Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2023: September

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Stories form the moral high ground...

Film censors investigated by the Indian government over corruption

Link Here30th September 2023
India's ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) has ordered an inquiry after Tamil actor-producer Vishal Krishna Reddy declared on social media that he had to pay a sum of Rupee 6.5 lakh to Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) members in Mumbai to get his film cleared. The film, titled Mark Antony (Hindi), was released on September 28. I&B ministry orders inquiry after Tamil actor releases video of bribe-taking at CBFC I&B ministry orders inquiry after Tamil actor releases video of bribe-taking at CBFC

Reddy explaied: We had applied online to CBFC Mumbai , he said. Due to technical issues, we got delayed. On Monday, when my team members visited the CBFC office, they were asked to pay Rupee 6.5 lakh-- Rupee 3 lakh for watching the film and Rupee 3.5 lakh to give a certificate on time. TWe had no option but to pay up, as much was at stake.

The actor said his team transferred the money to two bank accounts. I am not showing a porn or adult film, he said. I am showing a film that has already been certified in the South in all four languages. So I don't know how they have the guts to ask for money so openly.

A statement by the I&B ministry on Friday afternoon claimed that the government had zero tolerance for corruption and stringent action would be taken against anyone found involved in the episode.



Offsite Article: Encrypted Client Hello...

Link Here30th September 2023
Full story: DNS Over Https...A new internet protocol will make government website blocking more difficult
Tech companies and academics are working on an internet protocol that would stop ISPs and governments from snooping on interactions with websites

See article from



A Lurch to the Ludicrous...

The BBFC uprates The Addams Family from PG to 12A

Link Here28th September 2023

The Addams Family is a 1991 USA comedy fantasy by Barry Sonnenfeld.
Starring Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd. BBFC link 2020 IMDb

There are no censorship issues with this release beyond noting that the film has always been PG rated until now. What was previously considered: 'mild comic violence and horror' has become, according to modern BBFC sensitivities: 'moderate bloody images'.

Summary Notes

The Addams Family steps out of Charles Addams' cartoons. They live with all of the trappings of the macabre (including a detached hand for a servant) and are quite wealthy. Added to this mix is a crooked accountant and his loan shark and a plot to slip the shark's son into the family as their long-lost Uncle Fester. Can the false Fester find his way into the vault before he is discovered?


BBFC uncut
run: 99:31s
pal: 95:32s

PG 1980

BBFC PG 1982

UK: Uncut and BBFC 12A rated for moderate bloody images:
  • 2023 Park Circus cinema release (rated 25/08/2023)
UK: Uncut and BBFC PG rated for mild comic violence and horror:
  • 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent. DVD (rated 15/09/2015)
UK: Uncut and BBFC PG rated:
  • 1992 Columbia/Tri-Star Home VHS (rated 01/04/1992)
  • 1991 Columbia Pictures cinema release (rated 14/11/1991)



Harsh words...

GB News gets in trouble with Ofcom about nasty remarks by Laurence Fox

Link Here28th September 2023

TV censor Ofcom has launched an investigation into GB News over Laurence Fox's rant about a female journalist, Ava Evans after receiving around 7,300 complaints.

Fox was suspended on Wednesday after he was condemned for saying 'Who would want to shag that?

The complaints followed Tuesday night's episode of Dan Wootton Tonight, prompting its investigation. Dan Wootton has been suspended from GB News seemingly as he smiled or smirked at Fox's comments rather than opposing them.

Wootton said in an apology that he regretted the interview and should have intervened to challenge Fox. Meanwhile Fox has said he stands by every word of what I said.

Fox, who also hosts on GB News, made the comments discussing political journalist Evans' views on creating a minister for men to tackle a mental health crisis. Speaking on BBC Politics Live on Monday, the PoliticsJOE political correspondent said the idea would make an enemy out of women and that mental illness was not specific to men. Addressing the comments on Dan Wootton Tonight on Tuesday, Fox said:

We're past the watershed so I can say this. Show me a single self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman - ever, ever... That little woman has been fed, spoon-fed oppression day after day after day... We need powerful, strong, amazing women who make great points for themselves, we don't need these sort of feminist 4.0... they're pathetic and embarrassing. Who would want to shag that? Media caption,

Melanie Dawes, Ofcom chief executive, said:

Over the last few days there has been speculation and commentary about our role as the independent broadcast regulator. These are important issues and I wanted to be clear about our rules.

