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Updated: Dayzed censors...

Australian Censorship Board bans video game DayZ, and a cut version for Australia will then be distributed worldwide


Link Here 19th August 2019
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board
DayZ is a 2018 Czech first person shooter by Bohemia Interactive

The video game DayZ has been banned  by the Australian Censorship Board, despite having been previously granted an MA15+ rating under an alternative rating system.

DayZ has been available online via Steam since December of last year. As an online title it was rated MA 15+ for strong violence, online interactivity under the International Age Rating Coalition system. This is an automatic rating assignment software programme providing ratings based on forms filled in by the games company.

More recently the game was submitted for PS4 retail release by distributor Five Star Games. This time around it was assessed by human censors and was promptly banned.

gamesindustry.biz plausibly suggests that the ban is probably due to the game mechanism of using morphine to restore health. The Australian censors have strict rules prohibiting anything positive about drugs.

The game remains available online to Australian players via the Steam games distribution platform.

Update: Knocked out of joint

9th August 2019. See article from kotaku.com.au

The Classification Board first granted an RC rating to DayZ on June 4, following an application from local distributors Five Star Games to have the game sold in brick-and-mortar stores across the country. According to the report, which was supplied to Kotaku Australia on Friday afternoon, the game was banned over illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards.

Through general gameplay, the player is able to collect and use a variety of equipment, supplies and weaponry, the report says. One of the options to restore the player's health is a marijuana joint, labelled 'cannabis', which is denoted by a cannabis bud in the player's inventory.

Kotaku Australia also reveals that the Classification Board is also working to have the game pulled from sale digitally in Australia.

Update: An Australian cut version will be distributed worldwide

13th August 2019. See article from kotaku.com.au

Bohemia Interactive confirmed to Kotaku Australia that DayZ would be getting modified globally to comply with the Classification Board's requirements. Bohemia could have opted to exclude Australians from DayZ s next major release to give themselves time to work out another solution, but in an email the studio explained that they did not want Aussie gamers to be separated from the rest of the world. Bohemia Interactive said:

At the moment, we are editing the global version of DayZ so it will fit into the Board's requirements. The key objective is to keep the gameplay as authentic as it was, so players are not affected by this change.

Update: It was the cannabis that done it

15th August 2019. See press release [pdf] from classification.gov.au

Dayz is a survival computer game set in the fictional post-Soviet Republic of Chernarus, where a mysterious plague has turned most of the population into zombies. The game is set in 1st and 3rd person where, as a survivor, the player must scavenge the land for food, water, weapons and medicine while killing or avoiding the "infected".

Dayz was initially put through the IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) Tool (the IARC Tool). A computer game developer answers an online questionnaire and the IARC Tool generates a rating and consumer advice which is consistent with current Australian classification guidelines. Based on the information provided by Bohemia Interactive in relation to drug use when completing the IARC questionnaire, the IARC Tool generated an MA 15+ classification with consumer advice of 'Strong violence, online interactivity' for the digital version of Dayz . The IARC Tool produces classifications for digitally delivered games for Australia.

When Five Star Games Pty Ltd applied to the Classification Board for a classification for an upcoming PlayStation 4 release of the game in Australia, they advised that drug use in the game included cannabis. The aim of Dayz is to stay alive and healthy during the conditions of the outbreak and the player's health is measured by vital statistics. Throughout general gameplay, the player is able to collect and use a variety of equipment, supplies and weaponry, with one option to restore the player's health being a marijuana joint, labelled "cannabis," which is denoted by a cannabis bud in the player's inventory. The player is able to select and use it when their vital statistics are low. When the player smokes the cannabis, their vital statistics of food and water increase and their temperature decreases. Therefore, in the opinion of the Classification Board, cannabis use during the game acts as an incentive or reward to boost overall health and survivability. The Board noted that there was no instance of intoxication resulting from this drug use depicted within the game.

The Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games 2012 (the Games Guidelines) state interactive illicit or proscribed drug use is not permitted within the G, PG, M or MA 15+ classification. The Guidelines further state, drug use is permitted within the R 18+ classification, provided any interactive illicit or proscribed drug use is not detailed or realistic. Pursuant to the Games Guidelines, drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted at any classification level.

