Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2019: October

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Updated: Terminator: Dark Fate...

15 rated for UK cinema release and MPAA R rated in the US

Link Here31st October 2019
Terminator: Dark Fate is a 2019 China / USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Tim Miller.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis and Edward Furlong. BBFC link IMDb

More than two decades have passed since Sarah Connor prevented Judgment Day, changed the future, and re-wrote the fate of the human race. Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) is living a simple life in Mexico City with her brother (Diego Boneta) and father when a highly advanced and deadly new Terminator - a Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) - travels back through time to hunt and kill her. Dani's survival depends on her joining forces with two warriors: Grace (Mackenzie Davis), an enhanced super-soldier from the future, and a battle-hardened Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). As the Rev-9 ruthlessly destroys everything and everyone in its path on the hunt for Dani, the three are led to a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from Sarah's past that may be their last best hope.

The BBFC has just announced its rating for the cinema release of Terminator: Dark Fate. It was passed 15 uncut for strong violence, bloody images, language.

There has been a little debate as to whether the franchise has returned to more adult oriented fare but 4 other European countries have passed the film with 12 ratings or under. So maybe the 15 rating from the BBFC is an outlier and 12 is the norm.

Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

16th October 2019. See latest MPAA ratings [pdf] from

The film has just been rated R by the MPA (previously MPAA) for violence throughout, language and brief nudity.

Update: New Zealand's Chief Censor speaks about his 13 rating

31st October 2019. See article from

Terminator: Dark Fate, released in New Zealand today, has been given an R13 rating by the Office of Film and Literature Classification, with warnings for strong violence and offensive language.

But in Australia, the film has a rating of MA15+, which means it is legally restricted to viewers aged 15 and older (children under 15 must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian). The film also has a certificate of 15 in the UK, while in the US it has been rated R, which requires anyone under the age of 17 to be accompanied by an adult.

Chief censor David Shanks said based on the office's research, New Zealand audiences tended to be less concerned about bad language and nudity than other markets, which sometimes resulted in disparities. He said:

In this case, we've given another major film a lower restriction than the Australian authorities. It's not that we're more conservative or more liberal than any of the other authorities, it's just that due to our engagement with young people and the public, we're attuned to and sensitised to slightly different things.

Shanks also pointed out that the R13 classification was unique to New Zealand, with the Australian Classification Board having to choose between M and MA15+.



Crossing the line...

New Zealand film censor bans bad taste shoot 'em up set in Christchurch mosque murders

Link Here31st October 2019

New Zealand's Chief Censor David Shanks has announced two bans.

The first was a document said to have been shared by the terrorist who killed two people in Halle, Germany earlier this month. It has been classified as objectionable under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993. A live stream of the event had already been banned.

Shanks also banned is a low priced video game that puts the player in the role of a killer called Brenton Torrent with the game play consisting solely of the murder of defenceless people. He said:

The Shitposter from 2 Genderz Productions, that celebrates the livestream of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch, is classified objectionable.

The creators of this game set out to produce and sell a game designed to place the player in the role of a white supremacist terrorist killer. In this game, anyone who isn't a white heterosexual male is a target for simply existing.

This game is cheaply and crudely made, with little or no appeal in terms of the challenge of its gameplay. Everything about this game, from the name of the shooter character down to its purchase price ($14.88) makes it clear that this is a product created for and marketed to white supremacists who are interested in supporting and celebrating white extremist attacks.


The games producers will try to dress their work up as satire but this game is no joke.

It crosses the line.



Spanish authorities feel a bit insecure...

Spain blocks Github to try to disrupt a secure communications app used by Catalonian protestors

Link Here30th October 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Spain...Age verification debated in Parliament
The Spanish government has quietly begun censoring the entirety of GitHub in response to mounting Catalan protests, causing problems for those developers that use the Microsoft-owned service for their work projects.

While the issue is easily remedied by using a VPN, the fact that the Spanish government has been quick to try to censor such a valuable tool speaks volumes for the increasingly prominent but authoritarian idea that mass censorship is the best way to crush dissent.

One new pro-independence group, Tsunami Democratic, organizes digitally online and is known for the mass occupation of Barcelona's El Prat airport by an estimated 10,000 protesters. In addition to other social media it has a website hosted on Github as well as an encrypted communication app that's also available on Github.

The Android app uses geolocation and end-to-end protocols to make sure that only trusted and verified users have access. Verification takes place through the scanning of a QR code of an already-verified member. The app isn't available via Playstore so the APK file containing the app needs to be downloaded and manually installed on a phone.

It's for this reason that the Spanish government has begun to block GitHub in the country, cutting off access to all users. Over the last week, several Spanish internet service providers have blocked access to the service.



US ISPs feel a bit insecure...

ISPs are lobbying Congress to ban encrypted DNS lest they lose the ability to snoop on their customers. By Ernesto Falcon

Link Here30th October 2019
Full story: DNS Over Https...A new internet protocol will make government website blocking more difficult

An absurd thing is happening in the halls of Congress. Major ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are banging on the doors of legislators to stop the deployment of DNS over HTTPS (DoH), a technology that will give users one of the biggest upgrades to their Internet privacy and security since the proliferation of HTTPS . This is because DoH ensures that when you look up a website, your query to the DNS system is secure through encryption and can't be tracked, spoofed, or blocked.

But despite these benefits, ISPs have written dozens of congressional leaders about their concerns, and are handing out misleading materials invoking Google as the boogeyman. EFF, Consumer Reports, and National Consumers League wrote this letter in response .

The reason the ISPs are fighting so hard is that DoH might undo their multi-million dollar political effort to take away user privacy. DoH isn't a Google technology--it's a standard, like HTTPS. They know that. But what is frustrating is barely two years ago, these very same lobbyists, and these very same corporations, were meeting with congressional offices and asking them to undo federal privacy rules that protect some of the same data that encrypted DNS allows users to hide.

ISPs Want to Protect an Illegitimate Market of Privacy Invasive Practices to "Compete" with Google's Privacy Invasive Practices, Congress Should Abolish Both

Congress shouldn't take its cues from these players on user privacy. The last time they did, Congress voted to take away users' rights . As long as DNS traffic remains exposed, ISPs can exploit our data the same way that Facebook and Google do. That's the subtext of this ISP effort. Comcast and its rivals are articulating a race to the bottom. ISPs will compete with Internet giants on who can invade user privacy more, then sell that to advertisers.

The major ISPs have also pointed out that centralization of DNS may not be great for user privacy in the long run. That's true, but that would not be an issue if everyone adopted DoH across the board. Meaning, the solution isn't to just deny anyone a needed privacy upgrade. The solution is to create laws that abolish the corporate surveillance model that exists today for both Google and Comcast.

But that's not what the ISPs want Congress to do, because they're ultimately on the same side as Google and other big Internet companies--they don't want us to have effective privacy laws to handle these issues. Congress should ignore the bad advice it's getting from both the major ISPs and Big Tech on consumer privacy, and instead listen to the consumer and privacy groups.

EFF and consumer groups have been pleading with Congress to pass a real privacy law, which would give individuals a right to sue corporations that violate their privacy, mandate opt-in consent for use of personal information, and allowing the states to take privacy law further, should the need arise . But many in Congress are still just listening to big companies, even holding Congressional hearings that only invite industry and no privacy groups to "learn" what to do next. In fact the only reason we don't have a strong federal privacy law because corporations like Comcast and Google want Congress to simply delete state laws like California's CCPA and Illinois's Biometric Protection Act while offering virtually nothing to users.

DNS over HTTPS Technology Advances More than Just Privacy, It Advances Human Rights and Internet Freedom

Missing from the debate is the impact DoH has on Internet freedom and human rights in authoritarian regimes where the government runs the broadband access network. State-run ISPs in Venezuela , China , and Iran have relied on insecure DNS traffic to censor content and target activists . Many of the tools governments like China and Iran rely on in order to censor content relies on exposed DNS traffic that DoH would eliminate. In other words, widespread adoption of encrypted DNS will shrink the censorship toolbox of authoritarian regimes across the world. In other words the old tools of censorship will be bypassed if DoH is systematically adopted globally. So while the debate about DoH is centered on data privacy and advertising models domestically, U.S. policymakers should recognize the big picture being that DoH can further American efforts to promote Internet freedom around the world. They should in fact be encouraging Google and the ISPs to offer encrypted DNS services and for them to quickly adopt it, rather than listen to ISP's pleas to stop it outright.

For ISPs to retain the power to censor the Internet, DNS needs to remain leaky and exploitable. That's where opposition to DoH is coming from. And the oposition to DoH today isn't much different from early opposition to the adoption of HTTP.

EFF believes this is the wrong vision for the Internet. We've believed, since our founding, that user empowerment should be the center focus. Let's try to advance the human right of privacy on all fronts. Establishing encrypted DNS can greatly advance this mission - fighting against DoH is just working on behalf of the censors.



The official line...

Pakistan's TV news anchors and presenters are banned from stating opinions lest they distract from the official line

Link Here30th October 2019
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) strongly condemns a draconian new directive from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) that effectively orders TV channels to impose prior censorship on their anchors by ensuring that they express no personal opinions.

Issued on 27 October to all licenced satellite TV broadcasters, the PEMRA directive says journalists who host TV discussions must limit themselves to moderating and must never express an opinion or judgement:

[The] role of anchors is to moderate programmes in an objective, unbiased and impartial manner, excluding themselves from their personal opinions, biases and judgements on any issue. Therefore, anchors hosting exclusive regular shows should not appear in talk shows whether their own or other channels as subject matter expert.

Non-compliance is punishable by a fine of up to 10 million rupees (60,000 euros) and withdrawal of the TV channel's broadcasting licence.

Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF's Asia-Pacific desk said:

It is not the media regulator's role to dictate who can express opinions during debates, or to decree what can or cannot be said. This grotesque PEMRA directive not only violates journalistic independence and pluralism but even goes so far as to criminalize opinions. We urge PEMRA's members to recover a semblance of credibility by rescinding this order, whose sole aim is to intimidate media outlets and journalists.



BBFC introduces new symbols on Netflix to help a rather fragile sounding generation...

A BBFC tabloid style survey of teens finds that unwanted content leaves 46% feeling anxious and 5% saying it had a negative impact on their mental health

Link Here29th October 2019

Don't call us boring: 'Generation Conscious' want to make better decisions than ever before

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is launching new age rating symbols which, for the first time, are designed for digital streaming platforms - a move which will give young people better and consistent guidance about film and TV content, enabling them to make conscious decisions about what they watch.

New research from the BBFC reveals, given their access to more media, nine in 10 (87%) 12-19 year olds want to make better decisions than ever before. Two thirds (66%) of young people resent the idea of being perceived as 'boring' or 'sensible' - something three quarters (74%) of adults admit to having thought.

Instead, almost all teens (97%) want more credit for being conscious decision makers, making informed and positive choices throughout all aspects of their life. The BBFC's own research showed 95% of teenagers want consistent age ratings that they recognise from the cinema and DVD to apply to content accessed through streaming services.

A majority (56%) of teens are concerned about watching content without knowing what it contains - and say they want clear age ratings to guide them. A third of teens (32%) say they see content they'd rather avoid on a weekly basis, leaving them feeling uncomfortable or anxious (46%), and one in twenty (5%) saying it had a negative impact on their mental health.

The BBFC's new digital classification symbols, launching on Thursday 31 October, will help young people to make conscious decisions when it comes to film and content on video on demand platforms. Netflix has welcomed the new symbols, and will begin rolling them out on the platform starting from Thursday 31 October. This builds on the ongoing partnership between the BBFC and Netflix, which will see the streaming service classify content using BBFC guidelines, with the aim that 100% of content on the platform will carry a BBFC age rating.

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said: "It's inspiring to see young people determined to make conscious and thoughtful decisions. We want all young people to be empowered and confident in their film and TV choices. As the landscape of viewing content changes, so do we. We're proud to be launching digital symbols for a digital audience, to help them choose content well."

The move empowers young people to confidently engage with TV and film content in the right way. Half (50%) of young people say having access to online content and the internet helps them have tough conversations or navigate tricky subjects, like mental health and sexuality, when talking to parents.

Jack, 12, from Peterborough said: "It's difficult to choose what to watch online as there is so much choice out there. I like to think about things before I watch them. Sometimes my friends watch stuff I don't think is appropriate or I might find scary or it just isn't for me. I could definitely make better decisions and avoid uncomfortable situations if age ratings were more clearly signposted."

The BBFC is calling for streaming services to clearly label content with age ratings - and has this month launched its first set of VOD User Guidelines , developed in conjunction with video on demand platforms. These user guidelines outline how streaming services can help people by offering clearer, more consistent and comprehensive use of trusted, well understood, BBFC age ratings to support 'Generation Conscious'.

The BBFC commissioned Studio AKA to produce a short animation , showcasing the new age rating symbols, to help families help view what's right for them. The film is currently being played nationwide in cinemas until Sunday 3 November.



Get the Fuck Out of Swansea...

Council bans Roy Chubby Brown gig with the bleedin' obvious observation that he does not reflect the council's values

Link Here29th October 2019
A gig by comedian Roy Chubby Brown has been cancelled because Swansea Council said it was unlikely to reflect our values and commitments.

It said it would refund 52 tickets sold in advance of April's gig.

But Brown's management criticised the decision, saying not everybody likes Marmite but it doesn't mean the people that eat it are wrong.

The council's censorship attracted more than 500 comments on Facebook, with a further 300 messages on Brown's Facebook page after his management said the gig had been unceremoniously cancelled. They said:

Roy is one of the most popular artistes ever to appear in Swansea and the crowds love him. Who has made a minority decision for the majority? Everybody seems to be frightened, to be honest, in case they upset some militant minority soap box protagonist. Everybody's got different tastes.



