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  Political book censorship...

Threats of a boycott result in book publisher reneging on deal to publish Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos


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Link Here 23rd February 2017
milo yiannopoulos dangerousBook publisher Simon & Schuster has announced that it has pulled out of its contract to publish Dangerous , a book by Milo Yiannopoulos, a notable figure form America's Alt-Right movement. The company said in a statement that:

After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication.

According to the New York Times, Yiannopoulos will seek another publisher. His agent is quoted as saying that 50,000 copies of Dangerous have been pre-sold.

Simon & Schuster had been put under pressure for its decision to publish Yiannopoulos. The Chicago Review of Books protested the signing by announcing that it would not review any Simon & Schuster books for the next year, and The Booksmith in San Francisco declared that it would cut its purchases of Simon & Schuster titles by 50% and contribute the profits from the sale of the publisher's other books to the ACLU. One hundred and sixty Simon & Schuster children's authors and illustrators protested in a letter to company CEO Carolyn Reidy about the book's acquisition.

The American Booksellers Association joined a statement by the National Coalition Against Censorship that opposed a boycott of Simon & Schuster. While acknowledging that boycotts are a form of speech that is protected by the First Amendment, the statement warned that efforts to damage a publisher with economic sanctions could have a chilling effect, limiting its ability to publish controversial works. The statement was also signed by the Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, and the National Council of Teachers of English.

 

  In the age of political correctness...

Judge indicates that a Californian law banning IMDb from publishing birthdates is likely to prove uncontitutional


Link Here 23rd February 2017

doj logoA politically correct Californian law targeting age discrimination has failed to win the immediate approval of a judge. The law requires date of births or age to be withheld from documents and publications used for job recruitment. One high profile consequence is that the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) would be banned from including age information in the profiles of stars and crew. This has led to the challenge of the law on grounds of unconstitutional censorship.

This week's ruling does not look good for the Californian law as the judge decided that birthday prohibition shall not apply until the full legal challenge is decided. District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled:

[I]t's difficult to imagine how AB 1687 could not violate the First Amendment. The statute prevents IMDb from publishing factual information (information about the ages of people in the entertainment industry) on its website for public consumption. This is a restriction of non-commercial speech on the basis of content.

To be sure, the government has identified a compelling goal -- preventing age discrimination in Hollywood. But the government has not shown how AB 1687 is 'necessary' to advance that goal. In fact, it's not clear how preventing one mere website from publishing age information could meaningfully combat discrimination at all. And even if restricting publication on this one website could confer some marginal antidiscrimination benefit, there are likely more direct, more effective, and less speech-restrictive ways of achieving the same end.

Chhabria held that -- because the law restricts IMDb's speech rights -- the site is suffering irreparable harm and enjoined the government from enforcing the law pending the resolution of this lawsuit.

 

 Update: ITV pussies...

ITV criticised for the post watershed censorship Skepta at the Brit Awards


Link Here 23rd February 2017
Shutdown Brit Award viewers were left unimpressed during Wednesday's live show on ITV, after Skepta's performance was heavily censored.

The grime artist was one of several British stars to take to the stage performing his song Shutdown . However, despite the fact that Skepta's performance was aired after the 9pm watershed, the audio was cut several times throughout his time on stage, due to his repeated use of the word pussy .

Some took to Twitter in the immediate aftermath to voice their disdain for the censorship, particularly as it came just minutes after presenter Dermot O'Leary had sworn during the ceremony. The Huffington Post provided a few examples:

  • Don't start that audio muting bullshit #brits204
  • Muting Skepta's Shutdown chorus because it has the word pussy in is bullshit
  • They're muting the word pussy. Dermot just said batshit. And they're muting pussy. I mean. What?

 

  HMS Miserable...

The Royal Navy bans sailors from possessing anything but BBFC approved porn


Link Here 19th February 2017

pc shipThe Royal Navy has banned posters of glamour models so as not to offend women sailors after some complained of feeling intimidated by the soft porn.

Perhaps the banning of public space pin ups is understandable in these PC times but the Navy's rules go further and effectively ban sailors from all but a tiny portion of available porn.

Sailors were told about the ban when they were given an amended version of the Royal Navy's Queen Regulations. A new section titled Pin-ups and Pornography reads:

Possession of films/videos and all forms of digital media (e.g DvDs, or downloads from the internet) that have been certified by the British Board of Film Censors is permitted.  All other pornographic material is prohibited.

