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28th August

 Update: Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuhni...

The Australian Censorship Board bans another computer game
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban
Valkyrie Drive Bhikkuhni PlayStation Vita Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuhni is a 2016 Japan fight game

From the creators of Senran Kagura - Valkyrie Drive is an intense brawler set in a universe where girls turn into giant super-weapons when sexually aroused. Wielded by partner girls called Liberators, players must use this power to take on levels swarming with enemies and giant bosses. Box Contains

The console games has been banned the Australian Censorship Board.

The board claims that the game promotes elements that offend standards of morality, and also uses sexuality as an incentive and reward. A major factor in the refusal of classification is due to implied sexual violence in the game, especially if they pertain to incentives or rewards..

In the game, the girls are able to turn into weapons by kissing and touching one another. This may be part of the reason for the ban.

 

28th August

  Violence in Games of Thrones debated at the Edinburgh Festival...

Its massive popularity must surely rile the politically correct
Link Here
Game Thrones Season 6 DVD Politically correct accusations that Game of Thrones uses rape and violence against women as character development have been dismissed as nonsense by the head of content at broadcaster Sky.

Gary Davey, managing director of content at the channels was dscussing depictions of sex and violence in a debate between channel controllers at the Edinburgh international TV festival.

Davey noted that the violence in fantasy drama Game of Thrones, which airs on Sky Atlantic in the UK, applies just as much to male characters. He said:

Part of the issue is context... Sky Atlantic is a good example, people know what to expect. It's challenging content, whether it's story structure or indeed the sex and violence, the context matters.

It's interesting that this year with season six of Game of Thrones, which was very intense, out of the seven million households that watched, we had three complaints.

Questioned specifically about the rape of the character Sansa Stark on her wedding night, Davey denied it was used as character development.

I think that is nonsense. I think that is there is an awful lot of violence to men. For anyone who has watched the show, it can be a very violent show. I don't think the violence to women is particularly highlighted, it's just part of the story. The rape happens, it's party of the story, it was in the book. We are now past the book and the story is evolving,

Davey also denied there were plans to move away from violent scenes and said:

Our audience knows what to expect on Sky Atlantic and we have sophisticated pin protection.

 

28th August

  Communities being spied on at the Notting Hill Carnival...

Police roll out live facial recognition system
Link Here
CCTVs London's Metropolitan Police will trial an automated facial recognition system to identify people at this weekend's Notting Hill Carnival. According to the Met, the AFR system at the Notting Hill Carnival:

Involves the use of overt cameras which scan the faces of those passing by and flag up potential matches against a database of custody images. The database has been populated with images of individuals who are forbidden from attending Carnival, as well as individuals wanted by police who it is believed may attend Carnival to commit offences.

If a match is made by the system, officers will be alerted, and will seek to speak with the individual to verify their identity, making an arrest if necessary.

Speaking to The Register , the government's Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter, said that:

The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice requires relevant authorities such as Local Authorities and Police Forces to ensure they use surveillance cameras effectively, efficiently and proportionately.

This is so communities can be sure that they are being protected by this technology rather than spied on. I would expect any organisation that is using tools like automatic facial recognition to do so transparently so members of the public know it is being used and what its use is for.

The 'custody database' is a little more comprehensive than the name suggests as the police have been adding images from other sources.  In response to a Parliamentary question, Baroness Williams of Trafford reported that by 15 July this year, there were:

Over 19 million custody images, Of these, 16,644,143 had been enrolled in the facial image recognition gallery and are searchable using automated facial recognition software.

This figure represents roughly a quarter of the UK's entire population.

 

28th August

 Update: EU again sides with the corporates rather than the people...

European Copyright Leak Exposes Plans to Force the Internet to Subsidize Publishers
Link Here

EU flag A just-leaked draft impact assessment on the modernization of European copyright rules could spell the end for many online services in Europe as we know them. The document's recommendations foreshadow new a EU Directive on copyright to be introduced later this year, that will ultimately bind each of the European Union's 28 member states. If these recommendations by the European Commission are put in place, Europe's Internet will never be the same, and these impacts are likely to reverberate around the world.

