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27th February

 Update: Glamour censorship rules for an 18 rating on mobile phones...

Public concerns seem lifted straight from feminist PC campaign literature. These are then presented as a series of 'factors' that predictably only the BBFC can arbitrate on. The rules are supposed to let websites and ISPs decide for themselves
Link Here  full story: BBFC Internet Censors...BBFC write the censorship rules for ISP internet blocking
bbfc glamour censorship Research carried out on behalf of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) confirms public demand for putting certain types of glamour imagery behind adult filters on mobile devices.

The BBFC has been the provider of the Mobile Classification Framework used by Mobile Network Operators in the UK to calibrate their filters since September 2013. This Classification Framework, along with the policies that underpin it, is consistent with the standards used to classify film and videos.

Very broad patterns about the kinds of images that were thought to be unacceptable for those under 18 are highlighted in the research . An overwhelming majority of participants indicated that images containing sexualised full frontal nudity, sex acts, or explicit sexual poses were unacceptable. Conversely, images deemed acceptable by the majority of participants tended to depict models who were wearing more clothes, or less explicitly sexualised poses.

Participants in the research showed concern for protecting children aged nine to 13 years old, because they were considered to be the most impressionable. The lack of context for glamour images is also perceived as problematic, in addition to the nature of viewing content on devices, where parental oversight is less likely and sharing capabilities amongst peers is easy to achieve.

David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC, said:

The public has given a clear indication of what sort of glamour imagery they would like to see restricted to adults only. We have responded to the research by publishing a policy response which we will apply when considering glamour content under the BBFC's Classification Framework for mobile content.

Hamish MacLeod, chair of the Mobile Broadband Group, commented:

Mobile operators in the UK have been placing adult content behind access controls since 2005, in accordance with established, independent standards. The BBFC's latest research provides robust and up-to-date evidence to ensure that the standards used will remain consistent with other media and will continue to meet public expectations

The research reflects wider attitudes around protecting children from inappropriate sexual imagery highlighted in, for example, the independent 2011 Bailey review Letting Children be Children.

The BBFC Mobile Classification Framework, adopted by the UK's four Mobile Network Operators in September 2013, defines content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18 and is based on the BBFC's published Classification Guidelines, which are updated every 4/5 years and based on large scale public opinion research. The last review of the BBFC Classification Guidelines, in 2013, involved more than 10,000 members of the public from across the UK.

The BBFC's policy response to the research (outlined below) covers situations where the BBFC is considering where to draw the line in relation to the classification of glamour content at the adult category or below the adult category, delivered via mobile networks. The policy takes into account that the content generally features little or no context. The BBFC's consideration is relevant to whether that content sits behind or in front of adult filters operated by the UK's Mobile Network Operators.

About the research 'Filtering Glamour Content on Mobile Devices for Under 18 year olds'

The research was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the BBFC. The methodology of the research comprises an online quantitative survey plus qualitative focus group based research.

The online quantitative survey showed 1,000 participants 30 images and four short video clips. Quotas were in place to ensure participants were a representative spread across Great Britain and includied those with children in their household; 25% with children at home and 75% without children at home, to reflect the proportion of households in the UK with children under the age of 16 years. The participants were asked whether each should be placed behind an age filter so only 18+ year olds could access it on mobile devices.

The second qualitative stage of the research comprised of eight single gender mini focus groups in four locations across Great Britain, plus a trio interview. The qualitative stage recruited a mixture of ethnicities, ages, demographics and lifestages (e.g parents with children at home, non-parents, parents with children who have left home). The focus groups took place in London, Portsmouth, Leeds and Edinburgh.


A. Introduction

Research carried out on behalf of the BBFC in 2014 demonstrates that members of the public are concerned by children and young people accessing certain "glamour" content which, in their view, is inappropriate and even has the potential to cause harm. The public was concerned in particular by glamour content, both still images and videos, that features a sexual invitation and/or an intention to sexually arouse the viewer. The public argued that the sexual invitation may consist of either one strong sexual element or a mixture of less individually salient elements that combine to make a sexual invitation.

There is support for the use of adult filters to prevent, as far as possible, those under 18 accessing such content.

Some members of the public participating in this research noted the specific nature of viewing content on a mobile device. They considered that the nature of these devices enables children and young people to evade parental oversight, to decontextualise images and to share them among peer groups. These issues are more problematic in glamour content than other genres, as there is no context or narrative provided for the viewer. Respondents therefore urged the BBFC to take into account the particular nature of viewing glamour content on mobile devices.

B. The response of the BBFC

The response outlined below covers situations where the BBFC is considering where to draw the line in relation to the classification, delivered via mobile networks, of glamour content at the adult category or below the adult category. This content generally features little or no context. The BBFC's consideration is relevant to calibrating the filters used by the UK's Mobile Network Operators to restrict access to internet content.

The response does not cover the classification of sex, sex references and nudity in other contexts (for example narrative or documentary films) which may involve richly contextualised material.

The BBFC is unlikely to classify below 18 glamour content, both still images and video, featuring:

  • A sexual invitation

  • An intention to sexually arouse the viewer

  • The following content is unlikely to be acceptable for under 18 year olds to view on a mobile device in a glamour context:

  • Full frontal nudity in a sexualised manner, or exposure of the genitals

  • Sexual poses that imply readiness for sex or draw attention to sex organs whether exposed or not, (for example a woman bending over and/or spreading her legs) which heighten the sexual invitation or the arousing nature of an image

  • Unambiguous sexual fetish themes in an obvious or sustained manner

  • Masturbation

Beyond these elements, the public remains concerned by the cumulative impact of layering of sexual elements that it wants the BBFC to take into consideration alongside other factors. These include images that:

  • Play to male fantasies, such as 'girl on girl'

  • Objectify women and which are primarily about sexual arousal for the viewer, evoking ideas about female exploitation and inequality

  • Convey an obvious sexual invitation, such as 'come hither', sultry and sexual facial expressions

  • Feature non explicit but clearly sexual poses

  • Link sex and with other adult themes, such as drinking or gambling

The BBFC will take account of these factors in considering the classification of glamour material featuring such content.


