) to address them. While that may sound like the holy grail of blockchain technology and true decentralization that real public blockchain technologies such as Handshake provide, what is being proposed by China is absolutely not that. Oxil notes that the proposed DLTs would undoubtedly be under Chinese government control -- bringing about that call for trust again. Oxil explained to Infosecurity:

It is not uncommon for language of 'trust' to replace 'security' in Chinese DII-related discussions. This is concerning because it indicates that the principle of 'security by design' -- at least in the Western context -- is not being adopted in DII's development. In the long-term this could negatively impact cybersecurity globally.

It doesn't matter how distributed or decentralized parts of a protocol seem on the surface, if there is a centralized command at the top that can issue shut up commands to devices supposedly connected to an open internet -- said devices aren't actually connected to an open internet, are they.

China will move towards using New IP with or without ITU approval Huawei is apparently already building internet infrastructure that utilices New IP as opposed to TCP/IP with partner countries, likely in Africa. Besides that, the Chinese proposal for a more top-down controlled internet has also seen support from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. While Huawei claims that this is an open process, and is open to scientists and engineers worldwide to participate in and contribute to, the fact that nobody really knows what's going on besides those involved in the process is telling. Robert Clark writing for LightReading calls New IP Huawei's real threat to networking and describes the situation aptly:

Huawei's important additional role here is as the major supplier to telcos in many developing countries. It is these governments that are likely the biggest enthusiasts for a manageable Internet without being hectored by Western governments about openness and freedom. And Huawei staff are on hand to help them build it.

That is to say, Huawei is already going ahead and building New IP systems with shut up commands and all -- in effect creating the very network islands that they want to use as a reason that TCP/IP won't work. In reality, those seeking to expand network functionality to new types of devices and services such as holograms or satellite comms and more internet of things devices have all the incentive in the world to make something that works with the existing TCP/IP world. In contrast, China and other countries that do not want true freedom on the internet are all too eager to create a form of the internet that gives them ultimate, centralized control. That China is proffering this New IP model to the free world as an improvement should be expected, and thoroughly ignored and lambasted.

Update: Opposed by European internet industry

24th April 2020. See article from

Ripe is the Regional Internet Registry for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia. It allocates and registers blocks of Internet number resources to Internet service providers (ISPs) and other organisations. The RIPE NCC membership consists mainly of Internet service providers, telecommunication organisations and large corporations.

RIPE is opposing a proposal to remodel core internet protocols, a proposal backed by the Chinese government, Chinese telecoms, and Chinese networking equipment vendor Huawei.

Named New IP, this proposal consists of a revamped version of the TCP/IP standards to accommodate new technologies, a shutoff protocol to cut off misbehaving parts of the internet, and a new top-to-bottom governance model that centralizes the internet and puts it into the hands of a few crucial node operators.

The proposal received immediate criticism from the general public and privacy advocates due to its obvious attempt to hide internet censorship features behind a technical redesign of the TCP/IP protocol stack. Millions of eyebrows were raised when authoritarian countries like Iran, Russia, and Saudi Arabia expressed support for the proposal.

In a blog post this week, RIPE NCC, the regional Internet registry for Europe, West Asia, and the former USSR, formally expressed a public opinion against China New IP proposal. Marco Hogewoning, the current acting Manager Public Policy and Internet Governance at the RIPE NCC said:

Do we need New IP? I don't think we do. Although certain technical challenges exist with the current Internet model, I do not believe that we need a whole new architecture to address them.

Any endeavors to revamp internet protocols should be left to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the international body that has been in charge of defining internet standards for decades. Such issues should not be left to the ITU, which is the United Nation's telecommunications body, and an agency where political influence rules, rather than technically-sound arguments.

In addition, RIPE is also concerned with the attempt to change the internet's current decentralized nature.



Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 101...

Link Here24th April 2020
Trolls: World Tour, Bloodshot and The Invisible Man

See article from



Updated: Googling for newspaper revenue...

Australia accelerates its link tax proposals

Link Here23rd April 2020
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is accelerating its proposals to require social media companies to sare revenue obtained from sharing or linking to Australian media sources.

A mandatory code being developed by the ACCC will include penalties for Google, Facebook and other media platforms that share news content.

The code originally scheduled for November 2020 is being brought forward as newspapers struggle for income in coronavirus lockdown.

The code originally required internet companies to negotiate in good faith on how to pay news media for use of their content, advise news media in advance of algorithm changes that would affect content rankings, favour original source news content in search page results, and share data with media companies. But of course limited success in early negotiations between the platforms and the news industry has led to more of a mandatory imposition approach.

Now a draft code will be finalised by the end of July.

Update: Britain too

23rd April 2020. See article from

Facebook and Google should be made to pay for news content generated by the UK media to avoid the death of the industry, UK ministers were told today.

Ex-Culture Committee chair Damian Collins is urging the government to follow the example of Australia, where new rules are being brought in to help prop up publications amid coronavirus turmoil.



Calling for perpetual internet domination licenses for YouTube and Facebook...

The EFF responds to a petition calling for EU censorship machines to be required in the US too. By Katharine Trendacosta and Corynne McSherry

Link Here 22nd April 2020

Right now, we really are living our everyday lives online. Teachers are trying to teach classes online, librarians are trying to host digital readings, and trainers are trying to offer home classes.

With more people entering the online world, more people are encountering the barriers created by copyright. Now is no time to make those barriers higher, but a new petition directed at tech companies does exactly that, and in the process tries to do for the US what Article 17 of last's year's European Copyright Directive is doing for Europe--create a rule requiring online service providers to send everything we post to the Internet to black-box machine learning filters that will block anything that the filters classify as "copyright infringement."

The petition from musical artists, calls on companies to "reduce copyright infringement by establishing 'standard technical measures.'" The argument is that, because of COVID-19, music labels and musicians cannot tour and, therefore, are having a harder time making up for losses due to online copyright infringement. So the platforms must do more to prevent that infringement.

Musical artists are certainly facing grave financial harms due to COVID-19, so it's understandable that they'd like to increase their revenue wherever they can. But there are at least three problems with this approach, and each creates a situation which would cause harm for Internet users and wouldn't achieve the ends musicians are seeking.

First, the Big Tech companies targeted by the petition already employ a wide variety of technical measures in the name of blocking infringement, and long experience with these systems has proven them to be utterly toxic to lawful, online speech. YouTube even warned that this current crisis would prompt even more mistakes, since human review and appeals were going to be reduced or delayed. It has, at least, decided not to issue strikes except where it has "high confidence" that there was some violation of YouTube policy. In a situation where more people than before are relying on these platforms to share their legally protected expression, we should, if anything, be looking to lessen the burden on users, not increase it. We should be looking to make them fairer, more transparent, and appeals more accessible, not adding more technological barriers.

YouTube's Content ID tool has flagged everything from someone speaking into a mic to check the audio to a synthesizer test. Scribd's filter caught and removed a duplicate upload of the Mueller report, despite the fact that anything created by a federal government employee as part of their work can't even be copyrighted. Facebook's Rights Manager keeps flagging its users' performances of classical music composed hundreds of years ago. Filters can't distinguish lawful from unlawful content. Human beings need to review these matches.

But they don't. Or if they do, they aren't trained to distinguish lawful uses. Five rightsholders were happy to monetize ten hours of static because Content ID matched it. Sony refused the dispute by one Bach performer, who only got his video unblocked after leveraging public outrage. A video explaining how musicologists determine whether one song infringes on another was taken down by Content ID, and the system was so confusing that law professors who are experts in intellectual property couldn't figure out the effect of the claim in their account if they disputed it. They only got the video restored because they were able to get in touch with YouTube via their connections . Private connections, public outrage, and press coverage often get these bad matches undone, but they are not a substitute for a fair system.

