Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch


2023: July

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Offsite Article: Age Verified by Google...


Link Here31st July 2023
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
A fascinating article speculating on how the UK's Online Censorship Bill will actually impact the internet business, as always the onerous red tape will most benefit the US internet giants

See article from regulate.tech

 

 

The destroyers of words...

Indian film censors cut Oppenheimer


Link Here28th July 2023
Full story: Film cuts in India...Censor cuts for movies released in India
Oppenheimer is a 2023 UK/US historical biography by Christopher Nolan
Starring Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Matt Damon BBFC link 2020 IMDb

The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb.

India's film censors have made cuts to a nude scene in Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer.

Florence Pugh's naked body and breasts have been blacked out with a CGI mess supposed to indicate a black slip.

Pugh plays Oppenheimer's girlfriend Jean Tatlock, to whom Oppenheimer briefly returns for an assignation during his later marriage. She functions in part as a device to introduce the audience to Oppenheimer's interest in Hindu mythology -- and in ancient Sanskrit texts such as the Bhagavad Gita , which form the foundations of Hindu religious narrative.

At one point during their love--making -- mid-huff, mid-puff -- Pugh-as-Tatlock rises from Oppenheimer's body to trawl his bookshelf, picks up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and clambers back onto her lover's midsection as she opens it and begins to read aloud. Thus the film introduces a line which is now core to Oppenheimer's personal legend: Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

There were calls from religious groups to remove the references to hindu mythology. Uday Mahurkar is one of India's two information commissioners. He condemned the sex scene as waging a war on the Hindu community. If Nolan did not remove the scene, he insisted, it would constitute a deliberate assault on Indian civilisation.

 

 

Anything with X in the title must be porn...

Indonesia's simple minded website blocking system considers Twitter's new X branding as porn


Link Here28th July 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in Indonesia...Indonesia passes internet porn bill
According to Indonesia's Ministry of Communication and Informatics, Twitter  was blocked because the domain had previously been used by sites that disregarded the nation's cesnorship laws on gambling and pornography.

EnGadget quoted Usman Kansong, the director general of information and public communication at the ministry, as claiming that X had been contacted by the government to provide further information about the site's purpose.

Due to the change, the platform, which purportedly has 24 million members among Indonesia's 270 million people, was inaccessible to Indonesians.

 

 

Boiling over...

Extinction Rebellion attempt to pressure Ofcom to censor widely held 'wrong think' opinions on climate change


Link Here28th July 2023

 

 

110 years of film censorship...

The BBFC publishes its Annual Report covering 2022


Link Here24th July 2023

T he British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2022, which marked the BBFC's 110th year of content classification. Findings from the Report showed a promising uplift in overall content submitted for classification across cinema, online and home entertainment. The BBFC classified 1,057 cinema films, 5,527 video submissions and 3,649 online submissions, with cinema classifications increasing by 60% to reach near pre-pandemic submission levels.

In a milestone year for the BBFC's iconic age ratings, 15 was the most common category for both online and physical media submissions. From blockbusters like The Woman King to indie hits such as The Worst Person In The World, the 15 represented 42% of all classified content in 2022. Meanwhile, last year also saw some well-known features resubmitted to the BBFC for classification, including 1970s classic Watership Down. The BBFC originally gave the film a U rating when it was first released in 1978. In line with the BBFC's current Classification Guidelines, it then reclassified it from U to PG in 2022, reflecting how audience perspectives have changed over time. The BBFC also reclassified another high-profile film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, under the current guidelines as PG -- a shift up from its original U rating in 1979.

When distributors resubmit content for classification, Compliance Officers consider it against the current Classification Guidelines to ensure BBFC classification decisions remain in step with societal standards. The BBFC's published guidelines are the result of wide-scale consultations with thousands of people from across the UK, extensive research, and more than a century of experience. It updates them every four to five years to ensure that BBFC guidelines continue to meet the expectations and values of people across the UK. The BBFC will consult on its guidelines this year, with any changes required by the research coming into force in early 2024.

Additional key insights from the BBFC's Annual Report and Accounts include:

  • Increased presence of trusted BBFC guidance online -- in 2022, we licensed 29 services to carry BBFC age ratings and/or BBFC data on a voluntary, best-practice basis. As of July 2023, this figure has grown to 33 brands and services. Among others, these platforms include Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Curzon Home Cinema, Lionsgate+, Netflix, Pluto TV, Sky Store and YouTube Movies & TV.

  • Positive year-round Education and Outreach engagement -- providing young people and educators with further insight into our age ratings and content advice through classroom resources, student seminars and interactive digital content. The BBFC Youth Panel continued to flourish in its second year, working in close collaboration with the BBFC to represent the youth voice and ensure the needs of young people are continually met. Panel members also provide feedback on key classification issues, as well as contributing to exciting projects such as podcast takeovers.