The 182-page document identifies three general objectives--ensuring wider access to content, adapting copyright exceptions to the digital and cross-border environment, and achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright. In this initial article we examine the recommendations that fall under the third of these three objectives, which are amongst the most alarming proposals, including new obligations on Internet platforms, and new copyright-like powers for news publishers.

More specifically, this article will look at two of the proposals for what the Commission calls "upstream" problems, or difficulties faced by copyright owners in extracting value from the use of content online. We'll deal with other parts of the document in later posts.

"Sharing of Value" Proposal Exposes Rightsholder Greed

The assumption that copyright owners should be entitled to share in any value created by online platforms is never really examined by the Commission. The theory is that because online platforms are doing rather well in the digital environment, and because traditional publishing industries are doing less well, this gives the publishers some kind of claim to share in the profits of the platforms. It's a questionable starting point, and as we'll see, the recommendations that flow from it are ill-considered and harmful.

The first of the two problems that copyright owners supposedly face in extracting such value is that there is a large amount of user-generated content uploaded by users to sharing platforms, and that European law does not place an obligation on platforms to proactively police this content for possible copyright infringement, but instead relies on the latter to identify that the material has been uploaded without authorization and to request its removal. That existing law strikes a reasonable balance, similar to Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the U.S.

Major entertainment companies characterize this as a problem because it means that copyright owners have less ability to ask online platforms to pay licensing fees for their content. In the case of user-generated content platforms (think YouTube and Soundcloud), the platform can simply offer to remove a copyright-owner's content rather than paying for it--or, in practice, to voluntarily offer a compromise such as YouTube's Content ID that automatically scans uploaded content and shares ad revenues for content identified as the copyright owner's.

As for platforms that offer access to their own library of content (think Netflix and Spotify), rightsholders contend that they may be willing to pay less in order to remain competitive with the user-generated content platforms. In either case, major copyright holders contend that platforms should be paying them more for the content that the platforms make available online.

The European Commission's proposed solution, however, is worse than the supposed problem. The Commission is proposing that user-generated content platforms should be forced to seek, in good faith, to conclude private agreements with copyright owners and to put in place "appropriate and proportionate content identification technologies". In short, the use of something like YouTube's Content ID system is being made compulsory.

This is a treacherous idea for many reasons, but just to give two:

  • Automated systems, no matter how technically sophisticated, can never replace human judgment about whether user generated content infringes copyright. This is because copyright exceptions that exist in the United States (such as fair use) and in various forms across Europe (such as quotation, parody, and news reporting), mean that not every act of copying is an infringement. As a result, Content ID-type systems will inevitably misflag content, and wrongly allow a copyright claimant to monetize it or take it down.

  • Content ID-type systems are extremely expensive. YouTube reportedly spent $60 million on the development of Content ID, but even if a new entrant would have to spend a small fraction of that on a similar system, that would still be an insurmountable obstacle to the majority of small and medium enterprises, and to non-profit organizations and users ranging from Wikipedia, all the way down to your brother who hosts a fanart messageboard on a desktop PC in his bedroom.

More broadly, this kind of insidious regime of private agreements pushed by government is the kind of cop-out from good lawmaking that EFF calls "Shadow Regulation"; a concept that we'll be introducing in more depth in subsequent Deeplinks posts, where we will give some other examples of the same. But in short, such agreements can embody the worst of all possible approaches, by combining the coercion of government regulation, with the lack of accountability of corporate self-regulation.

A Link Tax in Favor of News Publishers

The European Commission doesn't stop there, but also has a similarly ham-fisted proposal to address the declining revenues of news publishers from their print publications, which leaves them with fewer resources to continue to invest in journalism.

We have previously agreed that this is a real problem . But where the Commission errs is to pin responsibility for this problem on the reuse of news content by Web platforms under exceptions to copyright; and it compounds this error by seeking to limit their use of such copyright exceptions going forward.

The Commission's proposal is to award publishers a new copyright-like veto power, layered on top of the copyright that already exists in the published content, allowing them to prevent the online reuse of news content even when a copyright exception applies . This veto power may last for as little as one year, or as many as 50--the Commission leaves this open for now.

This kind of veto power has been described as a link tax --notwithstanding the Commission's protestations that it isn't one--because when the publisher controls even the use of small snippets of news text surrounding a hyperlink to the original article, it essentially amounts to a tax on that link. The result, as seen in Spain, will be the closure of online news portals , and a reduction in traffic to news publishers .

