Censor Watch

 2017: December

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  Politically confused...

London Theatre bans production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too because it is about #MeToo issues and then reinstates it because it is about #MeToo issues


Link Here 16th December 2017

Rita, Sue and Bob Too: A State Affair: AND A State Affair London's Royal Court has backed out of its initial decision to ban a touring production of the play Rita, Sue and Bob Too . Political correctness was the reason for the censorship on the basis that staging a play about an older man having sex with two teenage girls would be highly conflictual in the post-Weinstein era. The theatre also cited allegations of sexual misconduct made against the touring company's founder, Max Stafford-Clark (who no longer works fro the company).

In a statement artistic director Vicky Featherstone announced that she had invited the production back to the theatre for its run. She apologised for her arbitrary censorship decision saying:

The Royal Court was nothing without the voices and trust of our writers. This is the guiding principle on which the theatre was founded and on which it continues to be run.

I have therefore been rocked to the core by accusations of censorship and the banning of a working-class female voice. For that reason, I have invited the current Out of Joint production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too back to the Royal Court for its run. As a result of this helpful public debate we are now confident that the context with which Andrea Dunbar's play will be viewed will be an invitation for new conversations.

Arts writer David Barnett pointed out that cancelling Rita, Sue and Bob Too is a grim joke. It is precisely because of men like Max Stafford Clark that this play should be staged.

The play was written when Andrea Dunbar was 18 and became notorious for its opening scene where two schoolgirl babysitters take it in turns to have sex with their employer in the back of his car.

 

 Extract: Vladimir Putin must be looking forward to getting his hands on the data...

The UK Will Soon Keep a Permanent Record of Everyone Who Watches Porn. It's beyond insane they're even considering it.


Link Here 16th December 2017

putin keenHere's what worries cybersecurity experts: All age verification options would create a permanent record indicating that a user had visited a porn site. They could possibly even record the porn that the visitor had watched.

Matt Tait, a cybersecurity expert formerly of the GCHQ (the United Kingdom's equivalent of the National Security Agency) who now teaches at the University of Texas, notes that any registration system could be a monumental national security risk. He adds, It's beyond insane they're even considering it. 

Tait envisions a time coming soon, when a British government official will have to give the following message to the Prime Minister:

Sorry Prime Minister, Russia now knows what porn every MP, civil servant and clearance holder watches and when, and we don't know how much of it they've given to Wikileaks.

If porn consumers in the United Kingdom are the losers, Tait suggests there is a potential winner: Vladimir Putin.

...Read the full article from motherjones.com

 

  Stereotypical PC bullies...

Advert censor continues with its campaign to impose its own personal PC morality on advertisers


Link Here 16th December 2017
ASA logo New rule to ban harmful gender stereotypes next year

Ella Smillie from the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP, the rule writing arm of ASA), announced that a new rule will be introduced in the UK Advertising Codes next year to ban what it claims as harmful gender stereotyping in advertising.

The review by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on claimed harmful gender stereotyping in advertising, Depictions, Perceptions and Harm , published last summer, proposed stronger censorship of ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics including ads which mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes.

Ella Smillie said:

Following the review, we committed to developing new standards on ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics. We are now developing a new rule and guidance on the depiction of gender stereotypes in ads, which we will consult on in spring, 2018.

The review claimed that harmful stereotypes can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults. These stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which therefore plays a part in unequal gender outcomes, with costs for individuals, the economy and society. The review welcomed the ASA's track record of banning ads on grounds of objectification, inappropriate sexualisation and for normalising unhealthily thin body images, but claimed that more needs to be done on gender stereotypical roles and characteristics portrayed in ads.

The new rule will not ban all forms of gender stereotypes. There will not be a ban on ads depicting a woman cleaning or a man doing DIY tasks. But, subject to context and content considerations, however ASA would ban an ad which depicts family members creating a mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up, or an ad that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks because of stereotypes associated with his gender.

Ella Smillie, Committees of Advertising Practice, said:

Some gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to harm for adults and children by limiting how people see themselves, how others see them, and potentially restricting the life decisions they take. The introduction of a new advertising rule from 2018 will help advertisers to know where to draw the line on the use of acceptable and unacceptable stereotypes.

We'll set out our proposed new standards in Spring 2018 and openly consult on them.

 

 Updated: On Ofcom as social media censor...'who else would do it?'...

Parliamentary committee chats to new Ofcom chairman about the censorship of social media


Link Here 16th December 2017
terry burnsTerry Burns is set to become the new chairman of Ofcom in January 2018. As part of the approval process he was asked to appear before parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. And the topic of conversation was internet censorship, in particular censorship of social media.

He was asked his thoughts on whether social media platforms such as Facebook should be recognised as publishers and therefore regulated. He responded:

I think it's a very big issue. It's becoming more and more difficult to distinguish between broadcasting and what one is capable of watching on the internet.

However, I think in many ways the main issue here is in terms of legislation and it is an issue for parliament rather than Ofcom.

I've been following this issue about platforms versus publishers... There must be a question of how sustainable that is.  I don't want to take a position on that at this stage. As far as I'm concerned the rules under which we are working at the moment is that they are defined as platforms.

There will be an ongoing debate about that, for the moment that's where they are. I find it difficult to believe that over time there isn't going to be further examination of this issue.

Asked whether there was a role for Ofcom to monitor and check social media, Lord Burns said:

I don't see any reason why if parliament wanted Ofcom to do that it shouldn't [do so]... I'm not quite sure who else would do it.

Update: New Chairman of Ofcom

16th December 2017 See Ofcom press release

Ofcom logoThe Government has appointed Lord (Terry) Burns as the next Chairman of Ofcom.

This follows the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee pre-appointment hearing with Lord Burns. Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has now confirmed the appointment .

Lord Burns was until January 2016 the Chairman of Channel 4, having served for six years at the public service broadcaster. He has also served as Chairman of a number of private and public-sector organisations, including Marks & Spencer, Santander UK, Welsh Water, the National Lottery Commission and The Royal Academy of Music.

From 2004 to 2006, Lord Burns was Independent Adviser to the Secretary of State on the BBC Charter Review. He sits as a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords.

As previously announced, Dame Patricia Hodgson is stepping down as Chairman of Ofcom at the end of the year. Lord Burns will take up the role from 1 January 2018.

 

  Libel reform in Scotland...

Scottish Law Commission reports on defamation law and proposes a draft reform bill


Link Here 16th December 2017  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

scottish law commission logoThe Scottish Law Commission has published its Report on Defamation , which includes a draft defamation reform bill.

The SLC's draft bill includes:

  • a defence of publication on a matter of public interest
  • a serious harm test, meaning that claimants would be required to prove serious harm before a claim can proceed
  • a single publication rule, so that the time limit for bringing a defamation claim applies from the first publication of a statement and is not reset every time that statement is shared, for example by re-tweeting
  • ·a reduction of the time limit for bringing a claim from three years to one year
Stephanie Mathisen from the Libel Reform Campaign, and policy manager at Sense about Science , said:

The Libel Reform Campaign welcomes the Scottish Law Commission's Report on Defamation. In particular, we are pleased to see its recognition of the importance of protecting publication on matters of public interest and the requirement for claimants to prove that serious harm has been caused before a libel claim can proceed. We are delighted the SLC has published a draft bill, opening the way for the Scottish parliament to address Scotland's outdated libel laws. We know MSPs are anxious to bring the law into the 21st century and hope they will move quickly to debate and pass a bill early in the new year.

The draft bill isn't perfect, but it's a good start. With a draft bill to kick start proceedings, there's no excuse for the Scottish parliament not to debate the issue of defamation reform and finally bring Scotland's libel laws up to date.

 

 Offsite Article: You Give Up a Lot of Privacy Just Opening Emails. Here's How to Stop It...


Link Here 16th December 2017
wired logo How Email Open Tracking Quietly Took Over the Web

See article from wired.com

 

  Government proposes the BBFC as its internet porn censor...

And of course not a word about protecting British business from obliteration, nor about protecting porn viewers from scammers, blackmailers and identity thieves


Link Here 15th December 2017  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites

DCMS logoThe Government has formally proposed that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) be designated as the regulator for the age verification of online pornography in the UK.

