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  A year of worthy protection from fraud and worthless PC easy offence...

ASA and CAP publish their joint annual report


Link Here 21st April 2017
asa 2017 The Annual Report 2016 reveals how our work has changed and how ASA adapted to a fast changing advertising landscape where nearly half of the work now involves regulating online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads , material that just five years ago wasn’t covered by the rules. 

2016 marked the five year anniversary of the ASA and CAP extending the advertising rules to cover companies’ and other organisations’ own ad claims on their own websites and social media spaces, for example on You Tube, Facebook and Twitter.  The Annual Report reveals the impact of that change.  In the last five years:

  • The ASA has resolved 41,383 complaints about 36,872 online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads
  • Those ads accounted for 1 in 3 complained about to the ASA
  • 88% of complaints about online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads were about misleadingness, compared to 73% for complaints across all media.

The report highlights the regulatory challenges the changing advertising landscape poses, with the lines between offline and online and between paid-for, ‘owned’ and ‘earned’ advertising becoming increasingly blurred.  And the report shows how technological change has influenced the ASA’s strategy to have more impact and be more proactive.  

Key figures for 2016 included: 

  • The ASA resolved 28,521 complaints about 16,999 ads
  • 4,824 ads were changed or withdrawn as a result of ASA and CAP action (a record year and a 5% increase on 2015)
  • CAP delivered 281,061 pieces of training and advice to industry to help companies and organisations get their ads right (another record year and a 10% increase on 2015)
  • The ASA and CAP delivered strong enforcement, with 8 websites taken down, one successful prosecution of an alternative therapy provider following referral to our legal backstop, Trading Standards, and two arrests pending prosecution

 

 Update: Blocking unblocking...

Russian government gets nasty with internet censorship circumvention services


Link Here 21st April 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flagThe Russian government is preparing to scale-up its war on people accessing blocked webssites by hitting services that provide workarounds. A new bill developed by the government requires VPNs and other anonymizing services to stop providing access to blocked domains. If they do not, they themselves will also be blocked. Search engines also face sanctions for linking to banned sites.

When it comes to blocking websites, Russia is quickly emerging as a world leader. Tens of thousands  of sites are now blocked in the country on copyright infringement and a wide range of other censorship grounds.

Of course, Russian citizens are not always prepared to be constrained by their government, so large numbers of people regularly find ways to circumvent ISP blockades. The tools and methods deployed are largely the same as those used in the West, including VPNs, proxies, mirror sites and dedicated services such as Tor.

To counter this defiance, the Russian government has been considering legislation to tackle sites, tools and services that provide Internet users with ways to circumvent blockades. According to local news outlet Vedomosti , that has now resulted in a tough new bill.

Russia's plan is to issue a nationwide ban on systems and software that allow Internet users to bypass website blockades previously approved by telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor. This means that if a VPN, proxy or similar tool unblocks torrent site RuTracker, for example, it will be breaking the law. As a result, it too will find itself on Russia's banned site list.

The publication says it has confirmed the bill's existence with a federal official and several Internet service provider sources.

As previously reported , Russia also has search engines in its sights. It wants to prevent links to banned sites appearing in search results, claiming that these encourage people to access banned material. The new bill reportedly lays out a new framework which will force search engines to remove such links. Failing to do so could result in fines of up to $12,400 per breach, clearly a significant issue for companies such as Google and local search giant Yandex.

 

 Offsite Article: Tory porn censors...


Link Here 21st April 2017  full story: UK Governments Consults on Age Checks for Porn...Government proposes censoring porn websites that are not age verified
The Independent What could happen after the government crackdown on online pornography

See article from independent.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Instagramcensorship...


Link Here 18th April 2017  full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo hsaring website gets heavy on the censorship
instagram logo The Official Full List of Hashtags Banned From Instagram

See article from bet.com

 

 Offsite Article: The key to censorship...


Link Here 18th April 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Great Firewall of China China's precision censorship machine allows some controversial keywords, but blocks combinations of them

See article from techdirt.com

 

 Update: Put a cork in it...

Drinks censor dismisses ludicrous complaint about a gin bottle with a cork


Link Here 17th April 2017  full story: UK Drinks Censor...Portman Group play PC censor for drinks
old english ginThe Portnam Group is a drinks industry panel which investigates complaints about the marketing of alcoholic drinks. The latest adjudication reads:

A complaint about the packaging of Old English Gin promoting excessive drinking has not been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel).

The complainant believed that due to the fact that the product is sealed with a wine-style cork it is less practical than a more usual spirit closure --.and will encourage purchasers to drink the bottle more quickly than they would otherwise .

The Panel were presented with the bottle of Old English Gin sealed to gauge if it could be opened easily. The Panel proceeded to open the bottle and reseal it with the cork. Whilst disappointed with the Company's short response, the Panel found that the bottle was straightforward to reseal; with the brand name etched upside down on the cork so that when it was inserted into the neck the writing on the cork was the right-way up. The Panel noted this design feature and that the product was unlikely to deteriorate quickly and therefore would not encourage consumers to drink the product more quickly. The Panel therefore concluded that the product did not breach the Code.