A new wrinkle on this link tax proposal is that the Commission also proposes that publishers who have received a transfer of copyright from authors should also be entitled to collect revenue from whatever copyright levies member states may impose to "compensate" authors for use of their content under copyright exceptions. The notion that "compensation" is needed for users exercising their rights under copyright is a thoroughly perverse one, as we have previously explained . This addition to the link tax proposal is a gift to copyright collecting societies that will further increase the cost and complexity of lawfully reusing content.

What Happens Now?

The impact assessment is not yet a draft law, but it is a crystal clear indication from the European Commission about the content of the law that is is proposing to develop as a draft for approval by the other European institutions, namely the European Parliament, and the Council of the European Union. Users will have further opportunities for input into the proposals when they reach that stage.

But we'll have the best chance of stopping these misguided proposals if European officials are alerted to our concerns right away. They need to understand that Internet users won't accept the "Shadow Regulation" of intermediaries by requiring them to enter into expensive and error-prone arrangements with copyright owners for the automating flagging of user content. Neither will they accept a new "link tax" for news publishers that could stifle the dissemination of news online.

 

28th August

 Offsite Article: The reasons why politics feels so tribal in 2016...

Link Here
kicking politicians The freedom to live where you like, a good education and the internet: could these things be widening the gap between opposing political beliefs?

See article from bbc.com

 

27th August

  Don't use WhatsApp to call your mistress or toy boy...

Lest Facebook use your phone log to suggest them as friends to your partner
Link Here
whatsapp logo The UK's data protection agency has announced it is looking into Facebook's plans to use WhatsApp phone numbers and customer data to generate leads and for personalised advertisng on Facebook.

Privacy fears were raised earlier this week when a change in WhatsApp privacy policy revealed it users' phone numbers would be passed to the parent company to inform ads and for providing friend suggestions.

Mirroring the concerns of many Brits, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said it will monitor how WhatsApp data is shared with the Facebook. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement :

We've been informed of the changes. Organisations do not need to get prior approval from the ICO to change their approaches, but they do need to stay within data protection laws. We are looking into this.

Denham said ICO planned to pull back the curtain and ensure both Facebook and WhatsApp were providing users with the requisite transparency.

Plenty of users have objected to the plans, with many choosing to opt out and not to share the details with Facebook.

 

27th August

 Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 56: Clockwork Orange...

Link Here
Clockwork Orange DVD Malcolm McDowell Uncut by the BBFC but generated enough censorship material to form most of a Stanley Kubrick archive

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

27th August

 Offsite Article: The War on Cash...

Link Here
tax man pointing Banks, governments, credit card companies and tech evangelists all want us to believe a cashless future is inevitable and good. But this isn't a frictionless utopia, and it's time to fight back. By Brett Scott.

See article from countercurrents.org

 

24th August

  Fear the Censor...

ASA upholds complaint about the scheduling of an advert for Fear the Walking Dead during the film Rango
Link Here

Fear Walking Dead Season DVD A TV ad for Amazon Prime promoting a horror drama series called Fear the Walking Dead, broadcast on Channel Four on Sunday 10 April during the film Rango at 5.35pm and 6.40pm.

The ad included a voice-over taken from the drama, which stated, Good morning Los Angeles. Hope you got your flu shot. Reports that a strange virus is going around. If you're not feeling well go home and take care of yourself.

The ad showed scenes taken from the drama series, which included posters of a missing woman, a shadowed figure, an unwell man falling down, people running in distress, police and ambulance sirens, people in bio-hazard suits and a frightened woman in a plantation field holding onto a fence. During these scenes, one of the female characters from the drama stated, What the hell is happening?

The ad also featured on-screen text that stated EVERY HORROR ... HAS A BEGINNING FEAR THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 1 FEAR BEGINS HERE ... . Towards the end of the ad was a male voice-over that stated, Fear the walking dead season one. Watch and download with Amazon Prime and take the fear with you.

Three complainants, one of whom reported that their child was distressed by the ad, objected that it had been inappropriately scheduled during a children's film.