Age verification will mean anyone who makes pornography available online on a commercial basis must ensure under 18s in the UK cannot access it. This is part of the Government's continuing work to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

The BBFC has unparalleled expertise in classifying content and has a proven track record of interpreting and implementing legislation as the statutory authority for age rating videos under the Video Recordings Act.

This, along with its work with industry on the film classification system and more recently classifying material for mobile network operators, makes them the preferred choice for regulator.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock said:

One of the missions of age verification is to harness the freedom of the internet while mitigating its harms. Offline, as a society we protect children from viewing inappropriate adult material by ensuring pornography is sold responsibly using appropriate age checks. It is now time that the online world follows suit. The BBFC are the best placed in the world to do this important and delicate task.

David Austin, Chief Executive Officer at BBFC said:

The BBFC's primary aim is to protect children and other vulnerable groups from harmful content and we are therefore pleased to accept the Government's proposed designation.

Age-verification barriers will help to prevent children accessing or stumbling across pornographic content online. The UK is leading the way with this age-verification regime and will set an international precedent in child protection.

The government's proposal must be approved by Parliament before the BBFC is officially designated as the age-verification regulator.

The regulator will notify non-compliant pornographic providers, and be able to direct internet service providers to prevent customers accessing these sites. It will also notify payment-services providers and other ancillary service providers of these sites, with the intention that they can withdraw their services.

The Government will shortly also publish guidance on how the regulator should fulfil its duties in relation to age verification.

Response: The BBFC will struggle to ensure that Age Verification is safe, secure and anonymous

15th December 2017 See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com

open rights group 2016 logo Responding to the news that the BBFC are in line to be appointed Age Verification regulator, Jim Killock Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

The BBFC will struggle to ensure that Age Verification is safe, secure and anonymous. They are powerless to ensure people's privacy.

The major publisher, MindGeek, looks like it will dominate the AV market. We are very worried about their product, AgeID, which could track people's porn use. The way this product develops is completely out of BBFC's hands.

Users will not be able to choose how to access websites. They'll be at the mercy of porn companies. And the blame lies squarely with Theresa May's government for pushing incomplete legislation.

Killock also warned that censorship of porn sites could quickly spiral into hundreds or thousands of sites:

While BBFC say they will only block a few large sites that don't use AV, there are tens of thousands of porn sites. Once MPs work out that AV is failing to make porn inaccessible, some will demand that more and more sites are blocked. BBFC will be pushed to block ever larger numbers of websites.

Response: How to easily get around the UK's porn censorship

15th December 2017 See  article from vpncompare.co.uk

vpn compare logoOf course, in putting together this hugely draconian piece of legislation, the British Government has overlooked one rather glaring point. Any efforts to censor online content in the UK can be easily circumvented by anyone using a VPN.

British-based subscribers to a VPN service such as IPVanish or ExpressVPN will be able to get around any blocked sites simply by connecting to a server in another democratic country which hasn't chosen to block websites with adult content.

As much as Governments try to censor online content, so VPN will offer continue to offer people access to the free and uncontrolled internet they are legally entitled to enjoy.

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

 

  Net neutrality becomes net corporate control...

US FCC cedes internet censorship, access and pricing to large corporations


Link Here 15th December 2017  full story: Net Neutrality in USA...US internet censors at FCC seem intent on letting big business take control
fcc logo The US's media censor voted to end rules protecting an open internet on Thursday, a move critics warn will hand control of the future of the web to cable and telecoms companies.

At a packed meeting of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, commissioners voted three to two to dismantle the net neutrality rules that prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from charging websites more for delivering certain services or blocking others should they, for example, compete with services the cable company also offers.

FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, denounced the move. I dissent because I am among the millions outraged, outraged because the FCC pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation's broadband consumers, she said.

Fellow Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the FCC had shown contempt for public opinion during the review. She called the process corrupt. As a result of today's misguided actions, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new powers, she said.

Evan Greer, campaign director for internet activists Fight for the Future, said:

Killing net neutrality in the US will impact internet users all over the world. So many of the best ideas will be lost, squashed by the largest corporations at the expense of the global internet-using public.

Michael Cheah of Vimeo said:

ISPs probably won't immediately begin blocking content outright, given the uproar that this would provoke. What's more likely is a transition to a pay-for-play business model that will ultimately stifle startups and innovation, and lead to higher prices and less choice for consumers.

Ignoring the millions of Americans who protested against the end of net neutrality

15th December 2017 See  article from torrentfreak.com

torrentfreak logo In recent months, millions of people have protested the FCC's plan to repeal U.S. net neutrality rules, which were put in place by the Obama administration.

However, an outpouring public outrage , critique from major tech companies, and even warnings from pioneers of the Internet, had no effect. Today the FCC voted to repeal the old rules, effectively ending net neutrality.

Under the net neutrality rules that have been in effect during recent years, ISPs were specifically prohibited from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of lawful traffic. In addition, Internet providers could be regulated as carriers under Title II.

Now that these rules have been repealed, Internet providers will have more freedom to experiment with paid prioritization. Under the new guidelines, they can charge customers extra for access to some online services, or throttle certain types of traffic.

Most critics of the repeal fear that, now that the old net neutrality rules are in the trash, fast lanes for some services, and throttling for others, will become commonplace in the U.S.

This could also mean that BitTorrent traffic becomes a target once again. After all, it was Comcast's secretive BitTorrent throttling that started the broader net neutrality debate, now ten years ago.

Despite repeated distortions and biased information, as well as misguided, inaccurate attacks from detractors, our Internet service is not going to change, writes David Cohen, Comcast's Chief Diversity Officer:

We have repeatedly stated, and reiterate today, that we do not and will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content.

It's worth highlighting the term lawful in the last sentence. It is by no means a promise that pirate sites won't be blocked.

Why Net Neutrality Repeal Is Extremely Bad News for Porn

15th December 2017 See  article from avn.com

avn logo Within minutes of a party-line Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal rules protecting net neutrality, at least three states announced measures to keep the rules204set up to guarantee a level playing field for internet consumers, users and businesses204in place. New York, California and Washington quickly outlined a mixture of legal actions and legislative moves to keep net neutrality in place, which more than a dozen states expected to follow.

Whether the states can succeed in stopping the Donald Trump-era elimination of the Barack Obama-era net neutrality requirements is of special interest to adult content providers and consumers, because porn appears likely to be among the hardest hit of all industries affected by the rollback.

Why? Because porn comprises about one third of all internet traffic, and there are an estimated 800 million pages of porn on the World Wide Web, meaning that the giant corporations that now control internet access for most Americans will envision almost unimaginable profits to be reaped from slapping users with extra fees to access their favorite adult content.

 

  But not a word about politicians failing to look after the people...

Standards in Public Life call for the social media censorship of people slagging off politicians


Link Here 15th December 2017
intimidation in public life This is a disgraceful report showing that politicians think that they can escape criticism by censoring the likes of Facebook and Twitter. As far as I can see the entire report is a one sided affair trying to censor the storm of Twitter insults received by politicians, notably Dianne Abbot.

Not once does it mention that some of the criticism may be deserved. Perhaps if politicians want a more pleasant reception from the people, then perhaps that they should do such simple things as not fiddle expenses, answer people's questions, and not steer every single TV sentence into a chance to repeat inane political slogans. And then of course perhaps they should listen and respond to the people's concern about losing their jobs, housing, benefits and use of the NHS. And whilst they are at it get more houses built. Fuck 'em, they deserve to be slagged off.

Anyway they try to justify the censorship in their press release:

The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life today published its report on intimidation in public life.

The independent Committee, which advises the Prime Minister on standards of conduct across public life, has made a package of recommendations to address the threats and intimidation experienced by Parliamentary candidates and others. The recommendations include:

  • Government should bring forward legislation to shift the liability of illegal content online towards social media companies.

  • Social media companies must ensure they are able to make decisions quickly and consistently on the takedown of intimidatory content online

  • Government should consult on the introduction of a new offence in electoral law of intimidating Parliamentary candidates and party campaigners.

  • The political parties must work together to develop a joint code of conduct on intimidatory behaviour during election campaigns by December 2018. The code should be jointly enforced by the political parties.

  • The National Police Chiefs Council should ensure that local police forces have sufficient training to enable them to effectively investigate offences committed through social media.