Second, adding more restrictions will raise make making and sharing our common culture harder at a time when, if anything, it needs to be easier. We should not require everyone online become experts in law and the specific labyrinthine policies of a company or industry just when whole new groups of people are transferring their lives, livelihoods, and communities to the Internet.

If there's one lesson recent history has taught us, it's that "temporary, emergency measures" have a way of sticking around after the crisis passes, becoming a new normal. For the same reason that we should be worried about contact tracing apps becoming a permanent means for governments to track and control whole populations, we should be alarmed at the thought that all our online lives (which, during the quarantine, are almost our whole lives) will be subjected to automated surveillance, judgment and censorship by a system of unaccountable algorithms operated by massive corporations where it's impossible to get anyone to answer an email.

Third, this petition appears to be a dangerous step toward the content industry's Holy Grail: manufacturing an industry consensus on standard technical measures (STMs) to police copyright infringement. According to Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), service providers must accommodate STMs in order to receive the safe harbor protections from the risk of crippling copyright liability. To qualify as an STM, a measure must (1) have been developed pursuant to a broad consensus in an "open, fair, voluntary, multi-industry standards process"; (2) be available on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms; and (3) cannot impose substantial costs on service providers . Nothing has ever met all three requirements, not least because no "open, fair, voluntary, multi-industry standards process" exists.

Many in the content industries would like to change that, and some would like to see U.S. follow the EU in adopting mandatory copyright filtering. The EU's Copyright Directive--also known as Article 17, the most controversial part --passed a year ago, but only one country has made progress towards implementing it [pdf]. Even before the current crisis, countries were having trouble reconciling the rights of users, the rights of copyright holders, and the obligations of platforms into workable law. The United Kingdom took Brexit as a chance not to implement it . And requiring automated filters in the EU runs into the problem that the EU has recognized the danger of algorithms by giving users the right not to be subject to decisions made by automated tools.

Put simply, the regime envisioned by Article 17 would end up being too complicated and expensive for most platforms to build and operate. YouTube's Content ID alone has cost $100,000,000 to date, and it just filters videos for one service. Musicians are 100 percent right to complain about the size and influence of YouTube and Facebook, but mandatory filtering creates a world in which only YouTube and Facebook can afford to operate. Cementing Big Tech's dominance is not in the interests of musicians or users. Mandatory copyright filters aren't a way to control Big Tech: they're a way for Big Tech to buy Perpetual Internet Domination licenses that guarantee that they need never fear a competitor.

Musicians are under real financial stress due to COVID-19, and they are not incorrect to see something wrong with just how much of the world is in the hands of Big Tech. But things will not get better for them or for users by entrenching its position or making it harder to share work online.



The wrong family values...

US libraries publish their annual list of the most challenged books list

Link Here21st April 2020
The American Library Association condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information. Every year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from media stories and voluntary reports sent to OIF from communities across the U.S.

As per previous years, the list is dominated by children's books intending to normalise LGBT relationships. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 377 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2019. Of the 566 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged:

  • George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not "put books in a child's hand that require discussion"; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and "traditional family structure"
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for "its effect on any young people who would read it," and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased
  • A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
    Reasons: Challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is "designed to pollute the morals of its readers," and for not including a content warning
  • Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
    Reasons: Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were "inappropriate"
  • Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
    Reasons: Challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being "a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children" with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint
  • I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is "sensitive, controversial, and politically charged"
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for "vulgarity and sexual overtones"
  • Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against "family values/morals"
  • Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
    Reasons: Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use "nefarious means" to attain goals
  • And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole
    Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content



Distanced from free speech...

Facebook censors anti-lockdown protests if prohibited by the state

Link Here21st April 2020
Facebook says it will consult with state governments on their lockdown orders and will shut down pages planning anti-quarantine protests accordingly.

Events that defy government's guidance on social distancing have also been banned from Facebook.

The move has been opposed by Donald Trump Jr and the Missouri Senator Josh Hawley. They note that Facebook is violating Americans' First Amendment rights.

Facebook said it has already removed protest messages in California, New Jersey and Nebraska. However, protests are still being organized on Facebook. A massive protest took place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Monday afternoon that was organized on the Facebook group Pennsylvanians against Excessive Quarantine Orders.



Morality in Media recommends...

Games distribution website Steam

Link Here21st April 2020
Full story: Morality in Media...Misreable campaigners for censorship
The US campaign group Morality in Media, which now calls itself the National Center for Sexual Exploitation as if it was some sort of state institution,  has whinged at the video games distribution platform, Steam.

The group complains that Steam allows multiple games on the platform portraying sexual violence, including Mirror, Love Vibe: Aria, My Servant and the Stranger Astensia, and House Party.

The platform made a June 2018 decision to minimise censorship and allow all types of games except for ones that are illegal, or straight up trolling.

Morality in Media particularly points out:
  • Mirror that depicts rape scenes and even has a meter to measure the amount of pain and discomfort being inflicted by the player,
  • My Servant and the Stranger Astensia that promotes rape scenes and sexual harassment, and
  • House Party that contains nudity, sex via intoxication, blackmail and deception. Steam has reportedly updated House Party to censor nudity, MiM added.

Executive Director of MiM Dawn Hawkins said in a statement:

Parents need to know that these games normalize the sexual use, and often abuse, of others. When video games include sexually graphic and degrading themes, the user is not only a voyeur but an active participant in staging the scene. Steam should immediately change its policies to stop hosting such sexually explicit material,

To make matters worse, since Steam implemented an 'anything goes' policy with few exceptions, sexually exploitative games on Steam have skyrocketed, going from just over 700 games tagged for the keyword nudity in 2017 to now 3,911 in 2020.



Updated: The Evil of 5G Technology...

Ofcom censures David Icke interview in which he waves his hands to explain 5G conspiracy theories

Link Here20th April 2020
The UK TV censor is looking into a TV network's broadcast of an interview with conspiracy theorist David Icke about supposed links between 5G transmitters and coronavirus.

Ofcom said it was assessing this programme as a priority, following London Live's screening of the programme on Wednesday evening. The London Live interview appeared in part on YouTube titled The Evil of 5G Technology.

The conspiracy theory is more about the dangers of 5G than coronavirus. It is based on noting that 5G uses the high frequency end of the radio wave spectrum which is up there with microwaves, which when transmitted at high power, can indeed sizzle your sausage.

It is hard to believe that David Icke will have convinced many viewers about these theories as Icke doesn't seem to be very knowledgeable about the claims. He is just passing on a Chinese whispers style rumour waving his hands and embellishing it with a few unconvincing analogies.

The coronavirus extension seems to be that the virus is doing most damage in big cities. Rather than the more obvious correlation with high density and multi occupancy housing, the conspiracists are claiming that the correlation is with the recent introduction of 5G.

The government has expressed concern about the programme with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden saying:

I would be expecting Ofcom to take appropriate action. Clearly they are independent but I will be in touch with them to understand what action they are taking in respect to that.

Ofcom has now received 19 complaints about the programme.


Update: Why we shouldn't censor Covid conspiracy theories

11th April 2020. See article from by Tom Slater

David Icke must be free to air his nonsense about 5G.

Update: Ofcom is about as unconvincing as David Icke when censuring London Live without offering any of their own evidence

20th April 2020. See article from . See also Ofcom decision  [pdf] from

Ofcom is a censorial organisation tainted by its frequent censoring programmes on grounds of 'wrong think' based on its own moralising politically correct view of what is 'truth'. So when they censure someone for an opinion, it comes across as an Orwellain rebuke for a 'wrong' opinion. Therefore in cases of scientific truth, Ofcom needs to make a point of actually linking to the science explaining exactly why the conspiracy theory is false. Otherwise, just like in antivaxx, an unevidenced official denial ends up adding credence to the conspiracy.