ASA Assessment Complaint Upheld

The ASA understood that the ad complained about was for a horror drama series based on a zombie apocalypse. It featured a voice-over that referred repeatedly to the title of the programme and scenes of social disorder and people in distress. The sound effects and music became louder and more intense throughout the ad.

We considered that the overall content of the ad created a build-up of suspense that could be distressing to younger children, but that would not be unsuitable for older children to see. The ad therefore needed to be sensitively scheduled, as required by the BCAP Code.

The ad had been cleared by Clearcast with no timing restriction that prevented it from being shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children. They had, however, applied a code that advised broadcasters that they might want to view the ad to determine its acceptability for transmission in programmes appealing to children under 9 years of age. We noted that Channel 4 stated that their internal system should have automatically flagged up the presentation code and that a member of staff would then have manually applied the appropriate timing restriction. We acknowledged that Channel 4 was now taking steps to improve how they applied timing restrictions and such advice in their future scheduling of ads.

However, broadcasters had a general responsibility to ensure that they exercised responsible judgement on the scheduling of ads. Also they should operate internal systems capable of identifying and avoiding unsuitable juxtapositions between advertising material and programmes, especially those that could distress or offend viewers.

We noted that the ad was shown during an animated film that would have strong appeal to young children. Furthermore, it was scheduled on a Sunday afternoon, which we considered was likely to be seen as family viewing time. Viewers would have expected ads to be scheduled with the family audience in mind and were unlikely to expect to see ads that would be frightening to younger children. The BARB data showed that children made up 218,000 of the 927,000 viewers and that the majority (150,000) were between 4 and 9 years of age. As outlined above, we considered that the ad could be distressing to younger children and concluded that it had been inappropriately scheduled.

We told Channel Four Television Corporation to ensure that ads which were suitable for older children, but could distress younger children, were sensitively scheduled in future

 

24th August

 Update: Smokeless Dragon...

Director of the Pete's Dragon remake notes that Disney now bans the depiction of smoking
Link Here  full story: Smoking in the Moviews...Ludicrous calls fo an adult rating for films with smoking
petes dragon David Lowery, the director of the new Disney live-action remake of Pete's Dragon has been interviewed by aintitcool.com . He spoke of a new contractual clause with Disney that prohibits the inclusion of scenes depicting tobacco smoking. He said:

And you can't have smoking anymore! The scene in that movie that had the biggest impact to me was Pinocchio smoking a cigar and turning red. When you sign a contract with Disney, the things it says your film cannot have are beheadings, impalement or smoking. Those are literally the three things you are not allowed to put into a Disney film.

...But yeah, they literally have those words in the contract as things you're not allowed to do and that rules out Pinocchio , which has the smoking.

 

24th August

 Update: Maalik...

Banned by Pakistan's government for portraying a corrupt character a little too closely to an actual minister
Link Here  full story: Banned Films in Pakistan...Sensitive issues of image and religion
Poster Maalik 2016 Ashir Azeem Maalik is a 2016 Pakistan action thriller by Ashir Azeem.
Starring Ashir Azeem, Farhan Ally Agha and Sajid Hassan. BBFC link IMDb

An Afghan family that escapes from the ravages of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and settles in Karachi. A SSG officer who undergoes a personal tragedy and starts a private security company (Black Ops Pvt. Ltd) in Karachi. His SSG colleagues keep joining the company on their retirements. An idealist school master who suffers greatly under a cruel Feudal lord and settles in Karachi and finally the Feudal Lord who becomes the Chief Minister of Sindh and unleashes a reign of terror on all that cross his path. Maalik is a story of love, loyalty, honor, family value, idealism, courage and dignity against all odds, and across all sections of society from the poor and the struggling to the highest levels of wealth and power.

The film was removed from cinema screens by government authorities a few weeks after its initial premiere on April 8, 2016. This is in spite of it being cleared by all three censor boards.

The film was flagged by the Sindh government after they accused one of the characters portraying a corrupt former Chief Minister as being too similar to the present Chief Minister of Sindh province. A ministry official told local newspapers:

The information ministry reserves the right to ban any film at any time. Maalik has been banned because it shows a former chief minister as a man of corruption and opulence.

Following numerous appeals from Sindh, the film was eventually banned by the Federal Government across the rest of Pakistan.