Accordingly, on 4 June 2019, the Classification Board had to classify the computer game, Dayz , RC (Refused Classification) . The RC category is commonly referred to as being 'banned'. This means that the game cannot be sold, hired, advertised, or legally imported into Australia. The IARC Tool classification has been updated to RC (Refused Classification).

The Board noted that if the use of cannabis within the context of this game did not act as an incentive or reward, its impact could have been accommodated within the R 18+ classification. Further, if this instance of drug use was absent from the game, then Dayz would be able to be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification.

Australia's censors also announce a review of the censorship rules

On 28 June 2019, the Council of Attorneys-General agreed that the Australian Government will coordinate a public consultation process on reviewing the Games Guidelines to ensure they reflect contemporary Australian community values. The review will be undertaken by the Department of Communications and the Arts.

Perhaps the censors can now quietly ditch their silly and embarrassing rules about drug use in games. The clause was only introduced as a political compromise when the R18 was being introduced for games. They were trying to say to reluctant politicians something along the lines of: Don't worry about allowing R18, we'll still have tough censorship rules for such games.

Update: Australia's the laughing stock of the world

19th August 2019. See article from sbs.com.au

Australia's decision to ban the popular zombie video game DayZ because of in-game drug use has been criticised in the Victorian state parliament.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Quilty said:

The ban was absurd and has made Australia look like the wet blanket and laughing stock of the whole world.

Refusal of classification should be reserved for illegal materials, things like child pornography and snuff films that should never have been created in the first place. It should not be used for zombie survival video games.

 

 

Commented: Advert censor bans Volkswagen eGolf advert for gender stereotyping...

How about the harm to society caused by divisive people that see political incorrectness everywhere they look?


Link Here 19th August 2019

A TV ad for the Volkswagen eGolf, seen on 14 June 2019, opened with a shot of a woman and a man in a tent. The woman was asleep and the man switched off the light and closed the tent, which was shown to be fixed to a sheer cliff face. The following scene depicted two male astronauts floating in a space ship. Text stated When we learn to adapt. The next scene showed a male para-athlete with a prosthetic leg doing the long jump. Text stated we can achieve anything. The final scene showed a woman sitting on a bench next to a pram. A Volkswagen eGolf passed by quietly. The woman was shown looking up from her book. Text stated The Golf is electric. The 100% electric eGolf. Issue

Three complainants, who believed that the ad perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes by showing men engaged in adventurous activities in contrast to a woman in a care-giving role, challenged whether it breached the Code.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The first scene of the ad showed both a man and a woman in a tent, panning out to show that it was fixed to the side of a cliff and therefore implying that they had both climbed up the steep rock face. However, the woman was shown sleeping, by contrast with the man in the scene. Furthermore, due to the short duration of the shot and its focus on the movement of the man, it was likely that many viewers would not pick up on the fact that it featured a woman, as was the case with the complainants.

The ad then showed two male astronauts carrying out tasks in space and a male para-athlete doing the long jump. We considered that viewers would be likely to see the activities depicted as extraordinary and adventurous -- scientific and career-based in the case of the astronauts and physical in the case of the athlete. That impression was reinforced by the claim When we learn to adapt, we can achieve anything. While we noted that a third astronaut appeared in the background, the image was very brief and not prominent. We considered that many viewers would not notice the presence of a third person, and if they did, the image was insufficiently clear to distinguish their gender.

The first two scenes both more prominently featured male characters. While the majority of the ad was focussed on a theme of adapting to difficult circumstances and achievement, the final scene showed a woman sitting on a bench and reading, with a pram by her side. We acknowledged that becoming a parent was a life changing experience that required significant adaptation, but taking care of children was a role that was stereotypically associated with women.

In context, the final scene (the only one that featured the product) gave the impression that the scenario had been used to illustrate the adaptation and resulting characteristic of the car -- so quiet that it did not wake the baby or register with the mother -- rather than as a further representation of achievement, particularly as the setting was relatively mundane compared to the other scenarios.

