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  Preventing corporate giants from being able to stitch up the internet...

US House moves to try and restore net neutrality in the US.


Link Here 22nd May 2018  full story: Net Neutrality in USA...US internet censors at FCC seem intent on letting big business take control
us congressDemocrats in the United States House of Representatives have gathered 90 of the 218 signatures they'll need to force a vote on whether or not to roll back net neutrality rules, while Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai has already predicted that the House effort will fail and large telecommunications companies publicly expressed their anger at last Wednesday's Senate vote to keep the Obama-era open internet rules in place.

Led by Pai, a Donald Trump appointee, the FCC voted 3-2 along party lines in December to scrap the net neutrality regulations, effectively creating an internet landscape dominated by whichever companies can pay the most to get into the online fast lane.

Telecommunications companies could also choose to block some sites simply based on their content, a threat to which the online porn industry would be especially vulnerable, after five states have either passed or are considering legislation labeling porn a public health hazard.

While the House Republican leadership has taken the position that the net neutrality issue should not even come to a vote, on May 17 Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle introduced a discharge petition that would force the issue to the House floor. A discharge petition needs 218 signatures of House members to succeed in forcing the vote. As of Monday morning, May 21, Doyle's petition had received 90 signatures . The effort would need all 193 House Democrats plus 25 Republicans to sign on, in order to bring the net neutrality rollback to the House floor.

 

 Commented: Sham Inquiry from the self-appointed partisan UK Parliamentary Group on Prostitution...

The MPs should jail themselves for causing prostitution by legislating for crap economic prospects for people


Link Here 22nd May 2018
home affairs committeeA self-appointed group of MPs, that got together for the sole purpose of lobbying for the criminalisation of sex workers' clients, conduct Inquiry and recommend the criminalisation of clients! No surprise there then.

Cari Mitchell, spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes, commented:

Criminalisation, whether of sex workers or clients, drives prostitution further underground, increasing stigma, discrimination and the risk of violence.

In Ireland, reported incidences of violent crime against sex workers have risen by almost 50%. In France, a two-year evaluation of the law found 42% of sex workers are more exposed to violence and 38% have found it increasingly hard to demand use of condom. In Norway, despite claims that sex workers have been decriminalised, forced evictions, prosecutions and increased stigma are prevalent with migrant workers particularly targeted. One sex worker explained:

Before we did not go far with the customer: we would go to a car park nearby. But now the customer wants to go somewhere isolated because they are afraid. I don't like it. There is more risk that something bad happens.

As for Sweden, the poster child for laws criminalising clients: 63% of sex workers said the law has created more prejudice; plus, there is no convincing empirical evidence that the law has resulted in a decline in sex work in Sweden, which was the law's principal ambition.

The other "revelation" from the APPG is that there has been an increase in prostitution. Ms Mitchell commented:

Blaming the internet for a prostitution "boom" puts the APPG in the same camp as Ian Duncan Smith, who notably attributed the increase in people going to food banks on growing " awareness " of food banks.

If the APPG is truly interested in reducing prostitution why isn't their headline recommendation the abolition of benefit sanctions, directly linked with the rise in prostitution, especially on the street? It seems the APPG is more taken with the sensationalised, sexed-up story of pop-up brothels. Sex workers feel exploited and not by prostitution.

If well-meaning MPs want to save women from sex work then take action against zero-hour contracts, low wages and exploitative bosses in the jobs that are the alternatives to prostitution. Support sex workers like we hope you support other workers fighting to improve pay and conditions.

As for the proposal to clamp down on online advertising, evidence from the US shows that such laws (SESTA and FOSTA) make it harder for the police to identify violence.

Why did this Inquiry even need to happen? The prestigious cross-party Home Affairs Committee did a comprehensive Inquiry and recommended that sex workers on the street and working together in premises be decriminalised.

Decriminalisation isn't perfect -- we are all going to have to put our shoulder to the wheel if we want to win a fairer and more humane society, but it removes a grave injustice suffered daily by sex workers. Thousands of cis and trans women a year are arrested, given prostitute cautions, are victims of criminal charges or civil orders and are suffering other grievous abuse and being denied protection. Decriminalisation as introduced in New Zealand has improved sex workers' working conditions and made it easier for those who want to get out, to do so. Over 90% of sex workers said they had additional employment, legal, health and safety rights (including 64.8% who said they found it easier to refuse clients -- a key marker of exploitation).

Finally, on trafficking. Until there is a public apology for the fabricated statistics  that claimed that 80% of sex workers are victims of trafficking, why should anyone believe this APPG's figures? Research from the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women found that criminalising sex workers' clients does not reduce sex work or trafficking. Instead, it infringes on sex workers' rights and obstructs anti-trafficking efforts.

Offsite Comment: Wrong to suggest criminalising the buying of sex

22nd May 2018. See article from metro.co.uk by Miranda Kane

metro newspaper logoGood to see a supportive opinion piece in the Metro:

Another day, another flurry of media and morality where the world is convinced sex trafficking is around every corner.

This time it's courtesy of a group of self appointed MPs who make up the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade.

Spoilers 203 none of them are, or ever have been, actual sex workers. (As far as I know.)

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

 

 Updated: Government bullies take on the internet...

New laws to make sure that the UK is the most censored place in the western world to be online


Link Here 21st May 2018
matt hancockCulture Secretary Matt Hancock has issued to the following press release from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

New laws to make social media safer

New laws will be created to make sure that the UK is the safest place in the world to be online, Digital Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

The move is part of a series of measures included in the government's response to the Internet Safety Strategy green paper, published today.

The Government has been clear that much more needs to be done to tackle the full range of online harm.

Our consultation revealed users feel powerless to address safety issues online and that technology companies operate without sufficient oversight or transparency. Six in ten people said they had witnessed inappropriate or harmful content online.

The Government is already working with social media companies to protect users and while several of the tech giants have taken important and positive steps, the performance of the industry overall has been mixed.

The UK Government will therefore take the lead, working collaboratively with tech companies, children's charities and other stakeholders to develop the detail of the new legislation.

Matt Hancock, DCMS Secretary of State said:

Internet Safety StrategyDigital technology is overwhelmingly a force for good across the world and we must always champion innovation and change for the better. At the same time I have been clear that we have to address the Wild West elements of the Internet through legislation, in a way that supports innovation. We strongly support technology companies to start up and grow, and we want to work with them to keep our citizens safe.