Offsite Article: The Open Observatory of Network Interference...

Link Here29th October 2019
These watchdogs track secret online censorship across the globe They measure what's being blocked or removed, and why.

See article from



Maybe Google and its AI can do it cheaper...

Ofcom sets out its stall in a report finding that internet censorship, as per the Online Harms Bill, will be very vague, very open to unintended consequences, and presumably very expensive

Link Here28th October 2019
Ofcom writes:

We have today published an economic perspective on the challenges and opportunities in regulating online services.

Online services have revolutionised people's personal and working lives, generating significant benefits. But some of their features have the potential to cause harms to individuals and society. These can include exposure to harmful content or conduct, loss of privacy, data or security breaches, lack of competition, unfair business practices or harm to wellbeing. In May, our Online Nation report set out the benefits to consumers of being online and their concerns about potential online harm.

Today's paper aims to contribute to the discussion on how to address these harms effectively, drawing on Ofcom's experience as the UK communications regulator. It looks at the sources of online harms from an economic perspective, which can inform the broader policy assessment that policymakers and regulators may use to evidence and address them.



Don't mention banning 120 online games...

Australian film and game censors publish their Annual Report

Link Here28th October 2019
The Australian Classification Board has published its Annual Report covering the period. 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.

The report starts with a long report about schmoozing with the bigwigs of the film censorship world at an international conference of film censors.

The Australian film censors have had a pretty good year on the film front. No banned films and only a couple of films with enough classification issues for a press release. These were for Bumblebee and Rocketman .

On the video games front the censors recalled their bans of Song of Memories and most notably Dayz . The Censorship Board is saddled with some stupid rules laid down in statute as a bit of compromise to get an adults only games rating, The lawmakers decided that the rules would be tough on the depiction of drugs leading to the modern day censors getting continually embarrassed by having to ban games where drugs are depicted as beneficial.

The censors didn't have much to say about the 120 online games banned under the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) classification tool. This automated tools seems to assign ratings by random. Minor variants, eg for different consoles, can get widely differing ratings including bans. When a game has sufficient gravitas to make the news, the human censors quietly edit the database with a more sensible rating. It is hard to believe that 120 online games justify being banned.

The censors also noted that they banned the murderous live stream of Brenton Tarrant and his manifesto. Carefully but awkwardly reported without mentioning his name, which serves only to highlight the contrived omission.

Film censors always like to report on the complaints mailbag, probably because, commendably, there generally few complainst about their decision. The Board announced:

  • 124 complaints about decisions for films
  • 39 complaints about decisions for computer games
  • 3 complaints about decisions made by the IARC classification tool
  • 6 complaints about decisions made by the Netflix classification tool.

Of the 124 complaints about the classifications of films, 28 were for the theatrical release film, Show Dogs , which had attracted 118 complaints in the period of the previous report. The next most complained about film was the theatrical release film, A Star is Born , which received 13 complaints about an offscreen suicide, followed by Instant Family , which received 11 complaints about strong lanugage, and A House With A Clock In Its Walls , which received nine complaints for being a bit too scary for kids.

Of the games complaints, 26 were about the ban of We Happy Few (actually initially banned during the period of the previous Annual Report). This was another example of a victim of the silly rules about the depiction of drugs.



Australian Government facial recognition services offered for checking access to porn...

More shitty politicians who couldn't give a damn about endangering adults and just want to virtue signal about protecting kids

Link Here28th October 2019
Australia's Department of Home Affairs is hoping to use its Face Verification Service and Document Verification Service across the economy, and is backing its use for age verification for Australians to look at pornography.

Writing in a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs' inquiry, launched in September, Home Affairs said it could provide a suite of identity-matching services.

Whilst the services are primarily designed to prevent identity crime, Home Affairs would support the increased use of the Document and Face Verification Services across the Australian economy to strengthen age verification processes, the department wrote.

Home Affairs conceded the Face Verification Service was not yet operational, as it relied on the passage of biometric legislation through Parliament.



Offsite Article: Why do gay apps resist age verification ?...

Link Here28th October 2019
Porn viewers are understandably worried about age verification but maybe gay folks have even more reasons for concern as half the world still has anti gay laws

See article from



Offsite Article: Fashion statement...

Link Here28th October 2019
Morrissey performs in LA wearing a 'Fuck the Guardian' t-shirt

See article from



Offsite Article: US ISP is lobbying against encrypted DNS...

Link Here27th October 2019
Full story: DNS Over Https...A new internet protocol will make government website blocking more difficult
Lest it loses its ability to snoop on its customers' browsing history

See article from



An Iron Curtain for the Internet...

Russia to test cutting off its internet users from the outside world

Link Here26th October 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media
The Russian Government is set to begin tests of an internal version of the web -- isolated from the outside world -- in November, local sources claim.

Such a setup is supposedly intended to shield critical Russian systems from cyber-attack, allowing the federation to operate disconnected from the rest of the web.

However, critics have claimed that the tests are part of a wider attempt to isolate its citizens from the surrounding world and its influences.

Previous tests announced in February, for April, did not actually occur, presumably there were technical issues.

According to D-Russia , the tests of the network isolation will begin after November 1, 2019 and will be repeatedly at least annually.



Ludicrous policy proposal was greeted with a wall of stony silence...

So Oxford students took that as a yes and banned applause in favour of 'jazz hands'

Link Here 26th October 2019
Traditional applause is being discouraged at Oxford University, as students vote to replace triggering clapping with jazz hands.

Students at the University of Oxford, studying diverse subjects such as hydro-crystallisation and the psychology of easy offence, voted to replace noisy appreciation with the British Sign Language equivalent -- a wave of both hands, palms forward.

Union officers claimed clapping can be 'triggering' for some students, including those with anxiety.

The motion to mandate the encouragement of silent clapping was successfully passed by student union representatives at their first meeting of the academic year.



So has anyone ever given consent for your political preferences to be tracked?...

Sky News sees Labour and Tory documents showing that they buy data from data brokers revealing people's likely political preferences

Link Here 26th October 2019

Manuals for Labour campaigners, seen by Sky News, show the party buys data from credit reference agency Experian in order to target both traditional canvassing and advertising on Facebook. Data obtained from the Conservatives shows it categorises people using Experian data in its VoteSource database.

Experian's data is widely used by political parties and private companies, who prize its ability to classify voters on a street-by-street basis into categories such as Bank of Mum and Dad, Disconnected Youth and Midlife Stopgap.

Labour and the Conservatives buy Experian's Mosaic database, which uses more than 850 million records, including crime data, GCSE results, gas and electricity consumption and child benefits, to classify people into types.

Until last year, Labour also used an Experian tool called Origin to target voters based on ethnicity. Labour quietly stopped using the tool in 2018 after deciding it would not be legal under new data protection legislation.

This all seems totally at odds with the new GDPR law enacted this year which suggest that these people should be seeking people's consent before they amass and sell data in this manner.

Tim Turner, founder of data protection consultancy 2040 Training commented:

People have explicit rights to opt-out of processing like this, with no exemptions, but if you don't know it's happening, how can you exercise these rights? Does the average person know about all this?

Pat Walshe, director of data protection firm Privacy Matters, added:

Absent of a specific notice and consent I don't see how such actions would amount to transparent, fair and lawful processing.  I can only hope the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is actively scrutinising the activities of UK political parties.



Offsite Article: Plain packaging for food is a ridiculous idea...

Link Here26th October 2019
First they came for my Coca-Cola , and I said nothing. Then they came for my bacon, and I said nothing. Now they're coming for just about everything that isn't spinach or meat substitute

See article from



How about a Government Harms Bill?...

The Government reveals that it spent 2.2 million on its failed Age Verification for porn policy and that doesn't include the work from its own civil servants

Link Here25th October 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

More than £2m of taxpayers' money was spent preparing for the age verification for porn censorship regime before the policy was dropped in early October, the government has revealed.

The bulk of the spending, £2.2m, was paid to the BBFC to do the detailed work on the policy from 2016 onwards. Before then, additional costs were borne by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, where civil servants were tasked with developing the proposals as part of their normal work.

Answering a written question fromthe shadow DCMS secretary, Tom Watson, Matt Warman for the government added: Building on that work, we are now establishing how the objectives of part three of the Digital Economy Act can be delivered through our online harms regime.

It is not just government funds that were wasted on the abortive scheme. Multiple private companies had developed systems that they were hoping to provide age verification services.

The bizarre thing was all this money was spent when the government knew that it wouldn't even prevent determined viewers from getting access to porn. It was only was only considered as effective from blocking kids from stumbling on porn.

So all that expense, and all that potential danger for adults stupidly submitting to age verification, and all for what?

Well at least next time round the  government may consider that they should put a least a modicum of thought about people's privacy.

It's not ALL about the kids. Surely the government has a duty of care for adults too. We need a Government Harms bill requiring a duty of care for ALL citizens. Now that would be a first!



BBC on Tor...

BBC joins the dark web so that those in the dark can see the light

Link Here24th October 2019
The BBC has made its international news website available via Tor, in a bid to thwart censorship attempts.

Tor is a privacy-focused web browser used to access pages on the dark web and also to evade ISP censorship more generally.

The browser obscures who is using it and what data is being accessed, which can help people avoid government surveillance and censorship.

Countries including China, Iran and Vietnam are among those who have tried to block access to the BBC News website or programmes.

Instead of visiting or, users of the Tor browser can visit the new bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion web address. Clicking this web address will not work in a regular web browser.

In a statement, the BBC said:

The BBC World Service's news content is now available on the Tor network to audiences who live in countries where BBC News is being blocked or restricted. This is in line with the BBC World Service mission to provide trusted news around the world.



A Copyright Troll's Charter explained...

TorrentFreak outlines the pros and cons of the proposed new small claims copyright process

Link Here24th October 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the CASE Act, a new bill that proposes to institute a small claims court for copyright disputes. Supporters see the legislation as the ideal tool for smaller creators to protect their works, but opponents warn that it will increase the number of damages claims against regular Internet users. The new bill, which passed with a clear 410-6 vote, will now progress to the Senate.

The bill is widely supported by copyright-heavy industry groups as well as many individual creators. However, as is often the case with new copyright legislation, there's also plenty of opposition from digital rights groups and Internet users who fear that the bill will do more harm than good.

Supporters of the CASE Act point out that the new bill is the missing piece in the present copyright enforcement toolbox. They believe that many creators are not taking action against copyright infringers at the moment, because filing federal lawsuits is too expensive. The new small claims tribunal will fix that, they claim.

Opponents, for their part, fear that the new tribunal will trigger an avalanche of claims against ordinary Internet users, with potential damages of up to $30,000 per case. While targeted people have the choice to opt-out, many simply have no clue what to do, they argue.

Thus far legislators have shown massive support for the new plan. Yesterday the bill was up for a vote at the U.S. House of Representatives where it was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. With a 410-6 vote , the passage of the CASE Act went smoothly.

Public Knowledge and other groups, such as EFF and Re:Create , fear that the bill will lead to more copyright complaints against regular Internet users. Re:Create's Executive Director Joshua Lamel hopes that the Senate will properly address these concerns. Lamel notes:

The CASE Act will expose ordinary Americans to tens of thousands of dollars in damages for things most of us do everyday. We are extremely disappointed that Congress passed the CASE Act as currently written, and we hope that the Senate will do its due diligence to make much-needed amendments to this bill to protect American consumers and remove any constitutional concerns,



A Massachusetts Bitch Hunt...

A bill is being discussed that bans the derogatory use of the word 'bitch'

Link Here24th October 2019
A bill has being considered by Massachusetts state lawmakers that bans the derogatory use of the word bitshc and is worded:

A person who uses the word 'bitchh' directed at another person to accost, annoy, degrade or demean the other person shall be considered to be a disorderly person in violation of this section.

If the bill is turned into law, those who violate the policy would be subject to penalties such as prison time of six months or less and a fine of $200 or less.

However the bill is more of a resident's petition than a seriously supported move by lawmakers and has little prospect of proceeding. The Bill was presented by the state House Representative Daniel Hunt who explained the procedure:

One of the responsibilities of all Representatives is to serve as a conduit for direct petitions from our constituents to the General Court. It's a long-held tradition that gives every Massachusetts resident a voice inside the halls of the State House and a chance to raise their personal interests before the legislature. While this specific instance may amuse some and alarm others, it remains a important process for self-representation.



UK parliament can't understand why Facebook will be exempting politicians from fact checking...

Fact Check this Mr Collins: 'What people voted for last year was for us to leave the European Union and we will leave the EU on 29 March 2019'

Link Here23rd October 2019
Damian Collins, the chair of the House of Commons' digital, culture, media and sport select committee has written to Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice-president for global affairs and communications,  querying Facebook decision to exempt political adverts from fact-checking

Collins, presumably speaking from planet Uranus where all politicians always tell the truth, demanded to know why Facebook has decided to exempt political statements from its fact-checking programme -- removing all bars on political candidates lying in paid adverts.

Collins wrote to Clegg with five questions for Facebook to answer , three of which covered the rule change. Why was the decision taken to change Facebook's policy, the MP asked, given the heavy constraint this will place on Facebook's ability to combat online disinformation in the run-up to elections around the world, and a possible UK general election in particular?



Copyright Troll's Charter...

The US House of Representatives Votes in Favour of Disastrous Copyright Bill

Link Here23rd October 2019

The US House of Representatives has just voted in favor of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) by 410-6 (with 16 members not voting), moving forward a bill that Congress has had no hearings and no debates on so far this session. That means that there has been no public consideration of the serious harm the bill could do to regular Internet users and their expression online.

