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27th June

  Mirror Box...

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Police arrest and detain artist for allowing strangers to fondle her breasts in Trafalgar Square
Link Here
milo artist Swiss artist Milo Moiré has been arrested in London after allowing strangers to stroke her breasts and genitals for her latest performance piece.

The project, titled Mirror Box , saw the artist walk around various European cities with a large mirrored structure covering her body. Using a megaphone to attract attention, she would then invite strangers to stick their hands in the box, and fondle either her breasts or vagina for a 30-second period.

The performance is a follow-up to her naked protest against Cologne's New Year's Eve sex attacks. She explained that she wanted to give a symbol for the consensual nature of sexual acts. She said:

I am standing here today for women's rights and sexual self-determination. Women have a sexuality, just like men have one. However, women decide for themselves when and how they want to be touched, and when they don't.

However, when she arrived in London's Trafalgar Square she was arrested shortly after the performance began -- with police eventually forcing her to spend 24 hours in a prison cell, and fining her for a "4-digit fine".

 

27th June

  United in criticism...

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UN calls upon Iran to free musicians jailed for insulting islamic sanctities
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mehdi-rajabian hossein-rajabian ousef-emadi share The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, and on freedom of expression, David Kaye, have called on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to release musicians Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, who were imprisoned and heavily fined earlier this month. Ms. Bennoune said.

These three artists were sentenced for exercising their right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity, which in turn results in unjustifiable restrictions on the right of all persons in Iran to have access to and enjoy the artsArtistic expression is simply not a crime.

The human rights experts contacted the Iranian authorities on these cases earlier this year, including on the use of torture against Mr. Rajabian, musician and founder of Barg Music, an alternative music distributor in Iran.

Barg Music was the main medium broadcasting alternative music in the country and had introduced more than 100 music albums and thousands of single records by Iranian alternative musicians, as well as female singers, to Iranian audiences, before being shut down by Revolutionary Guards in 2013.

In May 2015, and, according to the Government's answer to the UN experts, the three artists were sentenced to six years in prison and a fine of 50 million Rials each (some 1,658 USD) for insulting Islamic sanctities , propaganda against the State and conducing illegal activities in the audiovisual affaires including through producing prohibited audiovisual material and performing an illegal and underground music site . On appeal, the prison sentence was reduced to three years. Mr. Kaye said:

We take note that the sentence of the artists was reduced by the appeal court However, this verdict is still unacceptable: detaining someone on the grounds of 'insulting the sacred' and 'propaganda against the state' is incompatible with international human rights standards.

Ms. Bennoune added:.

I am particularly dismayed that Mehdi Rajabian, Yousef Emadi and Hossein Rajabian were allegedly forced to make self-incriminating televised 'confessions' to the charges of having produced prohibited audiovisual materials, to express regret for their work and to apologize for broadcasting the voice of female singers, This amounts to an extraordinary attack against these artists, and one which has serious repercussions for others in Iran.

The arrest, conviction and sentencing of artists is entirely unacceptable and in complete violation of international human rights law binding on Iran. The three artists should be released immediately and all charges dropped.

The expert's call has also been endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Mr. Juan E. Mendez.

 

26th June

 Offsite Article: Brought to book...

Link Here
torrentfreak logo Researchers reveal the technical details of how eBooks are watermarked

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

25th June

 Update: An uneuropean law...

Man falls victim to Turkey's lese majeste laws for likening Erdogan to Gollum
Link Here  full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress
erdogan as gollum A Turkish man has been found guilty of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for likening him to the Gollum character from the Lord of the Rings .

A court gave Rifat Cetin a suspended one-year jail sentence and stripped him of parental custody rights.

He has insisted his images, comparing Erdogan with the grotesque-looking Gollum in 2014, were harmless. In 2014, Cetin published on Facebook three photos of Erdogan, then a prime minister, beside three pictures of Gollum with similar facial expressions.

Article 299 of the Turkish penal code states that anybody who insults Turkey's president can face a prison term of up to four years.

However, Cetin said he would appeal because Erdogan was not president at the time the pictures were published, Turkish media report.

 

25th June

 Offsite Article: War of the Worlds...

Link Here
War Worlds Disc Special DVD The BBFC's latest case study covers Steven Spielberg's 2003 remake

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

24th June

  Virtually 15...

ABE VR awarded first ever BBFC age certification for Virtual Reality.
Link Here

abe vr 15. ABE VR, the new virtual reality experience from UK studio Hammerhead VR, is the first virtual reality experience to be reviewed and officially certified by the BBFC, under it's digital video classification.