People increasingly live their lives through online platforms so it's more important than ever that people are safe and parents can have confidence they can keep their children from harm. The measures we're taking forward today will help make sure children are protected online and balance the need for safety with the great freedoms the internet brings just as we have to strike this balance offline.

DCMS and Home Office will jointly work on a White Paper with other government departments, to be published later this year. This will set out legislation to be brought forward that tackles a range of both legal and illegal harms, from cyberbullying to online child sexual exploitation. The Government will continue to collaborate closely with industry on this work, to ensure it builds on progress already made.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Criminals are using the internet to further their exploitation and abuse of children, while terrorists are abusing these platforms to recruit people and incite atrocities. We need to protect our communities from these heinous crimes and vile propaganda and that is why this Government has been taking the lead on this issue.

But more needs to be done and this is why we will continue to work with the companies and the public to do everything we can to stop the misuse of these platforms. Only by working together can we defeat those who seek to do us harm.

The Government will be considering where legislation will have the strongest impact, for example whether transparency or a code of practice should be underwritten by legislation, but also a range of other options to address both legal and illegal harms.

We will work closely with industry to provide clarity on the roles and responsibilities of companies that operate online in the UK to keep users safe.

The Government will also work with regulators, platforms and advertising companies to ensure that the principles that govern advertising in traditional media -- such as preventing companies targeting unsuitable advertisements at children -- also apply and are enforced online.

Update: Fit of pique

21st May 2018. See article from bbc.com

matt hancockIt seems that the latest call for internet censorship is driven by some sort revenge for having been snubbed by the industry.

The culture secretary said he does not have enough power to police social media firms after admitting only four of 14 invited to talks showed up.

Matt Hancock told the BBC it had given him a big impetus to introduce new laws to tackle what he has called the internet's Wild West culture.

He said self-policing had not worked and legislation was needed.

He told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show , presented by Emma Barnett, that the government just don't know how many children of the millions using using social media were not old enough for an account and he was very worried about age verification. He told the programme he hopes we get to a position where all users of social media users has to have their age verified.

Two government departments are working on a White Paper expected to be brought forward later this year. Asked about the same issue on ITV's Peston on Sunday , Hancock said the government would be legislating in the next couple of years because we want to get the details right.

 

  Google gushes over its AI based news app that counters the filter bubble...

But all they've done is banned the Daily Mail and then force feed you biased and bland news from the politically correct papers such as the Guardian


Link Here 21st May 2018  full story: Google Censorship...Google censors adult material froms its websites
google news logoFor its updated news application, Google is claiming it is using artificial intelligence as part of an effort to weed out disinformation and feed users with viewpoints beyond their own filter bubble.

Google chief Sundar Pichai, who unveiled the updated Google News earlier this month, said the app now surfaces the news you care about from trusted sources while still giving you a full range of perspectives on events. It marks Google's latest effort to be at the centre of online news and includes a new push to help publishers get paid subscribers through the tech giant's platform.

In reality Google has just banned news from the likes of the Daily Mail whilst all the 'trusted sources' are just the likes of the politically correct papers such as the Guardian and Independent.

According to product chief Trystan Upstill, the news app uses the best of artificial intelligence to find the best of human intelligence - the great reporting done by journalists around the globe. While the app will enable users to get personalised news, it will also include top stories for all readers, aiming to break the so-called filter bubble of information designed to reinforce people's biases.

Nicholas Diakopoulos, a Northwestern University professor specialising in computational and data journalism, said the impact of Google's changes remain to be seen. Diakopoulos said algorithmic and personalised news can be positive for engagement but may only benefit a handful of news organisations.  His research found that Google concentrates its attention on a relatively small number of publishers, it's quite concentrated. Google's effort to identify and prioritise trusted news sources may also be problematic, according to Diakopoulos. Maybe it's good for the big guys, or the (publishers) who have figured out how to game the algorithm, he said. But what about the local news sites, what about the new news sites that don't have a long track record?

I tried it out and no matter how many times I asked it not to provide stories about the royal wedding and the cup final, it just served up more of the same. And indeed as Diakopoulos said, all it wants to do is push news stories from the politically correct papers, most notably the Guardian. I can't see it proving very popular. I'd rather have an app that feeds me what I actually like, not what I should like.

 

  Inappropriate comments...

Birmingham MP whinges at an advertising hoarding located above a sex shop for congratulating the royal couple


Link Here 21st May 2018
adult shop birminghamThe Adult Shop is located in Digbeth in Birmingham's city centre opposite the coach station.

The shop made the local news when an advertising hoarding above the shop hosted a poster congratulating the royal couple.

The prominent, but miserable, local MP Jess Phillips felt that somehow it was 'inappropriate' for a sex shop to be so close to a poster congratulating Harry and Megan. She whinged in a tweet:

My husband just sent me this picture. Birmingham's least fitting tribute.

Employees at shop pointed out that they had no control over the choice of posters appearing in the advertising space.

 

 Offsite Article: Dirty jokes in the dock...


Link Here 21st May 2018
Spiked logo The policing of smutty humour needs to stop. By Fraser Myers

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  Everyday nonsense...

Drink censor takes offence at the use of the word 'everyday' in a Spar press release for the grocery trade when describing a low priced range of wines


Link Here 20th May 2018  full story: UK Drinks Censor...Portman Group play PC censor for drinks
spar everyday winesDrink censors from the Portman Group have ludicrously whinged at Spar for describing a range of wines as 'everyday drinking'. The phrase was used as marketing speak for commonplace and cheap. It was not used for any customer facing promotional material. The press release included the paragraph:

Matt Fowkes , SPAR UK Wine Trading Manager added: Our new 'Everyday Drinking' range at 5 and 'Varietals' range at 6 are a result of an extensive review of our SPAR Brand wine values. We are targeting customers who buy wine by their preferred style and key grape varieties. We've made selecting wine easier and more accessible for them.

The Portman Group published the following adjudication:

A complaint about two SPAR press releases promoting a new Everyday Wine range has been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel) for indirectly encouraging immoderate consumption.

The complainant, Alcohol Concern Wales, believed that SPAR, by naming the range Everyday Wine, was alluding to drinking the product everyday, going against the Chief Medical Officers' Guidelines on Low Risk Drinking which advises people who drink regularly to have alcohol free days.