Lord Bew, Chair of the Committee, said:

This level of vile and threatening behaviour, albeit by a minority of people, against those standing for public office is unacceptable in a healthy democracy. We cannot get to a point where people are put off standing, retreat from debate, and even fear for their lives as a result of their engagement in politics. This is not about protecting elites or stifling debate, it is about ensuring we have a vigorous democracy in which participants engage in a responsible way which recognises others' rights to participate and to hold different points of view.

The increasing scale and intensity of this issue demands a serious response. We are not alone in believing that more must be done to combat online behaviour in particular and we have been persuaded that the time has come for the government to legislate to shift the liability for illegal content online towards social media companies, and to consult on the introduction of a new electoral offence.

We believe that the parties themselves must show greater leadership. They must call out members who engage in this appalling behaviour, and make sure appropriate sanctions are imposed swiftly and consistently. They have an important duty of care to their candidates, members and supporters. Intimidation takes place across the political spectrum, both in terms of those engaging in and those receiving intimidation. The leadership of political parties must recognise this.

We have heard evidence that intimidatory behaviour can stem from of our current political culture, with low levels of trust in politicians and a feeling of frustration and alienation by some people. Against that backdrop, it is down to all in public life to play their part in restoring and protecting our public political culture by setting a tone which respects the right of every individual to participate and does not, however inadvertently, open a door to intimidation.

Many of the recommendations we are making today are not limited solely to election periods but will have wider relevance across our public life.

Index rejects UK committee's recommendation to outsource censorship

15th December 2017 See  statement from indexoncensorship.org

Index on Censorship logoIndex on Censorship rejects many of the suggestions made in a report into intimidation of UK public officials by a committee tasked with examining standards in public life.

The report recommends 204 among other things 204 creating legislation to make social media companies liable for illegal content and increasing the use of automation to remove content that is not only illegal but intimidatory.

Like many such reports, the report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life makes the mistake of lumping together illegal content, intimidatory content 204 which the committee itself admits is hard to define 204 and abusive content, said Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index on Censorship.

While some content outlined in the report 204 such as threats of rape 204 can clearly be defined as harassing or intimidatory in nature, deciding whether content is illegal or not largely depends on understanding the context 204 and that is something that neither 'automated techniques' nor speedy removals can address.

We are deeply worried by the growing trend in which democratic governments devolve responsibility for making decisions that should be made by the police or the judiciary to unaccountable private bodies to censor speech.

In addition to a number of recommendations for social media companies to take action, the committee's report also recommends that press regulators should extend their codes of conduct to include intimidatory behaviour.

This report uses language that would not be out of place in any dictator's handbook, said Ginsberg. The idea that the press should include in their code of conduct an element that addresses whether content could 'unduly undermine public trust in the political system' sounds like a gift to any politician wanting to challenge reports with which they disagree. Rather than enhance democracy and freedoms, as this report claims to want to do, this risks damaging it further.

Index welcomes the fact that the committee deemed new criminal offences specific to social media unnecessary, but cautions that devolving power to social media companies to police content could have significant risks in scooping up legitimate as well as illegal content because of the sheer volume of material being posted online every second.

Index would also strongly caution against any engagement with other governments at the international level on what constitutes hate crime and intimidation online that could result in a race to the bottom that adds further global restrictions on speech.

 

  Touched a sensitive spot...

The BBFC receive a few whinges about apprentices measuring the inside leg of a male model


Link Here 15th December 2017

the apprenticeAn episode of The Apprentice where female contestants ogled male models has sparked a few complaints to the BBC.

The women not only encouraged the men to show their six-packs, but one contestant also got dangerously close to touching the crotch of one of them, as she measured his inside leg.

The footage of Elizabeth McKenna and Michaela Wain casting the person for their fashion show was branded inappropriate by some of the members of the audience.

The BBC revealed it had received 158 complaints about the scene, making it the most complained-about show on the BBC in the last fortnight. The BBC wrote:

We received complaints from some viewers that the candidates behaved inappropriately in the male model casting audition.

We raised audience concerns with The Apprentice production team. They would like to reassure everyone that neither the models nor anyone present during the filming of the scene felt that anyone's behaviour was inappropriate, nor were they unhappy with the events portrayed on screen. The audition was intended to be viewed as being light-hearted, which was very much in the spirit of the events that the candidates were tasked with planning.

 

  Internet censorship bill being trafficked through Congress...

US Bill to force internet companies to ban adverts for sex workers in the name of preventing trafficking advances


Link Here 14th December 2017

Electronic Frontier Foundation The House Judiciary Committee is about to decide whether to approve a new version of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865 ), a bill that would force online platforms to police their users' speech more closely.

The new version of FOSTA improves a deeply problematic bill, but it still represents the same fundamentally flawed approach to fighting criminal activity online. Like the earlier version of FOSTA --and like SESTA ( S. 1693 ), its sibling bill in the Senate --the new version of FOSTA would do nothing to fight traffickers . What it would do is create more risk of criminal and civil liability for online platforms, resulting in them pushing legitimate voices offline.Closing Online Spaces Won't End Trafficking

Automated filters can be useful as an aid to transparent, human moderation, but when they're given the final say over who can and can't speak online, innocent users are invariably pushed offline.

One of the most egregious problems with FOSTA and SESTA is the difficulty of determining whether a given posting online was created in aid of sex trafficking. Even if you can assess that a given posting is an advertisement for sex work--which can be far from obvious--how can a platform determine whether force or coercion played a role? Under SESTA, that uncertainty would force platforms to err on the side of censorship.

SESTA supporters consistently underestimate this difficulty, even suggesting it should be trivial for web platforms to build bots that remove posts in aid of sex trafficking but keep everything else up. That's simply not true: automated filters can be useful as an aid to transparent, human moderation, but when they're given the final say over who can and can't speak online, innocent users are invariably pushed offline .

The House Judiciary Committee appears to have attempted to sidestep this problem, but it's potentially created a larger problem in the process. That's because the new version of FOSTA isn't primarily a sex trafficking bill; it's a prostitution bill. This bill would expand federal prostitution law such that online platforms would have to take down any posts that could potentially be in support of any sex work, regardless of whether there's any indication of force or coercion, or whether minors were involved.

The bill includes increased penalties if a court finds that the offense constituted a violation of federal sex trafficking law, or that a platform facilitated prostitution of five or more people. As Professor Eric Goldman points out in his excellent analysis of the bill , the threshold of five prostitutes would implicate nearly any online platform that facilitates prostitution. If a prosecutor could convince a judge that a platform had had the intent to facilitate prostitution, then those enhanced penalties would be on the table.

It's easy to see the effect that those extreme penalties would have on online speech. The bill would push platforms to become more restrictive in their treatment of sexual speech, out of fear of criminal liability if a court found that they'd had the intent to facilitate prostitution. Ironically, such measures would make it more difficult for law enforcement to find and stop traffickers .Section 230 Is Still Not Broken

Some supporters of SESTA and FOSTA wrongly claim that Section 230 (the law protecting online platforms from some types of liability for their users' speech) prevents any civil lawsuits against online intermediaries for user-created material that they host. That's not true. Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com set a standard for when a platform loses Section 230 immunity in civil litigation --when the intermediary has contributed to the illegal nature of the content. As the Ninth Circuit said: A website helps to develop unlawful content, and thus falls within the exception to Section 230, if it contributes materially to the alleged illegality of the conduct.

We think the authors of this new version of FOSTA attempted to acknowledge the Roommates.com line of cases that discuss when a platform will lose Section 230 immunity against a civil claim. However, courts assume that Congress doesn't write superfluous language. With that in mind, the new FOSTA can be read to authorize civil claims against platforms for user-generated content beyond what existing case law has allowed. The bill would allow civil suits against platforms that were responsible for the creation or development of all or part of the information or content provided through any interactive computer service.

That distinction between contributing to part of the content and materially contributing to the illegal nature of the content is an extremely important one. The former could describe routine tasks that online community managers perform every day. It's dangerous to pass a bill that could create civil liability for the everyday work of running a discussion board or other online platform. The liability would be too high to stay in business, particularly for nonprofit and community-based platforms.Bottom Line: SESTA and FOSTA Are the Wrong Approach

With this new version of FOSTA, House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte and his colleagues on the Committee have clearly attempted to narrow the types of platforms that would be liable for third-party content that reflects sex trafficking. But a less bad bill is not the same thing as a good bill. Like SESTA, the proposed new FOSTA bill would result in platforms becoming more restrictive in how they manage their online communities. And like SESTA, it would do nothing to fight sex traffickers.