Parliament sets objectives on how the broadcast sector should be regulated. We set and enforce rules to achieve these objectives. Contrary to some claims, these rules remain unchanged.

They are designed to protect audiences from offensive and harmful material, and to uphold the integrity of broadcast news and current affairs programming, while always ensuring that freedom of expression is front and centre in every decision we take. This is highly valued by audiences and central to our democracy.

The decisions we take, always based on facts and evidence once a programme has aired, are vital if we are to protect our vibrant media landscape. We continue to apply and enforce these rules without fear or favour.


Offsite Comment: The establishment campaign to shut down GB News

25th September 2023. See article from by Fraser Myers

Adam Boulton has said the quiet part out loud: the elites want to defend their cosy media club.



EPG listing set to require that included streaming channels submit to UK TV censorship rules...

The UK government dreams up a new wheeze to take censorship control of streaming TV channels under current law

Link Here26th September 2023
The government writes:

Broadcast television in the UK is subject to a system of regulation overseen by the independent communications regulator Ofcom, which is key to ensuring protections for audiences. This regulation ensures that regulated television channels available in the UK abide by a common set of rules and standards in relation to the programmes they show.

Over the last century, the number of channels available in the UK has increased significantly 203 from a single channel in 1922 to several hundred today. This trend has been recently accelerated by the increasing availability of internet-delivered linear television, known as internet protocol (IP) delivered television. For example, Sky's newest product Sky Stream delivers content via the internet, compared to Sky Q that delivers its services via satellite.

Under the amended Communications Act 2003, in general only channels that appear on regulated electronic programme guides (EPGs) are subject to UK regulation. Which EPGs are regulated in the UK is described in legislation and under this description these currently are Freeview, Freesat, Sky, Virgin Media, and YouView. This list of regulated EPGs means that many of the newer EPGs and channels utilising IP technology are unregulated and can be easily accessed by audiences on their television sets. While millions of people still choose to watch television through the traditional regulated EPGs, there are increasingly significant numbers of UK viewers accessing linear television channels and content via television sets that can be connected to the internet. Data suggests that the UK has a high proportion of these kinds of televisions, with smart televisions already in as many as 74% of UK households.

This shift is transforming the way that audiences access television, with many new services now delivered via the internet. This evolution of distribution means that there is greater choice for consumers in how they access linear television content and that there is more competition within the market for delivering services, allowing for new and innovative services to emerge.

Many of the larger providers of unregulated EPGs have voluntarily put in place terms and procedures to protect audiences from harmful content, which may result in some comparable levels of protection as the regulated EPGs while incurring lower administrative costs for the providers.

However, the introduction of these newer unregulated and self-regulated guides has resulted in a clear regulatory gap within the existing statutory regime, which could result in inconsistent protections for audiences and limited options for independent complaints handling. This also means that guides do not have to ensure other benefits for audiences like prominence for public service channels and accessibility for people with disabilities.

The government is therefore concerned that the combination of the defined set of regulated EPGs and the growth of new, IP delivered services means that there is increasingly a lack of regulation. UK audiences being able to access unregulated EPGs means there is an increasing number of linear television channels and services that are not regulated by Ofcom and to the standards audiences in the UK expect. This has the potential to cause harm, especially for children and vulnerable audiences, with no statutory protections on these unregulated services.

The lack of protections in place for these unregulated services mean that there is a range of potentially harmful content that could be shown on television with no independent recourse for action to be taken. This includes content that would be unsuitable for younger audiences that are available during the day, that would need to be shown after the watershed if regulated, such as those that include swearing, violence, and sexual content.

Moreover, an inconsistent application of statutory regulation means that EPGs delivering similar -- and often competing -- services do not currently have to comply with the same statutory requirements. This means that there is not currently a fair competitive environment between providers.

Given the landscape of changing technology and the increasing risk to audiences of unregulated content appearing on television, the government believes that legislation is required to update the EPGs that are regulated in the UK. The government is therefore consulting on whether and how to use existing powers that allow it to update which EPGs are regulated in the UK.

This 8-week consultation seeks views on whether and how the Secretary of State should exercise this power, and seeks views on a proposed approach.

In summary, the government is consulting on:

  • The impact of regulating EPGs.

  • The proposed approach for defining which EPGs should be regulated.

Responses from all individuals or organisations on the specific consultation questions and content of the consultation document are welcome.



Religious conspiracy theories...

Ofcoms fines the Islam Channel for religious hatred

Link Here26th September 2023
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

Ofcom has imposed a £40,000 fine on Islam Channel Limited after our investigation found its service, Islam Channel, had failed to comply with our broadcasting rules.

