Censor Watch

 2014: November

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 Extract: Seeking Consumer Advice on Consumer Advice...

Australian film censors review international research on public attitudes to film classification


Link Here 30th November 2014

Australian Film Classification Board The Australian Commonwealth is currently conducting a program of classification-related social research.

As a first step in the implementation of the research program, a review of relevant public opinion research and literature was undertaken. The review included public opinion research from Australia and overseas on perceptions, awareness, use and understanding of classification categories and consumer advice and alignment of classification categories and consumer advice with community standards. Relevant academic studies were also included in this report.

Review conclusions are as follows:

  1. There is broad backing for and confidence in classification systems, both in Australia and in comparable jurisdictions.
  2. There is a high awareness of the NCS and categories/ markings amongst the Australian public; however, quantitative research undertaken in this area is dated.
  3. Understanding of classification categories and markings amongst the Australian public (and amongst the public in comparable jurisdictions) appears to be limited, with significant variation observed across categories/ markings.
  4. Understanding of mid-level classifications amongst the Australian public is especially problematic, and sometimes compares unfavourably to the levels observed in comparable jurisdictions.
  5. The Australian publics' understanding of the consumer advice that accompanies classification symbols is incomplete, and sometimes compares unfavourably to the level of understanding observed in other jurisdictions.
  6. Using separate classifications for sexually explicit films and other adults only films can cause confusion.
  7. Despite broad community and stakeholder support for the existence of a classification system, views on the RC category (and similar) are mixed.
  8. Classification decisions for films and computer games are broadly aligned with community standards, both in Australia and in comparable jurisdictions.
  9. Parents (and other primary caregivers) are more supportive of classification and rating systems when compared to the general public.
  10. Young people across jurisdictions are, on the whole, knowledgeable and supportive of classification systems; however, self-reported support may not translate into actual use of the system to avoid (or prepare to view) material, especially amongst older children and adolescents.
  11. Use of classification and rating information amongst the general public (especially parents) appears to be relatively high across jurisdictions, with Australia comparing favourably; however use amongst parents may be overestimated.
  12. Empirical evidence assessing potential for harm should be critically considered in conjunction with data assessing community standards.
  13. There is widespread agreement amongst community members that certain content is likely to be harmful (especially to children and young people); however the relative potential for harm is thought to be mediated by: Frequency; Duration; and Context.
  14. There is broad community support for the inclusion of selected fetishes in higher-level, restricted content.
  15. There are concerns that exposure to gambling and non-illicit drug use (i.e. alcohol and tobacco) via films and computer games may be harmful, both at an individual and societal level. It is therefore worth considering (a) the inclusion of a specific Gambling element within the NCS, and (b) the expansion in scope of the Drug use element to including portrayals of smoking and alcohol consumption.

 

 Extract: Adult films down, VoD movies up...

New Zealand's film censor publishes annual report


Link Here 30th November 2014

oflc annual report 2014 A total of 2,259 publications were submitted for classification this year, 2,032 publications were examined and 2,060 decisions registered.

Crown submissions increased by 48% from the previous year while commercial work dropped by 8%. This drop was expected to be larger with the main New Zealand distributor of adult DVDs withdrawing from the market. However, during this period local distributors of online movie and TV series began submitting product for classification.

In terms of Crown work a 48% increase from the previous year in Crown submissions was largely driven by Police and the Department of Internal Affairs enforcement activity. As a result, the number of publications banned this year more than doubled from the previous year's result. Of the 320 publications banned, 88% dealt with the sexual exploitation of children and young persons.

 

  Behind the Times...

Adelaide police enforce antiquated ban on shops selling hardcore DVDs


Link Here 30th November 2014
South Australia flag Official snitches reported an Adelaide sex shop for possessing and selling unclassified and X rated films.

Police raided the adult shop at Ottoway and seized several thousand DVDs that would be refused classification or were X18+ rated (standard hardcore).

The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 states that a person must not sell an unclassified film that would, if classified, be classified as banned or X18+; or a film classified RC (Refused Classification) or X18+.

 

  CAAN Bulletin 4...

'Tiger Porn' case gives rise to Judicial Review of extreme porn law


Link Here 29th November 2014
CAAN logo The Consenting Adult Action Network campaigns against UK censorship and the repression of people's enjoyment of sex.

The group publishes occasional bulletins when campaign matters arise and there are several relevant issues on the agenda at the moment.  Bulletin 4 covers the following developments:

'Tiger Porn' case gives rise to Judicial Review of extreme porn law

One of the worst cases of the misuse of S63(7) CJIA 2008 legislation (which criminalises people for possession of extreme pornography ) was the prosecution of Andrew Holland for possessing a comic video clip of a woman apparently having sex with a tiger (actually, a man in a tiger suit). The prosecution had a devastating impact upon Andrew's life but was eventually dropped by the CPS. The circumstances of this case are quite appalling. The excellent campaigners in Backlash have provided the support needed to help Andrew obtain professional legal advice. In October Hodge Jones & Allen LLP solicitors began the legal process to challenge the compatibility of S63 with ECHR....

Rape porn Bill introduced to Parliament (England, Wales and NI)

In February the government introduced a Bill to Parliament that will extend S63(7) CJIA 2008 to criminalise the possession of pornography that depicts rape. It is argued that it may have greater implications for the general public than the first four categories that were originally criminalised. This is because material that depicts rape can be difficult to define....

The battle to stop the criminalisation of the purchase of sex: Modern Slavery Bill

The Modern Slavery Bill is currently working its way through Parliament. A few days ago an MP proposed an amendment which would insert a clause to criminalise the purchase of sex. The English Collective of Prostitutes jumped and in a very short space of time managed to get hundreds of people to write to Bill Committee members asking them to oppose the amendment. We won... MP's did not support the amendment....

Out for Xmas: everything you need to know about the regulation of online smut

Taming the Beast, by Jane Fae, a comprehensive overview of the legal and technical measures taken in the UK to combat online pornography, should now be out in time for Christmas...

...Read the full CAAN Bulletin 4 [pdf]

 

 Updated: The Art of Outrage...

Censorship campaigners call for Exhibit B be to be banned in Paris


Link Here 29th November 2014  full story: Exhbit B...Brett Bailey's art winds up the easily offended
exhibit b brett bailey Protesters in Paris are now calling for the banning of an art show featuring black actors in cages that mimic the human zoos of the 19th century. It has already been scrapped in London due to a political correctness outcry.

The white South African artist Brett Bailey says his Exhibit B , which mimics the late 19th- and early 20th-century phenomenon of the human zoo , is meant to raise awareness of the racism of Europe's colonial past.

It is due to open in the French capital later this month, but it is now raising heckles among censorship campaigners such as those behind a French petition to have it stopped and who see it as an exhibition composed of degrading representations of black people. A petition that has been signed by 14,000 people.

France's black campaign group CRAN claimed it was not calling for the exhibition to be stopped ...BUT... said that while:

It might be well-intentioned it reinforces stereotypes. It shows black people as passive and as victims, CRAN president Louis-Georges Tin told The Local. It never shows the struggle by black people for their own emancipation.

The two state-funded centres where the show is to take place, the Centquatre and the Theatre Gerard Philippe, vowed in an open letter this week that the show would go ahead and that they would not cave in to protesters who had not even seen the exhibition.

Update: Censored by vandals

29th November 2014. See  article from  thelocal.fr

A divisive art show featuring black actors in cages as a portrayal of 19th century human zoos had to be halted on Thursday after more than 120 aggressive protesters smashed their way into Paris theatre where it was being held.

Journalist Gilda Di Carli who was covering the event for The Local said:

At about 6:40pm things started getting lively as protesters, who numbered around 100 started arguing with police officers. Then the metal barrier was pushed over and everyone, protesters and journalists included, rushed up the stairs toward the entrance of the theatre.

The police were lined up in front of the doors and there was a lot of shouting and chanting. The police were blowing their whistles as protesters chanted slogans such as No to racism and Cancel the show.

It took Paris police five minutes to break up the what theatre directors described as a riot, by which stage protesters had smashed one of the building's window panes and knocked over several barriers.

Two shows took place before theatre director Jean Bellorini decided to cancel other showings.

 

  MPs Confused about Facebook Privacy...

Earlier MPs claimed that Facebook isn't doing enough to snoop on users. Now MPs say Facebook is doing too much to use private data without adequate permission


Link Here 29th November 2014
home affairs committee MPs on the Science and Technology select committee have called for the Government to draw up new guidelines for websites and apps explaining clearly how they use personal data, warning that laws will be needed if companies fail to comply.

Facebook can gain direct access to a person's mobile and take pictures or make videos at any time without explicit consent, MPs warn as they call on social media companies to simplify their terms and conditions.

The MP said that they should simplify the conditions of using their services, which are designed for US courts, because they are so impenetrable that no reasonable person can be expected to understand them.

The MPs on the Science and Technology select committee called for the Government to draw up new guidelines for websites and apps explaining clearly how they use personal data, warning that laws will be needed if companies fail to comply.

The committee highlighted terms for Facebook Messenger's mobile app, used by more than 200,000 million people a month, that means it can gain direct access to a mobile or tablet, including to take pictures or make videos, at any time without explicit confirmation from the owner.

 

  Russia Recommends...

US metal band, Cannibal Corpse


Link Here 29th November 2014
CANNIBAL CORPSE LIVE CANNIBALISM DVD The Oktyabrsky District Court of Ufa has ruled that the translations of lyrics by Cannibal Corpse , a US metal band, be banned from distribution in Russia due to violent content, RIA Novosti reports citing Senior Aide to Prosecutor of Bashkortostan, Guzel Masagutova.

The Prosecutor's Office of Bashkortostan filed a suit with the court claiming that lyrics by the band could damage the mental health of children because they contain descriptions of violence, the physical and mental abuse of people and animals, murder and suicide, all accompanied by illustrations.

The Ufa court agreed  and upheld the claim.

 

 Update: Double Blocked...

High doubles the list of piracy websites that have to be blocked by major ISPs


Link Here 29th November 2014  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block
Old Bailey The High Court has ordered the biggest batch yet of piracy websites to be blocked.

The latest rulings cover 53 services in total and apply to the country's six leading ISPs. It brings the tally of blocked sites providing access to copyright-infringing content to 93 since the first blocking began in 2012. The blocked sites include: BitSoup, IP Torrents, Isohunt, Sumotorrent, Torrentdb, Torrentfunk, Torrentz, Warez BB, Rapid Moviez.

Twenty-one of the sites were a result of a court order prompted by the BPI, a music industry group.

The ISPs affected are Sky, BT, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin.

BT will only block access to websites engaged in online copyright infringement when ordered by a court to do so, said the UK's biggest broadband provider, reflecting a stance shared by the other firms.

Ernesto Van Der Sar, editor of the Torrentfreak news site said:

It deters a few people who can't access their usual sites, but most people will try to find ones that are not yet blocked or use VPNs [virtual private networks] or proxy sites to get the same content.

It's making it harder - some people will decide it's just too much trouble and give up - but the overwhelming majority will still find ways to download material illegally.

 

 Offsite Article: Bloodless Violence...


Link Here 29th November 2014  full story: PG13ification...Hollywood cramming R rated movies into PG-13
Taken Extended Harder Cut DVD Could R-Rated Violent Movies Actually Be Good For Younger Viewers?

See article from moviepilot.com

 

 Offsite Article: Hate Objects...


Link Here 29th November 2014  full story: Object...Aggressive women's group campaign against aything men
object hate Object protest at Spearmint Rhino, and their stream of hateful abuse is caught on YouTube

See article from strippingtheillusion.blogspot.co.uk

 

 Update: Big Fat Lawyer Paychecks...

Ofcom in court for a judicial review of the way it handled complaints about Big Fat Gipsy Wedding


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Big Fat Gypsy Wedding...TV winds up the easily offended
Old Bailey Ofcom were in court today being accused of treating broadcasters more favourably than the public. The TV censor was the subject of a judicial review at the High Court on the way it dealt with complaints around Channel 4 programme Big Fat Gypsy Wedding .

The Traveller Movement, which is bringing the case on behalf of the traveller and gypsy communities, has accused Ofcom of favouring broadcasters, highlighting its decision to send draft harm and offence complaint reports to them, but withholding the documents from the people complaining.

The case revolves around complaints made by the Traveller Movement concerning C4's airing of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Thelma's Gypsy Girls. According to the Movement the shows breached the Broadcast Code for depicting children in a sexualised manner and depicting violent sexual assault of girls and young women as normal in traveller communities.

Ofcom rejected the complaints in November 2013.

The judge heard the case and reserved judgement until a later date.

 

 Update: Collect 200 Pounds and go straight to jail...

Poland to prosecute gamblers who use unlicensed foreign websites, starting with those that have won the most


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Poland...In the name of dangerous gambling
Poland flag Poland has just made a decision to put online gamblers on notice that betting with unlicensed operators could result in criminal prosecution. T

Poland officially approved online sports betting in 2011. However the onerous regulatory restrictions have attracted just four Polish-licensed operators and it has been suggested that the four operators capture only about 9% of Poland's internet betting market which is estimated at approximately $1.5 billion annually by Roland Berger consulting.

Poland still doesn't allow poker or casino games within its realm but last June revamped its Gambling Act that would allow EU-based operators to just establish a Polish branch office for tax purposes and open a Polish bank account. The amendment would also require operators to supply responsible betting measures, including providing a record of player wins and losses upon request and periodically reminding players just how long they've been online with gambling.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the Polish Regulator has information about more than 24,000 players who have been participating in overseas gambling. The Regulator has already initiated more than 1,100 criminal investigations in this area, and further proceedings will be initiated against the players who have received the highest winnings.

 

 Update: Forever Blocked...

Russia extends anti-piracy law and takes the opportunity to impose further controls on other website operators


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flag Starting next May, Russian websites guilty of more than one copyright violation will be permanently blocked. The move comes as part of a new anti-piracy bill signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, ramping up what many critics see as an already draconian set of copyright protection rules. Once a website is blocked by a court decision, it cannot be unblocked, according to the bill.

The bill extends a previous measure that was limited to video production, but amendments approved by Putin this week expand it to include all kinds of copyrighted content such as books, music and software. The only exception made is for photographs.

The amendments also oblige website owners to disclose their real names, postal addresses and e-mail addresses on the site.

An online petition against the amendments gathered more than 100,000 signatures in August, mandating a governmental review, but has so far been ignored by the relevant officials.

 

 Update: GreatFire.org...

A simple idea to work round Chinese internet censorship of BBC news


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
greatfire logo Transparency group GreatFire.org is working with the BBC to deliver the news organization's Chinese-language reporting to people censored by the country's Great Firewall.

The Chinese government has been censoring BBC China content for years and also began blocking most of the English-language version last month during pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong. But working with GreatFire.org should increase the availability of BBC content in China. The group uses a method it calls collateral freedom to serve content through a network of mirror sites that the group claims is unblockable.

The idea is to host the mirror sites through services that are so ubiquitous that it would be difficult, even for China to justify blocking the entire domain. GreatFire.org uses hosting options like Amazon Web Services to keep its mirror sites going.

GreatFire.org explained that its partnership with the BBC is specifically pegged to elections in Taiwan on Nov. 29. The goal is to present diverse information that's written in Chinese for Chinese audiences. As GreatFire.org points out, a lot of English speakers in China already use VPNs and other workarounds to access foreign media, but if they don't know how to do this or speak only Chinese, these backdoors don't help much.

 

  Due Dilligence...

Vodafone a bit too quick to oblige the police in a request for snooping data on journalists


Link Here 28th November 2014
vodafone logo The phone operator Vodafone has handed over the mobile phone records of more than 1,700 News UK staff, including many journalists, to the Metropolitan Police, The Times newspaper reports.

In October last year, the police were investigating allegations of corrupt payments to officials made by journalists working for News International related to the phone hacking scandal . Using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, they asked Vodafone to provide the phone records of one journalist.

Vodafone UK responded in March this year and inadvertently sent the police details of calls made by 1,757 News UK staff members between 2005 and 2007.

Scotland Yard waited three months before telling Vodafone and News UK about the mistake. During that time, the data, which could have seriously compromised the confidentiality of many journalists' sources, remained available to the police. The police acknowledged the sensitivity of the excess data and agreed to use it only for a policing purpose, where people were already charged .

 

 Offsite Article: Filter Fail O2...


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Crap Internet Blocking...Cheapo automated filters are not up to the job
o2 logo More hurdles to complain about crap website blocking. By Jane Fae

See article from sexualitymatters.wordpress.com

 

 Offsite Article: Facebook's arrogance and Snowden's hypocrisy put us all at risk...


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Jack Straw And if ever there were major corporations who deserve a fall because of their puffed up vanity and self-serving ambition, it is internet giants like Facebook and their ilk. By Jack Straw

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 Update: Forgotten Freedoms...

EU internet censors want to prevent Europeans from accessing censored links via google.com


Link Here 27th November 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
EU flag Google is under fresh pressure to expand censorship under the right to be forgotten to its international .com search engine.

A panel of EU censors claimed the move was necessary to prevent the law from being circumvented.

Google currently de-lists results that appear in the European versions of its search engines, but not the international one. At present, visitors are diverted to localised editions of the US company's search tool - such as Google.co.uk and Google.fr - when they initially try to visit the Google.com site. However, a link is provided at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen offering an option to switch to the international .com version. This link does not appear if the users attempted to go to a regional version in the first place. Even so, it means it is possible for people in Europe to easily opt out of the censored lists.

 

  Dreamt Up Offence...

ASA dismisses complaint against advert for Swindon lap dancing club


Link Here 27th November 2014

dream lounge swindon advert A poster for Dream Lounge ladies and gentlemen's club in Swindon featured an image of a woman from the waist down, taken from the side. The woman was shown leaning against a pole with one knee raised, and wearing stockings, suspenders and knickers. The woman's midriff and the side of her bottom were visible. Text on the poster stated Come and enjoy our intimate atmosphere at Swindon's Premier Nightspot .

A complainant, whose young child had seen the ad, objected that:

  1. it was of an overtly sexual nature and likely to cause serious or widespread offence; and

  2. it was unsuitable for public display where it could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the image featured a woman dressed in underwear and stockings, and was intended to promote a pole-dancing lounge. We noted that the woman was pictured from the side and that only her midriff and side of her bottom were uncovered and, although the model's pose was likely to be regarded as provocative, we considered that the general presentation of the image was sexually suggestive rather than overtly sexual. We acknowledged that some consumers might find the service and image distasteful, but did not consider that the ad was so sexual in nature as to be generally offensive or unsuitable for targeted outdoor advertising.

2. Not upheld

The ASA considered that, as the ad was sexually suggestive, it was unsuitable for untargeted public display where it was likely to be seen by children, and should be subject to a placement restriction to prevent it from appearing within 100 m of schools. However, we understood that in this instance the poster site reported by the complainant would not fall within such a restriction. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

 

 Updated: Less Consumer Rights Bill...

Elspeth Howe re-introduces her repressive clause to require onerous age verification for adult content on the internet


Link Here 27th November 2014  full story: Online Safety Bill...Elspeth Howe proposes onerous website age verification
elspeth howe The Consumer Rights Bill is progressing through Parliament is currently at the report stage in the house of Lords. It will next be debated on 24th November.

Elspeth Howe has again proposed her clause requiring age verification for adult content. It has been kicked out several times in the past as the government recognises the need to work with the telecoms industry rather than impose onerous new laws (of course the government hasn't shown the same pragmatic approach to the adult internet industry).

The new clause was proposed by Baroness Elspeth Howe, Baroness King, Lord Cormack and Baroness Floella Benjamin. It is titled amendment 50D.

"Duty to provide an internet service that protects children from digital content

(1)     Internet service providers must provide to subscribers an internet access service which excludes adult content unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.

(2)     Where mobile telephone operators provide a telephone service to subscribers which includes an internet access service, they must ensure this service excludes adult content unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.