Taking into account the overall impression of the ad, we considered that viewers were likely to focus on the occupations of the characters featured in the ad and observe a direct contrast between how the male and female characters were depicted. By juxtaposing images of men in extraordinary environments and carrying out adventurous activities with women who appeared passive or engaged in a stereotypical care-giving role, we considered that the ad directly contrasted stereotypical male and female roles and characteristics in a manner that gave the impression that they were exclusively associated with one gender.

We concluded that the ad presented gender stereotypes in way that was likely to cause harm and therefore breached the Code.

The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Volkswagen Group UK Ltd to ensure their advertising did not present gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm, including by directly contrasting male and female roles and characteristics in a way that implied they were uniquely associated with one gender.

Offsite Comment: Stereotypically Stupid: The ASA's Latest Slice Of Lunacy

19th August 2019. See article from reprobatepress.com

 

 

 

Offsite Article: The war against book censorship...


Link Here 19th August 2019
Publisher halts publication of The Changing of the Guard by Simon Akam after bad vibes from the British Army

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood...

Cut by the Indian film censors


Link Here 18th August 2019
Full story: Film cuts in India...Censor cuts for movies released in India
Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood is a 2019 USA / UK comedy drama by Quentin Tarantino.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. BBFC link IMDb

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

Director Quentin Tarantino's new film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has been passed by the Indian film censors at the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) with an adults sonly A certificate with a couple of curious cuts.

The censor board left multiple instances of the word 'fuck' but has beeped out every usage of the word 'ass', ccording to Pinkvilla, which has access to the censor certificate.

 

 

Fake censorship...

Instagram to allow users to report 'fake news' but no doubt this will used to harass those with opposing views


Link Here 18th August 2019
Full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo sharing website gets heavy on the censorship
Instagram is adding an option for users to report posts they claim are false. The photo-sharing website is responding to increasing pressure to censor material that government's do not like.

Results then rated as false are removed from search tools, such as Instagram's explore tab and hashtag search results.

The new report facility on Instagram is being initially rolled out only in the US.

Stephanie Otway, a Facebook company spokeswoman Said:

This is an initial step as we work towards a more comprehensive approach to tackling misinformation.

Posting false information is not banned on any of Facebook's suite of social media services, but the company is taking steps to limit the reach of inaccurate information and warn users about disputed claims.

 

 

Offsite Article: Monty Python's Life of Christ...


Link Here 18th August 2019
The original scripts were a little more edgy than the final result

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

Updated: The Hunt...

Universal cancels release of movie featuring an untimely plot of blue state elites hunting red caps


Link Here 17th August 2019
The Hunt is a 2019 USA action horror thriller by Craig Zobel.
Starring Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank and Emma Roberts. YouTube icon IMDb

Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don't know where they are, or how they got there. They don't know they've been chosen - for a very specific purpose - The Hunt.

The film was also originally titled Red State vs Blue State.

The film had earlier been MPAA R rated for crude and sexual content, nudity, language throughout, comic violence and drug use.

The movie The Hunt has been withdrawn prior to release by the US distributors after two US shooter incidents echoed the politically charged allegory of elites vs red caps underpinning this film.

Hollywood studio Universal distributing an action satire depicting a dozen supposedly red state Americans who wake up in a clearing and realize they are being stalked for sport by elite liberals, is to scrap the movie's release. The company had already announced that it would not promote or market the film.

The Hunt, produced by Blumhouse, the independent film house known mostly for low-budget horror films such as Paranormal Activity and The Purge as well as also the Oscar winner BlacKkKlansman, was due to come out on 27 September. But gun massacres in Ohio, Texas and California which resulted in more than 30 deaths has reignited a debate about gun control legislation. Blumhouse and distributor Universal Pictures have now said it would no longer release the movie.

Donald Trump inevitably had his say and tweeted about Hollywood liberals:

They like to call themselves 'Elite,' but they are not Elite. In fact, it is often the people that they so strongly oppose that are actually the Elite. The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos. They create their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true Racists, and are very bad for our Country!

Universal said in a statement.

