Censor Watch

2019: January

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So we - and our wives and servants, too - are finally going to be allowed to see fisting...

CPS relaxes its pornography guidelines so that fisting, golden showers, female ejaculation and many more can now be legally published in the UK


Link Here 31st January 2019
Full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury
The upcoming UK internet porn censorship regime being introduced later this year has set the UK authorities to thinking about a more rational set of laws governing what porn is legal and what porn is illegal in the UK. It makes a lot of sense to get the UK stall straight before the commencement of the new censorship regime.

The most contradictory area of porn law is that often referred to as 'beyond R18 porn'. This includes material historically banned by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) claiming obscenity, ie fisting, golden showers, BDSM, female ejaculation, and famously from a recent anti censorship campaign, face sitting/breath play. Such material is currently cut from R18s, as censored and approved by the BBFC.

When the age verification law first came before parliament, 'beyond R18' porn was set to be banned outright. However as some of these categories are commonplace in worldwide porn, then the BBFC would have had to block practically all the porn websites in the world, leaving hardly any that stuck to R18 guidelines that would be acceptable for viewing after age verification. So the lawmakers dropped the prohibition, and this 'beyond R18' material will now be acceptable for viewing after age verification. This leaves the rather clear contradiction that the likes of fisting and female ejaculation would be banned or cut by the BBFC for sale in UK sex shops, but would have to be allowed by the BBFC for viewing online.

This contradiction has now been squared by the government deciding that 'beyond R18' pornography is now legal for sale in the UK. So the BBFC will now have a unified set of rules, specified by the CPS, covering both the censorship of porn sales in the UK and the blocking of foreign websites.

This legalisation of 'beyond R18' porn will surely disappoint a few censorial politicians in the House of Lords, notably Elspeth Howe. She has already tabled a private members bill to restore the ban on any foreign websites including 'beyond R18' porn. Her bill has now been rendered mostly irrelevant.

However there is still one genre of pornography that is sticking out of line, and that is cartoon porn featuring under age characters. Such porn is widespread in anime but strictly banned under UK law. So given the large amounts of Japanese Hentai porn on the most popular tube sites in the world, then those videos could still be an issue for the viability of the age classification regime and could still end up with all the major porn sites in the world banned.

The new CPS censorship rules

The new rules have already come into force, they started on 28th January 2019.

A CPS spokesperson confirmed the change saying

It is not for the CPS to decide what is considered good taste or objectionable. We do not propose to bring charges based on material that depicts consensual and legal activity between adults, where no serious harm is caused and the likely audience is over the age of 18.

The CPS will, however, continue to robustly apply the law to anything which crosses the line into criminal conduct and serious harm.

It seems a little bit rich for the CPS to claim that It is not for the CPS to decide what is considered good taste or objectionable, when they have happily been doing exactly that for the last 30 years.

The CPS originally outlined the new rules in a public consultation that started in July 2018. The key proposals read:

When considering whether the content of an article is “obscene”, prosecutors
should distinguish between:

  • Content showing or realistically depicting criminal conduct (whether
    non-consensual activity, or consensual activity where serious harm is
    caused), which is likely to be obscene;
  • Content showing or realistically depicting other conduct which is lawful,
    which is unlikely to be obscene.

Do consultees agree or disagree with the guidance that prosecutors must exercise real caution when dealing with the moral nature of acts not criminalized by law, and that the showing or realistic depiction of sexual activity / pornography which does not constitute acts or conduct contrary to the criminal law is unlikely to be obscene?

The following conduct (notwithstanding previous guidance indicating otherwise) will not likely fall to be prosecuted under the Act:

  • Fisting
  • Activity involving bodily substances (including urine, vomit, blood and faeces)
  • Infliction of pain / torture
  • Bondage / restraint
  • Placing objects into the urethra
  • Any other sexual activity not prohibited by law

provided that:

  • It is consensual;
  • No serious harm is caused;
  • It is not otherwise inextricably linked with other criminality; and
  • The likely audience is not under 18 or otherwise vulnerable.

The CPS has now issued a document summarising the responses received and how the CPS has taken some of these responses onboard.

The CPS has already updated its rules in Revised Legal Guidance from cps.gov.uk . The key rules are now:

When considering whether the content of an article is "obscene", prosecutors should distinguish between:

  • Content relating to criminal conduct (whether non-consensual activity, or consensual activity where serious harm is caused, or otherwise inextricably linked to criminality), which is likely to be obscene;

  • Content relating to other non-criminal conduct, which is unlikely to be obscene, provided the audience is not young or otherwise vulnerable.

Conduct will not likely fall to be prosecuted under the Act provided that:

  • It is consensual (focusing on full and freely exercised consent, and also where the provision of consent is made clear where such consent may not be easily determined from the material itself); and

  • No serious harm is caused (whether physical or other, and applying the guidance above at paragraph 17); and

  • It is not otherwise inextricably linked with other criminality (so as to encourage emulation or fuelling interest or normalisation of criminality); and

  • The likely audience is not under 18 (having particular regard to where measures have been taken to ensure that the audience is not under 18) or otherwise vulnerable (as a result of their physical or mental health, the circumstances in which they may come to view the material, the circumstances which may cause the subject matter to have a particular impact or resonance or any other relevant circumstance).

Note that extreme pornography is considered illegal so will likely be considered obscene too. But the CPS adds a few additional notes of harmful porn that will continue to be illegal:

Publications which show or depict the infliction of serious harm may be considered to be obscene publications because they show criminal assault notwithstanding the consent of the victim. This includes dismemberment and graphic mutilation. It includes asphyxiation causing unconsciousness, which is more than transient and trifling, and given its danger is serious.

So it seems that breath play will be allowed as long as it doesn't lead to unconsciousness. Another specific rule is that gags do not in themselves imply a lack of consent:

Non-consent for adults must be distinguished from consent to relinquish control. The presence of a gag or other forms of bondage does not, without more, suffice to confirm that sexual activity was non-consensual.

The BBFC changes its R18 rules

The BBFC has several roles, it works in an advisory role when classifying cinema films, it works as an independent and mandatory censor when classifying mainstream videos, but it works directly under government rules when censoring pornographic films. And in this last role, it uses unpublished guidelines based on rules provided by the CPS.

The BBFC has informed BBC News that it will indeed use the updated CPS guidelines when censoring porn. The BBC explains:

The BBFC's guidelines forbid material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act.

A spokeswoman told the BBC: Because the Obscene Publications Act does not define what types of material are likely to be considered obscene, we rely upon guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as to what classes of material they consider likely to be suitable for prosecution.

We are aware that the CPS have updated their guidance on Obscene Publications today and we have now adjusted our own internal policies to reflect that revised guidance.

Myles Jackman And Pandora Blake

And a thank you to two of the leading campaigners calling for the CPS to lighten up on its censorship rules.

Obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman, who has campaigned for these changes for a number of years, told Yahoo News UK that the change had wider implications for the law. He said:

"It is a very impressive that they've introduced the idea of full and freely exercised consent in the law.

"Even for people with no interest in pornography this is very important for consent and bodily autonomy."

Activist and queer porn filmmaker Pandora Blake, who also campaigned to have the ban on the depiction of certain sex acts overturned, called the news a 'welcome improvement'. They said:

"This is a happy day for queer, feminist and fetish porn."

Acts that were banned that can now be depicted include:

  • Spanking

  • BDSM

  • Female ejaculation

  • Urinating (also known as watersports)

  • Strangling

  • Face-sitting

  • Fisting

  • Humiliation

 

 

Policing the wild west...

Status report on the government's plans to introduce an internet censor for social media


Link Here 30th January 2019
Full story: Online Harms White Paper...UK Government seeks to censor social media
The U.K. government is rushing to finalize a draft internet censorship law particularly targeting social media but key details of the proposal have yet to be finalised amid concerns about stifling innovation.

Government officials have been meeting with industry players, MPs, peers and other groups over the past month as they try to finalise their proposals.

People involved in those discussions said there is now broad agreement about the need to impose a new duty of care on big tech companies, as well as the need to back up their terms and conditions with the force of law.

A white paper is due be published by the end of winter. But the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is partly responsible for writing up the new rules alongside the Home Office, is still deliberating over key aspects with just weeks to go until the government said it would unveil an outline of its proposals.

Among the sticking points are worries that regulation could stifle innovation in one of the U.K. economy's most thriving sectors and concerns over whether it can keep pace with rapid technological change. Another is ensuring sufficient political support to pass the law despite likely opposition from parts of the Conservative Party. A third is deciding what regulatory agency would ultimately be responsible for enforcing the so-called Internet Safety Law.

A major unresolved question is what censorship body will be in charge of enforcing laws that could expose big tech companies to greater liability for hosted content, a prospect that firms including Google and Facebook have fought at the European level.

Several people who spoke to POLITICO said the government does not appear to have settled on who would be the censor, although the communications regulator Ofcom is very much in the mix, however there are concerns that Ofcom is already getting too big.

 

 

Out of favour...

The BBFC promises 'strong sex' in The Favourite but cinema goers are left disappointed


Link Here 30th January 2019
The Favourite is a 2018 Ireland / UK / USA historical comedy biography by Yorgos Lanthimos.
Starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. BBFC link IMDb

Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen's companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.

The BBFC passed the Oscars contender, The Favourite as 15 uncut for very strong language, strong sex, but cinema goers have been left disappointed as the sex content fails to live up to expectations.

According to the Daily Mail social media is awash with complaints about the misleading warning. Posts published by the newspaper suggest that the mild sex that the movie contains may be have been uprated to 'strong sex' because of its lesbian flavour. Eg one fan wrote:

Galling that #TheFavourite, which is wonderful from start to finish, is preceded by a content warning about 'strong sex. It's actually mild sex, which has presumably been promoted to strong sex because it happens to be gay sex,'

The BBFC defended their consumer advice claiming the film had the strong sex tagline primarily for the heterosexual activity.

 

 

Copyrighting hope...

The EU's disgraceful law enabling censorship machines and link tax may be running out of time


Link Here 30th January 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

After the last-minute collapse of negotiations over the new EU Copyright Directive , things have only gone from bad to worse for the beleaguered (but deadly and far-reaching) internet regulation.