On 22 February 2021, Islam Channel broadcast The Andinia Plan, a one-hour documentary examining a conspiracy theory which originated in a neo-Nazi publication. This theory, known as the Andinia Plan, alleges there is a plan to establish a Jewish state in Patagonia, the southern region of South America governed by Argentina and Chile.

In our Breach Decision, published on 5 December 2022 in Issue 463 of the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin, Ofcom found that this programme amounted to hate speech against Jewish people. We also found that this antisemitic content was highly offensive and not justified by the context. The programme had therefore breached Rules 3.2 and 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code .

In addition to the financial penalty of £40,000 to be paid by Islam Channel Ltd to HM Paymaster General, Ofcom is also directing the Islam Channel not to repeat the programme, and to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.



Stirring up culture wars...

Police Scotland prepares for the enforcement of the Scottish Government's latest attack on free speech

Link Here26th September 2023
Full story: Scotland stifles free speech...Hate Crime & Public Order Act
Preparing to enforce Humza Yousaf's latest law attacking free speech, a specialized hate crime unit has been announced by Police Scotland. With the unit scheduled to be operational by November, a comprehensive training of about 16,400 police will follow in December.

This is all in anticipation of the Hate Crime and Public Order Act, expected to be ratified early in 2024. This Act expands upon the existing law, offering a wider definition of 'vulnerable' groups and introduces the notion of stirring up hatred.

The Act allows for more severe sentencing if prejudice is based on factors such as age, race, disability, religion, transgender identity or variations in sex characteristics. No doubt it will be used to police 'wrong think' eg in the increasingly toxic culture wars surrounding gender issues.

Critics argue that a significant portion of police time may now be geared towards a subjective concept of hate crime, such as misgendering, instead of dealing with tangible violent acts.

Police Scotland remains tight-lipped about the size of the proposed unit plus the financial implications of the new laws -- a cause for concern for many.



Updated: Minister for Lynch Mob Justice...

Tory MP Caroline Dinenage tries to bully social media site Rumble into demonetising Russell Brand without due process

Link Here26th September 2023
Last week, The Times and Channel 4's Dispatches covered serious allegations of assault against Russell Brand. While the comedian has yet to be convicted of any wrongdoing and whether the anonymous accusers are victims is yet to be determined, several major platforms, including YouTube, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer, took swift action, either demonetizing or removing Brand's content.

A senior Tory politician has taken it onboard to take the lynch mob position of declaring that the accuser is always right, and that without needing to bother with due process, police investigation or judicial trial, she has demanded the standard PC punishment of loss of career.

Caroline Dinenage, the chair of chair of Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee has written to bully the free speech friendly social media website Rumble into banning or demonetising Brand's video content which seems to have about 1.5 million followers. Dineage wrote that she is concerned that Brand may be able to profit from his work online:

We would be grateful if you could confirm whether Mr Brand is able to monetise his content, including his videos relating to the serious accusations against him. If so, we would like to know whether Rumble intends to join YouTube in suspending Mr Brand's ability to earn money on the platform.

We would also like to know what Rumble is doing to ensure that creators are not able to use the platform to undermine the welfare of victims of inappropriate and potentially illegal behaviour.

Rumble, however, has chosen a different route from the other platforms. In response to an inquiry by the UK's Culture, Media and Sport Committee regarding Brand's monetization on the platform, Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski issued a statement emphasizing the company's commitment to a free internet. In a clear stance against cancel culture and rushes to judgement, Pavlovski responded, stressing that allegations against Brand have no connection with his content on Rumble. He pointed out the importance of a free internet, where no one arbitrarily dictates which ideas can or cannot be heard.

From Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski:

Today we received an extremely disturbing letter from a committee chair in the UK Parliament. While Rumble obviously deplores sexual assault, rape, and all serious crimes, and believes that both alleged victims and the accused are entitled to a full and serious investigation, it is vital to note that recent allegations against Russell Brand have nothing to do with content on Rumble's platform. Just yesterday, YouTube announced that, based solely on these media accusations, it was barring Mr. Brand from monetizing his video content. Rumble stands for very different values. We have devoted ourselves to the vital cause of defending a free internet -- meaning an internet where no one arbitrarily dictates which ideas can or cannot be heard, or which citizens may or may not be entitled to a platform.