We stand by our film-makers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.

Update: More details on story of the cancelled release of The Hunt

17th August 2019. See article from hollywoodreporter.com

On the evening of Aug. 6, Universal Pictures held a test screening of its thriller-satire The Hunt at a crowded theater in the San Fernando Valley. It was the second such screening, and some test audience members were again expressing discomfort with the politics of the Jason Blum-produced film, a source familiar with the feedback tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Hunt, directed by Craig Zobel, chronicles a dozen deplorables trying to outlast a group of private jet-flying elites bent on killing their anti-choice, gun-loving targets. Following a THR story earlier that day on the altering of the film's marketing plan in the wake of a trio of mass shootings, Universal executives and the filmmakers began receiving death threats via email and on social media and immediately paused the campaign altogether.

...Read the full article from hollywoodreporter.com

 

 

Offsite Article: The EU's latest assault on internet freedom...


Link Here 17th August 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
Soon online speech will be regulated by Brussels. By Andrew Tettenborn

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Quality control...

Facebook introduces new censorship for private groups and labels it as 'Group Quality'


Link Here 16th August 2019
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook has introduced a new censorship tool known as Group Quality to evaluate private groups and scrutinize them for any 'problematic content'.

For a long time now, Facebook was facing heat from the media for the fact that the private groups feature is harboring extremists and the spreading of 'fake news'. As a result, the company wrote an article from newsroom.fb.com introducing a new feature known as Group Quality:

Being in a private group doesn't mean that your actions should go unchecked. We have a responsibility to keep Facebook safe, which is why our Community Standards apply across Facebook, including in private groups. To enforce these policies, we use a combination of people and technology -- content reviewers and proactive detection. Over the last few years, we've invested heavily in both, including hiring more than 30,000 people across our safety and security teams.

Within this, a specialized team has been working on the Safe Communities Initiative: an effort that started two years ago with the goal of protecting people using Facebook Groups from harm. Made up of product managers, engineers, machine learning experts and content reviewers, this team works to anticipate the potential ways people can do harm in groups and develops solutions to minimize and prevent it. As the head of Facebook Groups, I want to explain how we're making private groups safer by focusing on three key areas: proactive detection, tools for admins, and transparency and control for members.

On the plus side Facebook has updated settings used in defining access and visibility of groups which are much clearer than previus incarnations.

Critics say that Facebook's move will not curb misinformation and fake news, but, on the contrary, it may further push it deeper underground making it hard for censor to filter or terminate such content from the site.

 

 

History denial...

San Francisco Board of Education votes to hide artwork depicting slaves rather than destroying it


Link Here 16th August 2019
The San Francisco Board of Education voted this week to cover up a suite of controversial 1930's murals at George Washington High School, reversing an earlier decision to spend $600,000 to destroy them by painting them over.

The murals, The Life of Washington , were created by the Russian emigre artist Victor Arnautoff as part of a New Deal art initiative and depict episodes from the life of George Washington. A few people have been offended by three of the 13 murals in the cycle for including depictions of enslaved African-Americans working at Washington's Mount Vernon property, and also violent images of Native Americans.

In Tuesday's vote, the board members voted 4--3 in favor of covering up the murals, frustrating both those who'd campaigned for outright destruction, and those who'd campaigned for their preservation.

While it is a step in the right direction to take permanent destruction off the table, we will continue to strongly oppose spending $815,000 to permanently wall off the murals so nobody has the choice to see them or learn from them, said Jon Golinger, the executive director of the Coalition to Protect Public Art, an organization created to advocate for the murals' preservation, to the New York Times .

 

 

Stereotypically PC...

Advert censor bans Philadelphia cheese advert for being politically incorrect


Link Here 15th August 2019

A TV ad and video on demand (VOD) ad for the soft cheese, Philadelphia:

a. The TV ad, seen on 14 June 2019, featured a woman passing a baby to a man who then held the baby in his arms. Another man appeared carrying a baby in a car seat. The first man said New dad, too? and the second man nodded. The scene was revealed to be a restaurant with a conveyor belt serving buffet food. The men chatted, saying Wow, look at this lunch, Yeah, hard to choose and This looks good, whilst a sitting baby and a car seat were seen on the moving conveyor belt, as the men were distracted by selecting and eating their lunch. The first man then noticed his baby had gone around the conveyor belt, said errr and argh!, and moved across the room to pick the baby up. The second man picked the baby in the car seat off of the conveyor belt, and one of the men said Let's not tell mum.

b. The VOD ad, seen on the ITV Hub, on 18 June 2019, featured the same content.

