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No they're not thinking of the children...

The Guardian suggests that the start of internet porn censorship will be timed to help heal the government's reputational wounds after the Brexit debacle


Link Here 24th March 2019
The Observer today published an article generally supporting the upcoming porn censorship and age verification regime. It did have one interesting point to note though:

Brexit's impact on the pornography industry has gone unnoticed. But the chaos caused by the UK's disorderly exit from the European Union even stretches into the grubbier parts of cyberspace.

A new law forcing pornography users to prove that they are adults was supposed to be introduced early next month. But sources told the Observer that it may not be unveiled until after the Brexit impasse is resolved as the government, desperate for other things to talk about, believes it will be a good news story that will play well with the public when it is eventually unveiled.

 

 

Objectionable...

New Zealand's chief censor bans Brenton Tarrant's murderous manifesto


Link Here 24th March 2019

A publication reportedly written by the terrorist behind the fatal attacks in Christchurch, has been officially classified as objectionable. Chief Censor David Shanks said:

Others have referred to this publication as a 'manifesto', but I consider it a crude booklet that promotes murder and terrorism. It is objectionable under New Zealand law.

The document, examined under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993 (FVPCA), is deemed objectionable for a number of reasons.

It promotes, encourages and justifies acts of murder and terrorist violence against identified groups of people, says Mr Shanks.

It identifies specific places for potential attack in New Zealand, and refers to the means by which other types of attack may be carried out. It contains justifications for acts of tremendous cruelty, such as the deliberate killing of children.

We have dealt with terrorist promotional material before which was deliberately designed to inspire, encourage and instruct other like-minded individuals to carry out further attacks. For example we have found a number of ISIS publications to be objectionable in previous decisions. This publication falls in the same category.

An objectionable classification for this publication is considered to be a justifiable limit on freedom of expression under the Bill of Rights Act in this case. Shanks said:

There is an important distinction to be made between 'hate speech', which may be rejected by many right-thinking people but which is legal to express, and this type of publication, which is deliberately constructed to inspire further murder and terrorism.

It crosses the line.

It is recognised that the publication has been widely reported on over the past week, with many media outlets publishing commentary on it, and sometimes providing links to it or downloadable copies. Many New Zealanders may have read it, possibly seeking answers for why this dreadful atrocity took place.

Most people reading the publication will not be harmed by it. Most New Zealanders who have read this will simply find it repellent. But most New Zealanders are not the target audience. It is aimed at a small group who may be receptive to its hateful, racist and violent ideology, and who may be inspired to follow the example set by its apparent author.

It is an offence to possess or distribute an objectionable publication. People who have downloaded this document, or printed it, should destroy any copies.

Those engaged in further reporting on the Christchurch attack may be tempted to consider the use of quotes from the publication that have already been used in other media reports.

That use of excerpts in media reports may not in itself amount to a breach of the FVPCA, but ethical considerations will certainly apply, said Shanks.

Real care needs to be taken around reporting on this publication, given that widespread media reporting on this material was clearly what the author was banking on, in order to spread their message.

We also appreciate that there will be a range of people, including reporters, researchers and academics, who will be in possession of the publication for a range of legitimate purposes, including education, analysis and in-depth reporting. Those individuals can apply for exemptions, so they can legitimately access and hold a copy.

New Zealanders can all play a part in denying those who exhort hatred, killing and terror. If you have a copy of this publication, delete or destroy it. If you see it, report it. Do not support the murderous objectives of its author by republishing or distributing it.

 

 

Case proven...

Singer banned from performing after demonstrating that Egypt does not respect free speech


Link Here 24th March 2019
An Egyptian singer has been banned from performing in her home country after demonstrating that the nation does not respect free speech.

A video clip circulated online shows Sherine Abdel-Wahab, during a performance in Bahrain, saying:

Here I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who talks gets imprisoned.

Egypt's Musicians Union responded by barring the singer, popularly known by her first name, from performing. It also summoned her for questioning.

 

 

Offsite Article: No Brexit does not have the copyright on mass protest...


Link Here 24th March 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
Tens of thousands of people across Europe staged protests on Saturday against the upcoming EU internet censorship in the name of copyright law

See article from dw.com

 

 

An Iron Curtain for the Internet...

Russia extends repressive state censorship to news deemed to be fake and to insulting politicians, even when justified


Link Here 22nd March 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
President Vladimir Putin has tightened his grip on the Russian Internet by signing two censorship bills into law. One bans fake news while the other makes it illegal to insult public officials.

