European age verification consortium starts meetings
|15th July 2021 |
See article from euconsent.eu
euConsent is a consortium of twelve pro-censorship academic institutions, campaigners and technology providers championing internet age verification in the name of child protection. The consortium is being funded by the EU Commission to design, deliver
and pilot a new Europe-wide system age/iD verification system and to ensure that younger children have parental consent before they share personal data.
The consortium doesn't seem to have much interest in keeping adults safe from their ID and porn
viewing data being used by scammers, spammers, thieves, commercial exploiters and of course state authorities.
Pro-censorship campaigner and chair of the consortium John Carr has now announced that the group has had its first meeting. He noted:
An Advisory Board has been established and I agreed to be its Chair. The Board comprises representatives of a wide range of stakeholders: European regulatory authorities, children's rights organizations, tech companies
and politicians. We held our inaugural meeting last Friday.
[notice no mention of porn viewers or adult internet users].
The Board will hold the project team accountable, helping them as they establish the standards. The
Board's collective and individual insights will contribute to a system that is workable with existing technology and facilitates the creation and implementation of effective regulations. Any new technologies which may emerge will know what they must be
able to do if they are to be recognised as an acceptable tool.
The authorities are trying to block notable porn sites
|2nd July 2021 |
See German language
article from spiegel.de
The German media censor, the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media, wants to force the hosting provider of the porn website xHamster to lock out German users.
A year ago, the State Agency for Media in North Rhine-Westphalia began to
issue porn portals such as PornHub with an ultimatum: Either they establish age verification systems or there is a threat of network blocking. Several proceedings are currently pending at the Dusseldorf Administrative Court are being contested by
porn companies who argue that they label their websites according to an international standard designed to make it easy for parents to block offers on their children's devices.
However, German legislation takes the opposite approach: Portals that are
harmful to minors should only be accessible if the users are proved to be of legal age. Tobias Schmid, the director of the State Agency for Media in North Rhine-Westphalian, said:
In the end it is very simple: Anyone
who wants to earn money with pornography in the German market has to adhere to German laws.
The agency has now been able to determine the hosting provider for xHamster. This is not trivial, as many porn portals disguise their IT
infrastructure with the help of cloud services. The media censor has now written an official to the web host.
Filmmakers will instead self classify their own movies with age ratings
||7th April 2021 |
See article from theguardian.com
Born in 1914 at the dawn of cinema, Italy's censorship law felled some cinematic giants including Last Tango in Paris , but is now set to be awarded a 'rejected' rating, as unsuitable for a modern audience.
As a result, it will now no longer be possible to block the release of a new film or demand edits for moral or religious reasons.
censorship has been abolished, announced culture minister Dario Franceschini in a statement:
The system of controls and interventions that still allow the state to intervene in the freedom of artists has been definitively ended.
Filmmakers will instead classify their own movies with an age rating. Their decisions will be audited by
a new commission made up of 49 members chosen from the film industry, but will be experts in education and animal rights.
According to a survey by Cinecensura , an online exhibition promoted by the culture ministry, 274 Italian films, 130 American
movies and 321 from other countries have been banned in Italy since 1944. More than 10,000 were cut in some way, including works by directors such as Federico Fellini. However the last major case of censorship was in 1998 with the blasphemous and
grotesque Toto Who Lived Twice , which was strongly criticised by Catholics.
Free Speech Coalition Europe petitions the EU about considering the rights of sex workers in upcoming internet censorship laws
March 2021 |
The Free Speech Coalition Europe is a group representing the adult trade. It has organised a petition to The Members of the European Parliament of the IMCO, JURI and LIBE Committees on the subject of how new EU internet censorship laws will impact sex
workers. The petition reads:
10 Steps to a Safer Digital Space that Protects the Rights of Sexuality Professionals, Artists and Educators
"Online platforms have become integral parts of our daily
lives, economies, societies and democracies."