The complainants, who believed the ad perpetuated a harmful stereotype by suggesting that men were incapable of caring for children and would place them at risk as a result of their incompetence, challenged whether the ads were in breach of the Code.

Rather than the ads depicting a harmful stereotype, Clearcast thought the ads depicted an example of a momentary lapse in concentration by somewhat overwhelmed and tired new parents which was quickly realized and rectified. They did not think the ads showed the new fathers being unable to look after the babies properly because of their gender, but instead it was established early on that they were new dads and unused to dealing with young children. They did not believe the ads were a representation of all fathers and did not believe it suggested that the fathers in the ads, or fathers more generally, were incapable of parenting.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The CAP and BCAP Code stated Advertisements must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence. The joint CAP and BCAP guidance said that ads may feature people undertaking gender-stereotypical roles, but they should take care to avoid suggesting that stereotypical roles or characteristics were always uniquely associated with one gender. The guidance provided examples which were likely to be unacceptable, which included 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.

We considered the scenario represented two new fathers in sole charge of their children, who both became distracted when choosing their lunch and subsequently failed to notice when the children were carried away on a conveyor belt. We acknowledged the action was intended to be light-hearted and comical and there was no sense that the children were in danger. We considered, however, that the men were portrayed as somewhat hapless and inattentive, which resulted in them being unable to care for the children effectively.

We recognised that the ad depicted new parents and could therefore be seen as a characterisation of new parents as inexperienced and learning how to adapt to parenthood. We also recognised that, regardless of their gender, it was common for parents to ask their children (often jokingly) not to tell their other parent about something that had happened. However, in combination with the opening scene in which one of the babies was handed over by the mother to the father, and the final scene in which one of the fathers said Let's not tell mum, we considered the ad relied on the stereotype that men were unable to care for children as well as women and implied that the fathers had failed to look after the children properly because of their gender.

We also considered that the narrative and humour in the ad derived from the use of the gender stereotype. We did not consider that the use of humour in the ad mitigated the effect of the harmful stereotype; indeed it was central to it, because the humour derived from the audiences' familiarity with the gender stereotype being portrayed.

We therefore concluded that the ad perpetuated a harmful stereotype, namely that men were ineffective at childcare, and was in breach of the Code.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Mondelez Ltd to ensure their advertising did not perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes, including suggesting that stereotypical roles or characteristics were always uniquely associated with one gender.

 

 

Fake claims...

Thailand sets up an internet censorship centre in the name of 'fake news'


Link Here 15th August 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking

Thailand's Digital Economy and Society Minister Puttipong Punnakanta plans to set up a Fake News Center.

The digital minister confirmed that he is looking to create the Fake News Center to:

get rid of fabricated, misleading content on social media which might jeopardize the people's safety and property and violate the Computer Crime Act and other laws.

For instance, content on social media about natural disasters and health care might be fabricated or exaggerated only to confuse and scare viewers. They might be deceived by fraudulent investment scams or lured to buy illegal, hazardous health products online.

He said a dozen government agencies will be asked to cooperate with the Fake News Center such as the police, the military, the Consumer Protection Board, the Food and Drugs Administration and the Public Relations Department, among others.

 

 

Offsite Article: Hollywood's history of self-censorship...


Link Here 15th August 2019
The movie industry has tried for a century to keep the US government out of the box office. By Alissa Wilkinson

See article from vox.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Films and games...


Link Here 14th August 2019
A history of Australian film and media censorship law

See article from kotaku.com.au

 

 

'Protecting' people's data by forcing them to hand it over to any internet Tom, Dick and Harry...