Under the proposal, online platforms would have to spend hundreds of millions of euros on algorithmic copyright filters that would compare everything users tried to post with a database of supposedly copyrighted works, which anyone could add anything to, and block any suspected matches. This would snuff out all the small EU competitors to America's Big Tech giants, and put all Europeans' communications under threat of arbitrary censorship by balky, unaccountable, easily abused algorithms.

The proposal also lets newspapers decide who can link to their sites, and charge for the right to do so, in order to transfer some trifling sums from Big Tech to giant news conglomerates, while crushing smaller tech companies and marginalising smaller news providers.

With EU elections looming, every day that passes without resumed negotiations puts the Directive further and further away from any hope of being voted on in this Parliament (and the next Parliament is likely to have a very different composition, making things even more uncertain). Already, it would take heroic measures to take any finalised agreement into legislation: just the deadlines for translation, expert review, etc, make it a near impossibility. Within a couple of weeks, there will be no conceivable way to get the Directive voted on before the elections.

That's why it's so important that opposition is continuing to mount for the Directive, and it certainly is.

Last week, the German Minister of Justice agreed to receive a petition signed by more than 4.5 million Europeans opposing the Directive, the largest petition in European history, and a close second to the largest-ever internet petition.

This week, the Association of European Research Libraries came out against the Directive, saying that the "premises both Articles are built on are fundamentally wrong" and calling on negotiators to "delete Articles 11 and 13 from the proposal."

Update: 89 organisations call for the scrpping of the link tax and censorship machines

See open letter from edri.org

Your Excellency Deputy Ambassador,
Dear European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip
Dear MEPs Voss, Adinolfi, Boutonnet, Cavada, Dzhambazki, Geringer de Oedenberg, Joulaud, Mastálka, Reda, Stihler,

We are writing you on behalf of business organisations, civil society organisations, creators, academics, universities, public libraries, research organisations and libraries, startups, software developers, EU online platforms, and Internet Service Providers.

Taking note of the failure of the Council to find a majority for a revised negotiation mandate on Friday 18 January, we want to reiterate our position that the manifest flaws in Articles 11 and 13 of the proposal for a Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market constitute insurmountable stumbling blocks to finding a balanced compromise on the future of Copyright in the European Union. Despite more than two years of negotiations, it has not been possible for EU policy makers to take the serious concerns of industry, civil society, academics, and international observers such as the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression into account, as the premises both Articles are built on are fundamentally wrong.

In light of the deadlock of the negotiations on Articles 11 and 13, as well as taking into consideration the cautious stance of large parts of the creative industries, we ask you to delete Articles 11 and 13 from the proposal. This would allow for a swift continuation of the negotiations, while the issues that were originally intended to be addressed by Articles 11 and 13 could be tackled in more appropriate legal frameworks than this Copyright Directive.

We hope that you will take our suggestion on board when finalising the negotiations and put forward a balanced copyright review that benefits from wide stakeholder support in the European Union.

Yours sincerely,

Europe 1. European Digital Rights (EDRi) 2. Allied for Startups 3. Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties) 4. Copyright for Creativity (C4C) 5. Create.Refresh 6. European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) 7. European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) 8. European Network for Copyright in Support of Education and Science (ENCES) 9. European University Association (EUA) 10. Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche -- Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) 11. Open State Foundation 12. Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition Europe (SPARC Europe) Austria 13. epicenter.works -- for digital rights 14. Digital Society 15. Initiative für Netzfreiheit (IfNf) 16. Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA Austria) Belgium 17. FusionDirectory 18. Opensides 19. SA&S -- Samenwerkingsverband Auteursrecht & Samenleving (Partnership Copyright & Society) Bulgaria 20. BlueLink Foundation Czech Republic 21. Iuridicum Remedium (IuRe) 22. Seznam.cz Denmark 23. IT-Political Association of Denmark Estonia 24. Wikimedia Eesti Finland 25. Electronic Frontier Finland (EFFI) 26. Finnish Federation for Communications and Teleinformatics (FiCom) France 27. April 28. Conseil National du Logiciel Libre (CNLL) 29. NeoDiffusion 30. Renaissance Numérique 31. Uni-Deal 32. Wikimédia France Germany 33. Bundesverband Deutsche Startups 34. Chaos Computer Club 35. Deutscher Bibliotheksverband e.V. (dbv) 36. Digitalcourage e.V. 37. Digitale Gesellschaft e.V. 38. eco -- Association of the Internet Industry 39. Factory Berlin 40. Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft (FITUG e.V.) 41. Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht (IGEL) 42. Silicon Allee 43. Wikimedia Deutschland Greece 44. Open Technologies Alliance -- GFOSS (Greek Free Open Source Software Society) 45. Homo Digitalis Italy 46. Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights 47. Roma Startup 48. Associazione per la Libertà nella Comunicazione Elettronica Interattiva (ALCEI) Luxembourg 49. Frënn vun der Ënn Netherlands 50. Bits of Freedom (BoF) 51. Dutch Association of Public Libraries (VOB) 52. Vrijschrift Poland 53. Centrum Cyfrowe Foundation 54. ePanstwo Foundation 55. Startup Poland 56. ZIPSEE Digital Poland Portugal 57. Associação D3 -- Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D³) 58. Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL) Romania 59. APADOR-CH (Romanian Helsinki Committee) 60. Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) Slovakia 61. Sapie.sk Slovenia 62. Digitas Institute 63. Forum za digitalno druzbo (Digital Society Forum) Spain 64. Asociación de Internautas 65. Grupo 17 de Marzo 66. MaadiX 67. Rights International Spain 68. Xnet Sweden 69. Dataskydd.net 70. Föreningen för Digitala Fri- och Rättigheter (DFRI) United Kingdom 71. Coalition for a Digital Economy (COADEC) 72. Open Rights Group (ORG) International 73. Alternatif Bilisim Dernegi (Alternatif Bilisim) (Turkey) 74. ARTICLE 19 75. Association for Progressive Communications (APC) 76. Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) 77. COMMUNIA Association 78. Derechos Digitales (Latin America) 79. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 80. Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) 81. Index on Censorship 82. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) 83. Israel Growth Forum (Israel) 84. My Private Network 85. Open Knowledge International 86. OpenMedia 87. SHARE Foundation (Serbia) 88. SumOfUs 89. World Wide Web Foundation

 

 

Worlds apart...

Germany and Israel harangue Thai pop band for not knowing the significance of a swastika on a t-shirt


Link Here 28th January 2019
Thai people have little interest in European history and most seem to know nothing about the Second World War even if the country did get involved on the margins. However the west seems to somehow expect that Thais should be aware of the horrors and sensitivities from that time... but they are simply not.

Now foreign diplomats have got all wound up by a female pop star unknowingly wearing a t-shirt decorated with a Nazi flag.

The band has issued an apology to match the tearful one delivered earlier by 20-year-old singer Pichayapa Namsai Natha. It was a bad fashion choice based on ignorance, she said.

But envoys from Israel and German have expressed dismay after a member of the popular all-girl singing group BNK48 sported a T-shirt bearing a swastika.

Smadar Shapira, deputy chief of mission of Israel in Thailand, said on Twitter that the Israeli Embassy was shocked and dismayed over the singer's outfit, noting that the Holocaust remembrance was imminent:

Presenting Nazi symbols by the band's singer hurt the feelings of millions around the world whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis.

German Ambassador Georg Schmidt, whose country has gone to great lengths to amend for the crimes of its wartime regime, also tweeted.

We share the shock and dismay expressed by @ShapiraSmadar from the Embassy of Israel. We invite members of #BNK48 to discuss the terror to the Nazi dictatorship with us.

The manager of BNK48 and singer Namsai later attened a meeting with the ambassador of Israel, Meir Shlomo, at the latter's residence to express their apologies in person. the ambassador said following the meeting:

I understand that it was an act arising from lack of knowledge and awareness, and I'm pleased that they have apologised and agreed to hold together educational activity in the future. The BNK48 has proposed that its members join an educational workshop on the Holocaust, in order to emphasise their commitment to this important subject.

 

 

Frightening censorship...

Artwork censored from outside Lahore museum


Link Here 28th January 2019

The Lahore High Court in Pakistan is hearing a petition to remove a huge sculpture of Satan that is frightening children outside the Lahore Museum, Daily Pakistan reported.

Ambreen Qureshi, the petitioner, told the court:

This sculpture has nothing to do with our culture whereas the purpose of a museum is to preserve our history and culture.

The 20-foot-high, animal-man hybrid sculpture by Irtbaatul Hassan, a student at Punjab University of Arts and Design, was placed on the grounds of Lahore Museum on 11 January as part of an outdoor statue exhibition. Hassan's sculpture was intended to highlight the differences between man and animals, which are incapable of self-reflection, according to The News on Sunday.

The controversial sculpture has already been covered up with cloth and taken away, it said.

 

 

Commented: Wrong think...

Humberside Police tell man to check his thinking after he likes transgender limerick on Twitter


Link Here 28th January 2019

Humberside Police questioned a man for more than half an hour after he liked a Twitter post with an ironic limerick about the transgender community.

Harry Miller said the formal investigation by the force was into his thinking and his reasons for liking the tweet. The constable told him he was investigating a report of hate speech after an unnamed complainant contacted the force, reports Grimsby Live. Miller explained:

The cop said he was in possession of 30 tweets by me. I asked if any contained criminal material. He said.. .No. I asked if any came close to being criminal...and he read me a limerick. Honestly. A limerick. A cop read me a limerick over the phone. After telling the PC he did not write it, he reportedly said: Ah. But you liked it and promoted it. It's not a crime, but it will be recorded as a hate incident.

The cop told me that he needed to speak with me because, even though I'd committed no crime whatsoever, he needed (and I quote) 'to check my THINKING!' Seriously. Honestly.

Finally, he lectured me. Said, 'Sometimes, a woman's brain grows a man's body in the womb and that is what transgender is.' You can imagine my response...

Lastly, he told me that I needed to watch my words more carefully or I was at risk of being sacked by the company for hate speech. Police said they take all reports of hate crime seriously Police said they take all reports of hate crime seriously

The offending limerick reads:

You're a man.