Russia has never really been a liberal democracy. It lacks an independent judiciary, and the government has found a variety of techniques to harass and intimidate independent media in the country.

But the new legislation gives the Russian government more direct tools to censor online speech. Under one bill, individuals can face fines and jail time if they publish material online that shows a clear disrespect for society, the state, the official state symbols of the Russian Federation, the Constitution of the Russian Federation, and bodies exercising state power. Punishments can be as high as 300,000 rubles ($4,700) and 15 days in jail.

A second bill subjects sites publishing unreliable socially significant information to fines as high as 1.5 million rubles ($23,000).

 

 

Advertising your private data...

ICO and Ofcom survey public opinion on online advertising targeted from snooping on browsing history


Link Here 22nd March 2019
Full story: Behavioural Advertising...Serving adverts according to internet snooping

The ICO has commissioned research into consumers' attitudes towards and awareness of personal data used in online advertising.

This research was commissioned by the Information Commissioner's Office. Ofcom provided advice on the research design and analysis. The objective of this research was to understand the public's awareness and perceptions of how online advertising is served to the public based on their personal data, choices and behaviour.

Advertising technology -- known as adtech -- refers to the different types of analytics and digital tools used to direct online advertising to individual people and audiences. It relies on collecting information about how individuals use the internet, such as search and browsing histories, and personal information, such as gender and year of birth, to decide which specific adverts are presented to a particular person. Websites also use adtech to sell advertising space in real-time.

The research finds that more than half (54%) of participants would rather see relevant online adverts. But while 63% of people initially thought it acceptable for websites to display adverts, in return for the website being free to access, this fell to 36% once it was explained how personal data might be used to target adverts.

 

 

Next Steps for Online Regulation...

A report from a Westminster eForum to discuss ideas for internet censorship


Link Here 22nd March 2019

Should the internet be regulated? Should internet companies be subject to the same regulatory oversight as financial services providers, lawyers, and publishers? Indeed, aren't they simply publishers?

This week these questions were asked by a panel of academics, business leaders, and policymakers at a Westminster eForum event in London titled Next Steps for Online Regulation .

This is the first of two reports from the conference, reflecting its twin discussion streams and separate Chairs. The first looked at the road travelled so far and at what progress, if any, has been made. It was chaired by Baroness Kidron, Member of the House of Lords and Chair of the 5Rights Foundation , an organisation that articulates children's rights online

See first report from government.diginomica.com

Regulation has to be about actions 203 about what people actually do, not their speech or beliefs, according to Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve. The Chair of the second half of the Westminster Eforum debate this week on regulating the internet 203 which explored the practical forms this could take

See second report from government.diginomica.com

 

 

Objectional censorship...

New Zealand's film censor bans video by the New Zealand mosque murderer


Link Here 21st March 2019
New Zealand's Chief Censor David Shanks has officially classified the full 17 minute video of the fatal Christchurch shootings which occurred on Friday 15 March, as objectionable. He said:

The footage, examined under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993, is deemed objectionable because of its depiction and promotion of extreme violence and terrorism.

I took the step of 'calling in' this video over the weekend as a mechanism to fast-track the classification process.

The video contains exceedingly graphic real life images, which could cause significant harm to those who view it, especially for victims and their families.

An urgent process is currently underway to finalise a detailed report of the Chief Censor's decision, this will be released within days.

It is illegal for anyone in New Zealand to view, possess or distribute this material in any form, including via social media platforms.

We're aware that for a time after the attacks, this video was widely available on social media and many New Zealanders saw it, sometimes without meaning to. It's important people are now clear they should not view, download or share the video.

Our priority is to mitigate the harm caused by this material to the New Zealand public, and in particular to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the Christchurch terror attacks.

Associated with the video, it should be noted that a lengthy manifesto document is being examined separately from the video footage and will take more time to consider.

Update: The authorities get nasty about sharing the video

See article from arstechnica.com

One 44 year old man with alleged far right connections has been arrested and charged with two counts of distributing objectionable materials in violation of New Zealand's Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act. He is being held without bail.

Another man, an 18-year-old, is also facing charges for sharing the video.

And these two may not be the only ones in New Zealand facing charges for sharing the video. Authorities have asked Facebook for the names of others who have shared it.

Other Kiwis have reportedly lost their jobs for sharing the video with coworkers or viewing it at work, according to the New Zealand Herald .

Offsite Comment: Don't Censor the New Zealand Shooting Videos

21st March 2019. See article from politico.com By JACK SHAFER

Averting our gaze from mass murder won't keep it from happening--and it won't even stop the murderers from spreading their sick ideas.