(3)     The conditions are--

(a)   the subscriber "opts-in" to subscribe to a service that includes adult content;

(b)   the subscriber is aged 18 or over; and

(c)   the provider of the service has an age verification policy which meets the standards set out by OFCOM in subsection (4) and which has been used to confirm that the subscriber is aged 18 or over before a user is able to access adult content.

(4)     It shall be the duty of OFCOM, to set, and from time to time to review and revise, standards for the--

(a)   filtering of adult content in line with the standards set out in section 319 of the Communications Act 2003 (OFCOM's standards code);

(b)   age verification policies to be used under subsection (3) before a user is able to access adult content; and

(c)   filtering of content by age or subject category by providers of internet access services and mobile phone operators.

(5)     The standards set out by OFCOM under subsection (4) must be contained in one or more codes.

(6)     Before setting standards under subsection (5), OFCOM must publish, in such a manner as they think fit, a draft of the proposed code containing those standards.

(7)     After publishing the draft code and before setting the standards, OFCOM must consult relevant persons and organisations.

(8)     It shall be the duty of OFCOM to establish procedures for the handling and resolution of complaints in a timely manner about the observance of standards set under subsection (4), including complaints about incorrect filtering of content.

(9)     OFCOM may designate any body corporate to carry out its duties under this section in whole or in part.

(10)     OFCOM may not designate a body under subsection (9) unless, as respects that designation, they are satisfied that the body--

(a)   is a fit and proper body to be designated;

(b)   has consented to being designated;

(c)   has access to financial resources that are adequate to ensure the effective performance of its functions under this section; and

(d)   is sufficiently independent of providers of internet access services and mobile phone operators.

(11)     In this section, internet service providers and mobile telephone operators shall at all times be held harmless of any claims or proceedings, whether civil or criminal, providing that at the relevant time, the internet access provider or the mobile telephone operator--

(a)   was following the standards and code set out by OFCOM in subsection (4); and

(b)   acting in good faith.

(12)     For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in subsections (1) and (2) prevents providers of internet access services and mobile phone operators from providing additional levels of filtering content.

(13)     In this section--

"adult content" means an internet access service that contains harmful and offensive materials from which persons under the age of eighteen are protected;

"harmful and offensive materials" has the same meaning as in section 3 of the Communications Act 2003 (general duties of OFCOM);

"material from which persons under the age of eighteen are protected" means material specified in the OFCOM standards under section 319(2)(a) of the Communications Act 2003 (OFCOM's standards code);

"opts-in" means a subscriber notifies the service provider of his or her consent to subscribe to a service that includes adult content."

Update: Howe's amendment thrown out

27th November 2014. See  article from  parliament.uk . Thanks to Therumbler

Elspeth Howe's new clause was defeated by  124 votes to 64. Labour supported the bill, while most, but not all, Tories and LibDems opposed it.

 

  Out of Order...

John O'Farrell on why we should be allowed to use parliamentary footage for parody.


Link Here 27th November 2014
daily politics john ofarrell There are strict censorship guidelines on how broadcasters can, and cannot, use Parliamentary footage to reflect what goes on in the Commons and the Lords.

News programmes, such as the Daily Politics , may use clips under certain conditions, but these rules also ban the likes of Have I Got News for You and entertainment programmes from using them to mock Parliamentarians and Westminster life.

In a personal film, the writer and former Labour Parliamentary candidate John O'Farrell explained why he is not impressed with the rules, and why he thinks they need to be changed.

O'Farrell debated this on Thursday's Daily Politics on BBC2. See programme on iPlayer

 

  Highly Intrusive Snooping...

Mass snooping nations get UN to drop meta data collection from resolution condemning violations of privavcy


Link Here 27th November 2014
UN logo The five eyes mass snooping partners, the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, have joined forces to nobble a UN General Assembly committee's statements on digital privacy.

While the General Assembly's human rights committee has adopted a non-binding resolution saying that unlawful or arbitrary mass surveillance, interception and data collection are highly intrusive acts and a violation of the right to privacy.

However, metadata collection, revealing most of what people are up to the internet, was dropped from the privacy violations noted in the resolution, at the behest of the US and its allies.

 

  The Price of Censorship...

BBFC announces a small increase in classification fees


Link Here 27th November 2014
BBFC logo The BBFC explains a small increase in classification fees for 2015:

Having consulted the DCMS, we will be raising our fees for the first time in seven years on 1 January 2015. We have not increased our fees since 2007. This is equivalent to a 19% reduction in real terms in the cost of BBFC services over that period. We sustained these savings by improving the efficiency of our systems and reducing our operating costs, and at the same time we have vastly improved our turnaround times.

To maintain and improve these levels of service, we will make small, sub-inflation annual increases starting in 2015, with the aim of minimising the impact on film and video industries. The model we will use for our statutory work is RPI minus 1%. Using the September 2014 RPI figure of 2.3%, as published by the Office for National Statistics, the fees will therefore rise by 1.3% on 1 January 2015.

Perhaps not of prime interest to film viewers but the cost of classification makes a big difference to the availability of films. Given that professional people have to spend a few hours on a typical film then it is never going to be cheap. And for a small market film, the price of the censorship may make the difference between a film getting a release or not. Such economic censorship is equally effective in preventing films being seen, as for BBFC censorial concerns about the content.

 

  Copying Europe...

Music industry launches legal move to create a tax on blank media in compensation for legal private copying


Link Here 27th November 2014
Old Bailey Several music industry organizations in the UK have launched an application for a judicial review after the government passed legislation allowing citizens to copy their own music for personal use. The group says that in order for the system to be fair, the public must pay a new tax.

The music industry is voicing its collective displeasure at the government's decision and announcing plans to have consumers pay a new copy tax to rightsholders.

The Musicians' Union (MU), The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and UK Music (of which the BPI is a member) say they have launched an application for a judicial review into the government's decision to introduce a so-called private copying exception without including a kickback to rightsholders.

What the industry groups want is a tax to be applied to blank media including blank CDs, hard drives, memory sticks and other devices capable of recording. This money would then be funneled back to the music industry for distribution among rightsholders, a mechanism already operating in other European countries.

The judicial review will see the High Court examine the introduction of the levy-less copying exception to ascertain whether the government acted legally. The music groups' aim is to have the legislation amended in the industry's favor.

 

 Offsite Article: The war on Facebook...


Link Here 27th November 2014
home affairs committee MPs rebuke Facebook for failure to act on online activities of Lee Rigby's murderer

See article from independent.co.uk

 

  Playing the Morality Game...

Major New Zealand store bans 18 rated games and DVD


Link Here 26th November 2014
warehouse logo New Zealand's Warehouse group of stores won't sell any 18 rated games and DVDs in future, saying it wants to promote family values.

Chief executive Mark Powell says the decision was made to remove such games and DVDs from its 92 Warehouse and 77 Noel Leeming stores after controversy surrounding the recently released Grand Theft Auto V . He claimed it was driven by feedback from customers and the community, and its guiding principles, which include making New Zealand a better place to live. He spouted:

This feedback has formed part of what has been an ongoing internal review, to ensure that the products we range reflect our brand values of family, children, and community,

Bob McCoskrie, director of the moralist campaign group, Family First, spewed:

It is completely unrealistic to believe that young people will not be influenced in their attitudes and behaviours by constant exposure to this type of gaming and DVD material.

So-called 'entertainment' and freedom of expression should never be at the expense of the safety of our community, appropriate emotional and moral development of our children, and promoting acceptable attitudes towards women, violence and law enforcement.

 

 Updated: Ever more strident demands from the politically correct...

Lynne Featherstone puts her right to not be offended above fundamental human rights


Link Here 26th November 2014

Lynne Featherstone The Illiberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone, a Home Office minister, has demanded a ban on controversial US pick-up artist Julien Blanc from entering Britain. She siad she was lobbying Home Secretary Theresa May to refuse the self-styled dating coach a visa.

Blanc has offended over his £ 2,000-a-head seminars in which he is said to teach men sexually abusive and racist methods to attract women. He is said to encourage men to treat women with disrespect and contempt, including video footage of him apparently grabbing women by the throat. Other recommended pick-up methods include threatening to commit suicide, injuring pets and isolating women from friends. It would be interesting to hear a more measured review of his material rather than rely on Daily Mail reporting designed to invoke 'outrage'.

Featherstone said:

I am extremely concerned by the sexist and utterly abhorrent statements Julien Blanc has made about women. If he was allowed to perform in the UK I have no doubt that cases of sexual harassment and intimidation would increase. Mr Blanc disturbingly encourages men to treat women with disrespect and contempt Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone has lobbied Home Secretary Theresa May to refuse the self-styled dating coach a visa

Free speech is obviously hugely important ...BUT... with free speech comes responsibility. It is not appropriate to talk about choking girls under any circumstances.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Blanc should be barred from coming to the UK on the grounds that his promotion of violence against women is not conducive to the public good . She said:

It is important that respect for the laws on sexual assault and violence are upheld and that we send a clear message from Britain about zero tolerance of violence against women and girls.

More than 110,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Blanc to be refused entry to the UK after he was forced to cut short a visit to Australia following widespread protests.

Update: The whole point of freedom of speech is to not let bullies and lynch mobs prevail. So its sad to see our senior politicians head up the baying for blood

20th November 2014.  See  article from  independent.co.uk

Home Offie logo Controversial pick-up artist Julien Blanc has been denied a visa to enter the UK after a sustained campaign to prevent him from touring in Britain, it has been reported.

Blanc, who calls himself the international leader in dating advice , was forced to swiftly exit Australia after his visa was withdrawn amid claims his dating seminars teach abusive techniques.

An online petition calling on the Home Secretary Theresa May to deny the US citizen a visa to enter Britain gained more than 150,000 signatures. And indeed Blanc has now been barred from entering the UK by the Home Office.

Update: Suddenly it is a world wide policy to ban supposedly offensive speakers

26th November 2014. See  article from  japantimes.co.jp

Singapore flag Singapore has also banned U.S. pick-up artist Julien Blanc from entering the country to conduct seminars after over 8,000 people signed a petition accusing him of legitimizing sexual assault and predation.

Officials in other Asian countries where the 26-year-old Swiss-American had planned to travel on a world tour have also indicated that he may not be granted a visa.

Singapore authorities will bar Blanc from entering the country especially if he is here to hold seminars or events that propagate violence against women, a government statement said:

Blanc has been involved in seminars in various countries that advised men to use highly abusive techniques when dating women. Violence against women or any persons is against Singapore law.

A petition against Blanc started by Singaporean Charis Mah on the change.org website had called on Interior Minister Teo Chee Hean to exclude this individual from Singapore or deport him if he has already entered.

Update: Blanc cancels Norwegian talk

29th November 2014. See  article from  thelocal.no

Julien Blanc, who has been barred from entering several countries, has cancelled his plans to come to Norway,

Several countries, including South Korea and Brazil, has warned they will deny the 25-year-old entry.

 

  Shameful Whingers...

PC campaigners pleasure themselves by complaining about a Sony PS Vita advert


Link Here 26th November 2014
sony ps vita advert video Sony has taken down one a video from YouTube after a few 'outraged' whingers claimed that the ad was sexist and disgusting.

The ad featuring a sexy female doctor trying to market Sony's PlayStation Vita, which allows gamers to play on a second screen connected to the console when the TV is not available.

The hot lady doctor doesn't directly talk about PS Vita, at least not for most of the video. Instead, she spouts out an innuendo-ridden monologue that appears to imply that the viewer has been masturbating too much:

How many times did you do it yesterday? Are you afraid you're doing it too often? In the bedroom under your blankets? Or perhaps you prefer the kitchen or in the toilet? You no longer have to feel ashamed. Everybody's doing it because it's fantastic. And now you can keep going all day long.

The Verge's Kwame Opam calls the ad a little sleazy,   Now, there's nothing wrong with being sexy ...BUT... that sexiness is in service of a male audience that's fixed and behaves in a certain way.

 

 Update: Enforcing Religious Norms...

Malaysia moves to implement widespread website blocking


Link Here 26th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

Malaysia flag Malaysia has taken the first steps toward censoring the Internet with talks underway between the Home Ministry and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to begin blocking content that doesn't reflect supposed local culture and sensitivity.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the country's firewall would ensure that content on websites, such as YouTube and video-streaming sites, comply with Film Censorship Board rules. He said:

We are working with MCMC on this matter and I urge the commission to implement the system soon.

The minister added that the public needed to understand the government was responsible for ensuring Malays are not influenced by negative elements . He said that content creators would have to ensure their works did not encourage Malaysians to do things against social and religious norms.

 

  Miserable Censors...

Indian cable TV company loses appeal against 10 day shut down imposed for jokes on comedy Central


Link Here 26th November 2014
stand up club Back in 2012 Comedy Central was banned for ten days for airing supposedly obscene and vulgar words and being derogatory to women. The offending programmes were Stand Up Club and Popcorn.

The order issued by Delhi High court claimed that the programme showed a stand up comedian mouthing supposedly vulgar words accompanied by obscene and suggestive gestures and gyration.

Jokes during his performance supposedly denigrated women, indecently and crudely referred to sex organs of men-and women and the sing-song rendition by the man sought to pornographically describe male lust, whilst depicting women as a commodity of sex.

The broadcaster appealed against the censorship and the result has just been announced.

The court found no merit in Comedy Central's appeal, and dismissed it. The court also imposed INR20,000 costs and ordered the remaining six days of the channel's original ten-day ban should begin at 12.01am on 26 November 2014.

 

 

  No respect for the Queen...

Rajan Zed whinges about a hindu image appearing in a chapel in Windsor Castle


Link Here 26th November 2014  full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Ganesh Sitting Ganesha Elephant Buddha Perennial Hindu sound bite provider, Rajan Zed, has complained about the use of of a hindu religious character appearing in the chapel at Windsor Castle.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that reimagining Hindu deities and scriptures for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Ganesha was meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and it was not appropriate to mount him as a grotesque on a Chapel wall along with other distorted creatures.

Rajan Zed pointed out that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more ...BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it were painful for the devotees.

Zed further said that Hindus welcomed art world to immerse in Hinduism ...BUT... taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for personal agendas. Distorting of Ganesha was highly slighting of ancient Hindu traditions.

 

 Updated" Three Fingered Salute...

Thai cinemas cancel showings of Mockingjay as its symbology chimes with those opposing military dictatorship


Link Here 25th November 2014
Hunger Games Mockingjay Part DVD Managers at Bangkok's Lido and Scala cinemas have decided not to show the movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 for fear of a political backlash.

The management of Apex group, which operates the theatres, told the Bangkok Post it had received a phone call asking for 200 tickets for the film's premiere on Thursday noon at Scala theatre, and that they be sent by mail. It found out later the tickets were being given out for free from a Facebook page.

The League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy posted on its Facebook that it would give 160 tickets for the movie premiere at Scala under its Raise Three Fingers, Bring Popcorn and Go to the Theatre campaign. It also asked its friends to comment on How does the Capitol resemble Bangkok? - the winning commentators would get 80 tickets for free. As of 6.46pm on Wednesday there were 241 comments to the post.

Apex said authorities had met with management to talk about the film but claimed its decision to drop the show had nothing to do with what happened to the military ruler Prayut Chan-o-cha in Khon Kaen.

His talk there was interrupted by five students. The five wore anti coup t-shirts and gave the general the three-finger salute from the Hunger Games series of movies before being whiskered away by police and soldiers to a military camp. A security official said they were detained at the camp for attitude adjustment.

Update: UN gives Thailand a 3 fingered salute

25th November 2014.  See  article from  bangkokpost.com

UN logo The United Nations has criticised the Thailand's military dictators for arresting students flashing the signature protest gesture from The Hunger Games while the film's makers have said they are concerned for the young activists.

Fallout from the detention of three students outside two Bangkok theatres continued with the military's 'Prime Minister' Prayut Chan-o-cha saying he felt unthreatened by The Hunger Games' three-fingered protest against totalitarian rule, but nonetheless warned people against using it. , Gen Prayut told reporters:

I don't know whether it is illegal or not but it could jeopardise their futures. I appreciate their courage but they should use their courage in the right ways.

His comments came as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Southeast Asia criticised the authorities for a recent spate of instances in which people were led away for questioning after making the salute that has become a symbol of defiance for anti-coup protesters. Local OHCHR representative Matilda Bogner told AFP:

This case is the latest illustration of a worrying pattern of human rights violations, which has the effect of suppressing critical and independent voices, l

The three students apprehended for flashing the three-finger salute were released without charges.

Meanwhile the military government announces indefinite martial law

Perhaps while the media are distracted by the Hunger Games story, the country's justice minister announced that martial law is here to stay. Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya told Reuters:

Martial law is necessary and we cannot lift it because the government and junta need it as the army's tool.  We are not saying that martial law will stay in place for 50 years, no this is not it, we just ask that it remain in place for now, indefinitely.

And meanwhile the lese majeste law is used to outlaw criticism

A military court in Thailand has sentenced a web editor to four and a half years in jail for publishing an article five years ago that it said insulted the nation's king.

Rungwong edited the Thai E-News website, which is now blocked by censors. The article, published in 2009, was written by Giles Ji Ungpakorn, a radical Thai intellectual and former university political scientist who fled to Britain that year.

Thailand's lese-majesty law is considered the harshest in the world, with the accused facing jail terms of three to 15 years if found guilty. And the definition of insult is drawn very widely. Suggesting changes to Thailand's political status quo can readily be considered a criticism of the state and hence an insult to the king's stewardship of Thailand.

Update: And human rights criticisms get blocked

1st December 2014. See  article from  bangkokpost.com

Human Rights Watch logo The Thai government has blocked access to the Thailand page of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) website after receiving harsh criticism from the organisation.

In recent weeks HRW have heavily criticised Thailand's military government for its crackdown on dissent.

The fact that the [junta] feels the need to block Human Rights Watch's Thailand webpage means that we must be doing something right, said Brad Adams, HRW's Asia director.

 

 Update: I'm Dreaming of a Sleight Christmas...

Argentina continues whinge at number plate joke in the Top Gear Christmas Special


Link Here 25th November 2014  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
top gear argentina A few easily offended Argentines got wound up by a joke during the filming a Top Gear special.

Locals took offence at the H982 FKL number plate on a Porsche driven by Jeremy Clarkson, believing it was a reference to the 1982 Falklands conflict.

Argentina's ambassador to the UK, Alicia Castro, complained about the joke but the complaint was turned down by the BBC. Now she has resumed her torade against the joke by writing to the BBC Trust expressing discontent with how the number plate fiasco was handled. She claimed Clarkson's behaviour fell well below BBC's editorial values and standards and called for a fresh investigation.

In an interview with the Radio Times Richard Hammond said:

In society as a whole, we love to be offended and have a scapegoat. But at Top Gear we're the first to put our hands up and say we pitched it wrong. We have apologised. We're not in the business of genuinely upsetting or offending anyone. We're in the business of entertainment, and if it fails to entertain, it's wrong. If the public says we stepped over the line, then we have.

 

 Update: Parents TV Council Recommends...

Its annual Christmas list of best advertisers


Link Here 25th November 2014  full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence

PTC logo The Parents Television Council has released its annual list of Best TV Advertisers , which catalogues companies based on the television content they chose to underwrite with their media dollars over the past year.  PTC President Tim Winter explained:

As we approach the Christmas and holiday shopping season, we present this list of 'Best and Worst TV Advertisers' so that consumers can vote with their wallet and reward those companies that have clearly demonstrated a commitment to responsible sponsorship practices. Our list also identifies those companies that have shown little or no regard for the explicit content that their media dollars helped to underwrite.

What people see on TV is influential. TV advertisers certainly know it to be true, otherwise they would not have spent $86 billion last year just on U.S. television. The sole purchase of spending each dollar was to convince Americans to buy their goods and services. The ability to influence children does not stop once the commercial break is over and the program begins.