  • Collaboration with the UK's Mobile Network Operators to protect children from seeing harmful content on their phones -- filtering hundreds of millions of websites unsuitable for children across 3G, 4G and 5G networks.

  • Continued to work closely with expert organisations and bodies -- including Ofcom, Barnardo's, the office of the Children's Commissioner for England, and the Internet Watch Foundation.

David Austin OBE, Chief Executive of the BBFC said:

Last year was a landmark year for the BBFC. We reached 110 years of classification and our iconic age ratings celebrated significant anniversaries. We also continued to cement our partnerships with VoD services -- and our recently announced AI projects, which explore how new technology might be integrated into the compliance process, aim to deliver scale and enhanced efficiencies for our customers and the wider industry. I'm really excited about the opportunities this next chapter will bring.

Natasha Kaplinksy OBE, President of the BBFC added:

I've always used the BBFC for guidance for myself and my family, so I was delighted to join the organisation as President in 2022. It's an exciting time to be part of the BBFC, as we're currently consulting with over 10,000 people across the UK to explore how audience expectations are evolving. We will then reflect these changes in our Classification Guidelines, which set the foundation for all of our age rating decisions, including when older films are resubmitted and receive a new classification. I look forward to unveiling our findings in 2024.

 

 

Rajan Zed recommends Oppenheimer...

Quotations from hindu texts offends the professionally easily offended


Link Here24th July 2023
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
A perennial hindu whinger, Rajan Zed, has complained about references to hindu texts in Christopher Nolan's movie, Oppenheimer.

Zed said in a statement that such irreverence and trivialization of sacred Bhagavad Gita and consequently Lord Krishna, who was hugely revered in Hinduism, was quite inappropriate and disturbing to the devotees.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged director Christopher Nolan and Universal Pictures to edit the scenes around references to Hindu text, depicting it appropriately and in a dignified manner. He added:

Inappropriate usage of Hindu scriptures or deities or symbols or concepts or icons for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees and belittled Hinduism.

We understand and appreciate theoretical physicist Julius Robert Oppenheimer's profound interest in and acquaintance of Hindu texts and his learning of Sanskrit to read the original works (who was reportedly deeply impressed by their wisdom); but Christopher Nolan and Universal Pictures should have shown some maturity in their treatment of the holy scripture.

Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled.

Zed further claimed that:

Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more ... BUT ... faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing could be painful for the followers.

Zed suggested that Hollywood executives should be sent for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of audiences and communities when creating new products.

 

 

Turkey vs Twitter...

Twitter refuses to bow to Turkish internet censorship


Link Here24th July 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's internet censors at the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) is fighting to force Twitter to bow to its censorship rules. It its banning Turkish citizens and corporations from placing ads on Twitter.

The move is a reaction to Twitter's failure to comply with a contentious digital law that requires the appointment of an official local representative to oversee censorship on the platform.

The BTK's resolution against X Corp. formerly known as Twitter Inc has prohibited any new ads from natural and legal persons. This decision was published in the Official Gazette, following the company's non-compliance with Turkey's new digital law adopted in 2022.nUnder the new law, social media companies are obliged to designate official representatives within Turkey. These individuals would be accountable for processing government demands and notifications, which would predominantly encompass requests for content removal.

For those who defy the new rule, the penalties include fines for any person or company placing advertisements on Twitter. Furthermore, the law contains a stringent clause whereby continued non-compliance from Twitter may result in the halving of the platform's bandwidth within the country.

 

 

A new snooper's charter...

The Online 'Safety' Bill is not the only threat to British people's internet privacy and security


Link Here20th July 2023
Full story: UK Government vs Encryption...Government seeks to restrict peoples use of encryption
Apple says it will remove services such as FaceTime and iMessage from the UK rather than weaken security if new UK government proposals are made law and acted upon.

The government is seeking to update the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016. It wants messaging services to clear security features with the Home Office before releasing them to customers. The act lets the Home Office demand security features are disabled, without telling the public. Under the update, this would have to be immediate.

Currently, there has to be a review, there can also be an independent oversight process and a technology company can appeal before taking any action.

WhatsApp and Signal are among the platforms to have opposed a clause in the Online Safety Bill allowing the communications regulator to require companies to install technology to scan for child-abuse material in encrypted messaging apps and other services.

The government has opened an eight-week consultation on the proposed amendments to the IPA. , which already enables the storage of internet browsing records for 12 months and authorises the bulk collection of personal data.

Apple has made a  9 page submission to the current consultation opposing the snooping proposal:

It would not make changes to security features specifically for one country that would weaken a product for all users. Some changes would require issuing a software update so could not be made secretly The proposals constitute a serious and direct threat to data security and information privacy that would affect people outside the UK.

 

 

Facebook profiled as snoopers...

Norway bans Facebook from using reader profiling for advert selection without reader consent


Link Here20th July 2023
Full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
Meta, the company that operates Facebook and Instagram, is facing a temporary ban on its behavioral advertising in Norway, mandated by the country's data protection authority, the Datatilsynet. This injunction lasts for an initial period of three months and requires Meta to procure users' consent for data processing.