 

 

Overreaction...

Australian and New Zealand ISPs blocked multiple websites which hosted the video by the New Zealand mosque murderer


Link Here 21st March 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

ISPs in Australia have blocked access to dozens of websites, including 4chan and 8chan, in the name of blocking the video of last week's New Zealand mass shooting.

In Australia, ISP Vodafone said that blocking requests generally come from courts or law enforcement agencies but that this time ISPs acted on their own. Telstra and Optus also blocked the sites in Australia. Besides 4chan and 8chan, ISP-level blocking affected the social network Voat, the blog Zerohedge, video hosting site LiveLeak, and others. The ban on 4chan was lifted a few hours later.

Raising issues of wider censorship, LiveLeak removed the offending videos but was not immediately removed from the list of censored sites.

The ISPs' decision to block access to websites was controversial as they acted to censor content without instruction from either the Australian Communications and Media Authority or the eSafety Commissioner, and most smaller service providers have decided to keep access open.

The ISPs are facing some government pressure, though. Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone to a meeting to discuss ways to prevent distribution and livestreaming of violent videos.

New Zealand ISPs took a similar approach. The country's main iSPs, Spark, Vodafone, Vocus and 2degrees, are blocking any website which has footage of the Friday 15 March Christchurch mosque shootings. The ISPs agreed to work together to identify and block access at [the] DNS level to such online locations, such as 4chan and 8chan.

New Zealand Telecommunications Forum Chief Executive Geoff Thorn said the industry is working together to ensure this harmful content can't be viewed by New Zealanders. He acknowledged that there is the risk that some sites that have legitimate content could have been mistakenly blacklisted, but this will be rectified as soon as possible. .

Australia and New Zealand also do not have net neutrality rules that prevent ISPs from blocking websites on their own volition

 

 

Internet Censorship Law...

New law in South Africa will appoint the film censors as the arbiters of internet hate speech


Link Here 21st March 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in South Africa...Proppsal to block all porn from South Africans
South Africa's National Assembly has officially passed the Films and Publications Amendment Bill, with the bill now scheduled to be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for assent.

The bill extends film censorship to online content and appoints The Film and Publications Board (FPB), the country's film censors, as arbiters of internet censorship of hate speech, revenge porn and website blocking.

Some of the other notable changes include:

  • Revenge porn: Under the bill, any person who knowingly distributes private sexual photographs and films without prior consent and with intention to cause the said individual harm shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction.
  • Hate speech: The bill states that any person who knowingly distributes in any medium, including the internet and social media any film, game or publication which amounts to propaganda for war, incites imminent violence, or advocates hate speech, shall be guilty of an offence.
  • Website blocking: If an internet access provider has knowledge that its services are being used for the hosting or distribution of child pornography, propaganda for war, incitement of imminent violence or advocating hatred based on an identifiable group characteristic it shall immediately remove this content, or be subject to a fine.

According to Dominic Cull of specialised legal advice firm, Ellipsis, the bill which is on its way to president Cyril Ramaphosa is extremely badly written. He notes that the introduction bill means that there is definite potential for abuse in terms of infringement of free speech .

One of my big objections here is that if I upload something which someone else finds objectionable, and they think it hate speech, they will be able to complain to the FPB.

If the FPB thinks the complaint is valid, they can then lodge a takedown notice to have this material removed.

These sentiments were echoed by legal expert Nick Hall of MakeGamesSA, who said:

The big question around the bill has always been enforceability and the likelihood of the FPB to do anything with it. Practically, are they going to go after small-scale YouTubers? No, probably not, as they don't have the means to do so.

Instead, my concern has always been that the legislation becomes a tool for them to use censorship.

 

 

Dark Days...

Wikipedia protests against the EU's disgraceful new copyright laws favouring US conglomerates over European people


Link Here 21st March 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
Websites and businesses across Europe went dark yesterday in protest of disgraceful changes to copyright law being introduced by the European Union.

Ahead of a final vote on the legislation next Tuesday, March 26th, a number of European Wikipedia sites are going dark for the day, blocking all access and directing users to contact their local EU representative to protest the laws. Other major sites, such as Twitch and PornHub, are showing protest banners on their homepages and social media. Meanwhile, any users uploading content to Reddit will be shown this notice: Critics of the Copyright Directive say it could lead to messages like this.

The law in question is the EU Copyright Directive, a long-awaited update to copyright law. Two provisions have been singled out by critics as dangerous to European people's freedom and livehoods.