27th February

 Update: He's probably uttering a few choice words himself...

India's loony film censor under siege over ludicrous attempt to ban strong language
Link Here

pahlaj-nihalani Controversial new rules banning cuss words from all Indian films, issued on the directive of new Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, has been put on hold following protests by several board members at a CBFC meeting. This was the first board meeting after Nihalani took over as CBFC chief.

Reportedly, the circular that listed cuss words in Hindi and English, including Bombay , was discussed at the meeting and several board members opposed it.

It was brought to Nihalani's notice that in keeping with the Cinematograph Act 1952, which guides CBFC's functioning, the chairperson does not have the authority to take such decisions and that such powers rested only with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Sources said the circular was put on hold and the board decided to convene another meeting to discuss the issue at length.

A board member, who refused to be named, said:

The role of the chairperson and the board is merely recommending and advising the I&B. This became clear to Pahlaj Nihalani during the meeting. The decision whether or not the circular should be implemented now rests with the ministry.

Follow up meetings have taken place and reports are awaited.


27th February

 Offsite Article: Google's role in global sex censorship...

Link Here
Blogger.com logo While you were busy freaking out about government surveillance, censorship blossomed at the one corporation that has the most power to fight, or enable, suppression of speech. Google. By Violet Blue

See article from zdnet.com


26th February

 Update: More Evil...

Google bans porn from websites and blogs hosted on Blogger
Link Here
Blogger.com logo

Google has announced that as of March 23rd, porn will be banned from public view on blogs hosted by Blogger. Google said As of that date:

You won't be able to publicly share images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity

As some sort of trivial concession adult material is still allowed on private blogs where readers are individually signed up to the blog.

From March 23rd any Blogger blogs hosting racy video or pics will be made private. Which usually means that only the owner will be able to see the content.

Nudity will still be permitted on public blogs if the content offers a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts.

Google's not saying why it's made this decision, or why it's given Blogger members just a month in which to act.


26th February

  Norway Converges...

Norway introduces new age classifications that apply to all audio visual media
Link Here
Norway flag The Norwegian Parliament adopted a new law on child protection in audiovisual programmes. The Ministry of Culture had presented a White Paper to Parliament proposing to establish a new Act on the protection of minors on 20 June 2014, the first reading in the Parliament happened on 10 December.

The new law introduces a platform independent approach, child protection measures are unified in one Act regardless of platform.  The Act will apply to the communication of audiovisual programmes and connected material to the general public through:

  • (Linear) television On-demand audiovisual media services
  • Screenings at a public gathering in Norway (including at a cinema or other screening facility)
  • Making videos available in Norway (including free distribution of DVD/Blu-ray).

The Act introduces new age limits: All , 6 , 9 , 12 , 15 and 18 .

The Norwegian Media Authority will now develop rules and guidelines for the implementation of the new provisions and conduct information campaigns aimed at industry and the public during 2015. The Act will come into force no earlier than 1 July 2015.


26th February

  Backdoor Politics...

Scotland attempts to create a new ID card based upon NHS registration
Link Here  full story: ID Cards in UK...UK introduces ID cards

UK ID Card 2009 Government proposals to expand the National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR) will pave the way for a national ID register in Scotland. The proposals have been made public in a little-known consultation that closes at the end of February. Digital rights campaigners, the Open Rights Group (ORG) believe that the consultation is flawed, misleading and could fundamentally change the relationship between citizen and state.

Open Rights Group Executive Director, Jim Killock said:

Government proposals that jeopardise our right to privacy need proper consideration. The SNP rejected a national ID register when the UK government tried to introduce ID cards. These proposals could pave the way for a similar scheme in Scotland and are being introduced without a proper debate by the public or MSPs.

Most Scottish citizens already have a unique identity number in the NHS system. This plan is to share this unique identifier with up to 120 other Scottish public bodies - including Glasgow Airport, the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd. Scottish residents could then be tracked across all their interactions with public bodies, including your benefits, bus pass travel or library usage.

ORG believes that this is building an ID card system in Scotland and that any such changes should be introduced as primary legislation, which would allow a proper public and parliamentary debate.

ORG has published its response to the consultation.

ORG is also urging its supporters in Scotland to contact their MSPs about the proposals.


25th February

  Introducing the world's slimmest skins...

Easily offended advert censor bans slightly sexy mobile phone advert
Link Here

kazam phone advert video A TV ad for the Kazam mobile phone. The ad opened with the shot of the back of a woman wearing just her underwear, she was shown walking around a house. The ad cut to a scene where she ran her finger down her cleavage, bit her lip then moved her hand over her hip and thigh. She picked up and put on a pair of jeans and the camera showed her buttoning them up. The ad then cut to a close-up of her bottom. She then picked up a shirt which she ironed and a close-up showed the iron moving over the pocket. After she put the shirt on a mobile phone was heard ringing. She searched her jeans pockets before finding it in the shirt pocket. A voice-over stated Introducing the world's slimmest phone.

Eight complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was overtly sexual and objectified women, and because the content bore no relationship to the advertised product.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA noted that much of the ad focused entirely on the actor in her underwear, including scenes that featured several close-up shots that lingered over her breasts, buttocks and lips, which we considered were sexually suggestive. Additionally, this was heightened by the suggestive nature of the music and voice-over and further reinforced because the focus on the woman bore no relevance to the advertised product. We therefore considered that the overall style of the ad served to objectify women. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some viewers on the basis that it objectified women.

The ad breached BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence).

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Kazam Online Ltd to ensure future ads did not cause offence by objectifying women.


25th February

  Competing with the Internet...

Australia's main broadcast channels propose an earlier TV watershed
Link Here

freetv australia logo An Australian trade body representing the free-to-air television industry, Free TV, has called for the local TV watershed to be set at the earlier time of 7:30pm rather than the current 8:30pm.