The Panel noted that the press releases were for the company's retailer audience and were not intended for consumer communication. The term everyday was used to position the product to retailers as lower priced wine. In both press releases the wording used appeared as everyday drinking which linked the messaging to daily consumption of the product. The Panel concluded that the phrase was creating a direct correlation between low price and acceptability of everyday alcohol consumption, although this may have been unintentional. When considered in the context of the 2016 CMOs' Guidelines the Panel agreed that the term everyday drinking was unacceptable under rule 3.2(f).

The Panel advised that all companies should carefully consider the language used in brand communications regardless of intended audience, because in a digital age there was always the potential for the communication to be seen by a wider group. In this instance, a different phrase to categorise the range could have been used.

The Portman Group welcomed SPAR's confirmation that they would not use the term Everyday Wine in either consumer or retailer facing communications following the Panel's decision.

 

 Commented: Spotify recommends...

R Kelly. Banned from algorithmic playlist suggestions after accusations of a bad attitude to women


Link Here 20th May 2018

The R In RnB Collection Vol. 1 - Greatest Hits Beginning on May 10, Spotify users will no longer be able to find R. Kelly 's music on any of the streaming service's editorial or algorithmic playlists. Under the terms of a new public hate content and hateful conduct policy Spotify is putting into effect, the company will no longer promote the R&B singer's music in any way, removing his songs from flagship playlists like RapCaviar, Discover Weekly or New Music Friday, for example, as well as its other genre- or mood-based playlists.

"We are removing R. Kelly's music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly," Spotify told Billboard in a statement. "His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don't censor content because of an artist's or creator's behavior, but we want our editorial decisions -- what we choose to program -- to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator."

Over the past several years, Kelly has been accused by multiple women of sexual violence, coercion and running a "sex cult," including two additional women who came forward to Buzzfeed this week. Though he has never been convicted of a crime, he has come under increasing scrutiny over the past several weeks, particularly with the launch of the #MuteRKelly movement at the end of April. Kelly has vociferously defended himself , saying those accusing him are an "attempt to distort my character and to destroy my legacy." And while RCA Records has thus far not dropped Kelly from his recording contract, Spotify has distanced itself from promoting his music.

Spiked logoUpdate: #MuteRKelly: now it's #MeToo vs music

20th May 2018. See  article from spiked-online.com by Fraser Myers

Throwing alleged sex pests off Spotify playlists is a mockery of justice.

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship by red tape...


Link Here 20th May 2018  full story: Student Union Censorship...Students Vs Free Speech
harriet harman Harriet Harman denies that there is a free speech crisis within UK universities but concedes that the concept of safe spaces has been abused

See article from cherwell.org

 

  Game over...

US games rating group ESRB is backing down from ratings for online-only games citing high volumes


Link Here 19th May 2018

iarc logoThe Entertainment Software Rating Board has confirmed it will cease offering free age and content ratings for online video games next month. The Short Form ratings process the ESRB currently offers for download-only and online games will be discontinued in June. The ESRB will continue with the higher cost Long Form ratings, primarily used for physical/boxed games. A date has not yet been set for the end of the service.

Developers feared that they would be forced to pay for the higher cost rating otherwise they would not be allowed to release their titles on key platforms like Xbox that demand a content rating.

However the ESRB's official Twitter feed responding that:

Developers of digital games and apps will still be able to obtain ESRB ratings at no cost through the IARC rating process. The Microsoft Store deployed IARC years ago and has committed to making IARC ratings accessible to all Xbox developers. So, developers should not be concerned.

The International Age Rating Coalition is a newer system for obtaining age ratings for multiple territories and storefronts with a single process. While ESRB single out the Xbox Store, it is also accepted on Google Play, the Nintendo eShop, and the Oculus Store.

There is currently no word on when this will apply to the PlayStation Store, but an IARC press release in December 2017 said the platform would be added soon.

 

  Maybe it will give some smaller sellers a break...

Dominant online game seller Valve is adding new censorship rules targeting sexy anime games


Link Here 19th May 2018
tropical-liquorMultiple game developers have been tweeting about warnings received from Valve about the content included in their games distributed on Steam.

Apparently, Valve, the company behind the popular digital download platform, is cracking down on quasi-sexual content, threatening the developers involved of removal if the games are not censored before the deadline seemingly in a couple of weeks.

HunieDev,, developer of the game Huniepop tweeted:

I've received an e-mail from Valve stating that HuniePop violates the rules & guidelines for pornographic content on Steam and will be removed from the store unless the game is updated to remove said content.

All the games targeted so far have been based on anime style graphics with other examples being: Tropical Liquor, Mutiny!! and SonoHanabira.

The affected developers are particularly miffed as they have been careful to censor their games to meet the current censorship guidelines. They have also developed the idea to squeeze the games sold on Steam into the guidelines, and then offer gamers patches to restore the uncut version.

Other digital download portals are rallying against the censorship and are offering a new home for the games affected. JAST USA, MangaGamer and Nutaku have expressed on social media the availability to host the impacted titles, encouraging developers to contact them. Eg Jast USA have tweeted:

We're disappointed about Steam's new enforcement of their content policy, hurting good developers. VNs should be accessible to everyone, so we're making an open invitation to any VN developers who'd like to join our DRM-free store to release their titles.

 

 Updated: Hacked off with Labour...

Labour resuscitates disgraceful proposal to introduce a UK newspaper censor and then denying natural justice to refuseniks


Link Here 19th May 2018  full story: UK News Censor...UK proposes state controlled news censor
tom watsonLocal newspaper editors from across the country have united to urge MPs not to join a disgraceful Labour-backed plot to muzzle the Press.

Former party leader Ed Miliband and deputy leader Tom Watson are among opposition MPs seeking to hijack data protection legislation to introduce newspaper censorship..

MPs will vote tomorrow on proposed amendments to the Data Protection Bill that would force publishers refusing to join a state-recognised Press censor to pay the costs of claimants who bring court proceedings, even if their claims are defeated. They would also lead to yet another inquiry into the media known as Leveson 2.

Former party leader Ed Miliband and deputy leader Tom Watson are among opposition MPs seeking a press censor.

Local newspaper editors warn today the completely unacceptable measures are an attack on Press freedom that would cause irreparable damage to the regional press.

Alan Edmunds, editorial director of Trinity Mirror Regionals, the country's largest publisher of regional and local papers, said:

We do not want our journalists facing the spectre of Leveson 2 when attempting to report on the activities of public figures, legitimately and in the public interest.  Another huge inquiry would only embolden those who would rather keep their activities hidden from scrutiny.