ICO seems to have backed off from requiring age verification for nearly all websites


Link Here 13th August 2019
Full story: UK age verification for social media...ICO calls for strict age verification for social media access
Back in April of this year the data protection police of the ICO set about drawing up rules for nearly all commercial websites in how they should deal with children and their personal data.

Rather perversely the ICO decided that age verification should underpin a massively complex regime to require different data processing for several age ranges. And of course the children's data would be 'protected' by requiring nearly all websites to demand everybody's identity defining personal data in order to slot people into the ICO's age ranges.

The ICO consulted on their proposals and it seems that the internet industry forcefully pointed out that it was not a good idea for nearly all websites to have to demand age verification from all website visitors.

The ICO has yet to publish the results of the consultation or its response to the criticism but the ICO have been playing down this ridiculously widespread age verification. This week the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham further hinted at this in a blog. She wrote:

Our consultation on the proposed code began in April, and prompted more than 450 written responses, as well more than 40 meetings with key stakeholders. We were pleased with the breadth of views we heard. Parents, schools and children's campaign groups helped us better understand the problems young people can face online, whether using social media services or popular games, while developers, tech companies and online service providers gave us a crucial insight into the challenges industry faces to make this a reality.

...

This consultation has helped us ensure our final code will be effective, proportionate and achievable.

It has also flagged the need for us to be clearer on some standards.

We do not want to see an age-gated internet, where visiting any digital service requires people to prove how old they are. Our aim has never been to keep children from online services, but to protect them within it. We want providers to set their privacy settings to high as a default, and to have strategies in place for how children's data is handled.

We do not want to prevent young people from engaging with the world around them, and we've been quick to respond to concerns that our code would affect news websites. This isn't the case. As we told a DCMS Select Committee in July, we do not want to create any barriers to children accessing news content. The news media plays a fundamental role in children's lives and the final version of the code will make that very clear.

That final version of the code will be delivered to the Secretary of State ahead of the statutory deadline of 23 November 2019.

We recognise the need to allow companies time to implement the standards and ensure they are complying with the law. The law allows for a transition period of up to a year and we'll be considering the most appropriate approach to this, before making a final decision in the autumn. In addition to the code itself, my office is also preparing a significant package to ensure that organisations are supported through any transition period, including help and advice for designers and engineers.

 

 

Comment: Batman: Hush...

Flummoxed by a 15 rating for the Batman cartoon Hush.


Link Here 13th August 2019
Batman: Hush is a 2019 film by Justin Copeland.
Starring Jason O'Mara, Jennifer Morrison and Stuart Allan. BBFC link IMDb
A mysterious villain puppeteering Gotham's most dangerous forces leads the Dark Knight into uncharted waters in Batman: Hush, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies. An adaptation of the seminal DC classic tale, Batman: Hush centres on a shadowy new villain known only as Hush, who uses Gotham's Rogues Gallery to destroy Batman's crime-fighting career, as well as Bruce Wayne's personal life--which has already been complicated by a relationship with Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman.

UK: Passed 15 uncut for strong violence, bloody images:

US: Rated MPAA PG-13 for violence and action, suggestive material, and language.

Offsite Comment: Batman: Hush is Rated 15 by the BBFC -- How Come??

See article from bleedingcool.com by Rich Johnston

Flummoxed by a 15 rating for the Batman cartoon Hush.

Could it be that the batarang was interpreted as a ninja throwing star?

...Read the full article from bleedingcool.com

 

 

The European YouTube censor...

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland volunteers to be the the country's internet video censor


Link Here 13th August 2019
Full story: EU Internet Video Censorship...EU extends censorship to all video websites
The UK Government recently outlines its plans for appointing Ofcom as the internet censor overseeing new EU censorship rules introduced under a new Audio Visual Media Services AVMS directive.

In Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has pitched for similar powers, with the government currently considering the BAI's position alongside the appointment of an online safety commissioner.

The BAI believes that it could become an EU-wide regulator for online video, because Google and Facebook's European operations are headquartered in Dublin.

Earlier this year, the government announced plans that would see a future online safety commissioner given the power to issue administrative fines, meaning the commissioner would not have to go through a court.