These are Article 11, which lets publishers charge platforms if they link to their stories (the link tax'), and Article 13, which makes platforms legally responsible for users uploading copyrighted material (the so-called 'upload filter').

Article 13 is particularly dangerous, say critics. It will make all platforms hosting user-generated content legally responsible for users uploading copyrighted content. The only way to stop these uploads, say critics, will be to scan content before its uploaded, leading to the creation of filters that will err on the side of censorship and will be abused by copyright trolls.

Wikipedia said the rules would be a "net loss for free knowledge." Volunteer editors for the German, Czech, Danish, and Slovak Wikipedias have all blacked out their sites for the day.

As well as the website blackouts , more than five million internet users have signed a petition protesting Article 13 . Marches and demonstrations are also planned in European cities across the weekend and on Monday and Tuesday before the final vote.

Update: The latest from MEP Julia Reda

21st March 2019. See tweets from twitter.com

The official version of the #copyright trilogue agreement is online now, translations will follow shortly. Don't get a heart attack when you see #Article13 has been renumbered #Article17, both the old and the new numbers will show up on MEPs' voting lists. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2018-0245-AM-271-271_EN.pdf

Our efforts to defeat #Article13 just got a huge boost! Polish @Platforma_org will vote AGAINST the #copyright directive unless #Article13 is deleted! They're the second largest single political party in EPP after @CDU. Thanks @MichalBoni https://twitter.com/MichalBoni/status/1109057398566764544 #SaveYourInternet

At a press conference in Berlin, @AxelVossMdEP confirmed rumours that some press publishers have threatened parliamentarians with bad election coverage if they vote against the #copyright reform. Voss does not consider this problematic. #Article11 #Article13 #SaveYourInternet

Update: Anti censorship hub

22nd March 2019. See  article from avn.com

Pornhub posted a banner at the top of the European version of its site on Thursday, as seen in the image at the top of this page. The discussion forum Reddit204the self-described front page of the internet204and the sprawling online encyclopedia Wikipedia also protested the planned new law, according to a Business Insider report .

 

 

Offsite Article: Britain's Pornographer and Puritan Coalition...


Link Here 21st March 2019
Backlash speculates that the UK's upcoming porn censorship will play into the hands of foreign tube site monopolies

See article from backlash.org.uk

 

 

The Government's Pal...

Education secretary pushes payment companies to act as moral policemen


Link Here 20th March 2019
The UK education secretary Damian Hinds is calling on payments firms such as PayPal to block transactions for essay writing firms, in a bid to beat university cheats.

Hinds says it is unethical for these companies to profit from this dishonest business.

A PayPal spokesman says an internal review is already under way into essay-writing services.

The Quality Assurance Agency wrote to PayPal in November calling on the firm to close down the payment facilities for the essay-writing companies that encourage students to cheat. But the university standards watchdog says there has not been any indication of any change in policy.

 

 

Offsite Article: Why an internet regulator is a bad idea...


Link Here 20th March 2019
Full story: Internet Safety Bill...UK Government seeks to censor social media
We should be stripping away curbs on speech -- not adding more. By Andrew Tettenborn

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Censorship or social responsibility?...


Link Here 19th March 2019
Amazon removes some books peddling vaccine misinformation.

See article from washingtonpost.com

 

 

Mental health issues...

Parliamentary group calls for Ofcom to become the UK internet censor


Link Here 18th March 2019

An informal group of MPs, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Media and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing has published a report calling for the establishment of an internet censor. The report clams:

  • 80% of the UK public believe tighter regulation is needed to address the impact of social media on the health and wellbeing of young people.
  • 63% of young people reported social media to be a good source of health information.
  • However, children who spend more than three hours a day using social media are twice as likely to display symptoms of mental ill health.
  • Pressure to conform to beauty standards perpetuated and praised online can encourage harmful behaviours to achieve "results", including body shame and disordered eating, with 46% of girls compared to 38% of all young people reporting social media has a negative impacted on their self-esteem.

The report titled, #NewFilters to manage the impact of social media on young people's mental health and wellbeing , puts forward a number of policy recommendations, including:

  • Establish a duty of care on all social media companies with registered UK users aged 24 and under in the form of a statutory code of conduct, with Ofcom to act as regulator.
  • Create a Social Media Health Alliance, funded by a 0.5% levy on the profits of social media companies, to fund research, educational initiatives and establish clearer guidance for the public.
  • Review whether the "addictive" nature of social media is sufficient for official disease classification.
  • Urgently commission robust, longitudinal research, into understanding the extent to which the impact of social media on young people's mental health and wellbeing is one of cause or correlation.
Chris Elmore MP, Chair of the APPG on Social Media on Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing said:

"I truly think our report is the wakeup call needed to ensure - finally - that meaningful action is taken to lessen the negative impact social media is having on young people's mental health.