We regard it as deeply inappropriate and dangerous that the UK Parliament would attempt to control who is allowed to speak on our platform or to earn a living from doing so. Singling out an individual and demanding his ban is even more disturbing given the absence of any connection between the allegations and his content on Rumble. We don't agree with the behavior of many Rumble creators, but we refuse to penalize them for actions that have nothing to do with our platform.

Although it may be politically and socially easier for Rumble to join a cancel culture mob, doing so would be a violation of our company's values and mission. We emphatically reject the UK Parliament's demands.

Offsite Comment: The casual authoritarianism of Caroline Dinenage

21st September 2023. See article from by Laurie Wastell

Why is the head of parliament's culture committee calling on tech firms to unperson Russell Brand?

Update: Politicians and Media Heap Pressure on Rumble After it Defends Principle of Neutrality

26th September 2023.See article from

Rumble has stood up to censorship pressure and rejected the UK Parliament's request to cut off Brand's monetization, with CEO Chris Pavlovski noting that the allegations against Brand have nothing to do with content on Rumble's platform.

Now several media outlets have joined the lynch mob and are targeting Rumble's stance.

Lord Allan of Hallam, a former Facebook executive who advised on the Online Safety Bill, branded Rumble a crazy American platform and expressed disdain at Rumble's philosophy of allowing free expression.

He and internet academic  Professor Lorna Woods also complained about Rumble's refusal to bow down to pressure from UK officials and framed it as grandstand[ing] before the press.

The Times also took aim at Rumble by noting that under the Online Safety Bill, Rumble will have to prevent children from seeing pornography...material that promotes self-harm, suicide or eating disorders...violent content...material harmful to health, such as vaccine misinformation and take down material that is illegal, such as videos that incite violence or race hate.

However, Bryn Harris, the Chief Legal Council for The Free Speech Union, pointed out that The Times' article doesn't actually provide examples of any of the alleged illegal or harmful to kids content on Rumble.

Additionally, the Associated Press piled in on Rumble after it stood up to the demands of UK officials by claiming that Rumble is a haven for disinformation and extremism.



Censorship re-verified...

Age/Identity Verification is back on for Texas porn viewers

Link Here23rd September 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an administrative stay on the preliminary injunction blocking Texas House Bill 1181 from entering into force. This means that the law requiring age verification for internet porn is now in effect, at least until a full hearing challenging the internet censorship law as unconstitutional.

House Bill (HB) 1181 is a controversial law requiring an age verification regimen for all adult websites that have users from Texas IP addresses. The law was challenged in a federal district court last month due to a measure in the bill that would require adult websites to additionally post health warning labels at the top and bottom of web pages and on marketing collateral.

The Free Speech Coalition, the parent companies of the largest adult tube sites in the world, and pay-sites affiliated with these platforms sued the state of Texas , arguing that HB 1181 is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment.

They argued that a government cannot require a privately owned website to issue a public health warning when the claims in the warnings are not accepted by mainstream medicine, psychology and neuroscience.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra agreed with the plaintiffs and issued a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking Texas from enforcing the law. but it was this decision that was overturned in this appeal.



Slipped in...

North Carolina initiates an internet censorship requiring age/identity verification for porn viewing

Link Here23rd September 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
The North Carolina Senate has voted unanimously to mandate age verification on adult websites, after a Republican senator snuck a copycat amendment mirroring other states' requirements into an unrelated bill.

Senator Amy Galey added the requirement to House Bill 8, a previously unrelated measure that would add a computer science class to the state's high school graduation requirements.

Galey justified her amendment by saying the measure was needed to protect children, citing the seven other states that have passed similar laws and noting with satisfaction that overall traffic to adult websites in Louisiana dropped 80% after that state's age verification law passed.

North Carolina's HB 8 is now headed back to the state's House of Representatives for further debate.



Making Britain the unsafest place in the world to be online...

The Online Censorship Bill passes its final parliamentary hurdle

Link Here 20th September 2023
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
The UK's disgraceful Online Safety Bill has passed through Parliament and will soon become law. The wide-ranging legislation, which is likely to affect every internet user in the UK and any service they access, and generate mountains of onerous red tape for any internet business stupid enough to be based in Britain. Potential impacts are still unclear and some of the new regulations are technologically impossible to comply with.

A key sticking point is what the legislation means for end-to-end encryption, a security technique used by services like WhatsApp that mathematically guarantees that no one, not even the service provider, can read messages sent between two users. The new law gives regulator Ofcom the power to intercept and check this encrypted data for illegal or harmful content.