Meta can still run other targeted advertising forms like contextual targeting, not dependent on tracking and profiling users, it is warned to either obtain user consent for behavioral advertising or face daily fines of up to one million NOK (approximately $100,000).

Meta has not confirmed whether it would appeal against the order or modify its operations on Facebook and Instagram in Norway.

 

 

Game of Death...

Unseen log fight footage from Bruce Lee film Game of Death to be released


Link Here18th July 2023
Game of Death is a 1978 Hong Kong film by Robert Clouse.
With Bruce Lee, Gig Young and Colleen Camp. Melon Farmers link  YouTube icon  BBFC link 2020   IMDb
Cut by the BBFC for X rated cinema release. Fight scenes were substituted for banned nunchuks for 18 rated VHS. Uncut and 18 rated for DVD and 15 rated for 2023 cinema release. The film is uncut in the US but there also exists a shortened Hong Kong Version.

Long-lost unseen footage of the celebrated log fight scene from the Bruce Lee film Game of Death is to be released as bonus material in a new box set marking the 50th anniversary of the famed actor and martial artist's death.

The log fight scene, so called because of the large piece of wood that one of actors wields at the start of the sequence, is part of the approximately 100 minutes of raw footage that Lee shot in 1972, before production was halted to enable Lee to take up Warner Bros' offer to make Enter the Dragon . The scene features Chieh Yuan, as one of Lee's allies, in combat with Dan Inosanto, who plays a master of Filipino martial art eskrima.

The log fight scene was known from photographs taken on the set, and from very brief excerpts used in the 1978 version. It appears to have become separated from the rest of the Game of Death footage after Lee's death, and was discovered in 2016 in the Hong Kong archives of film studio Fortune Star, which now owns the catalogue of Game of Death producers Golden Harvest.

 

 

Midlife Crustacean and Kwarantined Crab...

Two episodes of Spongebob SquarePants have censorship issues at Paramount+


Link Here18th July 2023
SpongeBob SquarePants is a 1999 US children's cartoon
Starring Tom Kenny, Rodger Bumpass and Bill Fagerbakke IMDb

The misadventures of a talking sea sponge who works at a fast food restaurant, attends a boating school, and lives in an underwater pineapple.

A previously withdrawn episode of SpongeBob SquarePants has just made its way back to streaming. Mid-Life Crustacean , which was first released in January 2003, is available to stream on Paramount+ through Amazon Prime Video after it was taken out of TV rotation in 2018 and subsequently pulled from the Paramount+ library in 2021.

The episode proved to be controversial, with some claiming it to be unsuitable for the young audience the show is geared towards. The episode finds three of the show's male characters -- Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob, and Patrick -- going on a Panty Raid, involving them breaking into a woman's house to steal her underwear.

Several years later, in 2022, the episode was scrubbed from Paramount+. That latter move sparked outrage among SpongeBob Squarepants fans, eventually leading to the launch of a fan-created Change.org petition calling on Nickelodeon to Bring Back Mid-Life Crustacean! The petition argued that Nickelodeon already knows that a large portion of the fanbase is composed of nostalgic adults, and as such could have been bumping up the rating on this episode or include a warning or something else.

While Mid-Life Crustacean has returned to streaming, it seems that another episode, Kwarantined Crab, is still on the banned list. That episode was pulled in 2021 after it aired as part of SpongeBob's 12th season amid the coronavirus pandemic and the rise of anti-Asian violence. The episode finds the Krusty Krab going under emergency quarantine after the Health Inspector finds a Clam Flu case in the restaurant. As anxiety grows among those locked in the Kruty Krab, those who are assumed to have the virus are shunned and isolated, with Mr. Krabs locking SpongeBob, Patrick, and several other characters in the restaurant's freezer. In a statement confirming the episode was pulled, Nickelodeon said, We have decided to not air it due to sensitivities surrounding the global, real-world pandemic.

 

 

Drinks mafia...

The Portman Group bans packaging for a Scotch whisky bottle shaped like a gun


Link Here16th July 2023
The alcohol tradeassociation, the Portman Group, banned packaging for Cosa Nostra Scotch Whisky produced by Bartex Bartol.

The group report a breach of guidelines, namely that drinks should not suggest any association with bravado, or with violent, aggressive, dangerous, anti-social or illegal behaviour

Bartex Bartol did not submit a response to the complaint.

The Portman Group Panel's Assessment: Complaint upheld

Rule 3.2(b):

A drink it's packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way suggest any association with bravado or with violent aggressive, dangerous anti-social or illegal behaviour.

Rule 3.3:

A drink's name, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not cause serious or widespread offence.