Ofcom has demanded that London Live broadcasting a statement explaining Ofcom's opinions about the programme. Ofcom writes:

Ofcom has today imposed a sanction on ESTV after an interview with David Icke on its local television channel London Live included potentially harmful content about the coronavirus pandemic.

Our investigation found David Icke expressed views which had the potential to cause significant harm to viewers in London during the pandemic. We were particularly concerned by his comments casting doubt on the motives behind official health advice to protect the public from the virus.

These claims went largely unchallenged during the 80-minute interview and were made without the support of any scientific or other evidence. While we acknowledge that David Icke has a right to hold and express these views, [...BUT...] they risked causing significant harm to viewers who may have been particularly vulnerable at the time of broadcast.

Ofcom stresses that there is no prohibition on broadcasting views which diverge from or challenge official authorities on public health information ...HOWEVER... in broadcasting David Icke's unsubstantiated views without sufficient challenge or context, ESTV failed in its responsibility to ensure that viewers were adequately protected. As a result, we are directing London Live to broadcast a summary of our findings on a date and form to be decided by Ofcom.

We are also now considering whether to impose any further sanction.

Update: Ofcom fails to clear up the myths around 5G and the coronavirus

20th April 2020. See article from

Telecoms industry commentators were also unimpressed by Ofcom's response to 5G conspiracy theories. The group writes:

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has published an announcement that claims to rebut the conspiracy theories regarding 5G and coronavirus, but barely mentions them.

The piece, entitled Clearing up the myths around 5G and the coronavirus, starts promisingly. There is a conspiracy theory that claims 5G is connected to the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), it states. This is wrong. There is no scientific basis or credible evidence for these claims. But then it goes on to note that burning down phone masts can reduce connectivity and then address the persistent does 5G give you cancer? question.

Those two topics are definitely important, but they don't in any way address the mistaken belief that 5G is in some way contributing to the spread of coronavirus. The very simple fact is that physical particles cannot be transmitted over electromagnetic waves. That piece of fundamental education should be front and centre of any fact-checking campaign, and yet Ofcom chose not to mention that at all.

If, for whatever reason, Ofcom was disinclined to consult scientific experts in the preparation of its announcement, it could at least have linked to other sources that put a bit more effort into debunking this silliness.



Offsite Article: The EU has a copyright on impossible to comply with censorship law...

Link Here 20th April 2020
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
The internet industry is still scratching its head about an upcoming EU copyright law requiring social media to block uploads of illegal content whilst requiring that they do not over block legal content

See article from



Offsite Article: Ridiculous Ways Anime Were Censored for American TV...

Link Here20th April 2020
American distributors cut anime down back in the day. Here are a few cases of bizarre cuts

See article from



Censorship competition...

Video game Valorant has a censored mode to ensure that game is suitable for inclusion in esport events

Link Here17th April 2020
Riot Games will censor bloody imagery from their latest title Valorant during esports tournaments in order to appeal to potential sponsors and broadcasters.

Game blood became a contentious issue when Riot Games began approaching esports organisations to consider Valorant's planned competitive scene.

In general, professional esports leagues feature titles with minimal bloody violence to create more inclusive, all-ages showcases.

Valorant, currently in beta, does feature graphic blood but there is a 'show blood option that can be toggled off.

Riot Games has issued an edict that all professional esports leagues must play tournaments with this setting off, ensuring no blood is seen during gameplay.



Board of censors...

Ofcom internet censor promoted to the board

Link Here17th April 2020

Ofcom has appointed Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom's Content and Media Policy Group Director, to its Board.

Kevin joined Ofcom in 2016 and has overseen its important work on content standards and policy, including taking on regulation of the BBC and preparations to become the regulator for video sharing platforms in the UK. He will join as an Executive Member of the Board from this month.

Kevin Bakhurst said:

I'm looking forward to joining the Ofcom Board at a time when protecting audiences has never been more important.

Kevin joined Ofcom from RTÉ, the public service broadcaster in the Republic of Ireland and before that had a long career at the BBC.



Updated: Virusbusters...

Government set to launch an NHSX coronavirus contact tracing app

Link Here17th April 2020
The UK government is reportedly preparing to launch an app that will warn users if they are in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for coronavirus .

The contact-tracking app will be released just before the lockdown is lifted or in its immediate aftermath and will use short-range Bluetooth signals to detect other phones in close vicinity and then store a record of those contacts on the device.

If somebody tests positive for COVID-19, they will be able to upload those contacts, who can then be alerted via the app.

It is reported that will not generally be shared with a central authority, potentially easing concerns that the app could snitch up users to the police for going jogging twice a day, or spending the night at your girlfriend's place.

NHSX, the innovation arm of the UK's National Health Service, will reportedly appoint an ethics board to oversee the development of the app, with its board members set to be announced over the coming weeks. It is a bit alarming that the government is envisaging such a long development schedule, suggesting perhaps that the end to the lockdown will be months away.

The NHS is reportedly counting on the app being downloaded by more than 50% of the population.

Offsite Comment: The government must explain its approach to mobile contact tracing

7th April 2020. See article from by Jim Killock

The idea is for some 60% of the population to use an app which will look for people with the same app to record proximity. This data is then stored centrally. Health officials then add data of people who have been positively tested for COVID-19. Finally, persons who may be at risk because of their proximity to someone with the virus are alerted to this and asked to self-isolate.

This approach is likely to work best late on, when people are out of the full lock down and meeting people more than they were. It may be a key part of the strategy to move us out of lockdown and for dealing with the disease for some time afterwards. At the current time, during lockdown, it would not be so useful, as people are avoiding risk altogether.

Of course, it will be a huge challenge to persuade perhaps 75% or more of smartphone users (80% of adults have a smartphone) to install such an app, and keep it running for however long it is needed. And there are limitations: for instance a window or a wall may protect you while the app produces a false positive for risky contact. The clinical efficicacy of any approach needs to be throughly evaluated, or any app will risk making matters worse.

Getting users to install and use an application like this, and share location information, creates huge privacy and personal risks. It is an enormous ask for people to trust such an app -- which explains why both the UK and EU are emphasising privacy in the communications we have heard, albeit the EU project is much more explicit. It has a website , which explains:

PEPP-PR was explicitly created to adhere to strong European privacy and data protection laws and principles. The idea is to make the technology available to as many countries, managers of infectious disease responses, and developers as quickly and as easily as possible. The technical mechanisms and standards provided by PEPP-PT fully protect privacy and leverage the possibilities and features of digital technology to maximize speed and real-time capability of any national pandemic response.

There are plenty of other questions that arise from this approach. The European project and the UK project share the same goals; the companies, institutions and governments involved must be talking with each other, but there is no sign of any UK involvement on the European project's website.

The European project has committed to producing its technology in the open, for the world to share, under a Mozilla licence. This is the only sane approach in this crisis: other countries may need this tool. It also builds trust as people can evaluate how the technology works.

We don't know if the UK will share technology with this project, or if it will develop its own. On the face of it, sharing technology and resources would appear to make sense. This needs clarifying. In any event, the UK should be working to produce open source, freely reusable technology.

We urgently need to know how the projects will work together. This is perhaps the most important question. People do, after all, move across borders; the European project places a strong emphasis on interoperability between national implementations. In the, UK at the Irish border, it would make no sense for systems lacking interoperability to exist in the North and Eire.

Thus the UK and Europe will need to work together. We need to know how they will do this.