You're breasts are made of silicone
Your vagina goes nowhere
And we can tell the difference
Even when you are not there

Your hormones are synthetic
And lets just cross this bridge
What you have you stupid man
Is male privilege.

Offsite Video: Intersectionality nonsense

28th January 2019. Listen to The Britisher on this example police harassment on YouTube

Do not tell me that all this intersectional nonsense has made the world a better place

 

 

Waterworld: The Ulysses Cut...

Arrow releases a version that started life as a fan edit


Link Here 27th January 2019

Waterworld is a 1995 USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Kevin Reynolds.
Starring Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Dennis Hopper. BBFC link IMDb

Never cut by film censors. The producers shortened the film against the wishes of the Director for theatrical release. The deleted material was restored for an extended TV version, but suffered cuts for the likes of strong language. An uncut extended version was released in Europe and has been tagged as the Ulysses Cut.

A fan-edit cut of the 1995 movie Waterworld is now available as an official Blu-ray release. The original Ulysses cut was crowdsourced using extra scenes from various TV broadcasts and publicly shared on The Pirate Bay more than a decade ago. The Blu-ray has been released by Arrow Film, but whether the original editor is aware of it is unknown.

The Arrow release includes three Waterworld cuts which were newly restored from the original material. That by itself would be enough to get proper fans excited, but it's the inclusion of the infamous Ulysses Cut that was most anticipated.

Waterworld is known for its many different versions, but this one never officially aired anywhere. It was created by a fan who, together with others, set out to make the longest uncensored edit of Waterworld possible.

The origin of this fan-edit, well documented by the Unheard Nerd, started in 2005. A user of the Original Trilogy forum asked if anyone had access to the 40 minutes of Waterworld material that appeared in an ABC broadcast. This generated a long thread where users shared and compared different versions of the film.

In 2006, a user named Mcfly89, showed his interest in the project. Mcfly89 later took the lead and after crowdsourcing copies of different broadcasts, he set out to combine these into a long uncensored edit of Waterworld.

The project progressed slowly and by November 2007 the name Ulysses was first mentioned. This title refers to the unnamed mariner played by Kevin Costner. He's given this name toward the end of the film in a scene that was taken out of the theatrical version.

With a name for the project, Mcfly89 continued his work. Helped by other members, who also assisted with an appropriate DVD-cover, the fan-made DVD was ready by the summer of 2008. Despite a temporary outage on The Pirate Bay, Mcfly89 managed to upload a torrent for the Ulysses cut to the site on July 28th, exactly thirteen years after the original premiere.

Many Waterworld fans welcomed the Ulysses release and it was even extended by Zaaacharias a few years later. It's not clear whether the original makers were happy with it. Film fans generally see fan-edits as important preservation projects, but copyright holders have gone after such releases as well.

Fast forward another decade and now the Ulysses cut has been released legitimately on a Blu-Ray disc put together by Arrow Films. The movie company used the name of the cut, but it was obviously reconstructed from original footage, not the broadcasts that were used in the fan-edit.

It would probably be an interesting read or feature to know how between Universal, Arrow and Mcfly89 The Ulysses Cut has eventually arrived as a 1080p edition. The story is quite remarkable already but we believe that Arrow Films missed a major opportunity here. But perhaps the full story will come out one day, in another decade or so.

 

 

Kicked into touch...

Japanese convenience stores to stop selling porn in time for the Rugby World Cup


Link Here 27th January 2019
Thousands of convenience stores in Japan will stop selling pornographic magazines. Both Lawson Inc. and 7-Eleven Japan Co. announced earlier this week that the retail companies plan to stop selling pornography in their stores, which combined included nearly 34,000 locations in Japan.

The 7-Eleven stores will phase out the explicit material by August. The transition will take place ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

A spokesperson for 7-Eleven Japan Co. told Reuters that the stores, previously patronized mostly by men, have developed in recent years to become more family oriented.

 

 

Fake justification...

Russia to get nasty with internet users who post messages the government doesn't like


Link Here 26th January 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia has latched onto the usefulness of claiming fake news when censoring messages that it doesn't like.

A new law passing through parliament will punish media outlets with fines and even imprisonment for publishing 'fake news' or information showing disrespect to government bodies and officials.

Prosecutors would be able to block websites without court orders, while publications found guilty of spreading unreliable socially-significant information would face fines of as much as $US15,000 under a measure passed Thursday by the lower house of parliament at first reading.

A second law threatens people with up to 15 days in jail, as well as a ban on their publications, if they distribute material expressing a clear disrespect for society, the state, the official state symbols of the Russian Federation, the Constitution of the Russian Federation and bodies exercising state power.

 

 

Offsite Article: Fear of being jailed...


Link Here 26th January 2019
Full story: Book Censorship in Turkey...Freedom of speech under duress
Censorship spreads to Turkey's publishing houses. By Ahmet Kulsoy

See article from ahvalnews.com

 

 

Facebook's chaotic censorship of a theatre poster...

Governments set a lot of store by censorship machines, but Facebook shows that its algorithms are actually rubbish


Link Here 24th January 2019
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook has banned the Theatre Royal Plymouth from using a picture to advertise one of their upcoming shows...because it had three small pictures of people showing some flesh.

The theatre featured a collaged image of the production by Phil Porter on their social media account but they received a message to say it breached Facebook's advertising policies. The three pictures that offended Facebook were:

  • a male torso,
  • one of breasts covered by a bra and
  • one of a bottom.

Ironically, the show is all about internet moderators and online censorship.

God of Chaos is an outrageously funny and provocative new play about the world of online censorship. Written by Olivier-nominated playwright Phil Porter.

 

 

A change of enforcers...

ASA moves to Buckinghamshire and Surrey for enforcing its decisions about misleading or fraudulent advertising


Link Here 24th January 2019

The UK advert censor ASA does not have powers to enforce its own decisions but in some cases where it identifies illegality or fraudulent claims etc it can call on other agencies, such as Trading Standards to take action.

Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards has just been appointed by National Trading Standards to act as the legal backstop of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The move means that the ASA will refer businesses and individuals who continue to break the rules on misleading advertising to B&STS, which can apply a range of legal enforcement powers to bring them into line.

ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker commented:

We're delighted to establish this new working relationship with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards. They are fully committed to our partnership and acting on our referrals to bring problem advertisers into line.

The backstop power has transferred to Buckinghamshire and Surrey following changes to Regulatory Services at Camden Trading Standards, who previously fulfilled the role.

Presumably Trading Standards will have no role in enforcing ASA prohibitions that are made on grounds of political correctness or the likes of claims of widespread offence.

 

 

Unsurprising result from one side of the debate...

InternetMatters.org publishes a survey showing that 83% of parents support age verification for porn


Link Here 23rd January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
InternetMatters.org is group funded by UK internet and telecoms companies with the aim of promoting their role in internet safety.

The group has now published a survey supporting the government's upcoming introduction of age verification requirements for porn websites. The results reveal:

  • 83% feel that commercial porn sites should demand users verify their age before they're able to access content.
  • 76% of UK parents feel there should be greater restrictions online to stop kids seeing adult content.
  • 69% of parents of children aged four to 16 say they're confident the government's new ID restrictions will make a difference.

However 17% disagreed with commercial porn sites requiring ID from their users. And the use of data was the biggest obstacle for those parents opposed to the plans. Of those parents who are anti-age verification, 30% said they wouldn't trust age-verification companies with their personal data.

While 18% of parents claim they expect kids would find a way to get around age-verification and a further 13% claim they're unsure that it would actually reduce the number of children accessing pornography. Age-verification supported by experts

 

 

Offsite Article: The fight over Europe's internet just got even messier...


Link Here 23rd January 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
A good write up noting that negotiations over the controversial Copyright Directive have hit a deadlock. By James Vincent

See article from theverge.com

 

 

The standard punishment for a PC transgression, however trivial, is to lose one's livelihood...

MPs suggest that internet insults should be punished with a career ending registration on a new internet insults offenders database


Link Here 22nd January 2019
Full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
People convicted of insulting people online should be named and shamed on a government register of offenders under new laws to censor social media, says an all-party committee of MPs.

The Commons petitions committee claimed new laws were needed to combat online harms because current legislation was not fit for purpose and self-regulation by the social media firms had failed.

The committee was responding to a petition, backed by more than 220,000 people, from reality TV star and model Katie Price who demanded new online laws and a register of offenders after her disabled son, Harvey, was viciously trolled for his condition, colour and size.

The MPs believe a criminal law, which covered online abuse and included proper recognition of hate crimes against disabled people, will achieve what the petition is looking for from a register, as criminal convictions will show up as part of a Disclosure and Barring Service check, said the MPs.

The committee said a high proportion of abusive content related to football with most shockingly the name of Harvey Price used by fans as an insult for someone's ability as a footballer.

 

 

Having to ask Google to find the way to opt out of personalised advertising...

Google fined 50 million euros for not providing clear consent when snooping on browsing history so as to personalise adverts


Link Here 22nd January 2019
Full story: Gooogle Privacy...Google sued for snooping on Iphone users

Google has been fined 50 million euros by the French data censor CNIL, for a breach of the EU's data protection rules.

CNIL said it had levied the record fine for lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding ads personalisation. It judged that people were not sufficiently informed about how Google collected data to personalise advertising and that Google had not obtained clear consent to process data because essential information was disseminated across several documents. The relevant information is accessible after several steps only, implying sometimes up to five or six actions, CNIL said.

In a statement, Google said it was studying the decision to determine its next steps.

The first complaint under the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was filed on 25 May 2018, the day the legislation took effect.The filing groups claimed Google did not have a valid legal basis to process user data for ad personalisation, as mandated by the GDPR.

Many internet companies rely on vague wording such as 'improving user experience' to gain consent for a wide range of data uses but the GDPR provides that the consent is 'specific' only if it is given distinctly for each purpose.

Perhaps this fine may help for the protection of data gathered on UK porn users under the upcoming age verification requirements. Obtaining consent for narrowly defined data usages may mean actions could be taken to prevent user identity and browsing history from being sold on.

 

 

Updated: Then they came for the VPNs...

Indian ISP starts blocking websites of VPN providers


Link Here 22nd January 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

The India ISP Jio has upped the ante in internet porn censorship as it has decided to block the websites of VPN providers.