The CASE Act creates a new body in the Copyright Office which will receive copyright complaints, notify the person being sued, and then decide if money is owed and how much. This new Copyright Claims Board will be able to fine people up to $30,000 per proceeding. Worse, if you get one of these notices (maybe an email, maybe a letter--the law actually does not specify) and accidentally ignore it, you're on the hook for the money with a very limited ability to appeal. $30,000 could bankrupt or otherwise ruin the lives of many Americans.

The CASE Act also has bad changes to copyright rules , would let sophisticated bad actors get away with trolling and infringement , and might even be unconstitutional . It fails to help the artists it's supposed to serve and will put a lot of people at risk.

Even though the House has passed the CASE Act, we can still stop it in the Senate. Tell your Senators to vote "no" on the CASE Act.

Take Action

Tell the Senate not bankrupt regular Internet users



The Rise Of Jordan Peterson...

And the fall of venues willing to show the observational documentary

Link Here22nd October 2019
The Rise Of Jordan Peterson is a 2019 Canada documentary by Patricia Marcoccia.
Starring Jordan Peterson. YouTube icon  BBFC link IMDb
A rare, intimate glimpse into the life and mind of Jordan Peterson, the academic and best-selling author who captured the world's attention with his criticisms of political correctness and his life-changing philosophy on discovering personal meaning. Christened as the most influential public intellectual in the western world, University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson skyrocketed to fame after he published a controversial viral video series entitled "Professor Against Political Correctness" in 2016. Within 2 years, he sold over 3 million copies of his self-help book, 12 Rules For Life, and became simultaneously branded by some as an academic rockstar selling out theatres around the world, and by others as a dangerous threat to progressive society. THE RISE OF JORDAN PETERSON intimately traces the transformative period of Peterson's life while visiting rare moments with his family, friends and foes who share their own versions of the Jordan Peterson story.

Although the documentary itself is observational rather than political, the politics of Jordan Peterson is controversial for his stance against political correctness. The film hasn't been banned by official censors but has routinely been refused venues for screening.

US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated for:
  • 2019 Gravitas Ventures RA Blu-ray at US Amazon released on 29th October 2019
  • 2019 Gravitas Ventures R1 DVD at US Amazon released on 29th October 2019
UK: Passed 12A uncut for infrequent strong language, discriminatory references:
  • 2019 cinema release
UK: BBFC rating not yet published for:

A Review

See article from by Carol Horton

Given today's downward cultural spiral, it's disturbing but not surprising that the makers of a thoughtful new documentary about Jordan Peterson are having a hard time finding somewhere to show their film. Many mainstream and independent cinemas have refused to screen it because they're fearful of controversy or morally concerned. One theater in Toronto cancelled a week-long showing after some of the staff took issue with it. A theater in Brooklyn cancelled a second screening, despite the fact that the first sold out and received good reviews, because some staff were offended . . . and felt uncomfortable.

It isn't a conventional talking heads-style documentary. It doesn't seek to hammer an agenda into its audience. Instead, the film honors the complexity of both of Peterson, his supporters, and his critics.

See the full article from



UK's Child Commissioner recommends action against loot boxes, and for age verification...

Report contains little to advance progress in the child safety game, maybe the government needs to buy another and hope for better luck next time

Link Here22nd October 2019
The argument about loot boxes being gambling is very tiresome. The debate about whether they are akin to gambling has become more important than the debate about how to keep children safe. Surely Loot boxes can be deemed an unacceptable monetisation method for children on its own merits, without trying to match apples to pears.

Longfield seems a bit new to the job, she is now calling for small games to be fully vetted by censors when this approach was given up ten years ago due to the unmanageable volume and unviable economics of expensive censors checking small games.

She is also dreaming that age verification is some sort of panacea for all societies ills. Parents generally know exactly what age their kids are, but the knowledge doesn't magically make for an idyllic childhood.

Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, has published a report, Gaming the system' which looks at the experiences of children who play games online. The Children's Commissioner's Office commissioned the research company Revealing Reality to speak to groups of children who play online games like FIFA, Fortnite and Roblox about what they love and what worries them about gaming, both to shine a light on their experiences and to inform policy recommendations.

With 93% of children in the UK playing video games, the Children's Commissioner is today calling for new rules to tighten up gambling laws and to address the worries children have expressed about how they feel out of control of their spending on online games.

However, it also reveals the drawbacks, in particular highlighting how many children are spending money on 'in-game' purchases because they feel they have to in order to keep up with friends or to advance in the game.

The report also shows how some children feel addicted to gaming and do not feel in control of the amount of time they spend playing games. Younger children told us they are playing games for an average of two to three hours a day, whereas older children are playing for three or more hours.

To address the concerns raised by children in the report, the Children's Commissioner makes a number of recommendations, including:

  • Bringing financial harm within the scope of the Government's forthcoming online harms legislation. Developers and platforms should not enable children to progress within a game by spending money and spending should be limited to items which are not linked to performance.

  • All games which allow players to spend money should include features for players to track their historic spend, and there should be maximum daily spend limits introduced in all games which feature in-game spending and turned on by default for children.

  • The Government should take immediate action to amend the definition of gaming in section 6 of the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate loot boxes as gambling.

  • The Government's age appropriate design code must include provisions on nudge techniques and detrimental use of data, as proposed in the draft code.

  • Games that are distributed online should be subject to a legally enforceable age-rating system, just as physical games are. There should be a requirement for an additional warning to be displayed for games which facilitate in-game spending. The Government should consult on whether age ratings of all games should be moderated pre-release, just as physical games are.

  • Online games should be a key focus of digital citizenship lessons in schools, rather than lessons focusing exclusively on social media. Teachers involved in the delivery of these lessons should be familiar with how key online games that are popular with children work.



Brownface Blackface...

Bizarre PC censorship from Ofcom about a Pakistani comedy take on Chris Gayle

Link Here21st October 2019

Nawab Ghar
PTV Global, 29 March 2019, 18:25

Nawab Ghar is a situation comedy series on PTV Global which is available on satellite in the UK. PTV Global is an Urdu language general entertainment channel aimed at a Pakistani audience.

The title of this comedy programme translates to The Lord's House, the central character is called Nawab, which translates to Lord. This programme included members of Nawab's family hoping to secure a partner for marriage. Chris Fail, who is presented as a distant relative, visited Nawab's home with his niece in order to arrange her marriage. The Chris Fail characters seems to be a take on the cricketer Chris Gayle.

During the visit to Nawab's home, Chris Fail falls in love with Guddo, Nawab's sister-in-law. Ofcom received a complaint about racially offensive references in the above programme. The complainant felt that the programme was racially offensive due to the use of 'blackface'

In this programme, Chris Fail was described as a visitor from Africa. Chris Fail was portrayed as having dark skin (which appeared to have been achieved with dark make-up) and long grey curly hair (a wig) under a black headscarf. In the programme he sang and danced when he started conversations with other characters.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3:

broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context206Such material may include206offensive language206discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of206race206). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.3

We considered that the more general portrayal of Chris Fail was based on a stereotypical view of a black-African person. The factors that contributed to this included:

• the dark make-up apparently applied to his skin;
• the significance of his name, which we understood to be a play-on-words of the West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle;
• the tribal-style drumming played in the background when he sang and danced; and,
• the way he chanted and shouted over the tribal-style drumming.

we considered that the fact that the programme was a situation comedy with a range of fictitious characters and guests from different backgrounds did not, in itself, provide sufficient editorial justification for a stereotype of this nature to be used.

We considered that the way Chris Fail's character had been broadcast as a clearly stereotypically black-African person did not reflect the care that broadcasters should take in portraying culturally diverse people and was not editorially justified. We also considered that the likely audience of the channel, which is aimed at Pakistani people, some of whom would be living in the UK, would not have expected this portrayal.

Ofcom's Decision is that this potentially offensive material was not justified by the context and was therefore a breach of Rule 2.3.



A bit draconian...

Drill rapper banned from using the words bandoe, trapping, Booj, connect, shotting, whipping and Kitty

Link Here21st October 2019
A drill rapper has been banned from using specific slang words in music videos in what is believed to be the first case of its kind.

Ervine Kimpalu, who goes by the artist name Rico Racks, was issued with a special five year Criminal Behaviour Order when he appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday preventing him from referring to several drug-related words in his online rap videos. The words were bandoe, trapping, Booj, connect, shotting, whipping and Kitty .

It also bans him from possessing articles linked to drug dealing and from owning more than one mobile phone.

Racks, of Kings Cross, central London, features in several music videos posted on social media in which he is said to glamourise drug dealing.



Once Upon a Time in Censorland...

China bans Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Was it for an irreverent depiction of Bruce Lee?

Link Here20th October 2019
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood is a 2019 USA / UK comedy drama by Quentin Tarantino.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. BBFC link IMDb

Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood's golden age.

A few days ago the Chinese cinema release of Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood was cancelled with just a week's notice. The film censors banned the film but did not given any explanation of the reason why.

Tarantino, who is known to be opposed to any kind of tinkering with his films and has final-cut rights included in his contract, has no plans to bring his film back to the editing bay, especially given that China has offered no explanation for what is objectionable in the film that revolves around the events leading up to the infamous Manson Family murders of 1969.

The decision to halt the release is speculated to be about Tarantino's portrayal of the late martial arts hero Bruce Lee, who was of Chinese descent. It seems that Bruce Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee, made a direct appeal to China's National Film Administration, asking that it demand changes to her father's portrayal. Friends and family of the Hollywood action star have criticized Tarantino for his portrayal of Lee, saying it doesn't resemble the real-life man and is instead a caricature.

Another source suggested that China may finally be balking at the film's violence, which is graphic at times but far less than a typical Tarantino film. However there are reports that the film had actually been approved and that the something must have happened to change the censor's mind.



Updated: Abominable gaslighting...

US/Chinese kid's cartoon banned and cut in Asian countries over propaganda reinforcing China's grab of the South China Sea

Link Here20th October 2019
Abominable is a 2019 China / USA  children's cartoon comedy by Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman (co-director).
Starring Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai and Tenzing Norgay Trainor. IMDb

Three teenagers must help a Yeti return to his family while avoiding a wealthy man and a zoologist who want it for their own needs.

The new animated children's movie Abominable, a co-production between the American studio DreamWorks and the Chinese company Pearl Studio, seems innocent enough. A Chinese girl finds a yeti, a mythical creature also known as the Abominable Snowman.

But in Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, the abomination in the movie is not the yeti but an image of a map of the South China Sea. And on that map, there's a U-shaped dotted line that encompasses almost the entire South China Sea. It's known as the Nine-Dash Line.

Under international agreements, China does not have exclusive rights to the entire South China Sea. But Beijing has just simply ignored that and called it an illegitimate ruling. Now at every opportunity China presents its claims as fact.

This claim is not OK with other countries in the region:

  • The image of the map caused Vietnam to remove the movie from theaters, according to a Vietnamese official.
  • The Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. proposed to cut out the said contentious scene and even suggested a universal boycott of all @Dreamworks productions from here on. Other politicians have called for a ban but so far this has not happened
  • Malaysia's film censor has ordered the China map to be cut

Update: Banned in the Philippines

19th October 2019. See article from

The animated film has been removed from Philippine theaters since Tuesday, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board said in a statement.

MTRCB understands the situation brought about by the movie 'Abominable.' We wish to assure the public that the said movie is already off the Philippine market effective October 15, 2019, said MTRCB Chair Rachel Arenas.

Update: Withdrawn in Malaysia

19th October 2019. See article from

Abominable will not be released in Malaysia after its producers Universal declined to implement censor cuts to a scene showing China's nine-dash line claim to the South China Sea.



Updated: Band in China...

South Park gets totally taken down in China over a Winnie the Pooh joke

Link Here20th October 2019
Full story: South Park...TV comedy offends the easily offenced
South Park's latest episode Band in China mocked Hollywood for shaping its content to please the Chinese government.

Beijing responded by deleting all clips, episodes and discussions of the Comedy Central show from all Chinese streaming services, social media and even fan pages.

On Monday afternoon, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone issued a statement with a faux apology about the ban:

Like the NBA , we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts, the statement reads. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn't look like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn's sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?

The Band in CHina episode featured a pair of storylines about China. One involves Randy getting caught attempting to sell weed in China and getting sent to a work camp similar to those Beijing has been using in Xinjiang Province to hold up to a million Chinese Muslims. While he's at the work camp, Randy runs into an imprisoned Winnie the Pooh.

A second plot follows Stan, Jimmy, Kenny and Butters forming a metal band, which becomes popular and attracts the attention of a manager who wants to make a film about them. But then the script keeps changing so that the film can safely be distributed in China.

Update: The economics of censorship

19th October 2019. See article from

The Chinese censorship of South Park seems that the producers will take a big hit in income as Apple pulls out of bidding for South Park streaming rights as it seeks to appease China where Apple has significant sales.

Viacom, the owner of Comedy Central's long-running animated series South Park, is looking to sell the streaming rights to the series. Sources familiar with the bidding told Bloomberg that Apple probably won't extend a bid, due to the show's recent ban in China after the second episode in season 23, Band in China included a humorous attack on Chinese censorship. China reportedly ceased all streaming and discussion of the show on its state-controlled internet.

Apple relies on Chinese manufacturing for many of its products, and China makes up a great deal of its consumer base. Thus, sources told Bloomberg that it was unlikely that Apple would want to host South Park on Apple TV+.

The articles also notes that Apple appears to be crafting a family-friendly content selection on its streaming service, with relatively non-controversial content in general.



Updated: Durj...

Movie banned in Pakistan for its sensitive cannibalism theme

Link Here19th October 2019
Full story: Banned Films in Pakistan...Sensitive issues of image and religion
Durj (The Casket) is a 2019 Pakistan crime mystery thriller by Shamoon Abbasi.
Starring Shamoon Abbasi, Sherry Shah and Maira Khan. IMDb

The reality behind a hideous crime is yet to be unveiled as a reporter's wife dives deep within the depths of despair and darkness to seek the truth of her missing husband.