 

  Targeted 'research'...

New Zealand film censor surveys feminists, anti-sex work campaigners, police and academics to find that child protection issues re sexual violence in the media can be mitigated by extending film censorship to the internet


Link Here 14th April 2017
oflc sexual violence New Zealand's film censors of the OFLC are calling for the extension of their remit to internet streaming services such as Lightbox and Netflix.

Currently, apart from some one-off cases, the New Zealand censor has no influence over the labelling and warnings that come with streamed content.

Deputy chief censor Jared Mullen claimed that the public wanted such services too be censored by the OFLC:

Forty-seven percent of New Zealanders are now accessing streaming services regularly - that's at least weekly. So I think it is becoming more a part of New Zealanders lives and parents and young people are telling us the same thing. Their expectations for content labelling are high, they want more specific information and they want that before they watch the show.

Ninety-two percent of Kiwis who are responsible for choosing entertainment for children actually use the classification and labels, which is an extraordinary number.

Mullen said the participants involved in new research generally agreed that content regulation laws should be extended to cover increasingly popular streaming services. However this is hardly surprising when noting that the surveyed group were feminist campaigners, anti-sex work campaigners, police and feminist dominated academia.

Mullen noted that the groups were canvassed:

On their views of firstly what they're seeing in terms of sexual violence portrayal in entertainment media, and how they are seeing it effect young people. The concern across all of those groups is the portrayal of sexual violence... is often unrealistic, it can be sensationalised and is often portraying some really harmful myths about sexual violence which don't accord with reality.

Asked about the legal practicalities of extending film censorship to the internet, Mullen said there were half a dozen pieces of legislation that would need changing:

Relatively easy amendments - there's a range of regulations that would need to change, but other than that, no - it's not difficult.

 

  Running scared of popular opinion...

Germany demands that people running small streaming channels on the likes of YouTube obtain broadcasting licences and submit to the associated state censorship


Link Here 14th April 2017

Germany flagThe German broadcasting authority, the Landesmedienanstalt , has issued a temporary ruling requiring streamers using services such as Twitch and YouTube to obtain a broadcasting license to avoid penalties. This license, known in German as the Rundfunklizenz , can cost anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 euro to obtain.

The news comes after popular Twitch streaming channel PietSmiet said it was told it will need a license by April 30 if it wants to continue streaming. The changes apply to all online streamers with a very low threshold of 500 or more followers.

 

 Update: State ransomware...

The EFF comments on Dubious Anti-Pornography Legislation to Ransom the Internet being introduced by several US states


Link Here 14th April 2017  full story: US politicans and porn harms...US states claim porn to be a public health hazard

Electronic Frontier Foundation More than a dozen state legislatures are considering a bill called the " Human Trafficking Prevention Act ," which has nothing to do with human trafficking and all to do with one man's crusade against pornography at the expense of free speech.

At its heart, the model bill would require device manufacturers to pre-install "obscenity" filters on devices like cell phones, tablets, and computers. Consumers would be forced to pony up $20 per device in order to surf the Internet without state censorship. The legislation is not only technologically unworkable, it violates the First Amendment and significantly burdens consumers and businesses.

Perhaps more shocking is the bill's provenance. The driving force behind the legislation is a man named Mark Sevier, who has been using the alias "Chris Severe" to contact legislators. According to the Daily Beast , Sevier is a disbarred attorney who has sued major tech companies, blaming them for his pornography addiction, and sued states for the right to marry his laptop. Reporters Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny uncovered a lengthy legal history for Sevier, including an open arrest warrant and stalking convictions, as well as evidence that Sevier misrepresented his own experience working with anti-trafficking non-profits.

The bill has been introduced in some form Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. We recommend that any legislator who has to consider this bill read the Daily Beast's investigation.

But that's not why they should vote against the Human Trafficking Prevention Act. They should kill this legislation because it's just plain, awful policy. Obviously, each version of the legislation varies, but here is the general gist.

Read EFF's opposition letter against H.3003, South Carolina's iteration of the Human Trafficking Prevention Act.

Pre-installed Filters

Manufacturers of Internet-connected devices would have to pre-install filters to block pornography, including "revenge porn." Companies would also have to ensure that all child pornography, "revenge pornography," and "any hub that facilitates prostitution" are rendered inaccessible. Most iterations of the bill require this filtering technology to be turned on and locked in the on position, by default.

This is terrible for consumer choice because it forces people to purchase a software product they don't necessarily want. It's also terrible for free speech because it restrains what you can see. Because of the risk of legal liability, companies are more likely to over-censor, blocking content by default rather than giving websites the benefit of the doubt. The proscriptions are also technologically unworkable: for example, an algorithm can hardly determine whether an item of pornography is "revenge" or consensual or whether a site is a hub for prostitution.