In fact Australia currently has a two tier system with M rated content allowed after 8:30pm and MA rated content allowed after 9pm. An M rating is an advisory 15 rating that would be called PG-15 in US terms. MA is a restricted 15 rating that allows younger viewers when accompanied by an adult that would be called 15A in UK terms.

M-rated programming includes appropriate coarse language, simulated or restrained depictions of sex and nudity and non-high-impact violence.

MA-rated programming can include very coarse language, so long as it is story-appropriate, and nudity so long as it is relevant to the storyline or program context .

The proposed set of new commercial television guidelines would allow the broadcast of M-rated material after 7.30pm and MA-rated material after 8.30pm. The new code would have to be approved by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The proposed new code would also absorb the existing AV adult violence classification - that is, program content that depicts violence in some detail , though neither prolonged nor unduly bloody or horrific - into the MA classification.

The proposed changes are a response to the new media landscape, it says, arguing that content is now available via multiple platforms, including pay TV and the internet, out of a time zone context and, in most cases, without restrictions in place. The proposal explains:

There are now a range of other options for managing viewing, including dedicated children's channels, ubiquitous availability of parental locks and information contained in electronic program guides

Free TV is now engaging in a six-week public consultation process after which the code must be submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for registration. See further details at freetv.com.au


25th February

  EU Bullies Luxembourg...

Resulting in a new law to meet censorship requirements of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive
Link Here
Luxemburg flag Luxembourg has responded to a European Commission reprimand for not implementing the media censorship required by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

The resulting draft law introduces a system of self-classification, requiring broadcasters established in Luxembourg to classify their programmes.

The Act sets out five categories of age groups:

  • (I) no age distinction - programmes appropriate for all audiences;
  • (II) programmes not suitable for minors under 10;
  • (III) programmes not suitable for minors under 12;
  • (IV) programmes not suitable for minors under 16; and
  • (V) programmes not suitable for minors under 18.

Programmes of the first category are to be exempt from labelling. For the other categories, the obligatory identification is to take two forms: first, the form of pictograms referring to the respective age group in black letters on white ground and, second, the form of a warning stating not recommended for minors aged below 10/12/16/18 . Content of category II is to be made identifiable by the broadcasting of the corresponding pictogram and the respective warning for one minute at the beginning of the programme. Those of categories III and IV should be featured during the entire duration of the programme. In addition, the warning should appear for one minute at the beginning of the programme and when the programme resumes after an interruption (such as an advertising break). Pictograms and warnings will also have to be screened during a trailer for programmes of categories II, III and IV.

  • Programmes susceptible to harming minors will have to be classified as being unsuitable for minors under 10.
  • Programmes resorting to physical and psychological violence in a systematic and repeated manner will have to be considered unsuitable for minors under 12. These may not be broadcast in unencoded form between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Programmes of erotic character or great violence will be regarded as harmful to minors under 16 and will only be allowed to be disseminated in unencoded form after 10 p.m. and before 6 a.m.
  • For the fifth category of programmes, the draft regulation indicates that their dissemination is in principle legal. However, such content should be reserved for an adult audience due to its sexually explicit or highly violent character. Thus, such programmes shall in every case have to be encoded and, additionally, broadcast only between midnight and 5 a.m. Access shall only be granted to adults by way of a personal access code. The starting screen shall have to display a monochrome image on a blank screen and no sound in order to discourage providers from screening, for instance, sexually explicit stills and thereby attracting minors' attention.

In addition, the draft regulation contains a rule for broadcasters principally targeting the public of another EU Member State, while established in Luxembourg. As an exception, such broadcasters should be able to opt for the classification system applied in that particular Member State, provided that an equivalent level of protection is achieved.

Furthermore, providers of on-demand audiovisual media services will also be required to classify their programmes, with a choice between three systems:

  • first, they may apply the labels as prescribed by Art. 1 of the draft regulation,
  • second, they may maintain the classification obtained in the country of origin of the work or
  • third, if the programme is directed to a public in another Member State, they may apply the corresponding system of that Member State.

Providers of non-linear services will be obliged to introduce parental control systems (about which users should be adequately informed), which would restrict access to programmes on the basis of a specific code.

Material not suitable for minors aged below 18 (category V) will have to be presented in a separate space and will only be allowed to be offered in return for remuneration (either upon subscription or as pay-per-view). Access to such content will have to be permanently blocked and will only be permitted to be accessible after insertion of a special access code, verification of which would take place each time the user returns to the service.


25th February

 Update: One Million Moms Recommend...

Going Commando with Cottonelle wipes
Link Here  full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
cottonelle go commando advert The moralist campaign group One Million Moms whinges:

In Cottonelle's newest advertising campaign Dare to Go Commando, a company spokeswoman asks individuals if they feel cleaner after using Cottonelle because of the ripple texture. The Cottonelle spokeswoman goes so far as to ask another woman if she feels clean enough to go commando now. The woman agrees and walks back into the restroom to return with her undies in a small shopping bag. The commercial ends with both women pulling down the waistbands of their pants just enough to reveal they don't have panties on.

Cottonelle is encouraging consumers to go without underwear. Oh, please! This is ridiculous. This type of advertising is extremely inappropriate.

The tissue paper company also has a similar ad, Go Cottonelle. Go Commando. In this ad, the spokeswoman asks a man to go commando, and it ends the same way.


24th February

  Common Sense Prevails...

European Court says that it is legal for internet users to watch streaming videos without worrying about copyright provided that any copies made in the process are transient
Link Here
European Court of Justice Internet users who look at copyrighted material online aren't breaking copyright by doing so, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has declared. This is a useful ruling that will now apply across the EU.

The declaration was part of the British Meltwater case. Meltwater is a Norway-founded media monitoring service that sent out daily digests including the headlines and the first bit of the article of the newspaper stories, together with links to the full online articles. It did not pay for these snippets. The company found itself sued in the U.K. by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA). The case was really about whether Meltwater could use headlines and portions of articles in a commercial service without copyright holder's permission but a side issue arose about whether web surfers are allowed to view content without copyright permission.

The NLA claimed that when you look at online content, you're making 2 copies, one on the screen and one in your browser's cache. The agency claimed that this required the authorization of the copyright holders.

