Germany has a bizarre censorship law that bans Nazi references and symbology from use in the media, presumably fearing that it may somehow stir a rebirth of the far right. One suspects that the current resurgence of the far right may be little do
with media images, and is perhaps more likely to do with political leaders and their significantly unpopular policies of welcoming mass immigration.
Anyway the law is the law, and the latest video game in the Wolfenstein series has had to be censored in Germany (and probably Austria too). The previous episode, Wolfenstein: The New Order was also cut in 2014 to remove Nazi references.
Wolfenstein II: Welcome to Amerika suffers the following cuts:
Hitler is renamed heiler (healer)
My fuhrer becomes mein Kanzler (my chancellor)
Hitler loses his iconic moustache
The swastika is replaced by a stark menacing looking three-pronged symbol
also speculates that an actor is shot by Hitler for being a spy rather than being jewish.
Students have taken aim at King's College London after it was revealed that the university was employing 'safe space marshals' to patrol events that could cause controversy.
A job advert on the university's student union website is offering £11.89 an hour for someone to patrol and monitor events which have been risk assessed as having potential for a Safe Space breech.
Jack Emsley, editor of The 1828, the Conservative Association Journal spoke about a political talk on Facebook:
Massive thanks to KCLSU for providing a fantastic safe space yesterday!
I know that without the five Safe Space Marshals working tirelessly, I definitely couldn't have listened to Jacob Rees-Mogg without having my feelings seriously hurt. Definitely not a waste of paper, manpower or our money!
A King's College London spokesman told the MailOnline:
Universities have a unique challenge to create environments in which open and uncensored debate from all sides on issues of political, scientific, moral, ethical and religious significance can take place without fear of intimidation and within
the framework of the law.
The scheme, which enables monitors to eject attendees and even speakers, was launched in 2015, but has only just come to light now.
Toxicity marshals form an orderly queue for the job
If Blizzard wants Overwatch to be an inclusive shooter, it needs to deal with the game's toxic players.
Just two months after Overwatch's massive launch, Blizzard acknowledged that its game had a toxicity problem. Since Competitive has been live, we've been doing some under the hood tuning and tweaking on [the report function] to be more aggressive
about handling toxic behavior, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan said at the time. But [toxicity] is not just in Competitive Play. I think as the game ages a little bit, people's dark sides tend to come out a little bit more. 15 months later,
the company's attempts to address the situation have proved painfully slow and ultimately ineffectual.
Blizzard's most recent acknowledgement is a developer update video entitled Play Nice, Play Fair, which celebrated the release of player reporting on consoles, a feature that should have been present from the start. In the 15 months it took to
implement, more than 480,000 PC players were hit with disciplinary actions by Blizzard -- 340,000 of those the direct result of player reporting -- more than a thousand per day.
Toxicity is a nebulous term, but today it's a container for all the ways that other players can make a multiplayer game a miserable experience. It's hardly an issue unique to Overwatch, but the difference in this case is that from the start
Blizzard has consistently presented the game as the inclusive shooter. The game's diverse cast of characters, though certainly not perfect, seems to have succeeded in netting a wider audience than most FPSes -- twice as many women play it than the
genre average, for example. Yet it's these marginalized players who are most hurt by Blizzard's failure to stem the flow of bad behavior within its game.
It's important to remember that Blizzard has made more than $1 billion in profits from Overwatch alone. The company could, and should, spend money on a hiring a new set of employees for whom toxicity is a specific focus -- Riot established a team
of more than 30 scientists and social systems designers to focus on toxic League of Legends player behavior in 2012 -- or the sake of the players and other developers alike. There isn't a magic bullet for toxicity, but adding bodies to the task
does help. In any case, toxicity is a problem that shouldn't require the redirection of resources. It's a core issue of all modern competitive games that affects the entire Overwatch experience, and Blizzard should have dedicated resources to it
from the start.
Blizzard is in the position to dedicate effort and resources into experimenting with ways to make truly inclusive systems. Until the company is willing to shoulder that responsibility, its promises to welcome marginalised players are empty words.
Overwatch has long billed itself as an inclusive game. But one needs to play only a few rounds to discover that Blizzard has not succeeded in its intent to create a world where everyone is welcome.
Cultural appropriation experts on hand to give advice
The calendar indicates that Halloween is approaching, but thanks to social justice warriors, we have been made readily aware that the offensive holiday is near.
Northern Arizona University's Housing and Residence Life recently released the We're a Culture, Not a Costume poster campaign directed at students being inclusive and respecting all identities.
Indiana University is being proactive to shut down free speech by hosting a practice Halloween. Students attending Culture Not Costumes were provided four handouts explaining culture appropriation. According to one handout, cultural
appropriation is the taking of intellectual property, knowledge, and cultural expressions from someone else's culture without permission.
For those who did not attend the workshop, the University of Texas-Austin can provide assistance. In 2016, the university's Sorority and Fraternity Life, part of the Office of the Dean of Students, released an extensive checklist to determine if a
costume is culturally appropriate. Not surprisingly, the determination boils down to race, class, and gender. Students were encouraged to check with experts, not just about their costume for Halloween, but in regards to year-round potential
cultural appropriation. For UT, inappropriate costumes include cowboys, Indians, Hawaiian, tropical, gypsies, urban, trophy wives, rednecks, and Around the World, to name a few.
Prager University, a nonprofit that creates educational videos with conservative slants, has filed a lawsuit against YouTube and its
parent company, Google, alleging that the company is censoring its content.
PragerU claims that more than three dozen of its videos have been restricted by YouTube over the past year. As a result, those who browse YouTube in restricted mode -- including many college and high school students -- are prevented from viewing
the content. Furthermore, restricted videos cannot earn any ad revenue.
PragerU says that by limiting access to their videos without a clear reason, YouTube has infringed upon PragerU's First Amendment rights.
YouTube has restricted edgy content in order to protect advertisers' brands. A number of advertisers told Google that they did not want their brand to be associated with edgy content. Google responded by banning all advertising from videos
claimed to contain edgy content. It keeps the brands happy but it has decimated many an online small business.
The Reddit moderators have explained new censorship rules in the following post:
We want to let you know that we have made some updates to our site-wide rules regarding violent content. We did this to alleviate user and moderator confusion about allowable content on the site. We also are making this update so that Reddit's
content policy better reflects our values as a company.
In particular, we found that the policy regarding inciting violence was too vague, and so we have made an effort to adjust it to be more clear and comprehensive. Going forward, we will take action against any content that encourages, glorifies,
incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people; likewise, we will also take action against content that glorifies or encourages the abuse of animals. This applies to ALL content on Reddit, including
memes, CSS/community styling, flair, subreddit names, and usernames.
We understand that enforcing this policy may often require subjective judgment, so all of the usual caveats apply with regard to content that is newsworthy, artistic, educational, satirical, etc, as mentioned in the policy. Context is key.
After a huge build up and a year long construction of a magnificent funeral pyre for the cremation of Thailand's beloved
King Bhumipol, the event was an anti-climax, as the burning of the king was not actually shown on TV, or even mentioned.
After hours of traditional ceremonies on TV, building up to the finale, there was a huge anti-climax as about 15 minutes before the big event, all Thai TV channels switched to other events of music, ballet and puppetry. Nothing was said about the
big event which took place at 10pm, leaving mystified viewers wondering what happened.
Interestingly nothing seems to be mentioned in press reports from the event. Jonathan Head, the Thai correspondent tweeted:
After a huge build-up, Thai authorities decided not to broadcast the cremation of King Bhumibol. So people had no idea when it happened.
But this did not get mentioned by the BBC in news reports.
The BBC's new primetime drama, Gunpowder , was described by a few 'outraged' tweeters as unnecessarily gruesome and brutal over graphic scenes of violence.
The post watershed three-part series chronicles the plot to blow up the House of Lords in 1605. The opening episode contained close-up scenes of a young priest being hung, drawn and quartered and a woman stripped naked before being crushed to
death by a stone slab.
One whinger said she felt traumatised by the hideously brutal scenes, while another commented: This execution scene is one of the most painful things I've ever witnessed on TV.
Sally Abbott, the lead writer on BBC1 crime drama The Coroner , said she thought Gunpowder was a very good drama ...BUT... she said she felt compelled to change channels during the scene of a woman being stripped and tortured,
which she said made my heart sink in the context of the revelations about actors being sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein.
A BBC spokeswoman said:
The scenes aired after 9.30pm with a clear warning given to viewers before the episode started. The methods depicted are grounded in historical fact and reflect what took place during the time of the gunpowder plot.
We received complaints from people who were unhappy about the portrayal of violence in this historical drama, and in particular the execution scenes in episode one.
The gunpowder plot is one of the best known stories in Britain and this drama looks at the history behind it. The execution scenes served to establish the motives behind the plot. We felt it was important to understand the prevalence and the
brutality of religious persecution at that time in order to comprehend the murderous acts envisaged by the plotters. The methods depicted are grounded in historical fact, and we sought to portray them accurately and realistically.
However, we appreciate that some scenes might upset viewers despite the historical accuracy so we took care with scheduling and we included a clear warning before episode one started. The starkest sequence in the first episode came after 9.30pm,
with earlier scenes having set the tone and given viewers a sense of what was to follow.
Update: Complaints to Ofcom
6th November 2017
Ofcom announced that it received 37 complaints about race discrimination and offence. Inevitably these have been officially consigned to the wastepaper bin, nominally awaiting a first response from the BBC.
