Censor Watch

 2018: January

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  Maze Runner: The Death Cure...

Advised BBFC category cuts have been implemented for a 12A rated cinema release


Link Here 16th January 2018
maze runner death cureMaze Runner: The Death Cure is a 2018 USA action Sci-Fi thriller by Wes Ball.
Starring Rosa Salazar, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Dylan O'Brien. BBFC link IMDb

In the epic finale to The Maze Runner Saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary last city, a WCKD controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get the answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze. Will Thomas and the crew make it out alive? Or will Ava Paige get her way?

BBFC advised category cuts were required for a 12A rated cinema release in 2018. 2D and 3D version were then passed 12A for moderate violence, threat, language.

The BBFC commented:

  • This work was originally seen for advice. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive a 15 certificate but that their preferred 12A classification could be achieved by making some changes. The company was advised to reduce moments of threat and 'horror' involving zombie-like characters. When the film was formally submitted, changes had been made and, consequently, the film was passed 12A

 

 Offsite Article: Facebook friends with censorship...


Link Here 16th January 2018  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
wsws logo World Socialist Web Site states that Facebook has blocked shares to a video organising an event calling for opposition to internet censorship

See article from wsws.org

 

 Updated: Virgin's failing railway franchise unbans the Daily Mail...

Virgin Trains apologises for the service disruption attributed to staff absence at head office


Link Here 15th January 2018
virgin trains logoVirgin Trains has announced that it has stopped selling the Daily Mail newspaper on its West Coast trains.

Drew McMillan, head of colleague communication and engagement at Virgin, told staff in an internal memo:

Thousands of people choose to read the Daily Mail every day. But they will no longer be reading it courtesy of VT.

There's been considerable concern raised by colleagues about the Mail's editorial position on issues such as immigration, LGBT rights and unemployment.

We've decided that this paper is not compatible with the VT brand and our beliefs.

We will continue to offer The Times to customers, but we won't be stocking the Daily Mail for sale or as a giveaway.

This won't suit all of our customers or all of our people - it's certain to draw some criticism. But we've listened to many colleagues over the last few months, and we feel that this is the right move to take.

A Daily Mail spokesman called the decision disgraceful, saying that at a time when fares were rising, it was disgraceful that Virgin was announcing that for political reasons it is censoring the choice of newspapers it offers to passengers.

Perhaps anther unsaid reason for the ban is the Daily Mail's very critical reporting of 'rip-off' fares.

Spiked logoOffsite Comment: Virgin's elitist Mail -bashing

13th January See  article from spiked-online.com by Ella Whelan

Yes this is censorship 203 and it's time to stand up to it.

Offsite Comment: From a business point of view

14th January 2018. See  article from independent.co.uk by Chris Blackhurst

The IndependentVirgin's decision to ban the Daily Mail on its trains is a PR disaster.

Virgin workers may not share the paper's stance on a range of causes, from the EU to immigration to LGBT rights to unemployment, but to ban the sale of the paper? What are they thinking? More to the point, what is Sir Richard Branson , the firm's boss, thinking?

No one is more PR-savvy than Branson, nobody in the past has exhibited a surer touch when it comes to promoting themselves or their brand.

Branson has been telling us for years that he is Virgin, that the company and founder are inseparable, their values identical. He promotes himself to promote Virgin. Now we know that those standards he so aspires to include restricting choice and controlling freedom of expression.

...Read the full article from independent.co.uk

Update: Signal failure at the Virgin depot

15th January 2018. See article from bbc.com

richard bransonVirgin Trains is to reverse its decision to stop selling the Daily Mail on its West Coast services.

Virgin Group boss Richard Branson said he instructed the firm to restock the paper while a review takes place.

Branson said he was unaware of the move and the operator must never be seen to be censoring customers. In a statement he said the chairman of Stagecoach, Brian Souter, was also not aware of the decision:

Brian and I agree that we must not ever be seen to be censoring what our customers read and influencing their freedom of choice.

Nor must we be seen to be moralising on behalf of others. Instead we should stand up for the values we hold dear and defend them publicly, as I have done with the Mail on many issues over the years.

 

  Amidst continuing violence...

Padmavat finally passed by India's film censor after cuts but remains banned in 3 states


Link Here 15th January 2018  full story: Padmavati...Indian movie causes trouble in India, Pakistan and the UK
padmavatPadmavati is a 2017 India historical romance by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor. IMDb

Rani Padmavati (aka Padmini) is said to be one of the most beautiful women to ever exist. This real life story is epitome of Love and sacrifice between Rajput Queen Padmavati and Rana Rawal Ratan Singh, the Rajput ruler of Mewar. Their perfect life took unfortunate turn when Allauddin Khilji's lustful eyes gazed upon Queen Padmavati. Alauddin Khilji is known as one of the most brutal rulers of the Khilji dynasty, who ascended the throne by killing his father-in-law, his brother-in-laws and their uncles. He was known for attacking states, only for their land and women. And, the motive behind the attack on Mewar was none other than royal Rani Padmavati. Chittorgarh fort, today, stands as an epitome of the true Rajputana spirit, loyalty, fidelity and bravery and a symbol of women power.

The controversial historical movie Padmaavat looks all set to arrive in cinemas on January 25 but members of the Bharatiya Janata Party continue to make threats about its release?

The film has now been passed by the Central Board of Film Certification with a U/A certificate and five cuts. The title has been changed from Padmavati to Padmaavat as per the board's recommendation. Viacom Pictures put out a press release on Saturday confirming a worldwide release in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

However, despite the censor board's green signal, the movie has been banned in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, all of which are BJP-ruled states. This is entirely legal. State governments have the power to block a film's release even after censor clearance.

There has been no end to protests by the Rajput Karni Sena, the community organisation that has been leading attacks on the movie since early 2017 on the grounds that it distorts history. On Friday, over 130 Rajput Karni Sena members were arrested in Mumbai for staging a protest outside the CBFC headquarters in Mumbai. The organisation has demanded that the certification be revoked until its leaders have watched the movie, and have threatened to burn down cinemas that screen the film.

 

 Offsite Article: Why the internet is a minefield for social influencers who ignore advert censors...


Link Here 15th January 2018
ASA logo By Guy Parker, advert censor

See article from independent.co.uk

 

  News from the cryofreeze...

The Daily Mail digs out an amusing BBFC examiner's report from recently revealed files which slags off Austin Powers


Link Here 14th January 2018
Austin Powers International Mystery Blu ray Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a 1997 USA / Germany crime comedy by Jay Roach.
Starring Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley and Michael York. BBFC link IMDb

A 1960s hipster secret agent is brought out of cryofreeze to oppose his greatest enemy in the 1990s, where his social attitudes are glaringly out of place.

A princess Di joke was cut by the distributors for 15 rated 1997 cinema release. Later uncut on UK home video. Cut for a PG-13 rating in the US.

The Daily Mail has been perusing new only opened files at the BBFC and come u with a colourful examiner's report about Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.  The examiner wrote:

O dear, this really has to qualify as the worst new film for theatrical release.

I am not acquainted with Mr Mike Myers -- the star and writer of this product -- and cannot fathom how he can have been given this showcase for his talent.

It really is embarrassingly unfunny. The film is a spoof on a Bond movie but is so crass and asinine that one cannot even begin to warm to it. It really is embarrassingly unfunny. The film is a spoof on a Bond movie but is so crass and asinine that one cannot even begin to warm to it.

The report went on to say that the movie had an aggressive edge and commented on its tacky and lavatorial humour. The examiner then launched a waspish tirade against some of the stars involved before concluding that the film was fit only for undiscerning teenagers.

The writer said the use of the word 'fuck' and repetition of terms such as 'shit' and 'shag' set the tone of the whole piece, crude, distasteful and unredeemed by intelligence, irony or wit.

But Myers had the last laugh, the film on a budget of just £12million took £50million at the international box office and combined with its two sequels, it brought in a total of £500million+.

A spokesman for the BBFC accepted the comments were more colourful then normal.

 

  662 votes...

Coronation Street is on course to win Ofcom's most complained about programmes award


Link Here 14th January 2018  full story: Coronation Street...Complaints and whinges
coronation street violenceTV censor Ofcom has received 662 complaints following violent scenes in Coronation Street.

The storyline with Pat Phelan as a multi-murderer has been a big hit with somplaining viewers culminating in the murder of Luke Britton. The graphic scene shows Phelan grab his gun out the back of his van, and shoot Luke straight through his car windscreen.

A spokesman for ITV told MailOnline:

Pat Phelan is well established as a villain in a long line of murderous Coronation Street villains, and his evil actions won't have come as a surprise to viewers.

The programme is always careful to limit the violence shown to a minimum to convey the drama and tell the story. We have responded to Ofcom.