But the CJEU ruled:

Article 5 of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society must be interpreted as meaning that the copies on the user's computer screen and the copies in the internet cache of that computer's hard disk, made by an end-user in the course of viewing a website, satisfy the conditions that those copies must be temporary, that they must be transient or incidental in nature and that they must constitute an integral and essential part of a technological process, as well as the conditions laid down in Article 5(5) of that directive, and that they may therefore be made without the authorisation of the copyright holders.


23rd February

  Careless Whispers...

How more than 6000 victims have been charged or convicted under outdated communications legislation. By Big Brother Watch
Link Here
careless whispers Big Brother Watch writes:

Our new report Careless Whispers has highlighted that 6,329 people have been charged or cautioned under out-of-date communications legislation. Focusing on the impact on communications made on social media, the report highlights an increase in cases.

The report features a foreword from John Cooper QC, Barrister for the defence in the 'Twitter joke trial', who warns that there is "a lack of training in many police forces and the CPS as to how this older law applies to a very modern medium."

The figures, which were obtained under Freedom of Information law, show that there have been at least 355 social media cases brought under the legislation. Only 13 of the 42 police forces provided details of the number of social media cases they have been involved with, so the figure is likely to be far higher.

The report focuses on two pieces of communications legislation which were both drafted before the existence of the most widely used social media platforms. Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, which was created to deal with public electronic messages that were either grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character and was most famously used in the Twitter joke trial .

And the Malicious Communications Act 1988 was first created to deal with poison pen letters or hate mail but was expanded in 2001 to cover electronic communications. The Act was used in the Poppy Burning case of 2012, when an individual was arrested for posting an image of a burning poppy on a social network site on Remembrance Day.

Based on the figures contained in the report, Big Brother Watch calls for:

  • Section 127 of the Communications Act to be repealed, and for the words "grossly offensive" to be removed from the Malicious Communications Act.
  • A full review of the way communications legislation is being used to police social media.
  • A common approach to enforcing the legislation by police forces, including introducing a standardised approach to recording social media offences.


23rd February

  It's Oscar Time: Best Animated Whingers Award 2014...

ASA announces its top ten adverts based upon the number of people easily offended
Link Here
paddy powers oscar time advert ASA has published 2014's top ten most complained about ads. The top three ads are also the most complained about ads ever. Topping the list is Paddy Power's Oscar Pistorius ad with 5,525 complaints.

The fact that the three most complained about ads ever have appeared in 2014 reflects the rise of social media, which has allowed members of the public to voice and co-ordinate their concerns about ads. Many of the complaints about the Paddy Power ad and the third most-complained about ad (The Sun's Win a Date with a Page 3 Model') were coordinated via the online petition site, change.org.

2014's ten most complained about ads are:

1. Paddy Power.

5,525 complaints upheld by ASA.

ASA banned this national press ad that offered incentives to bet on the outcome of Oscar Pistorius's murder trial. ASA claimed that the ad caused serious offence by trivialising the issues surrounding a murder trial, the death of a woman and disability.

2. Booking.com

1,768 complaints not upheld.

This TV and cinema ad  prompted complaints that the ad was offensive and encouraged bad language amongst children by using the word booking in place of a swear word. ASA did not uphold the complaints, judging that it was a light hearted play on words that couldn't be mistaken for an actual swear word. We also ruled that it was unlikely to encourage swearing amongst children; any children that did pick up on the joke were unlikely to have learned bad language through the ad itself.

3. The Sun.

1,711 complaints upheld

An email sent to subscribers of the Sun's Dream Team fantasy football competition featured a prize draw to win a date with a Page 3 model. Winners were also able to pick their date. The complaints, many of which were submitted as part of a campaign led by SumOfUs.org, believed the ad was sexist and objectified women. ASA upheld the complaints claiming that the email was offensive and irresponsible for presenting women as objects to be won.

4. Sainsbury's in association with The Royal British Legion

823 complaints not upheld

Sainsbury's Christmas TV ad showed a story based on the 1914 Christmas Day truce during the First World War. Most of the complainants objected to the use of an event from the First World War to advertise a supermarket. While acknowledging that some found the ad to be in poor taste, ASA did not judge the ad to be offensive and in breach of the Code.

5. The Save the Children Fund

614 complaints not upheld

This TV and video-on-demand ad featured a women giving birth to a baby with the help of a midwife and prompted complaints that the scenes were offensive, distressing and inappropriately scheduled. ASA did not uphold the complaints and agreed that the ad's post 9 pm scheduling restriction appropriately reduced the risk of younger viewers seeing the ads and causing distress.

6. Waitrose

267 complaints considered resolved

A TV and cinema ad claimed Everyone who works at Waitrose owns Waitrose prompted complaints that it was misleading because they understood that some services, like cleaning, were outsourced. Waitrose greed to amend the ad and ASA considered the matter resolved.

7. VIP Electronic Cigarettes

199 complaints that were upheld

Complaints claimed that two VIP e-cigarette TV ads glamorised and promoted the use of tobacco products. ASA did not uphold the complaints about glamourisation, but did consider the ads depicted the products being exhaled in a way that created a strong association with traditional tobacco smoking.

8. TADServices Ltd

188 complaints. The first actual real complaint about a reprehensible website.

9 Flora

183 complaints not upheld

This animated TV and YouTube ad for Flora Buttery showed two children making breakfast in bed for their parents and walking in on their parents wrestling . ASA received complaints that the ad was offensive and unsuitable for children to see. While ASA acknowledged that while the ad was suggestive, it did not contain any sexually graphic or distressing scenes, and so was unlikely to cause undue fear or distress to young viewers.

10. IQ

177 complaints more actual real complaints about a reprehensible website.


23rd February

 Update: Best Documentary...Citizenfour...