Following a court decision in India requiring that the country ban access to online porn, reports began to emerge in October that internet access providers had begun blocking as many as 827 adult sites.

But now the Indian telecom firm may be going a step further, thwarting attempts by users in its 250-million strong subscriber base to find workarounds to the ban using Virtual Private Network (VPN) software.

Jio appears to have blocked access to proxy sites where the VPN software can be downloaded, according to the report.

Update: Censoring ISP loses customers

22nd January 2019. See  article from avn.com

There are now signs that Reliance Jio may be suffering blowback from its enthusiastic support of the porn ban, seeing an overall drop in traffic by its users for the final quarter of 2018, with the average Jio customer dropping data use from an average of 11 gigabytes per month to 10.8 gigs, according to a report by The Hindu newspaper.

Asked whether the drop in data use by its customers was a result of the ban on porn sites, Jio official Anshuman Thakur replied, Yes, you could say that.

Jio's new subscriber signups also dropped in the last three months of 2018, to 27.8 million new subscribers during that period, when the porn ban took effect, from 37 million in the previous quarter.

 

 

Restricting the reach of messages the authorties don't like...

WhatsApp sets a new low limit to the amount of times an incoming message can be forwarded to others


Link Here 21st January 2019
WhatsApp is limiting all its members to forwarding any single message up to five times in an effort to tackle the spread of information on the platform. Previously messages could be forwarded 20 times.

The Facebook-owned business had already introduced the restrictions in India six months ago as a response to a number of mob lynchings blamed on fake reports spread via the app.

The restriction comes at a time WhatsApp and Facebook's other services are under scrutiny for their role in the spread of propaganda and supposed 'fake news' which seems to mostly be a trumped up claim designed to justify censorship.

 

 

A chequered past...

Donald Trump's nomination for US Attorney General has a history of porn obscenity prosecutions


Link Here 21st January 2019
Anti-porn crusaders are celebrating Donald Trump's nomination of William Barr to be the next Attorney General of the United States, fondly recalling Barr's first term as the country's top law enforcement officer from 1991 to 1993, when Barr led a campaign of anti-porn prosecutions and was praised by President George H.W. Bush for the superb job he did cracking down on obscenity.

Senate confirmation hearings for Barr are now in progress.

Donna Rice Hughes, president of the anti-porn group Enough is Enough, applauded Barr's nomination, saying in a press release that Trump had pledged to appoint an attorney general to aggressively enforce federal obscenity, child pornography, sexual predation, and sex trafficking laws.

 

 

Distant friends...

Russian internet censor takes Facebook and Twitter to court over access to user data


Link Here 21st January 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia's internet censor, Roskomnadzor, has filed administrative proceedings against Facebook and Twitter for failing to comply with local censorship laws.

Roskomnadzor said that the two social networks did not explain how and when they would comply with legislation requiring them to store Russian users' personal data on servers in Russia. Roskomnadzor told CNBC:

The companies managing the social networks of Facebook and Twitter provided formal answers to our demands to confirm the localization of personal data of Russian users in Russia. They do not contain specifics about the actual implementation of the legislation at the current moment, nor about the timing of the implementation of these standards in the future.

In this regard, today Roskomnadzor begins administrative proceedings against both companies.

 

 

The BBFC knows what's right for you...

A new slogan for 2019


Link Here 20th January 2019
The BBFC has changed its slogan from: "Age ratings you trust" , to the rather bizarre: " View what's right for you"

The new slogan seems a little strange to me, as it rather misses the point as to what age ratings are about. Surely the essence of age ratings is something more along the lines Avoid what's not right for children in your care. But the BBFC is addressing their slogan directly to your viewing rather than your children's, as if they know better than you, what is right for you.

Presumably the BBFC is trying to avoid a negative concept, and has tried to make it a more positive message. The BBFC is probably thinking that its detailed consumer advice provides enough details to help viewers decide whether they want to watch for themselves. But the slogan does not make this clear, and it seems likely to be read as if it is the BBFC that decides what is right for you. Then being 'right' comes across as presumptive, nannyish, or even Orwellian.

It is also interesting to speculate why the BBFC ditched its old slogan: "Age ratings you trust". It's surely a little awkward as it would come across as a proven lie to any reader who disagrees with BBFC decisions.

Also as the BBFC moves into internet censorship, the concept of 'trust' is a little dangerous. The BBFC will be forcing porn users to 'trust' age verifiers without any real protection in law to ensure that age verifiers keep the ID and browsing history of porn viewers secret. It is only a matter of time before data is found being sold to advertisers or worse, or else data is hacked, stolen or misused. The Government have already paid for insurance should the BBFC get sued by people whose lives get trashed by such data getting into the wrong hands. It is simply not wise for the BBFC to suggest 'trust' when this may be used in court against them.

 

 

Censorship ring...

Male TV stars' earrings censored on Chinese Netflix


Link Here 20th January 2019
Full story: TV Censorship in China...TV censors SARFT
TV programmes streamed on China's Netflix-like iQiyi site appear to be blurring the earlobes of male actors with earrings, according to web users in the country.

Doctored images of male actors on a show called Sisters Flower Shop alongside earlier footage where they were sporting earrings have been posted online. In another show, I, Actor , the earlobes of the lead actor and singer also appear to have been edited.

Over the past year people have criticised popular Asian culture for encouraging effeminate standards of beauty for men. A 2018 article published by the state news agency Xinhua said China's pop idols were spawning a generation of sissy boys.

Web users criticised the blurred-out earrings, and thousands have commented on social media under the MaleTVStarsCantWearEarrings hashtag. One user said:

The whole world is moving forward, while China is moving backward.

 

 

Offsite Article: The wrong type of data police...


Link Here 20th January 2019
Full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Home Office rejects ICO appointment of a privacy campaigner

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Hollywood held at bay...

MEP Julia Reda reports that several nations are fighting for the livelihoods of Europeans by resisting the EU's disgraceful link tax and censorship machines law


Link Here 19th January 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

The European Council has firmly rejected the negotiating mandate that was supposed to set out Member States' position ahead of what was supposed to be the final negotiation round with the European Parliament. National governments failed to agree on a common position on the two most controversial articles, Article 11, also known as the Link Tax, and Article 13, which would require online platforms to use upload filters in an attempt to prevent copyright infringement before it happens.

A total of 11 countries voted against the compromise text proposed by the Romanian Council presidency earlier this week: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and Slovenia, who already opposed a previous version of the directive, as well as Italy, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Luxembourg and Portugal. With the exception of Portugal and Croatia, all of these governments are known for thinking that either Article 11 or Article 13, respectively, are insufficiently protective of users' rights. At the same time, some rightsholder groups who are supposed to benefit from the Directive are also turning their backs on Article 13.

This surprising turn of events does not mean the end of Link Tax or censorship machines, but it does make an adoption of the copyright directive before the European elections in May less likely. The Romanian Council presidency will have the chance to come up with a new text to try to find a qualified majority, but with opposition mounting on both sides of the debate, this is going to be a difficult task indeed.

The outcome of today's Council vote also shows that public attention to the copyright reform is having an effect. Keeping up the pressure in the coming weeks will be more important than ever to make sure that the most dangerous elements of the new copyright proposal will be rejected.

 

 

Get out of here!...

Ofcom bins 80 complaints about animal welfare on I'm A Celebrity


Link Here 19th January 2019
Full story: I'm a Celebrity...TV show done for cruel bush tucker
This year's I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here has been criticised by animal rights' activists as beyond shameful after Ofcom confirmed 80 releated complaintshave been binned.

The TV cesnor said it would not be taking action over viewer complaints about the use of live animals in Bushtucker Trials.

Animal rights campaigners at PETA were not impressed, director Elisa Allen told the Mirror:

After nearly two decades, during which thousands of complaints have been logged with Ofcom, it's beyond shameful that I'm a Celeb is still allowed to roll out the same tired, tacky, moronic, and - worse - cruel 'challenges' year after year.

PETA is now calling for the ITV show to be axed, saying:

People are no longer wondering whether a celebrity will win plastic stars but rather whether the show will ever try something original, witty, or smart and lay off the animals who are terrified, abused, and even killed for a cheap, immature laugh.

 

 

Divisive politics...

Arizona politicians propose a one off 20 dollar tax on accessing internet porn with the proceeds going to help Trump build his border wall


Link Here 19th January 2019
Full story: US politicans and porn harms...US states claim porn to be a public health hazard
An Arizona legislator has proposed a one off $20 fee to access porn sites, with funds going to Donald Trump's border wall.

According to a report by The Arizona Republic, state rep Gail Griffin has introduced a new bill that would force internet users to cough up $20 just for the ability to access adult sites online. The money would go into a newly created account called the John McCain Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Fund, with the proceeds to be used for one of 10 things, and the top item on the list of 10 is: Build a border wall between Mexico and this state or fund border security .

A similar tax has been proposed in several other states but has not yet come to fruition. Lawmakers have not made it clear how the tax will actually be implemented but perhaps it would be along the line of ISPs blocking porn sites until the tax is paid.

 

 

Offsite Article: Russia unliked and unfriended...


Link Here 19th January 2019
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook censors the Russian propaganda news service Sputnik

See article from polygraph.info

 

 

Animated sausages...

BBFC censors get all worked up about the supposed 'pornification of culture'


Link Here 18th January 2019
Reports from the launch meeting for the recent publication of updated BBFC guidelines reveals some of the politically correct nonsense underpinning the changes.

thetelegraphandargus.co.uk reports that film censors have hit back at what has been deemed the pornification of culture. The BBFC has announced that the creeping-in of pornographic themes to popular culture is of major concern to the British viewing public.

The animated comedy Sausage Party was singled out as an example of where cinema has borrowed from the world of porn. The new guidelines prescribe higher age ratings for works with sexual violence, darkly realistic themes, and films steeped in the language of pornography.

Speaking at their launch in London, BBFC head of compliance Craig Lapper said:

I think there's a tendency for people to assume that everything must be increasingly more liberal. It always has that possibility of reaching a point and going the other way.

Public views are changing. This partly comes from the pornification of culture and whether almost borrowing from porn, cruder, stronger and harder sexual references are making their way into mainstream entertainment.