For far too long social media companies have been allowed to operate in an online Wild West. And it is in this lawless landscape that our children currently work and play online. This cannot continue. As the report makes clear, now is the time for the government to take action.

The recommendations from our Inquiry are both sensible and reasonable; they would make a huge difference to the current mental health crisis among our young people.

I hope to work constructively with the UK Government in the coming weeks and months to ensure we see real changes to tackle the issues highlighted in the report at the earliest opportunity."

 

 

Censors Without Borders...

Reporters Without Borders condemns Chinese censorship pressure from its embassy in Sweden


Link Here 18th March 2019
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns repeated attacks by the Chinese embassy against Swedish journalists and insists that diplomatic missions have no say in the editorial content of media in their host country.

Chinese ambassador to Sweden, Gui Congyou, has embarked on a truth crusade against the country's media since taking office in August 2017. The ambassador seems to have trouble understanding that in Sweden, a country ranked second in the RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index, journalists are not subject to censorship.

On the embassy's website, the ambassador recently posted a long, unsigned attack against SVT Nyheter, a major Swedish news outlet. The diplomat castigates the site for giving a platform to David Liao, Representative to the Taipei Mission in Sweden, on February 27. Liao published an opinion piece calling support for Taiwanese democracy against Chinese threat. According to Gui Congyou, the article challenges the one China principle and amounts to serious political provocation. Beijing is very aggressive in claiming sovereignty over the island of Taiwan, despite it having an independent government since 1949.

The attack on SVT Nyheter is indeed not an isolated incident. Since July of 2018, the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm has attacked multiple Swedish news sources. The ambassador was particularly harsh towards Swedish journalist Jojje Olsson, author of a book on the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, who was kidnapped in Thailand in 2015 and is still detained in China with no scheduled sentencing. Last December, he also attacked Swedish journalist and commentator Kurdo Baksi, accusing him of instigating hatred against China.

 

 

Seeing the Light...

Nintendo removes console game Super Real Mahjong PV from its eShop


Link Here 18th March 2019
Super Real Mahjong PV is a 2019 Japanese adventure game by MightyCraft

The console game Super Real Mahjong PV, originally released on the Sega Saturn and recently released for Switch, has been removed from Nintendo's eShop due to some scenes with insufficient censorship.

According to a notice from the publisher, Mighty Craft, Nintendo temporarily removed Super Real Mahjong PV from the eShop due to scenes with insufficient censorship as the reason. This is something that was pointed out by Japanese entertainment rating organization CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization).

The publisher says it is currently working on checking and revising the entire game, and are getting ready to have it reviewed by Nintendo.

It turns out there are some instances of the censorship rays being too thin and left some images of female breasts exposed.

 

 

Offsite Article: Don't be a verified idiot...get a VPN!...


Link Here 18th March 2019
The Daily Mail highlights the dangers of identity checks for porn viewers and notes that the start date will be announced in April but could well be several months before is fully implemented

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: After a crackdown on live music in Russia, artists are asking what's next...


Link Here 18th March 2019
Months after a series of concert cancellations, the country's underground subcultures have reached an uneasy truce with authorities

See article from dazeddigital.com

 

 

Sky vs Sky...

Sky New Zealand pulls Sky News Australia over mosque attack videos


Link Here 16th March 2019
Sky New Zealand has pulled fellow broadcaster Sky News Australia off air until the channel stops broadcasting clips from the Christchurch mosque shooter's Facebook live stream.

In a tweet posted on Saturday morning, Sky New Zealand, an independently-owned broadcaster, said it had decided to remove the Australian 24-hour news channel from its platform because of the footage. A channel spokeswoman said:

We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and have made the decision to remove Sky News Australia from our platform until we are confident that the distressing footage from yesterday's events will not be shared.

 

 

Offsite Article: Don't be a verified idiot...


Link Here 16th March 2019
Get a VPN. The Guardian outlines some of the dangers of getting age verified for porn

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Is it a crime to tell the truth about ISIS?...


Link Here 16th March 2019
Marine Le Pen could be jailed for sharing graphic images of ISIS violence. By Fraser Myers

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Delegated ratings...

The BBFC allows Netflix to give BBFC age ratings to its content if it follows BBFC rules


Link Here 14th March 2019

The BBFC has launched an innovative new industry collaboration with Netflix to move towards classifying all content on the service using BBFC age ratings.