Oscars honour Edward Snowden
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

citizenfour CITIZENFOUR , Laura Poitras' riveting documentary about Edward Snowden's efforts to shed light on gross surveillance abuses by the United States government and its partners, just won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Tonight's Oscar win recognizes not only the incredible cinematography of Poitras, but also her daring work with a high-stakes whistleblower and the journalism that kick-started a worldwide debate about surveillance and government transparency. We suspect this award was also, as the New York Times pointed out , a way for Academy members to make something of a political statement, without having to put their own reputations on the line.

We're thrilled to see Poitras take home this prestigious award. CITIZENFOUR distilled a multi-year battle against untargeted surveillance and delivered it to the world with a compelling human interest story. The work of Poitras, Snowden, and journalist Glenn Greenwald helped shape the political course of nations across the globe. That's worth at least an Oscar.

This award means that more people will be no doubt be watching CITIZENFOUR, and thus learning about both Snowden's sacrifice and the surveillance abuses by the United States government. For those watching the movie for the first time, there's often a sense of urgency to get involved and fight back against mass untargeted surveillance


23rd February

 Update: Malaysian police recommend Ross in Kangkong Land by Zunar...

Police seize book of cartoons lampooning the country's government
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia bans islamic books
ross in kangkong land In an escalating campaign of harassment, Malaysian authorities seized copies of a new volume of political cartoons by Zulkiflee Awar Ulhaque, also known as Zunar. In the past three weeks, police have confiscated three separate volumes of Zunar's cartoons and detained him for four days on accusations of sedition in connection with critical posts he wrote on social media.

Police seized approximately 200 copies of Zunar's new book, ROS in Kangkong Land , while they were in transit to a launch event scheduled to occur in Petaling Jaya city, according to news reports.

The book lampoons Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, and also touches on the trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who stands accused of sodomy.

Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative explained:

The ongoing harassment and legal threats against cartoonist Zunar make a mockery of Malaysia's democracy. Prime Minister Najib Razak should use his authority to stop the harassment of Zunar and the bogus sedition investigation against him and instead return his attention to reforming outdated laws like the Sedition Act that are too often abused to threaten and punish journalists.


23rd February

 Update: An insult to Thai people...

Two Thai students jailed for performing a play critical of the monarchy
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Thailand flag A Thai court has sentenced a man and a woman to two years and six months in jail each for damaging the monarchy .

Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Munkong, 26, had pleaded guilty to breaking repressive lese majeste laws which protect the royals from criticism and insults.

The charges related to a play they performed at a university in 2013. The play, called Wolf Bride, was set in a fantasy kingdom and featured a fictional king and his advisor. It marked the 40th anniversary of a student pro-democracy protest that was crushed by a military regime.

The BBC's Jonathan Head, who is at the court in Bangkok, says the two were handcuffed together on arrival, one wearing leg shackles.

However, the full details have not been widely reported because under the laws media coverage which repeat details of the offence is considered the same as the original statement.


23rd February

  Sense and Sensitivities...

Easily offended Armenian campaigners whinge about Starbucks poster
Link Here
armenian women Starbucks has withdrawn a poster showing Armenian women in traditional clothing drinking coffee under the crescent and star of the Turkish flag and apologised to customers for causing offence.

The posters, displayed at at least one coffee shop in Los Angeles , angered easily offended Armenian Americans because of supposed sensitivities around the deaths of more than a million Armenians at the hands of Turkish Ottoman forces in the early 20th century.

The Armenian National Committee Of America (ANCA) whinged on Facebook:

Why is Starbucks selling coffee using an image of women, dressed in traditional Armenian costumes, celebrating a Turkish state that systematically victimized Armenian women during the Armenian genocide, and that still denies this crime against all humanity?

As 'outrage' grew this week, the company posted an apology on the ANCA's Facebook page and promised to remove the offending images.


22nd February

  The Most Heinous of PC Crimes Against Humanity...

Ofcom takes over-exaggerated offence at the use of the word 'spaz' in an ESPN sports commentary
Link Here

major league baseball espn logo Major League Baseball
ESPN, 3 October 2014, 20:00

ESPN is a sports television channel broadcasting a combination of live sports events and sports related programming.

During live coverage of a baseball match in America, the commentators talked very briefly about the pitcher who kept looking at a batter at first base because the batter was attempting to steal base'. This involved the batter moving back-and-forth on first base in an ungainly manner to distract the pitcher. These movements prompted one of the commentators to say:

"He [the pitcher] might be just looking at him because he looks like such a spaz".

A viewer alerted Ofcom to the reference to "spaz" in the commentary, saying that it was an offensive term to describe someone with physical disabilities.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3:

"In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context, Such material may include, but is not limited to, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...disability...)".

ESPN apologised for any offence caused. The Licensee however said that:

the use of this word in America is not seen as offensive as it is here. As a consequence, this presents UK broadcasters, especially in relation to the coverage of live sport, difficult challenges.

ESPN explained its live coverage of Major League Baseball is via an international feed from the US host broadcaster. The Licensee said that during a live programme, if offensive language is broadcast, the US commentator would immediately apologise . However, in this case, ESPN Limited said the:

US commentator didn't (and wouldn't) apologise because the word spaz in America is largely seen as inoffensive. The Licensee said this word is used [in the USA] to describe someone who is clumsy or un-coordinated and is generally linked with that person being excessively excited or hyperactive.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 2.3

Ofcom acknowledged that ESPN is an established channel broadcasting American sporting events live. Ofcom understands that, in American slang, the term spaz is largely inoffensive. We noted the Licensee's argument that the US commentator was referring solely to the player's physical awkwardness rather than making a derogatory comment about disability. However, in our view, a UK audience, even one familiar with ESPN content, would not automatically have understood the different meaning of the word in the USA and it would therefore have been capable of causing considerable offence. Further, we considered that the fact that the word had been intended to refer to physical awkwardness increased the likelihood that viewers would have assumed that the reference was linked to disability.

ESPN operates under an Ofcom UK broadcasting licence. It must therefore adhere to generally accepted standards. The Licensee must take UK audience expectations into account when transmitting material broadcast live from America. As pointed out above, the word spaz can cause considerable offence to UK viewers and listeners, and we noted that no apology to viewers was broadcast in this case.