Using this power would require service providers to create a backdoor in their software, allowing Ofcom to bypass the mathematically secure encryption. But this same backdoor would be abused by hackers, thieves, scammers and malicious states to snoop, steal and hack.

Beyond encryption, the bill also brings in mandatory age checks on pornography websites and requires that websites have policies in place to protect people from harmful or illegal content. What counts as illegal and exactly which websites will fall under the scope of the bill is unclear, however.

Neil Brown at law firm says Ofcom still has a huge amount of work to do. The new law could plausibly affect any company that allows comments on its website, publishes user-generated content, transmits encrypted data or hosts anything that the government deems may be harmful to children, says Brown:

What I'm fearful of is that there are going to be an awful lot of people, small organisations - not these big tech giants -- who are going to face pretty chunky legal bills trying to work out if they are in scope and, if so, what they need to do.



Handing over loads of ID data to protect kids from the dangers of handing over loads of ID data...

A US judge has blocked the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act

Link Here20th September 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
A federal judge has granted a request to block the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (CAADCA), a law that requires special data safeguards for underage users online.

The law is based upon a bizarre UK censorship policy seemingly intended to age gate much of the internet. The idea is to verify that users are old enough to understand the consequences of sharing personal data. But of course users are expected to hand over loads of personal date to prove that they are old enough to understand the dangers of handing over loads of personal data.

In a ruling, Judge Beth Freeman granted a preliminary injunction for tech industry group NetChoice, saying the law likely violates the First Amendment. It's the latest of several state-level internet regulations to be blocked while a lawsuit against them proceeds, including some that are likely bound for the Supreme Court .

The CAADCA is meant to expand on existing laws -- like the federal COPPA framework -- that govern how sites can collect data from children. But Judge Freeman objected to several of its provisions, saying they would unlawfully target legal speech. Although the stated purpose of the Act -- protecting children when they are online -- clearly is important, NetChoice has shown that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its argument that the provisions of the CAADCA intended to achieve that purpose do not pass constitutional muster, wrote Freeman.



Randomly banned...

The uncut Nintendo Switch version of Mugen Souls Z has been banned in Australia

Link Here17th September 2023
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board
Mugen Souls Z is a 2013 Japanese role playing game by Compile Heart

Eastasiasoft's uncut MUGEN SOULS Z is now banned under Australia's random rating generator called the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. The decision appeared on September 14, the day of the Nintendo Switch release.

Back in March 2014, it received an M rating (like a PG-15) for sexualised innuendo and nudity.

Eastasiasoft tweeted:

The eShop page for MUGEN SOULS Z is live! Coming to Nintendo Switch on September 14th featuring content true to the Japanese original (hot springs mini-games, gallery images and more). MUGEN SOULS Z won't be officially available in Australia because of refused classification, sorry.

The PlayStation 3 version has always been cut for release in the US, Europe and Australia.



Global Online Censors Network...

Ofcom has hosted the first annual meeting of an international group of internet censors

Link Here17th September 2023
This week Ofcom hosted the first annual meeting of the Global Online 'Safety Regulators' Network (GOSRN), which brings together censors from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific to discuss solutions to 'global online safety challenges'.

GOSRN is a collaboration between the first movers in internet censorship, including the eSafety Commissioner (Australia); Coimisiún na Meán (Ireland); the Film and Publication Board (South Africa); the Korea Communications Standards Commission (Republic of Korea); the Online Safety Commission (Fiji); and Ofcom (UK).

Members reflected on progress made in the first year of the network's existence and discussed ways in which internet censors can further enhance collaboration in the year to come.

Network members agreed to appoint Ofcom as Chair of the Network for 2024.



New functionality...

BBFC board meetings minutes reveal that the BBFC will update its website

Link Here17th September 2023
Minutes from a recent BBFC board meeting reveals:

[Two staff members] briefed on plans to update the BBFC's website. They presented an initial wireframe for desktop and mobile to outline the direction they are taking with the redesign, which aims to refresh the design of the site and introduce new functionality to help our various audiences find the resources, research and content that is most relevant to them.



Cheese crackers...

Tube poster ludicrously banned for referencing the online sale of cheese

Link Here12th September 2023
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
Transport for London (TfL) has ludicrously banned adverts for business premises provider Workspace for using a cheese company as example customer.

The posters put forward by Workspace featured three panels, reading: From crunching numbers to selling cheese online, it all happens at Workspace. The advert featured an image of a hand typing at a calculator and another of some cheese, alongside the names of two Workspace tenants - an accountancy company, and London-based online cheese shop Cheesegeek.