Netflix will produce BBFC age ratings for content using a manual tagging system along with an automated rating algorithm, with the BBFC taking up an auditing role. Netflix and the BBFC will work together to make sure Netflix's classification process produces ratings which are consistent with the BBFC's Classification Guidelines for the UK.

It comes as new research by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the Video Standards Council Rating Board (VSC) has revealed that almost 80% of parents are concerned about children seeing inappropriate content on video on demand or online games platforms.

The BBFC and the VSC have joined forces to respond to calls from parents and are publishing a joint set of Best Practice Guidelines to help online services deliver what UK consumers want.

The Best Practice Guidelines will help online platforms work towards greater and more consistent use of trusted age ratings online. The move is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Government's strategy to make the UK the safest place to be online.

This includes recommending the use of consistent and more comprehensive use of BBFC age labelling symbols across all Video On Demand (VOD) services, and PEGI symbols across online games services, including additional ratings info and mapping parental controls to BBFC age ratings and PEGI ratings.

The voluntary Guidelines are aimed at VOD services offering video content to UK consumers via subscription, purchase and rental, but exclude pure catch-up TV services like iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My 5 and UKTV Player.

The research also shows that 90% of parents believe that it is important to display age ratings when downloading or streaming a film online, and 92% of parents think it's important for video on demand platforms to show the same type of age ratings they would expect at the cinema or on DVD and Blu-ray 203 confirmed by 94% of parents saying it's important to have consistent ratings across all video on demand platforms, rather than a variety of bespoke ratings systems.

With nine in 10 (94%) parents believing it is important to have consistent ratings across all online game platforms rather than a variety of bespoke systems, the VSC is encouraging services to join the likes of Microsoft, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo and Google in providing consumers with the nationally recognised PEGI ratings on games - bringing consistency between the offline and online worlds.

The Video Recordings Act requires that the majority of video works and video games released on physical media must be classified by the BBFC or the VSC prior to release. While there is no equivalent legal requirement that online releases must be classified, the BBFC has been working with VOD services since 2008, and the VSC has been working with online games platforms since 2003. The Best Practice Guidelines aim to build on the good work that is already happening, and both authorities are now calling for the online industry to work with them in 2019 and beyond to better protect children.

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said:

Our research clearly shows a desire from the public to see the same trusted ratings they expect at the cinema, on DVD and on Blu-ray when they choose to watch material online. We know that it's not just parents who want age ratings, teenagers want them too. We want to work with the industry to ensure that families are able to make the right decisions for them when watching content online.

Ian Rice, Director General of the VSC, said:

We have always believed that consumers wanted a clear, consistent and readily recognisable rating system for online video games and this research has certainly confirmed that view. While the vast majority of online game providers are compliant and apply PEGI ratings to their product, it is clear that more can be done to help consumers make an informed purchasing decision. To this end, the best practice recommendations will certainly make a valuable contribution in achieving this aim.

Digital Minister Margot James said:

Our ambition is for the UK to be the safest place to be online, which means having age ratings parents know and trust applied to all online films and video games. I welcome the innovative collaboration announced today by Netflix and the BBFC, but more needs to be done.

It is important that more of the industry takes this opportunity for voluntary action, and I encourage all video on demand and games platforms to adopt the new best practice standards set out by the BBFC and Video Standards Council.

The BBFC is looking at innovative ways to open up access to its classifications to ensure that more online video content goes live with a trusted age rating. Today the BBFC and Netflix announce a year-long self-ratings pilot which will see the online streaming service move towards in-house classification using BBFC age ratings, under licence.

Netflix will use an algorithm to apply BBFC Guideline standards to their own content, with the BBFC setting those standards and auditing ratings to ensure consistency. The goal is to work towards 100% coverage of BBFC age ratings across the platform.

Mike Hastings, Director of Editorial Creative at Netflix, said:

The BBFC is a trusted resource in the UK for providing classification information to parents and consumers and we are excited to expand our partnership with them. Our work with the BBFC allows us to ensure our members always press play on content that is right for them and their families.

David Austin added:

We are fully committed to helping families chose content that is right for them, and this partnership with Netflix will help us in our goal to do just that. By partnering with the biggest streaming service, we hope that others will follow Netflix's lead and provide comprehensive, trusted, well understood age ratings and ratings info, consistent with film and DVD, on their UK platforms. The partnership shows how the industry are working with us to find new and innovative ways to deliver 100% age ratings for families.

 

 

Enemy of the people...

