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2015: Oct-Dec

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No Complaints...

Irish film censor receives virtually no public complaints in 2015

Link Here29th December 2015
Only eight complaints had been lodged with the Irish film censor IFCO up to December 15 compared with the 17 that were made last year.

Among the whinges:

  • A cinemagoer who was concerned that the G rated Minions cartoon was very scary.

  • The 15A rating for No Escape was challenged as there There was lots of bloodied bodies, a complainer argued that 18 would have been a better rating.

  • Black Mass , starring Johnny Depp as Irish-American gangster Whitey Bolger and rated 15A, was also complained about by one viewer referring to the brutality of the violence depicted: I was genuinely concerned to think that any 15-year-olds had been watching the same film as me.



Updated: 15 years olds to be banned from using social media without parental consent...

Yet more Brexit inducing bollox legislation from EU lawmakers

Link Here 23rd December 2015
Teenagers under the age of 16 could be banned from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and email if they don't have parental permission, under ludicrous last-minute changes to EU laws.

The European Union is on the verge of pushing through new censorship laws that would raise the age of consent for websites to use personal data from 13 to 16.

It would mean that millions of teenagers under 16 would be forced to seek permission from parents whenever signing up to a social media account, downloading an app or even using search engines. No doubt this will either lead to a ludicrously expensive rubber stamping exercise that won't get taken seriously or otherwise kids will be forced to lie about their age. Inevitable tantrums and family tensions will surely do more harm than good.

The law, due to be negotiated between member states on Tuesday, would cause a major headache for social media companies. Almost all major social media services, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Google, currently have a minimum age of 13, in compliance with European and American laws.

Once laws are agreed, they are due to be voted on by the European parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee on Thursday before being ratified by the parliament itself in the New Year. Countries would then have two years to implement the law. Failing to comply with the new legislation would mean fines of up to 4pc of a company's turnover - tens of millions of pounds for the biggest internet firms.

Update: Dropped

16th December 2015. See  article from

The EU has dropped its ridiculous idea to require 15 year olds to get parental permission before being allowed to access social media.

The EU lawmakers were bombarded with criticism of the incompetent idea.

Anti-bullying charity The Diana Award last night criticised the move. In a letter to MEPs, the charity wrote:

Children aged 13 and above have long accessed online services; an artificial and sudden change to this threshold will likely result in many children between the ages of 13 and 15 lying about their ages in order to continue accessing online services -- rather than asking their parents to consent.

This development would make it far more difficult for online services to offer children age-appropriate guidance and tools to ensure a safe and privacy-protective experience online.

Update: Not quite dropped

23rd December 2015. See  article from

It seems that the ludicrous EU idea for 15 year olds to get parental permission to join Facebook etc was not quite dropped as previously reported.

In fact negotiations ultimately maintained the concept of  16 as a digital age of consent, but allows member states to opt-out from the requirement to raise the digital age of consent from 13 to 16. Of course this now has potential to cause confusion due to the way the internet functions across borders. Would a 15-year-old in one country find that his use of social media became illegal as he crossed the border into another?



Hardly promoting positive body image...

Police tell the insecure young girls of Denmark that they should be ashamed of their bodies as they are not fit to be seen in public

Link Here20th December 2015
A photo exhibition of naked women aimed at promoting positive body image in Copenhagen has been shut down by police.

The police message seems to be that the insecure young girls of Denmark should be ashamed of their bodies as they are not fit to be seen in public

Danish nudist photographer and artist Mathilde Grafström had planned the display of her Female Beauty collection for Copenhagen's Nytorv square, but police have denied her permission claiming the photos are offensive . Speaking to Denmark's TV 2 she said:

I take my photos to show young women that they are more beautiful than they think. I show the woman that she is beautiful, and that way I can help her to accept herself.



Offsite Article: EU Broadens Right To Be Forgotten In Dangerously Vague Ways...

Link Here 19th December 2015
Here's a conspiracy theory for you: Are anti-European MEPs behind this shamefully bad censorship legislation so as to encourage us to vote for Brexit?

See article from



Offsite Article: Even museum curators should have got the message by now...

Link Here 19th December 2015
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook Content Police Censors Image from a German Museum

See article from



Offsite Article: Protect the Web and Save Hyperlinks...

Link Here15th December 2015
A call to action against more Brexit inducing copyright bollox from EU lawmakers

See article from



Update: Publishing struggle nears end...