 

 

Offsite Article: Say No to the Cashless Future...


Link Here 13th August 2019
...and to Cashless Stores. By Jay Stanley of the ACLU

See article from aclu.org

 

 

Updated: The latest internet censorship nightmare from the EU...

The EU ups the internet ante and the UK will require video websites to be licensed by the state censors of Ofcom


Link Here 12th August 2019
Full story: EU Internet Video Censorship...EU extends censorship to all video websites
Requirements for Video Sharing Platforms in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) is the regulatory framework governing EU-wide coordination of national legislation on all audiovisual media. The government launched a consultation on implementing the newly introduced and amended provisions in AVMSD on 30 May, which is available here .

One of the main changes to AVMSD is the extension of scope to cover video-sharing platforms (VSPs) for the first time. This extension in scope will likely capture audiovisual content on social media sites, video-sharing sites, pornography sites and live streaming services. These services are required to take appropriate measures to: protect children from harmful content; protect the general public from illegal content and content that incites violence or hatred, and; respect certain obligations around commercial communications.

The original consultation, published on 30 May, outlined the government's intention to implement these requirements through the regulatory framework proposed in the Online Harms White Paper . However, we also indicated the possibility of an interim approach ahead of the regulatory framework coming into force to ensure we meet the transposition deadline of 20 September 2020. We now plan to take forward this interim approach and have written to stakeholders on 23 July to set out our plans and consult on them.

This open letter and consultation sent to stakeholders, therefore, aims to gather views on our interim approach for implementing requirements pertaining to VSPs through appointing Ofcom as the national regulatory authority. In particular, it asks questions regarding:

  • how to transpose the definition of VSPs into UK law, and which platforms are in the UK's jurisdiction;

  • the regulatory framework and the regulator's relationship with industry;

  • the appropriate measures that should be taken by platforms to protect users;

  • the information gathering powers Ofcom should have to oversee VSPs;

  • the appropriate enforcement and sanctions regime for Ofcom;

  • what form the required out of court redress mechanism should take; and

  • how to fund the extension of Ofcom's regulatory activities from industry.

Update: The press get wind of the EU censorship nightmare of the new AVMS directive

12th August 2019. See article from bbc.com

The government is considering giving powers to fine video-sharing apps and websites to the UK's media censor Ofcom.

The proposal would see Ofcom able to impose multi-million pound fines if it judges the platforms have failed to prevent youngsters seeing pornography, violence and other harmful material.

Ofcom are already the designated internet censor enforcing the current AVMS censorship rules. These apply to all UK based Video on Demand platforms. The current rules are generally less stringent than Ofcom's rules for TV so have not particularly impacted the likes of the TV catch up services, (apart from Ofcom extracting significant censorship fees for handling minimal complaints about hate speech and product placement).

The notable exception is the regulation of hardcore porn on Video on Demand platforms. Ofcom originally delegated the censorship task to ATVOD but that was a total mess and Ofcom grabbed the censorship roles back. It too became a bit of a non-job as ATVOD's unviable age verification rules had effectively driven the UK adult porn trade into either bankruptcy or into foreign ownership. In fact this driving the porn business offshore gave rise to the BBFC age verification regime which is trying to find ways to censor foreign porn websites.

Anyway the EU has now created an updated AVMS directive that extends the scope of content to be censored, as well as the range of websites and apps caught up the law. Where as before it caught TV like video on demand websites, it now catches nearly all websites featuring significant video content. And of course the list of harms has expanded into the same space as all the other laws clamouring to censor the internet.

In addition, all qualifying video websites will have to register with Ofcom and have to cough up  a significant fee for Ofcom's censorship 'services'.

The EU Directive is required to be implemented in EU members' laws by 20th September 2020. And it seems that the UK wants the censors to be up on running from the 19th September 2020.

Even then, it would only be an interim step until an even more powerful internet censor gets implemented under the UK's Online Harms plans.

The Telegraph reported that the proposal was quietly agreed before Parliament's summer break and would give Ofcom the power to fine tech firms up to 5% of their revenues and/or block them in the UK if they failed to comply with its rulings. Ofcom has said that it is ready to adopt the powers.