Maidenhead Advertiser editor Martin Trepte added:

The amendments represent an attack on Press freedom which is completely unacceptable in our society. As a point of principle, we stand united against these attacks on free speech and urge all MPs to do likewise by voting against all the amendments.

Update: Press freedom wins the day

10th May 2018. See  article from bbc.com

Ed Miliband served up an impassioned speech saying something along the lines of: 'think of the hacking victims', they deserve that the rest of British people should be denied the protection of a press so we can all suffer together.

But despite his best efforts, press freedom won the day and the Miliband's proposal to resuscitate the 2nd part of the Leveson report was defeated by a vote of 304 to 295. Tom Watson's amendment to withdraw natural justice from newspapers refusing to sign up to a press censor was withdrawn after it became obvious that parliament was in no mood to support press censorship.

For the government

Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock said it was a great day for a free press.

Update: Press freedom wins the day again

19th May 2018. See  article from dailymail.co.uk

On Tuesday, the Commons rejected yet another attempt to resurrect the 5.4million Leveson 2 inquiry into historic allegations against newspapers.

MPs were forced to act again on the issue after peers attempted to amend the Data Protection Bill, ignoring an earlier vote in the Commons last week. MPs have now voted twice to reject a backward-looking, disproportionate and costly Leveson 2 inquiry.  Tuesday's vote passed by 12 votes -- 301 votes to 289 -- an even larger majority than last week.

Downing Street later urged the Lords to finally respect the wishes of the elected house. And the Lords seems to have responded.

A Tory peer who had just tried to resurrect plans for another multi-million-pound Press inquiry told his fellow plotters it was time to give up. Lord Attlee urged the Lords to abandon any more challenges.The peer, who was one of three Tories to back a rebel amendment to the Data Protection Bill, said they should not seek to hold the legislation to ransom. He added:

We have had a good battle and now we have lost. We should not pursue it further. We should not hold a time-sensitive Bill to ransom in order to force the Government to change policy. In my opinion, that would be wrong.

 

 Offsite Article: Sadiq Khan, London's paternalist-in-chief...


Link Here 19th May 2018
Spiked logo London has a lot of problems; burger ads isn't one of them. By Rob Lyons

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  Prime gammon...

Is it politically correct to disparage white men? Guardian columnist Owen Jones seems to think so


Link Here 18th May 2018
mr angry mug. owen jonesThe world of political correctness is a pretty nasty sort of world. It should be a place of politeness and consideration, but ends up being populated by aggressive bullies and those with a chip on their shoulders. Granted there has been some past unfairness to put right, but what should be a shared interest in a quest for equality, turns out to better characterised as quest for revenge.

For instance, the rules of PC demand polite words for all those groups favoured by the cause, whilst insults and disparagements are positively encouraged for those groups that are not so fortunate.

And of course white men are the main whipping guys who are not allowed any modicum of politeness or respect. It is somehow perfectly correct for them to be referred to as 'pale male and stale' or to infer that all men are rapists, particularly if they are enflamed by porn videos or a lap dance.

And the latest derogatory term for middle aged white men is 'gammon', alluding to going pink faced when angry.

The term was at the centre of a political row this week when it was used to describe middle-aged, male Brexit voters. The insult has been increasingly used by Labour supporters to mock right wing males in favour of Brexit. Northern Irish MP Emma Little-Pengelly sparked a war of words on Twitter by noting that the term was being used to single out white people. And her rather straight forward observation was considered to be totally heretical by the PC lynch mob.

The Guardian columnist Owen Jones is a strident left winger who is notably intolerant of views contrary to his own. Ironically he is probably best known for being a prime example of a gammon. He got angry and walked out of a TV show live on air when he got annoyed that the presenter wasn't quite 100% onboard his pet identitarian peev.

He inevitably took the stance that gammon is a perfectly good derogatory term for white men who do not agree with him, and wrote in a Guardian piece :

owen jonesNo, gammon is not a racial slur. Now let's change the conversation

The crybullies of the right are hamming it up over a term of mockery to deflect from their own poisoning of the political discourse

et your hankies ready, for I am here to share a story of woe and oppression. The nation's truly subjugated minority, affluent middle-aged white men in the shires who turn pink with rage at the thought of immigrants or taxes, are under siege. Golf clubs across the land abound with dark mutterings: you can't even racially abuse Diane Abbott on Twitter, or call for Muslims to be deported, without the fascist left crushing your rights and freedoms by disapproving of things you've said. But the cruellest oppression since Jim Davidson left his prime-time Big Break slot has come to pass: the left are now calling socially reactionary, affluent England gammon.

Anyway the always witty and polite Britisher has offered an eloquent repost to the Own Jones piece:

 

  Gambling on boarded up high streets...

Government reduces maximum stakes on gambling machines in bookies from to 2 quid


Link Here 18th May 2018
DCMS logoIf all things were equal, it would seem eminently sensible to ban 100 quid spins on a gambling machine; ban junk food shops for making people fat; ban pubs for being unhealthy... But if you do all of these you will end up with some pretty desolate high streets, and an awful lot of people staying in and pumping all their money to the foreign media and retail giants such as Amazon, Netflix and 20th Century Fox Murdoch Sky Sports.

Government to cut Fixed Odds Betting Terminals maximum stake from 100 to 2

The maximum stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) are to be reduced from 100 to 2 to reduce the risk of gambling-related harm, Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch announced today.

The move comes off the back of a consultation with the public and the industry to ensure that we have the right balance between a sector that can grow and contribute to the economy and one that is socially responsible and doing all it should to protect consumers and communities.

The government wants to reduce the potential for large losses on FOBT (B2) machines and the risk of harm to both the player and wider communities. Following analysis of consultation responses and advice from the Gambling Commission, the government believes that a cut to 2 will best achieve this.

The Gambling Commission has also been tasked to take forward discussions with the industry to improve player protection measures on B1 and B3 category machines, looking at spend and time limits.

DCMS Secretary of State Matt Hancock said:

When faced with the choice of halfway measures or doing everything we can to protect vulnerable people, we have chosen to take a stand. These machines are a social blight and prey on some of the most vulnerable in society, and we are determined to put a stop to it and build a fairer society for all.

Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch said:

Problem gambling can devastate individuals' lives, families and communities. It is right that we take decisive action now to ensure a responsible gambling industry that protects the most vulnerable in our society. By reducing FOBT stakes to 2 we can help stop extreme losses by those who can least afford it.