We applaud those companies that are on our 'best' list, as they have shown a willingness to evaluate and adjust their ad buys in order to take into consideration the concerns of parents about the quality and content of programming that's accessible to children.

At the same time, we urge those companies on our 'worst' list to re-evaluate their ad buys on TV shows that routinely feature graphic sex, violence, and profanity, and that have the potential to permanently lower standards for TV content across the board. It's time for companies to consider the impact on children and families that comes from their day-to-day business decision-making.

So congratulations to the advertisers that have most wound up the PTC:
 
CATEGORY Worst Advertisers
Fast Food Restaurants
  • Burger King
  • Yum! Brands: KFC, Taco Bell
Beverages
  • Red Bull
Clothing Retail
  • Gap, Inc.: The Gap, Old Navy
General Retail
  • Target
Personal Items
  • Johnson & Johnson: Aveeno, Visine, Splenda, Listerine, Clean & Clear
  • Unilever: Dove, Axe, Lipton, Suave, Vaseline, Hellmann's
Grocery
  • Mondelez International, Inc.: Trident, Wheat Thins, Sour Patch Kids, Tang, Ritz, Oreo, Nabisco
  • Kellogg's: PopTarts, Eggo,
  • Nestlé: Gerber, Coffee Mate, Friskies, Purina, Hot Pockets, Stouffer's
Computer Hardware/Software
  • Microsoft
Financial Services/Software
  • H&R Block

 

 Commented: Tesco Declines into Censorship...

Now tabloid newspaper covers will be censored


Link Here 25th November 2014  full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun
tesco censorship values logo Supermarket Tesco will no longer show the front covers of tabloid newspapers to avoid children seeing sexualised pictures of young women .

After months of lobbying by campaign groups No More Page 3 and Child Eyes, the largest supermarket chain in the UK said it would change the design of its news cube stands so newspapers will not be displayed vertically.

Tesco will now only show the names and logos of newspapers on the sides of the display stands. Customers will now have to walk right up to the display in order to see what's on the front of the newspapers. The policy will affect how all tabloid papers are displayed, from the red tops to mid-market titles like The Daily Mail and The Express.

Representatives from No More Page 3 and Child Eyes, which campaigns against sexual imagery met with Tesco at its head office in September to convey their ideas for censorship.

Tracey Clements, customer experience and insight director for Tesco, said:

We are first and foremost a family retailer and it's important we do everything we can to promote the right environment in store. We've asked our customers what they think about the issue and we have spoken to campaigners. The change we're making will strike the right balance for everyone.

It seems that the word 'balance' has now adopted the new meaning of censorship being imposed and/or rights being taken away.

Update: Waitrose follows the leader

24th November 2014. See  article from  gloucestershireecho.co.uk

waitrose logo Waitrose followed has followed Tesco's lead in censoring newspaper covers, saying it had been working on it for some time and would be changing their newspaper fixtures to display covers out of children's eyelines.

Offsite Comment: Modern Mary Whitehouses Want to Censor Newspapers, Magazines, Clothes and even Mugs

25th November 2014.

breitbart logo Right wing US commentators have fun watching Tesco censoring newspaper covers:

See  article from  breitbart.com

Update: M&S

2nd December 2014. See  article from  nomorepage3.org

M&S followed suit telling a supporter they had recently taken the decision to display these particular newspapers on the higher shelves so they were out of the eye line of children.

 

 Updated: Searching for someone else to do the work...

Man goes to court to force Google to track down links to delete


Link Here 25th November 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Old Bailey The case of a UK businessman who wants Google to stop malicious web postings about him appearing in its search results is set to begin.

Daniel Hegglin says he has been wrongly called a murderer, a paedophile and a Ku Klux Klan sympathiser during a malicious online campaign against him. He wants Google to block the anonymous posts from its search engine results.

Google asked him to provide a list of web links to be removed, but High Court judges will rule if it should do more. He claims there are more than 3,600 websites containing abusive and untrue material about him, and says listing all the posts for Google to remove would be expensive, time consuming, and ineffective.

He says that although Google is not the originator of the abusive campaign, its search engines have allowed the abuse to become more widespread.

He is seeking a legal order to force Google to take steps to prevent the abusive posts being processed in searches in England and Wales.

Update: Settled

25th November 2014. See  article from  wiggin.co.uk  

The case was settled on the first day of trial.

Daniel Hegglin's barrister said in a statement:

The settlement includes significant efforts on Google's part to remove the abusive material from Google-hosted websites and from its search results. Mr Hegglin will now concentrate his energies on bringing the persons responsible for this campaign of harassment to justice .

And a statement for Google:

Google provides search services to millions of people and cannot be responsible for policing internet content. It will, however, continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches local applicable laws .

 

  Home Sharing...

Google refuses the MPAA's take down request for the like of the Pirate Bay's home page


Link Here 25th November 2014
Google logo The MPAA recently asked Google to remove the homepages of dozens of sites that offer links to pirated content. Google, however, refused to take down most of the URLs, likely because the takedown notices are seen as too broad.

So far the MPAA has asked Google to remove only 19,288 links from search results. The most recent request is one worth highlighting though, as it shows a clear difference of opinion between Hollywood and Google.

Last week the MPAA sent a DMCA request listing 81 allegedly infringing pages, mostly torrent and streaming sites. Unlike most other copyright holders, the MPAA doesn't list the URLs where the pirated movies are linked from, but the site's homepages instead. This is a deliberate strategy, one that previously worked against KickassTorrents .

However, this time around Google was less receptive. Google took no action for 60 of the 81 submitted URLs. It's unclear why Google refused to take action, but it seems likely that the company views the MPAA's request as too broad. While the sites' homepages may indirectly link to pirated movies, for most this required more than one click from the homepage.

 

 Update: Regin: The super-snoopware the security industry has been silent about...

NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family


Link Here 25th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
NSA logo

 

 Update: Action violence didn't turn out so expendable...

Stallone says Expendables 4 will be R rated


Link Here 24th November 2014  full story: Expendables...Tough guys and whimpy censorship
Expendables 3 Blu ray Sylvester Stallone Extended Expendables 1 and 2 established a hard edge to the Stallone's action series but the 3rd episode was toned down to PG-13 in search of a larger audience. This didn't turn out to be the case but this could also be down to audience fatigue often associated with multiple sequels.

Either way Stallone has said in an interview with CraveOnline that th enext film with return to being R rated.

Stallone was asked: Do you think future Expendables movies should be R-rated from the get go? He replied:

I believe it was a horrible miscalculation on everyone's part in trying to reach a wider audience, but in doing such, diminish the violence that the audience expects. I'm quite certain it won't happen again.

 

 Update: Hopefully a new programme will document the results...

Mark Thomas sues the Met police for unlawful snooping


Link Here 24th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Mark Thomas Serious Organised Criminal TV presenter Mark Thomas and five other journalists are suing the Metropolitan police. They are claiming they were unlawfully snooped on by a little-known Scotland Yard unit dedicated to domestic extremism, and in particular that surveillance was unnecessary, disproportionate and not in accordance with the law .

The journalists discovered they had been the subject of surveillance after demanding to see their files under Data Protection laws. All were targets of the Yard's National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (NDEDIU).

Thomas, known for his leftist political comedy on the Channel 4's The Mark Thomas Comedy Product and the BBC's The Mary Whitehouse Experience , complained about a disturbing police spying network at the Yard. Thomas explained:

The fact that none of the journalists are suspected of criminality but all of them cover stories of police and corporate wrong doing hints at something more sinister The inclusion of journalists on the domestic extremist database seems to be a part of a disturbing police spying network, from the Stephen Lawrence family campaign to Hillsborough families.

 

  Coded Outrage...

PC lynch mob sets its sights on a Barbie book


Link Here 24th November 2014
index Susan Marenco wrote a book titled Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer. But it didn't go down well with the PC lynch mob. On day she woke up to 146 hate mails and a call from the US TV show, Good Morning America.

The mob attacked the book after The Daily Dot picked it up. Most of the review focused on supposed sexism sending the wrong message to young girls interested in technology. One excerpt from the book reads:

I'm only creating the design ideas, Barbie says, laughing. I'll need Steven's and Brian's help to turn it into a real game!

One 'Outraged' reader whinged:

I work as a software engineer, which is a male dominated field. It is exactly these stereotypes and portrayals of girls like the one in this book that are the driving force behind the lack of girls wanting to enter these lucrative technology fields,. This book is part of the problem. I hope Random House replaces this book with something more appropriate for children.

Marenco, who wrote the Barbie book for Mattel, protests that she's a feminist. She's also a technology professional. She told KidsTech News that she tries to be politically aware in her work.

As a writer, when I write, I think about this and I try to replace the professional white males with Asian females. I try and I'm conscious of this, because it's part of my political upbringing, she says. You have to have this on the forefront of your mind or you slip back into that mindset of the traditional Barbie.

Mattel, maker of all things Barbie, quickly pulled the book from sale on Amazon.

 

 Update: Snooper's Charter Extended...

Government introduces new law to extend detailed logs of internet usage to mobile phones and tablets


Link Here 23rd November 2014  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping
Theresa May Police are to get powers to force internet firms to hand over details linked to IP addresses in order to help them help snoop on people's internet use.

The anti-terrorism and security bill will oblige internet service providers (ISPs) to retain information linking IP (Internet Protocol) addresses to individual subscribers.

The home secretary, Theresa May, said the measure would boost national security, but again complained that Liberal Democrats were blocking further steps.

Loss of the capabilities on which we have always relied is the great danger we face, May said. The bill provides the opportunity to resolve the very real problems that exist around IP resolution and is a step in the right direction towards bridging the overall communications data capability gap.

However, the Lib Dems insisted that the communications data bill -- branded the snooper's charter -- was dead and buried . The party also stressed that the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, had been calling for the IP measures since spring 2013.

The technical details are either sparse or misleading, maybe deliberately. Home and mobile broadband users have obviously had their IP address recorded and logged for sometime along with logs of messages and websites visited. I believe that the bill is targeted at internet access on mobile phones where an IP address is shared by many users simultaneously without retaining detailed user records per IP message.

The Register obtained a slightly getter explanation from the Home Office:

Home Offie logo Every internet user is assigned an IP address to ensure communication service providers know which data should go to which customer and routes it accordingly. Addresses are sometimes assigned to a specific device, such as a broadband router located in a home or company. But they are usually shared between multiple users and allocated randomly by the provider's automated systems.

Many providers currently have no business reason for keeping a log of who has used each address. It is therefore not always possible for law enforcement agencies accessing the data to identify who was using an IP address at any particular time.

Such communications data is a vital tool in the investigation of terrorist and criminal activity, and significantly contributes to the conviction of child sex offenders.

The inability to link IP addresses to individuals poses serious challenges for law enforcement agencies. The proposed measures would reduce the risk of terrorism by improving the ability of the police and other agencies to identify terror suspects who may be communicating with each other via the internet.

It would also help to identify and prosecute organised criminals; cyber bullies and computer hackers; and protect vulnerable people. For example, it can be used to identify a child who has threatened over social media to commit suicide.

This legislation will not however address all the capability gaps that the Draft Communications Data Bill aimed to fill. These gaps will continue to have a serious impact on law enforcement and intelligence agencies. For example, the provisions will not enable the retention of weblogs -- a record of information relating to a communication between a user and the internet, including a record of websites that have been visited.

Update: Retaining MAC addresses

27th November 2014. See  article from  publicaffairs.linx.net

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill amends the definition of relevant communications data that Internet providers are required to retain. The apparent intention is to ensure that Internet providers retain IP port numbers or machine MAC addresses when these are necessary to distinguish users, such as when the network is employing Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation (CGN).

 

  New Chief TV Censor...

Ofcom announces acting Chief Executive when Ed Richards leaves


Link Here 23rd November 2014

Ofcom logo The Board of Ofcom has announced that Steve Unger will step up as acting Chief Executive at the end of the year.

Steve is currently Director of the Strategy, International, Technology and Economist Group at Ofcom. He will step up as interim Chief Executive when Ed Richards stands down at the end of December.

The process to appoint a permanent Chief Executive is under way and the Board of Ofcom will announce an appointment in the New Year.

Steve will take on the full responsibilities of Chief Executive and become Ofcom's Accountable Officer while the process for appointing a permanent successor to Ed Richards is under way.

 

 Update: Parent's TV Council Recommends...

Sons of Anarchy. The most sexually explicit content the PTC has ever documented on basic cable.


Link Here 23rd November 2014  full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence
Sons Anarchy Season 7 DVD The Parents Television Council is denouncing the FX network for airing the most sexually explicit content the PTC has ever documented on basic cable. The November 11th episode of Sons of Anarchy opened with approximately two and one-half minutes of graphically depicted sex among several couples. The explicit content, of the type previously available only on a la carte premium networks or pay-per-view, aired as early as 9 pm in half of the country.

Media Post described this scene like this :

This sequence ... featured seven couples in the act of intense lovemaking. ... For the record, this sequence left nothing to the imagination. It was probably the rawest sex I have ever seen depicted on TV outside of HBO and Showtime -- and that's saying a lot.

PTC President Tim Winter spouted:

Last week's episode of 'Sons of Anarchy' opened with the most sexually explicit content we've ever seen on basic cable, content normally found on premium subscription networks like HBO or Showtime.

 

 Offsite Article: Now we're all in danger of being caught up in the new culture wars, 24/7...


Link Here 23rd November 2014
strood white van man Everyone seems to have strong opinions about everything, and everywhere people want to take offence. One slip, or even a perfectly innocent remark, can mean public vilification. By Helen Lewis

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Offsite Article: Detekt...


Link Here 23rd November 2014
detekt amnesty logo Amnesty International has released a program that can spot spying software used by governments to monitor activists and political opponents

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

 Update: Movie Spoilers...

India ends experiment with nagging pop-up warning during movie scenes showing alcohol


Link Here 22nd November 2014  full story: Smoking and Drinking in Films...India wound up by smoking in the movies and TV
happy new year Pop-up warnings against alcohol consumption during a movie drinking scene might have started and ended with Happy New Year .

India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had asked for the health warning to be shown in every drinking scene before clearing the film for universal viewing.

Following sharp criticism of the move from within the film industry, board chairperson Leela Samson wrote to all the eight regional offices this month not to ask for such insertions in future releases, sources in the board said.

A senior board official who requested anonymity said: Our official stand is that this warning will not be applicable to future releases.

Filmmakers, already unhappy with the mandatory health warnings against tobacco, slammed the alcohol warning. These warnings are absurd and regressive, said Kalpana Lajmi, who directed Rudaali and Daman . Such warnings are distractions for viewers as cinema is a moving story and not a frozen frame.

 

  Siding with Offencemongers...

Advert censor bans humourous GiffGaff advert for alluding to sex


Link Here 21st November 2014

giffgaff out for a run video A tweet on the GiffGaff mobile phone company Twitter feed, which could be accessed by an embedded feed on their own website, stated The situations in our new videos are, well, awkward. #NSFW [LINK] #alltheboss . Beneath this, a video was embedded in a player and a still, showing a topless man wearing earphones and looking into a room, was displayed. Underneath the video player text stated Out for a run - At home with your parents you're not the boss ... Dean returns hot and sweaty from a run and gets an eye full. At home with your parents you're not the boss and there was a link to where the video was hosted on an external site.

In the first two seconds of the video on-screen text in the bottom-left corner stated WARNING: You cannot unsee this . The video showed the interior of a house and a man entering wearing earphones and dressed in a damp T-shirt, which he removed. He pushed open a door, revealing a couple having sex in a laundry room. The video cut back to the man's reaction, and then again to the couple, before showing the man walking away looking dazed. The video then cut to a blank screen, on which text stated At home with your parents you're not the boss ... At giffgaff we're all the boss . During the video panting sounds could be heard, which continued over the blank screen section. Issue

The complainant, who considered that the content was sexually graphic, objected that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Giffgaff Ltd stated that it was not their intention to cause offence. They said the ad was intended to show in a humorous way that, although some of their customers may not feel like the boss while living at home with their parents, with the Giffgaff network they could be the boss because they are able to have a say in how it's run. They stated that the style of the ad was humorous and playful, and that there was no nudity. They also stated that there was a warning at the start of the video that stated Warning: You cannot unsee this, which served to alert viewers to the fact that it may not be to their taste. Giffgaff said that, according to YouTube statistics, the ad had been viewed 37,530 times at the point of providing their response and that the receipt of only one complaint indicated that the offence caused was not widespread or serious.

Twitter did not provide a comment on the content of the ad, but stated that it was an ordinary tweet posted by the advertiser rather than a paid-for tweet promoted by the site.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA noted that the ad did not feature nudity. However, we considered that the characters were clearly having sex, that viewers would be likely to understand this to be the case, and that despite the lack of nudity the situation depicted was of a strongly sexual nature that would be likely to cause offence in an untargeted medium. Although we acknowledged Giffgaff's assertion that the ad was intended to be playful and humorous, we considered that a light-hearted tone was insufficient to mitigate the potential for offence due to the sexual nature of the content. We noted that the ad was available to view to all visitors to Giffgaff's Twitter feed, the general content of which appeared to be of a mild nature that would have general appeal to consumers, and would play whether or not they were signed in to Twitter or the site hosting the video itself. We therefore considered that the ad was untargeted. We acknowledged that a warning message was displayed at the beginning of the video, but noted that it was initially obscured by the video's control panel, was discreetly positioned and was only present briefly. We also considered that the phrase WARNING: You cannot unsee this was unlikely to indicate to viewers the nature of the scene that was to follow and, therefore, was inadequate to alert viewers to the content of the video. Moreover, we considered that the untargeted nature of the medium meant that a disclaimer was not sufficient to prevent the ad from being seen by viewers who would be offended by the content. Because the video featured strongly sexual content in an untargeted medium we concluded that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Giffgaff Ltd to ensure that future ads in untargeted media did not contain strongly sexual content.

 

 Commented: On the Pull Pulled...

Politically incorrect comedian, Dapper Laughs, finds himself pursed by a PC lynch mob


Link Here 21st November 2014
dapper laughs ITV has dropped a politically incorrect internet star who has been described as the new Jim Davidson . When ITV commissioned the recently finished six-part series Dapper Laughs: On the Pull for its youth-orientated ITV2 channel, it was presented as another example of a successful video-blogger or vlogger crossing into mainstream media. Dapper Laughs features Daniel O'Reilly walking British streets making quips to strange women about his penis and using his catchphrase proper moist .

The Daily Mirror published video footage of the comedian making bad taste jokes about rape in his live stand-up routine. The outburst, at a sell-out show at London's Scala in October, appears to have been a riposte to a piece on The Huffington Post by Lee Kern, who described the TV show as:

A woeful, misogynistic celebration of banter-based cretinism that is sadly having a renaissance among the confused, the intellectually frightened and the simpleton.

In his stand-up act, O'Reilly told the audience:

I filmed six episodes, half an hour each. If it was a guide to rape, I would have done one five-minute episode, come on and go 'Oi Oi, I'm Dapper Laughs, go down the shops, get some rope, bit of duct tape, rape the bitch, well done, see you later'.

O'Reilly tried to capitalise on his TV success by recording a Christmas album titled Proper Moist. The album includes songs called A Walk To The Pub...With A Tramp and Leaving The Pub...With A Tramp , in which he wonders if a woman's top was low cut or just ripped and asks your place or mine? This particular joke seems to have become the focus of the 'outrage'.

He later apologised for the sexist humour aimed at homeless women He offered to donate some of the proceeds to the charity Shelter who support homeless people. But Shelter says it won't take money from a comedian who is deeply offensive about homeless people .

As the fracas continued,  44 comedians signed an open letter condemning him for his entirely sexist and degrading brand of laddish comedy. Meanwhile about 70,000 people signed a petition for his television show to be cancelled for its misogynistic views, all under the guise of harmless comedy .