We are in a crisis that demands we share resources and technology, but respect the privacy of millions of people as best as we can. These values could easily flip -- allowing unrestricted sharing of personal data but failing to share techologies.

The government has already made a number of communications mis-steps relating to data, including statements that implied data protection laws do not apply in a health crisis; using aggregate mobile data without explaining why and how this is done; and employing the surveillance company Palantir without explaining or stating that it would be kept away from further tasks involving personal data.

These errors may be understandable, but to promote a mobile contact tool using massive amounts of personal location data, that also relies on voluntary participation, the UK government will have to do much better. PEPP-PT is showing how transparency can be done; while it too is not yet at a point where we understand their full approach, it is at least making a serious effort to establish trust.

We need the UK government to get ahead, as Europe is doing, and explain its approach to this massive, population-wide project, as soon as possible.

Offsite Comment: The EU also has an app

 7th April 2020. See article from

Years of efforts to safeguard personal data running headlong into calls for drastic actions to counter the pandemic.


Update: The Challenge of Proximity Apps For COVID-19 Contact Tracing

11th April 2020. See article from

The Challenge of Proximity Apps For COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Developers are rapidly coalescing around applications for proximity tracing, which measures Bluetooth signal strength to determine whether two smartphones were close enough together for their users to transmit the virus. In this approach, if one of the users becomes infected, others whose proximity has been logged by the app could find out, self-quarantine, and seek testing. Just today, Apple and Google announced joint application programming interfaces (APIs) using these principles that will be rolled out in iOS and Android in May. A number of similarly designed applications are now available or will launch soon.

Update: Confirmed

13th April 2020. See article from

 The UK has confirmed plans for an app that will warn users if they have recently been in close proximity to someone suspected to be infected with the coronavirus.

The health secretary Matt Hancock announced the move at the government's daily pandemic press briefing. He said the NHS was working closely with the world's leading tech companies on the initiative.

The BBC has learned that NHSX - the health service's digital innovation unit - will test a pre-release version of the software with families at a secure location in the North of England next week.


Update: Can your smartphone crack Covid?

14th April 2020. See article from by Timandra Harkness

 I write constantly about the threat to privacy of letting our smartphones share data that reveals where we go, what we do, and who shares our personal space. And although these are exceptional circumstances, we should not stop valuing our privacy. Emergency measures have a habit of becoming the new normal. And information about who we've been close to could be of interest to all sorts of people, from blackmailers to over-enthusiastic police officers enforcing their own interpretation of necessary activities.

Update: NHS in standoff with Apple and Google over coronavirus tracing

17th April 2020.See article from

Tech firms place limitations on how tracing apps may work in effort to protect users' privacy



Offsite Article: China gets a taste of its own bat shit...

Link Here17th April 2020
redacted chinese propagandaChina tries to pressurise Australia's Daily Telegraph as part of its propaganda campaign to deflect blame for covid-19, but the paper publishes a humorous response

See article from



Includes random items...

The ESRB introduces a new consumer advice label for games with loot boxes

Link Here16th April 2020

In April 2018 the ESRB began assigning Interactive Elements to physical video games with the In-Game Purchases and Users Interact notices. The In-Game Purchases Interactive Element informs parents and other consumers of when a game offers the ability to purchase additional items without leaving the game. To provide even greater transparency about the nature of in-game items available for purchase the ESRB will now begin assigning a new Interactive Element: In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items).

This new Interactive Element, In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items), will be assigned to any game that contains in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency (or with virtual coins or other forms of in-game currency that can be purchased with real world currency) for which the player doesn't know prior to purchase the specific digital goods or premiums they will be receiving (e.g., loot boxes, item packs, mystery awards).

In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) will be assigned to all games that include purchases with any randomized elements, including loot boxes, gacha games, item or card packs, prize wheels, treasure chests, and more. Games that have the In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) notice may also include other non-randomized paid elements.



A Switch on Hatred...

Video game Hatred was controversial in 2015 but is now set for a belated release on Nintendo Switch

Link Here15th April 2020
Hatred is a 2015 shooter action game from Destructive Creation

Originally hyped via controversy over it being the latest 'sickest game ever'. It was notably AO rated in the US but didn't trouble many censors elsewhere outside of Germany. However many outlets refused to sell it anyway.

Now in 2020, Destructive Creations, which insists Hatred is an answer to the polite, colorful, politically correct trends found in many games, has announced it's coming to Switch.

The game is one of only three to receive a US Adults Only rating for extreme violence, something Manhunt 2 and the unrelreased Thrill Kill can lay claim to, so it'll be interesting to see if Hatred arrives on Nintendo's eShop, which doesn't allow games with that rating. Hatred could get a physical-only release, or it might have some of the more extreme content removed.



The Barbecue Squad...

A few police have been infected by a nasty case of extreme authoritarianism, let's hope it doesn't spread

Link Here15th April 2020
The police want powers to be able to enter homes and shut down parties and BBQs they deem unnecessary under lockdown laws.

The Police Federation, who represent rank and file officers, believe there is a technicality in the current measures that mean they cannot enter a private property to break up a house party, unless they are allowed in by the householders.

On Sunday, the chairman of the group John Apter said that increased numbers of people are calling the police to report their neighbours for breaking social distancing rules.

A Police Federation source, told The Telegraph :

We have asked they consider giving us powers around private gatherings or gatherings in a private dwelling.

Despite the clamour for new lockdown powers, they are very unlikely to be green-lit by Home Secretary Priti Patel. A Home Office source told the newspaper:

It would be a really big step for policing in this country that is not needed at this point.

Also police can issue the fixed penalty notice as they travel to or from the party.

The new research indicated 42 per cent of respondents fully support the approach taken by the police, but a further 32 per cent felt in some cases the police had gone too far.


Update: What constitutes a reasonable excuse to leave your home...according to the police

19th April 2020. See article [pdf] from




Lest they speak of 'wrong truth' about the birthplace of covid-19...

China looks set to ban online video games that allow Chinese players to chat with foreign players

Link Here 15th April 2020
Full story: Games censorship in China...A wide range of censorship restrictions
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is taking its political censorship to the extreme by disconnecting Chinese online gamers from those outside of China.

The communist regime is said to have noticed an authority hole in online multiplayer games, which enables people to freely socialize without monitoring. Local cities are scrambling to draft laws to expand the scope of online censorship in video games and even prohibit gamers from meeting and chatting with people on the other side of the Great Firewall.

As the CCP's audacious global propaganda campaign to silence critics abroad and to defend its infallibility fails to work out, the new law is expected to block Chinese people from learning how the world is reacting to Beijing's handling of the outbreak and subsequent cover-ups.

Other rules under the new law are less political. They include an online gaming curfew (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.) for gamers aged under 18 and a maximum amount of money they are allowed to spend on games to combat internet addiction.



Justice shared...

US court rules that posting images on Instagram effectively grants 3rd parties website copyright permission to embed those images

Link Here15th April 2020
A US court ruled yesterday that Mashable can embed a professional photographer's photo without breaking copyright law, thanks to Instagram's terms of service.

The New York district court determined that Stephanie Sinclair offered a valid sublicense to use the photograph when she posted it publicly on Instagram.

The case stems from a 2016 Mashable post on female photographers, which included Sinclair and embedded an image from her Instagram feed. Mashable had previously failed to license the image directly, and Sinclair sued parent company Ziff Davis for using Instagram embedding as a workaround.

The judge noted that Instagram reserves a fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable right to photos on its service. If a photo is posted publicly, it also offers embedding as an option -- which, in Wood's estimation, effectively grants a sublicense to display the picture. The user who initially uploaded the content has already granted Instagram the authority to sublicense the use of 'public' content to users who share it, Wood wrote. That makes copyright questions moot. By posting the photograph to her public Instagram account, Plaintiff made her choice.