In a first of its kind, the BBFC reviewed the virtual reality experience alongside the original 2D short film, granting both with a 15 age rating. Although both were similar in content, ABE VR was issued it's rating based on the bloody violence and threat classification criteria.

Alexandra Evans, Policy Director, BBFC, commented:

We were delighted to work with Hammerhead on this project and to be able to compare the VR and linear versions of ABE like for like. Though both versions received the same 15 rating, they raised different classification issues, specifically strong threat in the linear version, and bloody violence and threat in the VR version. This exercise shows how BBFC Classification Guidelines work for VR content and with this new technology, which offers an intense user experience, it is important that consumers, parents in particular, can access clear content advice about VR content before they experience it.

Simon Windsor, Joint Managing Director, Hammerhead VR commented:

The classification advice from the BBFC is an important step for Virtual Reality. With ABE VR we wanted to explore the heightened emotional connection that this storytelling medium can deliver, as well as the shear intensity and sense of dread - the results are powerful. As VR evolves and experiences become ever more believable, it will be increasingly important for VR content to be age rated.

Based on the award winning short film ABE , by Rob McLellan, ABE VR is faithful recreation of on the original story about a misguided robot seeking the unconditional love of humans -- at whatever cost.

ABE VR is available now and free to download on Oculus and SteamVR.

 

24th June

 Extract Lack of context...

Social media companies not impressed by algorithmic detection of images associated with terrorism
Link Here
isis flag sex toys An system to remove terrorist imagery from the Internet has been proposed by a U.S. nonprofit, but tech companies are wary it could expunge journalistic images.

A Dartmouth College researcher and a nonprofit group say they have created a technology that can help Internet companies instantly detect images and videos generated by terrorists and their supporters and remove them from their platforms.

The White House has signaled its support. Lisa Monaco, Obama's assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism said:

We welcome the launch of initiatives such as the Counter Extremism Project's National Office for Reporting Extremism (NORex) that enables companies to address terrorist activity on their platforms and better respond to the threat posed by terrorists' activities online.

But a number of major social-media companies are wary of the idea. They say that there is no consensus in the United States or globally on what constitutes a terrorist image, and that they might end up expunging material posted by researchers or media organizations. And, they say, once a database is created, governments around the world will place additional data requests on them -- and some countries will probably demand the removal of legitimate political content under the guise of fighting terrorism.

...Read the full article from washingtonpost.com

 

23rd June

 Update: In the name of terrorism...

European Parliament considers EU wide internet website blocking
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
European Parliament logo The European Parliament is currently considering EU wide website blocking powers.

The latest draft of the directive on combating terrorism contains proposals on blocking websites that promote or incite terror attacks. Member states may take all necessary measures to remove or to block access to webpages publicly inciting to commit terrorist offences, says text submitted by German MEP and rapporteur Monika Hohlmeier.

Digital rights activists have argued that it leaves the door wide open to over-blocking and censorship as safeguards defending proportionality and fundamental rights can be skipped if governments opt for voluntary schemes implemented by ISPs.

Amendments have been proposed that would require any take down or Web blocking to be subject to full judicial oversight and rubber stamping.

Last week, Estonian MEP Marju Lauristin told Ars she was very disappointed with the text, saying it was jeopardising freedom of expression as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of EU.

The measure will be up for a vote by the civil liberties committee on 27th June.

 

23rd June

  A touch too much...

Australian censors ban the console game MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death
Link Here
meiq labyrinth of death MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death is a Japanese dungeon based role playing console game.

The Australian Classification Board has just banned the game citing a game feature allowing gamers to caress the breasts of the characters. The Australian censors decided that one of the characters depicts a child and so the game was banned.

Perhaps something the US game rating board missed as they gave the game a Teen (13) rating.

The censors explained:

The game features a variety of female characters dressed in provocative clothing with their cleavage emphasised by their clothing revealing the sides or underside of their breasts. The five main characters in the game are Machina Mages , females who pair with robot-like guardians in order to do battle. Four of the five,  Estra, Flare, Maki and Setia, although of indeterminate age, are all adult-like, with voluptuous bosoms and large cleavage that are flaunted with a variety of skimpy outfits.

The fifth main character, Connie, is depicted as child-like in comparison. She is flat-chested, under-developed physically (such as the hips), is significantly shorter than the other characters and wears her hair in pigtails. She also has a child-like voice, wears colourful child-like clothing and appears naive in her outlook on life. She is also referred to as a girl by the other main characters. In the Board's opinion, the character of Connie depicts a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18.