The film was banned in Pakistan by the film censors of the CBFC.

An anonymous source from censor board said the film has been banned because of it's subject. Given that a sensitive topic, such as cannibalism, should not be propagated so openly.

Durj was premiered on the international film festival circuit and seems to have been well received.

For comparison in the UK the film was passed 15 uncut for disturbing scenes, bloody images:


Update: Unbanned

19th October 2019. See article from

The film has been cleared after a second viewing by the Pakistan's Central Censor Board, sources informed The Express Tribune.

Some of the really graphic scenes have been removed for obvious reasons, other than that the film is good to go, said a censor board official, requesting anonymity.



Offsite Article: That's a bit rich...

Link Here19th October 2019
Netflix dodges legal bid to halt release of The Laundromat about the Panama Papers

See article from



Offsite Article: Twitter's Rules are Trumped...

Link Here19th October 2019
Full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs
Twitter details exactly how world leaders are partially exempted from the website's usual biased political censorship rules

See article from



Offsite Article: Joker at the BBFC...

Link Here17th October 2019
We've had a lot of comments and questions about our classification for Joker - which we rated 15. We've published a case study which explains our decision in more depth. Spoiler warning though.

See article from



A verified dud...

The government cancels current plans for age verification requirements for porn as defined in the Digital Economy Act. It will readdress the issue as part of its Online Harms bill

Link Here16th October 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, issued a written statement cancelling the government's current plans to require age verification for porn. She wrote:

The government published the Online Harms White Paper in April this year. It proposed the establishment of a duty of care on companies to improve online safety, overseen by an independent regulator with strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance. Since the White Paper's publication, the government's proposals have continued to develop at pace. The government announced as part of the Queen's Speech that we will publish draft legislation for pre-legislative scrutiny. It is important that our policy aims and our overall policy on protecting children from online harms are developed coherently in view of these developments with the aim of bringing forward the most comprehensive approach possible to protecting children.

The government has concluded that this objective of coherence will be best achieved through our wider online harms proposals and, as a consequence, will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography. The Digital Economy Act objectives will therefore be delivered through our proposed online harms regulatory regime. This course of action will give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care. As currently drafted, the Digital Economy Act does not cover social media platforms.

The government's commitment to protecting children online is unwavering. Adult content is too easily accessed online and more needs to be done to protect children from harm. We want to deliver the most comprehensive approach to keeping children safe online and recognised in the Online Harms White Paper the role that technology can play in keeping all users, particularly children, safe. We are committed to the UK becoming a world-leader in the development of online safety technology and to ensure companies of all sizes have access to, and adopt, innovative solutions to improve the safety of their users. This includes age verification tools and we expect them to continue to play a key role in protecting children online.

The BBFC sounded a bit miffed about losing the internet censor gig. The BBFC posted on its website:

The introduction of age-verification on pornographic websites in the UK is a necessary and important child protection measure. The BBFC was designated as the Age-verification Regulator under the Digital Economy Act 2017 (DEA) in February 2018, and has since worked on the implementation of age-verification, developing a robust standard of age-verification designed to stop children from stumbling across or accessing pornography online. The BBFC had all systems in place to undertake the role of AV Regulator, to ensure that all commercial pornographic websites accessible from the UK would have age gates in place or face swift enforcement action.

The BBFC understands the Government's decision, announced today, to implement age-verification as part of the broader online harms strategy. We will bring our expertise and work closely with government to ensure that the child protection goals of the DEA are achieved.

I don suppose we will ever hear the real reasons why the law was ditched, but I  suspect that there were serious problems with it. The amount of time and effort put into this, and the serious ramifications for the BBFC and age verification companies that must now be facing hard times must surely make this cancelling a big decision.

It is my guess that a very troublesome issue for the authorities is how both age verification and website blocking would have encouraged a significant number of people to work around government surveillance of the internet. It is probably more important to keep tabs on terrorists and child abusers rather than to lose this capability for the sake of a kids stumbling on porn.

Although the news of the cancellation was reported today, Rowland Manthorpe, a reporter for Sky News suggested on Twitter that maybe the idea had already been shelved back in the summer. He tweeted:

When @AJMartinSky and I  broke the news that the porn block was being delayed again, we reported that it was on hold indefinitely. It was. Then our story broke. Inside DCMS a sudden panic ensued. Quickly, they drafted a statement saying it was delayed for 6 months




Humourless advert censor bans fashion advert for jokily alluding to sexting

Link Here16th October 2019

A marketing email from Boohoo, received on 15 July 2019, featured the subject heading Send Nudes. The body of the email contained a photo of a female model wearing a beige jacket with the words Send nudes. Set the tone with new season hues written across the image.

A complainant challenged whether the reference to send nudes was socially irresponsible. UK Ltd said that their use of the word nude was solely to describe the colour resembling that of the wearer's skin. They said they targeted their customers by sending them the latest fashion trends, including the trend for nude colours. They said that the word was widely used by other retailers in relation to apparel. The Boohoo brand targeted customers aged 16 to 24 years old. To sign up to Boohoo's website, the terms of use stipulated that the individual must be at least 18 years of age. The ad was sent to individuals who had agreed to Boohoo's terms of use. It should not have been sent to any individual under 16 years of age.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the term nude was commonly described to refer to colours that were similar to some people's skin tones. At the same time, the phrase send nudes was likely to be understood as referring to requests for sexual photos, which could be a form of sexual harassment. We noted that increased pressure to share such photos had been linked to negative outcomes for young people. Boohoo's target market was aged 16 to 24. We noted that the ad had only been sent to those who self-declared that they were over 18, but online age was often misreported, and we had not been provided with details of any further steps Boohoo had taken to reduce the likelihood of under-18s being targeted with the ad. Given the general price point of Boohoo's clothing and the age of the target market, there was also likely to be some overlap with even younger teenagers who aspired to looks associated with a slightly older age group. While the ad played on a well-known phrase to highlight a fashion trend, we considered the specific reference chosen had the effect of making light of a potentially harmful social trend. Furthermore, in the subject heading of an email, without any further context, the phrase send nudes was likely to be disconcerting for some recipients, particularly those who might have personal experience of being asked to send nudes.

In the context of an ad aimed at a relatively young audience who were more likely to be harmfully affected by pressure to share sexual images of themselves, we considered that the reference to send nudes was socially irresponsible and breached the Code.

The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told UK Ltd to ensure their ads were socially responsible.



Believe that you'll believe anything!...

Ofcom fines christian TV channel for promoting 'miracle spring water'

Link Here16th October 2019
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

Ofcom has imposed a £25,000 fine on Greener Technology Ltd in relation to its service BEN TV for failing to comply with our broadcasting rules. It has also directed the licensee to not repeat the programme and to broadcast a summary of our findings on the channel.

On 28 January 2018, Ben TV broadcast Peter Popoff Ministries , a programme featuring footage from televangelist Peter Popoff's religious services. The programme contained frequent invitations for viewers to order free miracle spring water and a number of testimonies from individuals who claimed, or strongly implied, using the water had cured serious illnesses, including cancer.

As set out in Ofcom's Decision published on 3 December 2018 in issue 367 of the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin, Ofcom considered that the claims made in the programme had the potential to cause harm to members of the audience who may have been led to believe that the miracle spring water alone was sufficient to cure their health conditions and that it was unnecessary to rely on, or continue receiving, conventional medical treatment.

Ofcom concluded that Greener Technology Ltd did not take steps to provide adequate protection for such viewers and there was a material risk that susceptible members of the audience may have been improperly exploited by the programme. Ofcom also concluded that the programme promoted a product -- the miracle spring water in breach of the Broadcasting Code.



My Ministers will continue to develop proposals to extend internet censorship...

A summary of the Online Harms Bill as referenced in the Queen's Speech

Link Here 15th October 2019

The April 2019 Online Harms White Paper set out the Government's plan for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

The proposals, as set out in the White Paper were:

  • A new duty of care on companies towards their users, with an independent regulator to oversee this framework.

  • We want to keep people safe online, but we want to do this in a proportionate way, ensuring that freedom of expression is upheld and promoted online, and businesses do not face undue burdens.

  • We are seeking to do this by ensuring that companies have the right processes and systems in place to fulfil their obligations, rather than penalising them for individual instances of unacceptable content.

  • Our public consultation on this has closed and we are analysing the responses and considering the issues raised. We are working closely with a variety of stakeholders, including technology companies and civil society groups, to understand their views.

We are seeking to do this by ensuring that companies have the right processes and systems in place to fulfil their obligations, rather than penalising them for individual instances of unacceptable content.

Our public consultation on this has closed and we are analysing the responses and considering the issues raised. We are working closely with a variety of stakeholders, including technology companies and civil society groups, to understand their views.

Next steps:

  • We will publish draft legislation for pre-legislative scrutiny.

  • Ahead of this legislation, the Government will publish work on tackling the use of the internet by terrorists and those engaged in child sexual abuse and exploitation, to ensure companies take action now to tackle content that threatens our national security and the physical safety of children.

  • We are also taking forward additional measures, including a media literacy strategy, to empower users to stay safe online. A Safety by Design framework will help start-ups and small businesses to embed safety during the development or update of their products and services.



Rated PG for problematic parental guidance...

The BBFC is working with Women's Aid campaign group to consider age ratings for films depicting domestic abuse

Link Here15th October 2019
The campaign group Women's Aid is working with the BBFC on a consultation with victims of domestic abuse about how scenes of domestic abuse are classified and the warnings we see before we watch scenes of domestic abuse.

The BBFC will be working with a research company and Women's Aid to set up focus groups in London and Manchester to discuss the issues raised by a variety of film and media content. Participants will be asked to view three or four feature films, in advance of attending the focus groups, and will then discuss those films as well as some supplementary clips.

The research will be conducted by an independent market research company called Goldstone Perl Research. The focus groups will take place in January.



Spreading resentment...

Mumsnet users boycott Flora margarine for its unfair response to complaints from trans activists

Link Here15th October 2019
It is one of the axioms of political correctness that those who complain first are always right. If one takes the time to consider complaints on their merit, the whole mess of contradictory and arbitrary rules falls down in a heap. The only way to make it work is for those who complain loudest or first to be deemed totally correct and the only allowed response for those on the receiving end is to capitulate entirely and fall to the ground in a grovelling apology.

Of course there are a lot of right people wronged by this Monty Pythonesque pantomime but they don't usually get much of a say in the unjust process. But at least the Mumsnet website is taking a stand. Users of parenting site Mumsnet have announced they will boycott margarine product Flora following a transphobia row.

Upfield, which owns the Flora margarine brand, withdrew from an advertising partnership with Mumsnet after Twitter user @mimmymum and campaign group Stop Funding Hate raised concerns over the existence of supposed transphobic content on the site.

Now, a thread calling for Mumsnet users to abstain from buying the margarine brand and other products belonging to the Upfield group has attracted over 760 comments.

The row started after Upfield responded to a tweet questioning how its company values of being intolerant of discrimination and harassment aligned with a promotion that marketed Flora as Mumsnet rated.

Activist Helen Islan claimed on Twitter that the platform is a place where people write strong messages against transgender people. Shortly thereafter, Upfield responded by saying that they would conduct the necessary investigations to determine if this was true since they take human rights and diversity policies very seriously.

While the investigations take place, the brand decided to remove its ads from Mumsnet, in what ended up being a move where they would please a small group of people, but annoy many more.

Upfield's decision is now being strongly criticized by mothers who use the website, who indicate that they are simply exercising their right to express themselves freely. The website has multiple posts where topics about transgenderism are discussed, particularly and understandably about the parenting aspects of children expressing a desire to change their gender. And one can guess that in many cases the parents would be unlikely to be supportive of the notion that the kids are always right.

Justine Roberts – a founder of Mumsnet, responded to the advertising withdrawal saying that it demonstrated that the margarine brand has been influenced by a “group of Twitter activists.

The consensus of opinion on the forum is that Mumsnet users will indeed boycott Flora.



Offsite Article: Without encryption, we will lose all privacy. This is our new battleground...

Link Here 15th October 2019
Full story: Internet Encryption...Encryption, essential for security but givernments don't see it that way
The US, UK and Australia are taking on Facebook in a bid to undermine the only method that protects our personal information. By Edward Snowden

See article from



Bountiful times for film censors in New Zealand...

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern's Christchurch Call leads to a doubling of funding for the censors

Link Here14th October 2019
New Zealand's government is doubling the funding for its film censors. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Government is doubling the funding for its Office of Film & Literature Classification so it can crack down on terrorist content alongside child exploitation images.

The package is the main domestic component of Ardern's more globally-focused Christchurch Call. The Call is a set of pledges and practices she is promoting following the Christchurch terror attack of March 15.

The $17m funding boost will go towards the Chief Censor and the Censorship Compliance Unit and will see about 17 new censors employed.

The announcement came with a bit of a barb though as it was noted that it took two days for the chief censor to rule that the livestream of the Christchurch mosque attack was objectionable, something the officials said could be sped up with new funding for his office. commented that the prime minister has invested serious time and political capital into her Christchurch Call program and noted that it met its first real test last week after another racist attack was livestreamed from the German city of Halle. That video was deemed objectionable by the censor and the shared protocol created by the Christchurch Call was put into action. Presumably this time round it took less than two days to decide that it is should be banned.



More about monitoring politicians' 'disinformation' rather than unrealistically trying to stop it...

Oxford researchers make recommendations to control politician's social media campaigners during elections

Link Here14th October 2019

The Market of Disinformation , a report produced by Oxford Information Labs on behalf of OxTEC, examines the impact of algorithmic changes made by social media platforms, designed to curb the spread of disinformation, through the lens of digital marketing.