Parents say images promoting a new horror film on the side of buses are too scary for children to see.
Posters for Jigsaw have been seen on the side of Stagecoach buses in Kent and around the country, alongside other marketing on television and online. The bus adverts are based on the Jigsaw poster right.
Ashford father-of-two Chris Paine says the image, which depicts a ghoulish serial killer character called Billy the Puppet, is inappropriate for children. He said his daughter saw the posters when they were leaving the train station. He said:
My children are aged 12 and 15 and they just don't watch those sort of films. I really don't think it's appropriate.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says it has received 24 complaints about the adverts from across the country, 21 of which are about bus posters. ASA press officer Estelle Yuen said: The nature of complaints have generally been that the
imagery is frightening and unsuitable for public display where children can easily come across them.
We have investigated 67 licensees in total who failed to respond to our information request by the required deadline, or who provided an incomplete response and we have published our findings on them in this bulletin.
Ofcom considers the breaches we have found to be serious and we will be engaging with these licensees on this matter. We will request diversity and equal opportunities information annually and if the breaches continue, we will consider the
imposition of statutory sanctions.
We have examined in detail the arrangements each licensee has in place to promote equal employment opportunities and training, in line with their licence conditions, and we will be contacting licensees we assess to have inadequate arrangements in
Monitoring of the radio industry
Ofcom has already started engaging with the radio industry to discuss equal opportunities and diversity and we will begin our monitoring of radio broadcasters shortly. Each licensee will be sent an information request, detailing exactly what
information we are collecting, when it is required and what action each licensee needs to take to comply with the request.
Further monitoring of the television and radio industry
We've committed to monitoring the broadcasting industry on an annual basis and publishing the results. Therefore, in 2018 we will be requesting, as a minimum, information on the same protected characteristics of gender, racial group, disability,
sexual orientation, age, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment. We are also very keen to understand the make-up of the industry in terms of additional characteristics such as social, geographic and educational
background, and we welcome feedback on how this can be measured and improved.
The Muslim Council of Britain has claimed that a Channel 4 documentary, in which a white woman is given the appearance of a Pakistani Muslim in order to experience public attitudes and Islamophobia, has caused deep offence. A spokesperson for the
The use of brownface and blackface has a long racist history and it is not surprising that it has caused deep offence amongst some communities. Had we been consulted, we would not have advised this approach.
We do, however, laud the apparent goals of the documentary -- to better understand the reality of Islamophobia, which has become socially accepted across broader society.
In a press release announcing the documentary, Channel 4 said it was an immersive programme that will explore what it's like to be a Muslim in Britain today and challenge some of the assumptions and prejudices that different communities in the UK
have about each other.
Fozia Khan, the documentary's executive producer, said the idea for the film came after the EU referendum and the rise in Islamophobia that followed. We saw divided communities, people living side by side but not mixing. We wanted to do something
bold, a kind of social experiment: to take someone with no exposure to the Muslim community and give her a really authentic experience.
My Week As a Muslim airs on Monday 23 October at 9pm on Channel 4.
Jigsaw is a 2017 USA / Canada horror thriller by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig.
Starring Laura Vandervoort, Tobin Bell and Callum Keith Rennie.
Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one man: John Kramer. But how can this be? The man known as Jigsaw has been dead for over a decade.
There has been a bit of a buzz that the latest film in the Saw franchise is perhaps not quite so close to the cutting edge of torture porn. And this has now been confirmed by an appeal against an adults-only R18+ rating from the Australian
Censorship Board. The Review Board that heard the appeal have reduced the R18+ rating to MA15+ which would perhaps be called a 15A in the UK system.
The Review Board explained their decision as follows:
[ Spoilers! hover or click text below]
The Review Board considered that the film is a horror movie and as such warrants the MA15+ classification for themes and violence.
The film has a strong theme of a serial killer seeking to get his captives to atone for their crimes that they have not acknowledged. The captives face gruesome, torturous deaths if they do not face their crimes. The Review Board considered that
the theme is strong and impactful but that this is justified by the context and can be accommodated at the MA15+ classification.
The film contains numerous violent scenes which are in the context of a serial killer's treatment of his captives. Most of the scenes focus on the threat of violence, such as being dragged by chains towards circular saws, Ann being dragged
around the post against the barbed wire, the captives being hung by chains and drawn towards the ceiling, and the tightening of the wires around Ryan's legs. The Review Board considered that these scenes created a strong impact that could be
accommodated at the MA15+ classification.
The Review Board particularly noted four violent scenes:
the depiction of 'buckethead' with his bucket removed depicting catastrophic head and face injury resulting from the circular blades as seen in previous scenes and the still shots of his head
as the captives are being hung Ryan stabs Karly in t he neck with the three syringes and this is followed by a depiction of Karly's eyes turning red as the acid enters her body, and close up of her neck bleeding and her body dissolving from
the acid. The Review Board noted that this scene was dimly lit and relatively short -- switching immediately to the setting of the detectives at the mortuary.
Mitch is seen being hung over the vortex machine and then being killed by the machine. The Review Board considered that the violence was implied with no detail of his death. The Review Board noted that Mitch's body falls from the ceiling and
there is a brief shot of his mutilated body. The Review Board noted that this was dimly lit and fleeting scene with immediate cut away to the detectives leaving the building.
Ann is seen to try to shoot Ryan but the gun has been set to fire backwards and Ann is shot. There is a depiction of her lying dead, covered in blood but there is no gunshot wound apparent.
It was the view of the Review Board that these scenes involved horror violence which had a strong impact , but the violent images were justified by the context, fleeting, usually dimly lit and were quickly followed by scenes of the detectives or
Dr Nelson away from the violence. The Review Board considered the violence could be accommodated within the MA15+ classification
For comparison the film is rated 18 for strong bloody violence, injury detail in the UK and rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and for language in the US.
Whilst speaking about the Government's recently published Internet Safety Strategy green paper, Suzie Hargreaves of the Internet Watch Foundation
noted upcoming changes to the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS). This is a government run body that includes many members from industry and child protection campaigners. It debates many internet issues about the protection of children
which routinely touches on internet control and censorship. Hargreaves noted that the UKCCIS looks set to expand its remit. She writes:
The Government recognises the work of UKCCIS and wants to align it more closely with the Internet Safety Strategy. Renaming it the UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS), the Government is proposing broadening the council's remit to adults,
having a smaller and higher-profile executive board, reconsidering the role of the working groups to ensure that there is flexibility to respond to new issues, looking into an independent panel or working group to discuss the social media levy,
and reviewing available online safety resources.
There was plenty of strong language flying around on Twitter in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Twitter got a bit
confused about who was harassing who, and ended up suspending Weinstein critic Rose McGowan for harassment. Twitter ended up being boycotted over its wrong call, and so Twitter bosses have been banging their heads together to do something.
Wired has got hold of an email outline an expansion of content liable to Twitter censorship and also for more severe sanctions for errant tweeters. Twitter's head of safety policy wrote of new measures to rolled out in the coming weeks:
Our definition of "non-consensual nudity" is expanding to more broadly include content like upskirt imagery, "creep shots," and hidden camera content. Given that people appearing in this content often do not know the material
exists, we will not require a report from a target in order to remove it.
While we recognize there's an entire genre of pornography dedicated to this type of content, it's nearly impossible for us to distinguish when this content may/may not have been produced and distributed consensually. We would rather error on the
side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it.
Unwanted sexual advances
Pornographic content is generally permitted on Twitter, and it's challenging to know whether or not sexually charged conversations and/or the exchange of sexual media may be wanted. To help infer whether or not a conversation is consensual, we
currently rely on and take enforcement action only if/when we receive a report from a participant in the conversation.
We are going to update the Twitter Rules to make it clear that this type of behavior is unacceptable. We will continue taking enforcement action when we receive a report from someone directly involved in the conversation.
Hate symbols and imagery (new)
We are still defining the exact scope of what will be covered by this policy. At a high level, hateful imagery, hate symbols, etc will now be considered sensitive media (similar to how we handle and enforce adult content and graphic violence).
More details to come.
Violent groups (new)
We are still defining the exact scope of what will be covered by this policy. At a high level, we will take enforcement action against organizations that use/have historically used violence as a means to advance their cause. More details to come
here as well
Tweets that glorify violence (new)
We already take enforcement action against direct violent threats ("I'm going to kill you"), vague violent threats ("Someone should kill you") and wishes/hopes of serious physical harm, death, or disease ("I hope someone
kills you"). Moving forward, we will also take action against content that glorifies ("Praise be to for shooting up. He's a hero!") and/or condones ("Murdering makes sense. That way they won't be a drain on social
services"). More details to come.
Offsite Article: Changes to the way that 'sensitive' content is defined and blocked from Twitter search
The National Symbols Officer of Australia recently wrote
to Juice Media
, producers of Rap News and Honest Government Adverts , suggesting that its "use" of Australia's coat of arms violated various Australian laws. This threat came despite the fact that Juice Media's videos are clearly satire
and no reasonable viewer could mistake them for official publications. Indeed, the coat of arms that appeared in the Honest Government Adverts
series does not even spell "Australian" correctly.