A Naval source told The Sun about these miserable rules:

To be fair, this is part of the service coming into the 21st Century, being more inclusive and not offending women.

But a lot of the lads are moaning about this because porn has been rife across the fleet for generations, and this is the result of a few people complaining.

 

 Updated: Debeaked...

Twitter claims an unlikely sounding capability to detect abusive tweets and suspend accounts without waiting for complaints to be flagged


Link Here 19th February 2017  full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs
twitter 2015 logoTwitter has introduced a new censorship system with the unlikely sounding capability to detect abusive tweets and suspend accounts without waiting for complaints to be flagged. Transgressions results in the senders receiving half-day suspensions.

The company has refused to provide details on specifically how the new system works, but using a combination of behavioral and keyword indicators, the filter flags posts it deems to be violations of Twitter's acceptable speech policy and issues users suspensions of half a day during which they cannot post new globally accessible tweets and their existing tweets are visible only to followers.

From the platform that once called itself the free speech wing of the free speech party, these new tools mark an incredible turn of events. The anti-censorship ethic seems to have been lost in a failed attempt to sell the company after prospective buyers were unhappy with the lack of censorship control over the platform.

Inevitably Twiiter has refused to provide even outline ideas of the indicators it is using, especially when it comes to the particular linguistic cues it is concerned with. While offering too much detail might give the upper hand to those who would try to work around the new system, it is important for the broader community to have at least some understanding of the kinds of language flagged by Twitter's new tool so that they can try and stay within the rules.

It is also unclear why Twitter chose not to permit users to contest what they believe to be a wrongful suspension. Given that the feature is brand-new and bound to encounter plenty of unforeseen contexts where it could yield a wrong result, it is surprising that Twitter chose not to provide a recovery mechanism where it could catch these before they become news.

And the first example of censorship was quick to follow. Many outlets this morning picked up on a frightening instance of the Twitter algorithm's new power to police not only the language we use but the thoughts we express. In this case a user allegedly tweeted a response to a news report about comments made by Senator John McCain and argued that it was his belief that the senator was a traitor who had committed formal treason against the nation. Twitter did not respond to a request for more information about what occurred in this case and if this was indeed the tweet that caused the user to be suspended, but did not dispute that the user had been suspended or that his use of the word traitor had factored heavily into that suspension.

See  article from forbes.com


Update: Clues

19th February 2017

Thanks to Joe for a couple of clues about the censorship rules:

I've fallen foul of this. Seems to be using trigger words in tweets to people you either don't follow or don't follow you.

 

  Bound and Gagged...

The UK's internet backbone is introducing gagging orders, presumably at the behest of government, to ensure internet companies maintain the secrecy of mass snooping capabilities


Link Here 18th February 2017
linx logoLondon Internet Exchange (LINX), Europe's major internet traffic hub is changing its rules to gag or to hide capabilities from the directors of companies enabling secret government snooping on networks under Britain's Investigatory Powers Act.

LINX members, hundreds of internet companies, have been given less than two weeks' warning of an effect of new LINX rules enabling surveillance orders or requests to be kept secret. LINX claims 780 organisations as members, a who's who of the world's biggest and best-known internet service and content providers, including Amazon and the BBC.

The plans will be proposed at an extraordinary general meeting in London on Tuesday. At the meeting, members will be asked to approve a new gag clause , banning directors they appoint from asking members to agree or approve technical or security changes to enable or support surveillance.

The proposals would also prevent LINX members from being asked to back potential court challenges to illegal surveillance. LINX claims to be a member-run organisation. The board and elected directors are there to ensure that the company is run in the interests of the owners -- the members.

 

  The wrong kind of 'free speech'...

Turkish magazine closed down over cartoon deemed offensive


Link Here 18th February 2017
girgir banned cartoonThe publisher of one of Turkey's most prominent cartoon magazines  shut down the weekly and fired all its staff over a cartoon of Moses it deemed to be offensive. The publisher sad in a statement:

The decision has been taken for the magazine to be closed and all the staff laid off because of the distasteful cartoon.

The cartoon has disturbed society and disturbed us as a publishing company

Girgir had published in its latest edition a cartoon showing the bearded Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, with his companions complaining and using strong language. Presumably for reasons of censorship and political correctness, the cartoon remains untranslated.

