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Censor Watch

2022: September

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Signaling a very one-sided approach to film censorship...

The BBFC announces children's campaigner Natasha Kaplinsky as new President

Link Here 30th September 2022

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has announced Natasha Kaplinsky as its new President. The newsreader, presenter and journalist is a recognised figure in British public life and is passionate about issues affecting children's rights and welfare. Natasha will take up the new position in October and will replace current President, Patrick Swaffer, who has held the post since 2012.

As President of the BBFC, Natasha will be a member of the Board of Directors and will chair the Board of Classification, which meets monthly. The Board of Classification is responsible for overseeing all matters relating to classification, including the most complex and controversial of cases.

The President also chairs the BBFC's Advisory Council on Children's Viewing (APCV), which was established in 1999 and which meets three times a year. The APCV advises the BBFC on issues concerning children and young people. Its members provide a wide range of skills and expertise connected with child welfare, and contribute to the development of BBFC policy.

The President brings a high-level approach and independence to difficult cases and policy issues. Working with a wide range of external stakeholders across Westminster, Whitehall and the media, Natasha will help to raise awareness of the trusted guidance that the BBFC delivers to UK families. She will also be championing its year-round Education and Outreach activity, and will be meeting with the BBFC Youth Panel in the coming months.

Natasha will provide a sounding board to Chief Executive, David Austin, as the BBFC continues to adapt to deliver its core mission of helping everyone choose content that is right for them and avoid what's not. Natasha and David will work in close collaboration to uphold the positive culture of the organisation and promote staff engagement.

Throughout her career, Natasha has held purposeful roles across public, private and non-profit sectors. With over 20 years of experience, Natasha has worked within both philanthropic and commercial businesses to support vulnerable people and communities around the world. She is skilled at working in tandem with national institutions as well as local charities, understanding the importance of strong partnerships to create an impact.

Amongst other pro-bono roles, Natasha is currently President of Barnardo's and an Ambassador for Save the Children, travelling widely for the organisation. In December 2020, Natasha founded the UK Women's Network, giving women and girls the opportunity to leverage their talents and resources. Natasha is also patron for a number of charities, including The Bevern Trust, a charity that cares for young adults with learning difficulties.

Natasha has an extensive record of achievements, including being awarded an OBE in the Queen's 2017 Birthday Honours List for services to Holocaust Commemoration. In 2014, Natasha became a member of the Prime Minister's Holocaust Commission, and in 2015, she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Foundation advisory board.

Natasha Kaplinsky said:

I'm delighted to be joining the BBFC in October as the new President. The BBFC is accountable to the Government, Parliament, local authorities, and to people across the UK. It is clear that it takes its accountability seriously, alongside the impartial nature of its role. For over a century, the BBFC has done fantastic work to help families have a positive viewing experience, wherever and however they watch content. It's crucial that children's welfare is at the forefront of policy decision-making and this is central to the BBFC's efforts in the Online Safety space. I am really excited to bring my knowledge and experience to help guide the BBFC in its 110th year and beyond. The challenges that young people face now in the UK are greater than ever before - and I am committed to giving voice to their needs. I can't wait for the opportunities that this next chapter will bring.

David Austin, Chief Executive said:

We are so pleased that Natasha has been appointed as our next President. She brings a wealth of expertise and a profound understanding of our core audience of parents, carers and families. With Natasha at the helm, I am looking forward to seeing how the business will continue to evolve to improve our offer to meet the needs of our industry partners and UK audiences. The influence, media insight, and vision that she will bring will really help to shape the future of the BBFC. He added: I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Patrick for his invaluable and long-lasting contributions across his ten years as President and the support he has given me as CEO.

Patrick Swaffer, outgoing President said:

As I reflect on the last decade, I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved. The modernisation of the organisation, particularly with the introduction of our cloud-based compliance platform, Horizon, has enabled us to work more flexibly and effectively than ever before. Public trust in the BBFC remains extremely high and as a result we have seen our widely recognised age ratings extend beyond our statutory responsibilities; as encouraged by the Government in their response to the consultation on audience protection standards on VOD services. We now work with 29 online UK services to provide age ratings for content on a voluntary best practice basis, which is a remarkable achievement. As we look ahead, Natasha is the perfect candidate to lead the BBFC through what I'm sure will be yet another transformational phase fully supported by David and the excellent staff at the BBFC who have made my time as President such a pleasure.