A result of the 'outrage', ITV unsurprisingly decided to drop Dapper Laughs. An ITV spokesman said that in the light of comments made by Dapper Laughs outside of the TV show the broadcaster would not be commissioning a further series from the comedian:

We have given careful thought to the recent criticism of the character Dapper Laughs, which has focused on his activities outside of the ITV2 programme, [for which the] content was carefully considered and complied. We have taken the decision that we will not be considering this show for a second series.

The fun continued via BBC's Newsnight

See article from telegraph.co.uk

bbc newsnight logo The BBC is now facing questions over why it invited Dapper Laughs onto its flagship current affairs show Newsnight .

O'Reilly was invited on the BBC's flagship current affairs show for an interview which allowed him to declare Dapper Laughs is gone . The bad press and everything that's happened - it's wrecked my life to a certain extent, he said.

Newsnight's editor Ian Katz has been contacted directly by critics on Twitter, but insisted he believed giving the comedian a platform was the most effective way of dealing with the arguments .

Outraged viewers, writing online, have now accused the BBC of chasing ratings, giving the comedian an unnecessary platform, and scraping the barrel of its new editorial standards.

And Finally

Thanks to Dan who comments:

How ironic that liberals are now pushing the same mantra that TV corrupts that Mary Whitehouse did 40 years ago.

Update: Ofcom to have its say

17th November 2014. See article from independent.co.uk

Ofcom has launched an investigation into ITV2 show Dapper Laughs: On The Pull after receiving 99 complaints about its attitude to women.

Ofcom is currently investigating whether the repeated use of sexual references in this comedy series met generally accepted standards, a spokesperson for the TV censor said after 99 complaints were logged.

Spiked logo Offsite Comment: Death to Dapper : behold the new intolerance

The terrifying censoriousness of the campaign against Dapper Laughs.

17th November 2014. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Brendan O'Neill

Offsite Comment: Dapper Laughs goes Pear Shape

21st November 2014. See article from pearshapedcomedy.com . Thanks to Anthony

pear shaped logo And so Dapper Laughs is gone. But questions remain. What, ask the various voices on twitter, was the difference between Dapper Laughs and Keith Lemmon? What was the difference between Dapper's rape joke and Jimmy Carr's rape joke?

...Read the full article

 

  Worthy of a Bad Review...

Hotel compounds bad service with a smallprint fraud of charging guests for a bad review


Link Here 21st November 2014
smallprint A couple have been unfairly charged £100 by a Blackpool hotel they described as a rotten stinking hovel on travel review website TripAdvisor. Tony and Jan Jenkinson posted the negative comments after being unimpressed with the one night they spent at the Broadway Hotel.

The couple, from Whitehaven, later found £100 charged to their credit card. The hotel said its policy was to charge for bad reviews.

Trading Standards from Cumbria County Council are investigating. Officials believe the hotel may have breached unfair trading practice regulations.

When the couple queried the surcharge, the hotel's manager said they had a no bad review policy in their terms and conditions. The policy stated in the smallprint: Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not. For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review.

The couple then contacted the council's Trading Standards team to complain about their treatment and have also sought a refund via their credit card company.

 

 Offsite Article: Banning Everything...


Link Here 21st November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
india government logo Detailed notes from Indian government meeting about implementing massive internet censorship

See article from medianama.com

 

  Oft Offended Opportunists...

US TV censor isn't supporting the call for a ban of the word 'Redskins' referring to the Washington DC football


Link Here 20th November 2014
washington redskins logo Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai said in a speech at an awards event that he disagrees with recent efforts to ban broadcasters from using the word Redskins when referring to the Washington, D.C. NFL team. He said:

If the FCC took these steps, we would be squelching public debate about an issue of public concern. We would be standing in the way of media outlets reporting the news. And we would be prohibiting speech simply because we disagree with the viewpoint that is being expressed.

Pai went on to say public officials shouldn't sound an uncertain trumpet when oft-offended opportunists urge us to undermine the First Amendment. He said he thinks the FCC should heed the words of Voltaire:

I may not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it, adding. Anyone who takes seriously the Constitution--scholar or layman--knows the petition is meritless. The FCC should dismiss it tout suite, as Voltaire might have said.

 

  Feminism has become toxic...

The Guardian's Julie Bindel notes that baying PC lynch mob has been attracting some justifiably negative press lately


Link Here 19th November 2014
scientist shirt The PC lynch mob vs Matt Taylor's shirt...

Julie Bindel comments:

The scientist of Rosetta mission fame, Matt Taylor, is arguably better known at the moment for a shirt he wore, depicting scantily clad women than his extraordinary scientific breakthrough. After a massive kerfuffle, led by feminists, Taylor broke down in tears at a briefing recently and said: I made a big mistake and I offended many people, and I am very sorry about this.

Many would hail this as a feminist victory: a big-name scientist apologising on TV and being reduced to tears for his apparent sexism. We must have come a long way to wield so much influence. But there's another way of seeing it. As less of a victory, more of a sign of a shift in feminist tactics. Instead of attacking the root cause of women's inequality, we've moved towards the vilification of individuals.

...

The current climate of McCarthyism within some segments of feminism and the left is so ingrained and toxic that there are active attempts to outlaw some views because they cause offence. Petitions against individuals appear to be a recent substitute for political action towards the root causes of misogyny and other social ills. Petitions have taken over politics.

...

The ban this sick filth approach is starting to look more like censorship than progressive politics. Political protest and heated debate has been replaced with a witch-hunt mentality.

...

Moral superiority and call out culture has trumped political activism. Feminists have a proud history of taking state institutions and corporations to task. It would seem this is being lost in a sea of vitriol. We built this movement on a desire and willingness to question and challenge old assumptions and truisms. We are in danger of becoming autocrats who would rather organise a pile-on than try to change systems. The life blood of feminism is in danger of becoming bile.

For once she is spot on. Something also noted by other commentators

Comment: Matt Taylor's sexist shirt and the day political correctness officially went mad

See  article from  telegraph.co.uk by Tim Stanley

Imagine if these PC fetishists had been around on Twitter when we landed on the moon: One small step for man? And one giant leap backwards for women. #sexistpigs.

Comment: ShirtGate Fascism Cloaked as Liberalism

See  article from  sexandcensorship.org

If Taylor had been paying more attention to politics over the past decade, he'd have witnessed the final stages in the collapse of the progressive left, and its replacement with a new set of intolerant, dogmatic, anti-sex, pro-censorship attitudes. But he clearly had more important things to worry about, so he'd missed the rise of a clique of online bullies using feminist language to achieve a very non-feminist goal: the suppression of the idea that women can be sexual beings if they so choose.

 

  Paddington Bear and his Mild Sex References...

The Daily Mail, the book's author and SaferMedia all whinge at the BBFC for its consumer advice for the movie, Paddington


Link Here 18th November 2014
paddinton Paddington is a 2014 UK / France family comedy by Paul King.
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Julie Walters. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

A young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck ('Please look after this bear. Thank you.') and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

The BBFC Just passed the film PG uncut for cinema release with the consumer advice:

dangerous behaviour, mild threat, innuendo, infrequent mild bad language.

But a little earlier, the consumer advice had read

dangerous behaviour, mild threat, mild sex references, mild bad language.

The BBFC changed the wording of its guidance after the Daily Mail ran a story about the PG rating for the film. It seems that the Paddington author Michael Bond was totally amazed at the term mild sex references used by the BBFC. Bond told the Daily Mail:

I'd be very upset. I might not sleep well tonight. I can't imagine what the sex references are. It doesn't enter into it with the books, certainly.'

After an approach from the film's distributor the BBFC altered the term mild sex references to innuendo . The distributor also asked for clarity to the frequency of mild bad language, and the BBFC duly obliged by adding the descriptor, infrequent.

The film's director Paul King said he had expected the BBFC to issue a PG rating:

I'm not surprised about that but I don't think it's a PG for sexiness. That I would find very odd, he said.

The Daily Mail also a dragged up a trivial sound bite from  Pippa Smith, of the SaferMedia campaign. She said:

There should be absolutely nothing threatening, sexual or dangerous about Paddington. If there is, it should be cut.

For a full description of what the BBFC are alluding to here is the BBFC Insight. (which still uses the heading 'sex')

BBFC logo Imitable Behaviour

There are infrequent scenes of dangerous behaviour, including Paddington hiding from a villain inside a refrigerator and riding on a skateboard while holding on to a bus, as well as a brief scene of a boy strapping fireworks to his shoes.

Threat

There are occasional sequences of mild threat when Paddington is chased by the villain who threatens to kill and stuff him, as well as a brief sequence in which Paddington lies unconscious on a table while a taxidermist prepares their tools nearby. There is also a short scene in a jungle when Paddington and his family run for shelter during an earthquake with trees falling around them.

Sex

There is some mild innuendo, including a comic sequence in which a man disguised as a woman is flirted with by another man.

Language

There is a single mumbled use of bloody .

Update: Panto

27th November 2014. See  article from  digitalspy.co.uk

Paddington producer David Heyman has spoken about the unfair controversy surrounding the film's BBFC rating. Heyman told Digital Spy:

When I first heard, it was with a little bit of disbelief. There's nothing in the film that is more inappropriate, or has more innuendo, than panto.

They're doing their job, and I understand, but I think this time they were a little unfair. It's good old fun, and it's playful.

 

  A Question for Sweden...

Would a gender equality rating for a computer game ironically mean that it was a game for girls?


Link Here 18th November 2014
g rating logo Future video games produced in Sweden could be labelled according to whether or not they promote gender equality, as part of a new project by gaming industry trade organisation Dataspelsbranchen.

The association has been given a 272,000 kronor ($36,672) grant by Sweden's government-funded innovation agency, Vinnova.

Inspired by the Bechdel test, which looks at whether fictional films or books feature at least two women talking about a topic other than men, Dataspelsbranchen will work with several game developers to analyse how Swedish video games portray female characters and gender issues.

Speaking to The Local, project manager Anton Albiin said it was unclear at this stage if all games produced in Sweden would be given a label, or if companies developing games that promoted equality would be given some kind of certification to use for their own marketing purposes. But he said he understood that either strategy would be a world first:

I do not know of any other project in the world asking this question and of course we want Sweden to be a beacon in this area.

 

  SAVE Our Liberty...

US civil liberties groups oppose a proposed law against adult adverts that will result in massive censorship of general internet advertising and also user generated content


Link Here 18th November 2014

US Senate A coalition of civil liberties, publishing, and online commerce groups are asking Congress to oppose a piece of anti-speech, anti-sex work legislation known as as the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act.

The bill is supposedly aimed at thwarting human trafficking but in reality would create harsh new criminal liabilities for websites and publishers, allow federal agents to censor online ads, make it harder for adult sex workers of all sorts to safely connect with customers, drive traffickers further underground, and potentially expose anyone advertising online to new privacy infringements.

In a November 12 letter to the U.S. Senate, nine organizations--including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Internet Commerce Coalition , the Electronic Frontier Foundation , the Association of Alternative News Media, and the National Coalition Against Censorship--wrote to convey strong opposition to the SAVE Act.

The SAVE Act would do several things:

  1. create extensive record-keeping requirements for any website, online services, and print publication that hosts adult advertisements,
  2. require anyone posting an adult ad to submit photo identification,
  3. enable the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ban certain euphemisms or code words from online advertising entirely, and
  4. make websites that host user-generated ads criminally liable should any of those ads wind up promoting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a minor. Under the law, the operator of a website such as Craigslist that hosts thousands of new user-uploaded ads daily could could face up to 10 years prison if any one of these is eventually linked to child sex trafficking.

The act would mean that websites and services hosting user-generated content could be held criminally liable even if they do not have actual knowledge that an ad for illegal activity appears on their sites.

Consequently, virtually any user-generated content host--like Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Amazon or various online dating sites--will have every incentive to prohibit content that falls under the bill's broad definition of adult advertisements, which includes communications that are wholly or only partially devoted to proposing lawful commercial exchange for lawful services--in other words, speech that is unquestionably protected by the First Amendment. At best, user-generated content sites will default to taking down content that is flagged as an adult advertisement as soon as a complaint is lodged, regardless of whether the content appears to be related to child trafficking or state child exploitation crimes, or even fits the bill's definition of adult advertisement at all.

In addition, any website, online service, or print publication that hosts any content falling under the bill's definition as an adult advertisement would be required to obtain photo identification from anyone posting the content.

Rather than risk inadvertantly hosting an illegal ad without having obtained the proper identification, many sites would simply start requiring a government-issued photo ID in order to post all ads.

And perhaps most egregiously of all, the SAVE Act would empower the DOJ to ban the use of certain words in all online advertising. If the agency determined that something was a potential euphemism or code word for trafficking, web operators, publishers, and digital ad networks would be forced to censor ads containing these words or phrases.

 

 Offsite Article: Killing the Vibe of Brick Lane...


Link Here 18th November 2014
closed bar The police and local councils are destroying London's nightlife. By Neil Davenport

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  So Last Century...

New Zealand chief censor whinges that he is left out of the loop on computer games distributed online


Link Here 17th November 2014
andrew jack Andrew Jack, New Zealand's chief censor, has spoken against game publishers digitally distributing games that haven't gone through the country's censorship process.

New Zealand law requires games that have been given a restricted rating in Australia or the UK to go be classified by the Office of Film and Literature Classification before they can be sold in New Zealand. Games with a G, PG, or M rating in Australia or the UK do not need to be locally rated.

However, the rise of digital game distribution through services like Steam, the iTunes App Store, and Google Play has seen some publishers selling games in New Zealand without first having them classified.  Jack whinged:

As chief censor I have previously expressed the view that games, in the legislation, should be treated the same as films. This would see all games distributed in New Zealand carry New Zealand classification labels, and allow New Zealanders to make informed choices about what they and their children watch and play.

Jack wondered it is perhaps time to consider whether the game industry can continue to be trusted.

However, Ron Curry, chief executive of the Interactive Gaming and Entertainment Association, said that Jack's idea of classifying every game is crazy, and that government organisations should work with the industry to find a solution.

 

 Update: An Encyclopedia of Propaganda...

Russia plans to replace US Wikipedia with Russian Wikipedia


Link Here 17th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
wikipedia logo The Russian government is claiming that Wikipedia is US propaganda so plans to create a home grown variant able to provide proper Russian propaganda.

Newsweek notes that the move is the result of an analysis by Russia's National Library that claimed the U.S. website's content on Russia unreliable. It reported:

An analysis of [Wikipedia] showed it was incapable of providing Russian regions with reliable and comprehensive information about the life of the nation.

The Russian government claims their website will objectively reflect the country, its population and the diversity of the Russian nation, according to the statement.

 

 Update: House of Cards Collapses...

China bans everything from internet TV


Link Here 17th November 2014  full story: Internet TV Censorship in China...Draconian censorship
sarft logo Film and television programmes featuring one-night stands, adultery, supernatural occurrences and gambling will be banned from Chinese streaming websites in the latest episode of Beijing's continuing moral crackdown.

US streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are already effectively banned, but local sites such as Sohu, which recently release House of Cards , would be expected to suffer under the effects of the ban.

In a statement to content providers, censors also demanded the removal of content featuring depictions of sexual abuse, rape, polyamorous relationships, necrophilia, prostitution and masturbation. Violent murder, suicides, drug use and gambling were also among the subjects banned via the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) circular, as well as instances of pornography.

Prof Tan Tian of Jinan university told the Times the new regulations would radically reduce the number of movies and television shows that could be legally streamed in China.

 

 Update: Courage...

Top musicians, actors and Nobel laureates show support for Edward Snowden, publishers and whistleblowers


Link Here 16th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

courage foundation logo An international coalition of more than fifty actors, musicians and intellectuals have announced their support for Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, whistleblowers and publishers. Some are also encouraging donations to the Courage Foundation --which runs the official legal defense fund for Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers, as well as fights for whistleblower protections worldwide -- with tweets and social media posts.

The courage that Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers and truthtellers have shown and continue to show is truly extraordinary and necessary in helping the public have access to their historical record through media, said Sarah Harrison, WikiLeaks Investigations Editor and Director of the Courage Foundation. WikiLeaks and Harrison ensured Edward Snowden's safe exit from Hong Kong and secured his asylum. We cannot thank these cultural icons enough for showing their support.

The announcement coincides with the expanded theatrical release of Laura Poitras' critically acclaimed documentary CitizenFour -- providing a first-hand account of Edward Snowden's disclosure of the NSA's mass surveillance program.

Signed by Susan Sarandon, Russell Brand, Peter Sarsgaard, M.I.A., Thurston Moore, David Berman, Vivienne Westwood, Alfonso Cuaròn and several other artists and intellectuals, the statement praises the work of whistleblowers such as Snowden, highlighting the need to support these individuals as they face social and legal persecution for their revelations to the public. The statement reads:

We stand in support of those fearless whistleblowers and publishers who risk their lives and careers to stand up for truth and justice. Thanks to the courage of sources like Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, and Edward Snowden, the public can finally see for themselves the war crimes, corruption, mass surveillance, and abuses of power of the U.S. government and other governments around the world. WikiLeaks is essential for its fearless dedication in defending these sources and publishing their truths. These bold and courageous acts spark accountability, can transform governments, and ultimately make the world a better place.

In addition to urging the public to stand in solidarity with Snowden and other whistleblowers, many of the artists are calling on fans to watch CitizenFour, and are raising awareness of the Courage Foundation's whistleblower defense efforts, which fundraises for the legal and public defense of whistleblowers and campaigns for the protection of truthtellers and the public's right to know generally.

The statement was signed by:

Udi Aloni, Pamela Anderson, Anthony Arnove, Etienne Balibar, Alexander Bard, John Perry Barlow, Radovan Baros, David Berman, Russell Brand, Victoria Brittain, Susan Buck-Morss, Eduardo L. Cadava, Calle 13, Alex Callinicos, Robbie Charter, Noam Chomsky, Scott Cleverdon, Ben Cohen, Sadie Coles, Alfonso Cuaròn, John Deathridge, Costas Douzinas, Roddy Doyle, Bella Freud, Leopold Froehlich, Terry Gilliam, Charlie Glass, Boris Groys, Michael Hardt, P J Harvey, Wang Hui, Fredric Jameson, Brewster Kahle, Hanif Kureishi, Engin Kurtay, Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, Nadir Lahiji, Kathy Lette, Ken Loach, Maria Dolores Galán López, Sarah Lucas, Mairead Maguire, Tobias Menzies, M.I.A., W. J. T. Mitchell, Moby, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello, Viggo Mortensen, Jean-Luc Nancy, Bob Nastanovich, Antonio Negri, Brett Netson, Rebecca O’Brien, Joshua Oppenheimer, John Pilger, Alexander Roesler, Avital Ronell, Pier Aldo Rovatti, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, Assumpta Serna, Vaughan Smith, Ahdaf Soueif, Oliver Stone, Cenk Uygur, Yanis Varoufakis, Peter Weibel, Vivienne Westwood, Tracy Worcester and Slavoj Zizek

 

 Updated: Ban Everything!...

David Cameron calls for more internet censorship of 'extremist' material. And no doubt the authorities will define 'extremist' as meaning more or less everything


Link Here 16th November 2014  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim
David Cameron David Cameron has called for governments around the world to do more to censor 'extremist' material online. He made his comments during a visit to Australia's Parliament. He said:

The root cause of the challenge we face is the extremist narrative. A new and pressing challenge is getting extremist material taken down from the Internet. There is a role for government in that. We must not allow the Internet to be an ungoverned space. But there is a role for companies too.

Cameron then went on to detail measures already being taken in the UK to combat online extremism, including adding supposedly extremists material to ISP blocking lists, improving reporting mechanisms and being more proactive in taking down supposedly harmful material.

The British government also recently revealed plans to reduce the amount of hate material online. However, a report released in May revealed that the proposal is experiencing a number of hurdles, including opposition from ISPs and social networks, particularly those based outside the UK.