Eamonn Holmes quizzed by Ofcom after noting that an argument isn't just contradiction...

Does dogmatic and unevidenced refutation help to debunk 5G conspiracy theories?

Link Here14th April 2020
TV censor Ofcom has said it is assessing comments made by ITV's This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes about 5G technology and coronavirus as a priority.

Ofcom received 419 complaints about remarks not quite toeing the dictated line on refuting 5G/coronavirus conspiracy theories.

Holmes made his remarks in a segment with the programme's consumer editor Alice Beer, who dismissed the theory as not true and it's incredibly stupid. Holmes told her:

I totally agree with everything you are saying but what I don't accept is mainstream media immediately slapping that down as not true when they don't know it's not true.

No-one should attack or damage or do anything like that, but it's very easy to say it is not true because it suits the state narrative. That's all I would say, as someone with an inquiring mind.

But of course Holmes was making a valid point. The conspiracies are being widely dismissed by those in the media simply by claiming 'wrong think' and calling out people who don't agree. It seems clear that the media types following this line don't even know what the conspiracy theorists claim, let alone offer some sort of reasoning as to why they are wrong. The refutations therefore become no more convincing than the conspiracy theory itself.

Holmes 'clarified' his comments on the following day after being widely criticised. He said:

I want to clarify some comments that some of you may have misinterpreted from me yesterday, around conspiracy theories and coronavirus and this involved the roll-out of 5G.

Both Alice Beer and I agreed in a discussion on this very programme on fake news that it's not true and there is no connection between the present national health emergency and 5G, and to suggest otherwise would be wrong and indeed it could be dangerous.

Every theory relating to such a connection has been proven to be false and we would like to emphasise that. However many people are rightly concerned and are looking for answers and that's simply what I was trying to do, to impart yesterday.

But for the avoidance of any doubt I want to make it completely clear there's no scientific evidence to substantiate any of those 5G theories. I hope that clears that up.



Commented: Love Camp 7...

The British Board of Film Censors bans 1969 video nasty for the second time

Link Here14th April 2020
Love Camp 7 is a 1969 USA war horror thriller by Lee Frost.
With Bob Cresse, Maria Lease and Kathy Williams. YouTube iconBBFC link IMDb

The film was banned as a video nasty in 1985, then banned from DVD by the BBFC in 2002. The film was banned again by the BBFC for 2020 VoD. Uncut elsewhere but there have only been a few obscure releases until the 2017 US DVD/Blu-ray Combo.

See further details at Melon Farmers Film Bans: Love Camp 7

The film has just been banned by the BBFC after being submitted for Video on Demand by Screenbound. Note that this is not quite an official ban as BBFC decisions for internet video carry no legal weight. But no doubt the major online sources will take heed anyway.

The BBFC commented on its website:

Love Camp 7 is a US film, from 1969, in which female agents are sent undercover into a Nazi prison camp where female prisoners are sexually abused, raped and tortured by soldiers. It was previously refused a classification for DVD release in 2002. The present submission is for distribution on VOD.

The BBFC's Classification Guidelines state that We may refuse to classify content which makes rape or other non-consensual sexually violent behaviour look appealing or acceptable, reinforces the suggestion that victims enjoy such behaviour, or invites viewer complicity in such behaviour. They also state that As a last resort, the BBFC may refuse to classify a work, in line with the objective of preventing non-trivial harm risks to potential viewers and, through their behaviour, to society. We may do so, for example, where a central concept of the work is unacceptable, such as a sustained focus on sexual rape, other non-consensual sexually violent behaviour or sadistic violence.

Because LOVE CAMP 7 is largely comprised of scenes of non consensual sexual activity, including rape, presented in a manner that is intended to arouse viewers, its central concept is unacceptable and the sexually abusive material it contains too pervasive for cuts to be an effective solution.

Accordingly, the BBFC has refused classification to this work.

The BBFC further commented at a board meeting [pdf] :

The film was recently submitted for classification for VOD release. Given its status as a previously rejected work it was viewed by the entire Compliance team and certain members of the Policy team before referral to the Board.

The Board noted that there are a number of prolonged scenes of non-consensual sexual activity, including rape, in Love Camp 7 , in many cases featuring a focus on female nudity. Such scenes are frequently gratuitous, both in terms of length and detail, going some way beyond what is required by the narrative, and in some cases perpetuating harmful rape myths. These issues were considered in relation to the BBFC's 2019 Guidelines consultation, which found depictions of sexual violence to be of particular concern to the public.

The Board discussed the extent to which the film's datedness and risibility limits its impact, and considered the film's likely appeal and audience. It was observed that, while aspects of the film are dated, the sequences of sexual violence and abuse are not. It was also noted that while the film is different in many respects to modern pornography, its close and repeated focus on nudity means the sequences of sexual violence and abuse still have the potential to arouse.

The Board concluded that because that as Love Camp 7 is largely comprised non-consensual sexual activity, including rape, presented in a manner that is intended to arouse viewers, its central concept is unacceptable and the sexually abusive material too pervasive for cuts to be an effective solution. Accordingly, the Board agreed that the BBFC should refuse to classify Love Camp 7.

Update: Love Camp 7 Remains The Benchmark For Unacceptable Cinema in 2020

14th April 2020. See article from

It's good to know that in these unique times, our moral superiors are still hard at work protecting us from problematic imagery. The British Board of Film Classification might seem a more liberal body these days than they once did, but rest assured -- they will still step forward to protect the nation from corruption.

See full article from



Socially distanced protests...

China bans Animal Crossing game after it was used for messages supporting Hong Kong democracy protests

Link Here13th April 2020
Full story: Games censorship in China...A wide range of censorship restrictions
In respect of social distancing, Hong Kong democracy protestors have moved online. And one avenue of protest was via the popular Nintendo Switchgame Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The game allows players to customise their own island with political messages, and then invite others to visit. Examples of customisation include banners that read: Free Hong Kong - Revolution Now. There are also disparaging posts featuring images of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam.

China has inevitably now banned the game and it has been expunged from online market places.

Even Hong Kong sites, which had previously advertised imported copies have now removed those listings. It is not clear, however, whether this is because there has been an intervention by the authorities or whether the sites are self censoring in fear of Chinese reprisals.

Players in mainland China have also customised the game with coronavirus-related content, including face masks for the characters, and islands with temperature checkpoints.



Offsite Article: Violence, gore, porn and boredom...

Link Here12th April 2020
Full story: Film censorship in New Zealand...At the Office of Film and Literature Classification
A day in the life of a New Zealand censor during lockdown

See article from



Obituary: The Final Sequence...

Human Centipede star Dieter Laser dies aged 78

Link Here11th April 2020
Dieter Laser, the German actor best known for his role as the deranged doctor in The Human Centipede , has died aged 78. A post on his Facebook page stated that the actor passed away a little while ago on February 29.

Laser had more than 60 films and TV series credited to his name, including Tom Six's The Human Centipede, in which he kidnaps three tourists and surgically joins them together. The 2009 horror film became a cult hit.

Laser's credits include Lexx, The Ogre, and The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence). Additionally, he starred in The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, Good Land, The Man Inside, Kaspar Hauser, Brennendez Herz and Big Girls Don't Cry.

In 1975, Laser received the German Film Award in Gold in the Best Actor category for his role in John Gl3cckstadt. He also won Best Actor at the Austin Fantastic Fest for his role in The Human Centipede.



Bad taste fun...