Supporting bills like FOSTA and SESTA might help members of Congress score political points with their constituents, but Congress must do better. It's urgent that Congress seek real solutions to finding and apprehending sex traffickers, not creating more censorship online.

Update: Passed by the House Judiciary Committee

14th December 2017  See  article from xbiz.com

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee passed a new version of H.R. 1865, a bill that would allow federal authorities the ability to prosecute sites where sex workers advertise and communicate with clients 204 even if the sexual exchange is only alluded to and never completed.

 

  Loose comment...

A whole load of time and effort taken to censor a trivial tweet


Link Here 13th December 2017

fruity king tweetA promoted tweet seen on 8 September 2017 featured an image of female presenters in their swimwear from a daytime television show and the text, You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. #LooseWomen18.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was derogatory towards women.

ProgressPlay obtained a response from the Fruity King brand operator, who stated that the image along with text You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig was not derogatory towards women and that the link to them was meant to refer to the TV show, in which the women in the photo appeared in, as a low quality programme. Therefore, the text referred to the show and not to the women themselves.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

We considered that the image shown in the tweet would be understood by viewers as intending to portray a positive image of women's bodies. However, we noted that the text You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig was shown above the image. We considered that this was specifically targeted at the women shown in the image and, consequentially, ridiculed what it represented.

Because of that, we considered that the image along with the text You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig was derogatory towards women and therefore concluded was likely to cause widespread offence.

We acknowledged that the ad would not appear again in its current form. We told ProgressPlay Ltd that their future advertising must not be derogatory towards women.

 

 Updated: Intolerant ethics...

Egyptian authorities get nasty over a sexy pop video


Link Here 13th December 2017
shyma video Egyptian singer Shyma has been arrested on suspicion of incitement to debauchery over her new video for song Andy Zoroof (I Have Problems), which authorities considered to be too daring and suggestive.

If convicted, the singer faces a one-year prison sentence, and in the mean time she is being held in custody.

At a court hearing where the singer's detention was extended by a further seven days, the singer stated she didn't know her video would cause such controversy and was acting according to the video director's requests.

Additionally, the Music Syndicate have decided to withdraw the singer's annual license, leaving her unable to perform and earn a living as a singer. The union also claimed that her video was pornographic and harmed the values of community and ethics.

The video, which sparked outrage in the country, features the singer in a classroom in front of male students licking an apple and slowly unpeeling a banana, eating it and pouring milk on it, and worst of all, pulling her bra strap off her shoulder.

Update: Jailed for 2 years

13th December 2017 See  article from theguardian.com

Shyma has now been sentenced to two years in prison for inciting debauchery in a racy music video clip. She was also fined 10,000 pounds (£420) by a Cairo court.

The director of the clip, Mohamed Gamal, received the same sentence. Both can appeal against the ruling.

 

  Justifying the protests...

Polish government appointed TV censors fine TV company for covering protests against the government


Link Here 12th December 2017
tvn logoPoland's TV censors of the National Broadcasting Council have fined a private television channel, TVN, for its coverage of opposition demonstrations in Warsaw last year. The fine amounted to about £311,000.

The council's five board members were either appointed by the Law and Justice majority in parliament or by the president, himself a former member of Law and Justice.

The council claimed the station's prominent coverage had promoted illegal activities and encouraged behaviour that threatened security.

Opponents of Poland's right-wing government have pointed out that the council's decision amounted to censorship.

The demonstrations in December 2016 were sparked by the plans of the governing party Law and Justice to limit the number of journalists and television stations allowed to cover parliamentary proceedings. The proposals were largely dropped.

The censors ruled that the coverage by TVN's 24-hour news channel broke the law because it showed opposition politicians encouraging more people to show their disapproval of the government.

TVN is a US-owned broadcaster and is often critical of the right-wing government. The channel said in a statement that it disagreed with the decision and would appeal against the regulator's decision.

 

  Film censors required, must be good with scissors...

Cinemas to return to Saudi Arabia


Link Here 12th December 2017  full story: Cinema in Saudi...First steps to re-opening cinemas in Saudi
wadjdaCinemas are set to open in Saudi Arabia in March 2018 for the first time since they were banned in in the early 1980s, according to the Saudi minister of culture.

Cinemas existed in Saudi Arabia until they were banned in the early 1980s after a puritanical religious establishment gained control over social and educational affairs in the country. Today, the organized Islamist undercurrents that thrived in the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s no longer have quite so much influence in the country.

A multimillion-dollar DVD bootleg industry flourished as a result of the cinema ban. Saudis amassed large collections of pirated DVDs of the latest Hollywood blockbusters, circumventing both the ban and censorship. It's this revenue that the decision today also aims to recapture.

Opening cinemas will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification, said Minister of Culture Awwad Alawwad. By developing the broader cultural sector, we will create new employment and training opportunities, as well as enriching the kingdom's entertainment options

The Saudi cinema industry is still nascent but has been receiving more attention over recent years with breakthrough movies like Wadjdah and Barakah meets Barakah.   It's a beautiful day in Saudi Arabia! tweeted Haifaa al-Mansour the first female Saudi director of a feature film, the acclaimed Wadjda.

The announcement by the ministry of culture did not specify whether seating in cinemas would be gender-segregated as most public spaces are in Saudi Arabia or how heavily censored movies will be. Films are usually greatly censored with pixelation added to cover the chest and legs of actresses. Censorship rules are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Multiple malls currently being built had already received licenses to build multiplexes before today's announcement.

 

  Broken hearted...

Australian anti-porn campaigners in a failed relationship with the local bus company


Link Here 12th December 2017
toowoomba bus campaignA Queensland anti-pornography group has found itself in a wrangle with a local bus company after it refused to carry the group's outdoor advertising that came with the message porn destroys relationships.

The group, who calls itself A City Free From Porn, is based in Toowoomba and has been actively campaigning for pornography to be abolished in the town.

The group tried to have an ad (see a dummy version above) added to the back of local buses, however, the campaign has been rejected by the operators due to their understandable prohibition on adverts of a sexual and political nature.

 

  No wonder people have such a low opinion of politicians...

Disgraceful Westminster Council moves to destroy delivery driver jobs because it doesn't like mopeds flitting around


Link Here 12th December 2017
westminster council logoLondon's Westminster council is seeking to put people out of work because it claims that its streets are being clogged up by mopeds delivering for Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

The new policy by Westminster City Council will require restaurants that rely on apps for the bulk of their deliveries to apply for planning permission, with view to then refusing that planning permission.

Businesses have been warned that they could face formal enforcement action if they flout new rules that are set to come into force in spring 2018. Daniel Astaire, cabinet member for planning and public realm, spouted:

It is a popular, much-needed service but we can't allow the city to be swarmed with delivery drivers.

Westminster has already taken action against a Nando's branch in Westbourne Grove after receiving more than 25 complaints from residents, who said they were repeatedly disturbed by large groups of moped delivery drivers. Council bosses ordered the popular chicken restaurant to stop offering deliveries in a move that Westminster City Council said set a new precedent.

 

  You can't investigate that...

The Daily Mail reports on Labour amendments to the Data Protection Bill designed to restrict press investigations in the name of data protection, and of course to resurrect unjust press censorship ideas suggested by Leveson


Link Here 11th December 2017
house of lords red logoThe Daily Mail explains that criminals and corrupt politicians and businessmen could escape exposure under a new attempt to restrict Press freedom.

A fresh bid to restrict the rights of journalists and the media to inquire into crime and corruption involves attempts to change a data law that is going through Parliament.

One Labour amendment to the Data Protection Bill would mean that the Information Commissioner would have powers to decide whether codes of conduct under which journalists work should be recognised by the new law.

A second amendment would rewrite the new law so that the unjust censorship powers suggested in the second half of the Leveson inquiry into Press standards would go ahead.

Currently the proposed legislation provides an exemption for journalists who access and store personal information without consent when exposing wrongdoing. This means that individuals under investigation by journalists would not be able to interfere with their inquiries or block publication of stories that would bring to light wrongdoing.