Ofcom picks seemingly as a start point to enforce ID verification requirements for adult content

Link Here30th September 2022
Full story: Ofcom Video Sharing Censors...Video on Demand and video sharing is streaming service along the lines of OnlyFans that allows models to provide adult streaming videos and other content to subscribing fans.

Ofcom have announced that they are investigating the company for failing to provide Ofcom with information as to how they are implementing  Age/ID verification ('protecting users' in Ofcom speak).

Ofcom writes:

Ofcom has been the regulator of UK established video sharing platforms (VSPs) since November 2020. Earlier this year, Ofcom issued a number of information requests to VSPs to obtain information on the measures taken by VSPs to protect users.

On 29 September 2022, Ofcom opened an investigation into Tapnet Ltd, which provides the VSP RevealMe.

This investigation concerns Tapnet's compliance with an information request notice, issued on 6 June 2022 under section 368Z10 of the Communications Act 2003. Tapnet was required to respond to the Notice by no later than 4 July 2022. As of 29 September 2022, Tapnet had not provided a response to the Notice.

The Notice explained that the reason for requesting the information was to understand and monitor the measures VSPs have in place to protect users and to publish a report under section 368Z11 of the Act.

Ofcom's investigation will examine whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that Tapnet has failed to comply with its statutory duties in relation to Ofcom's information request. Ofcom will provide updates on this page as we progress this investigation.



Stick it to Hep C...

New Zealand advert censor gets all offended by health education campaign

Link Here30th September 2022
A New Zealand health campaign designed to help curb hepatitis C has been censored after one of its advertisements showing people raising the middle finger was deemed too offensive to air.

The campaign included videos, outdoor posters and online material featuring actors raising their middle finger to another person, while smiling. The advertisement then goes on to show an actor having his middle finger pricked for a blood test, to determine if he has the blood-borne virus.

But the Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint describing the advertising imagery as deeply offensive. While the complaints board agreed that those watching the advertising were likely to understand that there is an easy finger prick test to determine if you have been exposed to hepatitis C and a new effective treatment, meaning you can say 'Fuck you' to hep C', the context would be missing for most people who were likely to only focus on the hand gesture.

The gesture was one of the most offensive gestures you can give to another person and always has negative connotations, the board said, disagreeing with the advertiser that the smiling faces of the characters mitigated any aggressive intent. It agreed the advertisement used an indecent and offensive hand gesture, and was a breach of standards.

The middle finger photograph has been removed from the main campaign image in favour of a double thumbs up, but the YouTube clip remains online, and the middle finger imagery is still featured on the campaign's website.



Offsite article: DoHoT...

Link Here30th September 2022
Better security, privacy, and integrity via load-balanced DNS over HTTPS over Tor. By Alec Muffett

See article from



An inevitable ending...

Hollywood gay romcom Bros unsurprisingly will not be screened in Middle East countries

Link Here27th September 2022
Bros is a 2022 US comedy romance by Nicholas Stoller
Starring Luke Macfarlane, Billy Eichner and Kristin Chenoweth IMDb

Two men with commitment problems attempt a relationship.

Bros will be making history upon its release as the first R-rated gay rom-com ever made by a major studio, but that historical record certainly won't include the Middle East. It is pre-emptively skipping any kind of release in Middle East markets due to their cultural antipathy to anything gay.

It's still unclear exactly what markets in the region will be affected, but it's likely to include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Kuwait -- all of which are notorious for censoring movies over even the slightest hint of LGBTQ themes or content.

The film is anything but subtle in depicting gay romance and sexuality, which has previously been censored or toned down by Hollywood.



Know Your Oppressors...

India is considering mandatory ID verification to use internet messaging

Link Here27th September 2022
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
The Indian government is considering new telecom legislation that would cover social media platforms and messaging services like Telegram, WhatsApp, and Signal.

Among the things included in the bill is a broader definition of telecommunications services. It includes broadcasting services and internet-based communication. Industry experts claim that the broader definition might mean communication and messaging platforms will have to follow the same rules as telecoms, taking licenses and sharing revenue with the government.

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the bill will require KYC (know your customer) data for call and messaging apps to identify callers. Collecting KYC data is not currently possible for internet-based calls for example. So, the government is holding consultations to find a solution.

The bill would also give the government the power to intercept messages on internet-based communication services.

The government is currently considering input from stakeholders.



Offsite Article: Obituary: The Ultimate Ultravixen -- Kitten Natividad...