The report highlights some of the techniques used by campaigners to attract, retain and persuade online audiences. It also sets out recommendations for the UK Electoral Commission.

Key findings:

  • Despite over 125 announcements in three years aimed at demoting disinformation and junk news, algorithmic changes made by platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter have not significantly altered brands' and companies digital marketing

  • Election campaigns continue to generate a significant amount of organic engagement, with people typically accessing content that has not been supported by paid placement

  • Political campaigns blend paid and organic material to maximise reach and minimise spend

  • There has been growth in digital marketing techniques combining online and offline data to reach specific audiences

Stacie Hoffmann, cyber security and policy expert at Oxford Information Labs, said:

Today's successful online campaigns effectively blend organic and paid-for elements, standing or falling by the levels of engagement they provoke amongst users. Self-regulation of social media platforms has only succeeded in achieving higher profits for the platforms by reducing organic reach and increasing the amount of paid content required by advertisers to reach new audiences.

Professor Philip Howard, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and OxTEC Commissioner said:

The report highlights how the algorithmic changes made by social media platforms have been inadequate in curbing the spread of low-quality content online. Those actors spreading disinformation have quickly identified algorithmic changes and have adjusted their strategies accordingly. Fundamentally self-regulation by social media platforms has failed to achieve the promised public policy benefit of improving the quality of the information ecosystem.

The Oxford Information Labs report also sets out a series of recommendations for consideration by OxTEC on how to protect the integrity of elections. The recommendations are based on developing and implementing guidance related to four distinct areas, digital imprints, sanctions, financial reporting and campaign spend, foreign interference and location verification.

OxTEC, convened by the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford, consists of academics, researchers, technology experts and policymakers, and was established to explore how to protect the integrity of democracy in a digital age. It is due to publish a full report shortly.



Innovatively endangering internet porn viewers...

BBFC's Chief Censor, David Austin, is named in Business Insider's UK Top Tech 100

Link Here13th October 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

David Austin, CEO of the BBFC, has been named in Business Insider's UK Top Tech 100 for the BBFC's work on age-verification under the Digital Economy Act.

Every year, Business Insider publishes the UK Tech 100 204 a list of the 100 most interesting, innovative, and influential people shaping the UK tech scene. David Austin is a new entry, and enters the list at number 96.

David Austin said:

I'm very pleased to be included in the UK tech 100 on behalf of the BBFC. It's recognition of the innovation that the BBFC brings to developing regulatory solutions to help families and protect children in the online space.

Under the Digital Economy Act 2017, all online commercial pornography services accessible from the UK will be required to carry age-verification controls to prevent children from seeing content that isn't appropriate for them. Nor may they carry extreme pornography. These services mainly take the form of websites and apps.

The UK Government appointed the BBFC as the Age-verification Regulator because of the BBFC's expertise in regulating pornography; its understanding of age verification; and knowledge of online regulation.



Offsite Article: The media-effects myth is back with a vengeance...

Link Here13th October 2019
There is simply no evidence that language or art sparks violence. By Andrew Doyle

See article from



Hook, line and sinker...

Just a reminder to those unnecessarily handing over their personal data to adult websites, eg for age verification. Hackers will attempt to steal your data, ask

Link Here12th October 2019
Account details of more than 250,000 people who used a site for sex workers in the Netherlands have been stolen in a hack attack.

Email addresses, user names and passwords were stolen from a site called

The attacker is believed to have exploited a bug in its chat room software found last month. Reports suggest the malicious hacker who took the data has offered it for sale on a dark web marketplace.

The website's media spokesman Tom Lobermann told Dutch broadcaster NOS that the site had informed everyone who had an account about the breach. The message sent by the site's administrators also advised people to change their passwords. used a popular program for hosting online forums and discussions called vBulletin. In late September, security researchers identified a vulnerability in the program that could be exploited to steal data. VBulletin quickly produced a patch for the bug but several sites were breached before they could deploy and install the protection.



Offsite Article: Censor! Censor Yourself!...

Link Here12th October 2019
Full story: EU ePrivacy Law...The Cookie Law: EU regulate consent for tracking cookies
ICO's website found to be allowing video providers to put tracking cookies on your device without obtaining consent

See article from



An alternative internet governance...

China and Russia internet censors to work together at the World Internet Conference

Link Here11th October 2019
Russia's state internet censor has announced that China and Russia will sign an agreement to cooperate in further censoring internet access for their citizens.

Roskomnadzor said it would formally sign the international treaty with their Chinese counterpart, the Cyberspace Administration of China, on October 20. That date is the first day of China's three-day World Internet Conference, to be held this year in the city of Wuzhen, in eastern Zhejiang province.

This co-operation seems to be based on the two countries promoting an alternative internet governance regime that is not controlled by the US. An alternative governance would allow national censorship processes a route to getting deeper into the overall control management of the internet. Eg to disallow censorship busting technology such as encrypted DNS.



Offsite Article: Upcoming automated censorship...

Link Here11th October 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
Former MEP Catherine Stihler keeps up the campaign against the EU's censorship machines

See article from



Offsite Article: In the name of safe browsing...

Link Here11th October 2019
Apple's Safari browser hands over your browsing history to a company controlled by the Chinese government

See article from



Breaking out...

China's Global Reach: Surveillance and Censorship Beyond the Great Firewall. By Danny O'Brien

Link Here11th October 2019

Those outside the People's Republic of China (PRC) are accustomed to thinking of the Internet censorship practices of the Chinese state as primarily domestic, enacted through the so-called "Great Firewall"--a system of surveillance and blocking technology that prevents Chinese citizens from viewing websites outside the country. The Chinese government's justification for that firewall is based on the concept of " Internet sovereignty. " The PRC has long declared that "within Chinese territory, the internet is under the jurisdiction of Chinese sovereignty.''

Hong Kong, as part of the "one country, two systems" agreement, has largely lived outside that firewall: foreign services like Twitter, Google, and Facebook are available there, and local ISPs have made clear that they will oppose direct state censorship of its open Internet.

But the ongoing Hong Kong protests, and mainland China's pervasive attempts to disrupt and discredit the movement globally, have highlighted that China is not above trying to extend its reach beyond the Great Firewall, and beyond its own borders. In attempting to silence protests that lie outside the Firewall, in full view of the rest of the world, China is showing its hand, and revealing the tools it can use to silence dissent or criticism worldwide.

Some of those tools--such as pressure on private entities, including American corporations NBA and Blizzard--have caught U.S. headlines and outraged customers and employees of those companies. Others have been more technical, and less obvious to the Western observers.

The "Great Cannon" takes aim at sites outside the Firewall

The Great Cannon is a large-scale technology deployed by ISPs based in China to inject javascript code into customers' insecure (HTTP) requests . This code weaponizes the millions of mainland Chinese Internet connections that pass through these ISPs. When users visit insecure websites, their browsers will also download and run the government's malicious javascript--which will cause them to send additional traffic to sites outside the Great Firewall, potentially slowing these websites down for other users, or overloading them entirely.

The Great Cannon's debut in 2015 took down Github , where Chinese users were hosting anti-censorship software and mirrors of otherwise-banned news outlets like the New York Times. Following widespread international backlash , this attack was halted.

Last month, the Great Cannon was activated once again , aiming this time at Hong Kong protestors. It briefly took down LIHKG , a Hong Kong social media platform central to organizing this summer's protests.

Targeting the global Chinese community through malware

Pervasive online surveillance is a fact of life within the Chinese mainland. But if the communities the Chinese government wants to surveill aren't at home, it is increasingly willing to invest in expensive zero-days to watch them abroad, or otherwise hold their families at home hostage.

Last month, security researchers uncovered several expensive and involved mobile malware campaigns targeting the Uyghur and Tibetan diasporas . One constituted a broad "watering hole" attack using several zero-days to target visitors of Uyghur-language websites .

As we've noted previously , this represents a sea-change in how zero-days are being used; while China continues to target specific high-profile individuals in spear-phishing campaigns , they are now unafraid to cast a much wider net, in order to place their surveillance software on entire ethnic and political groups outside China's border.

Censoring Chinese Apps Abroad

At home, China doesn't need to use zero-days to install its own code on individuals' personal devices. Chinese messaging and browser app makers are required to include government filtering on their client, too. That means that when you use an app created by a mainland Chinese company, it likely contains code intended to scan and block prohibited websites or language.

Until now, China has been largely content to keep the activation of this device-side censorship concentrated within its borders. The keyword filtering embedded in WeChat only occurs for users with a mainland Chinese phone number. Chinese-language versions of domestic browsers censor and surveill significantly more than the English-language versions. But as Hong Kong and domestic human rights abuses draw international interest, the temptation to enforce Chinese policy abroad has grown.

TikTok is one of the largest and fastest-growing global social media platforms spun out of Beijing. It heavily moderates its content, and supposedly has localized censors for different jurisdictions . But following a government crackdown on "short video" platforms at the beginning of this year , news outlets began reporting on the lack of Hong Kong-related content on the platform . TikTok's leaked general moderation guidelines expressly forbid any content criticizing the Chinese government, like content related to the Chinese persecution of ethnic minorities, or about Tiananmen Square.

Internet users outside the United States may recognise the dynamic of a foreign service exporting its domestic decision-making abroad. For many years, America's social media companies have been accused of exporting U.S. culture and policy to the rest of the world: Facebook imposes worldwide censorship of nudity and sexual language , even in countries that are more culturally permissive on these topics than the U.S. Most services obey DMCA takedown procedures of allegedly copyright-infringing content, even in countries that have had alternative resolution laws. The influence that the United States has on its domestic tech industries has led to an outsized influence on those companies' international user base.

That said, U.S. companies have, as with developers in most countries, resisted the inclusion of state-mandated filters or government-imposed code within their own applications. In China, domestic and foreign companies have been explicitly mandated to comply with Chinese censorship under the national Cybersecurity Law passed in 2017 , which provides aggressive yet vague guidelines for content moderation. China imposing its rules on global Chinese tech companies differs from the United States' influence on the global Internet in more than just degree.

Money Talks: But Critics Can't

This brings us to the most visible arm of the China's new worldwide censorship toolkit: economic pressure on global companies. The Chinese domestic market is increasingly important to companies like Blizzard and the National Basketball Association (NBA). This means that China can use threats of boycotts or the denial of access to Chinese markets to silence these companies when they, or people affiliated with them, express support for the Hong Kong protestors.

Already, people are fighting back against the imposition of Chinese censorship on global companies. Blizzard employees staged a walk-out in protest, NBA fans continue to voice their support for the demonstrations in Hong Kong, and fans are rallying to boycott the two companies. But multi-national companies who can control their users' speech can expect to see more pressure from China as its economic clout grows.

Is China setting the Standard for Global Enforcement of Local Law?

Parochial "Internet sovereignty' has proven insufficient to China's needs: Domestic policy objectives now require it to control the Internet outside and inside its borders.

To be clear, China's government is not alone in this: rather than forcefully opposing and protesting their actions, other states--including the United States and the European Union-- have been too busy making their own justifications for the extra-territorial exercise of their own surveillance and censorship capabilities.

China now projects its Internet power abroad through the pervasive and unabashed use of malware and state-supported DDoS attacks; mandated client-side filtering and surveillance; economic sanctions to limit cross-border free speech; and pressure on private entities to act as a global cultural police.

Unless lawmakers, corporations, and individual users are as brave in standing up to authoritarian acts as the people of Hong Kong, we can expect to see these tactics adopted by every state, against every user of the Internet.



Updated: King Tut vs Jokers...

OK which jokers posted warnings about Joker not being a kid's superhero film or not being suitable for incels?

Link Here10th October 2019
Full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence
An AMC movie theater in Deseret, Utah seems to caused a bit of stir when it posted a warning bout the adult content of the new Joker film. The warning read:

Parental warning (this is not a joke), begins the message. Joker is Rated R and for good reason. There's lots of very, very rough language, brutal violence, and overall bad vibes.

It's a gritty, dark, and realistic Taxi Driver-esque depiction of one man's descent into madness. It's not for kids, and they won't like it, anyway.

[There's no Batman]

Images of the sign hit social media and then for some reason the theatre responded by going into denial and taking the poster down and tweeting:

So sorry for any confusion! This sign was not posted by us, and this is not our policy. The sign was removed as soon as it was found by the theatre team

US moralist campaigners of the Parents Television Council weighed in with a statement bemoaning the film as being unfit for children:

Along with the Alamo Drafthouse, and several movie critics, we want to warn parents about the extremely violent content in the Joker film that is being released nationwide this weekend. Despite its R-rating, parents may believe that this film is appropriate for kids given that it is an extension of the popular Batman franchise. Film critics have described the film's horrific violence committed by the Joker and even criticized the timing of a film that asks viewers to sympathize with one man's all-too-realistic decent into darkness.

We applaud Alamo for its unprecedented warning to parents about not taking their children to see this film because of its 'very, very rough language, brutal violence, and overall bad vibes.'

With the Joker , Hollywood continues its war on kids by turning a comic book-themed franchise into violence-porn. Scientific research has concluded that media violence is among the top three contributing factors to societal violence. Our own research has found that violence in comic book-themed TV shows is increasing.

Hollywood cannot have it both ways -- they cannot herald the entertainment they produce and distribute for its ability to change the world for good, while refuting the harmful impact it can have when the content is violent, sexually explicit, or profane.

Update: No incels

10th October 2019. See article from

A prankster has been banned from the AMC theatre chain for life for posting fake posters suggesting that incels had been banned as a safety precaution.

Several US cinemas fell victim to pranksters who posted fake notices informing patrons that singles, specifically single males, would not be allowed inside Joker screenings.