Cannibal Holocaust: The Game set for November release

Link Here11th April 2020
Ruggero Deodato's notable video nasty, Cannibal Holocaust , is set to turned into a video game for PC and consoles. It is set for release in November 2020.

Developers Fantastico Studio claims that it will put the raw graphic content in its interactive graphic adventure for gamers and fans alike to enjoy.



Identified as repressive...

Turkish government proposes new internet censorship law requiring social media companies to identify their users on request

Link Here11th April 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has proposed a draft law which seeks to attach a series of online censorship measures to an economic aid package aimed at stabilising an economy hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The new law defines social media platforms very widely, as the people or legal entities who allow users to create, view or share data like text, images, voice, location online with the purpose of social interaction, and states that they will be held responsible for any inappropriate content that their users post on their platforms. The law will apply to any platform with more than 1 million users in Turkey. The draft law states:

A foreign based social network provider that has access to more than 1 million people in Turkey is responsible for assigning at least one authorised person as a representative in Turkey to register the notifications, declarations or requests sent by institutions, associations, legal and administrative offices and also to be responsible for sharing the identity and communication information of this person [who has posted inappropriate content] with the institution.

The Turkish government is aiming to effectively end anonymity on social media platforms. This is very similar to what Western governments have attempted and failed to do already, because anonymity has always been a core part of the internet, and it is unrealistic to expect all social media sites to implement systems to confirm the ID of their users.

This part of the law seems intended to make it easier for the Turkish government to access data about social media users based in Turkey. Presumably, this would make it easier for them to obtain data on anonymous users of social media who are heavily critical of the Turkish government. Turkey's Interior Ministry reported that 2,000 social media users had been identified and arrested for provocative social media posts related to the coronavirus outbreak at the end of March.

The law also seeks to impose fines on social media providers who do not respond to takedown requests. Such fines can be from as little as 100 Turkish lira ($15) to as much as 5 million lira ($746,500).

One of the problems with this law will be how the Turkish government is going to force foreign social media companies to set up legally responsible offices in Turkey which they are already threatening with substantial fines. In 2016, the Turkish government asked PayPal to move their server operations to Turkey, but instead of complying, PayPal simply abandoned the market.



Offsite Article: Opting out of data sharing opt out...

Link Here10th April 2020
Full story: Twitter Privacy...The sharing of user data for advertising purposes
Twitter Removes Privacy Option, and Shows Why We Need Strong Privacy Laws

See article from



Offsite Article: Opening gambit...

Link Here10th April 2020
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
France reports that its implementation of the EU Copyright Directive requires Google to pay for links to French news sources

See article from



Cover up...

Twitch reworks its dress code for games streamers

Link Here9th April 2020
Twitch has evolved from streamers commentating on games they are playing towards something more about entertainment, personalities, and sexiness.

The website has been trying to reign in this latter attributes and its latest move is to rework its dress code. Twitch explains in a blog post:

We are shifting from a garment-specific policy to one based on a standard level of coverage, with exceptions for certain situations. We've outlined these minimum levels of coverage to increase clarity on expectations, so you're not left guessing what is or is not acceptable.

We don't permit streamers to be fully or partially nude, including exposing genitals or buttocks. We do not permit the visible outline of genitals, even when covered. Broadcasting nude or partially nude minors is always prohibited, regardless of context.

For those who present as women, we ask that you cover your nipples. We do not permit exposed underbust. Cleavage is unrestricted as long as these coverage requirements are met.

For all streamers, you must cover the area extending from your hips to the bottom of your pelvis and buttocks.

For those areas of the body where coverage is required, the coverage must be fully opaque - sheer or partially see-through clothing does not constitute coverage



A combative dynamic...

Ofcom warns Piers Morgan about his combative style on Good Morning Britain

Link Here8th April 2020
TV censor Ofcom has decided not to pursue complaints about a Piers Morgan joke on ITV's Good Morning Britain but has taken the opportunity to give ITV a warning about the show.

A recent episode attracted 1600 complaints about a joke targeted at both Chinese people and the royal family. Piers and co-host Susanna Reid were discussing the Queen's eldest grandson Peter Phillips appearing in a TV advert for state milk in China. Morgan went into a rant about the ad saying:

Oh Peter, for god's sake man! before accusing him of exploiting his royal status.

At the next royal event, can you imagine Christmas at Sandringham is like - 'I'm sorry your majesty, but I only drink yang yank yong ying ming milk.

A month later, ITV issued a statement on the incident, claiming that the comments were not intended to mock or denigrate Chinese people, their language or accent but were intended to mock a member of the Royal Family.

Ofcom said if the incident:

Having carefully considered the context within which the comments were broadcast and the action taken by ITV, including discussing these complaints with Piers Morgan and making a public apology, Ofcom concluded overall that this programme did not warrant further investigation under the Code.

However, they did say in their report:

We remind ITV that there are compliance risks in relying on a 'combative dynamic' between presenters as a way to provide challenge and context for the broadcast of content which may cause offence.




Japanese game censors don't seem to be able to work from home as the censorship office is closed by lockdown

Link Here8th April 2020
Japan's game censors of the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) has announced that it is shutting don for a month as part of a SARS 2 lockdown.

The censors stated that working from home is not possible so there will now be difficulties for games publishers. CERO said that since reviewers must-visit CERO's office to conduct a review, it's not possible for the company's staff and reviewers to work from home.



How to Steal Pigs and Influence People...

Ofcom supports Channel's 4 broadcast about vegan activists stealing pigs which didn't impress the farming community

Link Here7th April 2020

How to Steal Pigs and Influence People
Channel 4, 14 January 2020, 22:00


How to Steal Pigs and Influence People followed vegan and ex-vegan influencers who used social media to spread their message to a mass online audience. One of the people featured in the programme was shown stealing pigs from farms and then uploading self-shot video footage to his social media channels.

Ofcom received 388 viewer complaints about this programme 203 377 of which objected it condoned criminal activity and had the potential to encourage crime and disorder. Several complainants specifically objected to the title of the programme and its pre-broadcast publicity, describing it as glamorising illegal activity.

While the programme showed scenes which contained criminal activity, we considered its overall narrative neither glamorised nor condoned this activity. In our view, the actions taken by those featured and their motivations were not portrayed positively. In our view, their behaviour was challenged by the narrator, or by the inclusion of other points of view, and the programme depicted the negative consequences of the criminal activity.

We therefore considered the portrayal of criminal activity was editorially justified by the context of this programme. For these and for the other reasons set out in detail below, we have concluded that the complaints do not warrant further investigation.

Ofcom Decision

While criminal activity was shown during this programme, we considered the overall narrative was to explore the possible motivations of the influencers, rather than focusing on the criminal activity itself. The programme highlighted these individuals' desire to gain wealth or online fame from their activism. For example, Wes was shown attempting to earn a living from being an influencer and motivated by a desire to get donations.

The programme also made clear that, to achieve fame online, influencers had to generate increasingly controversial content. When Wes decided to steal a newborn piglet, the narrator explained it was to up the ante. These actions were presented negatively and portrayed to be escalating in extremity to increase likes or followers on social media, rather than solely being motivated by their beliefs or to further their cause.

In our view, there were also several instances where the individual's criminal activity was challenged or portrayed as antisocial either by the narrator or through the inclusion of other points of view. For example, the narrator challenged Wes immediately after his theft of a piglet: What gives you the right to take this baby away from its mum? Prem, the former vegan, also strongly criticised the activists' behaviour. The programme also depicted the negative potential consequences of carrying out these crimes, particularly on the animals, through the inclusion of several videos which showed piglets had died as a direct result of being removed from farms. The programme raised the prospect that the piglet Wes stole might have also died as a result of being removed from his mother. This was reinforced by the unidentified farmer who pointed out the piglet would die in six months without its mother. Similarly, the farmer who was the victim of the activists' criminal activity, robustly challenged and condemned the activists' behaviour, explaining they had caused the animals significant distress. We considered the inclusion of this narrative highlighted the stark reality of the potential consequences associated with these criminal activities and the negative impact on both the people and animals involved.