Open Rights Group has responded to the announcement that ISPs will add extremist websites to filters designed to protect children from seeing adult content. Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group said:

We need transparency whenever political content is blocked even when we are talking about websites that espouse extremist views. The government must be clear about what sites they think should be blocked, why they are blocking them and whether there will be redress for site owners who believe that their website has been blocked incorrectly.

Given the low uptake of filters, it is difficult to see how effective the government's approach will be when it comes to preventing young people from seeing material they have deemed inappropriate. Anyone with an interest in extremist views can surely find ways of circumventing child friendly filters

Update: Censorship button

16th November 2014. See article from bbc.co.uk

The UK's major internet service providers (ISPs) are to introduce new measures to tackle online extremism, Downing Street has said. The ISPs had committed to strengthening their filters and adding a public reporting button to flag terrorism-related material. In a briefing note, No 10 said the ISPs had subsequently committed to filtering out extremist and terrorist material, and hosting a button that members of the public could use to report content. It would work in a similar fashion to the reporting button that allows the public to flag instances of child sexual exploitation on the internet.

However, the BBC understands that while the ISPs agreed in principle to do more to prevent extremism, they have not actually committed to the measures outlined by No 10.

We have had productive dialogue with government about addressing the issue of extremist content online and we are working through the technical details, a spokeswoman for BT said. A spokesman for Sky said: We're exploring ways in which we can help our customers report extremist content online, including hosting links on our website. The plan presents logistical problems as extremist groups such as Isis typically use channels like YouTube or Twitter that are popular for entirely legal purposes.

 

  An Objectionable Film Censor...

New Zealand film censor threatens and ISPs proxy service claiming it lets people see objectionable uncensored films from the US


Link Here 16th November 2014
slingshot logo New Zealand's film censor at the Office of Film and Literature Classification is threatening CallPlus subsidiary Slingshot with prosecution over the access it is providing to blocked overseas internet television services such as Netflix through its free GlobalMode service.

Inevitably, the movie trade group, the Film and Video Labelling Body, an incorporated society whose members include Sony, Universal and Paramount, said it agreed with chief censor Andrew Jack that Slingshot was breaking the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act. That was because GlobalMode provided a gateway to overseas services such as Netflix that showed programmes that had not gone through New Zealand's classification system, some of which it claimed were objectionable.

However the ISP trade group, InternetNZ said that it did not believe internet providers were responsible for what its customers did on the internet and to suggest otherwise creates a bizarre world where internet providers are held up to a different standard to other utility suppliers .

CallPlus chief executive Mark Callander has said GlobalMode is not illegal and the company does not intend to axe it despite the chief censor's legal threat.

Canterbury University law professor Ursula Cheer has said any prosecution of Slingshot would be a test case . The outcome would hinge on whether Slingshot's decision to actively promote GlobalMode as a means to access overseas television programming meant it had lost the safe harbour protections in the Act that usually shield internet providers from prosecution for the content they carry.

 

  The Maze Runner...

An uncut 15 rated Audio Descriptive Version suggests that the UK will see an uncut home video release


Link Here 15th November 2014
Maze Runner Will Poulter The Maze Runner is a 2014 USA action Sci-Fi mystery by Wes Ball.
Starring Dylan O'Brien, Will Poulter and Kaya Scodelario. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: The Audio Descriptive Version was passed 15 uncut for intense scenes, strong threat, violence for:

  • 2014 Twentieth Century Fox video

UK Censorship History

In the US the film was uncut and MPAA PG-13 rated for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images for:

However BBFC 43s of category cuts were required for a 12A rated 2014 cinema release

The appearance of a 15 rated Audio Descriptive Version suggest that there will now be an uncut release on UK video although it is not yet clear exactly what will be released on UK DVD and Blu-ray.

Summary Notes

A group of boys, with no memories of their past lives, must escape a massive maze infested with deadly creatures.

 

  Collection...

US drama by John Herzfeld has two versions, passed 15 and 12, available for UK video release


Link Here 15th November 2014
Reach Me Sylvester Stallone Collection (aka Reach Me and Out of Sight) is a 2014 USA drama by John Herzfeld.
Starring Danny Aiello, Rick Aiello and Jillian Barberie. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: Presumably the cut PG-13 version was passed 12 for strong language, moderate violence, threat, drug use for:

  • 2014 Signature Entertainment video titled Collection

Censorship History

Originally R Rated by the MPAA but the film was later cut for a PG-13 rating. The BBFC passed the two versions 15 and 12 respectively without BBFC cuts.

The film seems to have been cut fro PG-13 by about 3:22s which achieved a lowering of BBFC advice from strong violence to moderate violence.

The US home video release is advertised on Amazon with an R rating as follows:

US: Uncut and MPAA R rated for some violence, language and brief drug use for:

Summary Notes

A drama centered on a group of people who all have a connection to a self-help book authored by a reclusive former football coach.

 

  Ban Everything...

A few miserable whinges about Sainsbury's Christmas truce advert being somehow disrespectful


Link Here 15th November 2014
sainsburrys trenches advert video 240 people have whinged about the new Sainsbury's Christmas advert for its supposedly cynical use of First World War imagery to promote the supermarket's brand.

The advert is a dramatic three-minute recreation of the famous truce - when British and German soldiers laid down their weapons and met in no man's land.

Complaints have been registered with the advertising censor with the majority of those objecting to the supermarket's distasteful use of the conflict's 1914 Christmas Truce.

Sainsbury's has acknowledged that the advert has received complaints but insist they are delighted with the overall feedback. A spokesman said:

We've been really delighted by the amazing response to our Christmas ad which has been overwhelmingly positive from both customers and colleagues alike.

We're very proud of our work with The Royal British Legion and to be able to raise additional funds for them to mark the 20th anniversary of our relationship with them.

 

  Ban Everything!...

Norwich Council set to ban skateboarding


Link Here 15th November 2014
norwich city council logo Skaters are facing another battle to keep the scene above board, this time not in London but in Norwich. Members of the city council are seeking to ban skateboarding in parts of the city after damage caused to the War Memorial Gardens. They claim that wear and tear is primarily down to skaters.

So far, almost 4,000 people have signed a petition calling for the proposed ban to be scrapped. Residents polled by a local newspaper also voted hugely in favour of keeping skateboarding in the city centre.

Long Live Southbank , the group behind the campaign to preserve the area underneath the Southbank centre in London, have sent a carefully worded open letter to Norwich City Council. The organisation pointedly and correctly explained:

Skateboarding supports more than just the physical act, it supports other creative practices such as filmmakers, photographers, visual designers and provides opportunities for other transferable skills and values. It promotes physical and social well-being and a much-needed alternative to gadgetry as it encourages young people to get outdoors, get physical, and explore their cities and local areas.

Add to that that skateboarding is one of the fastest-growing physical activities in the world, particularly with girls and young women, and there is enough reason to suggest local authorities encourage these physical expressions as opposed to discourage and, as in this instance, criminalise them.

The skaters are all in agreement that the war memorials should be left alone, but the ban would cover a much larger area of the city centre than that. Campaigners believe the move needless demonises of the local skate scene.

 

  Sneaky...

EFF reports that US and Thai ISPs have been spotted disabling their customers from selecting STARTTLS encryption for email


Link Here 15th November 2014

Electronic Frontier Foundation Recently, Verizon was caught tampering with its customer's web requests to inject a tracking super-cookie . Another network-tampering threat to user safety has come to light from other providers: email encryption downgrade attacks. In recent months, researchers have reported ISPs in the US and Thailand intercepting their customers' data to strip a security flag--called STARTTLS--from email traffic. The STARTTLS flag is an essential security and privacy protection used by an email server to request encryption when talking to another server or client. 1

By stripping out this flag, these ISPs prevent the email servers from successfully encrypting their conversation, and by default the servers will proceed to send email unencrypted. Some firewalls, including Cisco's PIX/ASA firewall do this in order to monitor for spam originating from within their network and prevent it from being sent. Unfortunately, this causes collateral damage: the sending server will proceed to transmit plaintext email over the public Internet, where it is subject to eavesdropping and interception.

This type of STARTTLS stripping attack has mostly gone unnoticed because it tends to be applied to residential networks, where it is uncommon to run an email server 2 . STARTTLS was also relatively uncommon until late 2013 , when EFF started rating companies on whether they used it . Since then, many of the biggest email providers implemented STARTTLS to protect their customers. We continue to strongly encourage all providers to implement STARTTLS for both outbound and inbound email. Google's Safer email transparency report and starttls.info are good resources for checking whether a particular provider does.

The SMTP protocol, the underpinning of email, was not originally designed with security in mind. But people quickly started using it for everything from shopping lists and love letters to medical advice and investigative reporting, and soon realized their mail needed to be protected from prying eyes. In 1991, Phil Zimmerman implemented PGP , an end-to-end email encryption protocol that is still in use today. Adoption of PGP has been slow because of its highly technical interface and difficult key management. S/MIME , with similar properties as PGP, was developed in 1995. And in 2002, STARTTLS for email was defined by RFC 3207 .

While PGP and S/MIME are end-to-end encryption, STARTTLS is server-to-server. That means that the body of an email protected with, e.g. PGP, can only be read by its intended recipient, while email protected with STARTTLS can be read by the owners of the sending server and the recipient server, plus anyone else who hacks or subpoenas access to those servers. However, STARTTLS has three big advantages: First, it protects important metadata (subject lines and To:/From/CC: fields) that PGP and S/MIME do not. Second, mail server operators can implement STARTTLS without requiring users to change their behavior at all. And third, a well-configured email server with STARTTLS can provide Forward Secrecy for emails. The two technologies are entirely compatible and reinforce each other. The most secure and private approach is to use PGP or S/MIME with a mail service that uses STARTTLS for server-to-server communication.

There are several weak points in the STARTTLS protocol, however. The first weakness is that the flag indicating that a server supports STARTTLS is not itself encrypted, and is therefore subject to tampering, which can prevent that server from establishing an encrypted connection. That type of tampering is exactly what we see today. EFF is working on a set of improvements to STARTTLS, called STARTTLS Everywhere , that will make server-to-server encryption more robust by requiring encryption for servers that are already known to support it.

It is important that ISPs immediately stop this unauthorized removal of their customers' security measures. ISPs act as trusted gateways to the global Internet and it is a violation of that trust to intercept or modify client traffic, regardless of what protocol their customers are using. It is a double violation when such modification disables security measures their customers use to protect themselves.

 

 Offsite Article: Should we spy on our children?...


Link Here 15th November 2014
teensafe logo If you don't, you soon might. A range of new technology means you can now keep kids under surveillance 24/7 but is this good parenting, or Orwellian overkill?

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

 Update: Perhaps Euro judges could be prosecuted for aiding and abetting terrorism...

Government minister Sajid Javid notes that the bad guys are getting reports of their criminal deeds censored under the EU's 'right to be forgotten'


Link Here 14th November 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
sajid javid Terrorists and criminals are being airbrushed from history as right-to-be-forgotten laws bring in censorship by the back door , the culture secretary has warned.

Sajid Javid said convictions are being removed from the internet even by those who have gone on to commit further crime, with terrorists ordering Google to remove stories about their trials. He warned that thousands of requests were being received each day by those who prefer to keep their past a secret , thanks to unelected judges in Europe.

He told an audience the European court had introduced censorship through the back door by ordering internet search engines such as Google to offer a right to be forgotten to individuals who want links to information about them to be removed.  Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, he said, was being used as:

Little more than an excuse for well-paid lawyers to hide the shady pasts of wealthy businessmen and the sexual indiscretions of sporting celebrities.

The 'right to be forgotten' is censorship through the back door.

 

  Thailand recommends...

The book, A Kingdom in Crisis by Andrew MacGregor Marshall


Link Here 14th November 2014  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Kingdom Crisis Thailands Democracy Twenty First Thailand's National police chief Police General Somyot Poompanmuang has banned the ordering and importation of the book A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailand's Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century , claiming that it contains anti-monarchist sentiments.

The police chief issued the ban under the Printing Act of 2007. The book was written by Scottish journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a former journalist with the Thomson Reuters news agency. The book, which had not gone on sale in Thailand, was released last week by the British publishing house, Zed Books.

Somyot based the decision on articles reviewing the book that were printed in two overseas newspapers in the online edition of the South China Morning Post and the online edition of UK newspaper The Independent.

The police claimed the two articles showed that the book insulted and fomented hatred of Their Majesties the King and the Queen, the heir to the throne, and affected national security, peace and public morality.

Somyot said violators of the ban were liable to a prison term of up to three years and/or a fine of up to 60,000 baht (£1200). He also ordered the seizure and destruction of copies of the book.

Formers Reuters correspondent, Andrew MacGregor Marshall, now a freelance journalist and analyst on Thai culture and politics, expressed his delight that his book was banned.  During the last two days, the book has featured in AP , Bangkok Post , Thai PBS (English version), BBC Thai , Prachatai, and other Thai news sites .

The book, which Marshall says was partly based on information from classified US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, as well as contacts from within the royal establishment, was already an Amazon bestseller in the Asian History section. Marshall commented:

I am fundamentally opposed to the banning of books, and I don't see how Thailand can hope to solve its problems peacefully unless Thais are allowed to openly discuss and debate all aspects of their politics and history. Censorship and suppression can only make the crisis worse, and increase the risk that there will be more violence. However, I'm personally delighted that the Thai police have banned my book. I would have been very offended if they hadn't. My book is intended to challenge the myths and fairy tales of the Thai elite, and the ban shows I did my job properly.

 

 Offsite Article: Leading the PC lynch mob...


Link Here 14th November 2014
change.org logo Is Change.org just a weapon of censorship? Has Change.org crossed a line from being a platform to make the world a better place to a tool for the vocal minority can ban things they don't like, asks Martin Daubney

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

 Update: Political Censorship...

Ofcom censures Russia Today news channel for biased reporting of the Ukraine crisis


Link Here 13th November 2014  full story: Russia Today Propaganda TV...Russia Today, English language international propaganda channel
russia today international logo Propaganda channel, Russia Today, has launched a dedicated UK TV channel that broadcasts five hours of programmes a day made out of its new London studios.

But it hasn't taken before the UK TV censor Ofcom has got involved to investigate the channel for biased news.

The channel has already been threatened with statutory sanctions by Ofcom after the Kremlin-backed news channel breached broadcasting regulations on impartiality with its coverage of the Ukraine crisis.

Russia Today, or RT, was summoned to a meeting with Ofcom after it was found guilty of breaching the code governing UK broadcasters in a ruling published  this week.

The censor flagged up four separate reports, all broadcast in March this year, all dealing with the situation in Ukraine. Ofcom said it recognised that RT, which is funded by the Russian government and launched a UK version last month , would want to present the news from a Russian perspective . But it said all news must be presented with due impartiality ... in particular, when reporting on matters of major political controversy .

It follows three previous breaches of impartiality rules, and Ofcom called for a meeting with the broadcaster to discuss compliance with regard to its due impartiality . It said it had put the channel on notice that any future breaches of the due impartiality rules may result in further regulatory action, including consideration of a statutory sanction .

 

  A watershed for the internet...Mediawatch-UK will be pleased...

Sky Broadband introduces option for parents to automatically set times of day when internet website blocking is in force


Link Here 13th November 2014
Sky TV Sky's Broadband Shield parental controls tool now lets families set timers for content blocking.

The content blocks applying to all devices in the home, gives parents the choice between three pre-defined censorship levels based on ages ratings, PG, 13 and 18.

Parents were always able to switch between the three categories at will but the new Watershed tool means that settings don't have to be manually changed; timers can be applied so that the PG or 13 setting is in place during the day hours with the 18 setting coming on after bedtime. The tool can also enforce blocking levels selected for homework hours.

 

  Police training to trash people's lives over trivia...

Trainee policeman has his career trashed over a bad taste extreme porn joke.


Link Here 13th November 2014
Metropiltan Police badge A former probationary Metropolitan Police officer has been fined £430 after sending a bad taste joke in the form of an extreme pornographic image to his colleagues.

Jack McGillivray pleaded guilty at London's Westminster Magistrates Court to publishing an obscene article on July 31.

Prosecutor Edmund Hall said McGillivray had promptly accepted that he had sent a single image, which he had received from a friend, to both male and female police trainees while he was on a course.

McGillivray said he had done it humorously and later apologised for causing any offence, has handed in his resignation and is currently suspended.

Deputy chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot heartlessly told McGillivray that she accepted his explanation that it was just a joke but told him it was one which has now had catastrophic consequences . You are about to lose your job and you are about to lose your good character.

 

  Where Google doesn't go...

MPAA launches a search engine to find legal movie options


Link Here 13th November 2014

wheretowatch logo MPAA officials and studio executives have announced the launch of WhereToWatch.com website touting that it will provide a place to find legal options to buy, rent, stream or watch films.

We connect you directly to content sites that provide every option available to buy, rent or stream the title you're looking for, MPAA Chairman-CEO Chris Dodd said in a blog post . Provide a zip code and we'll provide you with show times and locations for movies in theaters nearby. You can watch trailers and check out behind-the-scenes features produced by our online magazine, The Credits.

The films featured are available through 30 sites. Among them are big sites like iTunes, Amazon and Hulu and smaller sites like SnagFilms and WolfeOnDemand.

 

  BBFC living somewhere inbetween NeverNeverLand and CloudCuckooLand...

BBFC ludicrously cut 20 minutes from the Inbetweeners 2 Deleted Scenes extras for strong language and crude humour


Link Here 12th November 2014
Inbetweeners 2 DVD Simon Bird The Inbetweeners 2 is a 2014 UK comedy by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris.
Starring Simon Bird, James Buckley and Blake Harrison. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

It has already been reported that the main feature suffered BBFC category cuts for a 15 rating. The BBFC commented:

This film was previously seen for advice. The company was advised the film was likely to be classified 18 but that their preferred 15 could be achieved by making reductions to two scenes involving crude humour.

Maybe the cut scenes tried to find their way back on to the disk as Deleted Scenes. But the BBFC were having none of it. The DVD/Blu-ray extra entitled Deleted Scenes was cut by 19m 54s. The BBFC explained:

Distributor chose to reduce the number of uses of very strong language and to reduce the detail in a scene in which one character urinates on another. Cuts were made in line with BBFC Guidelines and policy in order to achieve a 15 rating. An uncut 18 was available.

How ludicrous to cut strong language for 15, 16 and 17 year old viewers.

 

 Offsite Article: The BBFC's ethical dilemma...


Link Here 12th November 2014
david cooke Should the BBFC pontificate about deep and abstract ethical dimensions to film censorship before simply cutting films to meet the required age rating? David Cooke argues that they should

See article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

  The Jovial Jihadist...

The BBC Trust and Ofcom are not impressed by Radio 1's Newsbeat interviewing a jihadist who likened his experience in Syria to computer gaming


Link Here 12th November 2014
newsbeat logo Newsbeat , BBC Radio's youth-orientated news service, has committed a serious breach of editorial guidelines by broadcasting an interview with a British jihadi who compared fighting for the terrorist group Islamic State to playing a computer game.
 

BBC Trust is not impressed

The BBC Trust said Newsbeat had a responsibility to protect children and young people from unsuitable content and that the broadcast should have come with an appropriate warning for Radio 1 listeners, many of whom are at school.

In the piece, broadcast last June, Newsbeat used a clip from an online video called The Isis Podcast , in which a young British man using the name Abu Sumayyah Al-Britani talked of the pleasures of jihad. He was introduced as speaking from an internet cafe' near his training camp in north-west Syria .

A Newsbeat reporter said: Some say Isis is overtaking Al Qaeda as one of the world's most dangerous jihadist organisations. Sumayyah believes what they are fighting for is right. The terrorist was then heard saying: It's actually quite fun. Better than, how you'd say, what's that game called, Call of Duty. It's like that but really... 3D you know. You can see everything that's happening in front of you, you know it's real, you know what I mean?