One of the pranksters behind this ruse has now been banned from all AMC theaters for life as punishment.

As it turns out, this individual, who only identified himself as Payne when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, put up a flyer, intending for it to be a joke referencing an old 4chan meme.

Payne's Twitter post started making the rounds, leading to someone named Elizabeth from AMC Guest Services to set the record straight and inform people that this policy did not exist, and that the flyers had been removed by theater employees.

Then on Monday, Payne posted a letter he received from AMC's vice president of security, informing him that he'd been spotted posting the flyer and that if he returned to any AMC locations, he'd be considered a trespasser and the involvement of law enforcement and arrest may result.



Offsite Article: 'I urge parents to ignore the R - it's a PG-13 movie in all the ways that matter'...

Link Here10th October 2019
Annabelle Comes Home. Now even some R rated horrors seem to be going for the bloodless PG-13 territory.

See article from



Wrongly guided...

The Islam Channel is set to be fined for broadcasting highly offensive antisemitic content

Link Here9th October 2019
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

The Rightly Guided Khalifas
Islam Channel, 11 November 2018, 23:00

Islam Channel is an Islamic-focused, English language satellite television channel broadcast in over 136 countries worldwide, including the UK. Its output includes religious instruction programmes, current affairs, documentaries and entertainment programmes, all from an Islamic perspective.

The Rightly Guided Khalifas1 is a religious education series on the history of the Qur'an, detailing its origins, its written compilation and the measures used to preserve its original wording.

During routine monitoring, Ofcom identified potentially antisemitic content during the programme. Eg

The graphic was shown at the same time as this narration. It appeared to be an on-screen graphic of a letter written in Arabic. Translated into English, it read: Israel, that was established on tyranny and oppression with its beliefs and sacred aspects, continues to practice its troublemaking and continues with its poisonous acts with its attempt to change the meaning of the Qur'an. It wants the obliteration of our beliefs and religion and in this way, it continues to practice what their forefathers had engaged in the past, particularly in their practice of changing the words in the past.6 Signed: Shaykh Al Azhar

We considered both the spoken content in Arabic about events in 1961 and the English subtitles of that narration raised issues under the following Code rules:

Rule 3.2: Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television206programmes...except where it is justified by the context.

Rule 3.3: Material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television206services...except where it is justified by the context...

Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Such material may include, but is not limited to206discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of206race, religion or belief...).

Ofcom Decision: Breaches of Rules 3.2, 3.3 and 2.3

The broadcast of this potentially very harmful and highly offensive antisemitic content represents serious breaches of the Code.

We are putting the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.



Extract: Thought For the Day...

Are the BBC thought police thinking too much about one religion's heritage being offensive to another?

Link Here9th October 2019

The BBC's paranoia about causing offence has reached a new high

If the Naga Munchetty fiasco wasn't cause for enough embarrassment for the BBC, an apparent attempt to censor a script referring to a Sikh Guru's martyrdom for fear it, might offend Muslims should certainly be. The Beeb's in-house thought police have driven Lord Singh to quit a radio slot he's contributed to for thirty-five years. It's a sorry state of affairs -- not just because it highlights a new high in BBC paranoia on giving imagined offence to imaginary people, but because it demonstrates how historical facts (not just opinions) are not immune to censorship. In the end, the broadcast went ahead. It did not criticise Islam and unsurprisingly received no complaints.

...Read the full article from



Film censors become internet censors...

A new internet censorship law is signed into law by South Africa's president

Link Here8th October 2019
South Africa's Films and Publications Act, also known as the Internet censorship Bill, came into force when president Cyril Ramaphosa signed the controversial Bill.

Opponents of the law had criticised the vague and broad terminology used; stipulations that would see the Film and Publication Board overstepping into the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's regulatory jurisdiction; and that it contains constitutional infringements on citizens' right to privacy and freedom of expression.

The new law provides for the establishment, composition and appointment of members of an enforcement committee that will, among other tasks, control online distribution of films and games.

The law extends the compliance obligations of the Films and Publications Act and the compliance and monitoring functions of the Film and Publication Board to online distributors.



Virtue Signal: The Game of Social Justice...

OrcaCon games convention plays its safe space card and bans a game mocking social justice warriors

Link Here8th October 2019
OrcaCon is a board game convention centered around diversity and inclusivity. It announced that William Daleabout's Virtue Signal: The Game Of Social Justice , was banned from the event.

The executive director of the convention stated that the board game lampooning the regressive antics of Social Justice Warriors, would be banned from OrcaCon. commented:

If you're not familiar with Virtue Signal , you're probably wondering why actual Social Justice activists would take such great offense to a card game that unravels the minutiae of their ideologically-driven movement? Well, it's because the card game points out how hypocritical, contradictory, and bigoted Social Justice Warriors actually are.



Updated: Of course it is still OK to use body doubles to dupe viewers though...

Deep fake porn is now against the law in California

Link Here 8th October 2019
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that institutes penalties for nonconsensual, sexually explicit digital videos, tagged deep fakes.

The legislation, Assembly Bill 602, targets companies and individuals who create and distribute the videos in California without the consent of the individual being depicted.

The issue is particularly pertinent in California as Hollywood and US TV stars are very much those targeted by the deep fakers.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is a union representing many of the film and TV stars.

SAG-AFTRA has commended California Newsom for signing the legislation into law. The group said that the legislation was meaningful recourse for the victims, many of whom are members of SAG-AFTRA. The group's president Gabrielle Carteris said:

We are absolutely thrilled that Gov. Newsom stood by the victims, most of whom are women, of nonconsensual pornography by signing AB 602 into law. I  want to thank the governor; the bill's authors, Assembly member Marc Berman and Sen. Connie Leyva; and all the California lawmakers who unanimously voted for this legislation. AB 602 is a victory for all Californians. Deepfake technology can be weaponized against any person. Every person deserves the basic human right to live free from image-based sexual abuse.

Update: A second deep fake bill protects politicians from having words put in their mouths

7th October 2019. See article from

Governor Gavin Newsom in fact signed two bills into law that limit what people can do with deep fakes. The second law makes it illegal to make and distribute a malicious deep fake of a politician within two months of an election.

Presumably the lawmakers are worrying that politicians can be depicted as saying thing that they did not in fact say.

However this bill seems a little ahead of its time as deep fakes are not really being used for this reason so far. A new report by DeepTrace, a company that builds tools to spot synthetic media. The company says that it has identified 14,678 deepfakes on the internet but most of them weren't created to mess with elections. In fact 96% of the deepfakes were still plain old fake porn.



Recommending more advisors...

Government independent advisor reports on tackling extremism that is not violent extremism. It's proving a bit hard to define though

Link Here7th October 2019

The government's independent advisor on extremism is calling for a complete overhaul of the government's strategy -- recommending a new taskforce led by the Home Secretary.

Sara Khan, who heads up the commission for Countering Extremism, has carried out the first-ever national conversation on extremism and reviewed the government's current approach.

The commission is has published its findings and recommendations in a new report, Challenging Hateful Extremism.

The report identifies a new category of extremist behaviour outside of terrorism and violent extremism, which it calls hateful extremism. It summarises hateful extremism:

  • behaviours that can incite and amplify hate, or engage in persistent hatred, or equivocate about and make the moral case for violence

  • that draw on hateful, hostile or supremacist beliefs directed at an out-group who are perceived as a threat to the wellbeing, survival or success of an in-group

  • that cause, or are likely to cause, harm to individuals, communities or wider society

Recommendations for government

  • A rebooted Counter-Extremism strategy based on a new definition of hateful extremism

  • A Home Secretary-chaired hateful extremism task force bringing together those inside and outside government to oversee the response to extremism incidents.

  • Clarity on the difference between counter terrorism, countering hateful extremism and building cohesive communities.

  • More support and protection for organisations and individuals who are countering extremism.

Recommendations for a whole society response

  • National and local politicians, community and faith leaders must be consistent in their actions against hateful extremism.

  • Organisations countering extremism must continue their efforts, and work with the commission to build understanding and interventions against hateful extremism -- backed by sustainable funding from charitable sources.

  • Social media companies must reduce the hostile atmosphere on their platforms.

Recommendations for a strengthened Commission for Countering Extremism

  • the commission should be placed on a statutory basis to guarantee independence along with information sharing powers.

  • two additional commissioners for specific areas of work, including a review of existing legislation.

  • a small and dedicated network of counter extremism organisations to identify emerging issues and put in place interventions

  • pioneering research including a commitment to develop and test a full, working definition of hateful extremism

  • review existing legislation that addresses hateful extremism and can protect victims and counter extremists from abuse

  • trial new and innovative interventions and develop a new toolbox of measures.



Facebook excuses politicians from telling the truth in advertising...

If disinformation were to be banned there would no politicians, no religion, no Christmas and no railway timetables

Link Here 7th October 2019
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook has quietly rescinded a policy banning false claims in advertising, creating a specific exemption that leaves political adverts unconstrained regarding how they could mislead or deceive.

Facebook had previously banned adverts containing deceptive, false or misleading content, a much stronger restriction than its general rules around Facebook posts. But, as reported by the journalist Judd Legum , in the last week the rules have narrowed considerably, only banning adverts that include claims debunked by third-party fact-checkers, or, in certain circumstances, claims debunked by organisations with particular expertise.

A separate policy introduced by the social network recently declared opinion pieces and satire ineligible for verification, including any website or page with the primary purpose of expressing the opinion or agenda of a political figure. The end result is that any direct statement from a candidate or campaign cannot be fact-checked and so is automatically exempted from policies designed to prevent misinformation. (After the publication of this story, Facebook clarified that only politicians currently in office or running for office, and political parties, are exempt: other political adverts still need to be true.)



Censors not standing still...

Nicky Morgan announces that the government's porn censorship measure has now been properly registered with the EU

Link Here6th October 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
House of Commons, 3rd October 2019.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Nicky Morgan):

THon. Members will be aware of our ongoing work to keep people safe online and our proposals around age verification for online pornography. I  wish to notify the House that the standstill period under the EU's technical services and regulations directive expired at midnight last night. I  understand the interest in this issue that exists in all parts of the House, and I  will update the House on next steps in due course.



Contracted out of free speech...

The government is set to make students sign away their rights to free speech in a contract

Link Here6th October 2019

Undergraduates could be required to sign contracts forcing them to refrain from making sexist, racist or anti-semitic comments.

The contracts have been demanded by the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, in a letter to the Office for Students, the higher education watchdog, which would require universities to enforce them. Williamson said:

I want every student to be confident that their institution stands up for free speech and that they will not experience . . . harassment, racial abuse, anti-semitism [at university].

Whilst losing their right to comment about sexism and the like, the government will offer a little balance by forbidding the students from no-platforming others who hold different views from their own.



Offsite Article: Angry Joe comments on YouTube, but maybe he should be careful what he wishes for...

Link Here 6th October 2019
The ESRB doesn't actually play through the games it rates, but are sent a short video featuring the worst or most offensive content the game has to offer, and the rating is based on that

See article from



Offsite Article: Cartooning for Peace...

Link Here6th October 2019
An interview with a group speaking up for cartoonists in a toxic world

See article from



Offsite Article: Well I for one haven't consented to this, can it be deleted under GDPR?...

Link Here 6th October 2019
The Lib Dems are using creepy databases to profile every voter in UK for their political preferences

See article from



Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls...

Turkish censors give adults only rating for a children's book, presumably not liking the idea of rebelling against against a male dominated society

Link Here5th October 2019
Turkey has ruled that the million-selling book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls will be age restricted and treated like pornography because it could have a detrimental influence on young people.

The book, which has been published in 47 languages, offers a series of inspiring stories about women from history for young children, from British nurse Florence Nightingale to French designer Coco Chanel to singer Beyonce.

But the Turkish government's censorship board for the protection of minors from obscene publications claimed:

Some of the writings in the book will have a detrimental influence on the minds of those under the age of 18. That means it can only be sold to over-18s and must be concealed from view in shops.

Speaking to AFP, one of the authors, Francesca Cavallo, said she was saddened by the decision. She sad:

Girls deserve to grow up surrounded by more female role models. They deserve to grow up thinking that they can be anything they want

When a government is scared by a children's book promoting equality, that means that promoting these messages through children's literature can have and is having an impact, and it makes me even more motivated to keep fighting every day.



Commented: Endangering the many to detect the few...

The government initiates a data sharing agreement with the US and takes the opportunity to complain about internet encryption that keeps us safe from snoops, crooks, scammers and thieves

Link Here5th October 2019
Full story: UK Government vs Encryption...Government seeks to restrict peoples use of encryption

Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed an historic agreement that will enable British law enforcement agencies to directly demand electronic data relating to terrorists, child sexual abusers and other serious criminals from US tech firms.

The world-first UK-US Bilateral Data Access Agreement will dramatically speed up investigations and prosecutions by enabling law enforcement, with appropriate authorisation, to go directly to the tech companies to access data, rather than through governments, which can take years.

The Agreement was signed with US Attorney General William P. Barr in Washington DC, where the Home Secretary also met security partners to discuss the two countries' ever deeper cooperation and global leadership on security.

The current process, which see requests for communications data from law enforcement agencies submitted and approved by central governments via Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA), can often take anywhere from six months to two years. Once in place, the Agreement will see the process reduced to a matter of weeks or even days.

The US will have reciprocal access, under a US court order, to data from UK communication service providers. The UK has obtained assurances which are in line with the government's continued opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances.

Any request for data must be made under an authorisation in accordance with the legislation of the country making the request and will be subject to independent oversight or review by a court, judge, magistrate or other independent authority.

The Agreement does not change anything about the way companies can use encryption and does not stop companies from encrypting data.