Link Here27th September 2022
Remembering the legendary star of Russ Meyer's final films, burlesque shows, adult movies and cult classics, who has sadly passed away

See article from



Self identified 'harms'...

Ofcom publishes report seemingly trying categorise or classify these 'harms' and associated risks with view to its future censorship role

Link Here25th September 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
Ofcom writes:

The Online Safety Bill, as currently drafted, will require Ofcom to assess, and publish its findings about the risks of harm arising from content that users may encounter on in-scope services, and will require in-scope services to assess the risks of harm to their users from such content, and to have systems and processes for protecting individuals from harm.

Online users can face a range of risks online, and the harms they may experience are wide-ranging, complex and nuanced. In addition, the impact of the same harms can vary between users. In light of this complexity, we need to understand the mechanisms by which online content and conduct may give rise to harm, and use that insight to inform our work, including our guidance to regulated services about how they might comply with their duties.

This report sets out a generic model for understanding how online harms manifest. This research aimed to test a framework, developed by Ofcom, with real-life user experiences. We wanted to explore if there were common risks and user experiences that could provide a single framework through which different harms could be analysed. There are a couple of important considerations when reading this report:

  • The research goes beyond platforms' safety systems and processes to help shed broader light on what people are experiencing online. It therefore touches on issues that are beyond the scope of the proposed online safety regime.

  • The research reflects people's views and experiences of their online world: it is based on people self- identifying as having experienced 'significant harm', whether caused directly or indirectly, or 'illegal content'. Participants' definitions of harmful and illegal content may differ and do not necessarily align with how the Online Safety Bill, Ofcom or others may define them.



Commented: Paypal censors close account of the Free Speech Union...

Decision by US payments company is a sinister form of cancel culture'

Link Here 25th September 2022
Full story: Paypal Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as media censors
PayPal has shut down the account of the Free Speech Union, an organisation which defends people who have lost work for expressing opinions.

The US payments company censors were clearly offended by free speech and decided to shut down the accounts of the Free Speech Union, its founder Toby Young, and his opinion and news website the Daily Sceptic with no clear explanation. Paypal merely spouted the bollox explanations that the union had 'violated PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy'.

The Telegraph reports that a likely explanation is that the organisation has helped to defend people who claim they have lost work for expressing opinions, for example Gillian Philip, the author who said her contract was terminated because she stood up for JK Rowling on Twitter amid a row over transgender rights. It has also challenged universities that have no-platformed gender-critical academics.

Toby Young said:

I suspect it's because in reality PayPal doesn't value free expression and open dialogue or the people and organisations that stand up for those principles. Withdrawing financial services from dissidents and non-conformists and those who dare to defend them is the new frontline in the ongoing war against free speech.

The Free Speech Union will be lobbying the Government to put new laws in to prevent companies like PayPal demonetising organisations and individuals because their employees disapprove of their views.


Offsite article: Why has PayPal cancelled the Free Speech Union?

See article from by Toby Young

It's left me wanting to do something about this insidious new way of cancelling people. As the switch to a cashless society gathers speed, we need to put some laws in place to protect people from being punished by companies like PayPal for saying something their employees disapprove of.


Offsite article: Big Tech is waging financial war on dissenters

See article from by Tom Slater

PayPal's banning of the Free Speech Union is its most sinister move yet.


Offsite article: PayPal is trying to silence us

See article from by Molly Kingsley

The co-founder of UsForThem speaks out against Big Tech censorship.



Offsite Article: Met officers were convicted for vile WhatsApp messages...

Link Here 25th September 2022
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media
But we should be careful what we wish for. Several senior lawyers are now raising concerns about this conviction. By Kate Maltby

See article from



Extract: The Media Demanded That Airbnb Do More Background Checks...

Now It's Upset That Airbnb Is Banning People With Criminal Records

Link Here 19th September 2022
For years, the media has hyped up the idea that Airbnbs may be dangerous and used by criminals. At some point, it's no wonder that the company would start to just cut off people with criminal records, because of the PR problems it causes. The company even went so far as to buy a background check company that it had used.

Either way, it seems clear that Airbnb is going too far in banning people like Hallam, but it really shouldn't be a surprise. If we keep pushing moral panic style stories about the dangers of criminals using services like Airbnb, we shouldn't then be surprised when the company says okay, no more people with a criminal record no matter how totally unfair that might be.

See full article from

Can't we find a way to recognise good people from bad? Are we paving the way for the acceptability of Chinese style social scoring?