On balance, Ofcom's view was that the use of spaz in these particular circumstances was not justified by the context and Rule 2.3 was breached.


22nd February

 Update: But But But But But...

French religious leaders wont sign up to free speech declaration
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
the tablet The French Catholic Church has declined to sign a declaration by the group Reporters without Borders (RSF) challenging faith groups to pledge unreserved support for free speech or face public pressure to do so.

RSF president Christophe Deloire proposed the declaration after religious leaders, reacting to last month's terrorist attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, backed free speech ...BUT... said it had to be exercised responsibly.

Nobody can impose his concept of the sacred on others, says the declaration, which says some people might be offended by free speech ...BUT... this cannot justify limiting any opinion, even an irreverent one. church-state separation.

This declaration seems to suspect religions of being not very active in supporting free speech, if not actually opposed to it, said Marseille Archbishop Georges Pontier, president of the bishops' conference.

The Church, which reiterated its support for the principle of free speech after the attack, [...BUT...] does not sign declarations it has not helped draft, he said, adding it was regrettable the text was addressed only to religious leaders and not other civil society personalities.

The heads of France's main Muslim, Protestant and Buddhist groups signed the declaration. Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia said he agreed in principle to it ...BUT... did not sign without all the other religious leaders.


22nd February

  A Bit Sexist...

The BBFC kindly lists some of the banned sex acts on its nonexistent list of banned sex acts
Link Here
BBFC logo The BBFC regularly answer questions posted on Twitter. A few interesting answers from last weeks questions and answers session:

Q: #askbbfc why have you banned things like female ejaculation and bdsm? Isn't it a bit sexist

A: There is no list of banned acts, but the Classification Guidelines must follow UK law #askbbfc [no list...except of course... urolagnia... and female ejaculation where there no proof it is female ejaculation...and not to mention fisting, gagging on blow jobs, BDSM activities resulting in welts beyond trifling, playacting close relatives and many others]

A: We cannot classify material likely to be considered in breach of the OPA - this includes urolagnia #askbbfc

A: If there is no on-screen proof it is female ejaculation & not urolagnia we may not classify it #askbbfc

And another couple of questions are of interest:

Q: Is non-sexual nudity, particularly of nipples, treated differently for men and women and, if so, why? #askbbfc

A: Non-sexualised or natural nudity is classified in the same way regardless of gender #askbbfc

A: Even at U occasional nudity, with no sexual context may be acceptable #askbbfc


Q: If a distributor requests a high-end category, eg 18, will the BBFC rate it accordingly even if the content is lower? #askbbfc

A: A film can only be classified in terms of its content #askbbfc ...

A: So even if the distributor wants an 18, if the content is only 15 level, it will be passed at 15 #askbbfc

A: Film classification decisions must be consistent and reflect the BBFC Guidelines #askbbfc

A: it is helpful for us to know what rating a distributor is aiming for #askbbfc

A: but it makes no difference to the final classification #askbbfc

A: Of all the films submitted with a classification request in 2014, 35% received a different classification #askbbfc


22nd February

  Feminists4Women whinge at Movies4Men...

PC extremists attack a TV channel over its name
Link Here
movies-4-men logo PC extremmists have had a whinge at the name of the action movie channel Movies4Men, which is owned by Sony, as offensive and demographic box-ticking gone mad .

The channel, which is available on Freeview, Freesat and Sky, claims that it is dedicated to supplying non-stop entertainment for men and specialises in action, war, westerns and classic films. It also proudly declares on its website that it is one of the last places to find quality drama .

Jamie Graham, editor-at-large of Total Film magazine, claimed the name of the channel was outmoded and offensive :

I think it's wrong for everyone involved. It perpetuates this myth that men like one thing and women like another.

Graham added without a trace of irony at the hypocrisy, that there was still room for Hollywood to produce more films aimed at women.

Marie Berry, founding editor of feminist magazine KnockBack, equally unaware of hypocrisy at her magazine's genderist basis spouted:

Gender as a descriptor gets more and more embarrassing as we try to move towards an equal, balanced society. I hope that, by the time the next generation are in charge of such things, they will cringe at names like this.


22nd February

  Hard Facts...

The NSA has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, allowing the agency to snoop on the majority of the world's computers
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Seagate Barracuda inch Internal Drive


21st February

 Updated: Censors in need of a good thrashing...

Fifty Shades of Grey is banned in Nigeria, UAE, Papua New Guinea, and parts of Russia.
Link Here  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey Movie...Kink for kids Hollywood style
Fifty Shades Grey Jamie Dornan Fifty Shades of Grey continues to wind up film censors.

UAE: Banned

UAE's film censors of the National Media Council have required 35 minutes of cuts due to inappropriate scenes, forcing distributor Four Star Films to pull the film. The council's director of media content Juma Al Leem told the paper.

We reviewed the movie in the presence of the distributor and after he realized how many inappropriate scenes there were, he took the decision not to show the movie himself, before we were able to make a decision.

Russia: Not shown in the Caucases

Meanwhile Russian news agency TASS reported that the erotic drama, which opened elsewhere in Russia on Feb. 12 with an 18+ age restriction, has been pulled out by cinemas in the republics of Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya. Ossetian mufti Khadzhimurat Gatsalov was quoted as saying:

The initiative to send an address to the region's authorities, requesting that the film be banned, came from young people who are concerned about noticeable interest in the movie from those who are in the early twenties,

TASS also quoted Madina Ayubova, a spokesperson for Kinostar, a theater in Chechnya's capital Grozny, as saying that film won't be exhibited in Chechnya:

Because a lot of what is shown in [the film] contradicts the mentality and religion of the majority of the republic's population.

According to Gatsalov, the film is not going to be exhibited in any of the four remaining North Caucasus republics either.

Philippines: Blurred

MTRCB, The Philippines censorship group's Chairman Eugenio Toto Villareal told the Inquirer that the board approved the film with no further cuts, but that the producer/distributor (Columbia Pictures) had made pre-cuts prior to review.