 

  House Fails to Protect Americans from Unconstitutional NSA Surveillance...

Laws extending the US snooper's charter pass the House of Representatives


Link Here 14th January 2018

US SenateThe House of Representatives cast a deeply disappointing vote today to extend NSA spying powers for the next six years by a 256-164 margin. In a related vote, the House also failed to adopt meaningful reforms on how the government sweeps up large swaths of data that predictably include Americans' communications.

Because of these votes, broad NSA surveillance of the Internet will likely continue, and the government will still have access to Americans' emails, chat logs, and browsing history without a warrant. Because of these votes, this surveillance will continue to operate in a dark corner, routinely violating the Fourth Amendment and other core constitutional protections.

This is a disappointment to EFF and all our supporters who, for weeks, have spoken to defend privacy. And this is a disappointment for the dozens of Congress members who have tried to rein NSA surveillance in, asking that the intelligence community merely follow the Constitution.

Today's House vote concerned S. 139, a bill to extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a powerful surveillance authority the NSA relies on to sweep up countless Americans' electronic communications. EFF vehemently opposed S. 139 for its failure to enact true reform of Section 702.

As passed by the House today, the bill:

  • Endorses nearly all warrantless searches of databases containing Americans' communications collected under Section 702.

  • Provides a narrow and seemingly useless warrant requirement that applies only for searches in some later-stage criminal investigations, a circumstance which the FBI itself has said almost never happens.

  • Allows for the restarting of "about" collection, an invasive type of surveillance that the NSA ended last year after being criticized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for privacy violations.

  • Sunsets in six years, delaying Congress' best opportunity to debate the limits NSA surveillance.

You can read more about the bill here .

Sadly, the House's approval of S. 139 was its second failure today. The first was in the House's inability to pass an amendment--through a 183-233 vote--that would have replaced the text of S. 139 with the text of the USA Rights Act, a bill that EFF is proud to support. You can read about that bill here .

The amendment to replace the text of S. 139 with the USA Rights Act was introduced by Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and included more than 40 cosponsors from sides of the aisle. Its defeat came from both Republicans and Democrats.

S. 139 now heads to the Senate, which we expect to vote by January 19. The Senate has already considered stronger bills to rein in NSA surveillance, and we call on the Senate to reject this terrible bill coming out of the House.

 

  Stasi Britain...

Government is giving the HMRC the right to break in and search your house without needing to get a warrant


Link Here 14th January 2018

House of Commons logoCustoms officers are to gain permission to enter and search people's homes without a warrant in a law change a minister warns would allow them more powers than the police.

Kit Malthouse, a Conservative MP who became a minister in this week's reshuffle, said he is concerned about new powers for HM Revenue and Customs in the Finance Bill which is currently going through Parliament.

The changes were an extension of the old excise men's powers to deal with smugglers in ports and airports he said, questioning whether such powers are appropriate today.

He said: I hope that Ministers will think carefully about whether it might be more appropriate for a warrant to be obtained to access someone's premises, in the same way that the police do when they have suspicions.

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship wins no arguments and just helps the right...


Link Here 14th January 2018
The Guardian Nick Cohen notes that the illiberal left's suffocation of free speech is not winning many people to their cause

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Offsite Article: Another example of censorship backfire...


Link Here 14th January 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
washington post logo Can social media become less hateful by law? Germany is trying it -- and failing

See article from washingtonpost.com

 

  Shadow censorship...

Hidden camera interviews feature Twitter engineers speaking of biased political censorship and shadow banning where tweets are quietly binned without telling the poster


Link Here 13th January 2018  full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs

twitter 2015 logoA new undercover video from a group of conservative investigative journalists appears to show Twitter staff and former employees talking about how they censor content they disagree with.

James O'Keefe, Project Veritas founder, posted a video showing an undercover reporter speaking to Abhinov Vadrevu, a former Twitter software engineer, at a San Francisco restaurant on January 3.

There, he discussed a technique referred to as shadow banning, which means that users' content is quietly blocked without them ever knowing about it. Their tweets would still appear to their followers, but it wouldn't appear in search results or anywhere else on Twitter.  So posters just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it.

Olinda Hassan, a policy manager for Twitter's Trust and Safety team, was filmed talking about development of a system for down ranking shitty people.

Another Twitter engineer claimed that staff already have tools to censor pro-Trump or conservative content. One Twitter engineer appeared to suggest that the social network was trying to ban, like, a way of talking. Anyone found to be aggressive or negative will just vanish.

Every single conversation is going to be rated by a machine and the machine is going to say whether or not it's a positive thing or a negative thing, Twitter software engineer Steven Pierre was filmed on December 8 saying as he discussed the development of an automated censure system.

In the latest undercover Project Veritas video investigation, eight current and former Twitter employees are on camera explaining steps the social media giant is taking to censor political content that they don't like.

 

 

 

  Annoying PC social justice warrior that's very sensitive...

Whinges about the Simpson's Indian shopkeeper character Apu


Link Here 13th January 2018
the problem+ with apu The comedian Hari Kondabolu has produced a TV documentary titled The Problem with Apu that claims that the Simpson's stereotypically Indian shopkeeper character, Apu, has a negative impact.

The trailer for the upcoming truTV documentary The Problem with Apu shows Kondabolu's conversations with a number of South Asian actors and comedians, including Kal Penn, Hasan Minhaj, and Sakina Jaffrey, all talking about how the character has affected their personal and professional lives.

Offsite comment: In defence of Apu

Spiked logoDon't let offence-takers kill off The Simpsons shopkeeper.

13th January See  article from spiked-online.com by James Gillwriter

 

  A lesson about censorship...

GSCE art censored in Guisborough


Link Here 13th January 2018
megan angusA school censored GCSE artwork because it showed a lesbian couple kissing in their underwear and embracing while sitting naked on a bed.

Stickers were plastered across the mouths and groins of the characters in Megan Angus' drawing which featured the female couples against the background of an LGBT rainbow flag.

Staff at Laurence Jackson school in Guisborough, North Yorkshire, said they censored the piece so it did not upset younger pupils.

The school has now apologised, and admitted it may have been overzealous in its approach.

But 16-year-old Megan said:

I think it is homophobic

I can't see why they censored it. When you go to an art gallery, they don't censor them there, she said.

I wanted my work to be shown how I left it.

A spokesman for Laurence Jackson School said:

Laurence Jackson School is in no way homophobic; sexually explicit images of any nature would have been censored if displayed.

In retrospect, we may have been overzealous in censoring some images within the piece, and for that we apologise for any offence caused.

 

  One Million Moms recommend...

Children's books from Scholastic Inc that feature gay parenting


Link Here 12th January 2018  full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
Mommy, Mama, and Me Religious moralist campaigners at One Million Moms are whingeing about a book publisher that supports gay parenting. They write:

Everyone is familiar with Scholastic Inc. Their book fairs are popular fundraisers at your child's school. However, Scholastic is not safe for your child and parents should be warned.

Scholastic Inc., the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, is using its platform to promote pro-homosexual and pro-transgender books for children.

The corporation, for example, published a pro-transgender book called George for 3rd graders. When people look at George, they think they see a boy, the book reads. But she [George] knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.

According to its website, Scholastic Inc. reaches 6 million children per week with its publications. It features morally toxic reading lists for children, such as:

  • Books for Two-Mommy Families
  • Great books for Two-Dad Families
  • Picture Books About Transgender Children

The American College of Pediatricians warns: Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.

Scholastic does not have our children's best interests at heart. Tell Scholastic to stop harming children.

 

 Offsite Article: Good luck banning fake news...


Link Here 12th January 2018  full story: Fake News...Declining respect for the authorities is blamed on 'fake' news
the conversation logo Here's why it's unlikely to happen

See article from theconversation.com

 

  Has the House of Lords been hacked by malicious forces?...

The House of Lords continues as the enemy of a free press and passes an amendment that perverts the very concepts of justice to try and force the press to sign up for state censorship


Link Here 11th January 2018  full story: UK News Censor...UK proposes state controlled news censor
house of lords red logoTheresa May has vowed to overturn a disgraceful bid by peers to muzzle the press.

The House of Lords yesterday voted to force the vast majority of papers - including the struggling local press - to pay all legal costs in data protection cases even if they win.

Peers voted by 211 votes to 200, a majority of only 11, to introduce the new legal fees costs on the media.

Critics have pointed out that it will hamper the media's ability to investigate wrongdoing and corruption as criminals could drag the press through expensive courts without having to pay a penny themselves.

The PM said:

I think that the impact of this vote would undermine high-quality journalism and a free press.

I think it would particularly have a negative impact on local newspapers, which are an important underpinning of our democracy.

I believe passionately in a free press. We want to have a free press that is able to hold politicians and others to account and we will certainly be looking to overturn this vote in the House of Commons.