It is unfortunate that the Australian government cannot distinguish between impersonation and satire . But it is especially worrying because the government has
that would impose jail terms for impersonation of a government agency. Some laws against impersonating government officials can be appropriate (Australia, like the U.S., is seeing telephone scams from fraudsters claiming to be tax officials). But
the proposed legislation in Australia lacks sufficient safeguards. Moreover, the recent letter to Juice Media shows that the government may lack the judgment needed to apply the law fairly.
In a submission
to Parliament, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights explains that the proposed legislation is too broad. For example, the provision that imposes a 2 year sentence for impersonation of a government agency does not require any intent to deceive.
Similarly, it does not require that any actual harm was caused by the impersonation. Thus, the law could sweep in conduct outside the kind of fraud that motivates the bill.
The proposed legislation does include an exemption for "conduct engaged in solely for genuine satirical, academic or artistic purposes." But, as critics have
, this gives the government leeway to attack satire that it does not consider "genuine." Similarly, the limitation that conduct be "solely" for the purpose of satire could chill speech. Is a video produced for satirical
purposes unprotected because it was also created for the purpose of supporting advertising revenue?
Adverts for the Russian propagander channel RT that tell London commuters to watch to find out who we are planning to
hack next show it is the Russian government's mouthpiece, Labour has said.
Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson called on TV censor Ofcom to investigate RT, formerly known as Russia Today, over the advert running on the bus and Tube network, saying it is not funny and caused significant alarm. Watson wrote in a letter to
Ofcom chief executive Sharon White:
This has caused significant alarm in light of the fact the Russian state has been linked to a series of cyberattacks across the world. I appreciate the RT advert in question may have been intended as ironic or humorous but it isn't funny.
At a time when there are grave international and domestic concerns following hacking by the Russian state, this provocative advert is a tacit admission that RT is the mouthpiece of that state.
Watson's intervention comes after Boris Johnson condemned Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn, for appearing on the channel for interview, despite the fact many Tories, including his own father, had done the same.
The hacking advert is one of a series of provocative ads running on London buses and on the Tube, in which the channel mocks accusations of bias and cites them as a reason to watch it. Another advert ironically notes:
Missed the Train?
Lost a vote?
Blame it on us!
An Ofcom spokesman said: We have received Mr Watson's letter and we'll respond shortly.
The Advertising Standards Agency told HuffPost it had received a complaint, which accused the advert of being offensive as it likely to cause fear or distress (by suggesting a foreign power can disrupt a democratic system). A spokesman added it
was still being assessed to see whether there was grounds for an investigation.
Facebook and Google, along with other online publishers, may soon be required in the US to disclose funding for paid political ads.
Two US senators, Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner, proposed a bill called The Honest Ads Act to extend the funding disclosure requirements for political ads on TV, radio, and in print, to online ads. Similar legislation is expected to be introduced
in the US House of Representatives.
Under these disclosure requirements, traditional media has to produce and reveal lists identifying organizations that have bought political adverts. If the Honest Ads Act is passed into law, top online sites, from Facebook to Twitter, will fall
under these requirements, too.
The bill is an attempt to respond to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 Presidential Election through social media.
Facebook , Google , and Twitter have all said they sold politically-oriented ads to accounts linked to Russia. Facebook has characterized the ads it sold as amplifying divisive social and political messages.
If the bill becomes law, the rules would require digital platforms averaging 50 million monthly viewers to maintain a public list of political ads purchased by a person or organization spending more than $500 cumulatively on such ads, on a
per-platform basis. And it would direct digital platforms to make all reasonable efforts to prevent foreign individuals and organizations from purchasing domestic political ads.
A French model named Ines Rau has become the first openly transgender person to be named a Playboy Playmate in the 64-year history of
The 26-year-old will receive the title in in the November/December 2017 issue of Playboy where she takes part in a photo-spread and opens up in an interview about her transgender identity.
I wonder if it will be considered a 'micro aggression' if regular buyers decide to give this issue a miss? Does political correctness extend to being turned on by diverse genders? And will Playboy reveal the sales figures so that we may answer
If you are offended by this, you will be mercilessly mocked by everyone
outside of your safe space
Shakespeare contains gore and violence that might upset you, Cambridge University students have been warned.
The trigger warnings - red triangles with an exclamation mark - appeared on their English lecture timetables. Lectures including Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus contain discussion of sexual violence, sexual assault, the BBC's Newsnight
programme has learned.
Among those considered upsetting is a lecture on violence - which includes a discussion of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus and Sarah Kane's play Blasted . Alongside the warning symbol, students are told to expect discussion of sexual
violence and sexual assault.
It is not clear whether easily offended students are allowed to skip lectures, or to be excused from reading challenging books.
Cambridge University said the English faculty does not have a policy on trigger warnings, but added: Some lecturers indicate that some sensitive material will be covered in a lecture... this is entirely at the lecturer's own discretion and is in
no way indicative of a faculty-wide policy.
Call of Duty: WWII is a 2017 US combat simulation game from Activision.
On the first submission to the Australian Censorship Board the game was passed R18 uncut for high impact violence and threat of sexual violence.
The distributors didn't want the reference to sexual violence so made cuts to the game and resubmitted it. The game was then duly passed R18+ this time for high impact violence.
asked the censor board about the original classification and the cuts.
[ Spoilers! hover or click text below]
According to the Classification Board, the original version contained a reference to sexual violence:
In one section of the game, the player controls Rosseau, a female spy, as she infiltrates a German building. While inside, she witnesses a woman as she is dragged by a Nazi soldier into a closet, against her will, screaming, You're all pigs!
Rosseau opes the closet door, as the soldier says, Leave. This is none of your business. The player is then given the option to kill the soldier or leave.
If the player chooses to leave, the player closes the door, as the soldier is heard unziping his fly and viewed advancing towards the woman. She screams, Ah! Get away from me! as Rosseau leaves.
It is implied that the soldier is going to sexually assault the woman, but at no time is the assault depicted.
The board then described how the cuts made a difference:
In the Board's opinion, the modifications to this game - which include the change of dress for the female prisoner (was in a skirt and top, now in a pants and top) and the removal of audio that implies a soldier is unzipping his pants - do not
contain any classifiable elements that alter this classification or exceed a R18+ impact level.
In the Board's opinion, the removal of the audio track means that consumer advice of threat of sexual violence is not required. Therefore, this modified computer game warrants an R18+ classification with consumer advice of high impact violence
[and] online interactivity.
Boo 2! A Madea Halloween is a 2017 USA comedy horror by Tyler Perry.
Starring Tyler Perry, Patrice Lovely and Brock O'Hurn.
Madea, Bam, and Hattie venture to a haunted campground and the group must run for their lives when monsters, goblins, and the boogeyman are unleashed.
The film was cut in the US for an MPAA PG-13 rating for sexual references, drug content, language and some horror images.
Director Tyler Perry said that an earlier submission had resulted in an R rating. He attributed this to Madea's pot-smoking brother, Joe, and his foul language. Perry elaborated:
Just language. Joe. Out of control. His language was just really really rough and in PG you could only really say... they only give you so many curse words if you are going to stay PG-13. That was it, just language.
Ofcom received record-breaking levels of complaints about a segment on Good Morning Britain featuring a gay cure
therapist. On September 5, the ITV daytime show aired a discussion between host Piers Morgan, Liverpool Echo journalist Josh Parry and gay cure therapist Dr Michael Davidson.
LGBT groups condemned the segment for irresponsibly giving a platform to gay cure therapy, which has been disavowed by every psychiatric and medical body in the country and is banned on the NHS.
It has emerged that the episode attracted a total of 1121 complaints to TV censor Ofcom, with 672 complaining about Sexual orientation discrimination/offence, and 449 complaints about a lack of impartiality.
Artist Joep van Lieshout has slammed a last-minute decision made by the Musé du Louvre to cancel a display of
his controversial Domestikator sculpture, which looks like a man shagging a dog or sheep.
The Atelier van Lieshout founder said the museum was totally crazy to scrap plans to install the sculpture in Paris' Jardin des Tuileries, and claims that it was due to worries about offending visitors.
Lieshout told Dezeen:
I think that's a very sad development. I think art should be a place where there are very few limits.
Van Lieshout's Rotterdam-based studio first unveiled the 12-metre high sculpture in 2015, as part of an art village he created in Germany. Designed as a hybrid between art and architecture, it is intended to represent human domestication, and
domination of the natural environment.
Although it looks an expression of bestiality, Van Lieshout insists that the piece is not primarily or explicitly sexual in nature. He says his aim was to raise questions about what taboos remain, in a world where the introduction of genetic
manipulation, robotics and artificial intelligence has pushed ethical boundaries to the extreme. This piece is not about sex, it's about the ethics of technological innovation.
Article 13: Monitoring and filtering of internet content is unacceptable. Index on Censorship joined with 56 other NGOs to call for the deletion of Article
13 from the proposal on the Digital Single Market, which includes obligations on internet companies that would be impossible to respect without the imposition of excessive restrictions on citizens' fundamental rights.
Dear President Juncker,
Dear President Tajani,
Dear President Tusk,
Dear Prime Minister Ratas,
Dear Prime Minister Borissov,
Dear MEP Voss, MEP Boni
The undersigned stakeholders represent fundamental rights organisations.
Fundamental rights, justice and the rule of law are intrinsically linked and constitute core values on which the EU is founded. Any attempt to disregard these values undermines the mutual trust between member states required for the EU to
function. Any such attempt would also undermine the commitments made by the European Union and national governments to their citizens.