While we want a healthy gambling industry that contributes to the economy, we also need one that does all it can to protect players. We are increasing protections around online gambling, doing more on research, education and treatment of problem gambling and ensuring tighter rules around gambling advertising. We will work with the industry on the impact of these changes and are confident that this innovative sector will step up and help achieve this balance.

In addition to the reduction to FOBT stakes the government has today confirmed:

  • The Gambling Commission will toughen up protections around online gambling including stronger age verification rules and proposals to require operators to set limits on consumers' spending until affordability checks have been conducted.

  • A major multi-million pound advertising campaign promoting responsible gambling, supported by industry and GambleAware, will be launched later this year.

  • The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) has amended its code to ensure that a responsible gambling message will appear for the duration of all TV adverts.

  • Public Health England will carry out a review of the evidence relating to the public health harms of gambling.

  • As part of the next licence competition the age limit for playing National Lottery games will be reviewed, to take into accounts developments in the market and the risk of harm to young people.

In order to cover any negative impact on the public finances, and to protect funding for vital public services, this change will be linked to an increase in Remote Gaming Duty, paid by online gaming operators, at the relevant Budget.

Changes to the stake will be through secondary legislation. The move will need parliamentary approval and we will also engage with the gambling industry to ensure it is given sufficient time to implement and complete the technological changes.

Note

  • B1 machines are in casinos with a maximum stake of 5 with a maximum pay-out of 10,000 (or progressive jackpot of 20,000)
  • B2 gaming machines, are those being talked about in bookies
  • B3 machines are located in casino, betting, arcade and bingo venues with a maximum stake of 2 and a maximum pay-out of 500.
  •  

      Stereotypically PC...

    Advert censor opens public consultation on a new rule banning gender stereotyping that may cause 'harm' or offence


    Link Here 17th May 2018  full story: PC censorship in the UK...ASA introduce politically correct censorship rules for adverts

    ASA logo ASA's code writing arm, CAP, has launched a public consultation on a new rule to tackle harmful gender stereotypes in ads, as well as on guidance to advertisers on how the new rule is likely to be interpreted in practice. The purpose of today's announcement is to make public the proposed rule and guidance, which includes examples of gender portrayals which are likely to fall foul of the new rule.

    The consultation proposes the introduction of the following new rule to the ad codes which will cover broadcast and non-broadcast media:

    Advertisements must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.

    The consultation comes after the ASA published a report last year - Depictions, Perceptions and Harm - which provided an evidence-based case for stronger regulation of ads that feature certain kinds of gender stereotypical roles and characteristics. These are ads that have the potential to cause harm by contributing to the restriction of people's choices, aspirations and opportunities, which can affect the way people interact with each other and the way they view their own potential.

    We already apply rules on offence and social responsibility to ban ads that include gender stereotypes on grounds of objectification, inappropriate sexualisation and depiction of unhealthily thin body images.

    The evidence does not demonstrate that the use of gender stereotypes is always problematic or that the use of seriously offensive or potentially harmful stereotypes in advertising is endemic. The rule and guidance therefore seek to identify specific harms that should be prevented, rather than banning gender stereotypes outright.

    The consultation on guidance to support the proposed new rule change provides examples of scenarios likely to be problematic in future ads. For example:

    • An ad that depicts a man with his feet up and family members creating mess around a home while a woman is solely responsible for cleaning up the mess.

    • An ad that depicts a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender e.g. a man's inability to change nappies; a woman's inability to park a car.

    • Where an ad features a person with a physique that does not match an ideal stereotypically associated with their gender, the ad should not imply that their physique is a significant reason for them not being successful, for example in their romantic or social lives.

    • An ad that seeks to emphasise the contrast between a boy's stereotypical personality (e.g. daring) with a girl's stereotypical personality (e.g. caring) needs to be handled with care.

    • An ad aimed at new mums which suggests that looking attractive or keeping a home pristine is a priority over other factors such as their emotional wellbeing.

    • An ad that belittles a man for carrying out stereotypically "female" roles or tasks.

    Ella Smillie, gender stereotyping project lead, Committees of Advertising Practice, said:

    "Our review of the evidence strongly indicates that particular forms of gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to harm for adults and children by limiting how people see themselves and how others see them and the life decisions they take. The set of standards we're proposing aims to tackle harmful gender stereotypes in ads while ensuring that creative freedom expressed within the rules continues to be protected."

    Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, Shahriar Coupal said:

    "Amid wide-ranging views about the portrayal of gender in ads is evidence that certain gender stereotypes have the potential to cause harm or serious offence. That's why we're proposing a new rule and guidance to restrict particular gender stereotypes in ads where we believe there's an evidence-based case to do so. Our action is intended to help tackle the harms identified in the ASA's recent report on the evidence around gender portrayal in ads."

    The consultation closes on 26 July 2018 .

     

      15 rated erections...

    David Austin of the BBFC speaks about the latest public consultation about guidelines


    Link Here 17th May 2018
    david austin march 2016David Austin, CEO of the BBFC has been talking to Radio 4's Front Row about the BBFC's latest public consultation.

    Austin said Brits are becoming more desensitised over nudity in films and TV, with the censors planning to publish new guidelines in 2019. He told Front Row:

    These days if you have an erection on screen, the issue is is it a 15 level erection or an 18 level erection.

    We've been consulting with the public on this and in 2013, we liberalised slightly and we're now going back to the public as we speak and saying, 'have we got this right, have we done what you asked us to do in terms of how we classify erections.

    It's clear from the research we're doing at the moment and were doing four/five years ago and to an extent before that that the public are relaxed about nudity and don't equate it to sex.

    Austin told The Sun:

    We speak to the public on a large scale every four to five years to get their views on age rating key issues like violence, drug misuse, sex and discrimination.

    Our 2014 Guidelines review involved more than 10,000 members of the British public.

    This ensures our classification guidelines reflect public expectations. We're out speaking to the public now and will be publishing our new guidelines in 2019.

     

      New Zealand's chief censor recommends...

    13 Reasons Why, Season 2


    Link Here 17th May 2018

    13 reasons why season 2New Zealand's Chief Censor David Shanks warned parents and caregivers of vulnerable children and teenagers to be prepared for the release of Netflix's Season 2 release of 13 Reasons Why scheduled to screen this week on Friday, May 18, at 7pm.