The Lords also voted by 238 votes to 209 for a new probe effectively mirroring the second part of the Leveson inquiry. This also attempts to punish the press by denying them justice by making them pay regardless of the merits of the case.

New Culture Secretary Matt Hancock also weighed in against the lords saying that the proposed changes would be a hammer blow to the local press and made clear he would seek to overturn the changes in the elected House of Commons

 

  Don't mention the war...or else...

Little Hitlers at ASA ban pub's jokey German Night Facebook post and then whinge at the pub 'liking' irreverent jokes in reader responses


Link Here 10th January 2018
german night buck innIt is interesting to note that ASA now uses American spellings in preference to UK English spellings

Two Facebook posts for the Buck Inn, a pub in Darlington:

a. The first post, dated 8 September 2017, stated German Grub Night at The Buck Inn Dont mention ze war!. The post included an image of a poster titled german night with text stating Set 3 Course Meal Including Popular German Dishes 2£19.95pp, Graham Ze Chef, Don't Mention Ze War!. The poster also showed a black and white image depicting a uniformed Nazi soldier performing a Nazi salute with the right arm, and a swastika on the left sleeve. A smiling, caricature-style, sketched image of the face the chef had been superimposed on to the Nazi soldier. The text font of the headline german night and colour scheme in the poster also resembled the stylisation and colours typical of Nazi imagery.

b. The second post, dated 12 September 2017, showed that the Buck Inn had updated their Facebook profile picture to an image of a newspaper article about the german night poster. The article featured an image of the poster and was titled Pub's German night 'Nazi' poster criticised. The Buck Inn had also liked a number of comments by other individuals on their Facebook page in relation to the posts.

Three complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive.

The Buck Inn said that Dont mention ze war was a quote from Fawlty Towers and the use of this phrase in the ad, in conjunction with a cartoon image of their chef's head on a German soldier, was intended to be light hearted and humorous. They said that the poster advertised a German cuisine night and that the design of the ad was inspired by the comedy in this particular episode of Fawlty Towers. They also stated they were not promoting the Nazi party in the ad and it was not intended to mock the Second World War in any way.

The Buck Inn also said that the ad was seen on Facebook by over 500,000 people, and the fact that only three complaints were received indicated most people had interpreted the ad in the way they had intended.

With regard to the Buck Inn liking a number of comments by other individuals on their Facebook page, they said they liked every comment by users on their page as they considered that it helped to improve their interaction with consumers on Facebook and that the users would be more likely to see the their future Facebook posts.

ASA Decision: Complaints upheld

The ASA acknowledged the phrase Don't mention the war was a fairly well known quote from the sitcom Fawlty Towers. However, we considered that the use of an image of a Nazi soldier wearing a swastika and performing a Nazi salute to advertise the pub's German cuisine night, in a humorous tone, was inappropriate and trivialised the events of the Second World War and actions of the German Nazi party. Furthermore, the ad appeared to link German culture intrinsically with Nazi Germany and the war. We therefore considered that ad (a) was likely to cause serious or widespread offense.

We also considered that the Buck Inn's activity on Facebook in ad (b) trivialised the reported offense that ad (a) was likely to cause, particularly in the use of the newspaper article as a Facebook profile picture. In particular we considered that the Buck Inn's liking of various comments by other users on their Facebook page, many of which contained distasteful jokes and puns in reference to the Holocaust, was also likely to cause serious or widespread offense.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told the Buck Inn to ensure that they did not cause serious or widespread offence by using Nazi references or imagery in their advertising, or by trivialising the events of the Second World War and actions of the German Nazi party. We also told the Buck Inn to ensure that comments made by other users on their Facebook page, which in themselves were likely to cause serious or widespread offense, were not liked.

 

  The Swiss people are set to call their government's bluff...

Swiss campaigners seek a people's referendum to overturn a law blocking foreign competitors to Swiss gambling websites, justifiably fearing that this is a Trojan Horse for wider internet censorship


Link Here 10th January 2018
swiss casino logoLast September, Swiss legislators approved changes to its gambling laws will introduce website blocking for foreign competitors to Switzerland's own gambling industry.

This domain-blocking plan, set to take effect in 2019, met with pushback from Swiss ISPs and civil libertarians, who decided Swiss voters should have a say in this flirtation with authoritarian censorship. Swiss law allows voters a referendum on contentious legislation provided 50k citizens sign the necessary petition within 100 days of the law's passage.

On Tuesday, Swiss media outlet Blick reported that a coalition of three political parties and the Internet Society Switzerland Chapter  had so far collected around 65k signatures, of which 25k have been certified by the state. The group has until January 18 to certify the additional 25k signatures needed for the referendum to be approved.

Andri Silberschmidt, president of the youth organization of Switzerland's Free Democratic Party, told Blick that his group was intent on combatting digital isolation, mindful that once a government starts banning what its citizens can do online, even tighter restrictions are usually not far behind. Freedom for the economy and the internet, has great support in Switzerland.

The local casino industry, which has long complained that its falling revenue was due to competition from international gambling sites. But the most recent data from the Swiss Federation of Casinos showed the nation's 21 licensed brick-and-mortar casinos posted a modest year-on-year revenue gain in 2016. Lottery and sports betting revenue enjoyed even larger gains in 2016, rising 8.3% year-on-year. So it appears that there are bluffs to call.

 

  Give us more...

Significant shareholders call on Apple to implement more parental controls on its phones and tablets


Link Here 10th January 2018
Apple iPhone X 64 GB SIM-Free Smartphone - Silver Two significant Apple shareholders, hedge fund Jana Partners and California State Teacher's Retirement System (CalSTRS) have just penned an open letter to Apple, urging the iPhone maker to take the lead on studying the impact smartphones have on kids and offer parents improved software tools that would allow them to better manage their children's access to smartphone apps.

The two organizations want more iOS features that would give them more granular control, consistent with a kid's development.

Rosenstein and CalSTRS's director of corporate governance Anne Sheehan said in the open letter that they worked with experts to review studies that found links between the use of electronic devices and adverse effects on health, sleep, empathy, and concentration.

The two organizations urge Apple to take more responsibility and reinvent parental controls in iPhone and iPad. In their opinion, the current settings offer an all or nothing approach, which lets parents block or allow access to certain features. They think Apple could take the lead in redefining parental controls in smart devices, to keep up with recent studies and try to prevent various health issues that may be caused by smartphone addition:

 

  Supreme censorship...

Egyptian TV censor does not want to see any scenes of violence, drug use or any other bad examples,


Link Here 10th January 2018

Egypt flagThe Egyptian Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media established in December a specialized committee to monitor TV series and weed out the ones that it considers to be against the country's customs and traditions. The decision raised criticism and concern within Egyptian artistic and cultural circles, as well as questions about the future of Egyptian drama.

At the committee's third meeting on 3rd January, participants agreed that the TV channels will not sign a contract or broadcast any drama productions that have not previously received a permit from the TV censors of the General Directorate for the Censorship of Artistic Works, a body that reviews the scripts of films and drama series and gives them permits to shoot.

In the past, the directorate had expressed dissatisfaction that the satellite channels did not care whether the series they aired had this permit or not, as the censorship body has no legal authority over the channels.

According to Ahmed Salim, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, the new committee will set standards for drama producers in Egypt to abide by during the series-filled season of Ramadan 2018. Salim said that the committee, studying the TV series aired during the last Ramadan, observed many violations such as offensive words and topics that are contrary to Egyptian customs and traditions. He claimed that these series ruined Egypt's image and that is why the committee, which consisted of art critics, directors and members of the film sector's professional organizations, was formed to control these series.

Salim also stressed that the committee would not seek to censor the work of writers but cooperate with the TV channels to ensure that the drama series that violate the committee's criteria will not be aired. We aim to provide a clean screen that will preserve the customs and traditions of Egyptian homes. We do not want any scenes of violence, drug use or any other bad examples, he said.

The Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, formed in April 2016 by a presidential decree of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is authorized to fine or suspend broadcasts or temporarily close down TV channels that broadcast materials it classifies as immoral or in violation of professional standards. In 2017, it suspended several TV programs and advertisements, some of which criticized the current regime's policy, including one that draws attention to difficulties of finding clean water .

 

  Banned words...

Papua New Guinea chief censor penalises local musicians by banning their songs from radio and TV


Link Here 10th January 2018
jaro localThe Papua New Guinea Office of Censorship has banned three local songs with lyrics deemed as inappropriate for listeners.

Chief Censor Steven Mala revealed that the three songs are Sigarapim saksak, Private Nangu and Meri Sunam by Jaro local.

The ban follows complaints on social media regarding the song Sigarapim saksak and the other two songs.

Chief Censor Steven Mala's description of the songs was harmful and not listener friendly, especially to the younger audience.