Article 13 of the proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market include obligations on internet companies that would be impossible to respect without the imposition of excessive restrictions on citizens' fundamental rights.
Article 13 introduces new obligations on internet service providers that share and store user-generated content, such as video or photo-sharing platforms or even creative writing websites, including obligations to filter uploads to their services.
Article 13 appears to provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens' communications if they are to have any chance of staying in business.
Article 13 contradicts existing rules and the case law of the Court of Justice. The Directive of Electronic Commerce ( 2000/31/EC) regulates the liability for those internet companies that host content on behalf of their users. According to
the existing rules, there is an obligation to remove any content that breaches copyright rules, once this has been notified to the provider.
Article 13 would force these companies to actively monitor their users' content, which contradicts the 'no general obligation to monitor' rules in the Electronic Commerce Directive. The requirement to install a system for filtering electronic
communications has twice been rejected by the Court of Justice, in the cases Scarlet Extended ( C 70/10) and Netlog/Sabam (C 360/10). Therefore, a legislative provision that requires internet companies to install a filtering system would
almost certainly be rejected by the Court of Justice because it would contravene the requirement that a fair balance be struck between the right to intellectual property on the one hand, and the freedom to conduct business and the right to freedom
of expression, such as to receive or impart information, on the other.
In particular, the requirement to filter content in this way would violate the freedom of expression set out in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. If internet companies are required to apply filtering mechanisms in order to
avoid possible liability, they will. This will lead to excessive filtering and deletion of content and limit the freedom to impart information on the one hand, and the freedom to receive information on the other.
If EU legislation conflicts with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, national constitutional courts are likely to be tempted to disapply it and we can expect such a rule to be annulled by the Court of Justice. This is what happened with the
Data Retention Directive (2006/24/EC), when EU legislators ignored compatibility problems with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In 2014, the Court of Justice declared the Data Retention Directive invalid because it violated the Charter.
Taking into consideration these arguments, we ask the relevant policy-makers to delete Article 13.
European Digital Rights (EDRi)
Associação D3 -- Defesa dos Direitos Digitais
Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL)
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI)
Association of the Defence of Human Rights in Romania (APADOR)
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)
Bits of Freedom (BoF)
Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)
Centre for Peace Studies
Coalizione Italiana Liberta@ e Diritti Civili (CILD)
Code for Croatia
Culture Action Europe
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Estonian Human Rights Centre
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Frënn vun der Ënn
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights
Human Rights Monitoring Institute
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Without Frontiers
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
Index on Censorship
International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Justice & Peace
La Quadrature du Net
Media Development Centre
Miklos Haraszti (Former OSCE Media Representative)
Modern Poland Foundation
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
One World Platform
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
Open Rights Group (ORG)
Plataforma en Defensa de la Libertad de Información (PDLI)
Reporters without Borders (RSF)
Rights International Spain
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM)
The Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia (RTKNS)
Channel 4 has scrapped a planned drama based in North Korea after Kim Jong-un's regime hacked into its systems
and 'scared investors into withdrawing their funding.
The ten-part thriller, Opposite Number , was to be about a mission to rescue a British nuclear scientist who had been taken prisoner in North Korea.
North Korea's most senior military body, the National Defence Commission, initially said British authorities should punish those behind the project, which they branded a slanderous farce. Shortly afterwards, security agencies discovered that
hackers had breached Channel 4's systems.
They did not manage to inflict any great damage immediately, so David Abraham, Channel 4's chief executive, vowed to keep on filming, according to the New York Times. However, he was forced to backtrack when the full scale of the damage the
hackers could cause became clear.
But while Channel 4 was still willing to run Opposite Number, the Sony scandal made the TV series' other financial backers nervous. International broadcasters that had promised to help pay for the project pulled out -- leaving the project short of
funding. Despite the potential fallout, Channel 4 insiders said yesterday the series could still go ahead if it secured new backing.
When Laura Moriarty decided she wanted to write American Heart , a dystopian novel for young adults about a future America in which Muslims are forcefully corralled into detention centers, she was aware that she should tread carefully. Her
protagonist is a white teenager, but one of her main characters, Sadaf, is a Muslim American immigrant from Iran. So she arranged for the book to be checked out by various minority group readers charged with spotting potentially problematic
depictions in the book.
None of this was enough to protect American Heart from becoming the subject of the latest skirmish in the increasingly contentious battle over representation and diversity in the world of young adult literature.
American Heart won't be published until January, but it has already attracted the ire of the fierce group of online readers that journalist Kat Rosenfield has referred to as culture cops. To them, it was an irredeemable problem that
Moriarty's novel, which was inspired in part by Huckleberry Finn, centers on a white teenager who gradually, too gradually, comes to terms with the racism around her. Eg a prominent review on Goodreads, begins, fuck your white savior
narratives ; the gist of other comments is that a white writer should not have tackled this story, and neither should a white character be the center of it.
The backlash escalated last week, when Kirkus Reviews gave American Heart a coveted starred review, which influences purchases by bookstores and libraries. Kirkus' anonymous reviewer called the book by turns terrifying, suspenseful,
thought-provoking, and touching, and praised its frighteningly believable setting of fear and violent nativism gone awry.
The lynch mob laid into the reviewer's 'wrong' opinion, and Kirkus responded by taking the review down pending 'reassessment'. A few days later Kirkus posted a revised, more critical version of the review, and stripped the book of its star.
Loot boxes are a revenue creating facility where gamers are assisted in their quests by the real money purchase of loot boxes that
contain a random collections of goodies that help game progress. loot boxes are found in many commercially successful games, such as Overwatch, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Halo 5: Guardians, Battlefield 1, Paragon, Gears of War 4, and
The pros and cons of this method of revenue raising has been passionately debated in games forums and teh debate seems to have widened out to more regulatory spheres.
Last week the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), who rate games for North America declared that loot boxes, despite their inherent randomness, do not constitute a form of gambling. The reason, simply put, is that while you don't know what
you're going to get out of them, you know you're going to get something -- unlike a lottery ticket, say, where the great likelihood is that your money is just going up in smoke.
The same opinion is reflected by PEGI who rate games for Europe. PEGI operations director Dirk Bosmans told Wccftech:
In short, our approach is similar to that of ESRB. The main reason for this is that we cannot define what constitutes gambling, That is the responsibility of a national gambling commission. Our gambling content
descriptor is given to games that simulate or teach gambling as it's done in real life in casinos, racetracks, etc. If a gambling commission would state that loot boxes are a form of gambling, then we would have to adjust our criteria to that.
And for solidarity the UK games trade group Ukie agreed. Dr. Jo Twist of Ukie said
Loot boxes are already covered by and fully compliant with existing relevant UK regulations. The games sector has a history of open and constructive dialogue with regulators, ensuring that games fully comply with UK law and
has already discussed similar issues as part of last year's Gambling Commission paper on virtual currencies, esports and social gaming.
Not everyone agrees though, a British parliamentarian gave a little push to the UK government by submitting the questions:
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she plans to take to help protect vulnerable adults and children from illegal gambling, in-game gambling and loot boxes within computer games.
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the effectiveness of the Isle of Man's enhanced protections against illegal and in-game gambling and loot boxes; and what discussions
she has had with Cabinet colleagues on adopting such protections in the UK.
It seems that the Isle of Mann already sees loot boxes as being liable to gambling controls.
Tracey Crouch, from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport responded in a statement, pointing out that definitions and protections already exist regarding loot boxes and other in-game currencies, referencing a paper published by the UK
Gambling Commission earlier this year. She said:
Where items obtained in a computer game can be traded or exchanged outside the game platform they acquire a monetary value, and where facilities for gambling with such items are offered to consumers located in Britain a Gambling Commission
licence is required. If no licence is held, the Commission uses a wide range of regulatory powers to take action.
So for the moment it seems that for the moment the status quo will be maintained, but in this age of cotton wool and snowflakes, I wouldn't bet on it.
After several days of radio silence, VPN provider PureVPN has responded to criticism that it provided information which helped the
FBI catch a cyberstalker. In a fairly lengthy post, the company reiterates that it never logs user activity. What it does do, however, is log both the real and assigned 'anonymous' IP addresses of users accessing its service.
In a fairly lengthy statement, PureVPN begins by confirming that it definitely doesn't log what websites a user views or what content he or she downloads. However, that's only half the problem. While it doesn't log user activity (what sites people
visit or content they download), it does log the IP addresses that customers use to access the PureVPN service. These, given the right circumstances, can be matched to external activities thanks to logs carried by other web companies.
If for instance a user accesses a website of interest to the authorities, then that website, or various ISPs involved in the route can see the IP address doing the accessing. And if they look it up, they will find that it belongs to PureVPN. They
would then ask PureVPN to identify the real IP address of the user who was assigned the observed PureVPN IP address at the time it was observed.
Now, if PureVPN carried no logs -- literally no logs -- it would not be able to help with this kind of inquiry. That was the case last year when the FBI approached Private Internet Access for information and the company was unable to assist .
But in this case, PureVPN does keep the records of who was assigned each IP address and when, and so the user can be readily identified (albeit with the help of the user's ISP too).
It is for this reason that in TorrentFreak's annual summary of no-logging VPN providers , the very first question we ask every single company reads as follows:
Do you keep ANY logs which would allow you to match an IP-address and a time stamp to a user/users of your service? If so, what information do you hold and for how long?