With days to go until the #CopyrightDirective vote, #Article13's father admits it requires filters and says he's OK with killing Youtube


Link Here 14th March 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
The new EU Copyright Directive will be up for its final vote in the week of Mar 25, and like any piece of major EU policy, it has been under discussion for many years and had all its areas of controversy resolved a year ago -- but then German MEP Axel Voss took over as the "rapporteur" (steward) of the Directive and reintroduced the long-abandoned idea of forcing all online services to use filters to block users from posting anything that anyone, anywhere claimed was their copyrighted work.

There are so many obvious deficiencies with adding filters to every message-board, online community, and big platform that the idea became political death, as small- and medium-sized companies pointed out that you can't fix the EU's internet by imposing costs that only US Big Tech firms could afford to pay, thus wiping out all European competition.

So Voss switched tactics, and purged all mention of filters from the Directive, and began to argue that he didn't care how online services guaranteed that their users didn't infringe anyone's copyrights, even copyrights in works that had only been created a few moments before and that no one had ever seen before, ever. Voss said that it didn't matter how billions of user posts were checked, just so long as it all got filtered.

(It's like saying, "I expect you to deliver a large, four-legged African land-mammal with a trunk, tusk and a tail, but it doesn't have to be an elephant -- any animal that fits those criteria will do).

Now, in a refreshingly frank interview, Voss has come clean: the only way to comply with Article 13 will be for every company to install filters.

When asked whether filters will be sufficient to keep Youtube users from infringing copyright, Voss said, "If the platform's intention is to give people access to copyrighted works, then we have to think about whether that kind of business should exist." That is, if Article 13 makes it impossible to have an online platform where the public is allowed to make work available without first having to submit it to legal review, maybe there should just no longer be anywhere for the public to make works available.

Here's what Europeans can do about this:

* Pledge 2019 : make your MEP promise to vote against Article 13. The vote comes just before elections, so MEPs are extremely interested in the issues on voters' minds.

* Save Your Internet : contact your MEP and ask them to protect the internet from this terrible idea.

* Turn out and protest on March 23 , two days ahead of the vote. Protests are planned in cities and towns in every EU member-state.

 

 

Tumbling from grace...

Tumblr loses 30% of its traffic after its porn ban


Link Here 14th March 2019
Full story: Tumblr Censorship...Tumblr announces that it will ban all porn
Since Tumblr announced its porn ban in December, many users reacted by explaining that they mainly used the site for browsing not-safe-for-work content, and they threatened to leave the platform if the ban were enforced. It now appears that many users have made good on that threat: Tumblr's traffic has dropped nearly 30% since December.

The ban removed explicit posts from public view, including any media that portrayed sex acts, exposed genitals, and female-presenting nipples.

 

 

Offsite Article: A review of age verification methods...


Link Here 14th March 2019
This is how age verification will work under the UK's porn censorship law

See article from wired.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: Sewing the seeds of our own demise...


Link Here 14th March 2019
Government complains about the power of internet monopolies whilst simultaneously advantaging them with age verification, censorship machines and link tax

See article from rightsinfo.org

 

 

Where there's a will...

Despite banning internet porn Uganda finds that its 6th most visited website is porn555.com


Link Here 13th March 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Uganda...Banning VPNs and taxing social media
Despite the prevailing porn ban in Uganda, it can safely be said that pornographic materials and information has never been more consumed than now. The latest web rankings from Alexa show that Ugandans consume more pornographic materials and information than news and government information, among other relevant materials.

The US website Porn555.com is ranked as the 6th most popular website in Uganda, ahead of Daily Monitor, Twitter, BBC among others.

The country's internet censors claim to have blocked 30 of the main porn websites so perhaps that is the reason for porn555 to be the most popular rather then the more obvious PornHub, YouPorn, xHamster etc.

 

 

I'm sick of living in an 'I find offence' society...

Australian mayor speaks out against miserable gits on his own council


Link Here 13th March 2019
A Northern Territory mayor has slammed his own council's decision to ban merchandise bearing the witty slogan CU in the NT.

T-shirts, beer stubbies, caps and thongs bearing an allusion to a rude word will banned from being displayed at Darwin's popular Nightcliff and Mindil Beach markets.

Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis actually voted for a motion to pull the merchandise from public display but he did express misgivings about people being too easily offended. He told Daily Mail Australia:

My problem is that we live in a "I find offence society" and there's always a push to remove things from the public Where do we stop?

I'm not going to actively try to find out what's moral, what's offensive or what's not offensive.