The Chief Censor has invited the concerned artists behind the banned songs to have an open dialogue with his office if they feel the need to justify why their songs should not be banned. We don't want be seen as we are just there to penalize any musicians, we want to work together with them in becoming professionals in the Music Industry and not just allowing them to produce something that is offensive to the public

 

 Offsite Article: The Remarkable Reversal: How Companies Now Censor Governments...


Link Here 10th January 2018
forbes logo Twitter said that it would not ban a world leader, Donald Trump, from its platform....BUT... that it reserved the right to delete official statements by heads of state of sovereign nations as it saw fit

See article from forbes.com

 

 Offsite Article: Addicted to political correctness...


Link Here 10th January 2018
drug user pc dictionary A new set of PC terms has been published to replace current phrases to describe drug users. You'd better learn them quick before the lynch mob starts calling for transgressors to be sacked

See article from bbc.com

 

  New state censor...

Matt Hancock has been appointed the new secretary of state for censorship at the DCMS


Link Here 9th January 2018
matt hancockMatt Hancock MP was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Censorship, Media and Sport on 8 January 2018. He was previously Minister of State for Digital from July 2016 to January 2018.

Matt Hancock is the MP for West Suffolk, having been elected in the 2010 general election.  Since July 2016 he has served at DCMS as Minister of State for Digital and is responsible for broadband, broadcasting, creative industries, cyber and the tech industry.

The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for strategy and policy across the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The department's main policy areas are:

  • arts and culture
  • broadcasting
  • creative industries
  • cultural property, heritage and the historic environment
  • gambling and racing
  • libraries
  • media ownership and mergers
  • museums and galleries
  • the National Lottery
  • sport
  • telecommunications and online
  • tourism

Hancock has already been working on the new law to serve up porn viewers on a platter to scammers, fraudsters, blackmailers and identity thieves, so there is unlikely to be a change of direction there.

 

  Self inflicted censorship...

German 'justice' minister falls victim to his own badly thought out new censorship law


Link Here 9th January 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
heiko maas by sandro halankGermany's justice minister fell victim to the rules he himself championed against online social media when one of his tweets was deleted following several complaints.

The censored tweet dated back to 2010, when Heiko Maas was not yet minister. in the tweet he had called Thilo Sarrazin, a politician who wrote a controversial book on Muslim immigrants, an idiot.

Maas told Bild on Monday that he did not receive any information from Twitter about why the tweet was deleted, or whether it would be deleted from Twitter.

Germany meanwhile signalled on Monday it was open to amending the controversial law which combats online hate speech. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said an evaluation would be carried out within six months to examine how well the new law was working.

 

  Evolutionary censorship...

Evolution doubters invite nominations for their 2018 Censor of the Year


Link Here 9th January 2018
evolution news Darwin Day is on February 12. It's the great man's birthday, celebrated by Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture as Academic Freedom Day.

It's time to solicit your nominations for the 2018 Censor of the Year. This award recognizes particularly egregious Darwinist efforts to block discussion, research, and reporting about weaknesses in evolutionary theory and about evidence for intelligent design. Past winners include biologist Jerry Coyne (2014) and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (2015).

Darwinists do not go so far as to burn books by proponents of intelligent design. However, their actual tactics in suppressing open debate are far more effective because, for the most part, they are practiced behind a veil of secrecy.

Most Darwinist censorship works via self-censorship. In academic and other contexts, the intimidation need not be explicit. It is practiced quietly, without drawing attention to itself. The victims, the censored, understandably don't want to imperil their work, their income, or their reputation. So they keep quiet both about their doubts on Darwinian evolution and about the power structure in their institutions that maintains the informal speech code.

 

  Inevitably shoddy results from forcing commercial companies to censor posts for free...

German opposition parties speak out about new internet censorship law that even if the first week is manifestly failing freedom of speech


Link Here 8th January 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

fdp logoGermany's NetzDG internet censorship law has been in force since the New Year and has already sparked multiple controversies. Opposition parties across the political spectrum already say its time for change.

Senior figures in the rival Free Democratic (FDP), Green and Left parties on Sunday demanded lawmakers replace Germany's recently passed online hate speech law. The call comes after Twitter decided to delete allegedly offensive statements by far-right politicians and suspend the account of a German satirical magazine.

The last few days have emphatically shown that private companies cannot correctly determine whether a questionable online statement is illegal, satirical or tasteless yet still democratically legitimate, the FDP's general secretary Nicola Beer told Germany weekly Die Welt am Sonntag .

Beer said Germany needed a law similar to the one the FDP proposed before Christmas that would give an appropriately endowed authority the right to enforce the rule of law online rather than give private companies the right to determine the illegality of flagged content.

Green Party Chairwoman Simone Peter has also called for a replacement law that would take away the right of private companies to make decisions regarding flagged content. He said:

It is not acceptable for US companies such as Twitter to influence freedom of expression or press freedoms in Germany. Last year, we proposed a clear legal alternative that would hold platforms such as Twitter accountable without making them judges.

Greens' internet policy spokesman, Konstantin von Notz, also criticized the current statute, telling the newspaper that the need for reform the law was overdue.

Left leader Sarah Wagenknecht added:

The law is a slap in the face of all democratic principles because, in a constitutional state, courts rather than private companies make decisions about what is lawful and what is not.

 

  Unwelcome guest...

The deservedly unpopular internet censor who ended net neutrality in the US cancels CES tech trade show visit after death threats


Link Here 8th January 2018  full story: Net Neutrality in USA...US internet censors at FCC seem intent on letting big business take control
ajit paiChairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FFC), Ajit Pai, has been forced to cancel his scheduled appearance at the world's biggest tech conference, CES, after receiving death threats.

That's according to a report by Recode, which cites two agency sources familiar with the matter. This seems to be in response to the disgraceful FCC decision to scrap the US government's net neutrality rules, made in December last year.

For those not up-to-date, net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers should enable equal levels of access to all web services. The decision enables big business to assert a lot more control over the internet and to let them charge websites and customers for differing levels of service.

 

 Offsite Article: No Level of Copyright Enforcement Will Ever Be Enough For Big Media...


Link Here 8th January 2018
torrentfreak logo The ongoing battle between sharers and big business.

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

  Propaganda wars...

Iran makes an official complaint that British media is orchestrating the anti-government protests in Iran


Link Here 6th January 2018
Iran flagIran's embassy in London has written an official letter to the UK TV censor Ofcom claiming of bias in Britain's media coverage of the ongoing anti-government protests in Iran.

Ofcom said on Friday that the letter is being carefully evaluated.

Iranian state media says its government is complaining about what it calls a propaganda campaign orchestrated by UK-based Persian-language broadcasters.

The letter claims that the media outlets violated UK and international media regulations and tried to incite protesters into using violent tactics.

In an attempt to shut down protests and manage the unrest, Iran's government blocked access to the encrypted Telegram messaging app and the photo-sharing app Instagram, which now join Facebook and Twitter in being banned.

 

  The right context...

Echoing Germany's controversial publication of Mein Kampf, France debates whether to censor the works of Louis-Ferdinand Céline who wrote pamphlets supporting the Holocaust


Link Here 6th January 2018
Bagatelles pour un massacre A censorship row has erupted in Paris after publishing house Gallimard announced it would publish a collection of pro-Hitler pamphlets by the otherwise notable novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline.

Céline is hailed as one of France's most brilliant writers for his 1932 novel Journey to the End of the Night, regarded as one of the greatest French works of the 20th century.

Gallimard has insisted it will go ahead with the publication of Bagatelles pour un massacre, a collection of 1930s pamphlets by Céline, who called for the extermination of Jews. The publication date is not set but Gallimard has insisted its intention is to frame the texts with a critical commentary.

When Gallimard was reported to be about to publish the collection last spring, the government stepped in and summoned the publisher. The government urged the publisher to include notes giving the full context drawn up by specialists, including historians. The editor is understood to have rejected this, claiming that notes by a literary expert on Céline would suffice.

Serge Klarsfeld, a French lawyer and Nazi-hunter has demanded the publication be stopped, threatening legal action if Gallimard continues. He said he supported historians studying the texts, but said that presenting a shiny new edition of Céline's "abject" writing in bookshops would be "intolerable" and no amount of footnotes could temper that.

The book has already been published in Canada in 2012, although Le Monde warned that the Canadian edition's notes were insufficient.

 

  German free speech sails the Titanic...

As feared, Twitter is unable to distinguish between hateful comments and criticism of hateful comments and so just censors everything


Link Here 6th January 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
banned titanic tweetThe Twitter account of German satirical magazine Titanic was blocked after it parodied anti-Muslim comments by AfD MP Beatrix von Storch.

She accused police of trying to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men by putting out a tweet in Arabic.