But the adverts were rejected by TfL under its censorship rules aimed at cutting obesity. TfL claimed the poster wasn't going to conform to their advertising rules because of the high saturated fat contained within cheese.

TfL's rules dictate an advert will not be approved if, among numerous other reasons, it promotes (directly or indirectly) food or non-alcoholic drink which is high in fat, salt and/or sugar, according to the Nutrient Profiling Model managed by Public Health England.

Cheesegeek founder and CEO Edward Hancock slammed the decision as ridiculous and said it wrongly categorises cheese alongside genuine junk food.



Video game censorship rules in Vietnam...

And government censors propose even more restrictions

Link Here12th September 2023
In July 2023, Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) issued a draft law to update the country's video game censorship laws currently defined by Decree 72. The MIC is taking feedback in a public consultation until September 15, 2023.

The current rules under Decree 72 are as follows:

Foreign companies must establish an entity in Vietnam in accordance with the country's foreign investment legislation in order to provide video game services. Foreign ownership is also limited to 49% under Vietnam's current foreign investment regulations. This means that companies looking to legally distribute video games in Vietnam will be required to set up a joint venture or sign a business cooperation contract with a local company.

Video games are organized into the following categories:

  • G1 games: Video games that have interaction between multiple players via the server;
  • G2 games: Video games that only have interaction between the players and the server (but no interaction between different players);
  • G3 games: Video games that have interaction between multiple players but no interaction between the players and the server; and
  • G4 games: Video games that are downloaded from the internet without interaction between players or between players and the server.
Video games are also classified by age:
  • 18 and up (denoted as 18+): Games with continuous protest and combat activities using weapons of a violent nature; no sexually explicit activities, sounds, images, language, or suggestions
  • 12 and up (denoted as 12+): Games involving resistance and combat activities with the use of weapons, but the weapon imagery is not displayed in close-up or clear detail; there is a moderate amount of sound and weaponry during combat; there are no activities, images, sounds, languages, dialogues, default character imagery, explicit content, or scenes that draw attention to sensitive body parts.
  • Players of all ages (denoted as 00+): Animated simulation games in which there are no weapon-based activities; there are no eerie sounds or imagery, horror, or violence; there are no activities, sounds, languages, dialogues, default character imagery, explicit content, or scenes that draw attention to sensitive body parts on the human body.
The draft decree released in July 2023 will add an additional 16+ age category:
  • 16 and up (denoted as 16+): Games that involve protest and combat activities using weapons; no activity, imagery, sound, language, dialogue, sexually suggestive characters, or content that draws attention to sensitive body parts.
In order for a company to provide G1 games, it must obtain a license to provide game services and receive approval for the game's contents from the MIC. To provide G2, G3, and G4 games, a company must obtain a certificate of registration and announce the service provision for each video game.

Companies must meet the following requirements to provide video game services in Vietnam:

  • Be established in accordance with Vietnamese law and have a certificate of business registration for video game services;
  • Have registered domain names for the services;
  • Have sufficient financial and technical capacity, organizational structure, and personnel suitable for the scale of operations; and
  • Have measures in place to ensure information safety and security.

The validity of a video game license may vary depending on the request of the company but cannot exceed 10 years under the current Decree 72. However, this time limit has been reduced to five years in the draft decree.

In addition, to provide G1 games, the service provision system of the company must also meet certain criteria:
  • Being capable of storing and updating the personal information of players, including their full name, date of birth, permanent residence address, identity card/citizen identification card/passport number and its date and place of issue, and phone number and email address.
  • Having a payment control system for the video games located in Vietnam and connected to Vietnam's payment support service providers, ensuring accurate and sufficient updates and storage and allowing players to search for detailed information on their payment accounts.
  • Being able to manage players' playtime from 00:00 to 24:00 hours daily and ensure the total playtime of all G1 electronic games for players under the age of 18 does not exceed 180 minutes per day.
  • Continuously display the player age classification for all games during the game's introduction, advertising materials, and during the game's service provision; and display the warning Playing for more than 180 minutes a day will badly affect your health in prominent positions in games' forums or on players' computer screens during playtime.

The draft decree has lowered the daily limit for players under the age of 18 from 180 minutes to just 60, in line with the proposed reduction of the daily limit in the previous draft amendment to Decree 72. However, whereas this was initially only proposed for G1 games, the draft decree stipulates the same requirement for G2, G3, and G4 games as well.