Mein Kampf set for a Germany edition next month after copyright control expires

Link Here2nd December 2015
Full story: Mein Kampf...Censorship issues with Hitler's book
Mein Refugee Kamps by Angela Merkel

  Perhaps will prove equally controversial over the next 70 years.

Adolf Hitler's political manifesto Mein Kampf with critical notes by scholars is finally set to be published next month - for the first time in Germany since the end of WWII.

The Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich says it will print up to 4,000 copies with some 3,500 notes. IfZ director Andreas Wirsching says the text with expert comments will shatter the myth surrounding the book.

Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was originally printed in 1925 - eight years before Hitler came to power.

After Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945, the Allied forces handed the copyright to the book to the state of Bavaria. The local authorities have refused to allow the book to be reprinted to prevent incitement of hatred. Under German law copyright lasts for 70 years, and so publishers will be able to have free access to the original text from January.



Update: The limits of free speech...

Comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala jailed in Belgium over racist comments in his show

Link Here26th November 2015
Full story: Dieudonne Mbala Mbala...Comedian winds up with near anti-semitic humour

The controversial French comedian, Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, has been sentenced to two months in jail by a Belgian court for incitement to hatred over racist and antisemitic comments he made during a show. Dieudonné, who has faced similar cases in France, was also fined ?9,000 (£6,300) by the court in Liège.  The charges related to a show in Liège in 2012.

Earlier this month, the European court of human rights in Strasbourg ruled against Dieudonné in a separate case, deciding that freedom of speech did not protect racist and antisemitic performances.

In March, a French court handed Dieudonné a two-month suspended prison sentence and fined him heavily after he caused uproar by suggesting he sympathised with the attacks against the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and a Jewish supermarket in Paris. I feel like Charlie Coulibaly , he wrote on Facebook, a reference to Amédy Coulibaly, one of the attackers.



Blocked Entry...

Polish police arrest religious extremists trying to picket play

Link Here22nd November 2015
 Polish police have arrested 12 people who tried to block the entrance to a theater performance they claimed to be pornographic.

Scuffles broke out late Saturday in Wroclaw when members of a Catholic organization tried to stop theater-goers from seeing Death and the Maiden , based on the work of Nobel Prize-winning writer Elfriede Jelinek.

The protesters objected to the presence on the stage of porn stars.

The government's new culture minister, Piotr Glinski, had previously called for the show to be canceled, noting the theater is sponsored by the state budget.



Update: The right to be forgotten on steroids...or maybe even LSD...

More disgraceful censorship legislation on the way from the EU

Link Here21st November 2015

Europe is very close to the finishing line of an extraordinary project: the adoption of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a single, comprehensive replacement for the 28 different laws that implement Europe's existing 1995 Data Protection Directive . More than any other instrument, the original Directive has created a high global standard for personal data protection, and led many other countries to follow Europe's approach. Over the years, Europe has grown ever more committed to the idea of data protection as a core value. In the Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding on all the EU states since 2009, lists the "right to the protection of personal data" as a separate and equal right to privacy. The GDPR is intended to update and maintain that high standard of protection, while modernising and streamlining its enforcement.

The battle over the details of the GDPR has so far mostly been a debate between advocates pushing to better defend data protection, against companies and other interests that find consumer privacy laws a hindrance to their business models. Most of the compromises between these two groups have now already been struck.

The result is a ticking time-bomb that will be bad for online speech, and bad for the future reputation of the GDPR and data protection in general.

The current draft of the GDPR doubles down on Google Spain, and raises new problems. (The draft currently under negotiation is not publicly available, but July 2015 versions of the provisions that we refer to can be found in this comparative table of proposals and counter-proposals by the European institutions. Article numbers referenced here, which will likely change in the final text, are to the proposal from the Council of the EU unless otherwise stated.)

First, it requires an Internet intermediary (which is not limited to a search engine, though the exact scope of the obligation remains vague) to respond to a request by a person for the removal of their personal information by immediately restricting the content, without notice to the user who uploaded that content (Articles 4(3a), 17, 17a, and 19a.). Compare this with the DMCA takedown notices, which include a notification requirement, or even the current Right to Be Forgotten process, which give search engines some time to consider the legitimacy of the request. In the new GDPR regime, the default is to block.