On Tuesday night, the magazine published a tweet parodying von Storch, saying:

The last thing that I want is mollified barbarian, Muslim, gang-raping hordes of men.

Titanic said on Wednesday its Twitter account had been blocked over the message, presumably as a result of a new law requiring social media sites to immediately block hateful comments on threat of massive fines. There is no time allowed or economic reason for assessing the merits of censorship claims, so social media companies are just censoring everything on demand, just in case.

 

  Ten cent snitches...

Chinese internet company hires an army of snitches and snoopers for a pittance


Link Here 6th January 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
tencent logoChina's social media giants are ramping up efforts to get their users to snitch on people circulating taboo content.

China's tech giant Tencent said it was hiring 200 content censors to form what the company is calling a penguin patrol unit, after the company's penguin mascot. The brigade, made of 10 journalists, 70 writers who use Tencent's content platforms, and 120 regular internet users, will flag content that transgresses China's repressive censorship rules.

Reviewers will be required to make at least 300 snitch reports each month about transgressive information, including porn, sensational headlines, plagiarism, fake news, or old news. Those who complete the mission will get 30 virtual coins which can be used to purchase items on Tencent's QQ chat app. Those who fail to meet the reporting quota three times will be booted from the unit.

 

  Suggestive of repression...

Another Egyptian singer is arrested for supposed debauchery in a decidedly unsexy music video


Link Here 6th January 2018  full story: Music Censorship in Egypt...authorities persecute singers for slightly sexy music videos
leila amer video Egyptian authorities have arrested another female singer on charges of incitement to debauchery after her music video sparked controversy.

Leila Amer will be detained for four days while authorities investigate the video to the song Boss Oumek (Look At Your Mother) which includes supposedly suggestive dancing and gestures.

Ahmed Mahran, the lawyer who filed a complaint, argues the video poses a great risk to Egyptian society and especially young people.

Musicians' union president Hany Shaker, a male singer known for his conservative stance, last week announced on the private channel Dream TV that Amer had been expelled from the union, effectively ending her career as a musician.

 

  Censorship harms...

The government outlines the expected harms to people and businesses associated with its upcoming porn censorship law


Link Here 5th January 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
dcms age verification risk assessment The UK government slipped out its impact assessment of the upcoming porn censorship law during the Christmas break. The new law requires porn websites to be blocked in the UK when they don't implement age verification.

The measures are currently due to come into force in May but it seems a tight schedule as even the rules for acceptable age verification systems have not yet been published.

The report contains some interesting costings and assessment of the expected harms to be inflicted on porn viewers and British adult businesses.

The document notes the unpopularity of the age verification requirements with a public consultation finding that 54% of respondents did not support the introduction of a law to require age verification.

However, the government has forged ahead, with the aim of stopping kids accessing porn on the grounds that such content could distress them or harm their development.

The governments censorship rules will be enforced by the BBFC, in its new role as the UK porn censor although it prefers the descriptor: age-verification regulator . The government states that the censorship job will initially be funded by the government, and the government is assuming this will cost £4.5 million based upon a range of estimates from 1 million to 8 million.

The government has bizarrely assumed that the BBFC will ban just 1 to 60 sites in a year. The additional work for ISPs to block these sites is estimated £100,000 to £500,000 for each ISP. Probably to be absorbed by larger companies, but will be an expensive problem for smaller companies who do not currently implement any blocking systems.

Interestingly the government notes that there wont be any impact on UK adult businesses notionally because they should have already implemented age verification under ATVOD and Ofcom censorship rules. In reality it will have little impact on UK businesses because they have already been decimated by the ATVOD and Ofcom rules and have mostly closed down or moved abroad.

Te key section of the document summarising expected harms is as follows.

The policy option set out above also gives rise to the following risks:

  • Deterring adults from consuming content as a result of privacy/ fraud concerns linked to inputting ID data into sites and apps, also some adults may not be able to prove their age online;
  • Development of alternative payment systems and technological work-arounds could mean porn providers do not comply with new law, and enforcement is impossible as they are based overseas, so the policy goal would not be achieved;
  • The assumption that ISPs will comply with the direction of the regulator;
  • Reputational risks including Government censorship, over-regulation, freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
  • The potential for online fraud could raise significantly, as criminals adapt approaches in order to make use of false AV systems / spoof websites and access user data;
  • The potential ability of children, particularly older children, to bypass age verification controls is a risk. However, whilst no system will be perfect, and alternative routes such as virtual private networks and peer-to-peer sharing of content may enable some under-18s to see this content, Ofcom research indicates that the numbers of children bypassing network level filters, for example, is very low (ca. 1%).
  • Adults (and some children) may be pushed towards using ToR and related systems to avoid AV where they could be exposed to illegal and extreme material that they otherwise would never have come into contact with.

The list does not seem to include the potential for blackmail from user data sold by porn firms, or else stolen by hackers. And mischievously, politicians could be one of the groups most open to blackmail for money or favours.

Another notable omission, is that the government does not seem overly concerned about mass VPN usage. I would have thought that the secret services wanting to monitor terrorists would not be pleased if a couple of million people stared to use encrypted VPNs. Perhaps it shows that the likes of GCHQ can already see into what goes on behind VPNs.

 

  Dream on...

The ICO thinks a few guidelines can keep kids off Facebook until they are 13


Link Here 5th January 2018  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society
information commissioners office logo The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has warned Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to tighten up their age controls and kick off underage users.

The ICO stepped in after it became aware that millions of British children join the platform before they were 13. New ICO guidelines state that social media giants must examine whether they put children at risk -- by showing minors adverts for alcohol or gambling, for example.

The guidance, which is under consultation, also calls on the firms to do a better job of kicking underage users off their platforms, and to stop or deter children from sharing their information online.

Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, threatened:

Whether designing services to provide protection for children or having a system to verify age, organisations, including social media companies, need to change the way they offer services to children.

It's also vital that we ensure children's interests and rights are protected online in the same way they are in all other aspects of life.

In November, an Ofcom report revealed that half of British 12-year-olds and more than a quarter of ten-year-olds have their own social media profiles. At the moment, all the major web giants demand that users are over 13 before they get an account -- but they do next to nothing to enforce that rule.

Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat insist it is unrealistic to have to verify the age of users under the age of 18.

The ICO does not seem to have addressed the enormity of their demand. Facebook and social networks are the very essence of smart phones. If children aren't allowed to share things, how does any website or app feed up news and articles to anyone if it does now what the reader likes nor who is linked to that person. Typing in what you want to see is no longer practical or desirable, so the basic idea of sending people more of what they have already shown they liked is the only game in town. Of course the  kids could play games all day instead, but maybe that has a downside too.

 

  Advertising new rules...

New rules on Sexualised Portrayals Come Into Effect for UK advertising


Link Here 5th January 2018
CAP logo CAP is a subgroup of the advert censors at ASA that writes the rules for general advertising. BCAP is a similar group tasked with the rules for adverts broadcast on TV and radio. ASA has announced a new rule described as follows:

Following public consultation, and a six-month implementation period, CAP and BCAP's stricter rules prohibiting the sexual portrayal or sexual representation of under-18s (and those who appear to be under 18) in advertising have come into force today.

The new rules are:

New CAP Code rule:4.8 Marketing communications must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to marketing communications whose principal function is to promote the welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.

New BCAP Code rule to replace rule 5.5:4.13 Advertisements must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to advertisements whose principal function is to promote the welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.

 

 Updated: Not a happy new year...

German internet censorship law comes into force


Link Here 5th January 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
governmet germany logoGermany starts enforcing an internet censorship law where contested content has to be taken down pronto by social media who will suffer massive fines of they don't comply.

The law is supposedly targeted at obviously illegal hate speech, but surely it will be used to take down content anyone doesn't like for any reason. The threats of fines and short time allowed simply means that websites will opt for the easiest and most economic policy, and that is to take down anything contested.

The new law states the sites that do not remove obviously illegal posts could face fines of up to 50m euro. The law gives the networks 24 hours to act after they have been told about law-breaking material.

Social networks and media sites with more than two million members will fall under the law's provisions. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be the law's main focus but it is also likely to be applied to Reddit, Tumblr and Russian social network VK. Other sites such as Vimeo and Flickr could also be caught up in its provisions.

Facebook has reportedly recruited several hundred staff in Germany to deal with reports about content that breaks the NetzDG and to do a better job of monitoring what people post.

Update: First examples of fair free speech being censored in Germany

5th January 2018. See  article from politico.eu

twitter 2015 logoSophie Passmann is an unlikely poster child for Germany's new online hate speech laws.

The 24-year-old comedian from Cologne posted a satirical message on Twitter early on New Year's Day, mocking the German far right's fear that the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that have entered the country in recent years would endanger Germany's culture. Instead of entertaining her more than 14,000 Twitter followers , Passmann's tweet was blocked within nine hours by the American social media giant, telling users in Germany that Passmann's message had run afoul of local laws.