The game features use of the Playstation Vita's touchscreen feature, that allows the player to touch or run their finger across the touchscreen in order to make any female character's breasts move in response. The chest area of Connie is viewed moving slightly when this occurs, which is significantly different from the greater movement viewed when one of the four adult-like female characters is touched.

 

23rd June

 Updated: Just correcting a typo...

Now the US authorities are working on getting their own snooper's charter
Link Here
FBI logo The latest surveillance battle gripping the technology industry is focused on a rewrite of US surveillance law that would mean the justice department would be able to access a citizen's web browsing history, location data and some email records without approval from a judge using a so-called national security letters (NSLs).

The FBI contends that such data is covered implicitly under current statute, which was written years ago and only explicitly covers data normally associated with telephone records.

Director James Comey now is lobbying Congress to extend the current definition to include internet data.

Technology companies including Google, Facebook and Yahoo have sent a letter warning Congress that they would oppose any efforts to rewrite law in the FBI's favor.

This expansion of the NSL statute has been characterized by some government officials as merely fixing a 'typo' in the law, the companies wrote:

In reality, however, it would dramatically expand the ability of the FBI to get sensitive information about users' online activities without court oversight.

Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

11th June 2016. See  article from theregister.co.uk

US Senate A sly attempt to grant the FBI warrantless access to people's browser histories in the US has been shot down by politicians.

Unfortunately, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act of 2015, which would have brought in some privacy safeguards for Americans, was cut down in the crossfire.

The bill was halted because of an amendment tacked on by Senator John Cornyn on Tuesday that would allow the FBI to obtain someone's internet browsing history and the metadata of all their internet use without a warrant. If Cornyn's amendment was passed, the Feds would simply have to issue a National Security Letter (NSL) to get the information.

The bill's sponsors, Senators Patrick Leahy and Mike Lee, told a session of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary that Cornyn's amendment had wrecked years of careful bipartisan negotiations and would seriously harm US citizens' privacy. As such, they weren't prepared to let the bill go forward.

Update: And again

23rd June 2016. See  article from theregister.co.uk

US Senate The US Senate has struck down an amendment that would have allowed the FBI to track internet histories and communications without judicial oversight, but a re-vote could be called under Senate rules.

The amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act would have given the FBI the right to use National Security Letters (NSLs), which compel communications companies to hand over a customer's transactional records, including their browsing history, time spent online, and email metadata, but not the content of messages.

In addition, it would have made permanent a provision in the Patriot Act that would allow the same powers for those deemed to be individual terrorists to be treated as agents of foreign powers, a measure aimed at tracking so-called lone wolf operators.

It was introduced on Monday by Senators John McCain and Richard Burr. Senator John Cornyn has named the issue the FBI's top legislative priority and has tabled a further amendment to allow similar powers to law enforcement.

 

23rd June

 Offsite Article: Searching for blacklists...

Link Here
Google logo Google has 9 of them and is the World's Biggest Censor. Its Power Must Be Regulated

See article from usnews.com

 

22nd June

 Updated: Laughing out loud at Erdogan...

Erdogan now trying to sue prominent supporters of the poet being persecuted by the German state at the behest of Turkey
Link Here  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Germany...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany

recep tayyip erdogan A Cologne court has refused to grant an injunction against the chief executive of leading publishing house Axel Springer, Mathias Doepfner, at the behest of Tayyip Recep Erdogan.

Doepfner penned an open letter in support of a satirist mocking the Turkish leader.

Seeking a preliminary injunction, Erdogan requested that a lawsuit be filed against Doepfner. In a letter published by Die Welt in April, Doepfner said that he wholeheartedly endorsed the critical poem over which the German comic Jan Bohmermann has been facing defamation charges from Erdogan. He added:

For me your poem worked. I laughed out loud.

The lawyer's firm and Erdogan's office refused to comment on the matter, while the media group giant's spokeswoman said that by writing the letter Doepfner wanted to protect freedom of speech.

On Monday Erdoga's law firm announced on its website that it had been successful in obtaining a preliminary injunction against German director and producer Uwe Boll who had also reportedly backed the poem. However, neither Axel Springer, nor Doepfner himself was mentioned in the statement.

Update: Erdogan thwarted

22nd June  2016. See  article from rt.com

Erdogan's appeal was rejected by a German appeals court on Tuesday.

The lawyers of the Turkish president, however, said they still were considering whether to file a separate lawsuit against the Axel Springer CEO.

 

22nd June

 Updated: Film censor portrayed in bad light...