The Panel discussed whether the packaging of Cosa Nostra Scotch Whisky suggested any association with violent, aggressive, dangerous, anti-social or illegal behaviour. The Panel reviewed the shape of the bottle as the product's primary packaging and observed that it was a replica of a Thompson submachine gun, known as a Tommy Gun, which the Panel determined created a direct link between the drink and a dangerous weapon. The Panel considered that a Tommy Gun was often used in depictions of historical organised crime syndicates, and while a Tommy Gun was not a contemporary gun, the average consumer would recognise it as a firearm. Therefore, the Panel considered that the shape of the bottle created a clear link between the drink and a dangerous weapon which was wholly inappropriate for an alcoholic drink.

The Panel then discussed the drink's name, Cosa Nostra, and noted that the Cosa Nostra were a well-known faction of the Italian Mafia, an organised crime group renowned for engaging in violent behaviour and illegal activities. The Panel noted that text included on the packaging stated post proelia praemia which translated in English to after the battle, comes the reward, further compounding the association between the drink, violent behaviour and the glamorisation of criminal activity.

The Panel noted that the gun-shaped product came packaged in a large box which included the product name, an image of the primary packaging inside, imagery of two Tommy Guns crossed over each other and images of bullet holes on the box. The Panel noted that this further emphasised the product's direct link to violent behaviour and the glamourisation of criminal activity.

Considering the overall impression of the primary and secondary packaging, the Panel concluded that the name, the gun shape packaging and the language used all created a direct association with violent, aggressive, dangerous and illegal behaviour which glamourised crime and mafioso culture. Accordingly, the Panel upheld the complaint under code riule 3.2(b)

In light of the above, the Panel considered whether the drinks packaging could cause serious or widespread offence. The Panel discussed the association created between the drink and Cosa Nostra, a real-life criminal organisation. The Panel discussed that the average consumer would be aware of the Cosa Nostra given it was still a contemporary group, and one which was intrinsically linked with extreme violence, aggression, and criminal activity. The Panel stated that those who were directly affected by the violence perpetrated by the syndicate would consider packaging glamourising the Cosa Nostra seriously offensive.

The Panel also considered that the packaging created a clear link between an alcohol drink and a firearm. In the context of rising gun crime in the UK, the Panel considered that the packaging was also likely to cause serious and widespread offence, particularly to communities in which gun crime was an ongoing serious issue. Accordingly, the complaint was upheld under Code rule 3.3.

 

 

Offsite Article: Children could miss out on Barbie movie as censor slaps it with 12A certificate...


Link Here 16th July 2023
The Daily Mail has a go at the BBFC 12A rating for Barbie

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

ASA's creepy crawler...

The UK advert censor outlines how it scours the internet looking for easy offence and gender sterotypes


Link Here14th July 2023

In this article we want to share more details of the ASA's Active Ad Monitoring system, which uses AI to proactively search for online ads that break the rules.

The ASA is already a proactive regulator. Our expert teams are constantly trying to understand emerging issues and monitor compliance with the rules. But the scale of online advertising makes this challenging and resource intensive. The Active Ad Monitoring system our Data Science team has built sorts through big volumes of ads, delivering intelligence to experts across the ASA and allowing them to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently.

The Active Ad Monitoring system is made up of three components:

  • Ad capture at scale -- The system captures ads from social media, search and display using a mix of public sources, our own internal monitoring tools and proprietary datasets

  • AI-based filtering -- Machine learning models are configured to spot the ads that are most likely to be relevant to a given issue, or to have specific compliance problems

  • Expert review -- Our experts can browse and search content related to their work via a web interface that allows them to quickly assess issues, and identify problematic examples for action

Developing the capabilities of the system is an ongoing project. At the moment it only covers a subset of the issues the ASA is working on. But it is already making an impact in high-priority areas, and currently processes more than 100,000 ads each month.

In the past, we would have relied on limited, labour-intensive manual searches and complaints from the public to stay on top of any non-compliant ads. Today, we use our Active Ad Monitoring system. After capturing ads by relevant advertisers from a range of social media platforms, the system applies machine learning algorithms to identify and flag likely non-compliant ads, for our experts to review and act on.

Each week the Compliance team is presented with an organised list of any ads that the Active Ad Monitoring system has identified as likely to break the rules, with explanations of the issues found. This has enabled us to act quickly, taking follow-up action with advertisers to secure compliance, and working closely with platforms to take down ads where necessary. Overall, the ASA's work, assisted by our Active Ad Monitoring system has already led to hundreds of ads being either amended or withdrawn.

At the ASA we are not just investing in AI, we are committed to creating and deploying real-world applications that lead to fewer non-compliant ads. We are, therefore, continuing to rapidly develop our Active Ad Monitoring system, making it an even more core part of the way we regulate.

 

 

Cold hearted 'justice'...

Hungarian bookshop give enormous fine for selling a gay book without the required plastic wrapping


Link Here14th July 2023
Hungarian authorities have fined a bookseller for selling a British graphic novel without closed wrapping - saying it breached an anti-gay law on LGBT literature for under-18s.