...Read the full article from politico.eu

Update: German censorship law is a sin against free speech

5th January 2018. See  article from dailymail.co.uk

bild logoA top-selling German newspaper has called for a new social media hate speech law to be axed after labelling it a sin against freedom of opinion.

The law which took effect on January 1 can impose fines of up to 2£44million on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly.

The Bild newspaper, under the headline Please spare us the thought police!, says the new law risks making martyrs out of anti-immigrant politicians whose posts are deleted.

Update: Germany's AfD party seeks to turn online censorship to its advantage

5th January 2018. See article from dw.com

afd gaggedGermany's rightwing AfD party have been busy with political posters pointing out that they will be the likely victims of censorship under Germany's new law.

And they will certainly have a good claim. The new law will surely over censor, and any complaint will end up in a censored post, regardless of the merits of the claim. A slightly UnPC post by AfD is likely to be blocked, and so the AfD will rightly be able to highlight the censorship.

The publicity for examples of censorship will surely chime with a significant proportion of the German population, and so will add to the general level of disaffection with the political elite.

Perhaps Germany ought to at least ensure that censorship should be based on the merits of the case, not implemented by a commercial company who only cares about the cheapest possible method of meeting the censorship requirements.

 

  The case for gay sex in the media...

A Chinese court has accepted a case challenges the media censor's claims that gay sex is abnormal


Link Here 5th January 2018  full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
chinese courtChina's media censor is being taken to court over its view that homosexual activities are abnormal.

Following a crackdown on showing homosexuality in the country's media, a Beijing court has made the unusual move of accepting a legal challenge brought by a member of the public.

In the unlikely event that Fan Chunlin wins his case, China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) would be forced to publicly clarify a regulation banning gay sex.

With China's courts, the media and the SAPPRFT all controlled by the ruling communist party, the chances of Fan winning the case are small. However, Fan's lawyer, Tang Xiangqian, said that he hoped that the legal challenge will raise awareness of rights for homosexual people in the country.

A decision on the case is expected within six months.

 

  Perhaps with an eye to being able to sell films to the west...

Chinese film censors seem to be relaxing their requirements for highly sanitised storylines


Link Here 5th January 2018  full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

hanson and the beastFor a long time in China there have been numerous censorship rules about storylines that could or could not appear in films. Stories with magical elements were strictly limited to taking place during ancient times, modern horror films depicting seemingly supernatural elements had to explain by the end of the film that the ghosts were just hallucinations or tricks setup by crazed killers, exceedingly bloody or violent scenes were nowhere to be seen.

The entire process of getting a film made was also once strictly supervised at every step of the way from the beginning of production all the way to right before a film hit theaters. But 2017 provided some hints that things are relaxing in the Chinese mainland.

In March of 2017, the government introduced the China Film Industry Promotion Law. One aspect of this new law has been to make it easier for films to start production. According to new regulations films that do not touch upon national security, diplomacy, ethnic minorities, religion, the military and other sensitive subjects, no longer need to hand in their scripts for approval prior to shooting.

A few example storylines have already surfaced that would not have been made a couple of years ago. In Hanson and the Beast , for example. The film takes place in modern times, yet tells the story of a zoo keeper who encounters and falls in love with a fox spirit. Many Chinese filmgoers were surprised to see spirits and demons straight out of Chinese legends depicted as living in modern China. The film does spend a few minutes of sci-fi hand-waving to explain why these fantasy creatures from Chinese legends actually exist.

Another example is the upcoming animated dark comedy Have a Nice Day , contains explicit violent imagery in its depiction of criminal gang activity. The film was selected to compete for the Golden Bear Award at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival last year, but many moviegoers in China thought that the film wouldn't see a release in its original form since it depicted the dark side of Chinese society. The film wasn't quite in its original form though as a few lines of dialogue were censored.

Perhaps China has realised that highly sanitised films are no good for selling to the west.

 

 Commented: Social services may well be interested to know what your kids are watching on TV...

Smart phone games snoop on your TV viewing using the phone microphone


Link Here 5th January 2018
honeyquestsnoopingA large number of games apps are snooping on players using the smart phone's microphone to listen to what is playing on TV, The apps recognise TV audio and report back what is being watched to home base, supposedly to help in targeted advertising.

Software from Alphonso, a start-up that collects TV-viewing data for advertisers, is used in at least 1000 games. The games do actually seek user consent to use the microphone but users may not be fully aware of the consequences of leaving an open mike in their house or in their children's rooms

Alphonso's software can detail what people watch by identifying audio signals in TV ads and shows, sometimes even matching that information with the places people visit and the movies they see. The information can then be used to target ads more precisely and to try to analyze things like which ads prompted a person to go to a car dealership.

Alphonso claims that its software does not record human speech. The company claims that it did not approve of its software being used in apps meant for children. But it was, as of earlier this month, integrated in more than a dozen games like Teeth Fixed and Zap Balloons from KLAP Edutainment in India, which describes itself as primarily focusing on offering educational games for kids and students.

The app can record audio from the microphone when the game is being player or when it is still running in background on the phone.

Comment: Alphonso knows what you watched last summer

5th January 2018 See  article from openrightsgroup.org

open rights group 2016 logo Technology startup Alphonso has caused widespread concern by using smartphones microphones to monitor the TV and media habits of games and apps users.

The New York Times has published a story about a company called Alphonso that has developed a technology that uses smartphone microphones to identify TV and films being played in the background. Alphonso claims not to record any conversations, but simply listen to and encode samples of media for matching in their database. The company combines the collected data with identifiers and uses the data to target advertising, audience measurement and other purposes. The technology is embedded in over one thousand apps and games but the company refuses to disclose the exact list.

Alphonso argues that users have willingly given their consent to this form of spying on their media consumption and can opt out at any time. They argue that their behaviour is consistent with US laws and regulations.

Even if Alphonso were not breaking any laws here or in the US, there is a systemic problem with the growing intrusion of these types of technologies that monitor ambient sounds in private spaces without sufficient public debate. Apps are sneaking this kind of surveillance in, using privacy mechanisms that clearly cannot cope. This is despite the apps displaying a widget asking for permission to use the microphone to detect TV content, which would be a "clear affirmative action" for consent as required by law. Something is not working, and app platforms and regulators need to take action.

In addition to the unethical abuse of users' lack of initiative or ignorance - a bit like tobacco companies - there could be some specific breaches of privacy. The developers are clearly following the letter of the law in the US, obtaining consent and providing an opt out, but in Europe they could face more trouble, particularly after May when the General Data Protection Regulaiton (GDPR) comes into force.

One of the newer requirements on consent under GDPR will be to make it as easy to withdraw as it was to give it in the first place. Alphonso has a web-page with information on how to opt out through the privacy settings of devices, and this information is copied in at least some of the apps' privacy policies, buried under tons of legalese. This may not be good enough. Besides, once that consent is revoked, companies will need to erase any data obtained if there is no other legitimate justification to keep it. It is far from clear this is happening now, or will be in May.

There is also a need for complete clarity on who is collecting the data and being responsible for handling any consent and its revocation. At present the roles of app developers, Apple, Google and Alphonso are blurred.

We have been asked whether individuals can take legal action. We think that under the current regime in the UK this may be difficult because the bar is quite high and the companies involved are covering the basic ground. GDPR will make it easier to launch consumer complaints and legal action. The new law will also explicitly allow non-material damages, which is possible already in limited circumstances, including for revealing "political opinions, religion or philosophical beliefs" . Alphonso is recording the equivalent of a reading list of audiovisual media and might be able to generate such information.

Many of these games are aimed at children. Under GDPR, all data processing of children data is seen as entailing a risk and will need extra care. Whether children are allowed to give consent or must get it from their parents/guardians will depend on their age. In all cases information aimed at children will need to be displayed in a language they can understand. Some of the Alphonso games we checked have an age rating of 4+.

Consumer organisations have presented complaints in the past for similar issues in internet connected toys and we think that Alphonso and the developers involved should be investigated by the Information Commissioner.

 

 Offsite Article: Whingeing about Russian interference whilst we do the same to Iran...


Link Here 5th January 2018
gchq logo A former hacktivist reveals how a UK spy agency is actively subverting democracy in Iran

See article from thecanary.co

 

 Offsite Article: Silly sausages...


Link Here 5th January 2018
english breakfast Vegans get all easily offended by pictures of a traditional cooked breakfast

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

  Surely a bigger threat to democracy is a crap political system that don't look after its own people...