For all the reasons outlined above, in our view, the overall narrative and context of the programme did not condone, glamorise or encourage the crimes which were shown. Given the programme sought to explore and to question the motivations of activists who believe their criminal acts are justified on moral and public interest grounds, we considered there was a strong editorial justification for showing these people carrying out their criminal activity.

While the programme showed Wes successfully stealing pigs, the fact that this behaviour was antisocial and criminal was made clear throughout. There was a warning that the programme contained criminal activity and the offence of stealing pigs was referred to as a crime throughout the programme. The inclusion of archive news footage also showed the activist had previously been convicted and served a community sentence for similar offences.

We acknowledged the programme suggested the actions taken by Wes had inspired other activists to undertake similar offences, but it was made clear this had been prompted specifically by Wes' social media activity. As the programme showed other pigs had died after being stolen, we considered it reiterated the potential negative consequences of copying these offences and did not describe them in a way which condoned them.



Joan of Arc...

BBFC raises its rating from 15 to 18

Link Here6th April 2020
 A DVD release from 2005 

Joan of Arc is a 1999 France / Czech Republic / USA war historical biography by Luc Besson.
Starring Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich and Rab Affleck. BBFC link IMDb

1429. While the war between France and England (the Hundred Years War) appeared settled in 1420, in England's favour, the death of King Henry V of England reignites it. England occupies large areas of France and appears set to take the whole of it. Into this moment of crisis rides legendary Joan of Arc, a teenage girl who claims to be lead by divine visions.

The film has never been cut by the BBFC but its age rating was raised from 15 in 1999 to 18 in 2020, presumably down to BBFC policy changes on sexual violence.

The contentious scene seems to be a young Joan witnessing the brutal stabbing and rape of her sister by soldiers. In 1999 the age rating was based on the violence and explicitness of the scene, but by 2020, BBFC policy had been changed, and the rating was based more on sending messages about increased societal concern about sexual violence. This resulted in the film being uprated to 18 for 2020 video release.

Another recent example of old 15 ratings being raised to 18 for sexual violence was Barbara Streisand's 1991 drama, Prince of Tides . Again this was rated 15 in 1991 but 30 years later was increased to 18.



On the wrong wavelength...

The government calls in social media companies for a meeting about quashing rumours about a link between coronavirus contagion and 5G

Link Here5th April 2020
The UK culture secretary is to order social media companies to be more aggressive in their response to conspiracy theories linking 5G networks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Oliver Dowden plans to hold virtual meetings with representatives from several tech firms next week to discuss the matter. It follows a number of 5G masts apparently being set on fire.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told the BBC:

We have received several reports of criminal damage to phone masts and abuse of telecoms engineers apparently inspired by crackpot conspiracy theories circulating online, Those responsible for criminal acts will face the full force of the law.

We must also see social media companies acting responsibly and taking much swifter action to stop nonsense spreading on their platforms which encourages such acts.

Several platforms have already taken steps to address the problem but have not banned discussion of the subject outright.

It is not really very clear what the rumours are based upon beyond a correlation between big cities becoming SARS 2 hotspots and big cities being selected for the initial roll out of 5G. But surely denser housing and the larger households found in big cities provides a more compelling reason for big cities being the hotspots. One could ask why western countries seem too being hit hardest when the housing density argument would seem to make mega cities in the developing world more logical centres for the largest contagions, which doesn't seem to be happening so far.

Ofcom's unevidenced refutation

5th April 2020. See article from

Ofcom has imposed a sanction on Uckfield Community Radio Limited after a discussion about the causes and origins of Covid-19 on its community radio station Uckfield FM was found to have breached broadcasting rules. The broadcaster must broadcast a summary of our findings to its listeners.

On 28 February 2020, Uckfield FM broadcast a discussion which contained potentially harmful claims about the coronavirus virus, including unfounded claims that the virus outbreak in Wuhan, China was linked to the roll out of 5G technology. Ofcom's investigation concluded that the broadcaster failed to adequately protect listeners and had breached Rule 2.1 of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

Given the seriousness of this breach, Ofcom has directed the Licensee to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.




Disney continues to make the news with cut versions on Disney+

Link Here5th April 2020



Guilty until it provides proof of innocence...

Google is accused in court of downranking competitors in searches. A judge says that it must reveal its algorithms to prove its unlikely denial of the accusation

Link Here5th April 2020
Full story: Google Transparency Reports...Google reveals the scale of copyright claims



The audience expects...

Ofcom to carry on censoring TV (and the internet) but perhaps to care more about discrimination and supposed harm rather than nudity and swearing

Link Here4th April 2020

Ofcom commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct research to help them understand how audience expectations of audio-visual content are evolving in a digital world. The research explored participants' changing attitudes towards content standards and their experiences of programmes across platforms including: TV, radio, catch-up, subscription and video sharing services.

Participants thought people should be largely responsible for deciding what they watch and listen to. They wanted regulators and broadcasters to ensure content is in line with people's expectations, so audiences can make informed choices.

There was limited awareness of the detail of current regulation and some confusion about how this applies, particularly for catch-up, subscription and video sharing sites. There was also confusion about whether UK rules applied to channels that broadcast content produced outside of the UK or not in English, including among some participants from a minority ethnic background.

Having been introduced to the Broadcasting Code including definitions of harmful content, offensive content and freedom of expression1, participants thought all the rules were important and there was little appetite for changing them:

• Participants overwhelmingly agreed it was essential to protect children from inappropriate content and wanted rules to cover this. However, parents were seen as having primary responsibility for the content accessed by children.
• Participants felt there were challenges around applying the rules for offensive content given its subjective nature. They focused on people knowing what to expect so they can make informed choices, for example, by having access to clear information about the content in programmes.
• Despite this, there was widespread agreement across participants that societal norms around offence have shifted in recent years and this should be reflected in the way Ofcom regulates offensive content. Participants prioritised addressing discrimination aimed at specific groups over other types of offensive content.
• Harmful content was considered more serious than offensive content, with strong concerns about the impact of harmful content on attitudes and behaviours. As discussions progressed, participants increasingly felt that adults (specifically vulnerable adults) and society overall could be affected by audio-visual content. This challenged their initial view that adults should decide for themselves what to consume.
• The potential for harm was often discussed when considering the different rules in the Broadcasting Code. In particular, rules around crime, disorder, hatred and abuse were very important to participants and strongly linked to potential harm. They emphasised how content which incited hatred or crime should be prioritised by Ofcom, even if this was on smaller channels or stations.

There was some acceptance that different rules could apply to different platforms. Attitudes were influenced by the extent to which participants felt in control:

• There was a strong desire to maintain the current rules for TV and radio because participants felt audiences were more likely to come across content by accident on these platforms.
• Many participants were more comfortable with catch-up and subscription services having fewer rules than broadcast TV and radio. This was because they felt they had an active choice in selecting content and were therefore more in control on these platforms. However, they assumed that if a programme had previously been broadcast on TV or radio, it would follow the same rules when accessed online.
• There were concerns about a perceived lack of rules on video-sharing sites, where participants were worried about accidentally coming across inappropriate or upsetting content. Rolling playlists, pop-ups, and unchecked user-generated content were common worries. However, there was concern about the feasibility of increasing regulation online.



Lilo and Stitch...