However a series of attempts have been made to introduce changes to the Bill which would remove safeguards for freedom of expression, bind journalists and make their inquiries either difficult or impossible.

 

  Tip toeing around homophobia...

Russian ballet Nureyev premieres at the Bolshoi but only after cuts and a director on house arrest


Link Here 11th December 2017
hypeebOn Saturday, five months late, Russia's most controversial ballet in years opened at the Bolshoi.

Nureyev , which traces the life and Aids-related death of Soviet dancer and choreographer Rudolf Nureyev, had been pulled just two days before its scheduled premiere in July. Insiders suggested the ballet's frank treatment of homosexuality -- and a reported intervention by the culture ministry -- lay behind the dramatic decision to cancel. The parallel investigation and August arrest of the ballet's director, Kirill Serebrennikov, added to those suspicions. Right up until the last moment, there were doubts that the premiere would ever happen.

The Cannes-winning director remains under house arrest, awaiting trial. He is unable to work, talk to the press or see his elderly, infirm parents. He was not allowed to play any direct role in the final preparations of the ballet. State investigators accuse him of embezzlement but it seems more likely that the arrest is more to do with Russian hatred of gay culture.

The ballet has also suffered a notable cut from the version originally planned. The original version of the production, seen in leaked rehearsal videos, included the projection of a famous picture from Avedon's photoshoot of Nureyev in full-frontal mod. Insiders reported that it was this detail that had proven to be the most controversial for authorities. By Saturday, the 10-second scene had been cut, rather undermining the theatre's narrative that politics had not played a role in the original cancellation.

 

  The Sunflower Award...

Katy Perry has been honoured by being banned from performing in China again


Link Here 10th December 2017
kety perry in sunflower dressUS singer Katy Perry has become the latest artist to be banned from China.

The indefinite ban is apparently due to her wearing a sunflower dress at her 2015 concert in Taiwan capital Taipei. The sunflower has become a symbol of the anti-China movement in Taiwan. At the same concert, the singer also draped a Taiwan flag on herself.

The singer wore the same dress when performing a little later in Shanghai and so has ended up on China's never again list.

 

 Offsite Article: Too much fun on Twitch...


Link Here 10th December 2017
twitch logo Miserable calls for Twitch to police sexual streaming'

See article from bbc.com

 

 Offiste Article: Having a laugh...

The disgraceful US internet censors of the FCC seem intent on handing over control of people's internet access to big business. And FCC boss Ajit Pai has been caught joking about it


Link Here 10th December 2017  full story: Net Neutrality in USA...US internet censors at FCC seem intent on letting big business take control
ajit pai

 

 

  An army of censors but I bet terrorism will continue unabated...

Google to employ an army of 10,000 internet censors


Link Here 9th December 2017  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
YouTube logoGoogle is escalating its campaign of internet censorship, announcing that it will expand its workforce of human censors to over 10,000. The censors' primary focus will be videos and other content on YouTube, but will work across Google to censor content and train its automated systems, which remove videos at a rate four times faster than its human employees.

Human censors have already reviewed over 2 million videos since June. YouTube has already removed over 150,000 videos, 50 percent of which were removed within two hours of upload. The company is working to accelerate the rate of takedown through machine-learning from manual censorship.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki explained the move in an official blog post:

Human reviewers remain essential to both removing content and training machine learning systems because human judgment is critical to making contextualized decisions on content. Since June, our trust and safety teams have manually reviewed nearly 2 million videos for violent extremist content, helping train our machine-learning technology to identify similar videos in the future. We are also taking aggressive action on comments, launching new comment moderation tools and in some cases shutting down comments altogether. In the last few weeks we've used machine learning to help human reviewers find and terminate hundreds of accounts and shut down hundreds of thousands of comments. Our teams also work closely with NCMEC, the IWF, and other child safety organizations around the world to report predatory behavior and accounts to the correct law enforcement agencies.

We will continue the significant growth of our teams into next year, with the goal of bringing the total number of people across Google working to address content that might violate our policies to over 10,000 in 2018.

At the same time, we are expanding the network of academics, industry groups and subject matter experts who we can learn from and support to help us better understand emerging issues.

We will use our cutting-edge machine learning more widely to allow us to quickly and efficiently remove content that violates our guidelines. In June we deployed this technology to flag violent extremist content for human review and we've seen tremendous progress.

  • Since June we have removed over 150,000 videos for violent extremism.

  • Machine learning is helping our human reviewers remove nearly five times as many videos than they were previously.

  • Today, 98 percent of the videos we remove for violent extremism are flagged by our machine-learning algorithms.

  • Our advances in machine learning let us now take down nearly 70 percent of violent extremist content within eight hours of upload and nearly half of it in two hours and we continue to accelerate that speed.

  • Since we started using machine learning to flag violent and extremist content in June, the technology has reviewed and flagged content that would have taken 180,000 people working 40 hours a week to assess.

 

 Offsite Article: Now Stop Funding Hate wants to ruin Christmas...


Link Here 9th December 2017
Spiked logo These snobby censors want to punish both tabloids and their readers. By Naomi Firsht

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  Threatening legislation...

European Commission weighs in with threats of legislation to force social media companies to censor jihadist content


Link Here 8th December 2017
european commission logoThe European Commission has joined the list of organisations calling on the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter to do more to remove extremist content - or face further legislation.

EU home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos warned the real battlefield is against 21st century terrorism. He said most of the recent terrorist attackers had never travelled to Syria or Iraq. But most of them had been influenced, groomed and recruited to terrorism on the internet.

Avramopoulos said he believed it was feasible to reduce the time it takes to remove content to a few hours. There is a lot of room for improvement, for this cooperation to produce even better results.

Avramopoulos also said he thought it was worthwhile to harness artificial intelligence to complete the task. You now.. like Facebook censoring Robin Redbreast Christmas cards because the word 'breast' appeared in filenames.

The Commission said it would make a decision by May next year on whether additional measures -- including legislation -- are required in order to better address the problem of illegal content on the internet.

 

  More censorship...

After a nasty court case, feminists call for a ban of unrealistic porn with a rape theme


Link Here 8th December 2017
Old BaileyCharlie Pearce has been convicted of attempted murder. He was obsessed with sexually violent images when he raped and bludgeoned his victim on his 17th birthday, leaving her for dead.

Feminists have used the case to call for an extension to Britain's porn censorship laws about violent porn in particular, and of course, for a wider ban of porn. Sarah Green, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said:

This case is extremely disturbing and the age of the offender should alarm us all. The evidence about his searches for online porn before the attack tell us that we urgently need public discussion about the contents of contemporary online pornography, its accessibility and what is known about the way it influences those who use it.

It is currently a criminal offence in England and Wales to possess pornographic material which is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise obscene and explicitly and realistically depicts life threatening and serious injury.

However pornographic material that is obviously scripted and not realistic is legal. Feminists claim the vast majority of images depicting rape are therefore lawful to possess.

 

  Modern rules disallow vintage comedy...

TV adverts refused for stand up comedian's DVD due to his smoking


Link Here 8th December 2017
The Little Waster DVD Footage of Sunderland comedy hero Bobby Thompson has been deemed unsuitable for TV adverts because he smokes too much on stage.

His DVD The Little Waster was recorded in 1982. Distributors wanted to advertise it on TV this Christmas, but were told that the Woodbine hanging constantly in his hand would break the advertising code.

And some of the jokes he cracked were deemed too offensive to modern ears, so had to be avoided too.

Clearcast, which works with TV advertisers to make sure their commercials comply with ASA guidelines said:

We were recently asked to approve an ad for a Bobby Thompson DVD. We were unable to approve the ad at this stage because it showed an excessive amount of cigarette smoke and [the rules] state, "Advertisements must not promote smoking or the use of tobacco products".

 

  Maybe YouTube and Facebook would have to shutdown in Australia...

Big media companies persuade Australian Government to exclude YouTube and Facebook from internet safe harbour protection


Link Here 8th December 2017
australian government logoBack in March, Australia shelved plans to extend its copyright safe harbor provisions to services such as Google and Facebook. Now, following consultations with the entertainment industries, the government has revealed it will indeed exclude such platforms from safe harbour provisions.

Services such as Google, Facebook and YouTube now face massive legal uncertainty as they themselves can be held responsible for copyright infringing posts by users. The logical result would be that the companies will have to check every post before upload. The vast quantity of posts to check would make this an economically unviable option.