India's crazed censor under duress after his prolific scissorship was slapped down by the Bombay High Court
Link Here  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
udta punjab Udta Punjab is a 2016 India crime thriller by Abhishek Chaubey.
Starring Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor. BBFC link IMDb

What on earth can a rock star, a migrant laborer, a doctor and a cop possibly have in common? Simple, Punjab! 4 lives, 1 connection - 'Udta Punjab' takes you on a trip like never before. Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh play characters from different walks of life, fighting the menace of drugs in their own way. The film journeys into the artificial highs and the real lows that they face while treading the paths fraught with mortal dangers. But above all, Udta Punjab is about the famed Punjabi spirit, that despite being fully down, has the audacity of looking you in the eye and saying - Drugs di maa di!

India's crazed film censor, Pahlaj Nihalani, is under duress after his decision to make 89 puerile cuts to a film wound up the local film industry, and let to a court battle which ended up humiliating the censor.

The film, Udta Punjab , will now be released on Friday with an adults only 'A' rating and just one cut.

India's central Board of Film 'Classification' (CBFC) originally demanded 89 cuts. The film board claimed that the movie portrayed Punjab in a bad light. The proposed cuts included removing every mention of the word Punjab from the film, deleting swear words and also a number of other words such as parliament , legislators and elections .

Chief censor Nihalani saw the writing on the wall as the case proceeded to court and reduced the cuts list to 13, but this did not appease his opponents.

The court ruled that the film must be certified for release in the next 48 hours with one scene showing a character urinating to be removed.

The producers of the film described the ruling as a victory for democracy. The films makers challenged the censors claim that the film promoted illegal drug use and questioned the integrity of India. The court rejected the censors claims and said:

We have read the script in its entirety to see if the film encourages drugs. We do not find that the film questions the sovereignty or integrity of India by mentioning the names of cities, or referring to a state or by a signpost, the judge said.

Responding to the judgement Nihalani rued that from now on, CBFC was meaningless. He said doors for films with obscene, vulgar content are open now and questions have been raised on the working of the censor board. He said:

pahlaj-nihalani It is undoubtedly a good judgement for the producers. I have been a producer too, so I am glad everyone is relieved today. But the CBFC has lost its meaning today. As the chairman of the CBFC, I have come to know that the board is not here to censor movies . I just want to point out that when the name of the board was changed from 'censor' to 'certification', the 1952 cinematograph Act that it follows, and its rule book were not changed.

We were just following those, and doing our job and was only implementing the act that was framed for CBFC to function with full honesty. I had put in place a proper system. We were doing what was expected of us -- to ensure films are free of content that is unnecessarily abusive and defamatory. But from today, the producers are free to produce anything they want.

They will now have the liberty to have obscenity, vulgarity in their movies. It is an open world for them as anything and everything they make will be cleared with an A certificate.

The board has the option of appealing against the verdict in the Supreme Court.

Update: Film Certificate notes that the film was passed by the Mumbai High Court

16th June 2016. See  article from indianexpress.com

cbfc certificate for urda punjab The India film censors of the CBFC have made a bit of censorship history by naming the judges as the presiding film censors responsible for the decision.

The certificate states: Passed by Hon'ble High Court, Mumbai. Share This Article Share Related Article

Mumbai Regional Officer Raju Vaidya, who has signed the certificate, said it was prepared as per norms. This is the norm; the name of whoever has cleared the film is on the certificate, he told The Indian Express .

However, a CBFC employee, who did not want to be named, said till date a film's certificate has never had to bear the name of judicial officers. It will carry names of the committee members present at the screening. And in this case, the judges anyway didn't watch the film. Other films rated after judicial intervention have not mentioned judges or the court on certificates.

Update: The BBFC take on the film

16th June 2016. See article from bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC have rated the film 15 uncut for strong language, violence, threat, drug misuse, drug references

Update: Pakistan too

20th June 2016.  See  article from hindustantimes.com

Pakistan flag After a trouble censorship process in India, it's now time for Udta Punjab to strugglewith Pakistan's film censors.

According to Fakhr-Alam, chairman of Censor Board Sindh, the film has been viewed by the Board and they have asked the distributor to make changes:

We have told the distributor to delete the bad language, swear words, which are extremely explicit and in direct conflict with the law and censor code. We will [then] review to see that the compliance has been adhered to and then issue a certificate.

Update: 100 cuts

20th June 2016. See  article from dnaindia.com

The Pakistani censor board has given a green signal to the release of Indian movie Udta Punjab in Pakistan after suggesting more than 100 cuts to remove objectionable and anti-Pakistan content from the film.