    The Office of Film and Literature Classification consulted with the Mental Health Foundation in classifying 13 Reasons Why: Season 2 as RP18 with a warning that it contains rape, suicide themes, drug use, and bullying. Shanks said:

    "There is a strong focus on rape and suicide in Season 2 , as there was in Season 1 . We have told Netflix it is really important to warn NZ audiences about that."

    "Rape is an ugly word for an ugly act. But young New Zealanders have told us that if a series contains rape -- they want to know beforehand."

    An RP18 classification means that someone under 18 must be supervised by a parent or guardian when viewing the series. A guardian is considered to be a responsible adult (18 years and over), for example a family member or teacher who can provide guidance. Shanks said:

    "This classification allows young people to access it in a similar fashion to the first season, while requiring the support from an adult they need to stay safe and to process the challenging topics in the series."

    Netflix is required to clearly display the classification and warning.

    "If a child you care for is planning to watch the show, you should sit down and watch it with them -- if not together then at least around the same time. That way you can at least try to have informed and constructive discussions with them about the content."

    ...

    "The current picture about what our kids can be exposed to online is grim. We need to get that message across to parents that they need to help young people with this sort of content."

    For parents and caregivers who don't have time to watch the entire series, the Classification Office and Mental Health Foundation have produced an episode-by-episode guide with synopses of problematic content, and conversation starters to have with teens. This will be available on both organisations' websites from 7pm on Friday night.

     

     Offsite Article: Outed by Facebook...


    Link Here 17th May 2018  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
    Facebook logo Facebook lets advertisers target users based on sensitive interests by categorising users based on inferred interests such as Islam or homosexuality

    See article from theguardian.com

     

      Conservatives against social media...

    Christian campaigners lead conservative fight back against the left wing bias of social media. As if the religious right are innocent of calling for censorship at every opportunity


    Link Here 16th May 2018

    conservatives against online censorship logoIn response to the continued restriction and censorship of conservatives and their organizations by tech giants Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube, the Media Research Center (MRC) along with 18 leading conservative organizations announced Tuesday, May 15, 2018 the formation of a new, permanent coalition, Conservatives Against Online Censorship .

    Conservatives Against Online Censorship will draw attention to the issue of political censorship on social media. This new coalition will urge Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube to address the four following key areas of concern:

    • Provide Transparency: We need detailed information so everyone can see if liberal groups and users are being treated the same as those on the right. Social media companies operate in a black-box environment, only releasing anecdotes about reports on content and users when they think it necessary. This needs to change. The companies need to design open systems so that they can be held accountable, while giving weight to privacy concerns.

    • Provide Clarity on 'Hate Speech': "Hate speech" is a common concern among social media companies, but no two firms define it the same way. Their definitions are vague and open to interpretation, and their interpretation often looks like an opportunity to silence thought. Today, hate speech means anything liberals don't like. Silencing those you disagree with is dangerous. If companies can't tell users clearly what it is, then they shouldn't try to regulate it.

    • Provide Equal Footing for Conservatives: Top social media firms, such as Google and YouTube, have chosen to work with dishonest groups that are actively opposed to the conservative movement, including the Southern Poverty Law Center. Those companies need to make equal room for conservative groups as advisers to offset this bias. That same attitude should be applied to employment diversity efforts. Tech companies need to embrace viewpoint diversity.

    • Mirror the First Amendment: Tech giants should afford their users nothing less than the free speech and free exercise of religion embodied in the First Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. That standard, the result of centuries of American jurisprudence, would enable the rightful blocking of content that threatens violence or spews obscenity, without trampling on free speech liberties that have long made the United States a beacon for freedom.

    "Social media is the most expansive and most game-changing form of communication today. It is these facts that make online political censorship one of the largest threats to free speech we have ever seen. Conservatives should be given the same ability to express their political ideas online as liberals, without the fear of being suppressed or censored," said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell.

    "Meaningful debate only happens when both sides are given equal footing. Freedom of speech, regardless of ideological leaning, is something Americans hold dear. Facebook, Twitter and all other social media companies must acknowledge this and work to rectify these concerns unless they want to lose all credibility with the conservative movement. As leaders of this effort, we are launching this coalition to make sure that the recommendations we put forward on behalf of the conservative movement are followed through."

    The Media Research Center sent letters to representatives at Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube last week asking each company to address these complaints and begin a conversation about how they can repair their credibility within the conservative movement. As of Tuesday, May 15, 2018 , only Facebook has issued a formal response.

     

      Social media against conservatives...

    Twitter steps up the censorship, no doubt conservatives will bear the brunt of it


    Link Here 16th May 2018  full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs
    twitter 2015 logoTwitter has outlined further censorship measures in a blog post:

    In March, we introduced our new approach to improve the health of the public conversation on Twitter. One important issue we've been working to address is what some might refer to as "trolls." Some troll-like behavior is fun, good and humorous. What we're talking about today are troll-like behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation on Twitter, particularly in communal areas like conversations and search. Some of these accounts and Tweets violate our policies, and, in those cases, we take action on them. Others don't but are behaving in ways that distort the conversation.

    To put this in context, less than 1% of accounts make up the majority of accounts reported for abuse, but a lot of what's reported does not violate our rules. While still a small overall number, these accounts have a disproportionately large -- and negative -- impact on people's experience on Twitter. The challenge for us has been: how can we proactively address these disruptive behaviors that do not violate our policies but negatively impact the health of the conversation?

    A New Approach

    Today, we use policies, human review processes, and machine learning to help us determine how Tweets are organized and presented in communal places like conversations and search. Now, we're tackling issues of behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation in those areas by integrating new behavioral signals into how Tweets are presented. By using new tools to address this conduct from a behavioral perspective, we're able to improve the health of the conversation, and everyone's experience on Twitter, without waiting for people who use Twitter to report potential issues to us.

    There are many new signals we're taking in, most of which are not visible externally. Just a few examples include if an account has not confirmed their email address, if the same person signs up for multiple accounts simultaneously, accounts that repeatedly Tweet and mention accounts that don't follow them, or behavior that might indicate a coordinated attack. We're also looking at how accounts are connected to those that violate our rules and how they interact with each other.

    These signals will now be considered in how we organize and present content in communal areas like conversation and search. Because this content doesn't violate our policies, it will remain on Twitter, and will be available if you click on "Show more replies" or choose to see everything in your search setting. The result is that people contributing to the healthy conversation will be more visible in conversations and search.