The retailer was fined 12m forints (Ł27,400), for selling Heartstopper without wrapping it in plastic foil, as required by law. Officials said the book depicts homosexuality and was sold to minors.

In 2021, the government of prime minister Viktor Orban introduced a law banning the display and promotion of homosexuality among under-18s. The censorship laws says that minors cannot be shown pornographic content, or anything that encourages gender change or homosexuality.

The Heartstopper series of books, written and illustrated by the British author Alice Oseman, follow the lives of two British teenagers attending a fictional school who meet and fall in love. It is billed as a book about life, love, and everything that happens in between. It has since been acquired and adapted by the streaming service Netflix, which plans to release a second series in August.

 

 

They just want to be loved...

Ofcom publishes its self congratulatory Annual Report clearly relishing its upcoming role as internet censor and coordinator of an eye wateringly expensive red tape nightmare


Link Here14th July 2023
Ofcom writes:

We have today published our Annual Report and Accounts covering the period from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

The report sets out our performance against our plan of work for the past financial year, capturing the progress we have made in our work across major projects and ongoing regulatory responsibilities.

 

 

Burning issues...

United Nations resolution calls for a worldwide ban on publicly burning the Quran


Link Here14th July 2023
Full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN
Members of the misleadingly named UN Human Rights Council (HRC) has voted in favour of a resolution for the deliberately and publicly burning of the Quran or any other holy book to be prohibited by law.

The UK voted against the resolution. In a statement , the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said:

We do not accept that, by definition, attacks on religion, including on religious texts or symbols, constitute advocacy for hatred.

Other states opposed to the motion included France, Germany and the USA, but they were outvoted 28 to 12.

The resolution follows a high profile incident in Sweden last month, when Iraqi refugee Salwan Momika burned a Quran outside a mosque in Stockholm. Momika is an atheist formerly from Iraq's persecuted minority Christian community.

The resolution was introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has long supported efforts to censor blasphemous speech. The OIC is an intergovernmental organisation of 57 states and claims to be the collective voice of the Muslim world. Although it stopped explicitly campaigning for a global blasphemy law in 2011, it has repeatedly spearheaded attempts to install backdoor blasphemy laws.

The resolution passed was amended to include the explicit provision that burning the Quran and other holy books should be banned. The original resolution did not include this statement.

UNHRC resolutions are not legally binding, but can be used to pressure states to change their laws.

National Secular Society chief executive Stephen Evans said:

Equating the desecration of religious books and symbols with incitement to violence is a pernicious attempt to impose blasphemy laws by stealth. The Islamic nations behind this resolution have long been more interested in protecting religion than protecting individuals.

Speech and expression must be viewed in context. Crude attempts to impose blanket prohibitions clearly risk capturing and silencing legitimate expression and dissent.

Democratic societies must find ways to combat intolerance and hatred without further restricting freedom of expression to meet increasing sensitivities of certain religious groups.

 

 

Fatter cats...

Ofcom execs are slobbering in anticipation of the banning of junk food advertising on TV and online


Link Here10th July 2023

Between 21 February and 21 April 2023, Ofcom consulted on proposals for implementing new statutory restrictions on advertising and sponsorship for less healthy food and drink products.

The Health and Care Act -- which received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022 -- amended the Communications Act 2003 to introduce new restrictions on advertising and sponsorship for certain food and drink products that are high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS). These new restrictions apply to advertising on Ofcom-regulated TV and on-demand programme services (ODPS) and also online.

The restrictions:

  • prohibit TV services from including advertising and sponsorship for less healthy food and drink products between 5.30am and 9pm;

  • prohibit ODPS from including advertising and sponsorship for less healthy food and drink products between 5.30am and 9pm; and

  • prohibit paid-for advertisements for less healthy food and drink products that are aimed at UK users from being placed online at any time.

These restrictions take effect from 1 October 2025.

Ofcom is the statutory regulator with responsibility for advertising on TV and ODPS. Our consultation proposed to:

  • designate the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as a co-regulator for the new prohibition on advertising for less healthy food and drink products in paid-for online space; and

  • amend the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Code and the Broadcasting Code to reflect the new restrictions that apply to advertising and sponsorship on TV.

This statement summarises the consultation responses and sets out our conclusions.

See statement [pdf] from ofcom.org.uk

 

 

Britcoin...

UK is developing a central digital currency so as to better surveil and control your spending


Link Here10th July 2023
Full story: UK Central Bank Digital Currency...Big brotherdesigns a new snoopable and controllable payment system
the Bank of England's venture into the digital currency landscape, specifically with the development of its prospective digital version of the pound -- fondly dubbed Britcoin -- may not be as warmly welcomed as expected due to clear concerns over privacy, surveillance, control and civil liberties.

The central bank has entrusted Nuggets, a digital payments platform, with the task of incorporating identity features into the digital pound, according to Nuggets CEO Alastair Johnson. The innovative technology, Johnson explains, could facilitate not only the verification of age for purchasing age-restricted items like alcohol and cigarettes, but also citizenship status.