To be clear, unlocking such filters would not just be about accessing pornography. A user could be seeking to improve the performance of their computer by deleting unnecessary software. A parent may want to install premium child safety software, which may not play well with the default software. And, of course, many users will simply want to freely surf the Internet without repeatedly being denied access to sites mistakenly swept up in the censorship net.

A Censorship Tax

The model bills would require consumers to pay a $20 fee to unlock each of their devices to exercise their First Amendment rights to look at legal content. Consumers could end up paying a small fortune to unlock their routers, smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.

Data Collection

Anyone who wants to unlock the filters on their devices would have to put their request in writing. Then they'd be required to show ID, be subjected to a "written warning regarding the potential dangers" of removing the obscenity filter, and then would have to sign a form acknowledging they were shown that warning. That means stores would be maintaining private records on everyone who wanted their "Human Trafficking" filters removed.

The Censorship Machine

The bill would force the companies we rely upon to ensure open access to the Internet to create a massive censorship apparatus that is easily abused.

Under the bill, tech companies would be required to operate call centers or online reporting centers to monitor complaints that a particular site isn't included in the filter or complaints that a site isn't being properly filtered. Not only that, but the bill specifically says they must "ensure that all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible on the product" putting immense pressure on companies to aggressively and preemptively block websites to avoid legal liability out of fear of just one illegal or forbidden image making it past their filters. Social media sites would only be immune if they also create a reporting center and "remain reasonably proactive in removing reported obscene content."

It's unfortunate that the Human Trafficking Prevention Act has gained traction in so many states, but we're pleased to see that some, such as Wyoming, have already rejected it. Legislators should do the right thing: uphold the Constitution, protect consumers, and not use the problem of human trafficking as an excuse to promote this individual's agenda against pornography.

 

 Offsite Article: Why we're not taking the new porn laws lying down...


Link Here 10th April 2017
london porn film festival logo Organising the gay London Porn Film Fest against a backdrop of anti-porn and anti-sexuality UK censorship laws

See article from opendemocracy.net

 

 Update: Censor first, no questions later...

Germany approves plans to require social media to immediately censor posts that complainants do not like


Link Here 7th April 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

governmet germany logoGerman ministers have recently approved plans to fine technology companies if they fail to censor posts that are claimed to be hate speech or 'fake news'.

The law introduces fines to the tune of approximately £42.7m if technology companies do not censor complalined about posts within 24 hours of it being reported (or seven days to deal with less clear-cut cases). The approval comes one month after the draft law, the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, was unveiled.

Google, Facebook and Twitter are likely to be particularly affected.

Many have raised concerns over the censorship process. The head of the Digital Society Association, Volker Tripp, said: It is the wrong approach to make social networks into a content police.

The implementation of the law will now mean that all contended posts will now be rapidly and routinely removed regardless of the voracity of the complaint. After all this is the age when complainants are always right.

 

  Fake Blame...

Germany set to alter copyright law that currently prevents the offering of public WiFi


Link Here 7th April 2017
governmet germany logoGermany has approved a draft law that will enable businesses to run open WiFi hotspots without being held liable for the copyright infringements of their customers. Copyright holders will still have the ability to request that certain sites are blocked to prevent repeat infringement.

In most jurisdictions it's standard practice for those who commit online copyright infringement to be held responsible for their own actions. However in Germany there is a legal concept known as Störerhaftung (interferer liability) where a third party who played no intentional part in someone else's infringements can be held responsible for them. This type of liability has raised its head in a number of file-sharing cases where WiFi owners have been considered liable for other people's piracy.

As a direct result of this precarious legal position, Germany has found itself trailing behind its European neighbors when it comes to providing public Internet hotspots. Some have described the situation as an embarrassment for one of the most advanced countries in the world.

Under pressure and in response to a European Court of Justice opinion on the matter last March, the government eventually decided to rescind liability for open WiFi operators. Since then the government has been working on changes to local law to bring it into line with EU standards. A third draft presented by Brigitte Zypries, Minister for Economics and Energy, has now been adopted by the cabinet.

Should the amendments receive parliamentary approval, businesses will be free to offer open WiFi to their customers, without fear of being held liable for their actions. They will also be able to offer truly open WiFi, with no requirement to verify the identities of users or have them log in with a password.

While copyright holders won't be pleased by the changes, they will still have opportunities to clamp down on infringement. If a certain WiFi location is connected with online piracy, a properly filed complaint will require the operator to bar access to websites connected with the infringement.

 

 Offsite Article: The Big Slurp...


Link Here 7th April 2017  full story: Microsoft Snooping...Microsoft’s Windows 10 is a privacy nightmare
windows 10 logo Details of the vast amount of personal data that Microsoft extracts from Windows 10 users

See article from theregister.co.uk