    Results

    In our early testing in markets around the world, we've already seen this new approach have a positive impact, resulting in a 4% drop in abuse reports from search and 8% fewer abuse reports from conversations. That means fewer people are seeing Tweets that disrupt their experience on Twitter.

    Our work is far from done. This is only one part of our work to improve the health of the conversation and to make everyone's Twitter experience better. This technology and our team will learn over time and will make mistakes. There will be false positives and things that we miss; our goal is to learn fast and make our processes and tools smarter. We'll continue to be open and honest about the mistakes we make and the progress we are making. We're encouraged by the results we've seen so far, but also recognize that this is just one step on a much longer journey to improve the overall health of our service and your experience on it.

     

      Social media against conservatives...

    Facebook details its censorship enforcement, no doubt conservatives bear the brunt of it


    Link Here 16th May 2018  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

    Facebook logoWe're often asked how we decide what's allowed on Facebook -- and how much bad stuff is out there. For years, we've had Community Standards that explain what stays up and what comes down. Three weeks ago, for the first time, we published the internal guidelines we use to enforce those standards. And today we're releasing numbers in a Community Standards Enforcement Report so that you can judge our performance for yourself.

    Alex Schultz, our Vice President of Data Analytics, explains in more detail how exactly we measure what's happening on Facebook in both this Hard Questions post and our guide to Understanding the Community Standards Enforcement Report . But it's important to stress that this is very much a work in progress and we will likely change our methodology as we learn more about what's important and what works.

    This report covers our enforcement efforts between October 2017 to March 2018, and it covers six areas: graphic violence, adult nudity and sexual activity, terrorist propaganda, hate speech, spam, and fake accounts. The numbers show you:

    • How much content people saw that violates our standards;

    • How much content we removed; and

    • How much content we detected proactively using our technology -- before people who use Facebook reported it.

    Most of the action we take to remove bad content is around spam and the fake accounts they use to distribute it. For example:

    • We took down 837 million pieces of spam in Q1 2018 -- nearly 100% of which we found and flagged before anyone reported it; and

    • The key to fighting spam is taking down the fake accounts that spread it. In Q1, we disabled about 583 million fake accounts -- most of which were disabled within minutes of registration. This is in addition to the millions of fake account attempts we prevent daily from ever registering with Facebook. Overall, we estimate that around 3 to 4% of the active Facebook accounts on the site during this time period were still fake.

    In terms of other types of violating content:

    • We took down 21 million pieces of adult nudity and sexual activity in Q1 2018 -- 96% of which was found and flagged by our technology before it was reported. Overall, we estimate that out of every 10,000 pieces of content viewed on Facebook, 7 to 9 views were of content that violated our adult nudity and pornography standards.

    • For graphic violence, we took down or applied warning labels to about 3.5 million pieces of violent content in Q1 2018 -- 86% of which was identified by our technology before it was reported to Facebook.

    • For hate speech, our technology still doesn't work that well and so it needs to be checked by our review teams. We removed 2.5 million pieces of hate speech in Q1 2018 -- 38% of which was flagged by our technology.

    As Mark Zuckerberg said at F8 , we have a lot of work still to do to prevent abuse. It's partly that technology like artificial intelligence, while promising, is still years away from being effective for most bad content because context is so important. For example, artificial intelligence isn't good enough yet to determine whether someone is pushing hate or describing something that happened to them so they can raise awareness of the issue. And more generally, as I explained two weeks ago, technology needs large amounts of training data to recognize meaningful patterns of behavior, which we often lack in less widely used languages or for cases that are not often reported. In addition, in many areas -- whether it's spam, porn or fake accounts -- we're up against sophisticated adversaries who continually change tactics to circumvent our controls, which means we must continuously build and adapt our efforts. It's why we're investing heavily in more people and better technology to make Facebook safer for everyone.

    It's also why we are publishing this information. We believe that increased transparency tends to lead to increased accountability and responsibility over time, and publishing this information will push us to improve more quickly too. This is the same data we use to measure our progress internally -- and you can now see it to judge our progress for yourselves. We look forward to your feedback.

     

      A stitch in time...

    European court overrules a Maltese ban on staging the play Stitching my Anthony Nelson


    Link Here 16th May 2018  full story: Stage Censorship in Malta...Maltese censors ban stage play Stitching, then get disbanded
    Stitching The European Court of Human Rights has overturned the Maltese courts' decision to ban the play Stitching, eight years after the controversial judgment had incensed the local artistic scene.

    The ECHR awarded 10,000 as legal costs as well as 10,000 in moral damages jointly to Unifaun Theatre Productions Limited, as well as director Chris Gatt and actors Pia Zammit and Mike Basmadjian. The court's decision was unanimous, including Maltese judge Vincent de Gaetano.

    Unifaun's production had been banned in 2010 by the Maltese court, a decision confirmed by the Constitutional Court of Appeal, after it was flagged by the now defunct Film and Stage Classification Board.

    The Maltese court had ruled in 2010 that it was unacceptable in a democratic society founded on the rule of law for any person to be allowed to swear in public, even in a theatre as part of a script. He pointed out that the country's values could not be turned upside down in the name of freedom of expression.

    The censorship of Stitching had a knock on effect to media censorship in Malta. The government had in 2012 changed the censorship laws , effectively stopping the possibility of theatrical productions being banned and lightening up on film censorship bringing it more in line with other European countries.

     

      Beeping censors...

    Deadpool 2 cut in India, but not as heavily as the original


    Link Here 16th May 2018  full story: Deadpool and Deadpool 2...Superhero films with a little bit more adult appeal
    deadpool 2Deadpool 2 is following in the footsteps of the original Deadpool by suffering at the hands of film censors from the Central Board of Film Certification.

    Deadpool has had strong language beeped out or muted but bollywoodlife.com reports that the film has not suffered any visual cuts.

    After the language cuts have been implemented the film has been granted an adults only 'A' certificate.

    The movie is set to release in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu formats.

     

      Wrong think...

    Taiwan TV cancels World War II drama series after censorship demands from China


    Link Here 16th May 2018
    cast jiachangs heartDa Ai TV has canceled its new soap opera Jiachang's Heart, reportedly due to criticism from Chinese officials two days after the show's pilot aired, sparking concerns about the reach of Chinese censorship.

    The show was inspired by the story of Tzu Chi volunteer Lin Chih-hui, now 91, who was born in the Japanese colonial era and served as a Japanese military nurse in China during World War II.