Clearly, if a company says yes we log incoming IP addresses and associated timestamps, any claim to total user anonymity is ended right there and then.
While not completely useless (a logging service will still stop the prying eyes of ISPs and similar surveillance, while also defeating throttling and site-blocking), if you're a whistle-blower with a job or even your life to protect, this level
of protection is entirely inadequate.
Lord Storey Not So Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to strengthen the broadcasting code in relation to smoking on reality TV shows, particularly those aimed at young people.
Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
My Lords, as the independent regulator, decisions on amending the Broadcasting Code are rightly a matter for Ofcom. Ofcom takes the protection of children and young people very seriously, and that is why there are already specific restrictions on
the portrayal of smoking on television.
I thank the Minister for his reply. I do not know whether he is a regular watcher of Love Island, but the ITV website describes that programme as an, emotional feast of lust and passion in the sun.
The same website says that the programme captures 56% share of 16-34 viewers.
On this programme, those contestants are regularly smoking. What message does that send to young people -- that I can live a glamorous life if I smoke as well? I am surprised that the Ofcom Broadcasting Code says that smoking must not be,
"glamorised in ... programmes likely to be widely seen, heard or accessed by under-eighteens unless there is editorial justification".
Does the Minister think that Ofcom should take action on this matter?
Lord Ashton of Hyde
My Lords, I am not a regular watcher of Love Island, but I cannot help noticing that the House is unusually full today. Obviously, as I said, it is a matter for Ofcom. The Broadcasting Code is there to be regulated by Ofcom, and that is what
Ofcom is there for. Any complaints about a programme will be investigated by Ofcom, and it is up to anyone who has concerns about smoking in this programme to complain to Ofcom. Incidentally, to put this into perspective, Ofcom had just under
15,000 complaints last year and 75 related to smoking on Love Island.
The BBFC arbitrates on website blocking algorithms used by mobile phone companies. If there is a dispute over the censorship decisions made by the mobile companies, then the BBFC decides whether websites should be 18 rated or not.
is a rather strident supporter of the men's rights movement. It is outspoken and totally politically incorrect, but in a quick survey I didn't spot anything that described or promoted sexual violence. There's probably something somewhere, but the
initial impression is dominated by the unPC language and ideas.
The BBFC wrote:
A mobile network operator contacted the BBFC for advice about the suitability of the website for people under 18, following a complaint from a member of the public that the site had been placed behind adult filters despite containing no material
that in the complainant’s opinion would cause access to be restricted to adults only.
We noted that it was a news/blog site with sections containing various strong sexual descriptions, including descriptions and promotion of violent sex. We also found the website contained very strong language at a number of points. On that basis
we were satisfied that the website contained material we would classify 18.
The BBFC arbitrates on website blocking algorithms used by mobile phone companies. If there is a dispute over the censorship decisions made by the mobile companies, then the BBFC decides whether websites should be 18 rated or not.
In August 2017, the BBFC were asked to consider a request to unblock the website privateinternetaccess.com which sells VPN services used to work around internet website blocking. The BBFC explained:
mobile network operator contacted the BBFC for advice about the suitability of the website for people under 18, following a complaint from the site owner that it had been placed behind adult filters despite containing no material that in the
complainant's opinion would cause access to be restricted to adults only.
The BBFC viewed the site on 31st August 2017.We noted that it was a website offering a paid-for VPN service. The site offered information on how to subscribe to the service, a description of the features offered by the service, client support
services and a contacts page. While the BBFC is aware that VPNs can be used to enable illegal activity and to avoid detection when a criminal offence is being committed, they are not themselves illegal under UK law. In addition, the website
contained no overt references to illegal activity - for example, it does not include instructions on how to use a VPN to commit an offence or promote the use of the service in order to avoid detection when committing an offence. As such, we found
no content which we would classify 18.
Health professionals in England are to be told to ask patients aged 16 or over about their sexual orientation, under new NHS
NHS England said no-one would be forced to answer the question, but it seems that they will continue nag people at each visit until they answer the question. The guidance applies to doctors and nurses, as well as local councils responsible for
adult social care.
An NHS spokeswoman said the information would help NHS bodies comply with equality legislation by consistently collecting personal details of patients such as race, sex and sexual orientation. NHS England recommends health professionals - such as
GPs and nurses - ask about a person's sexual orientation at every face to face contact with the patient, where no record of this data already exists.
It is expected that sexual orientation monitoring will be in place across England by April 2019. Under the guidance, health professionals are to ask patients: Which of the following options best describes how you think of yourself?. The options
heterosexual or straight
gay or lesbian
other sexual orientation
Of course the NHS don't mention some of the dangers of reporting sexuality to NHS staff or by having sexuality recorded in a widely used database. There is still a certain community pressure in religious circles that being outed as gay is a very
dangerous proposition indeed. And if muslim terrorists get hold of lists of gay people it could be a matter of life and death. Perhaps in the future some right wing fascist party could get into power. They could print off yellow stars for people
directly from the database.
The full time whinger Rajan Zed is upset at Fate/Grand Order (FGO) mobile role-playing video
game, developed by Japan's Delightworks, for reportedly introducing goddess Parvati as one of the new servants; saying it trivializes a highly revered Hindu deity.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed urged Delightworks to withdraw the character of goddess Parvati in its free-to-play FGO video game.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that in this mobile game set-up, the player became the Master who summoned and commanded servants controlling their movements, including goddess Parvati; while in reality the devotees
put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities.
Moreover, goddess Parvati depicted in FGO appeared more like a belly-dancer than the Hindu deity devotees were used to seeing, Rajan Zed pointed out, and termed it as incredibly disrespectful.
Rajan Zed further said that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. .. BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Video game makers should be more
sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people, Zed added.
Back in 2016, after a bit of a hoo-hah about a 'beach body ready' advert, London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressurised Transport For
London (TfL) into introducing a PC ban for all adverts which didn't adhere to the notion of 'body positivity'.
And in the latest example of extreme PC censorship, Heist, a company which sells up-market tights, recently revealed that TfL forced it to cover-up a woman's naked back with a bandeau top in one of its adverts on the tube.
A representative from Exterion Media, the company which works on behalf of TfL and enforces its policy, told Heist:
Whilst I know this is only showing a bare back, it still depicts a 'topless model. If we could add a boob tube around the back I think this would be passed.'
It also looks as if the tights were photoshopped to darken them a little to hide a rather sharply outlined bottom.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a 2017 UK / USA action comedy adventure by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth and Mark Strong.
When the Kingsman headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that
tests their agents' strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that's becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy...
Cambodia has banned the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle over its alleged negative portrayal of the country. Bok Borak, from the Ministry of Censorship Culture told The Phnom Penh Post that the film's clear reference to Cambodia as a place
where villains are based and make trouble for the world as a major point of concern.
The film chronicles British and American spy organisations teaming up in search of the secret base of a drug lord. Once they find the base, which is a temple surrounded by jungles in Cambodia, a showdown between the two sides ensues.
At EFF, we see endless attempts
to misuse copyright law in order to silence content that a person dislikes. Copyright law is sadly less protective of speech than other speech regulations like defamation, so plaintiffs are motivated to find ways to turn many kinds of disputes
into issues of copyright law. Yesterday, a federal appeals court rejected one such ploy: an attempt to use copyright to get rid of a negative review.
The website Ripoff Report hosts criticism of a variety of professionals and companies, who doubtless would prefer that those critiques not exist. In order to protect platforms for speech like Ripoff Report, federal law sets a very high bar for
private litigants to collect damages or obtain censorship orders against them. The gaping exception to this protection is intellectual property claims, including copyright, for which a lesser protection applies.
One aggrieved professional named Goren (and his company) went to court to get a negative review taken down from Ripoff Report. If Goren had relied on a defamation claim alone, the strong protection of CDA 230 would protect Ripoff Report. But Goren
sought to circumvent that protection by getting a court order seizing ownership of the copyright from its author for himself, then suing Ripoff Report's owner for copyright infringement. We
filed a brief
explaining several reasons why his claims should fail, and urging the court to prevent the use of copyright as a pretense for suppressing speech.
Fortunately, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit agreed that Ripoff Report is not liable. It ruled on a narrow basis, pointing out that the person who originally posted the review on Ripoff Report gave the site's owners irrevocable
permission to host that content. Therefore, continuing to host it could not be an infringement, even if Goren did own the copyright.
Goren paid the price for his improper assertion of copyright here: the appeals court upheld an award of over $100,000 in attorneys' fees. The award of fees in a case like this is important both because it deters improper assertion of copyright,
and because it helps compensate defendants who choose to litigate rather than settling for nuisance value simply to avoid the expense of defending their rights.
We're glad the First Circuit acted to limit the ways that private entities can censor speech online.
This summer, the Egyptian government started to block access to news websites. At last count, it had blocked more than 400 websites.
Realising that citizens are using Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to bypass such censorship, the government also started to block access to VPN websites.
In addition to this, ISPs have started using deep packet inspection (DPI) techniques in order to identify and block VPN traffic. Egypt blocked the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) VPN protocols in
August. However, until now OpenVPN, worked fine. This allowed ordinary Egyptians to access the uncensored internet.
On 3 October, however, the situation changed. It was reported on reddit that Egypt has now blocked OpenVPN as well. It seems that ISPs are using DPI techniques to detect OpenVPN packets.