Then, after reviewing the (also vague) criteria that balance the privacy claim with other legitimate interests and public interest considerations such as freedom of expression (Articles 6.1(f), 17a(3) and 17.3(a)), and possibly consulting with the user who uploaded the content if doubt remains, the intermediary either permanently erases the content (which, for search engines, means removing their link to it), or reinstates it (Articles 17.1 and 17a(3)). If it does erase the information, it is not required to notify the uploading user of having done so, but is required to notify any downstream publishers or recipients of the same content (Articles 13 and 17.2), and must apparently also disclose any information that it has about the uploading user to the person who requested its removal (Articles 14a(g) and 15(1)(g)).

Think about that for a moment. You place a comment on a website which mentions a few (truthful) facts about another person. Under the GDPR, that person can now demand the instant removal of your comment from the host of the website, while that host determines whether it might be okay to still publish it. If the host's decision goes against you (and you won't always be notified, so good luck spotting the pre-emptive deletion in time to plead your case to Google or Facebook or your ISP), your comment will be erased. If that comment was syndicated, by RSS or some other mechanism, your deleting host is now obliged to let anyone else know that they should also remove the content.

Finally, according to the existing language, while the host is dissuaded from telling you about any of this procedure, they are compelled to hand over personal information about you to the original complainant. So this part of EU's data protection law would actually release personal information!

What are the incentives for the intermediary to stand by the author and keep the material online? If the host fails to remove content that a data protection authority later determines it should have removed, it may become liable to astronomical penalties of ?100 million or up to 5% of its global turnover, whichever is higher (European Parliament proposal for Article 79).

That means there is enormous pressure on the intermediary to take information down if there is even a remote possibility that the information has indeed become "irrelevant", and that countervailing public interest considerations do not apply.

It is not too late yet: proposed amendments to the GDPR are still being considered. We have written a joint letter with ARTICLE 19 to European policymakers, drawing their attention to the problem and explaining what needs to be done. We contend that the problems identified can be overcome by relatively simple amendments to the GDPR, which will help to secure European users' freedom of expression, without detracting from the strong protection that the regime affords to their personal data.

Without fixing the problem, the current draft risks sullying the entire GDPR project. Just like the DMCA takedown process, these GDPR removals won't just be used for the limited purpose they were intended for. Instead, it will be abused to censor authors and invade the privacy of speakers. A GDPR without fixes will damage the reputation of data protection law as effectively as the DMCA permanently tarnished the intent and purpose of copyright law.



Updated: Enabling control freakery for website linking...

Leaked Draft Reveals EU Anti-Piracy Enforcement Plan

Link Here19th November 2015
Torrentfreak commented on a draft document indicating some rather censorial legislation is being considered by the EU Commission. Torrentfreak explains:

A leaked document has revealed the EU Commission's plans for copyright in 2016. In addition to tackling the issue of content portability in the spring, the draft suggests the Commission will explore a follow-the-money approach to enforcement, clarify rules for identifying infringers, and examine the crosss-border application of injunctions.

Noting that creative rights have little value if they cannot be enforced, the Commission calls for a balanced civil enforcement system to enable copyright holders to fight infringement more cheaply and across borders.

A 'follow-the-money' approach, which sees the involvement of different types of intermediary service providers, seems to be a particularly promising method that the Commission and Member States have started to apply in certain areas, the draft reads.

It can deprive those engaging in commercial infringements of the revenue streams (for example from consumer payments and advertising) emanating from their illegal activities, and therefore act as a deterrent.

On this front the Commission says it intends to take immediate action to set up a self-regulatory mechanism with a view to reaching agreement next spring. While voluntary, the EU says the mechanism can be backed up by force if necessary.

The document also highlights a need to address the (cross-border) application of provisional and precautionary measures and injunctions . Clarification is needed, but this appears to be a reference to EU-wide site blocking.

Furthermore, the EU indicates it will examine the rules for copyright takedowns and the potential for illicit content to be taken down and remain down.

The Commission is also carrying out a comprehensive assessment and a public consultation on online platforms, which also covers 'notice and action' mechanisms and the issue of action remaining effective over time (the 'take down and stay down' principle), the draft reads.

Finally, Julia Reda MEP is raising alarms over the Commission's intent to clarify the legal definition of communication to the public and of making available .

The Commission is considering putting the simple act of linking to content under copyright protection, Reda writes.

This idea flies in the face of both existing interpretation and spirit of the law as well as common sense. Each weblink would become a legal landmine and would allow press publishers to hold every single actor on the Internet liable.