The Pakistani government later attempted to ban the export of the film on August 9, 2016, barring it from being shown overseas. However, despite these attempts, the film was set for release in the UK and internationally on August 26, 2016.

Director Ashir Azeem commented on the failed attempt to ban the export of the film:

Authorities in Pakistan are very concerned with how they are perceived, especially abroad. Whereas this might be considered an overreaction in some countries, it has become the go-to method for the authorities to ban content they deem offensive or controversial.

Meanwhile in the UK,  the film was passed 15 uncut for strong violence, sexual threat for 2016 cinema release.

 

24th August

 Offsite Article: Academic postulates that sex cyborgs will replace prostitution...

Link Here
SEX WORLD DVD VINEGAR SYNDROME As if our miserable society would ever allow men to enjoy sexual entertainment

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

24th August

 Diary: The Starburst Film Festival...

26-28th August 2016, Manchester UK
Link Here

starburst film festival logo The Starburst Film Festival
26-28th August 2016
Manchester MMU

Our remit is to celebrate everything STARBURST MAGAZINE has done since 1977: sci-fi, fantasy, horror, cult. From the biggest blockbuster to the most niche indies, via the very best of the small screen.

Cult classics, retro revivals, new releases, filmmaking and industry-specific events will all be in full flow, together with activities specially tailored for families during the Saturday daytime session, plus signings and photo ops, Q+As with industry legends, evening entertainment and crazy cosplay fun.

A beautifully curated film festival by day and a riotous party by night, we want this to become the ultimate summer celebration for film fans.

A shared cultural experience, and a mecca where fans of cult entertainment can get together and have a blast.

Starting with the launch party on Friday, culminating in the official STARBURST AWARDS adjudicated over by a panel of Industry Professionals, Directors, and Writers, to be held on Sunday evening, and then ending with the final blowout we can all share together that is the WRAP PARTY.

 

23rd August

  'Did you sleep with the milkman?'...

TV censor puts the kibosh on Jeremy Kyle's daytime chat show from poking around in people's sex lives
Link Here

jeremy kyle show The Jeremy Kyle Show ITV
27 March 2016, 11:25

The Jeremy Kyle Show is a popular daytime talk show broadcast on ITV, hosted by Jeremy Kyle, in which members of the public discuss relationship problems in a frank and often confrontational manner in front of a studio audience.

Ofcom was alerted by a complainant to an episode, broadcast on Easter Sunday1 morning, which, in the complainant’s view, featured inappropriate content for broadcast at that time.

The 60-minute episode included three separate items. The first item lasted for approximately the first 36 minutes of the programme, and centred on an individual called Sarah, her ex-friend, Kat, and Sarah’s partner, Carlos. The item also focused on the paternity of Kat’s baby and revealed the results of DNA tests involving three men (Carlos, Kat’s ex-partner David, and Luke, another man with whom Kat had had sex) one of whom might be the father of Kat’s child.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code:

Children must ... be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 13

In our view, taken as a whole, the cumulative effect of: various sexual themes; examples of violent confrontations between contributors; and the significant number of examples of the sound being dipped to mask offensive language, produced content that was unsuitable for children. We have set out our reasons for this view below.

There were a number of sexual references from the very outset of the programme:

  • the first item was introduced by the following caption: “Did you sleep with my boyfriend and is he your baby’s dad?”;
  • a clip from a previous episode was broadcast in which Jeremy Kyle asked Kat: “Have you had sex with Luke? ...Have you had sex with Carlos?...Have you had sex with David?”.
  • Jeremy Kyle was shown asking Sarah if her partner Carlos had had sex with Kat. Sarah said Carlos could not remember and Jeremy Kyle replied: “He can’t remember having sex? How can you not remember?... You can’t remember having sex? [Addressing the audience] Can anybody in this audience, have you ever forgotten about having sex?”; and
  • Sarah referred to Kat smelling of “fish” and “raw sex” and having “a really bad smelly fishy smell”.
  • Sarah described watching Kat having sex, during which the bed made a “creaking noise” (at which point Jeremy Kyle imitated the sound of a creaking bed), and Sarah said she had heard “orgasm noises”. At this point Jeremy Kyle asked one of the programme’s security guards “do you know your average orgasm noise for a woman? I’ve got to ask you this, they’ll probably cut it out, have you got an orgasm face?”.