I think it's about the borrowing of themes and images from porn, and the visuals of pornography. It's all more available than it used to be when you had to go into a sex shop.

One film was Sausage Party. We had a lot of feedback. We heard from all sort of people about that, including teenagers. Of course they had watched it.

There is a scene in the film where animated vegetables engage in an orgy. It's crude.

Actually perhaps they (the public) feel that we need to rein it in. I think it's just the because it's so widespread and available.

 

 

The Daily Mail recommends...

Cate Blanchett's SandM-themed play: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other


Link Here 18th January 2019
Theatre-goers have been warned about particularity graphic and violent scenes in Cate Blanchett s new West End play. When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other is currently a sell out at the National Theatre.

An email has been sent to ticket holders, warning them to be aware of 'distressing adult themes and violent scenes of a sexual nature.

Cate is starring alongside Game Of Thrones' Stephen Dillane in the production, which features explicit simulations (eh??) of sexual acts including an orgy in a car. The play, which sees six characters acting out a dangerous game of sexual domination and resistance, also features graphic violence against women.

An elderly woman was taken to hospital after fainting during the show on Wednesday night. While it remains unclear what caused her to pass out, the theatre subsequently sent an warning to email to other ticket holders about the graphic nature of the production, according to The Times.

 

 

Shonibar Bikel...

Bangladesh film censor bans movie based on a terrorist attack claiming that it would damage the country's reputation


Link Here 18th January 2019
Full story: Banned Films in Bangladesh...Rana Plaza banned for releasing dire factory conditions

Shonibar Bikel (Saturday Afternoon) is a 2019 Bangladesh / India / Germany thriller by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki.
Starring Parambrata Chatterjee, Ellie Poussot and Selina Black. IMDb

A thriller based on a terrorist attack in 2016 claimed by Islamic State in which 22 people were murdered in at the Holey Artisan Cafe.

The film has just been banned in January 2019

The film censor claimed that it would damage the country's reputation, adding that it could also incite religious fervour. The movie has also been banned from being marketed abroad.

Director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki criticised the decision to ban his film saying:

Filmmakers should feel free to take inspiration from any incident that happens around them. They don't tarnish an image. They only interpret events. It's real world actions that can damage an image.

He said they would appeal against the decision in the hope of gaining a theatrical release.

 

 

Closed society...

India's proposals for the censorship of social media do not go down well


Link Here 18th January 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
India's Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has proposed new social media censorship rules.

Open for public comment through 31 January 2019, the new rules would compel platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter to remove, within 24 hours, any unlawful content that affects the sovereignty and integrity of India.

According to a definition posted online by the Indian government last week, unlawful material includes anything that could be seen as grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, pedophilic, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically objectionable, disparaging, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, or otherwise unlawful in any manner whatever.

The definition also covers political speech, including any content that threatens the unity, integrity, defense, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order, or causes incitement to the commission of any cognisable offense or prevents investigation of any offense or is insulting any other nation.

The new rule would also mandate companies to reveal the origin of a message when asked, which violates WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption privacy policy. They would also require companies with more than five million users in India to have a local office available for 24/7 cooperation with law enforcement.

Industry experts and civil rights activists are concerned that the new rules are veering dangerously close to censorship, and lobbyists have already started drafting objections to file with the ministry.

Internet company Mozilla Corp came out strongly against the guidelines, stating that the proposal was a blunt and disproportionate solution to the problem of harmful content online. Industry executives note that the guidelines would put the privacy of users at risk and would raise costs, as it would necessitate round-the-clock monitoring of content.

The new law is set to take effect on January 31.

Update: And as for backdoors for WhatsApp

18th January 2019. See article from ft.com

WhatsApp is gearing up to fight the Indian government's proposals to force tech companies to hand over the personal data and encrypted messages of Indian users.

India's internet censor and IT ministry have both proposed laws that would allow authorities to trace the origins of encrypted messages. The legislation would also compel tech companies including Facebook, Twitter and Apple to proactively monitor and remove objectionable content posted on their platforms.

The new rules essentially mean breaking encryption and collecting much more data than WhatsApp currently do, which amounts to mass surveillance.

A WhatsApp expert said that the app is designed to not collect or store a record of who wrote and sent every message on the platform. The company would have to redesign its systems and revise its privacy policies in order to comply with the proposals.

And of course if WhatsApp continues to operate in repressive regimes like India and Australia then worldwide users will be able to infer that all their messages can also be decrypted at the behest of the authorities in any country.

 

 

Talking Dirty...

So what's actually changed in the updated BBFC guidelines for 2019?


Link Here 17th January 2019
There were relatively few changes in the 2019 BBFC Guidelines updated. The one's I spotted were:

Dangerous Behaviour at U

Previously potentially dangerous or anti-social behaviour which young children may copy can only appear in U rated film if it is clearly disapproved. Now such behaviour can also be included if it is presented unrealistically.

Nudity at 15

The BBFC is now allowing 'strong nudity' at 15, presumably referring to erections, is allowed if brief or presented in a comic context.

Sex references at 15

The BBFC has upgraded dirty talk to 18. A new rule has appeared stating:

Repeated very strong references, particularly those using pornographic language, are unlikely to be acceptable.

Sexual Violence and Sexual Threat at 12

A new section has appeared which builds on rules previously in the violence section. The 2014 rules included the following

Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated, and its depiction must be justified by context.

The new section reads:

There may be verbal references to sexual violence provided they are not graphic.

The stronger forms of sexual violence, including rape, may only be implied and any sexual threat or abusive behaviour must be brief and negatively presented.

So now the previously allowed brief and discreet indication of sexual violence is no longer allowed at 12.

Sexual Violence and Sexual Threat at 15

A new section has appeared which builds on rules previously in the violence section. The 2014 rules included the following:

There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but the depiction of sexual violence must be discreet and justified by context.

The new section reads:

There may be strong verbal references to sexual violence but any depiction of the stronger forms of sexual violence, including rape, must not be detailed or prolonged.

A strong and sustained focus on sexual threat is unacceptable.

The upshot is that strong and sustained sexual threat is no longer allowed at 15.

R18 content

The BBFC has deleted its prohibition on penetration with items associated with violence although it retains the prohibition of items that may cause physical harm.

 

 

Debugged...

Revisiting games censorship from 2001 during a cutscene from Onimusha: Warlords


Link Here 17th January 2019
C apcom's 2019 remastering of the 2001 action adventure game, Onimusha: Warlords has led to the revisiting of a censorship issue resulting from the original release.

Onimusha: Warlords was originally released uncut in Japan but was censored for the international version. A cutscene involving one of the bosses, Hecuba, was cut down from its original form. The scene was briefly snipped in the overseas release to avoid the slightly suggestive splaying of Hecuba's legs as she readies for transformation to a giant insect like demon. The abdomen of the insect then seems to emerge from between her legs.

It has been noted that the 2019 re-release contains both the censored and uncensored version. However the uncut version only appears if the selected language is Japanese.

 

 

Ofcom gets on their nerves...

RT is seeking a judicial review of censure from Ofcom


Link Here 17th January 2019
The Russian propaganda channel RT has informed Ofcom that it will be seeking a Judicial Review of Ofcom's decisions and process in its breach findings of 20th December. Ofcom had investigated 10 RT programmes, and decided that 7 were in breach of its censorship rules.

RT commented:

We firmly believe that none were in breach. RT is left with no choice other than to seek Judicial Review of the matter.

RT determinedly adheres to the Ofcom Code. Ofcom itself has recognised that RT's compliance record 'has not been materially out of line with other broadcasters.'

None of the 7 in-breach decisions against RT concluded that we had disseminated inaccurate information. Ofcom's own analysis acknowledged that the network presented multiple sides in its news coverage and discussion. However, Ofcom proceeded to make adverse findings in a manner contrary to the law.

 

 

Discovering the Streisand Effect...

South African advert censor bans witty ad with an African explorer discovering Europe


Link Here 17th January 2019
Just before Christmas last year, one person complained that a South African TV commercial for Chicken Licken was offensive and the ad was duly banned.

The advert was quite witty and made for a good news story which was picked up by major newswire services such as the Associated Press and AFP. News that SA's new regulator, the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) had deemed the ad offensive popped up in New Zealand, Australia, America, India, and the UK. In South Africa, of course, social media homed in on the ad and it went ballistically viral.

So, if the ARB had thought about the implication of their ban and just ignored that one complaint the ad campaign would have run for a few more weeks and given the declining number of viewers who actually watch commercial breaks on TV these days, perhaps a few hundred thousand viewers would have seen it. Instead, in South Africa alone the ad was viewed by millions of people. Quite possibly hundreds times more than would have seen the ad on television.

So, instead of protecting the sensitivities of those few people who might have found the ad offensive, banning it simply compounded the very problem the ARB was trying to solve.

 

 

Netflix flux...

Indian internet TV companies introduce self censorship rules


Link Here 17th January 2019
Full story: Internet TV Censorship in India...Netflix and Amazon Prime censored
Fearful of state censorship being imposed on internet TV, several internet TV companies that operate in India have collaborated on a set of self censorship rules.

Netflix and Indian rival Hotstar plan to adopt these rules whilst noting that the country's laws currently do not mandate any censorship of content on online streaming platforms.

A draft of the censorship rules state that the platforms would prohibit content that shows a child engaged in real or simulated sexual activities, is disrespectful of India's national flag or encourages terrorism.  The rules also ban content which deliberately and maliciously intends to outrage religious sentiments of any class, section or community.

Amazon Prime Video will not sign the code, though it helped draft it, as the company does not want to act in the absence of government-mandated regulation, a source said.

Participating companies will appoint a person, team or department to receive and address any consumer-related complaints.

 

 

Reflecting the public mood...terrorism, self-harm, suicide and discriminatory behaviour...

BBFC publishes a Guidelines update for 2019


Link Here 16th January 2019

BBFC launches new Classification Guidelines and calls for greater age rating consistency across online channels

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has published new Classification Guidelines, and in response to public demand is calling for greater consistency for age ratings across different platforms.

The BBFC's public consultation - involving more than 10,000 people -- showed that young people and parents want to see an increase in classification guidance, particularly around online content, as well as more consistency across all platforms.