As part of the measures, a 10-second notice is flashed onscreen before each screening, disclosing that the film was classified as is and in its entirety with noticeable blurs and screen blocks introduced by the film producer. The notice also informs the public about the adult content.

Update: Banned in Papua New Guinea and heavily cut in Zimbabwe

19th February 2015. See  article from  newzimbabwe.com .
See  article from  pacific.scoop.co.nz

Papua New Guinea : Banned in February 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey has been refused classification by the Papua New Guinea Censorship Office, preventing it from being shown in cinemas.

Zimbabwe: Heavily cut in February 2015

Zimbabwe's film censors have demanded heavy editing of the film Fifty Shades of Grey, leading to some movie theatres not screening it.

Two cinema houses in the capital Harare are screening an edited version of the movie. Sam Levy's Village was not screening it with the explanation:

It was felt that heavy censorship would compromise the integrity of the film and thus, a decision has been made by Ster-Kinekor Sam Levy's Village not to screen the film within its complex.

Update: Nigeria Too

21st February 2015. See  article from  osundefender.org

Nigeria : Banned in February 2015

Nigeria's National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has banned Fifty Shades of Grey, but only after the board had let it be shown for about a week.

World censors' ratings:

  • Argentina 16
  • Australia: rated MA15+ (15A in UK ratings terminology) for strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity
  • Canada (Quebec) 16+
  • Canada (Ontario + British Columbia) 18A
  • China Unavailable as distributors think Chinese film censors would ban it
  • Czech Republic: 15
  • France 12
  • Germany 16
  • Iceland 16
  • Indonesia Banned
  • Ireland 18
  • Italy 14
  • Kenya Banned
  • Malaysia Banned
  • New Zealand R18 for sex scenes and offensive language
  • Netherlands 16
  • Nigeria Banned
  • Papua New Guinea Banned
  • Philippines R-18 after censorship cuts implemented by blurring
  • Russia 18+ (banned in Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya)
  • Singapore R21 uncut for mature theme and sexual scenes
  • South Korea 18
  • Spain 16
  • Sweden: 15
  • Thailand 20
  • UAE Banned
  • UK 18 uncut for strong sex
  • US: R rated (17A in UK ratings terminology) for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language.
  • Vietnam 16+ after cuts which were required to make the film suitable for the masses
  • Zimbabwe Heavily cut. Some cinemas have decided that the cut version is not worth showing


21st February

 Offsite Article: Censored by HSBC...

Link Here
Telegraph logo Why I have resigned from the Telegraph by Peter Oborne

See article from opendemocracy.net


20th February

 Diary: Claudio Simonetti's Goblin...

21st February 2015. Goblin perform Profondo Rosso at the Barbican in London
Link Here

goblin Goblin perform Profondo Rosso
21st February 2015
Barbican, London

Coinciding with Profondo Rosso's 40th anniversary Goblin will be playing their original score live to a screening of the film (cert 18).

Along with Suspiria, Profondo Rosso is perhaps Argento's most celebrated film and a total classic of the giallo horror subgenre and in its own right. Its score is synth-heavy characterised by a chilling central theme.

Having been dissatisfied with the original soundtrack, Argento called local band Cherry Five in at short notice. They renamed themselves Goblin, and, legend has it, wrote the new soundtrack in one night. Originally inspired by bands like King Crimson and prog-era Genesis, Goblin's unique sound is instantly recognisable and has earned them a cult status all of their own.


20th February

 Shopping: French Dressing...

A fascinating version and censorship history of Ken Russell's debut film, now set for its first UK DVD release on 13th April 2015
Link Here
French Dressing DVD James Booth French Dressing is a 1964 UK comedy drama by Ken Russell (as Kenneth Russell).
Starring James Booth, Roy Kinnear and Marisa Mell. BBFC link IMDb

UK: The full 86 minute cut was passed 12 uncut for moderate sex references, nudity for:

UK Version History

Late on in the editing process Warner-Pathe decided to shorten the film. The scenes removed have never been included in any official release and are now considered lost. From IMDb:

There is a missing scene between where Françoise agrees to join Jim and Henry at their place. This was Ken Russell's favourite scene in the entire movie but it was dropped by the producers, hence the unexplained cut between France and the pier of Gormleigh.

Regarding the original 100 minutes, it is known that several scenes and tail ends including the one referenced on IMDb were removed from the cut as the film was considered too long by the original distributor Warner-Pathe that was part owned by Associated British at Elstree Studios who did not like the film. There are production stills, press shots and amateur photographs from residents of Herne Bay confirming scenes that were deleted.

The late French actress Germaine Delbat is credited in one version of the surviving prints yet is never seen in the film. It is believed that she played a kind concierge who took in Jim Stevens (James Booth) and Henry Ligget (Roy Kinnear) to her ruined Tudor hotel when they were hopelessly lost on foot in woodland on the road from Boulogne to Le Touquet.

The scene referenced on IMDb was after the two Englishmen found Françoise Fayol (Marisa Mell) in Le Touquet and brought her back to the hotel for a picnic (production stills exist of this) before returning to England with her the next day. These are the scenes that were most treasured by Ken Russell and the producer Kenneth Harper, but they to were cut possibly very late in the process hence why Germaine Delbat remains credited in one print as French woman .

The surviving print moves scene via a poorly executed cut from the Englishmen's invitation in Le Touquet straight to their arrival back in England at the end of the pier.

Unfortunately of course all these scenes are believed to no longer exist in any format. Possibly Ken Russell might have owned a personal collection or the original 100 minute print but all of his possessions were destroyed in a catastrophic house fire in 2006. He confirmed that he had lost his copy in 2008 when he came to introduce an outdoor screening in Herne Bay.

UK: With the distributor's cuts included, the BBFC passed the film A (PG) after further BBFC cuts required for an A rating for:
  • 1964 cinema release titled French Dressing (scope)

The BBFC cuts were:

  • The BBFC removed a scene with Françoise Fayol (Marisa Mell) dressed as a nun revealing her garter as part of a dream sequence. Ken Russell confirms this in an old Radio Times interview from 30 October 1971 which accompanied a BBC TV broadcast of the film that week. This scene was later returned in part or in whole to the surviving prints that exist today.