The Trust found that Newsbeat had also failed to sufficiently challenge the statements put forward in the Isis video and had failed to meet the BBC Editorial Guideline that demands that contributors expressing contentious views, either through an interview or other means, must be rigorously tested .

Newsbeat accepted that the report should have been preceded by a warning and that more contextual information should have been included. It stressed that the film was not an Isis propaganda vehicle but a podcast produced by two freelance journalists studying the terror group.

Nor is Ofcom impressed

Meanwhile Ofcom has also been investigating the Newsbeat interview. After an extraordinarily long report Ofcom concluded:

The Code does not prohibit particular individuals or organisations from appearing on UK television and radio just because their views or actions have the potential to cause offence, provided broadcasters comply with the Code. To do otherwise would be a disproportionate restriction of the broadcaster's right to freedom of expression and the audience's right to receive information and ideas. This is especially the case in news and current affairs programming, where broadcasters may wish to give coverage to or interview individuals or organisations with extreme and very challenging views as part of their legitimate and comprehensive coverage of the news. Broadcasters should be able to report on terrorist groups that pose threats internationally and domestically. This is clearly in the public interest and expected by viewers and listeners. However, where highly controversial individuals or organisations are given the opportunity to articulate their views on television or radio, broadcasters must always ensure that they place those views in context by, for example, providing appropriate challenge to those views and giving warnings as appropriate.

Breaches of Rules 1.3 and 2.3

  • Rule 1.3: Children must...be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them .
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence .

 

  Unbleeped Pussy...

US TV now allows the use of the word 'pussy' as long as it is in a politically correct context


Link Here 12th November 2014
Mostly Sex Stuff Region NTSC Amy Schumer has revolutionized US television, and most people didn't even notice. Comedy Central approved the use of the word pussy on the network. The seemingly casual announcement of the un-bleep is actually a huge, huge victory.

However the 'victory' appears to have been won simply because Schumer is on the right side of the politically correct divide. She uses the word appropriately unlike the great unwashed. bustle.com explains:

Inside Amy Schumer aggressively attacks several women's issues, from body-shaming to sexual assault in the military, so it's important to be able to use such language. Much of the language banned by the FCC is engendered, so not only is it a victory for Comedy Central but for the (hopefully) eventual equality for language on television. (Bear with me, because this post is gonna get profane).

iAccording to the FCC, most of the language deemed obscene and inappropriate for television are lewd and sexual in context: It is a violation of federal law to air obscene programming at any time. It is also a violation of federal law to air indecent programming or profane language during certain hours.

On the list of prohibitions, besides pussy are several synonyms for a woman's vagina. You CAN say vagina on television, however. Though dick used to be on the list, it's now allowed on network television. Some of the milder euphemisms are still banned, such as snatch, pink , twat, and clit. Though cock is also on the no-no list, there are way more words referring the female anatomy that are not allowed to be uttered without a bleep, then those referring to a man's.

bustle.com then takes time to explain a few of the basics of political correctness:

Language is so important and powerful, and now especially, what can and cannot be said on television and web-produced shows is becoming more influential on common vernacular. Even though Comedy Central airs such subversive shows like Inside Amy Schumer, Key and Peele, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, they still have to align to certain guidelines. And because the list of banned words contains so many alternatives for the word vagina, it creates and maintains the stigma and demonization related to a woman's body.

That's why serious attention should be paid Schumer's very funny show; she's subverting boundaries and slowly revolutionizing the language. The more artists and comedians like Schumer can change the conversation that makes the language of female sexuality as neutral as the language about men's sexuality, the better. Hopefully more networks will follow suit.

 

 Offsite Article: Report Censored...


Link Here 12th November 2014
university of west london logo University cancels the debate on how much free speech should be conferred to islamic extremists

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

  The Daily Mail Recommends Mockingjay...

With the support of a couple of trivial sound bites from Mediawatch-UK and SaferMedia


Link Here 11th November 2014
mockingjay The Daily Mail as been heaping praise on Hunger Games: Mockingjay . The paper gushes:

Showing public executions, corpses being devoured by wild animals and the bombing of a hospital, it's not exactly your typical children's film. But the latest instalment of The Hunger Games phenomenon has been handed a 12A classification -- meaning it can be watched by under-12s as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

As a glamorous Jennifer Lawrence took to the red carpet for the film's London premiere last night, critics (Well just Medaiwatch-UK and SaferMedia actually) questioned whether the BBFC's decision was appropriate, warning that the graphic scenes in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1 could normalise violence and traumatise children.

While this instalment contains fewer acts of violence than the first two films, the scenes of death and destruction that it does have are some of the most disturbing in the franchise -- including the aftermath of a firebomb with heaps of corpses twisted among each other. Protesters are also shown being hooded, forced to their knees and shot in the head.

Pippa Smith of the Safer Media campaign said:

These are not things you would want children to see. It normalises violence.

Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch UK added:

There's nothing to stop you taking a four-year-old to see it. I think it's really worrying that films which, several years ago, would have been a 15 are now being given lower ratings.

...Meanwhile...

Whilst the Daily Mail is conjuring up a bit of commercially advantageous 'outrage' about the leniency of the BBFC, others are questioning whether the BBFC isn't perhaps a little overly cautious about an 18 certificate for the gay film Gerontophilia

See review from  biggaypictureshow.com

Gerontophilia DVD Katie Boland Oct Gerontophilia has been described by some as the most controversial film ever made by director Bruce La Bruce. That's quite impressive for a filmmaker whose previous films have mixed Neo Nazis and gay porn, and zombies and gay porn. There's not any gay porn at all in this one, so why has it courted controversy? Well it's purely because it's about one of the last taboos -- relationships with a massive age difference.

To be honest I was surprised that in the UK the BBFC gave it an 18 certificate along with the advisory that it contains strong sex (which was also put on the DVD cover). It doesn't contain strong sex at all -- which for a Bruce La Bruce movie is the perhaps most shocking thing about the film -- it just has a guy briefly masturbating under his clothes and the sight of a naked 80-year-old. However because the guy is touching himself because there's a naked 80-year-old, that apparently equates to strong sex. Normally the BBFC isn't as prudish about these things as its US counterpart is, but I can't help but feel that a bit of disgust crept in here that didn't look at the actual content.

 

  Fake Sheikh: Exposed...

BBC pulls Panorama episode 90 minutes before transmission


Link Here 11th November 2014
bbc panorama 2013 logo The BBC pulled a planned expose of Sun on Sunday journalist Mazher Mahmood, after a last-minute intervention from his lawyers, despite winning an earlier appeal to reveal the identity of the man known as the fake sheikh .

After winning two courtroom appeals to broadcast images of him in the Panorama documentary Fake Sheikh: Exposed, the BBC was presented with fresh information about one of the stories covered in the programme by lawyers for Mahmood at 7pm on Monday, just 90 minutes before the 8.30pm transmission.

BBC executives, led by head of news James Harding, decided they needed more time to assess the new information and rescheduled the show minutes before transmission. A documentary about a missing child was shown instead.

The BBC said it was keen to show Fake Sheikh: Exposed later this week in a special edition of the programme rather than waiting for next Monday.  In a statement, a BBC spokesman said:

The BBC had intended to broadcast Panorama, Fake Sheikh: Exposed tonight following the court of appeal's decision earlier today to allow the BBC to broadcast images of Mazher Mahmood.

Shortly before transmission, Mr Mahmood's lawyers submitted new information relating to one of the cases in the programme which, as a responsible broadcaster, the BBC needs to evaluate. Once this has been done, we will broadcast Fake Sheikh: Exposed, including recent footage of Mr Mahmood, as planned.

 

 Offsite Article: Illuminating Article on Copyright Law...


Link Here 11th November 2014
atomium censored Private pictures of the Eifel Tower taken at night are protected by copyright

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

 Commented: Losing Touch...

Theresa May puts a little police overtime ahead of decent phone connections for Britain


Link Here 10th November 2014
Theresa May Theresa May has ludicrously opposed Sajid Javid's phone plan for all phones users to be able to use the best network signal available.

The culture secretary's project to massively reduce issues of poor network coverage spots for users of a single network.

A leaked letter suggests that Theresa May is moving to stop plans to improve mobile phone coverage, amid fears that state snoopers may have to work a little harder to track phone users over several networks instead of one.

May's objections centre around concerns that roaming would make it more difficult for the snoopers to track suspects. She also reportedly objected to the likes of Tesco offering customers mobile phone packages with access to the four main networks, called for studies to ensure the changes do not prevent police from having access to information that is crucial to keeping us safe .

The intervention by May is likely to revive criticism that she often acts in an uncollegiate way, a point made by the Liberal Democrat home office minister Norman Baker when he resigned this week. May's letter may also be seized on by civil liberties campaigners who say she appears not to challenge the views of the intelligence agencies.

Offsite Comment: Theresa May and her worrying enthusiasm for so-called not-spots

10th November 2014. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com by David Mitchell

Thinking About Only Makes Worse The home secretary's argument that not being able to get a phone signal is in the interests of national security is truly disturbing

...Read the full article

 

 Updated: Newspaper Censor...

The chair has been appointed to the Leveson compliant press censor, Impress


Link Here 10th November 2014
impress logo Walter Merricks has been appointed chair of the government approved press censor, Impress. The censor has been set up along the lines envisaged in the report by Brian Leveson.

Impress will operate as a rival to Ipsi, the self censor set up by several major newspapers in preference to the state sanctioned group. Ipso follows along the lines of the defunct Press Complaints Commission. Ipso started work two months ago. Impress yields the weapon of government sanctions that newspapers have so far tried to avoid.

Merricks trained as a solicitor before becoming the first director of Camden Law Centre. He taught welfare law and freelanced as a legal journalist before joining the Law Society, which was then the solicitors' regulator, in 1985. In 1996, he left to become an ombudsman, first in insurance and then in financial services.

After recruiting the other members of its board, Impress will have to consider whether to seek recognition from the press recognition panel. The panel, chaired by David Wolfe QC, was formally incorporated this week under a Royal charter established by the government.

Impress will take account of views expressed by the publishers that it hopes to sign up before making up its mind. But Merricks acknowledges that seeking recognition might be seen by Ipso as a hostile act. That's because recognition of a regulator will trigger provisions in section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 that will allow a court to unfairly award costs against a publisher even if a claim against the publisher is unsuccessful. This injustice is designed as a punishment for newspapers not signing up for state censorship.

Update: Meanwhile it's all a bit complicated at IPSO

10th November 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

IPSO The new press regulator's rules must be simplified if it is to fulfil promises to be fair and independent that were made by the industry after the Leveson inquiry, its chairman said on Sunday.

In his first speech to the industry since the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) was launched in September, Sir Alan Moses suggested the rules governing the watchdog are so complicated that it was struggling to work out how to levy fines on the industry. Referring to the ability to fine newspapers up to £1m, the chairman said:

Proper successful independent regulation will not be established by manic firing of a big bazooka. And anyway we don't know how to fire it: the instruction booklet for the use of so novel a weapon is rather too complicated for we ordinary mortals at Ipso to understand.

 

 Offsite Article: Bankrupting Britain...


Link Here 10th November 2014
closed bar Council restrictions are killing UK's nightlife, say club owners As Brick Lane's Vibe Bar closes, promoters claim they are being forced out of business by overzealous regulation

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Echoing Directly into GCHQ?...

Amazon announces Echo, A futuristic HAL style personal computer with a sensitive and always on microphone listening to your every word and passing them on to the 'cloud'


Link Here 9th November 2014
amazon echo The Echo is a voice-activated 9-inch-high cylinder that connects to your Wi-Fi and will answer spoken questions, play music, and generally hang out in your home listening to everything you say. And processing it in the cloud. All day.

Amazon's promotional page describes the device's array of microphones:

Far-field voice recognition

Tucked under Echo's light ring is an array of seven microphones. These sensors use beam-forming technology to hear you from any direction. With enhanced noise cancellation, Echo can hear you ask a question even while it's playing music.

What could possibly go wrong?

 

  There's a whole lot of snooping going on...

US legal case wins settlement for wide ranging snooping by a Carrier IQ app on smart phones


Link Here 9th November 2014
carrier-iq logo A settlement has been reached in a three-year legal case about accusations that software installed on millions of smartphones spied on users.

In 2011, a security researcher claimed that the Carrier IQ app tracked everything users did on their phones. The discovery led to consumers taking joint legal action against Carrier IQ and phone makers.  The legal action claimed the surreptitious way the app ran broke several US computer crime laws including those covering wiretapping and fraud.

US security expert Trevor Eckhart uncovered the Carrier IQ app and showed it collecting key presses, recording which websites people visited as well as where they were geographically located. Eckhart found Carrier IQ's app on many Android phones. A cut-down version was also found on some Apple handsets.

Carrier IQ claimed mobile operators used its app as a tool to monitor network performance.

Negotiations are due to take place on 12 November to hammer out the fine details of the legal claim.

 

  Legal Insecurity...

UK security agencies found to have been snooping of confidential communications between lawyers and their clients


Link Here 9th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

gchq logo The intelligence services have routinely been intercepting legally privileged communications between lawyers and their clients in sensitive security cases, according to internal MI5, MI6 and GCHQ documents.

The information obtained may even have been exploited unlawfully and used by the agencies in the fighting of court cases in which they themselves are involved, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has been told, resulting in miscarriages of justice.

Exchanges between lawyers and their clients enjoy a special protected status under the law.

The Conservative MP David Davis, a former shadow home secretary, said past practice was to delete such material immediately if it was ever picked up. Amnesty International said the government was gaining an unfair advantage akin to playing poker in a hall of mirrors .

Their comments come after 28 extracts of internal intelligence policies showing how legally privileged material is handled by security officials were released to lawyers pursuing a claim through the IPT. The tribunal considers complaints against MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

...Read the full article

Open Rights Group's Legal Director, Elizabeth Knight said:

We already know that RIPA allows the security services to intercept all 'external communications, breaching our right to privacy. By undermining journalistic and legal privilege, RIPA also threatens our rights to free speech and a fair trial. The government cannot keep defending these abuses. We need urgent reform of this broken law now. This disclosure demonstrates the need to introduce judicial authorisation.'

 

  Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence?...

Er.. no. Another research paper finds no correlation


Link Here 9th November 2014

journal of communications Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When, by Christopher Ferguson; Journal of Communication

Since the 1920s, scholars and politicians have blamed violence in movies and other media as a contributing factor to rising violence in society. Recently the responses to mass shootings in Aurora, CO and at Sandy Hook Elementary followed this theme as media consumption came into the equation. But can consumption of violent media really be a factor in real-world violence? A recent study published in the Journal of Communication by a researcher at Stetson University found that there were no associations between media violence consumption in society and societal violence.

Christopher Ferguson (Stetson University) published his findings in the Journal of Communication. Ferguson conducted two studies that raised the question if whether the incidence of violence in media correlates with actual violence rates in society. The first study looked at movie violence and homicide rates between 1920 and 2005. The second study looked at videogame violence consumption and its relationship to youth violence rates from 1996-2011. He found that societal consumption of media violence is not predictive of increased violence rates in society.

For the first study, independent raters evaluated the frequency and graphicness of violence in popular movies from 1920-2005. These were correlated to homicide rates for the same years. Overall, movie violence and homicide rates were not correlated. However, during the mid-20th century, movie violence and homicide rates did appear to correlate slightly, which may have led some to believe a larger trend was at play. That correlation reversed after 1990 so that movie violence became correlated with fewer homicides. Prior to the 1940s, movie violence was similarly related to fewer homicides, not more.

In the second study on video game violence, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) ratings were used to estimate the violent content of the most popular video games for the years 1996-2011. These estimates of societal video game violence consumption were correlated against federal data on youth violence rates during the same years. Violent video game consumption was strongly correlated with declines in youth violence. However, it was concluded that such a correlation is most likely due to chance and does not indicate video games caused the decline in youth violence.

Previous studies have focused on laboratory experiments and aggression as a response to movie and videogame violence, but this does not match well with real-life exposure. Other studies have indicated that, in the short term, the release of violent movies or video games is associated with declines in societal violence. However, no one has examined these trends long-term. Some scholars have argued that movies are becoming more violent, but none have examined whether this phenomenon is a concern for society. This study is the first to suggest that movie violence and video game violence consumption probably are increasing over time, but that there is little evidence that this has caused a problem for society.

Society has a limited amount of resources and attention to devote to the problem of reducing crime. There is a risk that identifying the wrong problem, such as media violence, may distract society from more pressing concerns such as poverty, education and vocational disparities and mental health, Ferguson said. This research may help society focus on issues that really matter and avoid devoting unnecessary resources to the pursuit of moral agendas with little practical value.

 

  Legislating at the behest of media giants...

Spanish Copyright Amendments Will Shakedown News Sites and Censor the Web


Link Here 9th November 2014

Spanish flag We've reported before on how news publishers in Germany and Ireland have demanded that Google pay royalties for the reproduction of news snippets and image thumbnails next to search results in its Google News product. In France and Belgium publishers took this claim to the courts resulting in an eventual settlement from Google, whilst in Germany, lawmakers unwisely caved in and passed legislation in 2013 to grant the special copyright-like rights in news snippets that the publishers had demanded.

Illustrating how pointless this was, Google subsequently called the bluff of the German publishers, replacing their news snippets with simple hyperlinked headings rather than paying the royalties the publishers demanded, while the befuddled publishers watched their traffic stats drop away. In a humiliating backdown reported this week, the publishers have since gone back cap in hand to Google begging it to reindex their content, snippets and all.

Last week, Spain passed a similar amendment to its own copyright law, but with a nasty twist--not only are news aggregators prohibited from including news snippets without payment, but this right to payment is made inalienable. This means that aggregators are prohibited from negotiating with the publishers to waive the payment, as has occurred elsewhere in Europe. This would also seemingly frustrate the intent of any news publisher who released their work under a Creative Commons or other open license for royalty-free use.

The same new Spanish law makes other adverse and short-sighted changes to copyright law, bowing to the lobbying pressure of large content owners.

Worst of these other measures is the criminalization of hosting a website that merely links to infringing content, exposing them to crippling fines of up to ?600,000. Liability is triggered as soon as the owner has been notified by email of the alleged infringement and fails to respond by self-censoring the allegedly infringing content. Even non-profit websites are exposed to liability, if they run advertisements to defray site expenses. This provision runs against a recent judgment of the European Court of Justice ruling that hyperlinks are not a reproduction of the copyright works they link to .

The law also newly targets businesses advertising on such websites, as well as those providing it with payment services, and authorizes the Spanish domain authority to cancel any ".es" domains under which they are hosted. (It is a shame that the Spanish legislators apparently think so little of Google News, because otherwise they might have read news snippets about a pair of ill-fated 2011 bills titled SOPA and PIPA that included similar Internet censorship provisions.)

In combination, these provisions will seriously chill speech online, casting a potential cloud of liability over website operators and the intermediaries who serve them. Rather than reducing the dissemination of copyright-infringing content, its only likely effect will be to drive Spanish websites offshore to a less hostile legal environment.

Unfortunately, it's likely too late now to do much about this ill-considered law--it is already scheduled to take effect in January 2015. This is particularly poorly timed, since the European Commission is in the midst of composing a new Directive to modernize European copyright law, which is likely to be passed in that same year. Whilst the new Directive may (we can only hope) include liberalized copyright limitations and exceptions, Spain's amendments to its copyright law go in precisely the opposite direction.

There is no doubt that technological change has hit newspaper publishers as well as other copyright owners. But a backward-looking law that penalizes innovators and threatens free speech on the Internet is not the solution.

 

 Offsite Article: Jailing Everybody...


Link Here 9th November 2014
comment is free logo Our addiction to criminalising human behaviour makes a mockery of private responsibility. From drinking while pregnant to urinating on a war memorial, the law's ambition has no limits. By Simon Jenkins

See article from theguardian.com

 

  A Dame to Whinge For...