Not our words but those of the European Commission. And after more than a year in the grips of a global pandemic, this statement rings truer than ever before. So why are some of
society's already most marginalised people being excluded from these necessary spaces?
Sexual Expression is Being Banned Online
Sex in almost all its guises is being repressed in the public online
sphere and on social media like never before. Accounts focused on sexuality -- from sexuality professionals, adult performers and sex workers to artists, activists and LGBTIQ folks, publications and organisations -- are being deleted without warning or
explanation and with little regulation by private companies that are currently able to enforce discriminatory changes to their terms and conditions without explanation or accountability to those affected by these changes. Additionally, in many cases it
is impossible for the users to have their accounts reinstated -- accounts that are often vitally linked to the users' ability to generate income, network, organise and share information.
Digital Services Act (DSA)
At the same time as sexual expression is being erased from digital spaces, new legislation is being passed in the European Union to safeguard internet users' online rights. The European Commission's Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act encompass upgraded rules governing digital services with their focus, in part, building a safer and more open digital space. These rules will apply to online intermediary services used by millions every day, including major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Amongst other things, they advocate for greater transparency from platforms, better-protected consumers and empowered users.
With the DSA promising to "shape Europe's digital future" and "to create a safer digital space in which the fundamental rights of all users of digital services are protected", it's time to demand that it's a
future that includes those working, creating, organising and educating in the realm of sexuality. As we consider what a safer digital space can and should look like, it's also time to challenge the pervasive and frankly puritanical notion that sexuality
-- a normal and healthy part of our lives -- is somehow harmful, shameful or hateful.
How the DSA Can Get It Right
The DSA is advocating for "effective safeguards for users, including the
possibility to challenge platforms' content moderation decisions". In addition to this, the Free Speech Coalition Europe demands the following:
Platforms need to put in place anti-discrimination policies and train their content moderators so as to avoid discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, or profession -- the same community guidelines need to
apply as much to an A-list celebrity or mainstream media outlet as they do to a stripper or queer collective;
Platforms must provide the reason to the user when a post is deleted or account is restricted or deleted.
Shadowbanning is an underhanded means for suppressing users' voices. Users should have the right to be informed when they are shadowbanned and to challenge the decision;
Platforms must allow for the user to request a revision
of a content moderation's decision, platforms must ensure moderation actions take place in the users' location, rather than arbitrary jurisdictions which may have different laws or custom; e.g., a user in Germany cannot be banned by reports &
moderation in the middle east, and must be reviewed by the European moderation team;
Decision-making on notices of reported content as specified in Article 14 of the DSA should not be handled by automated software, as these
have proven to delete content indiscriminately. A human should place final judgement.
The notice of content as described in Article 14.2 of the DSA should not immediately hold a platform liable for the content as stated in
Article 14.3, since such liability will entice platforms to delete indiscriminately after report for avoiding such liability, which enables organized hate groups to mass report and take down users;
Platforms must provide for
a department (or, at the very least, a dedicated contact person) within the company for complaints regarding discrimination or censorship;
Platforms must provide a means to indicate whether you are over the age of 18 as well
as providing a means for adults to hide their profiles and content from children (e.g. marking profiles as 18+); Platforms must give the option to mark certain content as "sensitive";
Platforms must not reduce the
features available to those who mark themselves as adult or adult-oriented (i.e. those who have marked their profiles as 18+ or content as "sensitive"). These profiles should then appear as 18+ or "sensitive" when accessed without a
login or without set age, but should not be excluded from search results or appear as "non-existing";
Platforms must set clear, consistent and transparent guidelines about what content is acceptable, however, these
guidelines cannot outright ban users focused on adult themes; e.g., you could ban highly explicit pornography (e.g., sexual intercourse videos that show penetration), but you'd still be able to post an edited video that doesn't show penetration;
Platforms cannot outright ban content intended for adult audiences, unless a platform is specifically for children, or >50% of their active users are children.