Disney elects to use the cut UK version for its Disney+ channel

Link Here4th April 2020
Lilo hiding in dryer
Lilo hiding in cupboard
Lilo & Stitch is a 2002 USA children's cartoon comedy by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders.
Starring Daveigh Chase, Chris Sanders and Tia Carrere. BBFC link IMDb

The film follows an extra-terrestrial who impersonates a dog and finds himself adopted by a young girl after arriving on Earth. Several moments in the film see the trouble-making pair get up to no good, with one particular scene showing Lilo hiding from her sister in a tumble dryer.

Disney+ users in the US have been left confused by an edit in the children's cartoon Lilo & Stitch .

Those re-watching the film, though, will see Lilo no longer hides in a dryer but within a piece of furniture that is bizarrely blocked by a pizza box.

According to reports, the reason for the change was to avoid the chance for children to emulate Lilo's dangerous behaviour, especially considering they're going to be cooped up indoors due to the coronavirus lockdown.

In fact this is the UK version with cuts as demanded by the BBFC at the time of original release. Presumably the international reach of the channel means that it must comply with multiple territories. And in this case maybe there was a sensible basis to the BBFC cuts anyway.

The BBFC commented in 2002:

Distributor chose to remove sight of dangerous activity which might be copied by young children (child character emerging from a hiding place inside a washing machine or tumble drier) in order to achieve a U. A 12 uncut was available to the distributor.

In response the producers reworked the cartoon so that the dryer was converted to a wooden cupboard.



No cigar...

Marvel censors smoking for re-printed comicbooks

Link Here4th April 2020
There's been a push to censor smoking in media recently, with games like Gears 5 censoring any depiction to smoking, and Netflix banning smoking in anything that isn't rated TV-14 or higher. Marvel is also jumping on board by retroactively censoring cigars and cigarettes in older X-Men comics that are being reprinted.

KotakuInAction 2 spotted a Twitter thread where people were posting images of the reprints of X-Men issues where Logan, better known as Wolverine, no longer has a cigar in his mouth or hands.

The retroactive censorship also affected a recent reprint some of DC's Superman comics featuring Michael Turner's artwork, where the female thighs and butts were further covered up and censored .



Offsite Article: Coronavirus contact tracing...

Link Here4th April 2020
How EFF Evaluates Government Demands for New Surveillance Powers. By Adam Schwartz

See article from



Follow That Camel...

A long running series listing the cuts to the Carry On films

Link Here3rd April 2020

Carry On... Follow That Camel is a 1967 UK comedy romance by Gerald Thomas.
Starring Phil Silvers, Kenneth Williams and Jim Dale. BBFC link IMDb

Bertram Oliphant West (also known as Bo West) wants to clear his unjustly smeared reputation. He joins the Foreign Legion, with Simpson his manservant in tow. But the fort they get posted to is full of eccentric legionnaires, and there is trouble brewing with the locals too. Unbeknown to Bo, his lady love has followed him in disguise...

BBFC category cuts were required for an 'A" rated cinema release in 1967. The cuts have persisted into PG rated home video releases since.

The BBFC cuts were:

  • Reel 4 - Remove "only a little prick."
  • Reel 9 - Remove the reference to oats "becoming flour."
  • Reel 9 - Remove references to "the song of the rattlesnake" and to the "rattlesnake shaking its rattle."



Offsite Article: Cloud extraction technology...

Link Here3rd April 2020
The secret tech that lets government agencies collect masses of data from your apps

See article from



Sensitivities over Russian baddies...

Sony refuse to allow Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered to be sold for PlayStation in Russia

Link Here2nd April 2020
Full story: Sony Games Censorship...Sony has taken to unilateral censorship of PS 4 games
The video game designer Activision has announced that Sony's Russia branch is refusing to release Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered on the PS Store.

While the publisher did not give an explicit reason for this decision, it is more than likely because of the No Russian mission, which centered around a mass shooting perpetrated by Russian terrorists and the player. The content subsequently caused a massive debate, garnered widespread criticism, and originally led to a disclaimer and an option to skip the mission being added.

According to a tweet by the official Call of Duty Russia account, Sony Interactive Entertainment Russia refused to sell the game on the PlayStation Store. However, Activision did reassure players that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 s remastered campaign would still be available for Xbox One and PC in Russia.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is out now for PS4, with a PC and Xbox One version launching on April 30.



The uncensorable internet...

Opera introduces major updates to its blockchain-browser on Android

Link Here2nd April 2020
Web 3 is about rethinking the way we access data online. One of the important new Web 3 protocols which make this possible is IPFS.

IPFS is a protocol which allows you to store data on the web without having to rely on a single server or specific cloud service. How does it work? Instead of asking the network for a file using it's location, the browser can ask the network for a file using its cryptographic hash (unique to the file). IPFS then takes care of delivering the file to the browser, wherever it is stored. Each network node stores only the content it is interested in, plus some indexing information which helps figure out which node is storing what.

When looking up a file to view or download, one asks the network to find the nodes that are storing the content behind a given file's hash. One doesn't, however, need to remember the hash as every file can be found by human-readable names using a decentralized naming system like Unstoppable Domains or the Ethereum Name System (ENS).

This means that files, as well as websites, can be stored in a decentralized and secure way and accessed without relying on a single server 203 a truly cloudless form of storage similar to BitTorrent. Opera has worked directly with Protocol Labs, the main actor behind the development of the IPFS protocol, to integrate this experience into Opera for Android. 

Charles Hamel, Head of Crypto at Opera, commented:

Browsers have a critical role to play in Web 3 and we believe that integrating these new protocols into our popular browser will accelerate their adoption, said



Offsite Article: Bugs vs bugs...

Link Here2nd April 2020
Everyone seems to be writing an app for coronavirus surveillance, and the EU is no exception

See article from



Is humour disallowed in serious times?...

A few people complain about a virus joke on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway

Link Here1st April 2020
29 people have complained to Ofcom about a virus joke on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

Part five of the Men In Brown sketch saw Paul Hollywood, whose body had been taken over by an alien, reveal that he had the Universal Collider and could now infect the whole world.

A few viewers were not impressed, claiming it to be insensitive during a time when the entire world is battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Television censor Ofcom confirmed that they received a total of 29 complaints, including 22 relating to the Men In Brown sketch. Zn Ofcom spokesperson told

We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate,

This is Ofcom speak for the complaints already being in the waste paper bin but the complaints acknowledge that there is a section of society that believe that we should not be able to make light about an incredibly serious situation



An epidemic of censorship...

Indian government applied for news censorship powers but was turned down by the Supreme Court

Link Here1st April 2020
The Indian government must surely have caused mass panic when locking down the country with no notice to give migrant labour no chance to return home leaving them stranded and penniless in major cities.

Now the government is ironically seeking mass news censorship powers claiming that it is the uncensored press that is causing panic.

The Indian government has approached the Supreme Court seeking a directive to news outlets to refrain from publishing any COVID-19-related news without clearance from the government. The Supreme Court denied the request, according to the judgment reviewed by CPJ.

The government had justified the request for the blanket order by claiming that fake or inaccurate reporting could cause panic in the country and had proposed setting up a separate mechanism for clearance of any coverage on the pandemic. However, the court said it will not interfere with the free discussion about the pandemic, but directed news outlets to refer to and publish the official version about the developments.

The government invoked the Disaster Management Act on March 11, which makes the act of creating panic a criminal offense. According to this law , any false claim or warning is punishable with up to two years imprisonment and a fine, or both. The government has also invoked the colonial-era Epidemic Diseases Act under which the punishment for spreading misleading information is up to six months in jail, a fine of 1,000 Indian rupees (US$15), or both.

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