Update: EU claims that it is not seeking a hyperlink tax or EU harmonised website blocking

19th November 2015. See  article from

Linx is a trade group of UK ISPs so has a keen interest on issues being discussed by the EU. Linx reports:

EU Commissioner Andrus Ansip has confirmed that forthcoming European copyright proposals will not include introduce ancillary copyright rules, and will not attempt to harmonise web-blocking laws across the EU.

In an interview with Politico, the European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market said that there were no plans to require news aggregators and pay publishers for the right to link to their content.

Ansip said that it was too early to tell what lessons would be learned from ancillary copyright laws recently passed in Spain and Germany.



Update: Merkel seeks refuge from criticism...

German prosecutors initiate action against Facebook exec for allegedly allowing xenophobic comments

Link Here12th November 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
Prosecutors in Hamburg have launched an investigation into the European head of Facebook over the website's alleged failure to remove racist hate speech.

German politicians and celebrities have voiced 'concern' about the rise of xenophobic comments in German on Facebook and on other social media as the country struggles to cope with the million refugees who have responded to the country's inviitation.

Facebook's Hamburg-based managing director for northern, central and eastern Europe , Martin Ott, may be held responsible for the social platform not removing hate speech. This move follows an investigation into three other Facebook managers started last month.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has previously urged Facebook to do more on the matter.

Facebook said it would not commenting on the investigation. But we can say that the allegations lack merit and there has been no violation of German law by Facebook or its employees.



Falling out with Charlie...

Very funny Charlie Hebdo cartoon 'outrages' Russia

Link Here6th November 2015

  Daesh: Russia intensifies its air bombardment

Russians have been 'outraged' by cartoons making light of the Egyptian air crash which appeared in the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

One cartoon shows parts of the aircraft falling on an Islamic State militant. It is captioned: Daesh: Russia ntensifies its air bombardment.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed the cartoons were somehow a blasphemy. He whinged

In our country, this would be called 'blasphemy.' It has nothing to do with democracy or with self-expression. It is just blasphemy.

My colleagues and I tried to find caricatures of the Charlie Hebdo journalists in the magazine, who were shot by terrorists. We were unable to find them. But if they were published, then it would also be blasphemy, well at least in our country.

Igor Morozov, a lawmaker from Russia's Federation Council, claimed the Sinai plane crash should not be ridiculed. :

I believe it is blasphemy and ridicules the memory of those who lost their lives as a result of this catastrophe. This should not be used by any media organizations in any form whatsoever or in any particular genre in which they may specialize.

In trying to be original, Charlie Hebdo have plunged everything into shock. Remember the tragedy which happened in January 2015 concerning the publisher. I think that the journalists are provoking acts of violence.

Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote on her Facebook page:

Is anyone still Charlie?



Offsite Article: Time to free the internet from TV-like regulation?...

Link Here2nd November 2015
Full story: AVMS...EU law on internet video censorship
EU internet video censorship and the AVMS. By Graham Smith




Video sections on newspaper websites are liable to ATVOD style censorship...

More crap EU legislation that only the European Court can figure out what it means

Link Here 30th October 2015
On 21 October 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the video section of an online newspaper could be considered an audiovisual service and therefore may be censored under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

The newspaper in question had a subdomain containing more than 300 videos, ranging from 30 seconds to several minutes long. The videos covered a wide range of content, such as local news, sports, film trailers, craft activities for children and readers' videos selected by the editors.

The Austrian Supreme Court asked the ECJ to consider whether video services such as these fell within the meaning of audiovisual services in the Directive.

The court considered whether the videos served to complement the written articles or whether they were separate from the news content. And in this case consider that the videos were not sufficiently related to news content to avoid qualifying for internet censorship. If the videos had been more related to news content then they would not have been subject to state censorship.

Ofcom and ATVOD have also wrestled with the vagueries of the EU directive and ended up with a nearly impossible to understand set of 'guidelines'.



Update: Human Rights Defender...

European Parliament passes resolution to support Edward Snowden

Link Here30th October 2015
Full story: The Edward Snowden Revelations...Internet Snooping in the US revealed
The European Parliament voted Thursday in support of a resolution that calls on member states to protect Edward Snowden from extradition.

The vote, which has no legal force, was 285-281. The resolution urges nations to drop criminal charges and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender.