The publishers blamed the cartoon on a deliberate attempt to put the company in a difficult situation, and said it would inform prosecutors of which employees were behind it.

Turkey's president Erdogan weighed in with a reminder that 'free speech'  only applies to things he agrees with. His spokesman tweeted that:

This has nothing to do with freedom of speech or humor. This is immoral and a hate crime.

 

  My friend Cayla's a snitch...

German authorities ban internet connected doll over unprotected and hackable surveillance capabilities


Link Here 18th February 2017

NEW Party Time My Friend Cayla Doll Blonde 18" Smart Interactive Fashion   Germany's telecommunications watchdog has ordered parents to destroy or disable a smart doll because the toy can be used to illegally spy on children. The My Friend Cayla doll, which is manufactured by the US company Genesis Toys and distributed in Europe by Guildford-based Vivid Toy Group, allows children to access the internet via speech recognition software, and to control the toy via an app.

But Germany's Federal Network Agency announced this week that it classified Cayla as an illegal espionage apparatus . As a result, retailers and owners could face fines if they continue to stock it or fail to permanently disable the doll's wireless connection.

Under German law it is illegal to manufacture, sell or possess surveillance devices disguised as another object. According to some media reports, breaching that law can result in a jail term of up to two years.

The ruling comes after Stefan Hessel, a student at Saarbr3ccken University, raised concerns about the device. He explained:

Access to the doll is completely unsecured. There is no password to protect the connection.

 

  But western lifestyles are said to provoke terrorists...

The European parliament adopts EU Directive requiring most member states to remove or block material deemed to provoke terrorism


Link Here 17th February 2017
European Parliament logoThe European Parliament has officially adopted the EU Directive on Combatting Terrorism , which is designed to give police and prosecutors across the EU the ability to fight and counter terrorism more effectively and ensure a common response to the evolving terrorist threat.

The Directive includes measures against public provocation online , which state that Member States must ensure the prompt removal of online content constituting a public provocation to commit a terrorist offence that is hosted in their territory, and must also endeavour to obtain the removal of such content hosted outside of their territory. If removing the content is not feasible, Member States may block access to the content for internet users within their territory (but only after first attempting to remove the content at source).

The Directive states that such measures of removal and blocking must be set by transparent procedures and provide adequate safeguards, in particular to ensure that the restriction is limited to what is necessary and proportionate, and that users are informed of the reason for the restriction. These safeguards must also include the possibility of judicial redress.

Importantly, the Directive also states that removal or blocking of terrorist content should be without prejudice to service providers' protections under the EU e-Commerce Directive. This means that no general obligation can be imposed on service providers to monitor the information which they transmit or store, nor can they be obliged to actively seek facts or circumstances indicating the presence of terrorist content. Furthermore, hosting service providers will not be held liable for hosting terrorist content as long as they do not have actual knowledge of illegal activity or information and are not aware of the facts or circumstances from which the activity or information is apparent. This will be of great relief to Internet intermediaries.

The Directive must now be transposed into national law by Member States within 18 months. However, it will not apply to the UK, Ireland and Denmark who have opted out of such measures.

 

 Update: A handle on your private life...

US lawmaker introduces bill to force visa applicants to identify their social media accounts


Link Here 17th February 2017
US SenateA congressman ahs introduced a law bill demanding that visitors to America hand over URLs to their social network accounts.

Representatve Jim Banks says his proposed rules, titled the Visa Investigation and Social Media Act (VISA) of 2017, require visa applicants to provide their social media handles to immigration officials. Banks said:

We must have confidence that those entering our country do not intend us harm. Directing Homeland Security to review visa applicants' social media before granting them access to our country is common sense. Employers vet job candidates this way, and I think it's time we do the same for visa applicants.

Right now, at the US border you can be asked to give up your usernames by border officers. You don't have to reveal your public profiles, of course. However, if you're a non-US citizen, border agents don't have to let you in, either. Your devices can be seized and checked, and you can be put on a flight back, if you don't cooperate.

Banks' proposed law appears to end any uncertainty over whether or not non-citizens will have their online personas vetted: if the bill is passed, visa applicants will be required to disclose their online account names so they can be scrutinized for any unwanted behavior. For travellers on visa-waiver programs, revealing your social media accounts is and will remain optional, but again, being allowed into the country is optional, too.