Offsite Article: California's war on internet freedom...

Link Here19th September 2022
New state laws claiming to protect children will infantilise us all. By Norman Lewis

See article from



Extract: Gavin Newsom Fucks Over The Open Internet...

California Governor Signs Disastrously Stupid Age Appropriate Design Code

Link Here16th September 2022

Gavin Newsom, who wants to be President some day, and thus couldn't risk misleading headlines that he didn't protect the children, has now signed AB 2273 into law.

At this point there's not much more I can say about why AB 2273 is so bad. I've explained why it's literally impossible to comply with (and why many sites will just ignore it). I've explained how it's pretty clearly unconstitutional. I've explained how the whole idea was pushed for and literally sponsored by a Hollywood director / British baroness who wants to destroy the internet. I've explained how it won't do much, if anything, to protect children, but will likely put them at much greater risk. I've explained how the company it will likely benefit most is the world's largest porn company -- not to mention COVID disinfo peddlers and privacy lawyers. I've explained how the companies supporting the law insist that we shouldn't worry because websites will just start scanning your face when you visit.

None of that matters, though. Because, in this nonsense political climate where moral panics and culture wars are all that matter in politics, politicians are going to back laws that claim to protect the children, no matter how much of a lie that is.


The bill doesn't go into effect until the middle of 2024 and I would assume that someone will go to court to challenge it, meaning that what this bill is going to accomplish in the short run is California wasting a ton of taxpayer dollars (just as Texas and Florida did) to try to pretend they have the power to tell companies how to design their products.

See full article from



Truss tweaks...

UK Online Censorship Bill set to continue after 'tweaks'

Link Here16th September 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
After a little distraction for the royal funeral, the UK's newly elected prime minister has said she will be continuing with the Online Censorship Bill. She said:

We will be proceeding with the Online Safety Bill. There are some issues that we need to deal with. What I want to make sure is that we protect the under-18s from harm and that we also make sure free speech is allowed, so there may be some tweaks required, but certainly he is right that we need to protect people's safety online.

TechDirt comments:

This is just so ridiculously ignorant and uninformed. The Online Safety Bill is a disaster in waiting and I wouldn't be surprised if some websites chose to exit the UK entirely rather than continue to deal with the law.

It won't actually protect the children, of course. It will create many problems for them. It won't do much at all, except make internet companies question whether it's even worth doing business in the UK.



Thank God...

Film mocking religion banned in Kuwait

Link Here16th September 2022
Thank God is a 2022 India comedy by Indra Kumar
Starring Rakul Preet Singh, Ajay Devgn and Sidharth Malhotra IMDb

An egoistic real estate broker in huge debts, meets with an accident. As he gains consciousness, he realizes that he is in heaven. God appears in front of him and informs him that he will have to play a GAME OF LIFE. If he manages to win, he will be sent back to earth and if he loses, he will be sent to hell.

Kuwait: Banned in September 2022

The film caused a little controversy in India as religious campaigners felt that it mocked the hindu religion and so filed a legal case claiming that the film hurt religious sentiments. It is reported that this religious mockery did not go down well with the Kuwait film censor who banned the film from a cinema release in Kuwait.



Tad The Lost Explorer And The Curse Of The Mummy...

2022 Spain children's cartoon by Enrique Gato is the latest film suffering BBFC category cuts for cinema release

Link Here16th September 2022
Tad The Lost Explorer And The Curse Of The Mummy is a 2022 Spain animation comedy by Enrique Gato
Starring Óscar Barberán, (voice), Luis Posada, (voice), Michelle Jenner and (voice) BBFC link 2020 IMDb
BBFC category cuts were required for a U rated cinema release in 2022.

Summary Notes

Tad accidentally unleashes an ancient spell endangering the lives of his friends: Mummy, Jeff and Belzoni. With everyone against him and only helped by Sara, he sets off on an adventure, in order to put an end to the curse of the Mummy.


BBFC uncut
MPAA PGUS: Uncut and MPAA PG rated for:


BBFC cut
run: 89:03s
pal: 85:29s
UUK: Passed U for very mild threat, violence, rude humour, language after BBFC cuts:
  • 2022 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

The distributor chose to make changes to the film to achieve their preferred U category. Mild bad language ('crap') was removed.. An uncut PG classification was available.



Overbroad censorship...