A government spokeswoman told the BBC.

We also support plans to go further and legislate for a wider set of protections, including a duty of care for online companies towards their users.

But TechUK - the industry group that represents the sector - said it hoped that ministers would take a balanced and proportionate approach to the issue.  Its deputy chief executive Antony Walker said:

Key to achieving this will be clear and precise definitions across the board, and a proportionate sanctions and compliance regime, said

The Internet Association added that it hoped any intervention would be proportionate. Daniel Dyball, the association's executive director.said:

Any new regulation should be targeted at specific harms, and be technically possible to implement in practice - taking into account that resources available vary between companies.

The BBC rather hopefully noted that if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, we will not be bound to transpose the AVMSD into UK law.

 

 

Cryptic motives...

Group of parliamentarians rant against DNS over HTTPS in a letter to the press


Link Here 12th August 2019
Full story: UK Concerns over Encrypted DNS...UK internet censors vs DNS over HTTPS

Web browser risk to child safety

We are deeply concerned that a new form of encryption being introduced to our web browsers will have terrible consequences for child protection.

The new system 204 known as DNS over HTTPS -- would have the effect of undermining the work of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF); yet Mozilla, provider of the Firefox browser, has decided to introduce it, and others may follow.

The amount of abusive content online is huge and not declining. Last year, the IWF removed more than 105,000 web pages showing the sexual abuse of children. While the UK has an excellent record in eliminating the hosting of such illegal content, there is still a significant demand from UK internet users: the National Crime Agency estimates there are 144,000 internet users on some of the worst dark-web child sexual abuse sites.

To fight this, the IWF provides a URL block list that allows internet service providers to block internet users from accessing known child sexual abuse content until it is taken down by the host country. The deployment of the new encryption system in its proposed form could render this service obsolete, exposing millions of people to the worst imagery of children being sexually abused, and the victims of said abuse to countless sets of eyes.

Advances in protecting users' data must not come at the expense of children. We urge the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport to address this issue in the government's upcoming legislation on online harms.

  • Sarah Champion MP;
  • Tom Watson MP;
  • Carolyn Harris MP;
  • Tom Brake MP;
  • Stephen Timms MP;
  • Ian Lucas MP;
  • Tim Loughton MP;
  • Giles Watling MP;
  • Madeleine Moon MP;
  • Vicky Ford MP;
  • Rosie Cooper MP;
  • Baroness Howe;
  • Lord Knight;
  • Baroness Thornton;
  • Baroness Walmsley;
  • Lord Maginnis;
  • Baroness Benjamin;
  • Lord Harris of Haringey

The IWF service is continually being rolled out as an argument against DoH but I am starting to wonder if it is still relevant. Given the universal revulsion against child sex abuse then I'd suspect that little of it would now be located on the open internet. Surely it would be hiding away in hard to find places like the dark web, that are unlikely to stumbled on by normal people. And of course those using the dark web aren't using ISP DNS servers anyway.

In reality the point of using DoH is to evade government attempts to block legal porn sites. If they weren't intending to block legal sites then surely people would be happy to use the ISP DNS including the IWF service.

 

 

Highlight events...

Russia gets heavy with Google for YouTube videos 'promoting' political protests in the country


Link Here 12th August 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia is continuing its pressure on Google to censor political political opinion that the government does not like. Media censor Roskomnadzor has sent a letter to Google insisting that it stop promoting banned mass events on YouTube.

It particularly didn't like that YouTube channels were using push notifications and other measures to spread information about protests, such as the recent demonstrations objecting to Moscow banning some opposition politicians from running in upcoming elections. Some users are allegedly receiving these alerts even if they're not subscribed to the channels.

The Russian agency said it would treat continued promotion as interference in the sovereign affairs of the country and consider Google a hostile influence ostensibly bent on obstructing elections.

Political protests have continued to grow in Russia (the most recent had about 50,000 participants), and they've turned increasingly from the Moscow-specific complaints to general dissatisfaction with President Putin's anti-democratic policies.

 

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