Banks did not say how his bill would prevent hopefuls from deleting or simply not listing any accounts that may be unfavorable.

The Register reports that the bill is unlikely to progress.

 

  Can you keep up with a Kardashian?...

Another Protein World advert offends the politically correct


Link Here 17th February 2017
can you keep up with a kardashian advertPosters, featuring US TV personality Khloe Kardashian wearing a leotard, have caused politically correct  'outrage' over 'body shaming'. The adverts have appeared on London's underground transport network featuring a campaign by Protein World, a healthy eating company.

The PC stance is that posters of fit and beautiful people cause confidence issues among the not so fit and beautiful.

Green politician Caroline Russell said she received complaints from constituents about the advert and said that people who travel on the Tube should not be bombarded by adverts that imply their bodies are not good enough. She said in an interview:

Young people receive this negative message from enough social media channels and it's appalling that this is being reinforced on Tube platforms, against the Mayor's own policy, when people are taking trips to school, to work, or going out to socialize.

Transport for London, who manage the London tube network, said that the posters are acceptable and are not covered under Sadiq Khan's advert ban.

Protein World previously hit the headlines with an advert with a bikini clad model and the slogan: Are You Beach Body Ready .

 

  Is it politically correct to censor the language of the American African community?...

Moonlight has been significantly cut by the Indian film censors for an Adults only 'A' rating


Link Here 16th February 2017
Poster Moonlight 2016 Barry Jenkins Moonlight is a 2016 USA drama by Barry Jenkins.
Starring Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp and Duan Sanderson. BBFC link IMDb

Three time periods - young adolescence, mid-teen and young adult - in the life of black-American Chiron is presented.

The Indian film censors of the CBFC have cut the film for Indian cinema release. Two sex scenes have been excised and strong language has been cut for an adults only 'A' rating. For comparison the BBFC passed the film 15 uncut for strong language, sex, sex references, drugs misuse

Further details of the cuts are as follows:

[ Spoilers! hover or click text ]
 
The BBFC provide a good description of the sex scenes and strong language in the BBFC Insight:

There is occasional use of strong language ('fuck', motherfucker'), and frequent racial language ('nigga') used informally between black characters. There is also use of homophobic language in a scene in which an adult explains to a young boy that 'faggot is an offensive term.

Scenes of sexual activity include implied masturbation and penetration, and in one scene a character wakes up following a wet dream . Strong verbal references are made to oral sex and intercourse.

Meanwhile the CBFC cut entirely two of the film's love-making sequences, one homosexual and the other heterosexua

Noting that gay sex cannot be shown in an Indian film since homosexuality is still not legalised, the cuts to the sensitively designed sequence showing the film's young teenage protagonist gets a hand-job from his best friend, seems a bit harsh. A source said:

The censor board has ordered the entire hand-job to go. We only hear the protagonist say he is sorry for what happened. Indian audiences will not get what he's feeling sorry for.

Also, ordered out of the film is a dream sequence showing the protagonist's best friend making out with a girl.

Besides these two cuts the soundtrack has been cleared of all expletives included bitch , dick , fuck and motherfucker .

The source added:

The CBFC has done a sanskari job [seems to mean politically correct cleanup] on the language of the American African community.

 

  Monopolists vs the European people...

Hollywood film studios to fight against proposed EU licensing laws allowing people to access services like iPlayer in any EU country


Link Here 16th February 2017
MPAA logoThe Motion Picture Association of America will stand cheek by jowl with those European film and TV industries fighting to preserve territorial licensing monopolies in Europe.

In an interview with Variety, MPAA chairman Christopher Dodd said he would be playing a supportive role in the European industry's efforts to air its objections to a proposal for borderless access in Europe to movies and TV online. The chief concern appears to be the European Commission's wish to extend the so-called country of origin principle to cover digital services, meaning that E.U. broadcasters could carry their online programming in other countries if they have cleared the rights in their own home country.

Although rights-holders would be allowed to opt out of such arrangements and retain their rights in other E.U. countries, entertainment execs fear that most European producers won't have the bargaining power to insist on that in their negotiations with the big broadcasters they rely on to finance their work.

Opposition to the commission's proposal for pan-EU digital licensing of broadcaster programming is led by France and Germany. France's Ministry of Culture had openly expressed its opposition. The upper house of Germany's parliament has also expressed concern over whether the commission sufficiently takes into account rights-holders' interests.