Demand for age classification has never been higher, with 97% of people saying they benefit from age ratings being in place. 91% of people (and 95% of teenagers) want consistent age ratings that they recognise from the cinema and DVD to apply to content accessed through streaming services.

David Austin, Chief Executive Officer at the BBFC, said: Over the last five years the way we consume film and video has changed beyond all recognition. That's why it's so important that there is consistency between what people watch on and offline. The research shows that parents and teenagers want us to give them the information and guidance that they need to view what's right for them.

The BBFC's consultation confirms that people feel a heightened sense of anxiety when it comes to depictions of real world scenarios, in which audiences -- especially young people -- are likely to be concerned that it could happen to them. For example, realistic contemporary scenarios showing terrorism, self-harm, suicide and discriminatory behaviour. This research confirms that the BBFC's current category standards are reflecting the public mood.

The large scale research also found that attitudes towards sexual threat and sexual violence have moved on since 2013/14. Although the BBFC already classifies such content restrictively, people told us that certain depictions of rape in particular should receive a higher rating. The BBFC has therefore adjusted its Classification Guidelines in these areas.

People also told us that they expect the strongest sex references, in particular those that use the language of pornography, to be classified at 18. The new guidelines reflect this demand.

David Austin added:

We're here to listen to what people want, which is why they trust our age ratings. So it's encouraging to know that we've been classifying content in line with what people want and expect when it comes to difficult themes around credible real life scenarios. We also know that people are more comfortable with issues such as action violence, if it's in a way that they are expecting -- such as a Bond or Bourne film. We are updating our standards around depictions of sexual violence and very strong sex references to reflect changes in public attitudes.

The BBFC found film classification checking is most evident among parents of children under the age of 12, finding that 87% check all or most of the time, and a further 9% check occasionally. Interestingly, there has been a marked increase in the level of claimed classification checking by parents of children aged 12-14 years -- up from 90% ever checking in 2013 to 97% in 2018.

The new guidelines will come into effect on 28 February 2019.

 

 

Extract: More from the red tape monstrosity that calls itself the EU...

Europe's proposed regulation on online extremism endangers freedom of expression. A statement by Index on Censorship


Link Here 16th January 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

Index on Censorship shares the widespread concerns about the proposed EU regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online. The regulation would endanger freedom of expression and would create huge practical challenges for companies and member states. Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index, said We urge members of the European Parliament and representatives of EU member states to consider if the regulation is needed at all. It risks creating far more problems than it solves. At a minimum the regulation should be completely revised.

Following the recent agreement by the European Council on a draft position for the proposed regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online, which adopted the initial draft presented by the European Commission with some changes, the Global Network Initiative (GNI) is concerned about the potential unintended effects of the proposal and would therefore like to put forward a number of issues we urge the European Parliament to address as it considers it further.

GNI members recognize and appreciate the European Union (EU) and member states' legitimate roles in providing security, and share the aim of tackling the dissemination of terrorist content online. However, we believe that, as drafted, this proposal could unintentionally undermine that shared objective by putting too much emphasis on technical measures to remove content, while simultaneously making it more difficult to challenge terrorist rhetoric with counter-narratives. In addition, the regulation as drafted may place significant pressure on a range of information and communications technology (ICT) companies to monitor users' activities and remove content in ways that pose risks for users' freedom of expression and privacy. We respectfully ask that EU officials, Parliamentarians, and member states take the time necessary to understand these and other significant risks that have been identified, by consulting openly and in good faith with affected companies, civil society, and other experts.

...Read the full article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 

Jackasses...

Google extended censorship rules covering videos that feature pranks and challenges


Link Here 16th January 2019
Full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach

YouTube has announced new censorship rules for videos featuring pranks and challenges. Google writes in a blog post:

YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, like Jimmy Kimmel's Terrible Christmas Presents prank or the water bottle flip challenge. That said, we've always had policies to make sure what's funny doesn't cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous. Our Community Guidelines prohibit content that encourages dangerous activities that are likely to result in serious harm, and today clarifying what this means for dangerous challenges and pranks.

Q: What exactly are you clarifying related to challenges?

We've updated our external guidelines to make it clear that challenges like the Tide pod challenge or the Fire challenge, that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances, have no place on YouTube.

Q: What exactly are you clarifying related to pranks?

We've made it clear that our policies prohibiting harmful and dangerous content also extend to pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury. We don't allow pranks that make victims believe they're in serious physical danger 203 for example, a home invasion prank or a drive-by shooting prank. We also don't allow pranks that cause children to experience severe emotional distress, meaning something so bad that it could leave the child traumatized for life.

Q: What are examples of pranks that cause children severe emotional distress?

We've worked directly with child psychologists to develop guidelines around the types of pranks that cross this line. Examples include, the fake death of a parent or severe abandonment or shaming for mistakes.

Q: Can I appeal strikes related to dangerous challenges and pranks?

Yes, you can appeal the strike if you think the video content doesn't violate Community Guidelines.

Q: How long is the grace period for me to review and clean up content?

The next two months -- during this time challenges and pranks that violate Community Guidelines will be removed but the channel will not receive a strike. Additionally, content posted prior to these enforcement updates may be removed, but will not receive a strike.

 

 

Discrimination against gays...

Family Guy producers announce that they will be banning jokes about the LGBT community


Link Here 16th January 2019
Full story: Family Guy...TV programme found not so family friendly
Family Guy is known for its politically incorrect humour, but now the team behind the show are making some changes. It appears that the jokes targeted at the LGBT community are on the way out.

In Sunday's episode, Peter Griffin, who is voiced by the show's creator Seth MacFarlane, was seen telling a cartoon President Trump that the show was trying to phase out gay jokes.

In fairness, we've been trying to phase out the gay stuff, Peter replies. But you know what? We're a cartoon. You're the president.

The change in direction has been confirmed by the show's executive producers Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel, who told TV Line that they want to better reflect the current climate in the show.

One of the defences of the show's controversial storylines is that they make fun of all minority groups equally and some have argued that there's no reason one particular minority group should be exempt.

If Family Guy is gonna be mainstream and not edgy, what's the point? asked one fan of the show on Twitter. And some in the LGBT community argued the show does not offend them.

 

 

And they wonder why Brits are so keen to leave...

The EU is bent on destroying the livelihoods of European creators in favour of handing over control and money making on the internet to US media giants


Link Here 15th January 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

The Internet is Facing a Catastrophe For Free Expression and Competition But You Could Still Tip The Balance. By Cory Doctorow

The new EU Copyright Directive is progressing at an alarming rate. This week, the EU is asking its member-states to approve new negotiating positions for the final language. Once they get it, they're planning to hold a final vote before pushing this drastic, radical new law into 28 countries and 500,000,000 people.

While the majority of the rules in the new Directive are inoffensive updates to European copyright law, two parts of the Directive represent pose a dire threat to the global Internet:

  • Article 11: A proposal to make platforms pay for linking to news sites by creating a non-waivable right to license any links from for-profit services (where those links include more than a word or two from the story or its headline). Article 11 fails to define "news sites," "commercial platforms" and "links," which invites 28 European nations to create 28 mutually exclusive, contradictory licensing regimes. Additionally, the fact that the "linking right" can't be waived means that open-access, public-interest, nonprofit and Creative Commons news sites can't opt out of the system.

  • Article 13: A proposal to end the appearance of unlicensed copyrighted works on big user-generated content platforms, even for an instant. Initially, this included an explicit mandate to develop "filters" that would examine every social media posting by everyone in the world and check whether it matched entries in an open, crowdsourced database of supposedly copyrighted materials. In its current form, the rule says that filters "should be avoided" but does not explain how billions of social media posts, videos, audio files, and blog posts should be monitored for infringement without automated filtering systems.

Taken together, these two rules will subject huge swaths of online expression to interception and arbitrary censorship, and give the largest news companies in Europe the power to decide who can discuss and criticise their reporting, and undermining public-interest, open-access journalism.

The Directive is now in the hands of the European member-states. National ministers are going to decide whether or not Europe becomes a global exporter of censorship and surveillance. Your voice counts : when you contact your ministers, you are speaking as one citizen to another, in a national context, about issues of import to you and your neighbours. Your national government depends on your goodwill to win the votes to continue its mandate. This is a rare moment in European lawmaking when local connections from citizens matter more than well-funded, international corporations.

If you live in Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg, or Poland:

Please contact your ministers to convey your concern about Article 13 and 11.

We've set up action pages to reach the right people, but you should tailor your message to describe who you are, and your worries. Your country has previously expressed concerns about Article 13 and 11, and may still oppose it.

 

 

Porny cultural heritage...

1880 copy of Fanny Hill goes up for auction


Link Here 15th January 2019
Britain's oldest porn novel which dates back to 1740s and was still banned in 1960s has made the news

A copy of John Cleland 's Fanny Hill or The Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure first published in 1748 is to go under the hammer after being found in an old cigarette box.

It is one of the most prosecuted and banned novels in history and tells the story of a prostitute's life. It was banned soon after publication when it was denounced by the Bishop of London as an open insult upon Religion and good manners. The ban was only lifted in 1970.

A copy of The Memoirs of the Life of Fanny Hill, The Career of a Woman of Pleasure from 1880 has been unearthed.  The book will be sold on Tuesday next week at the auction house of the BBC's Bargain Hunt star Charles Hanson in Etwall, Derbyshire.

The auction lot includes a newspaper cutting from the 1960s about a police raid in which 20,000 copies of the book were seized from Mayflower Books.

 

 

For having lost but once your prime, you may forever tarry...

Ofcom to investigate Peace TV for religious preacher suggesting that fathers should push their daughters towards marriage


Link Here 15th January 2019

The TV censor Ofcom has announced that it is investigating Peace TV over a programme with an islamic preacher saying that fathers should push daughter's into marriage.

During an interview on religious discussion show Marriage and Divorce, Haitham al-Haddad, a Saudi-born Islamic preacher, said fathers should push and convince their daughters to get married. He also suggested women who were unmarried in their thirties would not receive good proposals in the amount and qualities. (Of course people have been citing the traditional adage for a long while before Peace TV turned up: And while ye may, go marry: For having lost but once your prime, You may forever tarry).