The Fight to Overturn FOSTA, an Unconstitutional Internet Censorship Law, Continues

Link Here16th September 2022
Full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers

More than four years after its enactment, FOSTA remains an unconstitutional law that broadly censored the internet and harmed sex workers and others by chilling their ability to speak, organize, and access information online.

And the fight to overturn FOSTA continues. Last week, two human rights organizations, a digital library, a sex worker activist, and a certified massage therapist filed their opening brief in a case that seeks to strike down the law for its many constitutional violations.

Their brief explains to a federal appellate court why FOSTA is a direct regulation of people's speech that also censors online intermediaries that so many rely upon to speak--classic First Amendment violations. The brief also details how FOSTA has harmed the plaintiffs, sex workers, and allies seeking to decriminalize the work and make it safer, primarily because of its vague terms and its conflation of sex work with coercive trafficking.

"FOSTA created a predictable speech-suppressing ratchet leading to 'self-censorship of constitutionally protected material' on a massive scale," the plaintiffs, Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Human Rights Watch, The Internet Archive, Alex Andrews, and Eric Koszyk, argue. "Websites that support sex workers by providing health-related information or safety tips could be liable for promoting or facilitating prostitution, while those that assist or make prostitution easier--i.e., 'facilitate' it--by advocating for decriminalization are now uncertain of their own legality."

FOSTA created new civil and criminal liability for anyone who "owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service" and creates content (or hosts third-party content) with the intent to "promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person." The law also expands criminal and civil liability to classify any online speaker or platform that allegedly assists, supports, or facilitates sex trafficking as though they themselves were participating "in a venture" with individuals directly engaged in sex trafficking.

FOSTA doesn't just seek to hold platforms and hosts criminally responsible for the actions of sex-traffickers. It also introduces significant exceptions to the civil immunity provisions of one of the internet's most important laws, 47 U.S.C. § 230. These exceptions create new state law criminal and civil liability for online platforms based on whether their users' speech might be seen as promoting or facilitating prostitution, or as assisting, supporting or facilitating sex trafficking.

The plaintiffs are not alone in viewing FOSTA as an overbroad censorship law that has harmed sex workers and other online speakers. Four friend-of-the-court briefs filed in support of their case this week underscore FOSTA's disastrous consequences.

The Center for Democracy & Technology's brief argues that FOSTA negated the First Amendment's protections for online intermediaries and thus undercut the vital role those services provide by hosting a broad and diverse array of users' speech online.

"Although Congress may have only intended the laudable goal of halting sex trafficking, it went too far: chilling constitutionally protected speech and prompting online platforms to shut down users' political advocacy and suppress communications having nothing to do with sex trafficking for fear of liability," CDT's brief argues.

A brief from the Transgender Law Center describes how FOSTA's breadth has directly harmed lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer people.

"Although FOSTA's text may not name gender or sexual orientation, FOSTA's regulation of speech furthers the profiling and policing of LGBTQ people, particularly TGNC people, as the statute's censorial effect has resulted in the removal of speech created by LGBTQ people and discussions of sexuality and gender identity," the brief argues. "The overbroad censorship resulting from FOSTA has resulted in real and substantial harm to LGBTQ people's First Amendment rights as well as economic harm to LGBTQ people and communities."

Two different coalitions of sex worker advocacy and harm reduction groups filed briefs in support of the plaintiffs that show FOSTA's direct impact on sex workers and how the law's conflation of consensual sex work with coercive trafficking has harmed both victims of trafficking and sex workers.

A brief led by Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics (COYOTE) of Rhode Island published data from its recent survey of sex workers showing that FOSTA has made sex trafficking more prevalent and harder to combat.

"Every kind of sex worker, including trafficking survivors, have been impacted by FOSTA precisely because its broad terms fail to distinguish between different types of sex work and trafficking," the brief argues. The brief goes on to argue that FOSTA's First Amendment problems have "made sex work more dangerous by curtailing the ability to screen clients on trusted online databases, also known as blacklists."

A brief led by Decriminalize Sex Work shows that "FOSTA is part of a legacy of federal and state laws that have wrongfully conflated human trafficking and adult consensual sex work while overlooking the realities of each."

"The limitations on free speech caused by FOSTA have essentially censored harm reduction and safety information sharing, removed tools that sex workers used to keep themselves and others safe, and interrupted organizing and legislative endeavors to make policies that will enhance the wellbeing of sex workers and trafficking survivors alike," the brief argues. "Each of these effects has had a devastating impact on already marginalized and vulnerable communities; meanwhile, FOSTA has not addressed nor redressed any of the issues cited as motivation for its enactment."