We acknowledged ITV’s argument that “the discussion of sexual matters in the editorial context of the attempted resolution of relationship issues is a very regular feature of the show”. However, we did not agree with the Licensee that the sexual references were “in no way a detailed or explicit description of sexual behaviour”. In our view, at various times the language and actions used by Jeremy Kyle and his guests gave a level of detail descriptive of sexual behaviour which would be unsuitable for children. We did not consider that the use of humour by Jeremy Kyle would have materially lessened the unsuitability of the sexual references to any children in the audience. Rather, at times we considered Jeremy Kyle underlined the detail in the discussion of sexual themes, for example, by imitating the creaking noises of a bed when referring to a couple having sex, and also asking one of the programme’s security guards whether he knew the “average orgasm noise for a woman” and whether the security guard had “an orgasm face”.

Given all the above we did not agree with ITV’s argument that taken together the sexual references were “suitably limited in terms of explicitness”. We took the view that the cumulative effect of all the above references throughout the episode rendered the material unsuitable for children.

Breach of Rule 1.3

 

23rd August

  EU seek to undermine people's protections from hackers, fraudsters and thieves...

European ministers debate restrictions on encryption and extensions to mass snooping capabilities
Link Here
EU flag European ministers are debating restrictions on the use of encryption and a further increase in mass snooping. Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister is due to meet his German counterpart, Thomas de Maizere, to discuss possible laws to limit the use of encrypted communications across the EU.

Of course the ministers note that the increase in muslim terrorism as the reason for their actions. But as they don't seem so concerned about this in any other policy areas, presumably they want the mass snooping capabilities for more general reasons.

Governments and law enforcement services view apps that come with end-to-end encryption -- such as Facebook's WhatsApp and Apple's iMessage -- as a potential barrier in investigations.

Over-the-top mobile services such as WhatsApp are currently outside the scope of the EU's e-privacy directive, which covers how customer data is handled, including in response to law enforcement requests.

 

21st August

  Sunday morning advert break...

New Zealand government proposes to extend TV censorship to online services and to ease a ban on Sunday morning adverts
Link Here
New Zealand flag New Zealand's government is set to introduce a Digital Convergence Bill which will extend the Broadcasting Act to cover on-demand content.

That will have implications for the way services such as Spark internet television service Lightbox and Netflix classify their programmes. The classification of broadcast and on-demand content would be handled the same way under the Broadcasting Act, with complaints handled by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA).

The new censorship regime will not extent to news and current affairs or to user-generated content such as videos uploaded by the public.

The bill will also introduce an exclusion to the current blanket ban on TV advertising between the hours of 6am and noon on Sundays. Adverts will soon be allowed but only during special events s uch as the Rugby World Cup.

The theory behind the Sunday morning ad-ban has been that it encourages broadcasters to show low audience special interest programming such as religious programmes without concern that they may be missing out on larger audiences that would be of interest to advertisers.

 

21st August

 Update: Another law claiming worldwide reach...

The Global Ambitions of Pakistan's New Cyber-Crime Act
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking

Pakistan flag Despite near universal condemnation from Pakistan's tech experts; despite the efforts of a determined coalition of activists, and despite numerous attempts by alarmed politicians to patch its many flaws, Pakistan's Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) last week passed into law. Its passage ends an eighteen month long battle between Pakistan's government, who saw the bill as a flagship element of their anti-terrorism agenda, and the technologists and civil liberties groups who slammed the bill as an incoherent mix of anti-speech, anti-privacy and anti-Internet provisions.

But the PECB isn't just a tragedy for free expression and privacy within Pakistan. Its broad reach has wider consequences for Pakistan nationals abroad, and international criminal law as it applies to the Net.

The new law creates broad crimes related to cyber-terrorism and its glorification online. It gives the authorities the opportunity to threaten, target and censor unpopular online speech in ways that go far beyond international standards or Pakistan's own free speech protections for offline media. Personal digital data will be collected and made available to the authorities without a warrant: the products of these data retention programs can then be handed to foreign powers without oversight.