However, experts warn of the vast amount of data that could be gathered from daily transactions, especially given Nuggets' specialization in decentralized identity systems that regulate how individuals' data is used with each transaction.

Despite unlikely sounding assurances from Nuggets that users would maintain control over their data and that no personal information or activity would be accessible to the CBDC token system, fears about surveillance and civil liberties persist. The perspective that the implementation of a digital pound may serve as a Trojan Horse, enabling the monitoring of individual's transactions and actions, casts a pall over the project

 

 

Troubled waters...

Vietnam bans Barbie movie over propaganda supporting China's territory grab in the South China Sea


Link Here8th July 2023
Barbie is a 2023 UK/US comedy fantasy by Greta Gerwig
Starring Margot Robbie, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Ryan Gosling BBFC link 2020 IMDb

Barbie suffers a crisis that leads her to question her world and her existence.

Vietnam has banned the upcoming Barbie movie from domestic distribution over a scene featuring a map that shows China's unilaterally claimed territory in the South China Sea.

Vi Kien Thanh, head of the Department of Cinema, a government body in charge of licensing and censoring foreign films said:

We do not grant license for the American movie 'Barbie' to release in Vietnam because it contains the offending image of the nine-dash line.

The U-shaped nine-dash line is used on Chinese maps to illustrate its claims over vast areas of the South China Sea, including swathes of what Vietnam considers its continental shelf, where it has awarded oil concessions.

Barbie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, was originally slated to open in Vietnam on July 21.

Barbie is the latest movie to be banned in Vietnam for depicting China's controversial nine-dash line, which was repudiated in an international arbitration ruling by a court in The Hague in 2016. China refuses to recognize the ruling. Margot Robbie reveals story behind perfectly arched Barbie feet June 28, 202301:06

 

 

Junk decisions...

Transport for London ludicrously bans a stage show poster depicting a wedding cake


Link Here8th July 2023
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
A poster for a West End play featuring a wedding cake was banned by Transport for London (TfL) ludicrously seen as promoting foods high in fat, salt and sugar.

The ad for Tony n' Tina's Wedding , a dinner show at Wonderville, Haymarket, featured a three-tier sponge cake.

The interactive show is set at an Italian-American wedding, with a three-course meal, live music and dancing. Producer Paul Gregg told BBC London they could not run the posters after they delivered them to TfL. He said of TfL:

They said 'you can't put these up, they've got cake on'. It was a bit of a surprise...

 

 

Offsite Article: Screened out...


Link Here8th July 2023
Empire Cinemas collapses into administration with six UK locations shut down and 150 jobs lost

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

Reviewing UK censorship laws on pornography...

The Government announces a new review that will surely be a one-sided affair inviting moralists and campaigners to whinge about porn


Link Here4th July 2023
The UK government is reviewing porn censorship laws for adults, moving beyond the age verification requirements proposed in the current Online Censorship Bill.

No doubt the 'review' will be a one-sided whinge-fest soliciting the views of moralists, censors and law enforcers, whilst totally ignoring the views of film makers and viewers.

The Government writes:

Regulation of online pornography in the UK will undergo a thorough review to make sure it is fit for purpose in tackling exploitation and abuse, the government has announced today (Monday 3 July).

As the way we consume media and access content rapidly changes, the Review will investigate any gaps in UK regulation which allows exploitation and abuse to take place online as well as identifying barriers to enforcing criminal law. While the criminal law has been updated in recent years to tackle the presence of extreme and revenge pornography, there are currently different regimes that address the publication and distribution of commercial pornographic material offline, such as videos, and online. The government wants to ensure any pornography legislation and regulation operates consistently for all pornographic content.

The review will also look at how effective the criminal justice system and law enforcement agencies are in responding to illegal pornographic content, including considering if any changes need to be made to criminal law to address challenges law enforcement might have.

It will also consider what more can be done to provide children with information and resources about the harm caused by pornography. This will make sure that illegal and harmful content, such as that which features child sexual abuse and exploitation, or where adults are being exploited, is robustly dealt with.

The Pornography Review is a prompt response to calls for action from parliamentarians and campaign groups concerned with the prevalence and impact on both children and adults of illegal pornographic content and child sexual exploitation and abuse on pornography sites and social media.

This work is separate to, but builds on, the Online Safety Bill, which will hold social media companies and pornography services accountable for ensuring children cannot view pornography, with a new higher standard on the age verification or age estimation tools they must use.

Technology Minister, Paul Scully, said:

Keeping the public safe is the first priority of any government and with technology moving faster than ever, we cannot take our eye off the ball in exploring what more we can do.

Our Pornography Review will look closely at the laws and regulations relating to offline and online content, informing our next steps in tackling the heinous crimes of exploitation and abuse, wherever it occurs.