Video games are subject to certain censorship laws, and companies must obtain approval from the MIC to ensure that their content is not prohibited. Under Decree 72, the following content is prohibited:
  • Images or sounds that are horrifying, incite violence and brutality, are vulgar, erotic and obscene, immoral, contrary to traditional ethics and culture and national customs, or distort and undermine history; and
  • Images or sounds that depict suicide, use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, or terrorism, child maltreatment, abuse, and trafficking, or other harmful or illegal acts.
  • Opposition to the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam;
  • Undermining national security and social order and safety;
  • sabotage of national unity;
  • conduct propaganda about wars and terrorism;
  • sow hatred or division among ethnicities, races, and religions;
  • Propagate and incite violence, obscenity, pornography, crimes, social vices, and superstition;
  • harm national traditions and customs; Disclose state secrets, military, economic, and diplomatic secrets, or other secrets protected by law;
  • Provide information that distorts, slanders, or offends the reputation of organizations or honor and dignity of individuals;
  • Advertise, propagate, and trade in banned goods or services;
  • spread banned newspaper articles, works of literature or art, and publications; and
  • Impersonate other organizations and individuals and spread false and untruthful information that infringes upon the rights and lawful interests of other organizations and individuals.
The draft decree adds two articles regulating virtual items, units, and reward points and game cards. The draft decree stipulates that companies may only create virtual items, units, and reward points for the video games to be used in exchange for virtual items within the scope of the game itself.



Cryptic statements...

The Online Censorship Bill has now been passed by the House of Lords with weak promises about not breaking user security

Link Here9th September 2023
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media

The U.K.'s Online Safety Bill has passed a critical final stage in the House of Lords, and envisions a potentially vast scheme to surveil internet users.

The bill would empower the U.K. government, in certain situations, to demand that online platforms use government-approved software to search through all users' photos, files, and messages, scanning for illegal content. Online services that don't comply can be subject to extreme penalties, including criminal penalties.

Such a backdoor scanning system can and will be exploited by bad actors. It will also produce false positives, leading to false accusations of child abuse that will have to be resolved. That's why the bill is incompatible with end-to-end encryption--and human rights. EFF has strongly opposed this bill from the start.

Now, with the bill on the verge of becoming U.K. law, the U.K. government has sheepishly acknowledged that it may not be able to make use of some aspects of this law. During a final debate over the bill, a representative of the government said that orders to scan user files can be issued only where technically feasible, as determined by Ofcom, the U.K.'s telecom regulatory agency. He also said any such order must be compatible with U.K. and European human rights law.

That's a notable step back, since previously the same representative, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, said in a letter to the House of Lords that the technology that would magically make invasive scanning co-exist with end-to-end encryption already existed . We have seen companies develop such solutions for platforms with end-to-end encryption before, wrote Lord Parkinson in that letter.

Now, Parkinson has come quite close to admitting that such technology does not, in fact, exist. On Tuesday, he said :

There is no intention by the Government to weaken the encryption technology used by platforms, and we have built strong safeguards into the Bill to ensure that users' privacy is protected.

If appropriate technology which meets these requirements does not exist, Ofcom cannot require its use. That is why the powers include the ability for Ofcom to require companies to make best endeavors to develop or source a new solution.

The same day that these public statements were made, news outlets reported that the U.K. government privately acknowledged that there is no technology that could examine end-to-end encrypted messages while respecting user privacy.


People Need Privacy, Not Weak Promises

Let's be clear: weak statements by government ministers, such as the hedging from Lord Parkinson during this week's debate, are no substitute for real privacy rights.

Nothing in the law's text has changed. The bill gives the U.K. government the right to order message and photo-scanning, and that will harm the privacy and security of internet users worldwide. These powers, enshrined in Clause 122 of the bill, are now set to become law. After that, the regulator in charge of enforcing the law, Ofcom, will have to devise and publish a set of regulations regarding how the law will be enforced.

Several companies that provide end-to-end encrypted services have said they will withdraw from the U.K. if Ofcom actually takes the extreme choice of requiring examination of currently encrypted messages. Those companies include Meta-owned WhatsApp, Signal, and U.K.-based Element, among others.

While it's the last minute, Members of Parliament still could introduce an amendment with real protections for user privacy, including an explicit protection for real end-to-end encryption.

Failing that, Ofcom should publish regulations that make clear that there is no available technology that can allow for scanning of user data to co-exist with strong encryption and privacy.