It gives effect to the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Act 2019, which received Royal Assent in February this year and was facilitated by the CLOUD Act in America, passed last year.

Letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking him not to keep his internet users safe through encrypted messages

The Home Secretary has also published an open letter to Facebook, co-signed with US Attorney General William P. Barr, Acting US Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Australia's Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, outlining serious concerns with the company's plans to implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging services. The letter reads:

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

We are writing to request that Facebook does not proceed with its plan to implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging services without ensuring that there is no reduction to user safety and without including a means for lawful access to the content of communications to protect our citizens.

In your post of 6 March 2019, 'A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking', you acknowledged that "there are real safety concerns to address before we can implement end-to-end encryption across all our messaging services." You stated that "we have a responsibility to work with law enforcement and to help prevent" the use of Facebook for things like child sexual exploitation, terrorism, and extortion. We welcome this commitment to consultation. As you know, our governments have engaged with Facebook on this issue, and some of us have written to you to express our views. Unfortunately, Facebook has not committed to address our serious concerns about the impact its proposals could have on protecting our most vulnerable citizens.

We support strong encryption, which is used by billions of people every day for services such as banking, commerce, and communications. We also respect promises made by technology companies to protect users' data. Law abiding citizens have a legitimate expectation that their privacy will be protected. However, as your March blog post recognized, we must ensure that technology companies protect their users and others affected by their users' online activities. Security enhancements to the virtual world should not make us more vulnerable in the physical world. We must find a way to balance the need to secure data with public safety and the need for law enforcement to access the information they need to safeguard the public, investigate crimes, and prevent future criminal activity. Not doing so hinders our law enforcement agencies' ability to stop criminals and abusers in their tracks.

Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes. This puts our citizens and societies at risk by severely eroding a company's ability to detect and respond to illegal content and activity, such as child sexual exploitation and abuse, terrorism, and foreign adversaries' attempts to undermine democratic values and institutions, preventing the prosecution of offenders and safeguarding of victims. It also impedes law enforcement's ability to investigate these and other serious crimes.

Risks to public safety from Facebook's proposals are exacerbated in the context of a single platform that would combine inaccessible messaging services with open profiles, providing unique routes for prospective offenders to identify and groom our children.

Facebook currently undertakes significant work to identify and tackle the most serious illegal content and activity by enforcing your community standards. In 2018, Facebook made 16.8 million reports to the US National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) -- more than 90% of the 18.4 million total reports that year. As well as child abuse imagery, these referrals include more than 8,000 reports related to attempts by offenders to meet children online and groom or entice them into sharing indecent imagery or meeting in real life. The UK National Crime Agency (NCA) estimates that, last year, NCMEC reporting from Facebook will have resulted in more than 2,500 arrests by UK law enforcement and almost 3,000 children safeguarded in the UK. Your transparency reports show that Facebook also acted against 26 million pieces of terrorist content between October 2017 and March 2019. More than 99% of the content Facebook takes action against -- both for child sexual exploitation and terrorism -- is identified by your safety systems, rather than by reports from users.

While these statistics are remarkable, mere numbers cannot capture the significance of the harm to children. To take one example, Facebook sent a priority report to NCMEC, having identified a child who had sent self-produced child sexual abuse material to an adult male. Facebook located multiple chats between the two that indicated historical and ongoing sexual abuse. When investigators were able to locate and interview the child, she reported that the adult had sexually abused her hundreds of times over the course of four years, starting when she was 11. He also regularly demanded that she send him sexually explicit imagery of herself. The offender, who had held a position of trust with the child, was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Without the information from Facebook, abuse of this girl might be continuing to this day.

Our understanding is that much of this activity, which is critical to protecting children and fighting terrorism, will no longer be possible if Facebook implements its proposals as planned. NCMEC estimates that 70% of Facebook's reporting -- 12 million reports globally -- would be lost. This would significantly increase the risk of child sexual exploitation or other serious harms. You have said yourself that "we face an inherent tradeoff because we will never find all of the potential harm we do today when our security systems can see the messages themselves". While this trade-off has not been quantified, we are very concerned that the right balance is not being struck, which would make your platform an unsafe space, including for children.

Equally important to Facebook's own work to act against illegal activity, law enforcement rely on obtaining the content of communications, under appropriate legal authorisation, to save lives, enable criminals to be brought to justice, and exonerate the innocent.

We therefore call on Facebook and other companies to take the following steps:

  • embed the safety of the public in system designs, thereby enabling you to continue to act against illegal content effectively with no reduction to safety, and facilitating the prosecution of offenders and safeguarding of victims

  • enable law enforcement to obtain lawful access to content in a readable and usable format

  • engage in consultation with governments to facilitate this in a way that is substantive and genuinely influences your design decisions

  • not implement the proposed changes until you can ensure that the systems you would apply to maintain the safety of your users are fully tested and operational

We are committed to working with you to focus on reasonable proposals that will allow Facebook and our governments to protect your users and the public, while protecting their privacy. Our technical experts are confident that we can do so while defending cyber security and supporting technological innovation. We will take an open and balanced approach in line with the joint statement of principles signed by the governments of the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada in August 2018 and the subsequent communique agreed in July this year .

As you have recognised, it is critical to get this right for the future of the internet. Children's safety and law enforcement's ability to bring criminals to justice must not be the ultimate cost of Facebook taking forward these proposals.

Yours sincerely,

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, United Kingdom Secretary of State for the Home Department

William P. Barr, United States Attorney General

Kevin K. McAleenan, United States Secretary of Homeland Security (Acting)

Hon Peter Dutton MP, Australian Minister for Home Affairs

Update: An All-Out Attack on Encryption

5th October 2019. See article from

Top law enforcement officials in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia told Facebook today that they want backdoor access to all encrypted messages sent on all its platforms. In an open letter , these governments called on Mark Zuckerberg to stop Facebook's plan to introduce end-to-end encryption on all of the company's messaging products and instead promise that it will "enable law enforcement to obtain lawful access to content in a readable and usable format."

This is a staggering attempt to undermine the security and privacy of communications tools used by billions of people. Facebook should not comply. The letter comes in concert with the signing of a new agreement between the US and UK to provide access to allow law enforcement in one jurisdiction to more easily obtain electronic data stored in the other jurisdiction. But the letter to Facebook goes much further: law enforcement and national security agencies in these three countries are asking for nothing less than access to every conversation that crosses every digital device.

The letter focuses on the challenges of investigating the most serious crimes committed using digital tools, including child exploitation, but it ignores the severe risks that introducing encryption backdoors would create. Many people--including journalists, human rights activists, and those at risk of abuse by intimate partners--use encryption to stay safe in the physical world as well as the online one. And encryption is central to preventing criminals and even corporations from spying on our private conversations, and to ensure that the communications infrastructure we rely on is truly working as intended . What's more, the backdoors into encrypted communications sought by these governments would be available not just to governments with a supposedly functional rule of law. Facebook and others would face immense pressure to also provide them to authoritarian regimes, who might seek to spy on dissidents in the name of combatting terrorism or civil unrest, for example.

The Department of Justice and its partners in the UK and Australia claim to support "strong encryption," but the unfettered access to encrypted data described in this letter is incompatible with how encryption actually works .



Offsite Article: France becomes the first EU country to use facial recognition to create a digital ID card...

Link Here5th October 2019
No doubt soon to be the baseline ID required for logging people's porn browsing in the name of child protection.

See article from



Facebook can be ordered to remove posts worldwide...

EU judges make up more internet censorship law without reference to practicality, definitions and consideration of consequences

Link Here4th October 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
Facebook and other social media can be ordered to censor posts worldwide after a ruling from the EU's highest court.

Platforms may also have to seek out similar examples of the illegal content and remove them, instead of waiting for each to be reported.

Facebook said the judgement raised critical questions around freedom of expression. What was the case about?

The case stemmed from an insulting comment posted on Facebook about Austrian politician Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, which the country's courts claimed damaged her reputation.

Under EU law, Facebook and other platforms are not held responsible for illegal content posted by users, until they have been made aware of it - at which point, they must remove it quickly. But it was unclear whether an EU directive, saying platforms cannot be made to monitor all posts or actively seek out illegal activity, could be overridden by a court order.

Austria's Supreme Court asked Europe's highest court to clarify this. The EU curt duly obliged and ruled:

  • If an EU country finds a post illegal in its courts, it can order websites and apps to take down identical copies of the post
  • Platforms can be ordered to take down equivalent versions of an illegal post, if the message conveyed is essentially unchanged
  • Platforms can be ordered to take down illegal posts worldwide, if there is a relevant international law or treaty

Facebook has said countries would have to set out very clear definitions on what 'identical' and 'equivalent' means in practice.  It said the ruling undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on speech on another country.

Facebook is unable to appeal against this ruling.



Government deemed 'fake news' banned...

New internet censorship law comes into force in Singapore

Link Here4th October 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Singapore...Heavy handed censorship control of news websites
Singapore's sweeping internet censorship law, claimed to be targeting 'fake news' came into force this week. Under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill , it is now illegal to spread statements deemed false under circumstances in which that information is deemed prejudicial to Singapore's security, public safety, public tranquility, or to the friendly relations of Singapore with other countries, among numerous other topics.

Government ministers can decide whether to order something deemed fake news to be taken down, or for a correction to be put up alongside it. They can also order technology companies such as Facebook and Google to block accounts or sites spreading the information that the government doesn't ike.

The act also provides for prosecutions of individuals, who can face fines of up to 50,000 SGD (over $36,000), and, or, up to five years in prison.



The EU's cookie law crumbles like something from Alice in Wonderland...

The EU Court decides that websites cannot use cookies until users have actively ticked a clear consent box, neutrally presented next to a decline option. Who is then going to sign up for tracking?

Link Here 3rd October 2019
Full story: EU ePrivacy Law...The Cookie Law: EU regulate consent for tracking cookies

White Rabbit: The EU Council is now in session.

Dormouse: Anyone for a magic cookie. If you accept it you will be devoured by evil giants, if you decline, your community will be visited by pestilence and famine.

Alice: That is an impossible choice.

Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is. Everyone wants some magical solution for their problem and everyone refuses to believe in magic.

Alice: Sometimes I've believed in as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast.

Mad Hatter: And we've legislated them into EU law by lunch

European lawmakers (including judges) seem to live in an Alice in Wonderland world where laws are made up on the spur of the moment by either the Mad Hatter, or the Dormouse. No thought is given to how they are supposed to work in practice or how they will pan out in reality.

For some reason EU lawmakers decided that the technology of internet cookies personified all that was bad about the internet, particularly that it is largely offered for 'free' whilst in reality being funded by the invasive extraction and exploitation of people's personal data.

Justifiably there is something to be legislated against here. But why not follow the time honoured, and effective, route of directing laws against the large companies doing the exploiting. It would have been straightforward to legislate that internet companies must not retain user data that defines their behaviour and personal information. The authorities could back this up by putting people in prison, or wiping out companies that don't comply with the law. 

But no, the EU came up with some bizarre nonsensical requirement that does little but train people to tick consent boxes without ever reading what they are consenting to. How can they call this data protection? It's data endangerment.

And unsurprisingly the first wave of implementation by internet companies was to try and make the gaining of consent for tracking cookies a one sided question, with a default answer of yes and no mechanism to say no.

Well it didn't take long to see through this silly slice of chicanery, but that doesn't takes ages for the EU legal system to gear up and put a stop to such a ploy.

So several years on, the European Court of Justice has now ruled that companies should give real options and should not lead people down the garden path towards the option required by the companies.

In an excellent summary of this weeks court judgement, the main court findings are:

  • pre-ticked boxes do not amount to valid consent,

  • expiration date of cookies and third party sharing should be disclosed to users when obtaining consent,

  • different purposes should not be bundled under the same consent ask,

  • in order for consent to be valid 'an active behaviour with a clear view' (which I  read as 'intention') of consenting should be obtained (so claiming in notices that consent is obtained by having users continuing to use the website very likely does not meet this threshold) and,

  • these rules apply to cookies regardless of whether the data accessed is personal or not. commented on what the court carefully decided was the elephant in the room, that would be better not mentioned. ie what will happen next.

The latest court judgement really says that websites should present the cookie consent question something like this.

Website cookie consent

I consent to this website building a detailed profile of my browsing history, personal information & preferences, financial standing and political leaning, to be used to monetise this website in whatever way this website sees fit.


No I  do not consent

Now it does not need an AI system the size of a planet to guess which way internet users will then vote given a clearly specified choice.

There is already a bit of discussion around the EU tea party table worrying about the very obvious outcome that websites will smply block out users who refuse to sign up for tracking cookies. The EU refers to this as a cookie wall, and there are rumblings that this approach will be banned by law.

This would lead to an Alice in Wonderland type of tea shop where customers have the right to decline consent to be charged the price of a chocolate chip cookie, and so can enjoy it for free.

Perfect in Wonderland, but in the real world, European internet businesses would soon be following in the footsteps of declining European high street businesses.



Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls...

Just passed 12 uncut by the BBFC after years of being cut for a PG rating

Link Here3rd October 2019
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls is a 1995 USA comedy adventure by Steve Oedekerk.
Starring Jim Carrey, Ian McNeice and Simon Callow. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

Ace Ventura, emerging from self-imposed exile in a remote Himalayan hideaway, travels to Africa with explorer Fulton Greenwall to find a sacred bat which is told will avert a war between with Wachootoo and Wachati tribes. Of course, when Ace gets involved, all hell breaks loose...

The BBFC has just passed the film 12 uncut for moderate sex references, rude humour, comic violence, gore for an upcoming 2019 video release from Arrow Films.

For many years previously, the film has been released with cuts for a PG rating. Saying that the film was released uncut on a 12 rated Blu-ray double bill 2015 but it has taken until now for a 12  rated video version to appear on the BBFC website.