Greens councillor Robin Knox moved the motion after receiving complaints about children seeing the CU in the NT stall. She whinged:

The market stall was next to a children's playground - it's a very family friendly market.

 

 

Offsite Article: What could possibly go wrong?...


Link Here 13th March 2019
UK porn censorship risks creating sex tape black market on Twitter, WhatsApp and even USB sticks

See article from thescottishsun.co.uk

 

 

Curtained off...

Thousands of Russian protest against an extension of internet censorship


Link Here 11th March 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Thousands of people in Moscow and other Russian cities took to the streets over the weekend to protest legislation they fear could lead to widespread internet censorship in the country.

The protests, which were some of the biggest protests in the Russian capital in years, came in response to a bill in parliament that would route all internet traffic through servers in Russia, making virtual private networks (VPNs) ineffective. Critics note that the bill creates an internet firewall similar to China's.

People gathered in a cordoned off Prospekt Sakharova street in Moscow, made speeches on a stage and chanted slogans such as hands off the internet and no to isolation, stop breaking the Russian internet. The rally gathered around 15,300 people, according to White Counter, an NGO that counts participants at rallies. Moscow police put the numbers at 6,500.

 

 

Censoring in a digital world...

Lords committee supports the creation of a UK internet censor


Link Here 10th March 2019
The House of Lords Communications Committee has called for a new, overarching censorship framework so that the services in the digital world are held accountable to an enforceable set of government rules.

The Lords Communications Committee writes:

Background

In its report 'Regulating in a digital world' the committee notes that over a dozen UK regulators have a remit covering the digital world but there is no body which has complete oversight. As a result, regulation of the digital environment is fragmented, with gaps and overlaps. Big tech companies have failed to adequately tackle online harms.

Responses to growing public concern have been piecemeal and inadequate. The Committee recommends a new Digital Authority, guided by 10 principles to inform regulation of the digital world.

Chairman's Comments

The chairman of the committee, Lord Gilbert of Panteg , said:

"The Government should not just be responding to news headlines but looking ahead so that the services that constitute the digital world can be held accountable to an agreed set of principles.

Self-regulation by online platforms is clearly failing. The current regulatory framework is out of date. The evidence we heard made a compelling and urgent case for a new approach to regulation. Without intervention, the largest tech companies are likely to gain ever more control of technologies which extract personal data and make decisions affecting people's lives. Our proposals will ensure that rights are protected online as they are offline while keeping the internet open to innovation and creativity, with a new culture of ethical behaviour embedded in the design of service."

Recommendations for a new regulatory approach Digital Authority

A new 'Digital Authority' should be established to co-ordinate regulators, continually assess regulation and make recommendations on which additional powers are necessary to fill gaps. The Digital Authority should play a key role in providing the public, the Government and Parliament with the latest information. It should report to a new joint committee of both Houses of Parliament, whose remit would be to consider all matters related to the digital world.

10 principles for regulation

The 10 principles identified in the committee's report should guide all regulation of the internet. They include accountability, transparency, respect for privacy and freedom of expression. The principles will help the industry, regulators, the Government and users work towards a common goal of making the internet a better, more respectful environment which is beneficial to all. If rights are infringed, those responsible should be held accountable in a fair and transparent way.

Recommendations for specific action Online harms and a duty of care

  • A duty of care should be imposed on online services which host and curate content which can openly be uploaded and accessed by the public. Given the urgent need to address online harms, Ofcom's remit should expand to include responsibility for enforcing the duty of care.

  • Online platforms should make community standards clearer through a new classification framework akin to that of the British Board of Film Classification. Major platforms should invest in more effective moderation systems to uphold their community standards.

Ethical technology

  • Users should have greater control over the collection of personal data. Maximum privacy and safety settings should be the default.

  • Data controllers and data processors should be required to publish an annual data transparency statement detailing which forms of behavioural data they generate or purchase from third parties, how they are stored, for how long, and how they are used and transferred.

  • The Government should empower the Information Commissioner's Office to conduct impact-based audits where risks associated with using algorithms are greatest. Businesses should be required to explain how they use personal data and what their algorithms do.

Market concentration

  • The modern internet is characterised by the concentration of market power in a small number of companies which operate online platforms. Greater use of data portability might help, but this will require more interoperability.

  • The Government should consider creating a public-interest test for data-driven mergers and acquisitions.

  • Regulation should recognise the inherent power of intermediaries.

 

 

Offsite Article: Best VPNs to avoid the UK's Porn Age Verification...


Link Here 10th March 2019
At least somebody will do well out of porn censorship

See article from vpncompare.co.uk

 


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