Macron thinks that the internet censorship of 'fake news' is a panacea for widespread disrespect of politicians


Link Here 4th January 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in France...Web blocking in the name of child protection
emmanuel macronEmmanuel Macron has vowed to introduce a law to censor 'fake news' on the internet during French election campaigns. He claimed he wanted new legislation for social media platforms during election periods in order to protect democracy.

For fake news published during election seasons, an emergency legal action could allow authorities to remove that content or even block the website, Macron said. If we want to protect liberal democracies, we must be strong and have clear rules.

He said France's media censor, the CSA, would be empowered to fight against any attempt at destabilisation by TV stations controlled or influenced by foreign states. Macron said he wanted to act against what he called propaganda articulated by thousands of social media accounts.

Macron has an axe to grind about fake news, during the election campaign in spring 2017 he filed a legal complaint after Le Pen, the Front National leader, referred to fake stories about him placing funds in an offshore account in the Bahamas. Also a bogus website resembling the site of the Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported that Saudi Arabia was financing Macron's campaign. Le Soir totally distanced itself from the report.

 

  Radiance of Resistance...

Singapore film censors ban a documentary about a Palestinian child's protests against Israeli soldiers


Link Here 4th January 2018  full story: Banned Films in Singapore...To Singapore with Love
radiance  of resistanceSingapore film censors have banned a documentary about Palestine from screening at film festivals.

Government censors at the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) claimed that the film has a skewed narrative which could cause disharmony in Simgapore.

The 2016 film, Radiance of Resistance, tells the story of Ahed al-Tamimi, then 14, and her 9-year-old friend Janna Ayyad, often called the youngest journalist in Palestine. The pair join protests in Palestine against heavily armed Israeli soldiers.

The one-hour documentary, directed by Jesse Roberts, an American humanitarian and filmmaker, was scheduled to be screened at the Singapore Palestinian Film Festival 2018 on Thursday.

But on Tuesday, the IMDA cancelled the screening, saying that the documentary explores the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the eyes of the two young protagonists, without a counterbalance. The censors said in a statement:

The skewed narrative of the film is inflammatory and has the potential to cause disharmony amongst the different races and religions in Singapore.

The film was rated as  'not allowed for all ratings (NAR)'.

Adela Foo, the festival's organiser, told local journalists that she was disappointed, but wouldn't appeal the IMDA's decision given time constraints.

An Israeli military court charged Ahed al-Tamimi, the film's main subject, with assault, for slapping an Israeli soldier. Since her arrest, politicians, royals, and celebrities have spoken out for Ahed, now 16. Her father has said that his daughter's actions caught on video happened after Israeli soldiers shot her 14-year-old cousin, Mohammed al-Tamimi, with a rubber bullet in his face.

 

  Christmas Carol for a quid...

Poundland will play the Spirit of Christmas Just Past whilst ASA is set to play Scrooge


Link Here 4th January 2018
poundland tweetTHE UK's advert censor ASA has launched an investigation into Poundland's X-rated Christmas elf campaign.

A few miserable gits have whinged about a series of Twitter ads showing a naughty elf in various sexual poses.

ASA has confirmed it has launched an investigation into the ads after receiving 80 complaints that the adverts were offensive and not suitable to be seen by children.

One advert showed a picture of the elf standing over a female doll and asking: How do you like your tea? One lump or two?

The pic also featured a box of Twinnings Classic teabags, with the company accusing Poundland of misusing its product.

A Poundland spokesperson wittily told The Sun Online:

This is a storm in a tea cup.

It is actually 23 complaints contrasted with the thousands of people who said they loved our naughty elf pictures - not least because it reminded them that Britain is famous for the saucy postcard and panto.

Other pics show elf playing strip poker with a group of naked dolls, drawing a Christmas tree that looks suspiciously like a man's penis, and riding a cuddly toy donkey with the caption Don't tell Rudolph I've found a new piece of ass.

 

  Bank censorship...

Australian banks and financial services have been ticked off by the small business ombudsman for discriminating against legitimate adult businesses


Link Here 4th January 2018

asbfeo logoAustralia's Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell has gone into bat for Australia's sex industry, slamming the banks for discriminating against legal businesses by withdrawing or failing to provide financial services. Carnell said in a statement:

It's hypocritical that banks do not provide services to the adult industry when businesses are appropriately registered and regulated. Access to banking services is essential for a legitimate business to operate.

Carnell was responding to a recent report by the Eros Association, which found the vast majority of adult industry businesses experienced unfair treatment by financial service providers .

The association estimates there are more than 1000 adults-only businesses in Australia employing around 25,000 people, with the overall industry turning over $2.6 billion annually.

One respondent quoted in the report, the operator of an adult retail and wholesale business, said their merchant facilities were withdrawn after more than 20 years with the same bank.

 

  Flame war...

PC lynch mob targets the BBC for its use of the word 'fireman' in a children's program


Link Here 4th January 2018
hey duggee firemanThe London Fire Brigade has accused the BBC of sexism after one of its children's shows referred to a character as a fireman rather than a firefighter.

The CBeebies show Hey Duggee was called out on Twitter by the Greenwich fire crew in south London, who said the term was very outdated.

This term is VERY outdated and the term 'firefighter' is the preferred, respectful, inclusive, non-sexist, non-gendered term that should be widely used by all media but especially the BBC.

Surely words can be allowed to evolve at their own pace. What good does getting all aggressive do? If you DEMAND respect, the best you can hope to get, is begrudging compliance, whilst adding to a general disrespect for authority due it going PC mad.

 

 Updated: Rum censorship...

ASA bans Captain Morgan rum advert, unusually on own accord without a cited public complaint. ASA also decides that an 18+ age registered on Snapchat is not reliable enough for alcohol advert targeting


Link Here 4th January 2018
caotain morgan on snapchatA Snapchat lens advertising Captain Morgan, seen in June 2017, included a cartoon icon of a pirate. The lens, which made the user's face look like Captain Morgan, featured two glasses of a mixed alcoholic drink clinking together on screen, a seagull that flew a scroll on to the screen, which said Live like the Captain, a voice-over that said Captain and the sound of people cheering.

The ASA challenged whether the lense was:

  1. of particular appeal to people under 18
  2. directed at people under 18.

Snap Inc said in the UK they only directed alcohol advertising to users who provided a date of birth which showed them to be over 18 and that at the time the lens ran, they could only target lenses by age and geolocation.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

CAP Code rule 18.14 18.14 Marketing communications must not be likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. They should not feature or portray real or fictitious characters who are likely to appeal particularly to people under 18 in a way that might encourage the young to drink. People shown drinking or playing a significant role (see rule 18.16) should not be shown behaving in an adolescent or juvenile manner. required that alcohol ads were not likely to appeal particularly to under 18s. We noted that the lens icon which appeared in the Snapchat user's carousel was of a cartoon pirate and that in order to use the lens the user would need to click the icon. We considered that the icon was a bright, child-like cartoon image which we noted was similar in style to the other icons for non-paid for Snapchat lenses. In that context, we considered that the icon image of a cartoon pirate was of particular appeal to under 18s.

The lens, which appeared when the icon was scrolled onto, presented the user with an augmented reality which manipulated their environment. That included the user's face appearing like Captain Morgan, a seagull flying across the screen with a scroll which read Live like the Captain and two glasses which clinked in front of the user's face. Further, the lens was accompanied by a male voice which said Captain? Captain! with further animated high-pitched voices cheering and repeating the word Captain. We noted that the lens did not, however, use particularly bright colours, but it did age and add a beard to the user's face which we considered was of comedic effect. Taken together with the lens icon, we considered that the specific interactive and augmented elements of the lens, such as the user's face being made to look like a buccaneer, the clinking glasses, references to Captain and the cheering, were likely to appeal particularly to those under 18.

We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.

2. Upheld

The CAP Code required that marketing communications for alcoholic drinks must not be directed at people under 18 through the selection of media or the context in which they appear. No medium should be used to advertise alcoholic drinks if more than 25% of its audience was under 18 years of age.

The lens was delivered directly to users who were logged into accounts with a registered age of 18 or older, and who were in certain locations. Because the ad was targeted at a defined set of users, we did not consider it relevant that less than 25% of the total platform audience was under 18. We therefore considered whether the ad had been directed at people under 18 through the selection of media (i.e. the Snapchat lens).

We understood that at the time the lens ran Snap Inc. were only able to target lenses by a user's age group and geolocation. We understood that Captain Morgan had chosen for the lens to target users who were registered as being over 18 and in the UK. Snap Inc. shared confidential data with us about their UK audience. From their response, we understood that a significant minority of UK based Snapchat users were registered as being between 13 and 17 years old and that they represented one of the largest groups of their total UK audience. We also noted separately that research undertaken by Ofcom showed that out of a group of 343 of those aged 12--15 years who had reported that they had a social media account, the proportion who said they had a Snapchat account increased from 51% in 2016 to 58% in 2017. We also noted that a large number of the total population of 13- to 17-year olds in the UK had Snapchat accounts. From the above, we considered that Snapchat was popular amongst younger audiences.