The film has always been uncut in the US albeit with a PG-13 rating.

Cutting Edge

Ace Ventura when Nature Calls
See the details of the previous cuts for PG in the Cutting Edge article
Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls
Comedy cuts at the BBFC



A couple of steps ahead of the UK...

China adds new surveillance requirements for internet users to submit to a facial scan before internet connection

Link Here3rd October 2019

China has stepped up its internet censorship by demanding its citizens pass a facial-recognition test to be able to use web services.

People who want to have the internet installed at home or on their phones must have their faces scanned by the Chinese authority to prove their identities, according to a new regulation.

The rule, which will take effect on December 1, is said to be part of the social credit system which rates the Chinese citizens based on their daily behaviour.

Chinese citizens are also banned from re-selling their SIM cards by the regulation to prevent unregistered users from making calls from mobile phones.

China has been building the world's largest facial-recognition surveillance system.The Big-Brother-style scheme is powered by hundreds of millions of AI street cameras aiming to identify any of the country's citizens within three seconds.



Weapons of mass distraction...

ASA chastises Burger King for jokingly offering their milkshakes as ammunition against PC baddies

Link Here2nd October 2019

 A tweet on Burger King's Twitter page, seen on 18 May 2019, included the text Dear people of Scotland. We're selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK. #justsaying

Twenty-four complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and offensive because they believed it encouraged violence and anti-social behaviour.

 Burger King responded that the tweet was intended to be a tongue in cheek reaction to recent events where milkshakes had been thrown at political figures. Burger King stated that it did not endorse violence and that was made clear with a follow-up tweet posted after responses to the tweet under complaint. The follow-up tweet stated, We'd never endorse violence -- or wasting our delicious milkshakes! So enjoy the weekend and please drink responsibly people.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ad was posted the day after a branch of McDonalds Restaurants in Edinburgh had chosen not to sell milkshakes or ice-cream products during a nearby political rally addressed by Nigel Farage, because milkshakes had been thrown at political figures in recent weeks. Those events had been widely reported in the media and we therefore considered that people who saw the tweet were likely to be aware of what had happened and that Nigel Farage was due to make more public appearances in Scotland that weekend. In that context we considered that the ad was likely to be seen as a reference to the recent incidents of milkshaking political figures. Although we acknowledged that the tweet may have been intended as a humorous response to the suspension of milkshake sales by the advertiser's competitor, in the context in which it appeared we considered it would be understood as suggesting that Burger King milkshakes could be used instead by people to milkshake Nigel Farage. We considered the ad therefore condoned the previous anti-social behaviour and encouraged further instances. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible.



Offsite Article: Come in Google Adwords. your time is up...

Link Here2nd October 2019
UK data 'protection' censor reiterates GDPR warning to ad tech companies about the blatant use of people's web browsing history without consent

See article from



Offsite Article: Whose side is your ISP on?...

Link Here2nd October 2019
ISP Bahnhof Must Log Subscriber Data, But Copyright Mafia Wont Get Any

See article from



Offsite Article: Cash is best...

Link Here2nd October 2019
Home loan applicants face scrutiny of their bank transactions and whether they may be related to adult entertainment

See article from




He is a psychopath: has the 2019 Joker gone too far? The Guardian asks in anticipation of whipping up a little moral panic

Link Here1st October 2019
Full story: Batman Movies...A history of controversy
The Guardian writes:

Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there? Joaquin Phoenix's proto-Joker Arthur Fleck asks his psychologist in the new Joker movie. The real answer is both. Fleck is a man losing his grip on sanity, but the world out there is a powder keg of lawlessness, inequality, corruption, cuts and all-round despair. Joker's story is set around the early 1980s, but it consciously chimes with our own increasingly crazy present. These are tough times, the psychologist acknowledges. She might as well turn and wink to the camera.

It's no surprise that 2019's Joker -- while set to be a triumph, critically and commercially -- has raised concerns over its narrative. An early, leaked version of the script, plus the portrayal of Phoenix's character as a sad young man losing his grip on sanity (mental health problems, past trauma, failing comedy career, loneliness) has led to the film being aligned with so-called incel culture (involuntarily celibate men who are angry and misogynistic).

...Read the full article from

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

The moral panic over Joker is a depressing throwback to video nasty hysteria.

See article from By David Flint



Updated: Widely supported but not impartial...

BBC debates finding that Breakfast presenter's personal comments about racism were 'inconsistent with the BBC's commitment to impartiality'

Link Here1st October 2019

Finding by the Executive Complaints Unit


Breakfast, BBC One
17 July 2019:



The programme was broadcast on the morning after the US House of Representatives had condemned President Trump's tweeted comments on four Democrat Congresswomen, in which he wrote Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came, as racist. Following an interview with a London-based Trump supporter who denied that the comments were racist, Dan Walker initiated an exchange with his co-presenter Naga Munchetty. A viewer complained that this had led to the expression of personal opinions which were inconsistent with the BBC's commitment to impartiality.


In the view of the Executive Complaints Unit it was entirely legitimate for Ms Munchetty, when pressed by Mr Walker for a personal response, to reply in terms which reflected her own experience of racism and the racist context in which suggestions that people from ethnic minorities should go back to their own countries are generally made. However, she went on to comment critically on the possible motive for, and potential consequences of, the President's words. Judgements of that kind are for the audience to make, and the exchange fell short of due impartiality in that respect.

Partly upheld.

The BBC has released more detail on the above decision to uphold a complaint against news presenter Naga Munchetty.

The BBC Breakfast host was found to have breached guidelines by criticising Donald Trump's motives after he said four female politicians should go back to places from which they came. The corporation said its editorial guidelines do not allow for journalists to... give their opinions about the individual making the remarks or their motives for doing so - in this case President Trump.

The complained about conversation went

Dan Walker: That was the most telling quote for me last night. I  can't remember who said it but she said I've been told to go home many times to go back to where I've come from in my life but never by the man sitting in the Oval office.

Naga Munchetty: Every time I  have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I  came from, that was embedded in racism. Now I'm not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean.

Walker: You're sitting here not giving an opinion, but how do you feel as someone when you've been told that before, and when you hear that from him?

Munchetty: Furious. Absolutely furious. And I  imagine a lot of people in this country will be feeling absolutely furious that a man in that position feels it's okay to skirt the lines with using language like that.

Munchetty has received messages of support. On Thursday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the decision as astonishing.

Update: Decision reversed

1st October 2019. See article from

BBC director general Tony Hall has reversed a decision to partially uphold a complaint against Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty.

He told staff that Munchetty's words were not sufficient to merit a partial uphold of the complaint against her.

She had been found to have breached the BBC's guidelines over comments she made about a tweet from Donald Trump about four female politicians of colour.

Hall said he personally reviewed the decision of the complaints unit.



Rules edit...

Reddit announces censorship rule changes intended t make it easier for moderators to take action against bullying and harassment

Link Here1st October 2019
Social media site Reddit has announced new censorship rules to target bullying and harassment. It explains in a blog post:

These changes, which were many months in the making, were primarily driven by feedback we received from you all, our users, indicating to us that there was a problem with the narrowness of our previous policy. Specifically, the old policy required a behavior to be continued and/or systematic for us to be able to take action against it as harassment. It also set a high bar of users fearing for their real-world safety to qualify, which we think is an incorrect calibration. Finally, it wasn't clear that abuse toward both individuals and groups qualified under the rule. All these things meant that too often, instances of harassment and bullying, even egregious ones, were left unactioned. This was a bad user experience for you all, and frankly, it is something that made us feel not-great too. It was clearly a case of the letter of a rule not matching its spirit.

The changes we're making today are trying to better address that, as well as to give some meta-context about the spirit of this rule: chiefly, Reddit is a place for conversation. Thus, behavior whose core effect is to shut people out of that conversation through intimidation or abuse has no place on our platform.

We also hope that this change will take some of the burden off moderators, as it will expand our ability to take action at scale against content that the vast majority of subreddits already have their own rules against-- rules that we support and encourage.

We all know that context is critically important here, and can be tricky, particularly when we're talking about typed words on the internet. This is why we're hoping today's changes will help us better leverage human user reports. Where previously, we required the harassment victim to make the report to us directly, we'll now be investigating reports from bystanders as well. We hope this will alleviate some of the burden on the harassee.

You should also know that we'll also be harnessing some improved machine-learning tools to help us better sort and prioritize human user reports. But don't worry, machines will only help us organize and prioritize user reports. They won't be banning content or users on their own. A human user still has to report the content in order to surface it to us. Likewise, all actual decisions will still be made by a human admin.



Cryptic reasons...

US ISPs complain to the US government about loss of snooping capabilities when Google Chrome switches to encrypted DNS

Link Here1st October 2019

We would like to bring to your attention an issue that is of concern to all our organizations. Google is beginning to implement encrypted Domain Name System lookups into its Chrome browser and Android operating system through a new protocol for wireline and wireless service, known as DNS over HTTPS (DoH). If not coordinated with others in the internet ecosystem, this could interfere on a mass scale with critical internet functions, as well as raise data competition issues. We ask that the Committee seek detailed information from Google about its current and future plans and timetable for implementing encrypted DNS lookups, as well as a commitment not to centralize DNS lookups by default in Chrome or Android without first meeting with others in the internet ecosystem, addressing the implications of browser- and operating-system-based DNS lookups, and reaching consensus on implementation issues surrounding encrypted DNS.

Google is unilaterally moving forward with centralizing encrypted domain name requests within Chrome and Android, rather than having DNS queries dispersed amongst hundreds of providers. When a consumer or enterprise uses Google's Android phones or Chrome web browser, Android or Chrome would make Google the encrypted DNS lookup provider by default and most consumers would have limited practical knowledge or ability to detect or reject that choice. Because the majority of worldwide internet traffic (both wired and wireless) runs through the Chrome browser or the Android operating system, Google could become the overwhelmingly predominant DNS lookup provider.

While we recognize the potential positive effects of encryption, we are concerned about the potential for default, centralized resolution of DNS queries, and the collection of the majority of worldwide DNS data by a single, global internet company. By interposing itself between DNS providers and the users of the Chrome browser (> 60% worldwide share) and Android phones (> 80% worldwide share of mobile operating systems), Google would acquire greater control over user data across networks and devices around the world. This could inhibit competitors and possibly foreclose competition in advertising and other industries

Moreover, the centralized control of encrypted DNS threatens to harm consumers by interfering with a wide range of services provided by ISPs (both enterprise and public-facing) and others. Over the last several decades, DNS has been used to build other critical internet features and functionality including: (a) the provision of parental controls and IoT management for end users; (b) connecting end users to the nearest content delivery networks, thus ensuring the delivery of content in the fastest, cheapest, and most reliable manner; and (c) assisting rights holders' and law enforcement's efforts in enforcing judicial orders in combatting online piracy, as well as law enforcement's efforts in enforcing judicial orders in combatting the exploitation of minors. Google's centralization of DNS would bypass these critical features, undermining important consumer services and protections, and likely resulting in confusion because consumers will not understand why these features are no longer working. This centralization also raises serious cybersecurity risks and creates a single point of failure for global Internet services that is fundamentally at odds with the decentralized architecture of the internet. By limiting the ability to spot network threat indicators, it would also undermine federal government and private sector efforts to use DNS information to mitigate cybersecurity risks.

For these reasons, we ask that the Committee call upon Google not to impose centralized, encrypted DNS as a default standard in Chrome and Android. Instead, Google should follow the Internet Engineering Task Force best practice of fully vetting internet standards, and the internet community should work together to build consensus to ensure that encrypted DNS is implemented in a decentralized way that maximizes consumer welfare and avoids the disruption to essential services identified above


The Internet & Television Association
US Telecom
The Broadband Association



Updated: Is Facebook's 'end to end encryption' worthless?...

UK and US set to sign treaty allowing UK police back door access to WhatsApp and other end to end encrypted messaging platforms

Link Here1st October 2019
Full story: Internet Encryption...Encryption, essential for security but givernments don't see it that way
UK police will be able to force US-based social media platforms to hand over users' messages, including those that are end to end encrypted, under a treaty that is set to be signed next month.

According to a report in The Times, investigations into certain 'serious' criminal offenses, will be covered under the agreement between the two countries.

The UK government has been imploring Facebook to create back doors which would enable intelligence agencies to gain access to messaging platforms for matters of national security.

The news of the agreement between the US and UK is sure to ramp up discussion of the effectiveness of end to end encryption when implemented by large corporations. If this report is confirmed and Facebook/police can indeed listen in on 'end to end encryption' then such implementations of encryption are worthless.

Update: Don't jump to conclusions

1st October 2019. See article from

No, The New Agreement To Share Data Between US And UK Law Enforcement Does Not Require Encryption Backdoors

It's no secret many in the UK government want backdoored encryption. The UK wing of the Five Eyes surveillance conglomerate says the only thing that should be absolute is the government's access to communications . The long-gestating Snooper's Charter frequently contained language mandating lawful access, the government's preferred nomenclature for encryption backdoors. And officials have, at various times, made unsupported statements about how no one really needs encryption , so maybe companies should just stop offering it.

What the UK government has in the works now won't mandate backdoors, but it appears to be a way to get its foot in the (back)door with the assistance of the US government. An agreement between the UK and the US -- possibly an offshoot of the Cloud Act -- would mandate the sharing of encrypted communications with UK law enforcement, as Bloomberg reports .

Sharing information is fine. Social media companies have plenty of information. What they don't have is access to users' encrypted communications, at least in most cases. Signing an accord won't change that. There might be increased sharing of encrypted communications but it doesn't appear this agreement actually requires companies to decrypt communications or create backdoors.

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