Leila has two identities, but Facebook is only supposed to know about one of them.
Leila is a sex worker. She goes to great lengths to keep separate identities for ordinary life and for sex work, to avoid stigma, arrest, professional blowback, or clients who might be stalkers (or worse).
Her "real identity"--the public one, who lives in California, uses an academic email address, and posts about politics--joined Facebook in 2011. Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different
email address, a different phone number, and a different name. Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook's "People You May Know" recommendations, Leila (a name I'm using using in place of either of the names she uses) was shocked to see
some of her regular sex-work clients.
Despite the fact that she'd only given Facebook information from her vanilla identity, the company had somehow discerned her real-world connection to these people--and, even more horrifyingly, her account was potentially being presented to them as
a friend suggestion too, outing her regular identity to them.
Because Facebook insists on concealing the methods and data it uses to link one user to another, Leila is not able to find out how the network exposed her or take steps to prevent it from happening again.
The new press regulator Impress has admitted that some of its senior board members breached its own impartiality standards by appearing to be biased against a number of newspapers.
Impress was set up after the Leveson inquiry into newspaper practices to act as a the regulator of press standards. But most national newspapers rejected Impress as a form of state regulation and signed up to the Independent Press Standards
Organisation (Ipso), a voluntary independent body not backed by the Government.
But now an internal review of its own practices has found that three of its senior members breached its duty to act impartially and not give an impression of bias against any particular newspaper.
Most damningly of all the review found that Impress's own chief executive, Jonathan Heawood, had breached its guidelines and should no longer be allowed to serve on one of it's most important committees. The report found that Heawood had breached
Impress's own internal standards by sharing Twitter attacks on newspapers, eg a Tweet about the Daily Mail last October stated: John Lewis is bringing its name into disrepute by advertising in a Neo-Fascist rag. Other senior figures
shared tweets which criticised The Sun, Daily Mail and News UK and were disrespectful towards named journalists.
The Press Recognition Panel (PRP), which has the power to approve new regulatory bodies, has indicated it believes there has been a serious breach of one of its key principles, raising the prospect that Impress could even be stripped of its status
as a regulator. Susie Uppal, Chief Executive of the PRP, said: The PRP Board will be considering the Impress report and actions at its next Board meeting.
The chairman of the media censor Ofcom has said she believes internet businesses such as Google and Facebook are
publishers, and so should be regulated by the state.
Patricia Hodgson also revealed that the board of Ofcom discussed how the internet could be regulated in the future at a strategy day last week, although she said this was ultimately a matter for the government.
Hodgson was speaking to MPs at a hearing of the digital, culture, media and sport committee. Asked about the rise of fake news and whether internet companies should face greater regulation, Hodgson said:
Those particular distribution systems [Facebook, Google, Twitter etc] are not within Ofcom's responsibility but we feel very strongly about the integrity of news in this country and we are totally supportive of steps that should and need to be
taken to improve matters.
My personal view is I see this as an issue that is finally being grasped -- certainly within the EU, certainly within this country -- and to my amazement and interest, being asked in the United States as a result of the potential Russian
scandals. My personal view is that they are publishers but that is only my personal view, that is not an Ofcom view. As I said, Ofcom is simply concerned about the integrity of news and very supportive of the debate and the steps that are being
Theresa May's spokesman said Hodgson's comments were a matter for her as an independent regulator, but indicated that ministers were sympathetic.
Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, said she was wary of regulating internet companies. We feel strongly that the platforms as publishers have got more responsibility to ensure the right content, she said. I don't think it's a question of
regulation, which I think has a fuzzy boundary with censorship, but I think we feel strongly that the platforms ought to be doing more to ensure their content can be trusted.
The EU is considering forcing websites to vet uploaded content for pirated material. Of course only the media giants have the capability to do this and so the smaller players would be killed (probably as intended)
If you've been following the slow progress of the European Commission's proposal to introduce new
upload filtering mandates for Internet platforms
, or its equally misguided plans to impose a new link tax
on those who publish snippets from news stories, you should know that the end game is close at hand. The LIBE (Civil Liberties) Committee is the last committee of the European Parliament that is due to vote on its opinion on the so-called
"Digital Single Market" proposals this Thursday October 5, before the proposals return to their home committee of the Parliament (the JURI or Legal Affairs Committee) for the preparation of a final draft.
The Confused Thinking Behind the Upload Filtering Mandate
The Commission's rationale for the upload filtering mandate seems to be that in order to address unwelcome behavior online (in this case, copyright infringement), you have to not only make that behavior illegal, but you also have to make it impossible
. The same rationale also underpins other similar notice and stay-down schemes, such as one that already
exists in Italy
; they are meant to stop would-be copyright infringement in its tracks by preventing presumptively-infringing material from being uploaded to begin with, thereby preventing it from being downloaded by anyone else.
But this kind of prior restraint on speech or behavior isn't commonly applied to citizens in any other area of their lives. You car isn't speed-limited so that it's impossible for you to exceed the speed limit. Neither does your telephone contain
a bugging device that makes it impossible for you to slander your neighbor. Why is copyright treated so differently, that it requires not only that actual infringements be dealt with (Europe's existing DMCA-like
notice and takedown system
already provides for this), but that predicted future infringements also be prevented?
More importantly, what about the rights of those whose uploaded content is flagged as being copyright-infringing, when it really isn't? The European Commission's own research, in a commissioned report that they
attempted to bury
, suggests that the harm to copyright holders from copyright infringement is much less than has been often assumed. At the very least, this has to give us pause before adopting new extreme copyright enforcement measures that will impact users'
Even leaving aside the human impact of the upload filter, European policymakers should also be concerned about the impact of the mandate on small businesses and startups. A market-leading tool required to implement upload filtering just for
audio files would cost a medium-sized file hosting company between $10,000 to $25,000 per month in license fees
alone. In the name of copyright enforcement, European policymakers would give a market advantage to entrenched large companies at the expense of smaller local companies and startups.
The Link Tax Proposal is Also Confused
The link tax proposal is also based on a false premise. But if you are expecting some kind of doctrinally sound legal argument for why a new link-tax ought to inhere in news publishers, you will be sorely disappointed. Purely and simply, the
proposal is founded on the premise that because news organizations are struggling to maintain their revenues in the post-millennial digital media space, and because Internet platforms are doing comparatively better, it is politically expedient
that the latter industry be made to subsidize the former. There's nothing more coherent behind this proposal than that kind of base realpolitik.
But the proposal doesn't even work on that level. In fact, we agree that news publishers are struggling. We just don't think that taxing those who publish snippets of news articles will do anything to help them. Indeed, the fact that
small news publishers have rejected the link tax proposal
, and that previous implementations of the link tax in Spain and Germany were dismal failures
, tells you all that you need to know about whether taxing links would really be good for journalism.
So as these two misguided and harmful proposals make their way through the LIBE committee this week, it's time to call an end to this nonsense. Digital rights group OpenMedia has launched a click-to-call tool that you can use, available in
, and Polish
. If you're a European citizen, the tool will call your representative on the LIBE committee, and if you don't have an MEP, it calls the committee chair, Claude Moraes. As the counter clicks closer to midnight on these regressive and cynical
copyright measures, it's more important than ever for individual users like you to be heard.
11th October 2017. From OpenMedia
With only 48 hours notice we received word that the vote had been delayed. Why? The content censorship measures have become so controversial that MEPs decided that they needed more work to improve them, before they would be ready to go vote.
There's never been a better time to call your MEP about these rules. This week they are back in their offices and ready to start thinking with a fresh head. The delay means we have even more time to say no to content censorship, and no to the Link
Tax. With so many people speaking up, it's clear our opponents are rattled. Now we must keep up the pressure.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced a new national hub to tackle online hate crime.
It will be run by police officers for the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) with the aim of ensuring that online cases are managed effectively and efficiently.
The hub will receive complaints through Truevision, the police website for reporting hate crime, following which they will be assessed and assigned to the local force for investigation. Specialist officers will provide case management and support
and advice to victims of online hate crime.
Its functions will include combining duplicate reports, trying to identify perpetrators, referring appropriate cases to online platforms hosting relevant content, providing evidence for local recording and response, and updating the complainant on
progress. It will also provide intelligence to the National Intelligence Model, the police database that gathers intelligence on a range of crimes.
The Home Office said the hub will ensure all online cases are properly investigated and will help to increase prosecutions for online hate crimes. It should also simplify processes and help to prevent any duplication in investigations.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:
The national online hate crime hub that we are funding is an important step to ensure more victims have the confidence to come forward and report the vile abuse to which they are being subjected.
The hub will also improve our understanding of the scale and nature of this despicable form of abuse. With the police, we will use this new intelligence to adapt our response so that even more victims are safeguarded and perpetrators punished.
The hub is expected to be operational before the end of the year.
Qatar is under the cosh in the Middle East caught in a deadly pincer movement of a Saudi led coalition of Arab countries on one side and
Israel on the other. All these countries object to Qatar's funding of the Al Jazeera news channel which provides seeming well balanced reporting across the region in both Arabic and English. Its seems that Qatar's neighbours would prefer the news
to be dominated by their own, not quite so balanced, news networks, that are a little bit more sycophantic to their own interests.
So perhaps it was hardly surprising that an Al Jazeera documentary investigating the Isreali Embassy in London would be reported to Ofcom for supposed bias.