    The show's trailer was panned by Chinese media, and local media reported that China's Taiwan Affairs Office sent officials to the foundation's office in Taiwan to investigate the show soon after the pilot aired on Thursday last week.

    China's Global Times newspaper published an opinion piece by a Chinese official saying:

    It is clear from the 15-minute trailer that the first half of the series is kissing up to Japan.

    The show was duly pulled and Da Ai media development manager Ou Hung-yu explained:

    The channel decided that the show's depiction of war is contrary to its guideline of purifying human hearts and encouraging social harmony.

    The show might retraumatize certain viewers.

     

     Offsite Article: Censorship trying to hide itself behind a fig leaf...


    Link Here 16th May 2018
    dragana jurisic Instagram deletes photographer Dragana Jurisic's account and Facebook censors her work

    See article from theartnewspaper.com

     

      The House the Jack Built...

    'Vile vomative' serial killer drama by Lars Von Trier sees a mass walkout at its premiere at Cannes


    Link Here 15th May 2018
    Poster House That Jack Built 2018 Lars Von Trier The House That Jack Built is a 2018 Denmark / France / Germany / Sweden horror thriller by Lars von Trier.
    Starring Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz and Uma Thurman. IMDb

    USA in the 1970s. We follow the highly intelligent Jack over a span of 12 years and are introduced to the murders that define Jack's development as a serial killer. We experience the story from Jack's point of view, while he postulates each murder is an artwork in itself. As the inevitable police intervention is drawing nearer, he is taking greater and greater risks in his attempt to create the ultimate artwork. Along the way we experience Jack's descriptions of his personal condition, problems and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown Verge - a grotesque mixture of sophistry mixed with an almost childlike self-pity and psychopathic explanations. The House That Jack Built is a dark and sinister story, yet presented through a philosophical and occasional humorous tale.

    Lars von Trier's The House That Jack Built premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Monday night. Variety's Ramin Setoodeh reported that 100 viewes exited in protest, while others on social media estimated half the film-goers departed early.  It's disgusting, one woman said on her way out. Maybe something to do with the depicted mutilation of women and children.

    The film screened out of competition but it was the day's major festival draw for visiting critics and press, some of whom tweeted that the vile, vomitive footage should not have been made. Nonetheless, the crowd saluted von Trier with a 10-minute standing ovation.

    Matt Dillon stars as the namesake knifeman, gunman, bludgeoner, and strangler. Set during the 70s, the film tracks five deaths 204 including characters played by Uma Thurman and Riley Keough  Jack brags that he has lived a punishment-free life, but he fantasizes about notoriety: David Bowie's Fame plays as he cues one victim to scream, and drags another body, wrapped in plastic, attached to his van's bumper.

     

      Data absuse...

    Facebook report that 200 apps have been suspended in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data slurp


    Link Here 15th May 2018  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy

    Facebook logoHere is an update on the Facebook app investigation and audit that Mark Zuckerberg promised on March 21.

    As Mark explained, Facebook will investigate all the apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform policies in 2014 -- significantly reducing the data apps could access. He also made clear that where we had concerns about individual apps we would audit them -- and any app that either refused or failed an audit would be banned from Facebook.

    The investigation process is in full swing, and it has two phases. First, a comprehensive review to identify every app that had access to this amount of Facebook data. And second, where we have concerns, we will conduct interviews, make requests for information (RFI) -- which ask a series of detailed questions about the app and the data it has access to -- and perform audits that may include on-site inspections.

    We have large teams of internal and external experts working hard to investigate these apps as quickly as possible. To date thousands of apps have been investigated and around 200 have been suspended -- pending a thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data. Where we find evidence that these or other apps did misuse data, we will ban them and notify people via this website. It will show people if they or their friends installed an app that misused data before 2015 -- just as we did for Cambridge Analytica.

    There is a lot more work to be done to find all the apps that may have misused people's Facebook data -- and it will take time. We are investing heavily to make sure this investigation is as thorough and timely as possible. We will keep you updated on our progress.

     

      Face Off...

    Police facial recognition exposed as dangerous and inaccurate in new Big Brother Watch report


    Link Here 15th May 2018

    face off Big Brother Watch's report, released today, reveals:

    • South Wales Police store photos of all innocent people incorrectly matched by facial recognition for a year , without their knowledge, resulting in a biometric database of over 2,400 innocent people

    • Home Office spent 2.6m funding South Wales Police's use of the technology, although it is "almost entirely inaccurate"

    • Metropolitan Police's facial recognition matches are 98% inaccurate, misidentifying 95 people at last year's Notting Hill Carnival as criminals -- yet the force is planning 7 more deployments this year

    • South Wales Police's matches are 91% inaccurat e -- yet the force plans to target the Biggest Weekend and a Rolling Stones concert next

    Big Brother Watch is taking the report to Parliament today to launch a campaign calling for police to stop using the controversial technology, branded by the group as "dangerous and inaccurate".

    Big Brother Watch's campaign, calling on UK public authorities to immediately stop using automated facial recognition software with surveillance cameras, is backed by David Lammy MP and 15 rights and race equality groups including Article 19, Football Supporters Federation, Index on Censorship, Liberty, Netpol, Police Action Lawyers Group, the Race Equality Foundation, and Runnymede Trust.

    Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott MP and Shadow Policing Minister Louise Haigh MP will speak at the report launch event in Parliament today at 1600.

    Police have begun using automated facial recognition in city centres, at political demonstrations, sporting events and festivals over the past two years. Particular controversy was caused when the Metropolitan Police targeted Notting Hill Carnival with the technology two years in a row, with rights groups expressing concern that comparable facial recognition tools are more likely to misidentify black people.

    Big Brother Watch's report found that the police's use of the technology is "lawless" and could breach the right to privacy protected by the Human Rights Act.

    Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said:

    "Real-time facial recognition is a dangerously authoritarian surveillance tool that could fundamentally change policing in the UK. Members of the public could be tracked, located and identified -- or misidentified -- everywhere they go.

    We're seeing ordinary people being asked to produce ID to prove their innocence as police are wrongly identifying thousands of innocent citizens as criminals.

    It is deeply disturbing and undemocratic that police are using a technology that is almost entirely inaccurate, that they have no legal power for, and that poses a major risk to our freedoms.

    This has wasted millions in public money and the cost to our civil liberties is too high. It must be dropped."

     

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