We understood that the minimum age for a person to have an account with Snapchat was 13. Research undertaken by Ofcom in 2016 showed that out of a group of 104 of those aged 8--11 years who had social media accounts, 34% had Snapchat profiles. The 2017 Ofcom report stated that in the group of test subjects there were too few social media users aged 3--11years old to report on individual sites in detail. The data in the 2016 report did not give any indication of the age those users claimed to be when they signed up, including whether they were registered as 18 or over and therefore would have been able to access the lens through their account. We considered that the report was indicative that at least some of the audience of children on Snapchat were younger than the minimum age of 13 years old. We considered that this called into question the adequacy of self-reported age as the sole means of targeting alcohol advertising on Snapchat.

We noted that Snap Inc. had reported that it now had the means to target ads to specific audiences using Audience Lenses, including by way of inferring the audience age using interest based factors. However, at the time the lens ran, the only targeting data available to Diageo on Snapchat was unverified supplied ages collected when users signed up and geolocation information. We considered that because the platform was popular with under 18s, that was not sufficient to ensure that marketing communications were not targeted at people under 18. We therefore concluded that through the selection of media, Captain Morgan had not taken sufficient care to ensure that the ad was not directed at people under 18 and therefore the ad breached the Code.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Captain Morgan to ensure their ads were appropriately targeted in the future and that they were not of particular appeal to under 18s.

Update: Diageo pulls all worldwide advertising from Snapchat

4th January 2018 See  article from uk.businessinsider.com

ASA has surely opened a bag of worms if it has recognised that age statements are worthless in the world of social media. The censors are surely correct, but this means an awful lot of advertising throughout an entire industry is now porbably incorrectly targeted.

diageo logoDiageo responded to ASA's censorship noting that took reasonable steps to make sure its Snapchat ads were not seen by anyone under the age of 18, and that it had snow totally uspended advertising with Snapchat. A spokeswoman said:

We have a strict marketing code, take our role as a responsible marketer very seriously and acknowledge the ASA's ruling. We took all reasonable steps to ensure the content we put on Snapchat was not directed at under 18s - using the data provided to us by Snapchat and applying an age filter.

We have now stopped all advertising on Snapchat globally whilst we assess the incremental age verification safeguards that Snapchat are implementing.

 

 Offsite Article: Is the snowflake generation really about to kill off comedy?...


Link Here 3rd January 2018
The Little Book of Irish Jokes Political correctness is forcing more comics to delicately tip-toe around issues of race, class and sexuality. Have comedians the talent to be funny in non-sensitive topics

See article from independent.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Indonesian TV censorship...


Link Here 3rd January 2018
doraemon censored on indonesian tv Cartoons cut, athletes blurred as conservative Islam asserts itself and broadcasters fear sanctions

See article from scmp.com

 

  On the pain of death the government wouldn't own up to torture...

21 Months of Hell documentary banned in India citing the requirement for impossible to obtain proof


Link Here 2nd January 2018  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
21 months of hell21 Months of Hell is a 2017 documentary by Yadu Vijayakrishnan.   IMDb

In June 25th 1975, Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi declared Emergency on the nation which bestowed her the authority to rule by decree, allowing elections to be suspended and civil liberties to be curbed. This resulted in the mass arrests of leaders and activists of opposition who she saw as a threat to her political life. With the introduction of the new law MISA(Maintenance of Internal Security Act), anyone could be arrested without fair trial or evidences. Making use of the political atmosphere and direct orders from the government, the police department exercised their aggression at free will. For the pro-democracy activists, India became a literal hell from the day of declaration of the Emergency until its withdrawal 21 months later. The documentary '21 Months of Hell' explores the ingenious torture method administered by the Police for intimidating political prisoners at that time. With the real life accounts of surviving victims of the torture.

A documentary about India's Emergency , titled 21 Months of Hell , has been banned by Kerala's regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

The Emergency refers to a state of Emergency called in India from 1975-77 when Indira Gandhi was granted almost unlimited powers to quell unrest.

The 78-minute documentary deals with the alleged methods of torture employed by the police against detainees during the Emergency.

The director Yadu Vijayakrishnan told PTI that the documentary mainly features interviews of victims of the Emergency along with the re-enactment of scenes of the alleged tortures methods recreated with actors

Vijayakrishnan said the CBFC asked for proof of the torture methods used by the police during the Emergency. Though there are testimonies of surviving victims and case reports, the Board wanted written government proof of the torture methods of that time. And of course the government is hardy likely to allow public access to records proving its own recourse to torture.

 

  I don't think we need to know or care what K-pop fans do with their pillows...

Fans said to be outraged by bolster pillows with life size images of each member of a girl band


Link Here 2nd January 2018
gfriend pollowcasesLife-size pillows of the K-Pop group GFriend have caused 'concern' in South Korea. Goods that are tribute to K-pop girl band GFriend have angered fans because the objects can apparently be used as sex toys.

The life-size bolster pillows, 180 centimetres long and 60 centimetres wide with a full body image of each member colour-printed on top, are the target of a little ludicrous outrage.

A few people whinged that the goods for encouraging fans to hug the objects and perhaps do more than just hugging them.

They claim that the objects reminded them of Japanese dakimakura pillows which are adorned with life size sexy characters from manga or anime.

A few fans on the band's social network site said that they would boycott the band's merchendise. The boycott movement carries the hashtag #GFRIEND_goods_not buying.

Source Music said online it had decided to withdraw the products from sale.

Apparently merchandise has become a new barometer of popularity among K-pop fans and that sales are best not disrupted by anything controversial.

 

  Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut...

Movie-censorship.com details the version differences of the much sought after Cabal Cut of Nightbreed


Link Here 2nd January 2018
nightbreed cabal cut

 

  Internet censorship as a panacea for terrorism...

Ludicrous government minister seems to think that the entire security bill combatting terrorism should be footed by social media companies because they don't take down extremist posts quickly enough


Link Here 1st January 2018
ben wallaceBritain's security minister Ben Wallace has threatened technology firms such as Facebook, YouTube and Google with punitive taxation if they fail to cooperate with the government on fighting online extremism.

Ben Wallace said that Britain was spending hundreds of millions of pounds on human surveillance and de-radicalisation programmes because tech giants were failing to remove extremist content online quick enough.

Wallace said the companies were ruthless profiteers, despite sitting on beanbags in T-shirts, who sold on details of its users to loan companies but would fail to give the same information to the government.

Because of encryption and because of radicalisation, the cost of that is heaped on law enforcement agencies, Wallace told the Sunday Times. I have to have more human surveillance. It's costing hundreds of millions of pounds. If they [tech firms] continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivising them or compensating for their inaction.

Because content is not taken down as quickly as they could do, we're having to de-radicalise people who have been radicalised. That's costing millions. They [the firms] can't get away with that and we should look at all options, including tax.

Maybe its a good idea to extract a significantly higher tax take from the vast sums of money being siphoned out of the UK economy straight into the hands of American big business. But it seems a little hopeful to claim that quicker blocking of terrorist related material will 'solve' the UK's terrorism problem.

One suspects that terrorism is a little more entrenched in society, and that terrorism will continue pretty much unabated even if the government get its way with quicker takedowns. There might even be a scope for some very expensive legal bluff calling, should expensive censorship measures get taken, and it turns out that the government blame conjecture is provably wrong.

 

  Ethical bubble butts...

Trinidad's media censor bans calypso song referencing the country's prime minister


Link Here 1st January 2018
rowlee mudda count video Trinidad and Tobago's media censor has banned a trivial calypso song from radio and TV.

The Telecommunications Authority Of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has banned the chutney song Rowlee's Mudda Count by Nermal 'Massive' Gosein being played by the country's radio and television stations.

TATT caution broadcasters over the song being played as it was deemed inappropriate and denigrating to women, with particular reference to mothers.

Many have come to Gosein's defence following the release of the song including Former CEO at the Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) Ken Ali who said he could not recall such an intervention from the regulator of the electronic media in the 43 years he has been a media practitioner.

He noted that the song was e as a too-thinly-veiled odious and divisive commentary whose street popularity stems directly from the inverse disapproval for the national leadership of its subject. Presumably referring to prime minister Keith Rowley.

He stressed that radio stations have always been guided by their own standards and values, the laws of the land, its publics and the guidelines of their respective licences.

TATT Chairman Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson, has since denied that there was any ban on Gosein's now infamous song ...BUT.. He is quoted as saying that there was no political interference, and broadcasters were urged to pay due regard to the obligations of your concession and the conditions within the Draft Broadcasting Code and take appropriate action in the interest of ethical and moral standards.

 

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