The plaintiffs' appeal marks the second time the case has gone up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs previously prevailed in the appellate court when it ruled in 2020 that they had the legal right, known as standing, to challenge FOSTA, reversing an earlier district court ruling.



A Netflixation with gay characters...

Gulf states threaten legal action about gay characters in Netflix shows

Link Here11th September 2022
Six Gulf states have warned Netflix over content violating Islamic values. The states have threatened Netflix with legal action if it continues broadcasting content that contradicts Islam, while Saudi state media indicated that the offending material centred on shows depicting sexual minorities.

A statement issued jointly by the Saudi media regulator and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), headquartered in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, did not specifically identify material, referring only to content that contradicts Islamic and societal values. The statement said.

Regional authorities will follow up on the platform's compliance with the directives, and in the event that the infringing content continues to be broadcast, the necessary legal measures will be taken.

The Gulf Cooperation Council includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia , and the United Arab Emirates.



Spider-man: No Way Home...

Released in a More Fun Stuff version

Link Here7th September 2022
Spider-man: No Way Home is a 2021 US/Iceland action adventure by Jon Watts
Starring Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland BBFC link 2020 IMDb
Exists as a Theatrical Version and an extended More Fun Stuff Version. Both were rated MPAA PG-13 in the US. Both were 12A/12 rated by the BBFC.

In the US: Rated PG-13 for sequences of action/violence, some language and brief suggestive comments

Summary Notes

With Spider-Man's identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.


BBFC uncut
run: 156:44s
pal: 150:28s
12AUK: The More Fun Stuff Version was passed 12A uncut for moderate violence, threat:
  • 2022 cinema release



Data protection censors ICO to go after porn sites to add age verification...

The continuingly dangerous campaign to force ALL people to hand over sensitive ID details to porn sites in the name of protecting children from handing over sensitive ID details.

Link Here 3rd September 2022
Full story: ICO Age Appropriate Design...ICO calls for age assurance for websites accessed by children
The UK's data protection censors at the Information Commissioner's Office ICO have generated a disgracefully onerous red tape nightmare called the Age Appropriate Design Code that requires any internet service that provides any sort of grown up content to evaluate the age of all users so that under 18s can be protected from handing over sensitive ID data. Of course the age checking usually requires all users to hand over lots of sensitive and dangerous ID data to any website that asks.

Now the ICO has decided to make these requirements of porn sites given that they are often accessed by under 18s. ICO writes:

Next steps

We will continue to evolve our approach, listening to others to ensure the code is having the maximum impact.

For example, we have seen an increasing amount of research (from the NSPCC, 5Rights, Microsoft and British Board of Film Classification), that children are likely to be accessing adult-only services and that these pose data protection harms, with children losing control of their data or being manipulated to give more data, in addition to content harms. We have therefore revised our position to clarify that adult-only services are in scope of the Children's code if they are likely to be accessed by children.

As well as engaging with adult-only services directly to ensure they conform with the code, we will also be working closely with Ofcom and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to establish how the code works in practice in relation to adult-only services and what they should expect. This work is continuing to drive the improvements necessary to provide a better internet for children.



Signing up for personalised power cuts...

Colorado 'smart' home temperature control apps find that they can be used by the power company to forcibly turn down your settings

Link Here3rd September 2022
Thousands of Xcel customers in Colorado were locked out of their 'smart' thermostats, meaning they had no control of the temperatures in their homes.

The thermostat displayed a message saying he could not turn up the cooling because he had been locked out due to an energy emergency.

The app users had signed up for a scheme whereby they receive discounts in exchange for volunteering for a personalised power cut when the electricity company is running out of capacity.

Xcel confirmed that some customers had been locked out of their thermostats for hours. Vice President of Customer Solutions and Innovation Emmett Romine said that the 22,000 customers who could not control their thermostats had registered for the Colorado AC Rewards program. He explained:

It's a voluntary program. Let's remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives. For participating in the program, customers received $100 in credit and $25 annually.

He added that it was the first time in the six years since the program was launched that customers were not able to override their thermostats. He said there was an energy emergency caused by hot weather, heavy usage of air conditioners, and an unexpected outage in Pueblo.

Presumably the same sort of 'emergency override' capability is one of the reason that UK power companies are so keen on getting people to have 'smart' meters.

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