Proposed amendments to the Copyright Act earlier this year would've seen enhanced safe harbor protections for such platforms but they were withdrawn at the eleventh hour due to lobbying by media companies. Such companies accuse platforms like YouTube of exploiting safe harbor provisions in the US and Europe, which forces copyright holders into an expensive battle to have infringing content taken down.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has confirmed the exclusions, so now it is up to Google and Facebook to consider how they can operate under this law.

 

 Offsite Article: FSK film censors...


Link Here 8th December 2017
fsk 18 large An overview of film censorship in Germany

See article from translate.google.com

 

 Offsite Article: Modern rules vs old traditions...


Link Here 8th December 2017
zwartepieten Dutch schools grapple with Black Pete. For some students, celebrations speak to a lack of sensitivity on issues of race and diversity.

See article from politico.eu

 

 Updated: Injustice in Lebanon and Palestine...

Justice League has been banned by Lebanon as Wonder Woman is unwelcome in the country


Link Here 7th December 2017
Justice League DVD Justice League is a 2017 USA action Sci-Fi fantasy by Zack Snyder.
Starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa. IMDb
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his new found ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of met humans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes; Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash, it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

Last year, Lebanon banned the Wonder Woman movie because its star, Gal Gadot, had served in the Israeli forces under the country’s national service. Gadot's two years of service coincided with the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, one of many wars and conflicts the bitter rivals have been involved in over the decades.

With Justice League , also starring Gal Gadot in the same role, opening in local cinemas on Thursday, activists want the government to do the same. Activist Pierre Abi Saab has accused the promoters of the film of ignoring Lebanese laws that he said outlaw all forms of normalisation of ties with Israel.

It has now been reported that this campaign has been successful and that, yes, Justice League has been officially banned in Lebanon.

Update: Ramallah

7th December 2017 See  article from jpost.com

Palestine Cinema Tower, Palestinians' largest film distributor, banned the film Justice League in Ramallah for violating censorship rules.

The decisions was made after local protest was sparked by a viral campaign built all in Arabic focusing on Israeli actress Gal Gadot's nationality and role as Wonder Woman.

It is not yet clear whether the ban will extend to other cities in Palestine.

 

  Sh! Don't tell the Tories, they'd use it as another weapon to bash the unemployed...

Iranian government dreams up an internet censorship scheme with personalised website blocking according to age and occupation


Link Here 7th December 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Iraq...Draconian penalties for the usual computer offences
Iran flagIran's telecommunications minister says that his ministry wants to customize Internet blocking based on user's occupation, age, and other factors.

The attorney general's office has conditionally agreed with this plan, Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi announced on December 4.

Without providing any details, he said his ministry had reviewed suggestions made by the attorney general and prepared appropriate technical responses. He expressed hope that the office would give its final approval for the implementation of the plan.

Despite the regime's extenisve efforts to censor the Internet, Iranian users currently get around the restrictions by using anti-filtering programs or virtual private networks.

 

 Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 76...


Link Here 7th December 2017
Breaking Bad: The Final Seasons DVD Breaking Bad. The BBFC discuss the classification of TV programmes extensively featuring drug use

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article A score settler's charter...


Link Here 7th December 2017
police nottinghamshire logo Nottingham Police in conjunction with feminist extremists propose making perceived sexism an aggravating factor for consideration in court punishments, without even running it past parliament

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

  The 15:17 to Paris...

Warner Brothers appeal to the MPAA for a PG-13 rating for their latest Clint Eastwood film


Link Here 6th December 2017
15 17 to parisThe 15:17 To Paris is a 2018 USA drama by Clint Eastwood.
Starring Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer and Jaleel White. IMDb

American soldiers discover a terrorist plot on a Paris-bound train.

The Warner Bros film was submitted to the MPAA in December 2017 and was rated R for a sequence of violence and bloody images. The distributors are now appealing to the CARA Appeals Board, presumably seeking a PG-13 rating.

 

  Triggering a petition...

A Balthus painting being shown at New York's Met survives an online petition calling for it to be taken down or captioned


Link Here 6th December 2017

metropolitan museum logoThe Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has decided not to take down a Balthus painting of a young girl, Thérèse Dreaming (1938), that an online petition calls sexually suggestive.

The work depicts Balthus's favoured model and neighbour, Thérèse Blanchard, who was 12 or 13 years old at the time, reclining with her underwear visible. The artist had a noted infatuation with pubescent girls, and it can be strongly argued that this painting romanticises the sexualisation of a child, writes the New York resident Mia Merrill, who started the petition on the website Care2 on 30 November. It has since gathered more than 8,600 supporters.

Merrill says that she is not calling for the work to be censored, destroyed or never seen again but either removed from display or shown with a caption that acknowledges the controversy over Balthus's reputation.

The museum's chief communications officer, Kenneth Weine, told the New York Times that:

Moments such as this provide an opportunity for conversation, and visual art is one of the most significant means we have for reflecting on both the past and the present and encouraging the continuing evolution of existing culture through informed discussion and respect for creative expression.

 

  Game of Ayodhya...

Another Indian film becomes the focus for religious violence


Link Here 6th December 2017
games of ayodhyaBack in 1992, Hindu fanatics numbering 150,000 demolished the 16th-century Babri Mosque in the city of Ayodhya because the site was considered by some to be Ram Janmabhoomi, the actual birthplace of the god Rama. The demolition resulted in several months of intercommunal rioting between India's Hindu and Muslim communities, causing the death of at least 2,000 people.

The incident inspired Indian movie director Sunil Singh, above, to make a movie called Games of Ayodhya , due for release on December 8 -- and zealots now want him dead.

His home in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, was vandalised by right-wing Hindu activists on Sunday and Yogesh Varshney, city president of Hindu Jagran Manch in Aligarh said that they would not allow the movie, which narrates a love story between a Hindu man and a Muslim woman in Ayodhya at the time of Babri Masjid demolition, to be released in the city. He said:

Today we have blackened the wall of Singh's house. If he doesn't back down, we will kill him.

One activist announced a bounty for chopping the arms of the director whilst another has gone a step ahead and offered a reward to anyone who beheads the director.

The movie was originally banned by the film censors of the CBFC, but was later cleared by the Film Cerification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).

 

  New content...

Ofcom appoints 2 new TV censors to its content board


Link Here 5th December 2017
Ofcom logoOfcom has appointed Monisha Shah and Jonathan Baker to its Content Board.

Ofcom's Content Board is a committee of the main Ofcom Board. It has delegated, advisory responsibility for a wide range of content issues, including the censorship of television, radio and video-on-demand quality and standards.

Monisha and Jonathan join Ofcom's Content Board on three-year terms, serving until 30 September 2020.

Monisha Shah

Monisha is an experienced arts and media executive, who has held prominent roles on a number of high-profile commercial and public-sector Boards.

She is the current Chair of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance; a Non-Executive Director of Imagen, a media management technology company; and an Independent Board Director of the publishing company Next Mediaworks.

Monisha is a current Trustee of the ArtFund and served as Trustee of Tate from July 2007 203 2015. She was also Tate's liaison Trustee on the Board of the National Gallery, and has served on the Boards of the Foundling Museum and ArtUK. Monisha worked at BBC Worldwide for 10 years before stepping down in 2010.

Jonathan Baker

Jonathan brings over 40 years' journalism experience, and is currently the founding Professor of Journalism at the University of Essex.

He began his career as a reporter at the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, before joining the BBC, where he held several roles in radio and TV news. He was Editor of the Nine O'Clock News bulletin when it moved to its current Ten O'Clock slot, where it received multiple BAFTA and Royal Television Society Awards under his editorship.

Jonathan also spent five years as BBC World News Editor, later becoming Deputy Head of the wider Newsgathering department. He was also appointed Head of the College of Journalism, with responsibility for training 8,000 BBC journalists.

 

  No Sun reading riff raff please...

Pizza Hut apologises to PC Guardian readers for placing adverts in the Sun


Link Here 5th December 2017

pizza hut logoPizza Hut has apologised for running a promotion with The Sun on Sunday, just two weeks after Paperchase was criticised for doing the same with the Daily Mail.

The controversy erupted after Pizza Hut flagged a promotion it was running with The Sun on Sunday, which offered a free pizza to every consumer.