The UK TV censor Ofcom investigated Al Jazeera after receiving complaints about The Lobby , a four-part documentary investigating the political influence of the Israeli embassy in Britain.
The programme showed Shai Masot, an official in the Israeli embassy in London, saying he would take down MPs including Sir Alan Duncan , the Foreign Office minister who is an outspoken supporter of a Palestinian state. The Israeli ambassador
subsequently apologised for the comments and Masot resigned.
Ofcom cleared al-Jazeera after concluding it did not make allegations in the documentary that were based on the grounds of individuals being Jewish and that it had included the view of the Israeli government in the programme. It ruled that
al-Jazeera had not breached rule 2.3, which relates to offensive matter, and rule 5.5 with regards to impartiality. Ofcom said:
It was the view of some complainants that The Lobby fuelled harmful stereotypes about Jewish people controlling or seeking to control powerful organisations. These complainants considered this was antisemitic and offensive.
We considered that the allegations in the programme were not made on the grounds that any of the particular individuals concerned were Jewish and noted that no claims were made relating to their faith. We did not consider that the programme
portrayed any negative stereotypes of Jewish people as controlling or seeking to control the media or governments. Rather, it was our view that these individuals featured in the programme in the context of its investigation into the alleged
activities of a foreign state -- the state of Israel acting through its UK embassy -- and their association with it.
An al-Jazeera source welcomed the ruling, saying:
This goes to show that no matter what al-Jazeera's critics say, its journalism meets and exceeds the highest standards of objectivity and balance. We feel vindicated by the rulings and ever more committed to exposing human rights violations by
anyone -- regardless of geography, religion, or the power of their lobbies.
Moscow has warning the US that it may restrict US media in Russia. Russian officials have
accused Washington of putting unwarranted pressure on the U.S. operations of Russia Today. A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said Russia was within its rights to restrict operations of U.S. media outlets in the country
A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said the full weight of the U.S. authorities was being brought to bear against RT's operations in the United States, and that Moscow had the right to respond.
She did not identify any specific U.S. media outlets that would be targeted. She said it made no difference from the Russian government's point of view if those outlets were backed by the U.S. state, or privately-funded. However late last
month, Russia's state TV censor accused U.S. TV channel CNN International of violating its license to broadcast in Russia and said it had summoned the broadcaster's representatives in connection with the matter.
US moralists of the Parents Television Council are calling on Hollywood to take gun violence seriously by evaluating and lowering its use on TV shows and
in films. PTC President Tim Winter spouted:
We agree with Disney's Bob Iger that gun violence should be taken seriously, and in that vein, we are calling on the entire entertainment industry to evaluate its own incessant, and ever-more-realistic daily rehearsals of gun violence -- and
graphic violence in general -- on its TV shows and in its movies. Hollywood needs to take seriously its own role in contributing to normalizing violence. Mr. Iger and other industry leaders cannot claim their content does not have real-life
impact when their very economic existence is based on advertising, the sole purpose of which is to change the behavior of each viewer.
We urge the entertainment industry to evaluate and ideally lower portrayals of violence and specifically, gun violence.
But before US campaign groups attempt to deflect people away from gun control, perhaps they could take a quick glance towards Europe. Europeans watch pretty much the same amount of violent Hollywood films and TV as American viewers. And yet suffer
vastly less killing from gun rampages. A most cursory correlation of evidence suggestion that many lives are saved in Europe through our stringent gun control laws.
Prank is a 2016 Canada comedy drama by Vincent Biron.
Starring Alexandre Auger, Eric K Boulianne and Normand Daoust.
Stefie, a lonely young boy, is approached by Martin, Jean-Sé and Lea to record their daily pranks with his cellphone. The four prankmeisters decide to set up an antic that goes beyond anything they've done so far... But who will be the victim?
PRANK is a funny and cruel coming-of-age story about friendship, peer pressure and the loss of innocence.
UK: Passed 15 for strong language, sex references, nudity, drug misuse after 24s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:
The BBC is facing a court battle after it defied Ofcom orders to publish figures on complaints about its shows.
Channel 4 and ITV already disclose the numbers, and release detailed information about objections to their programmes every two weeks. But the BBC nsists on keeping that information a secret. Perhaps this more about revealing political accusations
of bias rather than trivial whinges by the 'easily offended.
Now TV censor Ofcom has waded in and told the BBC it has no choice but to become more transparent. Ofcom insiders have also made it clear that they are prepared to go to court over the matter if the BBC digs its heels in. Sharon White, Ofcom's
chief executive, regards it as an important point of principle.
Kevin Bakhurst, an Ofcom director and a former BBC news boss, has told Corporation executives they need to comply. In a strongly worded letter, seen by the Mail, he said:
The greater transparency we propose is necessary to build and maintain public confidence in the operation of the BBC... and to provide public accountability.
Ofcom has given the BBC until the November 19 to comply with orders and publish fortnightly complaints bulletins that go into the same level of detail as Ofcom's reports about Channel 4, ITV, Five, Sky and other broadcasters.
BBC bosses will then have to publish the exact number of complaints the Corporation receives about every programme that registers 100 or more objections. Every time a complaint sparks an investigation, it will also be forced to disclose full
details of the complaints, the points of principles at stake and the outcome of its probe.
A BBC spokesman has responded:
The BBC is already the most transparent broadcaster on complaints, including publishing data every month and responding on our website, and numbers are often influenced by orchestrated political campaigns but of course we are considering Ofcom's
A challenge to GCHQ's use of non-specific warrants to authorise the bulk hacking of smartphones, computers and networks in the UK is
starting at the court of appeal.
The case, brought by the campaign group Privacy International (PI), is the latest twist in a protracted battle about both the legality of mass snooping and the primacy of civil courts over an intelligence tribunal that operates partly in secret.
The original claim dates back to 2014 and was brought at the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) following revelations by the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. The IPT hears complaints about government surveillance and the intelligence
services. Some of its hearings are held behind closed doors.
PI, along with seven internet service providers, argued that computer network exploitation (CNE) carried out by GCHQ , the government monitoring station in Cheltenham, breaches human rights.
The trouble with politicians claiming that censorship is the answer, is that when the censorship inevitably fails to solve the problem, they can never admit fallibility, and so their only answer is to censor more
Home secretary Amber Rudd used her keynote speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester to announce new laws,
which would see anyone caught repeatedly watching extremist content on the internet to face up to 15 years jail.
At present laws prohibiting material that could be useful to terrorists only apply to hardcopy or downloaded material . They do not apply to material that is not actually in one's possession.
Security and digital rights experts have dumped on the home secretary's proposal for the new laws, calling the move incredibly dangerous. Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group, said:
This is incredibly dangerous. Journalists, anti-terror campaigns and others may need to view extremist content, regularly and frequently.
People tempted towards extremism may fear discussing what they have read or seen with anyone in authority. Even potential informants may be dissuaded from coming forward because they are already criminalised.
Martha Spurrier, director of Liberty, said:
This shocking proposal would make thoughtcrime a reality in the UK. Blurring the boundary between thought and action like this undermines the bedrock principles of our criminal justice system and will criminalise journalists, academics and many
other innocent people.
We have a vast number of laws to tackle terror. The Government's own reviewer of terror legislation Max Hill QC has said repeatedly that we need fewer, not more. A responsible Home Secretary would listen to the evidence -- not grandstand for
cheap political points at the expense of our fundamental freedoms.
In terms of how people would be identified -- it's hard for us to say without seeing more detail about the proposals. It's likely identifying people would mean intrusive surveillance measures like those in the Investigatory Powers Act. In terms
of enforceability -- it's likely to be really difficult because so many people will be caught up who have a legitimate reason and will then run that defence.
Shashank Joshi, a research fellow at the security think tank RUSI, told BuzzFeed News that Rudd's proposal lacked specific detail and ran the risk of criminalising parts of some newspapers:
The risk is that [Rudd] runs into the same problems as her predecessor, Theresa May, did in 2015, when she sought to ban 'extremism', Joshi said. These are broad and nebulous terms, and they require very careful definition in order to avoid
curbing legitimate free speech.
Otherwise we would risk criminalising some of the material that appears in certain mainstream newspaper columns.
Amber Rudd also decided to bang on about prohibiting encryption, even rather haplessly admitting that she did not understand who it worked.
Again campaigners were not impressed. Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group, noted:
Amber Rudd needs to be realistic and clear about what she wants. It is no better saying she wishes to deny criminals the use of encryption than to say she wishes to deny them access to gravity. And if she succeeds in pushing them off major
platforms, terrorists may end up being harder to detect.
Lib Dem Ed Davey also weighed in:
Encryption keeps us all secure online. It allows businesses to operate and thrive securely. Any weakening of encryption will ultimately make us all less safe. For if you weaken encryption, you run the risk of letting in the bad guys
But this Conservative government can only see things in black and white -- ignoring the realities of technology. The Home Secretary's key note speech called on tech giants to work together and, with government, to take down extremist content
faster than ever before. My party completely support her in that mission. The only way we will defeat this scourge is to band together -- exchange information, invest in new technologies and present a united front.
Norway's Culture Ministry is determined to revoke a century-old law on municipal cinema licensing in order to fight censorship and promote free
The Norwegian government's proposal to reform the cinema concession law is aimed at ensuring more diversity and breadth in film choice, but it is facing resistance from the entrenched players.