On Twitter, Snowden repsonded

This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward.

In response to Thursday's vote, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. policy on Snowden has not changed:

He needs to come back to the United States and face the due process and the judicial process here in the United States. That's been our position from the beginning. It's our belief that the man put U.S. national security in great danger and he needs to be held account to that.



Pirate Ice Breaker...

Pirate Party ahead in the polls in Iceland

Link Here24th October 2015
The Pirate Party in Iceland continues to gain support, causing a revolution in the local political arena. According to the latest poll the party now has over a third of all votes in the country, ahead of the current Government coalition.

The Pirates have a great track record in Iceland already, with three members in the national Parliament. However, many more may join in the future as the Pirates have become the largest political party in the polls.

The Pirate Party's poll share is 34.2% in the last MMR survey ahead of the local coalition Government, which consists of the Independence Party (21.7%) and Progressive Party (10.4%).

Unlike some outsiders believe, the Pirates are not a one issue party. The party is known to fight against increased censorship and protect freedom of speech, but also encourages transparency and involvement of citizens in political issues.



Update: Shooting the Messenger...

Germany considers prosecuting Facebook over hateful comments about migrants

Link Here22nd October 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

With enormous numbers of refugees prompting significant numbers of hateful posts on social media, German prosecutors are considering going after Facebook itself for acting as a home for posts that advocate racial hatred and violate laws against neo-Nazi speech.

German prosecutors are investigating possible charges against three Facebook managers, prompted by a complaint that they failed to act against racist comments about Europe's refugee crisis.

The complaint came from German attorney Chan-jo Jun, of Wuerzburg. In it, he claimed to have flagged more than 60 Facebook entries that would violate German hate-speech laws. In an interview in Die Welt newspaper, he noted that the posts he flagged -- some featuring Nazi insignia and people posing while giving a Nazi salute -- are strictly forbidden by German law.

But, he said, Facebook responded to his complaints by saying the content didn't violate Facebook's community standards, and the posts were not removed. He made copies of the posts and sent them to Facebook's German managers by registered mail. In the complaint he filed, he noted:

We need to put an end to the arrogance with which some companies try to translate their system of values to Europe.

Facebook Germany encourages the dissemination of offensive, punishable content through its actions in Germany.

This week, the German tabloid Bild ran a two-page spread of nothing but hateful Facebook comments, complete with user names and profile photos. The comments were directed at the large number of refugees seeking asylum in Germany, and those who support them.



Offsite Article: Tears of anger...

Link Here15th October 2015
Full story: Games Censorship in Germany...German politicians target video games
Germans fobbed off with a Japanese cut version of the computer game, DMC

See article from



Klown Forever...

Recommended by Danish film censors and those taking easy offence at the poster

Link Here3rd October 2015
Klown Forever is a 2015 Denmark comedy by Mikkel Nørgaard.
Starring Casper Christensen, Frank Hvam and Mia Lyhne. IMDb

Frank and Casper's friendship is put to a test, when Casper decides to leave Denmark to pursue a solo career in Los Angeles. Determined to win his best friend back Frank chooses to follow Casper insuring an eventful trip.

The Danish comedy film Klovn Forever is a hit in the theatres but not everyone is happy about a provocative image promoting the film in the public sphere.

The Danish film censor, the Media Council for Children and Young People (Medierådet), slammed the film as bordering on pornographic . The council described the film:

The film has a humorous mood that is dominated by sexualized language and contains a number of scenes with explicit and very direct sexual depictions. In several scenes adults are seen having intercourse in different positions in many of the scenes are bordering on pornographic.

An image promoting the movie that features stars Casper Christiansen and Frank Hvam naked from the waste down and posed in the sexual position known as 69 has also led to complaints one of which led to the poster being taken down from a bus stops in Aalborg. A complainer told TV 2 Nord:

I think it's a half-pornographic photo that is shoved in your face. When you are out in public, the posters that are hanging at bus stops should be something acceptable for both children and adults to see.

One prude told the Ekstra Bladet newspaper:

I lost my sunglasses and almost threw up when I saw the giant poster with the guys from Klovn hanging here in S�¸borg. I'm normally not a prude ...BUT... this crossed the line. And you should also think about the children.

A complaint has now been filed with the Danish Consumer Ombudsman (Forbrugerombudsmanden). However, the ad in question is still displayed throughout Denmark and tickets for Klovn Forever continue to sell briskly.

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