The PC lynch mob on Twitter responded they would switch their patronage to other businesses. One Twitter user said:

I'm never going to set foot in your business again. No....not if you have to stoop so low as deal with that rag!!! said another. I will no longer patronise Pizza Hut given that they work with The Sun, was a popular sentiment, as was: Never ever buying a pizza from here ever again now. Another complainant Howard Cover claimed Pizza Hut was finished in Liverpool.

Less than five hours after first posting details about the promotion, Pizza Hut said in a statement:

We apologise for any offence caused as a result of this partnership. The aim of this offer was simply to give our customers the chance to enjoy a free pizza to share with their family and friends.

There's no sign yet of an apology to Sun readers for Pizza Hut pandering to the politically correct sneering at Sun readers by the liberal left.

 

  Like Titanic without the sinking...

French TV ludicrously screens Fifty Shades of Grey without the 15 minutes of sex


Link Here 5th December 2017  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey Movies...Kink for kids Hollywood style
Fifty Shades of Grey: The Unseen Edition DVD It's been compared to removing Harry Potter's wand, or watching Titanic and not seeing the boat sink.

French broadcaster TF1 has angered viewers who tuned into a Sunday night screening of the 2015 film Fifty Shades of Grey by removing 15-minutes of sex scenes from it. The channel said it made the cuts in order for it to screen at 9pm.

However, some viewers thought it should have been shown in full after 10.30pm, while others thought it was tame compared to some French programming and pointed out it was only restricted to those under-12 when it was released in French cinemas.

The bizarre censorship decision may have been something to do with a recent whinge by President Macron'that French teens were being exposed to too much sex, too early.

 

  Unwanted censorship...

TV censor whinges at a brief sex scene broadcast 3 minutes after the watershed in the film Wanted


Link Here 4th December 2017
Wanted DVD Wanted is a 2008 USA / Germany action crime fantasy by Timur Bekmambetov.
Starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman. BBFC link IMDb

A young man finds out his long lost father is an assassin. When his father is murdered, the son is recruited into his father's old organization and trained by a man named Sloan to follow in his dad's footsteps.

The film is 18 rated by the BBFC for strong bloody violence.

Wanted
Sky1, 18 September 2017, 21:00

Wanted is a film about an office worker, Wesley, who learns that he is the son of a professional assassin and that he shares his father's superhuman killing abilities. It is an action thriller that was classified at an 18 rating by the British Board of Film Classification in 2008.

Ofcom received a complaint about the broadcast of the word fucking and a sex scene shortly after the watershed. The complainant said that her 11 year old son was watching and that she considered the scene unsuitable for the time of broadcast.

The film was scheduled to start shortly after the 21:00 watershed. From 18:30 to 21:00, five episodes of The Simpsons were broadcast.

The film cut at 21:03 to a scene in which Wesley’s girlfriend and friend, Cathy and Barry, were shown having sex on a kitchen table. Barry was naked from the waist down, while Cathy was in a skirt and bra. Barry was shown standing while having sex with Cathy, who lay on the table with her legs wrapped around him, slapping his buttocks. The scene was shot mainly from the side and behind Barry. It lasted about 10 seconds.

We considered Rule 1.6:

  •  The transition to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed (in the case of television) …For television, the strongest material should appear later in the schedule.

We first assessed whether the sex scene was more adult material. We considered that, although relatively brief, and although the couple were partially clothed, it clearly depicted them having sex. In addition, at the same time as the sex scene, the word fucking was used. Ofcom's 2016 research on offensive language4 highlighted that the word fuck and similar words are considered by audiences to be among the most offensive language. Therefore, in our view, this material was aimed at an adult audience and could be considered more adult material in the context of Rule 1.6.

We considered that broadcasting a sex scene and an instance of the most offensive language three minutes after the watershed, and on a channel which had just broadcast family entertainment, was an unduly abrupt transition to more adult material.

Ofcom's Decision is that the material was in breach of Rule 1.6.

 

 Extract: Right speak...

UK caste group urges the BBFC to find the 'right' historians who can watch the film Padmavati and stop the character assassination of Indian icons.


Link Here 4th December 2017
raijput samaj logoPadmavati is a 2017 India historical romance by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor. BBFC link IMDb

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

Rajput is an hindu caste of India, and Rajput Samaj of UK is a London based group of made up from the local community of the Indian caste. The group seems somewhat offended by the movie Padmavati  and have started a move to try and ensure that the movie is not screened in the UK. They are at pains to mention that they will be expressing their views only through peaceful means, rather hinting that an expectation of recourse to violence is not far below the surface.

The Rajput Samaj of UK wrote to the BBFC pointing out that Padmavati is a revered figure in India and that she represented national pride, rather like the figure of King Arthur in Britain. The Samaj claimed in its letter that the directors of the film had tried to glorify Alauddin Khilji and that such efforts were similar to glorifying ISIS terrorists. They went on to add We must stand up against the glamorisation of plundering, looting, and other barbaric acts, rather in keeping with the extremist view in India that sees its Muslim rulers who ruled for well-nigh 800 years, as plunderers and looters. It urged BBFC to find the right historians who can watch the film and stop the character assassination of Indian icons.

...Read the article from magtheweekly.com for perhaps the best understanding for Brits about what is essentially an Indian argument.

 

  Cheezy or Juicy?...

Silly strip joint advert winds up the easily offended Australian advert censors


Link Here 3rd December 2017
grosvenor pizzasA strip club advertisement has been banned from one of Brisbane's busiest train stations after the advert censor found it debased women (with thin crusts) comparing pizzas to breasts.

The poster shows two pizzas with pepperoni clustered in their centres under the words: Pizzas or Jugs? Grab both for just $25.

The owner of The Grosvenor topless bar and strip club, Jasmine Robson, responded:

Now I think this is political correctness/censorship gone absolutely mad. I am shocked that the ASB would determine that this ad is exploitative or demeaning to women in any way, especially considering there isn't even a woman on the billboard.

However the advert censors of the Advertising Standards Bureau  upheld complaints including that the ad condoned and suggests sexual harassment of women by suggesting that people can grab 'jugs' at the bar'.

In their ruling, the ASB noted the image used in the ad was of a picture of pizzas with strategically placed pepperoni for the purpose of creating the impression of breasts with pronounced nipples. The Board considered the use of the term pizzas or jugs and noted that the colloquial definition for jugs can include breasts.

The ASB found that the representation of womens' breasts as pizzas did reduce women to an object which was exploitative by way of purposefully debasing women. In addition, the promotion of being able to grab the deal at a bargain price was degrading by lowering in character and quality women in general, the ASB found.

 

  Sensitive information for advertisers...

A detailed report analyzing Google algorithms that demonetise YouTube videos


Link Here 2nd December 2017  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
YouTube logoGoogle makes their internal processes difficult to track by design, but the author of a report By Karlaplan states that these changes are fairly recent, suspected to have been implemented on the 30th of August -- the changes having only been discovered in late October.

However, until the publication of this document , little other than anecdotal evidence was presented with complaints from YouTube content creators.

Through extensive analysis of the YouTube Data API and other sources, Karlaplan found that YouTube tags demonetized videos according to both severity and type of sensitive content -- neither of which is transparent to the uploader.

The report also notes that videos are more likely to be hidden from viewers if their likely viewership is low. Perhaps as higher viewership videos may be more likely to be appealed, or more likely to be spotted as examples of censorship and hence generate bad publicity for Google.

Google have published an information page that is quite useful in detailing which videos get censored. Google outlines two levels of sensitivity that advertisers can select when not wanting to be associated with sensitive content. Google explains:

While the Standard content filter excludes the most inappropriate content, it doesn't exclude everything that a particular advertiser may find objectionable. The Sensitive content categories allow you to opt out of additional content that many advertisers find inappropriate. Eg:

Tragedy and conflict

  • Standard: Excludes graphic footage of combat or war

  • Sensitive: Excludes the above plus footage of soldiers marching with weapons

Sensitive social issues

  • Standard: Excludes videos intended to elicit a response about controversial issues

  • Sensitive:  Excludes the above plus news commentary about controversial issues

Sexually suggestive content

  • Standard: Excludes videos about sex or sexual products

  • Sensitive:  Excludes the above plus music videos with suggestive themes

Sensational and shocking

  • Standard: Excludes videos of disasters or accidents that show casualties or death

  • Sensitive:  Excludes the above plus videos of moderate disasters or accidents that show minimal casualties or harm

Profanity and rough language

  • Standard: Excludes videos with frequent use of profanity

  • Sensitive:  Excludes the above plus videos with profanity that has been bleeped out

 

  Dozy idea...