'Justice' Minister, Ed Argar, said:

It is vital we keep up with the pace of the online world and this review will help ensure our laws work to protect people online while punishing those who share illegal and harmful content.

The Review will seek expertise across government and significant engagement with the Crown Prosecution Service and police, industry, civil society stakeholders and regulators.

The review will also look at the role of the pornography industry in trafficking and exploiting adult performers, child sexual exploitation and abuse, and how extreme and non-consensual pornographic content online is dealt with.

There are currently several criminal offences, linked to legislation such as the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and the extreme porn offence at s63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which can be committed in relation to all pornographic material, whether offline or online. Some pornographic material is covered by communications offences and offences which deal with publicly displayed material in shops and other premises.

Separately, there is a very robust regime of offences tackling the possession, taking and making of indecent images of children, whether they are photographs / films, or non-photographic.

There are also different regulatory regimes, including that established by the Video Recordings Act 1984, which address the publication and distribution of commercial pornographic material offline, and the video-sharing platform regime that addresses some online pornography. Notes to editors

The Review will involve a range of government departments, including the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Further scope of the Review will be set out in due course.

The Review is aiming to be completed within a year.

 

 

How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord: Season 2...

Just unbanned by the Australian Censorship Board


Link Here4th July 2023
Full story: Banned Films in Australia...I Want Your Love
How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord is a 2018 Japan animation comedy
Starring Masaaki Mizunaka, Yű Serizawa and Azumi Waki BBFC link 2020 IMDb

Season 2 was banned in January 2023 by the Australian Censorship Board. The problem was a still image at the end of Episode 3, CORRUPT RITUAL Presumably this image was cut when Season 2 was resubmitted in June 2023 and it was then MA 15+ rated.

Summary Notes

An elite player is summoned by two maidens to save a fantasy game.

SeasonTwo

  BBFC uncut
uncut
run: 251m
pal: 241m
18UK: Uncut and BBFC 18 rated for:
cut
cut
cut:  
run: 251m
pal: 241m
ACB MA 15+Australia: ACB MA 15+ rated for strong sexual themes and sexualised imagery after censor cuts:
  • 2023 Crunchyroll (RB) Blu-ray (classified 27/06/2023)

Presumably the offending image was cut when Season 2 was resubmitted and then MA 15+ rated in June 2023.

banned
banned
ACB RCAustralia: Banned by the ACB for:
  • 2023 Crunchyroll (RB) Blu-ray (banned 04/01/2023)

See refused-classification.com : The problem was a still image at the end of Episode 3, CORRUPT RITUAL.

 

 

The Last of the Mohicans...

Viciously scalped by Channel Five


Link Here4th July 2023
The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 USA action war romance by Michael Mann.
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe and Russell Means. Melon Farmers link  YouTube icon   BBFC link 2020  IMDb
Never cut by the BBFC but its ratings have oscillated between 12 and 15. Uncut and MPAA R rated in the US. There are three different cuts reflecting the director's attention to detail.

On Saturday (24th June 2023) at 3:45pm on Channel Five, a heavily-censored version of Michael Mann’s 1992 epic, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS was shown, with a “contains mild violence” warning, and shown as part of a Family Movies season, sponsored by Legoland UK!

The film had about 15-20 minutes of cuts from its 122m running time, to render it suitable for daytime viewing. It also starts off in 2.35:1 for the opening credits scene, then zooms out to 1.85:1 widescreen, losing large amounts of footage.

Almost all violence was cut, especially scalping, gunshot wounds, bloody knife and machete attacks. The scene in the middle of the film, where Daniel Day Lewis is being escorted in chains for treason, is so heavily cut, one minute he’s in chains, the next he’s free and carrying a gun trying to save Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe’s character).

Major Heyward (Steven Waddington) being burnt at the stake, is completely gone. He’s escorted away, and that’s it....

 

 

Parents TV Council recommends...

HBO's The Idol


Link Here4th July 2023
Full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence
The Idol is a 2023 US sexy TV drama
Starring The Weeknd, Lily-Rose Depp and Suzanna Son IMDb

Jocelyn is desperate to reclaim her rightful title as the greatest and sexiest pop diva in America after a nervous breakdown disrupted her most recent tour after Tedros, a notorious nightclub entrepreneur, reignites her passions.

The US moral campaign group have whinged:

In light of the news that The Idol's first season will only be five episodes (with hype suggesting that the promised 6th episode has been censored), the Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) is calling on HBO not to renew The Idol for a second season, given the program's extreme content, nudity, sexual abuse, torture , that can be harmful to young viewers.

The PTC has called on HBO's streaming platform MAX to stop marketing The Idol to youth through social media, and to shore up wide gaps in its parental controls that enable youth to watch The Idol and other explicit TV-MA content like Euphoria.