Finally, lawmakers in other jurisdictions, including the United States, should take heed of the embarrassing result of passing a law that is not just deceptive, but unhinged from computational reality. The U.K. government has insisted that through software magic, a system in which they can examine or scan everything will also somehow be a privacy-protecting system. Faced with the reality of this contradiction, the government has turned to an 11th hour campaign to assure people that the powers it has demanded simply won't be used.



The Oath...

Cut in the US to change the MPA consumer advice

Link Here9th September 2023

The Oath is a 2023 US action romance by Darin Scott
Starring Darin Scott, Billy Zane and Eugene Brave Rock IMDb

400 A.D., in a forgotten time of Ancient America, a lone Hebraic fugitive must preserve the history of his fallen nation while being hunted by a ruthless tyrant but rescuing the King's abused mistress could awaken a warrior's past.

Originally MPA PG-13 rated for violent content and some suggestive material. Presumably the film was then cut prior to release to remove the suggestive material and the film was re-submitted for a PG-13 rating for violent content.

The MPA commented:




Prison chaos...

Distributors make a right hash of implementing cuts to the British release of Jailer, an Indian blockbuster

Link Here5th September 2023
Jailer is a 2023 India action comedy by Nelson Dilipkumar
Starring Rajinikanth, Mohanlal and Shivarajkumar BBFC link 2020 IMDb

A retired jailer goes on a manhunt to find his son's killers. But the road leads him to a familiar, albeit a bit darker place. Can he emerge from this complex situation successfully?

Jailer is one of the year's biggest South Asian films. The Tamil blockbuster was very heavily cut by 7-10 minutes for a BBFC 12A cinema rating.

The release of this film has been a real debacle. The distributor left it incredibly late to cut for 12A, so the BBFC were still watching various trial cut versions 24 hours before it was supposed to be playing in cinemas. 

The film ended up being classified four times - Tamil uncut (15), Telugu cut (15, failed to get the desired 12A), Hindi cut (15, again a failed attempt at a 12A) and finally Tamil cut (12A).

Based on the running times the cut 12A version is missing around 6/7 mins. The uncut version, or maybe one of the cut 15s, was sent out to cinemas while the cut 12A was prepared, however none of these had been formally classified at the time so the first screenings on opening day had to be cancelled.

There were photos and videos on Twitter showing disgruntled audiences, some of whom had already taken their seats, being told to leave by cinema staff. At least one screening was stopped mid-film. This has to be the most mishandled release I've ever seen, by quite some margin.

The BBFC commented:

The BBFC initially refused to offer cuts because the changes would have been extensive and potentially damaging to the film. However, the distributor chose to re-edit the film themselves and submitted this new version for classification. As the distributor's edits had been unsuccessful in reducing the film's violence to 12A levels, it was also classified 15. The distributor requested a cuts list for 12A, which the BBFC provided. However, the distributor did not make the cuts as required and therefore the re-edited version of the film also received a 15 classification.



Onerous burdens and unconstitutional censorship...

Federal judges block internet censorship laws about to commence in Texas and Arkansas

Link Here3rd September 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
Hours before controversial internet censorship laws were set to take effect in Texas and Arkansas, two federal judges granted preliminary injunctions temporarily blocking them.

The more narrow Texas law sought to restrict minors from accessing content that is meant for adults. The law in particular required age/ID verification to access porn websites. It was opposed by free speech groups and adult performer industry groups.

The Arkansas law, known as the Social Media Safety Act, is broader and would prevent minors from creating accounts without parental permission on platforms earning more than $100 million a year. The tech industry trade group NetChoice, which represents Google, Meta and TikTok, among others, sued in June to block the law on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and would place an onerous burden on digital platforms.

In Arkansas, U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks sided with NetChoice , saying that the law is not targeted to address the harms it has identified, and further research is necessary before the State may begin to construct a regulation that is narrowly tailored to address the harms that minors face due to prolonged use of certain social media. Brooks added that age--gating social media platforms does not seem to be an effective approach when, in reality, it is the content on particular platforms that is driving the State's true concerns.

The more narrow Texas law seeking to stop minors from accessing adult content online was temporarily blocked Thursday by District Judge David Alan Ezra in a move that the Free Speech Coalition said in a press release will protect citizens from facing a chilling effect on legally-protected speech.

The temporary injunctions block the laws from taking effect until further adjudication. It is unclear whether both Arkansas and Texas intend to appeal.

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