Haddad has previously been widely criticised for calling homosexuality an evil crime - and showing his apparent support for female genital mutilation.

 

 

PC intolerance...

Ofcom dismisses complaints from viewers who think they know exactly how fictional gay women should behave


Link Here 15th January 2019
68 complaints to TV censor Ofcom have been binned. A few viewers felt that a lesbian character seducing a straight guy with the aim of becoming pregnant was somehow not representative of what gay women should do,

The controversial scene, which saw Kate Connor attempt to seduce Adam Barlow in the hopes of becoming pregnant, was deemed unfair by some viewers as they believed it was unrepresentative of gay women.

After the episode aired, 68 people filed complaints to Ofcom. The TV censor told Digital Spy that the complaints were not upheld as they didn't believe that the storyline reflected their sexual orientation in a derogatory manner.

 

 

A Big MacKerfuffle...

Violent religious protest in Israel over an artwork of a crucified Ronald McDonald


Link Here 15th January 2019
A McJesus Sculpture Has Provoked Violent Protests in Israel. The gallery is now fending off government censorship as well as the artist's own request to remove the work in solidarity with a pro-Palestinian boycott of Israel.

Jani Leinonen's McJesus (2015) has become the subject of violent protests at Israel's Haifa Museum of Art.  the Rev. Archimandrite Agapious Abu Sa'ada of the Greek Melkite Catholic Archeparchy of Acre told Haaretz:

We denounce the exhibition and the injury to the holiest symbol of Christianity by an institution that is supposed to serve citizens of all religions,

Hundreds of Arab Christians were on hand Friday to protest the controversial work, while police mobilized to prevent them from entering the museum and removing the work by force. Three policemen were injured by protesters throwing stones, while officers Officers, meanwhile, used tear gas and stun grenades to clear the crowd, according to the Independent .

The demonstration followed a letter on Thursday from Israeli culture minister Miri Regev calling for the work to be removed and threatening to revoke the museum's government funding.

McJesus was installed in September as part of the exhibition Sacred Good, which looks at religion and faith through the lens of consumerism. The museum describes the piece as a way to address the collaboration between religious systems and the consumer culture.

So far, the museum has refused to take the work off display, instead meeting with church leaders and officials from the Haifa Municipality and determining that the most appropriate response to is to hang a sign at the exhibition entrance warning visitors of potentially offensive content.

 

 

The right to be partially forgotten...

European Court of Justice moves towards limiting censorship via the 'right to be forgotten' to the EU


Link Here 13th January 2019
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
The French Internet censor CNIL some time ago insisted that censorship required under the 'right to be forgotten' should be applied worldwide rather than limited to the EU. Google appealed against the court order leading to the case being sent to the European Court of Justice.

Now opinions from the court's advocate general suggest that court will determine that the right to be forgotten does not apply worldwide. The opinions are not final but the court often follows them when it hands down its ruling, which is expected later.

CNIL wanted Google to remove links from Google.com instead of just removing links from European versions of the site, like Google.de and Google.fr. However Maciej Szpunar warned that going further would be risky because the right to be forgotten always has to be balanced against other rights, including legitimate public interest in accessing the information sought.

Szpunar said if worldwide de-referencing was allowed, European Union authorities would not be able to determine a right to receive information or balance it against other fundamental rights to data protection and to privacy.

And of course if France were allowed to censor information from the entire worldwide internet then why not China, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia?

 

 

Taxed, throttled or thrown in jail...

Africa's new internet paradigm


Link Here 13th January 2019

Africa's landscape of online free speech and dissent has gradually, but consistently, been tightened in recent years. In 2018 in particular, the cost of speaking out -- both legally and economically -- was on the rise across the continent.

This past year, the imposition of taxes and licensing fees on social media use and blogging in countries like Tanzania and Uganda made it more costly for Africans -- especially those living in poverty -- to communicate, seek information and conduct business online.

Internet shutdowns remained a threat in times of public unrest or political transition, like elections. Chad , the Democratic Republic of Congo , Ethiopia and Mali all experienced government-ordered internet shutdowns in 2018 that ran for several hours or a few days. And the now infamous shutdown in Cameroon claimed the world record for the longest known internet shutdown, after running discontinuously for a cumulative total of 230 days from January 2017 until March 2018.

And the arrest of journalists persists. In recent years, media workers have been jailed on charges ranging from publishing false information to exposing state secrets to terrorism .

Taken together, these three types of state control over internet access and use have made sub-Saharan Africa a place where the cost of using the internet -- and the political risks of using it to speak out -- have become too high for many citizens to undertake. Promises of intellectual and economic empowerment heavily touted by international and intergovernmental organizations are becoming a pipe dream for too many people on the continent.

In 2018, the governments of Uganda , Zambia and Benin imposed new taxes on social media users, leaving them struggling to pay new fees on top of already-costly internet service. Alongside an apparent desire of government leaders like Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to quell online gossip , these tax policies stem from a long-standing frustration with Internet-based communication applications, such as WhatsApp. Typically foreign-owned and free of charge for anyone with internet access, government actors long argued that these apps cause revenue losses for national telecom operators who were once the primary providers (and cost beneficiaries) of these services.

At this stage in sub-Saharan Africa's telecommunications development, tools like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have become the dominant applications for person-to-person communication for families and businesses and distributing public alerts during emergencies. Making them more expensive may drastically reduce citizens' ability to communicate with one another, affecting many facets of social interaction and productivity. For some citizens, the tax will cut off access entirely.

When I interviewed women living in Bwaise, a slum in Kampala, I learned that for them, WhatsApp and Facebook are the internet. These are the only platforms they know how to use. So with the new tax, they will be cut off altogether.

Meanwhile, in Tanzania and Mozambique , new taxes have been introduced for bloggers and small publishers that could drive many of them out of business. Tanzania's so-called blogger tax requires bloggers and independent website owners to register and pay roughly $900 USD per year to publish online. Mozambique's new scheme will assign licensing fees of up to $3300 USD for Mozambican journalists working independently.

Tanzania's new policy led to the temporary closure of Jamii Forums , which has been dubbed both the Tanzanian Reddit and Swahili Wikileaks -- creating big waves on the Tanzanian social media scene.

All told, these licensing and taxation schemes create economic and civic barriers that will have significant consequences for journalism, communication, commerce and free speech in the region.

 

 

Offsite Article: The social 'justice' warriors are winning...


Link Here 13th January 2019
An American view on the extreme political correctness that has taken hold in Europe as typified by the advert censors at ASA. By Brad Polumbo

See article from washingtonexaminer.com

 

 

The dangers lurking behind age verification schemes...

UK internet porn censorship marches on with the publication of a new law supporting age verification


Link Here 11th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The government has published Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations 2019 which defines which websites get caught up in upcoming internet porn censorship requirements and how social media websites are excused from the censorship.

These new laws will come into force on the day that subsection (1) of section 14 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 comes fully into force. This is the section that introduces porn censorship and age verification requirements. This date has not yet been announced but the government has promised to give at least 3 months notice.

So now websites which are more than one-third pornographic content or else those that promote themselves as pornographic will be obliged to verify the age of UK visitors under. However the law does not provide any specific protection for porn viewers' data beyond the GDPR requirements to obtain nominal consent before using the data obtained for any purpose the websites may desire.

The BBFC and ICO will initiate a voluntary kitemark scheme so that porn websites and age verification providers can be audited as holding porn browsing data and identity details responsibly. This scheme has not yet produced any audited providers so it seems a little unfair to demand that websites choose age verification technology before service providers are checked out.

It all seems extraordinarily dangerous for porn users to submit their identity to adult websites or age verification providers without any protection under law. The BBFC has offered worthless calls for these companies to handle data responsibly, but so many of the world's major website companies have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, and hackers, spammers, scammers, blackmailers and identity thieves are hardly likely to take note of the BBFC's fine words eg suggesting 'best practice' when implementing age verification.

Neil Brown, the MD of law firm decoded.legal told Sky News:

It is not clear how this age verification will be done, and whether it can be done without also have to prove identity, and there are concerns about the lack of specific privacy and security safeguards.

Even though this legislation has received quite a lot of attention, I doubt most internet users will be aware of what looks like an imminent requirement to obtain a 'porn licence' before watching pornography online.

The government's own impact assessment recognises that it is not guaranteed to succeed, and I suspect we will see an increase in advertising from providers in the near future.

It would seem particularly stupid to open one up to the dangers of have browsing and identity tracked, so surely it is time to get oneself protected with a VPN, which enables one to continue accessing porn without having to hand over identity details.

 

 

Tit for tat...

Russia responds to Ofcom investigation of propaganda channel RT by investigating the BBC propaganda channel


Link Here 11th January 2019
Full story: News Censorship in Russia...Reporters murdered, media silenced

Russia's media censor says it has found material on BBC websites that broadcast the ideological attitudes of international terrorist organisations.

Roskomnadzor said it was looking at quotes from the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The regulator said it would now review the BBC's output for compliance with its Russian broadcast licence.

It is a response to the UK's media censor Ofcom who investigation and censure of Russia's propaganda channel RT.

 

 

Facing off the state censor...

Facebook refuses to bow to Vietnam's repressive new internet censorship law


Link Here 11th January 2019
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
A repressive new internet censorship took effect at the beginning of 2019. I demands that data about Vietnam users is held locally in the country so that the Government is able to lodge censorship requests to remove content that it does not like and to hand over local account details of users that it wants to pursue.

Facebook has refused to go along with some of these provisions and has already been threatened by the government. claiming that Facebook violated the new law by not removing what it says is anti-government content.

According to a report published by state-controlled media Vietnam News, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) accused Facebook of allowing personal accounts to post slanderous content, anti-government sentiment and libel and defamation of individuals, organisations and State agencies. The report noted:

Facebook had not reportedly responded to a request to remove fanpages provoking activities against the State at the request of authorities.

The MIC reported that the government had sent emails repeatedly asking Facebook to remove distorted and misleading content, but the platform delayed removal of the content, saying it didn't violate its community standards. The MIC also said that Facebook refused to hand over account data it sought for the associated accounts.

Vietnam News said that authorities are still gathering evidence of Facebook's infringements.

 

 

Spot on!...