PECB is generous to foreign intelligence agencies. It is far less tolerant of other foreigners, or of Pakistani nationals living abroad. Technologists and online speakers outside Pakistan should pay attention to the first clause of the new law :

  1. This Act may be called the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.

  2. It extends to the whole of Pakistan.

  3. It shall apply to every citizen of Pakistan wherever he may be and also to every other person for the time being in Pakistan.

  4. It shall also apply to any act committed outside Pakistan by any person if the act constitutes an offence under this Act and affects a person, property, information system or data location in Pakistan.

Poorly-written cyber-crime laws criminalize these everyday and innocent actions by technology users, and the PECB is no exception. It criminalizes the violation of terms of service in some cases, and ramps up the penalties for many actions that would be seen as harmless or positive acts in the non-digital world, including unauthorized copying and access. Security researchers and consumers frequently conduct unauthorized acts of access and copying for legitimate and lawful reasons. They do it to exercise of their right of fair use, to exposing wrongdoing in government, or to protect the safety and privacy of the public. Violating website terms of service may be a violation of your agreement with that site, but no nation should turn those violations into felonies.

The PECB asserts an international jurisdiction for these new crimes. It says that if you are a Pakistan national abroad (over 8.5 million people, or 4% of Pakistan's total population) you too can be prosecuted for violating its vague statutes. And if a Pakistan court determines that you have violated one of the prohibitions listed in the PECB in such a way that it affects any Pakistani national, you can find yourself prosecuted in the Pakistan courts, no matter where you live.

Pakistan isn't alone in making such broad claims of jurisdiction. Some countries claim the power to prosecute a narrow set of serious crimes committed against their citizens abroad under international law's passive personality principle (the U.S. does so in some of its anti-terrorism laws). Other countries claim jurisdiction over the actions of its own nationals abroad under the active personality principle (for instance, in cases of treason.)

But Pakistan's cyber-crime law asserts both principles simultaneously, and explicitly applies them to all cyber-crime, both major and minor, defined in PECB. That includes creating a sense of insecurity in the [Pakistani] government (Ch.2, 10), offering services to change a computer's MAC address (Ch.2, 16), or building tools that let you listen to licensed radio spectrum (Ch.2, 13 and 17).

The universal application of such arbitrary laws could have practical consequences for the thousands of overseas Pakistanis working in the IT and infosecurity industries, as well for those in the Pakistan diaspora who wish to publicly critique Pakistani policies. It also continues the global jurisdictional trainwreck that surrounds digital issues, where every country demands that its laws apply and must be enforced across a borderless Internet.

Applying what has been described as the worst piece of cyber-crime legislation in the world to the world is a bold ambition, and the current Pakistani government's reach may well have exceeded its grasp, both under international law and its own constitutional limits. The broad coalition who fought PECB in the legislature will now seek to challenge it in the courts.

But until they win, Pakistan has overlaid yet another layer of vague and incompatible crimes over the Internet, and its own far-flung citizenry.

 

21st August

  Get it right or it's 3 years in prison...

Auschwitz was a Nazi death camp in occupied Poland, not a Polish death camp
Link Here
Poland flag Poland's government has passed a new law outlawing terms such as Polish death camps as references to Auschwitz and other concentration camps run by Nazi Germany when it occupied the country during World War II.

Anyone convicted under the bill, which still needs to be approved by parliament, could be sent to jail for up to three years.

Lawmakers drafted the legislation in an effort to stop people from referring as the concentration camps as Polish - an error that has been made by foreign media outlets and even US President Barack Obama.

The legislation has been approved by Prime Minister Beata Szydlo's cabinet and is expected to pass easily in parliament, where the nationalistic right-wing Law and Justice party has a majority.

The Justice Ministry says that prison terms of up to three years would be reserved for those who intentionally slander Poland's good name by using terms like Polish death camps or Polish concentration camps. Those who use such language unintentionally would face lesser punishments, including fines.

 

21st August

 Offsite Article: Searching for indiscretions...

Link Here
Google logo How your Google searches can be used against you in court

See article from newstatesman.com

 

21st August

 Offsite Article: Wayback before 'outrage' was invented...

Link Here
wayback machine logo Wayback Machine discusses the ethics of censorship to prevent the outing of gays in intolerant lands

See article from usnews.com