ASA dismisses complaints about a bus advert for Sin City 2


Link Here 8th November 2014

Sin City Dame Kill Blu ray An ad, on the side of buses, for the film Sin City 2 . It featured images of some of the characters. The heads and shoulders of four men and two women were arranged either side of a full-length image of Jessica Alba wearing a bra, gloves and suspender-effect tights. Her mouth was partly open and she was kneeling with her knees spread apart and one arm raised over her head. Issue

The ASA received two complaints:

  1. one complainant objected that the ad was unsuitable for public display in an untargeted medium where it could be seen by children; and

  2. both complainants objected that the ad was offensive because it was overtly sexual, sexist and degrading to women.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted Lions Gate's assertion that the ad would not cause offence because the images of the characters were unrealistic. However, we considered that although the depictions were somewhat stylised they were still clearly real images of actors portraying the characters and that an air of surrealism would be insufficient to dispel the potential for such images to cause harm or offence. Nonetheless, while we appreciated that some consumers might find the focus on Alba's character and the pose used distasteful, we considered that the image was no more than mildly sexual in nature and not so suggestive as to be generally offensive or inappropriate for untargeted public display. We also considered that the image was clearly used in the context of promoting a film and that consumers would appreciate that it showed Alba's portrayal of a specific character, thereby reflecting an aspect of her role in particular, rather than women in general, and that it was consequently unlikely to provoke serious or widespread offence by being regarded as sexist or degrading towards women.

 

 Extract: Emotionally Intense...

BBFC reveals how the Lion King was considered for PG before ending up as U


Link Here 8th November 2014
Lion King DVD Roger Allers The Lion King is a 1994 USA children's musical cartoon by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff.
Starring Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons and James Earl Jones. Youtube link IMDb

The Lion King came to the BBFC for classification in July 1994 and was classified U. It followed shortly after the Disney hit Aladdin in 1993, which was classified U for scenes of mild threat. Like Aladdin, BBFC Examiners considered The Lion King to contain similar levels of mild threat as well as emotionally intense scenes.

Examiners considered whether the film should be classified PG for its intensity and more violent sequences, but ultimately considered that these aspects of the film were well contained within a strongly moral context, where good ultimately triumphs over evil. T

...Read the full article

 

  BBFC Podcast 25...

Education and the Into Film Festival for young people


Link Here 8th November 2014

into film logo In this episode of the BBFC podcast we speak to Paul Reeve, CEO of Into Film about the Into Film festival for young people.

We also hear more about the BBFC's education work and resources.

...Listen to  BBFC Podcast 25

 

  Nobody gives a fuck...

Chief TV censor explains to parliamentary committee that TV viewers are no longer wound up by strong language


Link Here 8th November 2014
home affairs committee Ed Richards, chief executive of the TV censor Ofcom was called to give evidence to the Commons culture, media and sport committee. He outlined findings published earlier this year by Ofcom saying that TV viewers have become more tolerant of violence and swearing. But that sexist or racist language of the 1970s is far less acceptable than it once was.

Richards, who is about to stand down after 11 years in the job, told MPs there has been a big change in tolerance levels in the past few decades. According to the Ofcom's latest research, published in July, only 35% of viewers think there is too much violence on TV, down from 55% in 2008. Just 35% think there is too much swearing, down from 53% six years ago, while 26% believe there is too much sex, a slight rise from 25%. Richards told MPs:

People are more tolerant of a degree of violence than they were. They are much more tolerant of certain forms of swearing than they were. There are still some words, very few to be honest, but still some words which are off limits or only in certain circumstances.

They are much less tolerant, interestingly enough, of language which is regarded as discriminatory or unfair or unjust towards people. That's a big change if you think of the Seventies and some of the programmes which went out then. The public just do not want to see that any more.

One of the MPs who quizzed Mr Richards, former Labour Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, said he felt UK broadcasters are now too intolerant of nudity while being willing to accept violence and sex on screen. However, Richards denied that British television has become more prudish about nudity and was importing American values and morality .

Vivienne Pattison, the director of moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK, said that if it was true that viewers were less concerned by bad language but ludicrously claimed it was simply because they had become desensitised to it.

What she really means is that as viewers experience material, they are better able to come to their own conclusions and put it all in perspective. And the more they are given chance to have their own reasoned opinions, the less likely they are to agree with Pattison's simplistic nonsense.

 

  Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Lust...

Polish coffin company had fun with a sexy calendar and offends the Polish church


Link Here 8th November 2014
lindner coffin calendar A nude calendar advertising coffins has offended the Polish catholic church.

This calendar shoot of topless models caressing coffins is set to become a global hit - despite church whinges.

Polish casket company Lindner devised a unique way to brighten up their gloomy creations by draping them with sexy nude women. A spokesman for the company Bartek Lindner said:

Every edition is different and when we have too many women, female customers complain. But when we have too many men, male customers complain. So here we have men and women in one calendar as a compromise.

The photos were taken in the tourist city of Krakow, in southern Poland, The firm's owner Zbigniew Lindner said:

My son had the idea of creating the company's calendar so that we could show something half-serious, colourful, beautiful; the beauty of Polish girls and the beauty of our coffins. So much work goes into our coffins that are only seen for a few moments at the funeral.

We wanted to show that a coffin shouldn't be a sacred object - it's furniture, it's the last bed you'll ever sleep in. It isn't a religious symbol. It's a product.

The Catholic church in Poland has labelled the campaign inappropriate. A church spokesman has said that human death should be treated with solemnity and not mixed up with sex.

 

 Offsite Article: BLOCKED!...


Link Here 8th November 2014  full story: Crap Internet Blocking...Cheapo automated filters are not up to the job
strange things are happening banner logo ISP Filters are so strict that almost half ban the 'Strange Things are Happening' site - but ATVOD still want more internet censorship. by David Flint

See article from strangethingsarehappening.com

 

 Offsite Article: A venal political attack on the press...


Link Here 8th November 2014
australian government logo The Australian s Chris Mitchell on the illiberal liberals threatening press freedom. By Tim Black

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Updated: Go Burn in Hell!...

BBC responds to idiots who believe what they see on Dr Who


Link Here 7th November 2014

dr who missy Doctor Who,
BBC One, 01 November 2014

 

Complaint:

We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with a storyline about death and cremation.

BBC Response:

Doctor Who is a family drama with a long tradition of tackling some of the more fundamental questions about life and death. We were mindful of the themes explored in Dark Water and are confident that they are appropriate in the context of the heightened sci-fi world of the show.

The scene in which a character reveals 3W's unconventional theory about the afterlife was preceded by the same character warning the Doctor and Clara several times that what they were about to hear could be distressing. When the Doctor does hear these claims, he immediately pours scorn on them, dismissing them out of hand as a con and a racket . It transpires that he is correct, and the entire concept is revealed to be a scam perpetrated by Missy.

Update: Time Lord delayed by the BBFC

7th November 2014.  See  article from  doctorwhotv.co.uk

Doctor Who Complete 8 DVD The DVD and Blu-Ray boxset release of The Complete Eighth Series has been delayed in the UK by one week.

The 5-disc boxset, containing all 12 episodes from Peter Capaldi's debut series and a host of extras , was originally due on 17 November but will now release instead on 24 November.

The reason for this slight delay is due to a BBFC classification change. The finale was given a 12 rating instead of PG which required a reprint of the cover.

Update: Burning with rage

7th November 2014. See  article from  radiotimes.com

124 viewers have so far complained about Saturday's Doctor Who episode Dark Water.

The BBC has confirmed that all the complaints concerned the reference to humans feeling pain when cremated and defended the storyline which it says was appropriate in the context of the show.

As well as the 124 viewers to have complained to the Corporation, a further nine people contacted TV censor Ofcom.

Privately the BBC is understood to be relaxed about the issue and is felt to consider that, given that around 5 million people watched the episode, the number of complaints is not excessive.

 

  Hark the Harpy Angels Sing...

Miserable No More Page 3 campaigners plan a Christmas song


Link Here 7th November 2014
Yule Be Miserable Various No More Page 3 campaigners are planning to release a single next month in the hope of getting a Christmas number 1.

The audio track of Now's the Time by Miss Baby Sol is up on YouTube - but without any video component. According to the NMP3 website, the campaigners want people to have a go at making an appropriate film.

They will select the best video offering and launch it to coincide with the release of the single on 15 December.

 

  Extended to 15...

The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug and considerations of 12/PG-13/15/R ratings


Link Here 6th November 2014
Hobbit Desolation Extended Blu ray Region The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug [Extended Edition] is a 2013 USA/New Zealand fantasy adventure by Peter Jackson.
Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

About an hour into The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug , there's a scene that takes place between Elvenking Thranduil (Lee Pace) and his son Legolas (Orlando Bloom) where they're interrogating a captured Orc.

Thranduil ends up killing the Orc by brutally taking off his head. As the camera pulls back on the scene you can see the Orc's lifeless body twitching in its last moments of life until Thranduil steps on his foot to make him stop.

On the Blu-Ray commentary director Peter Jackson refers to the Orc's appendage as the R-rated twitching foot:

When the film went to the MPAA, the thing that they were most concerned about was the twitching leg

Jackson was intent on leaving the scene in the film and the film was awarded the required PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.

In the UK, the BBFC likewise passed the film 12 uncut for moderate violence, threat. The same rating applied to both the Theatrical Version and the Extended Edition.

But for the home video the distributors in the UK were not quite so wound up by the possibility of a higher rating.

The Extended Edition has been released with a 15 certificate, not because of the 12 rated main feature, but because of one of the extras being 15 rated: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug - Extended Edition - Business Of The State The Master's Chambers [Additional Material]

UK: The main feature was passed 12 uncut for moderate violence, threat for, but the disks have gone out with a 15 rating for:

  • 2014 Warner [2D + 3D Extended Version] Bookend Edition R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 3rd November 2014
  • 2014 Warner [2D + 3D Extended Version] Steelbook R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 3rd November 2014
  • 2014 Warner [2D + 3D Extended Version] R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 3rd November 2014
  • 2014 Warner [Extended Version] R1 DVD at UK Amazon released on 3rd November 2014

 

  Frightful Disrespect...

Fright Night cut by the Sony Movie Channel


Link Here 6th November 2014

Fright Night DVD Chris Sarandon Just watching the Sony Movie Channel showing of the classic 1985 FRIGHT NIGHT that aired on Halloween at 10pm and they censored the boobs during the first vampire bite scene deciding to frame it in extreme close up showing the characters from the neck up. What the deuce ?

Oh my god it gets even worse. The scene with the pencil removal completely cut from the film. That is just disgraceful.

 

  Verify...

Government announces an Online ID Card scheme


Link Here 6th November 2014  full story: Online ID in the UK...UK scheme to verify online id
identity proofing An Online ID card will be launched in the UK next month. The scheme is initially targetted for transaction with government agencies such as the tax office and the DVLA.

The Government was a bit too quick to deny it was bringing in ID cards by the back door after it revealed plans to offer everyone a virtual ID. Government aides claimed in a rather circular argument that rather than bringing in ID cards by a different method the scheme would make any attempt to reintroduce a compulsory document less likely:

This removes once and for all the need for an identity card because it will be possible to prove your identity securely without one.

More than half a million people are expected to sign up to use the Verify project within a year. Under the programme, users will choose one of five private providers -- including Experian and the Post Office -- to complete an online security check.

This will give them a username and password, as well as a code sent to their mobile phone, which will give them access to government services.

Driving licences and some self-assessment tax returns will be among the first services to be offered as part of the scheme next month, with tax credits and benefits records expected to follow in March.

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, which has been involved in the scheme's development, said:

 It has to ensure that this is a scheme that the public can have full confidence in. They must make themselves very clear about how it will work, including details of what safeguards are in place to ensure that the private companies being used to verify a users identity won't wrongly gain access to any information.'

 

  Seeing Red...

Anti-war campaigners object to selective use of anti-war song by the Royal British Legion


Link Here 6th November 2014
Mans Land Green Fields France The Royal British Legion (RBL), the charity that promotes the red poppy, has got Joss Stone, accompanied by Jeff Beck on guitar, singing a version of Eric Bogle's classic anti-war song The Green Fields of France with its anti-war message removed.

The RBL titles the song No Man's Land and uses as the background to its video the Tower of London poppies, vindicating art critic Jonathan Jones's view that the Tower's sea of red roses prettifies the First World War.

The Royal British Legion has deleted this verse from its version of Eric Bogle's song:

Ah young Willie McBride, I can't help wonder why,
Do those that lie here know why did they die?
And did they believe when they answered the cause,
Did they really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain,
The killing and dying, were all done in vain.
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again. The First World War was to be the war to end all wars. Instead, as this verse highlights, it heralded a century of virtually endless war: it all happened again, and again, and again, and again, and again.

A petition has been launched objecting to the RBL version of Eric Bogle's song. As the originator of the petition Bob Banks says:

To see a great anti-war song sanitised like this, from a condemnation of the folly and obscenity of war, is an insult to the writer of the song, to the many singers who have sung it previously, and ultimately to the armed forces, who know better than anyone else the horrors of war.

 

 Updated: Parliamentary amendment to criminalise the buying of sex...

Another people hating plan by Labour to jail innocent men and ruin their lives


Link Here 6th November 2014  full story: Criminalising Paying for Sex in England and Wales...A selfish campaign to lock up men
House of Commons logo This is a briefing we ( prostitutescollective.net ) have prepared against a clause to the Modern Slavery Bill which aims to criminalise sex workers' clients.

Please send your objections (model letter below) to the clause as soon as possible. It will be discussed next Tuesday 4 November in the Report Stage of the Bill. Please send letters to the Chair of the Modern Slavery Bill Committee   Frank Field MP the rest of the committee and to  John McDonnell MP .

Briefing against clauses to the Modern Slavery Bill to prohibit the purchase of sexual services.

An amendment and two clauses to the Modern Slavery Bill put forward by Fiona Mactaggart MP aim to make the purchase of sex illegal, remove the criminal sanctions against prostituted women and provide support to women who want to leave prostitution .

We support the amendment which would remove the offence of loitering and soliciting for women working on the street . This decriminalisation should be extended to sex workers working from premises. The brothel-keeping legislation should be amended so that women can work more safely together. In 2006, the Home Office acknowledged: . . . the present definition of brothel ran counter to advice that, in the interests of safety, women should not sell sex alone.

We strongly oppose the clauses criminalising clients , on the basis of women's safety. Criminalising clients does not stop prostitution, nor does it stop the criminalisation of women. It drives prostitution further underground, making it more dangerous and stigmatising for women.

Any benefit from decriminalising loitering and soliciting will be cancelled if clients are criminalised. Women will have to go underground if clients are underground. Kerb-crawling legislation has already made it more dangerous for prostitute women and men. In Scotland, since kerb-crawling legislation was introduced in October 2007, the number of assaults on sex workers have soared. Attacks reported to one project almost doubled in one year from 66 to 126.

Many of the claims that have been made about the impact of the 1999 Swedish law which criminalised clients are false and have no evidential basis.

  1. The Swedish law has not resulted in a reduction in sex trafficking.

  2. The Swedish law has not reduced prostitution.

  3. Since the criminalisation of clients the treatment of sex workers in Sweden has worsened. (Please see Appendix for examples).

  4. Evidence from sex workers has been ignored.

  5. The criminalisation of clients increases women's vulnerability to violence.

  6. The Safety First Coalition formed after the murder of five women in Ipswich opposes the criminalisation of clients.

  7. Claims that prostitution is an extreme form of exploitation are counterproductive and ignore the economic reality that many women face.

  8. An unholy alliance with homophobic religious fundamentalists.

  9. Racist implementation

  10. The successful New Zealand model has been ignoredexamples being ignored?

  11. The public support decriminalisation of prostitution on grounds of safety

  12. The criminalisation of clients has been rejected in Scotland [31] and in France.

...Read the full article

Update: The sex workers lobby

4th November 2014. See  article from  morningstaronline.co.uk

English Collective of Prostitutes logo Sex workers and campaigners joined forces in the House of Commons to lobby against sections of new Bill which would criminalise clients.

Members of the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) argued that some clauses of the Modern Slavery Bill could increase the dangers faced by sex workers. ECP spokeswoman Niki Adams said:

We strongly oppose the criminalisation of clients, on the basis of women's safety. Despite claims that loitering and soliciting may be decriminalised, this will have little effect if clients are criminalised.

Prostitution will be pushed further underground, disrupting informal security systems among women on the street and displacing women into remote areas.

Offering solidarity at the event were members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). RCN president Andrea Spyropoulos said:

It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to criminalise individuals who are consenting adults having sex.

On health alone it is not sensible to criminalise people because it changes their behaviour and puts them at risk.

Update: Amendment withdrawn

4th November 2014. See parliamentary debate transcription from publications.parliament.uk

House of Commons logo Fiona Taggart's amendment to criminalise the buying of sex was withdrawn without a vote.

The government and many MPs didn't seem to have an appetite to include controversial elements to a bill seemingly enjoying the support of most MPs. The only debate was that Labour wanted to go further than the Tories in measures against the wider remit of trafficking.

As soon as the topic of prostitution was raised it was clearly that some sort of decision had already being taken. An amendment was proposed that would require the government to review prostitution policy. It seemed widely accepted that far reaching changes of policy on prostitution would be better addressed with some sort of formal reviews being undertaken first. Even Fiona Taggart seemed to concur that it would be better to go this route rather than suddenly declaring large numbers of men to be criminals. So her amendment did not proceed after these comments and was presumably withdrawn.

But the Taggart's speech triggered a few strong pro and anti speeches that gave a flavour of the controversy the government seemed keen to avoid.

The amendment to require the review was defeated in a vote. However it did seem to reflect an approach that went down well with MPs. The timing of being at the end of the 5 year term of this parliament seemed to make it all a bit doubtful for the moment...but the idea has been implanted for the future.

Update: The sex workers are unsurprisingly well pleased

6th November 2014. See  article from  prostitutescollective.net

English Collective of Prostitutes logo We won! Our collective mobilisation defeated the amendment to the Modern Slavery Bill put forward by Fiona Mactaggart MP which would have criminalised clients. It dropped without even going to a vote. Another amendment put forward by Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary, calling for a review of the links between prostitution and human trafficking and sexual exploitation was put forward as an alternative to Mactaggart's but that was also defeated.

This is a massive victory for the campaign against the further criminalisation of sex work. Hundreds of people and organisations responded to the call to write to MPs. The briefing in Parliament on Monday night, that we organised at very short notice, drew a good crowd. The impressive line-up of speakers included sex workers speaking about the impact the clause would have on their work, Hampshire Women's Institute, Women Against Rape, student representatives, academics and union reps, queers and anti-racists opposed to this further discrimination. Questions from the MPs (Tories, Labour and Lib-Dem) elicited a productive and informative discussion.

MP John McDonnell's contribution to the debate in the Commons today was outstanding -- we have been worked closely with him over many years, including on defeating this measure. He made reference to the wide range of opposition, quoting from some of the many briefings and letters people had sent him, and countered the false claims put forward by those promoting criminalisation.

As a result of so many people acting so quickly and so effectively we are now in a stronger position to demand full decriminalisation.

 

  A Date with PC Extremism...

Advert censor bans Sun's Dream Team advert for offering a date with a page 3 girl as a prize


Link Here 5th November 2014

suns dream team video An email sent to subscribers to the Sun's Dream Team fantasy football competition stated You're signed up to Dream Team and for that we promise to love, adore and cherish you ... You can take your Dream Team experience to the next level by becoming a Chairman and creating a Mini League. Not only do you get to hammer your mates every week, but if you recruit 10 players or more to your league you will get: Entered into a prize draw for a date with a Page 3 girl - we might even let you pick which one, so feel free to start your research now ... Don't listen to your girlfriend when she says size doesn't matter. The bigger your Mini League is, the more prizes you can get your mitts on . Issue

The ASA received 1036 complaints, many of which were submitted as part of a campaign led by SumOfUs.org.