The Idol has been rightfully panned by TV critics because each episode delves deeper into 'torture porn' and sexual abuse. Far from enlightening, the show has sunk into such depravity that even its niche audience has clearly turned against it, otherwise, why would HBO only air five of the expected six episodes? HBO should run far from this Sam Levinson-produced program that glamorizes and egregiously markets extreme sexual abuse to teens by refusing to renew it for a second season, said Melissa Henson, vice president of the Parents Television and Media Council.

Videos tagged with #theidol on TikTok have racked-up more than 1.2 BILLION views. There are more than 120 variations on that hashtag, adding up to millions more views.

TV critics have slammed The Idol, citing it as pornographic, a sordid male fantasy, a darker, crazier, and more risque version of HBO's Euphoria .

 

 

Running riot over people's freedom...

French government proposes extreme internet censorship law to force browsers to block all websites on a French government controlled list


Link Here1st July 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in France...Web blocking in the name of child protection
Mozilla, the foundation that produces the Firefox browser explains:

In a well-intentioned yet dangerous move to fight online fraud, France is on the verge of forcing browsers to create a dystopian technical capability. Article 6 (para II and III) of the SREN Bill would force browser providers to create the means to mandatorily block websites present on a government provided list. Such a move will overturn decades of established content moderation norms and provide a playbook for authoritarian governments that will easily negate the existence of censorship circumvention tools.

While motivated by a legitimate concern, this move to block websites directly within the browser would be disastrous for the open internet and disproportionate to the goals of the legal proposal -- fighting fraud. It will also set a worrying precedent and create technical capabilities that other regimes will leverage for far more nefarious purposes. Leveraging existing malware and phishing protection offerings rather than replacing them with government provided, device level block-lists is a far better route to achieve the goals of the legislation.

The rest of the post will provide a brief overview of the current state of phishing protection systems in browsers, the distinction between industry practices and what the draft law proposes, and proposes alternatives to achieve the goals of the legislation in a less extreme manner.

It might seem that current malware and phishing protection industry practices are not so different from the French proposal. This is far from the truth, where the key differentiating factor is that they do not block websites but merely warn users about the risks and allow them to access the websites if they choose to accept it. No such language is present in the current proposal, which is focused on blocking. Neither are there any references to privacy preserving implementations or mechanisms to prevent this feature from being utilized for other purposes. In fact, a government being able to mandate that a certain website not open at all on a browser/system is uncharted territory and even the most repressive regimes in the world prefer to block websites further up the network (ISPs, etc.) so far.

Forcing browsers to create capabilities that enable website blocking at the browser level is a slippery slope. While it might be leveraged only for malware and phishing in France today, it will set a precedent and create the technical capability within browsers for whatever a government might want to restrict or criminalize in a given jurisdiction forever. A world in which browsers can be forced to incorporate a list of banned websites at the software-level that simply do not open, either in a region or globally, is a worrying prospect that raises serious concerns around freedom of expression. If it successfully passes into law, the precedent this would set would make it much harder for browsers to reject such requests from other governments.

We remain engaged in conversations with relevant stakeholders and hope that the final law leads to a more palatable outcome for the open internet.

 

 

Escape tunnels...

Fans will have to use a VPN to access Pornhub in Virginia


Link Here1st July 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
One of the most visited sites in the world, Pornhub, has blocked users in Virginia over the state's new age verification law.

The new law taking effect July 1 now requires websites with pornographic content being viewed in Virginia to verify that users are at least 18 years old before they can view the site. The law, proposed by Republican state Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (Franklin), sailed through the Virginia General Assembly.

Pornhub decided that it would be blocking all Virginia users rather than try to implement unsafe and privacy endangering age verification.

Pornhub wrote in a message to those attempting to log in:

The safety of our users is one of our biggest concerns. We believe that the best and most effective solution for protecting children and adults alike is to identify users by their device and allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that identification.

Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Virginia.'

 

 

 

 

Military withdrawal...

US Department of Defence decides to refuse to support film makers that censor their movies so as to access the Chinese market


Link Here1st July 2023
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
A US senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, has long championed new laws to ban Hollywood from using military assets in the making movies that have kowtowed to Chinese censorship pressure.

Cruz seems to have got his way. A DoD document provided to Politico this week, revealed the department updated policy when it comes to working with Hollywood. It claimed the department will not provide production assistance when there is demonstrable evidence that the production has complied or is likely to comply with a demand from the Government of the People's Republic of China to censor the content of the project in a material manner to advance the national interest of the People's Republic of China.

The issue became prominent several early trailers for last year's Top Gun: Maverick had the Taiwan and Japan flags removed from the iconic flight jacket worn Capt. Pete Maverick Mitchell, the classic character made played by Tom Cruise.

Recently, Chinese censors have requested that Warner Brothers remove references to a gay relationship in its Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore . According to reports, the studio accepted the request and cut six seconds from the movie.

Chinese censors have also requested that Disney/Pixar remove a same-sex kiss from its 2022 movie Lightyear , though that request was rejected by the American studios and the film was not shown in China.

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