PC extremist calls for infant school to stop Sleeping Beauty over consent issues


Link Here 2nd December 2017
Sleeping Beauty A PC extremist from Newcastle has called on her son's infant school to ban the classic fairy tale from teh school's reading list.

Sarah Hall claimed the timeless tale, in which an unconscious princess is kissed by a prince to wake her from a curse, features an inappropriate sexual message about a lack of consent. She contends the fairytale teaches children it's OK to kiss a women while she's asleep.

Hall told the Newcastle Chronicle:

I think it's a specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behavior and consent. It's about saying, 'Is this still relevant? Is it appropriate?  In today's society, it isn't appropriate, my son is only six, he absorbs everything he sees.

She said her call for the book to be banned only refers to younger kids, saying the tale could be a great resource for older children to encourage discussions on consent and how the Princess might feel.

Offsite Comment: Okay, now feminists have gone too far

2nd December 2017 See  article from spiked-online.com by Ella Whelan

Spiked logoThere is so much that is wrong with these arguments. There's the suggestion that parents won't be able to explain the difference between fiction and real life to their kids. Or that sexual consent is something six-year-olds need to worry about. Or that as kids get older they will think back to the fictional tales they read when they were six to work out how to proceed with budding sexual relationships. Or that there is something wrong in the first place with imagining a beautiful princess being saved by a kiss; that there's something wrong with the life of the imagination itself.

See  article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Article: The first step on the slippery slope...


Link Here 2nd December 2017
cloudflare logo Cloudflare's decision to ban the Daily Stormer has led to an increase in censorship requests. Since August, Cloudflare has received more than 7,000 requests from across the political spectrum for removal of content

See article from psmag.com

 

 Offsite Article: Seven Years of Hadopi: Nine Million Piracy Warnings, 189 Convictions...


Link Here 2nd December 2017  full story: File Sharing in france...Early action against internet file sharing not entirely successful
hadopi logo French anti-piracy agency Hadopi has just released its latest results

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

  A little more control over police access...

Government begrudgingly responds to EU court requirements for reduced access to mass snooping data


Link Here 1st December 2017  full story: Snooper's Charter Plus...2015 Cameron government expands the Snooper's Charter
Home Offie logoSenior police officers are to lose the power to self-authorise access to personal phone and web browsing records under a series of late changes to the snooper's charter law proposed by ministers in an attempt to comply with a European court ruling on Britain's mass surveillance powers.

A Home Office consultation paper published on Thursday also makes clear that the 250,000 requests each year for access to personal communications data by the police and other public bodies will in future excluded for investigations into minor crimes that carry a prison sentence of less than six months.

But the government says the 2016 European court of justice (ECJ) ruling in a case brought by Labour's deputy leader, Tom Watson , initially with David Davis, now the Brexit secretary, does not apply to the retention or acquisition of personal phone, email, web history or other communications data by national security organisations such as GCHQ, MI6 or MI5, claiming that national security is outside the scope of EU law.

The Open Rights Group has been campaigning hard on issues of liberty and privacy and writes:

See  article from openrightsgroup.org

open rights group 2016 logo This is major victory for ORG, although one with dangers. The government has conceded that independent authorisation is necessary for communications data requests, but refused to budge on retained data and is pushing ahead with the Request Filter, to enable rapid interrogation and analysis of the stored communications data.

Adding independent authorisation for communications data requests will make the police more effective, as corruption and abuse will be harder. It will improve operational effectiveness, even if less data is used during investigations and trust in the police should improve.

Nevertheless the government has disregarded many key elements of the judgment

  • It isn't going to reduce the amount of data retained

  • It won't notify people whose data is used during investigations

  • It won't keep data within the EU, instead it will continue to transfer it, presumably specifically to the USA

  • The Home Office has opted for a six month sentence definition of serious crime rather than the Lords' definition of crimes capable of sentences of at least one year.

These are clear evasions and abrogations of the judgment. The mission of the Home Office is to uphold the rule of law. By failing to do what the courts tell them, the Home Office is undermining the very essence of the rule of law.

If the Home Office won't do what the highest courts tell it to do, why should anybody else? By picking and choosing the laws they are willing to care about, they are playing with fire.

There was one final surprise. The Code of Practice covers the operation of the Request Filter . Yet again we are told that this police search engine is a privacy safeguard. We will now run through the code in fine detail to see if any such safeguards are there. On a first glance, there are not.

If the Home Office genuinely believe the Request Filter is a benign tool, they must rewrite this section to make abundantly clear that it is not a mini version of X-Keyscore (the NSA / GCHQ'S tool to trawl their databases of people linked to their email and web visits) and does not operate as a facility to link and search the vast quantities of retained and collected communications data.

 

  Game makers to self regulate BUT will be effectively banned if they don't do what he says...

US state lawmaker calls for games with loot boxes to be given a 21+ age rating


Link Here 1st December 2017
generic 21Hawaii State Representative Sean Quinlan has advocated for self-regulation of loot boxes by the video game industry whilst also suggesting that such games should carry a 21+ age rating.

He said that ultimately, it's best for the industry to self-police. The ideal solution would be for the game industry to stop having gambling or gambling-like mechanics in games that are marketed to kids... BUT ... he believes games makers should be held accountable. The ESRB would need to enforce higher-grade ratings and other labels to distinguish games that rely on predatory monetization. As an example, he said that the ESRB could say that if a game has loot crates, it gets a 21-plus rating.

The Entertainment Software Association is proving resistant, however. Their response ran along the same lines as many publishers, asserting that loot boxes are a voluntary feature and that the gamer makes the decision in regards to their purchase .

 

  Lamb's off...

Australia's advert censor decides to ban amusing religious dinner party advert at the second attempt


Link Here 1st December 2017  full story: Advert Censorship in Australia...Advertising Standards Board
lamb advert video Australia's advert censors have changed their mind over a lamb marketing advert and have now banned the advert.

The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) has reversed its decision on Meat and Livestock Australia's lamb ad, after an independent review found it had breached the advertising code.

The ad, which featured religious gods and prophets, including Hindu god Ganesha sharing a BBQ lamb meal, received more than 200 complaints, including one from the High Commission of India in Australia, which claimed the ad was offensive and hurting religious sentiments.

The ASB originally cleared the ad declaring it had not breached its code.

An independent review by the ASB found the original ruling was an error and cited substantial flaws with the initial decision, which found the ad was lighthearted and humorous and did not breach the advertising standards code.

The review claimed Meat and Livestock Australia gave inadequate consideration to how seriously some Australians take their religious views and determined the ad had breached the code, recommending the ad be removed.

 

  .Iron.Curtain...

Russia plans to build its own DNS system to enable more censorship control of a local internet


Link Here 1st December 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

iron curtainThe Russian government is currently discussing plans to build its own independent internet infrastructure that will be used by BRICS member states 204 Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

The Russian Security Council has today formally asked the country's government to start the building of a global DNS system that Russia and fellow BRICS member states could use to take control of the internet as used within the BRICS countries.

Russia and fellow BRICS nations would have the option to flip a switch and move Internet traffic from today's main DNS system to their own private system. The states will then have absolute and direct control of sites to be blocked. Furthermore, the alternative DNS system also allows oppressive regimes to deanonymize Tor traffic and hunt for dissidents, via an attack called DefecTor.

Russia, China, and many other countries have criticized the US for hoarding control over the domain naming system (DNS), a position they claim has allowed the US to intercept and tap global Internet traffic. Last year, the US handed over control over the DNS system to ICANN , an independent organization. While Russia and China welcomed the move, they actually wanted the DNS system to be controlled by the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union. This is because the two countries have more power in UN matters than control over an NGO, like ICANN.

 

 Offsite Article: Blocking with Blockchain...


Link Here 1st December 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
european commission logo European Commission seems to be backing off from its idea requiring websites to pre-censor material for upload but it has plenty of replacement ideas

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

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