According to Eva Liestøl, speaking for Norway's film censors at the Norwegian Media Authority, whinged that enabling competition in the cinema industry may have far-reaching consequences. She said:
A revocation of licensing, combined with today's simplified film production technology, can lead to a marked growth of Bollywood, Netflix, pop-up and downright porno cinemas.
The Media authority proposes that if local authority licensing is scrapped it should be replaced by a national cinema register in order to supervise, among other things, the observance of age limits.
The cinema concession act is 104 years old and dates back to 1913. The main argument from the government's side is that the concession practice violates the constitution, because the municipalities, by deciding what is to be shown in the cinema,
in practice indulge in censorship that can hinder the freedom of expression.
Arild Kalkvik, who chairs the Norwegian Association of Cinema Directors is inevitably unimpressed by freedom of expression, saying:
The termination of the licensing procedure, however, will unleash free market forces, which means that virtually anyone will be able to start a cinema anywhere and show anything they want. This can lead to the emergence of unserious actors who
just want to take the cream off the milk with brief stints, which, you know, go well combined with alcohol sales
The law change has been in a consultation phase since this summer.
A poster for Quiz Clothing, a clothing retailer, seen in June 2017. The ad depicted a young woman wearing ripped jeans and
a bardot-style top, who was sitting in the window of an ice cream van and licking an ice cream.
Two complainants, who both believed the ad appeared to sexualise a child, objected that the ad was irresponsible.
Tarak International Ltd t/a Quiz Clothing said they were sorry that the image had caused discomfort, and that no offence was ever intended, nor was the advert meant to be perceived as sexually explicit. They said their Lost in Summer campaign
centred around the fun, everyday activities enjoyed by their consumers during the summer months, and that the ad was relevant to that concept. They said the model in the image was 25 years old at the time of shooting and the thought of
sexualisation was never in consideration, nor was it ever intentionally implied.
To avoid any further issues, they had taken steps to remove the image from their digital channels, and the one remaining ad on an outdoor poster site was being taken down. They said they had no plans to use the image again in the future.
Exterion Media said they had reviewed the ad based on their guidelines and did not feel that the model would be considered to be a child or that the image was of a sexual nature.
ASA Assessment: Complaints Not upheld
The ASA acknowledged that the model was 25 at the time the photograph was taken. While the model did appear youthful, she did not appear to be under the age of 16.
We noted that the ad did not feature any explicit sexual references or nudity. The model was sitting with her legs apart, and we considered that this, combined with the fact that she was staring at the camera and licking an ice cream could be seen
by some as sexually suggestive. However, we considered that the model's overall pose and expression were not sexually provocative, and the ad was therefore likely to be seen as no more than mildly sexual.
Given the above, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to be seen as sexualising children or be seen to be irresponsible.
Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 UK / USA / Canada Sci-Fi thriller by Denis Villeneuve.
Starring Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas.
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick
Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
India's film censors at the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) have demanded cuts before granting an adults-only 'A' rating for Blade Runner 2049.
All the nude shots, frontal and back have been deleted. It was pointed out to them that the nudity is computer generated rather than real, but this did not sway the censors.
There were also cuts to blur liquor bottles wherever they are shown.
The ruthless efficiency with which the Spanish government censored the Internet ahead of the referendum on Catalonian independence foreshadowed the
severity of its crackdown at polling places on October 1 . We have previously written about one aspect of that censorship; the raid of the .cat top-level domain registry . But there was much more to it than that, and many of the more than 140
censored domains and Internet services continue to be blocked today.
It began with the seizure of the referendum.cat domain, the official referendum website, on September 13 by the Guardia Civil (Spanish military police), pursuant to a warrant issued by the Supreme Court of Catalonia. Over the ensuring days this
order was soon extended to a number of other and unofficial mirrors of the website, such as ref1oct.cat , ref1oct.eu , which were seized if they were hosted at a .cat domain, and blocked by ISPs if they were not. (The fact that Spanish ISPs
already blocked websites such as the Pirate Bay under court order enabled the blocking of additional websites to be rolled out swiftly.)
One of these subsequent censorship orders, issued on September 23 , was especially notable in that it empowered the Guardia Civil to block not only a list of named websites, but also any future sites with content related to content about the
referendum, publicized on any social network by a member of the Catalonian Government. This order accelerated the blocking of further websites without any further court order. These apparently included the censorship of non-partisan citizen
collectives (e.g. empaperem.cat ) and other non-profit organizations ( assemblea.cat , webdelsi.cat , alerta.cat ), and campaign websites by legal political parties ( prenpartit.cat ).
On Friday a separate court order was obtained requiring Google to remove a voting app from the Google Play app store. Similar to the September 23 order, the order also required Google to remove any other apps developed by the same developer. Those
violating such orders by setting up mirrors, reverse proxies, or alternative domains for blocked content were summoned to court and face criminal charges . One of these activists also had his GitHub and Google accounts seized.
On the day of the referendum itself, the Internet was shut down at polling places in an effort to prevent votes from being transmitted to returning officers.
Throughout this unrest, a group of activists sharing the Twitter account @censura1oct has been verifying the blocks from multiple ISPs, and sharing information about the technical measures used. All of the censorship measures that were put in
place in the leadup to the referendum appear to remain in place today, though we don't know for how much longer. The Spanish government no doubt hopes that its repression of political speech in Catalonia will be forgotten if the censored sites
come back online quickly. We need to ensure that that isn't the case.
The Spanish government's censorship of online speech during the Catalonian referendum period is so wildly disproportionate and overbroad, that its violation of these instruments seems almost beyond dispute.
David Currie has become the new Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
David is an accomplished regulator, having acted as the inaugural Chairman of both Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). He sits in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher. As Chairman he will lead the 13 member ASA Council, Board
of the ASA and the body that rules on whether to uphold complaints about ads.
The ASA Council also oversees much of the regulator's pro-active work, with recent initiatives including: tougher standards on broadband prices in ads to ensure consumers aren't misled; research into how consumers understand was and now prices to
establish whether more needs to be done to avoid misleadingness; a commitment to new standards to remove harmful gender stereotypes in ads from 2018.
David Currie, incoming ASA Chairman said:
The vast majority of ads in the UK are responsible, but where an ad is misleading, harmful or offensive the ASA is here to put it right. As I take up the chairmanship of the ASA, newer forms of online advertising continue to gain ground,
including native and influencer ads and those whose targeting is based on consumers' preferences. Across all of these spheres, as well as in the traditional media, the ASA's mission remains the same -- to make every UK ad a responsible ad .
Germany's new internet censorship law came into force on 1st October. The law nominally targets 'hate speech', but massively high penalties coupled
with ridiculously short time scales allowed to consider the issues, mean that the law ensures that anything the authorities don't like will have to be immediately censored...just in case.
Passed earlier this summer, the law will financially penalize social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, if they don't remove hate speech, as per its definition in Germany's current criminal code within 24 hours. They will be
allowed up to a week to decide for comments that don't fall into the blatant hate speech category. The top fine for not deleting hate speech within 24 hours is 50 million euro though that would be for repeatedly breaking the law, not for
Journalists, lawyers, and free-speech advocates have been voicing their concerns about the new law for months. They say that, to avoid fines, Facebook and others will err on the side of caution and just delete swathes of comments, including ones
that are not illegal. They worry that social media platforms are being given the power to police and effectively shut down people's right to free opinion and free speech in Germany.
The German Journalists Association (DJV) is calling on journalists and media organizations to start documenting all deletions of their posts on social media as of today. The borders of free speech must not be allowed to be drawn by profit-driven
businesses, said DJV chairman Frank 3cberall in a recent statement.
Reporters Without Borders also expressed their strong opposition to the law when it was drafted in May, saying it would contribute to the trend to privatize censorship by delegating the duties of judges to commercial online platforms -- as if the
internet giants can replace independent and impartial courts.
In a glass tower in a trendy part of China's eastern city of Tianjin, hundreds of young people sit in front of computer screens, scouring the internet for videos and messages that run counter to Communist Party doctrine
The Russian Orthodox Church has erected 300 billboards in Moscow displaying words about love exchanged between the last tsar and his
wife. The displays are the latest actions in a campaign trying to get the Russian film, Matilda banned.
The film explores the love affair between Nicholas II and a ballerina. It has wound up the christians because they consider the emperor to be a saint. MP Natalya Poklonskaya is leading the campaign and explains:
You can't touch saints and you can't show them having sex
Violent ctivists have burnt cars outside the offices of the production company and threatened to disrupt screenings. The biggest cinema chain will not show the film to protect cinemagoers when it opens later this month.
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP) has defended dubious scenes in one of its children's books after a reader noticed a little background dogging.
On one of the pages in the story, a group of gay looking men can be seen disappearing behind a bush, shortly before an old lady's glasses are illustrated popping off in shock at what she sees behind the bush.
Responding to the reader, OUP rather unconvincingly tweeted:
Interesting spot but some of the pages are missing from this title! We can reassure you nothing untoward is going on behind that bush.
There are pages missing in the original tweet, which takes the images from Pond Dipping out of context.
The pages in between show some dogs chasing each other, children running and a man carrying a mysteriously large bag.
The book in question, Pond Dipping , was written by Roderick Hunt and illustrated by Alex Brychta, as part of a long-running series describing the adventures of children Biff, Chip and Kipper.