  1. The complainants, who believed that to offer a date with a page-three girl as a prize was sexist and objectified women, challenged whether the ad was offensive and socially irresponsible.

  2. Many of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible for offering a date with a page-three girl as an incentive to gamble.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA understood that pay-to-play fantasy football games were regulated by the Gambling Commission as they were pool betting competitions and effectively involved a bet on the outcome of a series of uncertain sporting events. While we acknowledged that individuals were able to sign up to, and play, Dream Team for free, because pay-to-play options were available we understood it was still a gambling product. Therefore, we considered that the ad indirectly promoted a gambling product.

We understood that the Sun's male and female celebrities, including page-three girls, were involved in the Dream Team game as Chairpersons and had featured in previous promotional activities. We noted, however, that the celebrities were not simply featured in the promotional material, but that a date with a page three girl was offered as a prize. In the context of the ad, we considered that to offer a date with a woman as a reward for success in the game was demeaning to women and objectified those offered as prizes. We also considered that the wording we might even let you pick which one, so feel free to start your research now ... , further enhanced the impression that the women were simply objects to be selected at the whim and enjoyment of the winner, and had no choice in the matter themselves.

We considered that the primary motivation of a number players, both male and female, when signing up to the Dream Team game would be their interest in sport and fantasy football. We considered they would not necessarily expect a date with a page-three girl to be offered as a prize and that the notion of offering a date with a woman as a prize was likely to be offensive to a number of recipients.

Because we considered that the email presented the women as objects to be won, we concluded that it was sexist, offensive and socially irresponsible.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told the Sun to ensure that their future advertising contained nothing that was socially irresponsible or likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

 

 Update: Government propaganda campaign against Google/Facebook encryption...

Britain's internet censors at Ofcom call for easier snooping


Link Here 5th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Ofcom logo In the wake of a GCHQ for increased internet mass snooping capabilities, Ofcom internet censors have chipped in with calls for Google and Facebook to make state snooping easier.

Ofcom's chief executive, Ed Richards, has said technology companies such as Google and Facebook have social responsibilities. He said:

 I think it's fair to say that there are social responsibilities that come with a media that are as prevalent and significant as those social media [companies] have become.

It's absolutely right to ask what society should expect of those organisations as responsible companies with an impact on society.

At one level what he is saying is clearly right in the sense that social media are being used by all sorts of different communities, clearly including terrorist and jihadi [groups], and are part of the way that groups like that communicate.

His comments came after the new director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, called on US tech companies to do more in the fight against terrorism in the Financial Times, declaring that privacy had never been an absolute right .

Ofcom's chair, Patricia Hodgson, seemed to suggest that snooping wasn't just targetted at terrorism but even down to supposed crimes such as extreme pornography. She said:

It's certainly the case that there has been a struggle to keep up with this shift [in] the use of social media, the most extreme abuses of it, for terrorism or illegal pornography.

There are obviously arrangements whereby the government can categorise material [relating to terrorism or illegal pornography] and issue take-down notices.

But there were very great difficulties where that material is on the cusp, that doesn't fall very clearly under those arrangements.

The chair and chief executive of Ofcom were giving evidence to the Commons culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday as part of a review of the regulator's work.

 

 Update: Beyond mass snooping...

GCHQ head wants even more capability to watch over your shoulder


Link Here 4th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
gchq logo Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ, has accused US technology companies of becoming the command and control networks of choice for terrorists.

Privacy has never been an absolute right , according to the new director of snooping. Robert Hannigan said a new generation of freely available technology has helped groups like Islamic State (Isis) to hide from the security services and accuses major tech firms of being in denial , going further than his predecessor in seeking to claim that the leaks of Edward Snowden have aided terror networks.

GCHQ and sister agencies including MI5 cannot tackle those challenges without greater support from the private sector, including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web , Hannigan argued in an opinion piece written for the Financial Times just days into his new job. While not naming any company in particular, the GCHQ director wrote:

To those of us who have to tackle the depressing end of human behaviour on the internet, it can seem that some technology companies are in denial about its misuse.

I suspect most ordinary users of the internet are ahead of them: they have strong views on the ethics of companies, whether on taxation, child protection or privacy; they do not want the media platforms they use with their friends and families to facilitate murder or child abuse.

Techniques for encrypting messages or making them anonymous which were once the preserve of the most sophisticated criminals or nation states now come as standard. These are supplemented by freely available programs and apps adding extra layers of security, many of them proudly advertising that they are 'Snowden approved'. There is no doubt that young foreign fighters have learnt and benefited from the leaks of the past two years.

Executive Director Jim Killock  of Open Rights Group has responded to Hannigan's comment. He said:

Open Rights Group logo Robert Hannigan's comments are divisive and offensive. If tech companies are becoming more resistant to GCHQ's demands for data, it is because they realise that their customers' trust has been undermined by the Snowden revelations. It should be down to judges, not GCHQ nor tech companies, to decide when our personal data is handed over to the intelligence services. If Hannigan wants a 'mature debate' about privacy, he should start by addressing GCHQ's apparent habit of gathering the entire British population's data rather than targeting their activities towards criminals.

 

 Offsite Article: Was anyone genuinely thrilled to watch Zombeavers at Frightfest?...


Link Here 4th November 2014
mayhem film festival logo Mayhem horror film festival report

See article from strangethingsarehappening.com

 

  Putin Bangs his Chest...

Russian authorities censor independent theatre


Link Here 3rd November 2014
zombie play putin Moscow's fringe Doc theatre faces censorship via eviction

Russia has been discouraging public celebrations of Halloween as part of a campaign against western influence. But that did not stop Teatr.Doc from staging a bitingly satirical Night of the Living Dead in what may be one of the last ever productions at the tiny basement theatre in central Moscow famous for innovative and uncompromising work.

In a move that has shaken the international theatrical community, the Moscow authorities have ordered Teatr.Doc to vacate the basement on grounds that it had supposedly violated property regulations.

Many people think the eviction order masks an attempt to censor one of Moscow's few independent theatres.

News of Teatr.Doc's eviction has sparked outrage. More than 6,200 people including Elyse Dodgson , international director at London's Royal Court Theatre, and Hollywood actor Bill Pullman have signed a petition on change.org urging Moscow's mayor to reverse the eviction decision.

Russia has reverted to Soviet style censorship and petty vindictiveness to silence Teatr.Doc, British playwright Tom Stoppard wrote in an open letter published last week. With sorrow one cannot help noting that the battle for freedom of expression which has been won in the past has to be fought again by this tiny theatre.

 

  Putin Opens his War Chest...

Propaganda TV: Russia Today, BBC tomorrow


Link Here 3rd November 2014  full story: Russia Today Propaganda TV...Russia Today, English language international propaganda channel

russia today international logo Russia Today (RT), a propaganda news channel bankrolled by Vladimir Putin, has launched a dedicated UK version. It is the first time an overseas news operator has launched a service specifically targeted at British viewers. Perhaps not surprising as the venture looks set to cost Putin £250m a year

These are the latest salvos in a propaganda onslaught in which RT, al-Jazeera, China's state-funded CCTV and the BBC World Service and its commercially-funded sister TV channel BBC World News, are among the most prominent players.

The international version of RT is already facing six separate investigations by TV censor Ofcom, including its coverage of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Richard Sambrook, former director of global news at the BBC and director of the Centre of Journalism at Cardiff University, said:

Editorially its line is clearly one that is being driven by the Kremlin agenda. It's a surprising move to focus resources on the UK. It's not a commercial proposition, therefore the main purpose must be to gain influence. It's about soft power for the Kremlin.

RT's UK channel will be made up of five hours of programmes a day broadcast from its new studios in Milbank, with the rest of the schedule filled by content from its international channel.

Meanwhile...

See  article from  globalresearch.ca

bbc news logo Not since Iraq have I seen BBC News working at propaganda strength like this. So glad I'm out of there

These are the words of the former economics editor of the BBC's Newsnight show, Paul Mason , relating to the BBC's coverage of the Scottish independence referendum. The London broadcaster's biased reporting on Scottish independence is not an isolated incident however, as the BBC has been blatantly warping, misrepresenting and omitting pertinent facts and narratives on numerous issues, from its coverage on Israel to its distortion on Ukraine.

The broadcaster has been widely criticised by many in Scotland and around the world for their propaganda campaign in the run up to the referendum in September, leading thousands of people to take to the streets in protest over the lack of journalistic integrity at the BBC. A major episode of this was when the BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson, censored Alex Salmond's lengthy response to a question regarding the rumours that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) would move its headquarters to London if Scotland voted for independence. Despite Salmond's comprehensive response to the question which gave the BBC seven minutes of video footage to edit for their report, Robinson decided to deceive the public and falsely claim he didn't answer the question. This was part of a wider propaganda campaign of injecting fear and uncertainty into the idea of Scotland being an independent nation.

 

  Slightly Gayer...

Autobiography by Morrissey is re-published uncensored for paperback


Link Here 2nd November 2014
Autobiography Morrissey Autobiography by Morrissey covers his life from his birth until the present day.

Steven Patrick Morrissey was born in Manchester on May 22nd 1959. Singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Smiths (1982--1987), Morrissey has been a solo artist for twenty-six years, during which time he has had three number 1 albums in England in three different decades.

Great news for Smiths fans who don't blush at innocuous descriptions of homosexual relationships, the uncensored version of Morrissey's Autobiography is now available in the United States.

When the memoir saw its initial U.S. release last December (less than two months after its U.K. release), three sentences detailing his relationship with Jake Walters, a British photographer, were removed from the book. Two other sentences were tweaked, and a picture of Walters was excised, too.

Penguin, the book's U.S. and U.K. publisher, declined to comment on the changes at the time.

Now, without explanation, those changes have been undone for the U.S. paperback release of Morrissey's Autobiography, which hits shelves on Nov. 4.

For reference, here are the three cut sentences:

  • I am photographed for Creem magazine with my head resting on Jake's exposed belly.
  • Indulgently Jake and I test how far each of us can go before 'being dwelt in' causes cries of intolerable struggle, but our closeness transcends such visitations.
  • 'Well,' said the woman in the British Airways lounge, 'You're either very close brothers or lovers.' 'Can't brothers be lovers?' I impudently reply.

 

  Power Grab...

The US TV censor, FCC, seeks to extend remit to Internet TV


Link Here 2nd November 2014
fcc logo On October 28, 2014, in an announcement posted on the Official FCC Blog , FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a proposal that Internet TV should come under the censorship regime of cable TV :

Today I am proposing to extend the same concept to the providers of linear, Internet-based services; to encourage new video alternatives by opening up access to content previously locked on cable channels. What could these over-the-top video providers (OTTs) supply to consumers? Many different kinds of multichannel video packages designed for different tastes and preferences. A better ability for a consumer to order the channels he or she wants to watch.

Specifically,  Wheeler proposes extending certain MVPD (cable TV provider) program access rules to Internet TV services to prevent, in his words, vertically integrated networks (i.e., cable companies that also own video content) from rais[ing] artificial barriers to competition by refusing to let their video competitors have access to the programming they own.

Notably, the proposed new rule would apply only to providers that offer linear streams of programming, and not to video-on-demand services like Netflix or Hulu.

The MVPD proposal has garnered a lot of attention from the media and for good reason. However, Wheeler's official proposal has not yet been fully released to the public, leaving a number of questions unanswered.

 

 Update: The right to have free speech forgotten...

Pianist attempts to censor bad reviews via the 'right to be forgotten'


Link Here 2nd November 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Schumann Brahms Liasons Dejan Lazic Dejan Lazic, a concert pianist from Croatia, has demanded that a bad review of a 2010 concert he gave be removed from internet search results under the European right to be forgotten law.

Lazic wrote to the Washington Post, which published the review by classical music writer Anne Midgette, to have the article removed from search results. He claimed that the review was: Defamatory, mean-spirited, opinionated, one-sided, offensive [and] simply irrelevant for the arts , despite the fact that the original piece is in many places complimentary.

In the original article, Midgette said that his performance was lackluster given his huge talents, and prone to grandiloquence .

Lazic also claimed that his request was nothing to do with censorship ...BUT... a response to the fact that newspaper reviews are too far from the truth .

 

 Offsite Article: The worst thing about censorship is...


Link Here 2nd November 2014
Left 4 Dead Xbox 360 A report about German censorship inflicted on the video game Left 4 Dead

See article from destructoid.com

 

 Offsite Article: Dear Rupert Murdoch: Want to Compete with Netflix? Ditch DRM!...


Link Here 2nd November 2014
Electronic Frontier Foundation At a technology conference, Rupert Murdoch, chair of 21st Century Fox, argued that major media companies should develop their own video streaming service that could compete with Netflix and Amazon.

See article from eff.org

 

 Updated: For once the BBC does not grovel to the easily offended...

The BBC responds to dangerously easy offence taken at number plate


Link Here 1st November 2014  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Top Gear Best British DVD Statement regarding Top Gear filming in Argentina, October 2014 BBC Two Logo

Complaint:

We received complaints from viewers concerned by press reports that, while filming in Argentina, Top Gear had apparently used cars with provocative registration plates.

BBC's Response:

We consulted the programme makers who would like to assure viewers that this was an unfortunate coincidence and the cars were neither chosen for their registration plates, nor were new registration plates substituted for the originals.

The crew of BBC's Top Gear have left Argentina after facing protests over a number plate which appeared to refer to the 1982 Falklands War.

The team, including host Jeremy Clarkson, have been filming in South America for a Top Gear special.

The show apparently provoked anger among locals by using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL.

Update: All guns blazing

22nd October 2014. See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk

Argentina flag Argentina's ambassador to Britain has demanded an apology from the BBC over a joke by car show Top Gear . The Argentine embassy in London said Ambassador Alicia Castro had complained to the BBC about:

Clarkson's provocative behaviour and offensive remarks toward the government and the Argentine peopley. Furthermore, the Argentine ambassador deeply regretted Jeremy Clarkson's entirely false accusations of alleged resentment against British citizens in Argentina.

The programme's crew had to leave Argentina hastily last month after they faced violent protests for driving a car with licence plate H982 FK, interpreted by some as a reference to the country's 1982 war with Britain over the disputed Falkland Islands.

Host Jeremy Clarkson has accused Argentine officials of whipping up anger for political capital.

The BBC said it would follow its usual complaint procedures.

Update: BBC bottle

1st November 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

Jeremy Clarkson War Stories DVD The BBC has rejected a demand by the Argentinian ambassador to apologise for Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear levity, saying the BBC2 special will be broadcast as planned.

Danny Cohen, the BBC's director of television, said there was no evidence to support the allegation that the number plate on Clarkson's Porsche, H982 FKL, was a deliberate reference to the Falklands war. Cohen said in a letter to the ambassador:

The BBC was disturbed by the violence the team faced during their visit and I know we are agreed that this violence should not be condoned.

I am very aware that some have questioned whether the number plates were in some way a prank. I would like to reassure you again that nothing we have seen or read since the team returned supports the view that this was a deliberate act.

 

 Updated: Ban Everything...

Toy shop censors Breaking Bad figures after a few whinges from PC bullies


Link Here 1st November 2014
Breaking Bad 6 inch Heisenberg Exclusive Breaking Bad may have been one of the most popular cable dramas of the last decade, but one Florida woman isn't thrilled that Toys R Us is selling the show's action figures. Susan Schrivjer was 'shocked':

The figure of main character Walter White, a former high school chemistry teacher who becomes one of the biggest meth dealers in the country, carries a duffle bag filled with cash, and comes with a toy bag of crystal meth. The figure for White's assistant/meth distributor, Jesse Pinkman, comes with a gas mask to protect against dangerous compounds during meth cooking.

Anything to do with drugs is not doing the right thing I just think that they need to look at their visions and values, as they call them.

So Schrivjer started a Change.org petition asking Toys 'R' Us to stop selling the dolls. The petition received about 1,000 signatures.

In a statement, Toys R Us told NBC News that:

The product packaging clearly notes that the items are intended for ages 15 and up and are located in the adult action figure area of our stores.

Update: Censors R Us

26th October 2014.  See  article from  bleedingcool.com

toys-r-us logo Susan Schrivjer's petition, gathered 9,299 supporters and is now closed with Victory being declared for the PC bullies.

Toys R Us has removed the figures from shelves and even went so far as to post to their Twitter account:

Re: BB Let's just say, the action figures have taken an 'indefinite sabbatical'

Action figure collector Jayson Zacher wrote:

Let's be upfront here, this is censorship. Instead of leaving it up to consumers to decide what they will and won't purchase, people are now pushing for items to be removed from store shelves. It's Prohibition all over again, but with action figures.

Petition: KEEP Breaking Bad (and other Adult Collector) Figures On Toys R Us Shelves

26th October 2014.  See petition from change.org

keep action figures Daniel Picket of Actionfigureinsider.com has started his own petition to get the figures back on the shelves, citing that this is not just about the Breaking Bad figures but about the larger principle in question. Picket@s petition has gained over 59,000 supporters in a fraction of the time as Schrivjer's.

Toys R Us is well known around the world for their vast selection of toys for children of all ages, and we do mean ALL ages, that includes the adult collector market. Toys R Us' decision to sell a line of Breaking Bad ACTION FIGURES, complete with a detachable sack of cash and a bag of meth, in an aisle designated for adult collectors, featuring properties of a more mature nature that might appeal to older collectors, and away from the other kid toys, shows that TRU understands there is more than one group of collectors that regularly come through their doors each day. And that they can observe and in some cases even dictate how these figures are packaged, marketed and sold in their stores. It is NOT irresponsible to have these in the store. It is only irresponsible if they sell them to people they are not appropriate for. That's why I'm calling on Toys R Us to KEEP selling the Breaking Bad action figure collection in their stores and on their website as well as other mature toy lines.

...Sign the petition

Update: Toys R Us refuse to acknowledge counter petition

29th October 2014.  Petition update from Daniel Picket

keep action figures Here we are 12 days after our launch and the petition has over 61,000 encouraging Toys R Us to review the situation and reinstate the Mezco Breaking Bad figures to the shelves of their collector section. In 12 days we gathered FIVE TIMES what the Florida Mom gathered in a months time, and STILL Toys R Us has yet to respond.

Even for a publicly traded company, for them to not even acknowledge the majority is baffling from a public relations/customer service standpoint.

This entire outrage was born out of one person telling the Florida mom about the figures. It's not as if TRU sold a Breaking Bad her child. There was NO infraction. Toys R Us was being a responsible seller, having the merchandise in the appropriate section and was selling it to the appropriate customers. We have to keep hammering Toys R Us until we get some kind of response. We are the majority. Keep posting on the TRU Facebook page and Twitter feed and include #AdultsCollect !

Update: Ban everything

1st November 2014. See article from change.org by Daniel Pickett

keep action figures This is exactly the sort of thing I was concerned about. Here's a mom that has started a new petition to get Halo and Call of Duty Mega Brand construction sets pulled from Target:

She has less than 1000 signatures so far, but what happens if this one gets picked up by the national news? Be a parent, by BEING A PARENT. If you don't like something, then don't buy it for your child. Don't let it into your home. But don't go around trying to remove every possible offensive thing from your child's line of site. Use it as a teaching moment. But don't remove everyone else's option. It's more important than ever to keep spreading the word that #AdultsCollect

 

 Offsite Article: Still shocking...


Link Here 1st November 2014
Friday 13Th Part Special Collectors Stills turn up detailing the long lost original ending to Friday the 13th Part 3

See article from bloody-disgusting.com

 

 Offsite Article: Sharia law or gay marriage critics would be branded extremists under Tory plans...


Link Here 1st November 2014
Telegraph logo Atheists and Christians warn about the New Extremism Disruption Orders. And if you think the authorities can be trusted to be reasonable then just take a look at the Tiger Porn case.

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

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