Update: Mohalla Assi banned too

25th June 2016. See article from indianexpress.com

mohalla assi The censor board has banned it's own board member Dr. Chandraprakash Diwedi's highly controversial film Mohalla Assi , which pokes fun at the commercialisation of the holy city of Varanasi.

The entire film, which features some of the most risque lines heard in films in recent times, was also leaked on the Internet before its submission. The censor board decided to ban it completely. Apparently, the film evoked extreme reactions from some of the members within the censor board.

The story, based on the well-known novel by Hindi writer Kashinath Singh is a scathing critique on the changes that have come upon the holy town of Varanasi.

 

22nd June

 Offsite Article: Money talks...

Link Here
MPAA logo MPAA boss argues against a Single Digital Market for the EU claiming that a series of local monopolies is somehow good for consumers

See article from screendaily.com

 

21st June

 Update: Choked with rage...

600 complaints about sex play on Big Brother
Link Here  full story: Big Brother...Whinging about Channel 4's Big Brother
big brother 2016 logo 600 whinges about Channel 5's Big Brother have triggered an investigation by the TV censor Ofcom.

Big Brother, which is regularly one of UK television's most-complained-about shows, prompted another Ofcom inquiry after contestants Laura Carter and Marco Pierre White Jr were involved in scenes of sex play. Pierre was shown putting his hand down his fellow housemate's knickers, pulling up her top and asking her to choke him with a belt.

Ofcom said it had received 634 complaints about the scenes which were broadcast on the 9pm show, just after the watershed, on 12 June. A spokesperson said:

We're investigating whether sexual scenes in this episode of Big Brother exceeded generally accepted standards for its time of broadcast.

 

21st June

  Maintaining momentum against the Indian film censors...

Filmmakers protest against censor cuts to the film Kathakali
Link Here
kathakali The Malayalam film Kathakali has fallen foul of the regional office of India's Central Board of Film Classificaton (CNFC) who claim that the movie contains nudity and strong language.

The Film Employees' Federation of Kerala (FEFKA), a body of Malayalam film directors and technicians, staged a protest on Monday in front of CBFC's regional office. FEFKA general secretary and B Unnikrishnan said the censor board was indulging in politics and added that they would move the high court against the board's decision:

The CBFC is treating filmmakers as if we have committed a grave sin.

The two-hour film on the life of a Kathakali artiste is directed by Sijo Kannanaikkal. Recently, the CBFC asked for three cuts to be sanctioned for a U rating (unrestricted public exhibition).

The board wants the removal of a scene in which the protagonist Dasan is undressed and beaten up and another towards the end in which Dasan removes the Kathakali attire and walks towards the Bharathapuzha river. It also wants the cuss words removed.

 

20th June

 Update: Aggregated censorship...

Russia's Duma passed law to require that large news aggregators submit to state censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russian Duma logo Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, has passed a bill that would censor the distribution of information by news aggregators with more than one million visitors a day.

Under the news censorship law, news aggregators such as Yandex will have to check that news is validated by state censors before it can be distributed. Russia's communications censor, Roskomnadzor, will have the power to ban news items. News aggregators will not be liable if 'unreliable information' is textual quotation from any media outlet.

The bill stipulates that only a Russian national or company may be an owner of news aggregators.

The law is expected to take effect on 1 January, 2017.

 

20th June

  It's my movie and I'll censor it if I want to...

Hollywood takes legal action against another film service that self censors movies
Link Here
vidangel logo Hollywood is never very keen on people disfiguring their movies. Presumably they don't want people telling their friends that a movie is rubbish when the reason for the rubbish is badly censored dialogue or missing scenes.

Disney, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Entertainment are suing a video streaming site that lets home viewers censor Hollywood movies to their personal moral preferences.

Utah-based VidAngel launched in 2015, with the stated goal of letting viewers watch self-censored versions of popular films and TV shows. As the company describes its service, customers buy movies on the site for $20 that they can sell back for the full purchase price after viewing, minus a $1 fee for standard definition films or $2 for HD. They then check filters showing what content they want censored, nudity, profanity, violence and watch a movie pre-scrubbed of anything they'd find objectionable for moral or religious reasons.

The company has argued that their service is legal under the Family Movie Act of 2005, a law that specifically exempts from copyright law any technology that hides or mutes portions of audio or video during at-home viewing.

The movie companies  argue that VidAngel is using the Family Movie Act to make money by renting out movies without permission.

VidAngel contends that its services are legal. CEO Neal Harmon said in a blog post:

We've hired great Hollywood attorneys. We're as confident now as we were when we launched that filtering a DVD or Blu-ray you own on your favorite devices is your right. We're ready.