ASA dismisses whinge about a toursim advert referencing the G-Spot


Link Here 9th January 2019

A poster for Go Vilnius, a development agency for Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, seen on 10 August 2018, stated in red text Nobody knows where it is, but when they find it - it's amazing. VILNIUS THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE. The ad featured an image of a woman, visible from the upper part of her face. The woman was lying on material printed with a map of Europe, with her hair splayed out behind her head. Her eyes were closed and she had one arm raised above her head, gripping the material in her hand at the point on the map where Vilnius was located. Issue

A complainant, who believed the ad was overtly sexual and the image of the woman was unrelated to the product, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

The ASA considered that the ad was risqu39 and sexually suggestive in tone, due to the reference to VILNIUS THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE, and the image of the woman gripping the map with her eyes closed. However, we considered the ad portrayed that suggestiveness in a light-hearted and humorous way, for example through the statement Nobody knows where it is, but when they find it - it's amazing, and because the woman appeared in a surreal and unrealistic scenario, indicating the location of Vilnius on the map of Europe. We considered the ad did not contain anything which pointed to an exploitative or degrading scenario or tone.

While we acknowledged that some might find the ad distasteful, we considered, for the above reasons, the ad did not objectify the female character and we concluded it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

 

 

Appealing choice...

A chair has been appointed for independent appeals panel for the age verification


Link Here 9th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

Kirsty Brimelow QC is the new chairwoman of the independent appeals panel for the age verification regime of the British Board of Film Classification. The panel will oversee attempts to prevent children gaining access to adult content online. The initial term is for 3 years in the post

 

 

Censorship Archive...

The BBFC publishes its quarterly adjudication on complaints about website blocking by mobile ISPs


Link Here 7th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Censors...BBFC write the censorship rules for ISP internet blocking
The BBFC has just published a very short list of adjudications responding to website blocking complaints to mobile ISPs during the last quarter of 2018.

There are several cases where innocuous websites were erroneously blocked by ISPs for no apparent reason whatsoever and a quick check by a staff member would have sorted out without the need to waste the BBFC's time. These sites should get compensation from the for grossly negligent and unfair blocking.

The only adjudication of note was that the general archive website archive.org which of course keeps a snapshot of a wide range of websites including some porn.

The BBFC noted that this was the second time that they have taken a look at the site::

The BBFC provided a further adjudication when we viewed the website on 10 October 2018. As in September 2015, we determined that the site was a digital archive which hosted a range of media including video, books and articles. We found a range of pornography across the archive which featured explicit images of sexual activity, in both animated and non-animated contexts. The site also contained repeated uses of very strong language. Additionally, out of copyright film and video material which the BBFC has passed 18 was also present on the site.

As such, we concluded that we would continue to classify the site 18.

It is interesting to note that the BBFC have never been asked to adjudicate about similarly broad websites where it would be totally untenable to come to the same 18 rated but correct conclusion, eg google.com, youtube.com, twitter.com. They would all have to be 18 rated and it would cause untold trouble for everybody. I wonder who decides 'best not go there'?

 

 

Virtually complete repression...

China fines internet user for using a VPN to elude state censorship


Link Here 7th January 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
A Chinese VPN user has been fined for accessing overseas websites censored by the government.

Chinese authorities have issued a disciplinary warning to a Guangdong man and ordered him pay a fine of 1,000 yuan (US$164) for setting up (presumably meaning using) an unauthorised Virtual Private Network (VPN) service to connect to international websites.

The man, surnamed Zhu and from Shaoguan city in Guangdong province, was punished on December 28 because his behaviour violated censorship rules.

Individuals and organisations can only connect to international networks through channels provided by the government, according to regulations listed on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's website.

 

 

Corporate monstrosity...

Sony Android TVs block streaming via Kodi


Link Here 7th January 2019

Kodi has attracted an undeservedly bad rap for its use in pirate services but it is in fact a very useful tool for streaming legal content.

But now it seems that recent Sony Android TV block the services regardless of whether it is being used for pirate or else legitimate streaming.

For those with a technical insight, androidpolice.com explains:

The official Kodi project Twitter account pointed out Sony's policy a couple of days ago, but reports on the Kodi forums of issues installing and running the app from the Play Store go even further back to last year. A handful of affected enthusiasts believe they have discovered the cause of the problem: Sony seems to be blocking the package ID for the app from being installed/run. Supporting this theory is the fact that recompiling the app from scratch with a different ID allows it to work.

 

 

Offsite Article: Patreon is a threat to the free internet...


Link Here 7th January 2019
We need to stand up to the Silicon Valley censors. By Fraser Myers

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

In a week when the GDPR didn't do anything to stop German politicians' private data being published...

A parliamentary committee suggests that perhaps the government ought to monitor how age verification requirements endanger porn viewers


Link Here 6th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Parliament's Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) has reported that the government's approach to internet porn censorship and age verification is fit for purpose, but asks a few important questions about how safe it is for porn viewers.

The RPC was originally set up a decade ago to help cut red tape by independently checking government estimates of how much complying with new laws and regulations would cost the private sector. Of curse all it has achieved is to watch the western world suffocate itself in accelerating red tape to such a point that the west seems to be on a permanent course to diminishing wealth and popular unrest. One has to ask if the committee itself is fit for purpose?

Anyway in the subject of endangering porn users by setting them up for identity thieves, blackmailers and scammers, the authors write:

Risks and wider impacts. The Impact Assessment (IA) makes only limited reference to risks and wider impacts of the measure. These include the risk that adults and children may be pushed towards the dark web or related systems to avoid AV, where they could be exposed to illegal activities and extreme material that they otherwise would never have come into contact with. The IA also recognises numerous other wider impacts, including privacy/fraud concerns linked to inputting ID data into sites and apps.

Given the potential severity of such risks and wider impacts, the RPC believes that a more thorough consideration of each, and of the potential means to mitigate them, would have been appropriate. The RPC therefore recommends that the Department ensures that it robustly monitors these risks and wider impacts, post-implementation.

 

 

The Journal of Cesnorship...

China censors significant numbers of academic journals published by Taylor and Francis


Link Here 6th January 2019
Full story: Book Censorship in China...Offical book censors and self censorship
Academic publisher Taylor & Francis , whose publications include the Asian Studies Review, has confirmed that its Chinese importer, a government offshoot, decided in September to block 83 of the 1,466 academic journals to which Taylor & Francis provides access in China.

The British publishing house did not name the censored journals, but they probably address subjects that are routine censored by the Chinese authorities, such as the contemporary history of China, Taiwan and Tibet, human rights and civil rights.

Cedric Alviani, the head of RSF's East Asia bureau said:

This latest act of censorship shows how President Xi Jinping is implementing a policy of total information control to secure his hold on power. After gagging journalists, bloggers and Internet uses, the regime is now targeting academic journals whose findings contradict its simplistic rhetoric.

 

 

Offsite Article: Empowering PC lynch mobs...


Link Here 6th January 2019
Book publishers introduce morality clauses so that authors' contracts cab be terminated if they get caught up in such as a twitter storm, regardless of fault

See article from nytimes.com

 

 

No cruising at 30,000 feet...

Emirates Airline spotted cutting out gay kisses from their in-flight entertainment system


Link Here 3rd January 2019
 
  
er....no!, not on Emirates Airlines
 
Killing Eve, the acclaimed TV hit is among the content being censored by Emirates airline due to its LGBT scenes.

Emirates, the world's fourth largest airline, offers films and television programmes with edited-out footage of same-sex kisses. They include Oscar-nominated Ladybird , and at least one episode of BBC drama Killing Eve, In the original programme, one scene saw psychopathic assassin Villanelle seduce a woman. A kiss between them is removed. In Ladybird, the censored scene saw Ronan's protagonist burst into a toilet cubicle to find her boyfriend kissing another boy from their drama group. In the edited version, the kiss is cut out and the film skips straight to the aftermath. A spokesperson for Emirates claimed:

Emirates acquires mostly theatrical unedited versions of content, but as a family friendly airline serving an international audience, where there is excessive violence, sex, nudity or language, we opt to license the edited versions created by the studios/distributors.

 

 

Offsite Article: Georgia Poised to Pass New Anti-Sex Trafficking Law...


Link Here 3rd January 2019
Full story: Hangover Part II...International hype for comedy set in Bangkok
In the name of hyped up and supposed increase in sex work around sporting events

See article from avn.com

 

 

No joke...

Saudi censors the Netflix programme Patriot Act featuring the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi embassy


Link Here 2nd January 2019
Netflix has removed an episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj from its Saudi catalog, after the Kingdom's government took offence to a segment criticizing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In the episode, the Muslim American comedian blasts Saudi Arabia's role in the war in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Turkey.

According to the Financial Times, the removal was not motivated by Saudi cash, but by legal threats. The streaming giant told the FT that it removed the episode after receiving a complaint from the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission.

The commission claimed that the episode violated a cybercrime law forbidding the production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy.

While the episode was pulled from Netflix, Saudi viewers keen for some anti-government comedy can watch it on Youtube, which is not blocked in the country. The censored episode is still available in the US.

 

 

General Data Protection Rights abuse...

Google may continue to use facial recognition to tag pictures obtained from Google Photos without obtaining consent


Link Here 2nd January 2019
Full story: Gooogle Privacy...Google sued for snooping on Iphone users
A US federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that Google's non-consensual use of facial recognition technology violated users' privacy rights, allowing the tech giant to continue to scan and store their biometric data.

The lawsuit, filed in 2016, alleged that Google violated Illinois state law by collecting biometric data without their consent. The data was harvested from their pictures stored on Google Photos.

The plaintiffs wanted more than $5 million in damages for hundreds of thousands of users affected, arguing that the unauthorized scanning of their faces was a violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which completely outlaws the gathering of biometric information without consent.

Google countered claiming that the plaintiffs were not entitled to any compensation, as they had not been harmed by the data collection. On Saturday, US District Judge Edmond E. Chang sided with the tech giant, ruling that the plaintiffs had not suffered any concrete harm, and dismissing the suit.

As well as allowing Google to continue the practice, the ruling could have implications for other cases pending against Facebook and Snapchat. Both companies are currently being sued for violating the Illinois act.

 

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