Apart from a number of worldwide television broadcasts of varying runtime, the film has been screened as a double bill (cut even shorter to 60 minutes) in Australia, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Japan and was given limited cinema circuit release in the UK in part thanks to the sudden popularity of James Booth via Zulu in 1964. There are surviving localised posters for all these releases.

Thanks  to Daniel who adds that the film has been on UK TV once for definite. It was on Channel 4 in the early hours of the morning, but the screening was over a decade ago. Daniel notes that it was letterboxed, but cropped to 1.77.

The full 86 minute cut has been screened in local Herne Bay festivals and a BFI screening in 2011, otherwise it was largely buried and forgotten until now.

Network's DVD is the first home video release of the film worldwide since Weintraub Entertainment released a cropped NTSC VHS in Japan circa 1989.

Promotional Material

Director Ken Russell's first film is a comedy about the exploits of a deckchair attendant in the fictional English seaside resort town of Gormleigh. Aided by his reporter gilfriend Judy (Alita Naughton), deckchair attendant Jim (James Booth) dreams up a plan to revitalise the town by organising a film festival centred around French movie star pin-up Françoise Fayol (Marisa Mell). Travelling to France with entertainments manager Henry Liggott (Roy Kinnear) to enlist the star's help, the pair finally convince her to return with them to headline the festival. But although Fayol receives a warm welcome in the town, a series of unplanned mishaps see the festival, which up to that point had been a roaring success, descend into farce.


20th February

 Update: The Lawyers Win...

High Court dismisses claim disputing Ofcom's decision to not uphold complaints about Big Fat Gypsy Wedding
Link Here  full story: Big Fat Gypsy Wedding...TV winds up the easily offended
Old Bailey Gypsy campaigners have lost their high court challenge over Ofcom's handling of their complaint about Channel 4's Big Fat Gypsy Wedding television programmes.

Mr Justice Ouseley on Friday dismissed a judicial review brought against the TV censor by theTraveller Movement, a group supporting 300,000 gypsies and travellers.

At a hearing in London at the end of last year, its lawyers said that Ofcom unlawfully dismissed its complaint in November 2013 after conducting a procedurally unfair investigation into accusations that the Channel 4 programmes gave a negative portrayal of Traveller communities and confirmed social prejudices in a way likely to cause harm to children in those communities. The charity had claimed that the Channel 4 broadcasts of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Thelma's Gypsy Girls had depicted children in a sexualised way and portrayed men and boys as feckless, violent and criminal.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: The court has agreed that Ofcom thoroughly investigated the complaints made against Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Thelma's Gypsy Girls. We are pleased our decision was upheld.


20th February

 Update: Maltese PM claims he's Charlie...

Blasphemy law is still alive and kicking in Malta
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Malta...Malta prosecutes many for villifying the chruch

nun costume blasphemy in malta Whereas the rest of Europe has an unwritten blasphemy law enforced by violent religious intolerants, Malta quaintly has an official blasphemy law enforced by the police.

In the light of the muslim terrorism in Paris, the Maltese press have been noting the irony the country's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat heading off to Paris to participate in a unity rally, whilst presiding over a country with a blasphemy law that makes it illegal to acquire or distribute the many issues of Charlie Hebdo featuring religious cartoonery.

Uttering any obscene words - although what constitutes obscene words is not defined - in public is one of the contraventions affecting public order included in Article 338 of the Criminal Code. But Article 342 sets out that if the act involves blasphemous words or expressions, the offender may be jailed for up to three months, although a fine may be levied instead.

Another contravention listed in Article 338 includes ecclesiastical habits or vestments among the uniforms which cannot be worn without the permission of the authorities.

The Criminal Code also includes three articles which specifically address crimes against the religious sentiment. Article 163 and 164 concern the vilification of religion, granting a privileged position to the Roman Catholic religion - declared to be Malta's religion in the Constitution - in the process.

Article 163 sets out that whoever publicly vilifies the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion which is the religion of Malta, or gives offence to the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion by vilifying those who profess such religion or its ministers, or anything which forms the object of, or is consecrated to, or is necessarily destined for Roman Catholic worship, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from one to six months. Article 164 criminalises the same behaviour when directed towards any cult tolerated by law, but in this case, only a maximum jail term of three months is foreseen.

Article 165 criminalises the obstruction of religious services, this time making no distinction between Roman Catholic services and those of other religions tolerated by law. Anyone who obstructs religious services carried out with the assistance of a minister of religion or in any place of worship or in any public place or place open to the public may be jailed for up to one year, or up to two years if the obstruction involves threats or violence.

A Maltese Charlie Hebdo would clearly fall foul of both Article 163 - the cover of one issue, for instance, carried a depiction of the Trinity engaged in a sexual act - and Article 164.

Due to some of the magazine's more risque content, anyone involved in its production or distribution could also be prosecuted under Article 208, which criminalises the production, acquisition or distribution of obscene or pornographic material, with offenders liable to imprisonment for up to 1 year.

And it's not as if Maltese blasphemy law is some sort of dormant anachronism from the past. Blasphemy laws are still actively enforced, and a number of people have received suspended jail terms as a result.

A number of people had ended up in Court and charged with vilifying the Roman Catholic religion in the wake of the 2009 Nadur carnival. Then-Archbishop of Malta, Paul Cremona, and Gozo Bishop Mario Grech had jointly urged the authorities to intervene before the police confirmed that arraignments would take place.

A 26-year-old man who dressed up as Jesus received a one-month jail term suspended for six months after pleading guilty. But a group who dressed up as nuns pleaded not guilty and were acquitted because they were not wearing any religious symbols.

However, another young man received a suspended jail term for vilifying the Roman Catholic religion in 2009: he displayed visuals which included, among other things, Pope John Paul II and a naked woman while DJing at a music festival.


20th February

 Update: The Insecurity Services...

US and UK spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
sim card