EU Censorship News

2019: Oct-Dec

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Cross border issues...

Netflix is reusing its age ratings, produced using a scheme agreed with the BBFC, in Ireland


Link Here 4th December 2019
Full story: Irish Film Censors at IFCO...IFCO: the Irish film censor board
It seems that Netfllix has been stealing a march on the Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) by using a joint BBFC/Netflix rating system for Netflix users in Ireland.

Back in March 2019 the BBFC agreed on rating system with Netflix such that Netflix would determine age rating for the programmes and films using the BBFC guidelines. The BBFC has just a quality control role to ensure that Netflix is following the guidelines.

It is reported that these age ratings are now being reused for Netflix users in Ireland. And Newstalk has beein inquiring if the IFCO is happy with this arrangement.

The IFCO responded saying it has no legal remit on non physical product in Ireland. However Ger Connolly, the director of film classification, said:

I do intend to engage with Apple TV and other providers to examine if there is a mechanism to cooperate for the benefit of Republic of Ireland residents.

 

 

Dutch TV channel bans Love Island over #MeToo concerns...

Great, they'll now have enough time in the schedules to treat Dutch viewers to a re-run of Little House on the Prairie


Link Here 30th November 2019
A Dutch broadcaster has banned seduction-based reality shows after claiming the programmes encourage sexual harassment

New episodes of Love Island and The Villa have been cancelled by RTL after male contestants were accused of ignoring refusals to their sexual advances.

RTL have temporarily pulled the plug on any shows in which sexual seduction plays the main role, the broadcaster said.

These kind of programmes no longer fit in the era of #MeToo, said Tina Nijkamp, a former director of Dutch broadcaster SBS6. I was already surprised that RTL had ordered even more of such programmes.

 

 

Off message...

EU plans for extending censorship laws to US messaging services falters


Link Here 26th November 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
The European Commission is struggling to agree how to extend internet censorship and control to US messaging apps such as Facebook's WhatsApp and Microsoft's Skype.

These services are run from the US and it is not so easy for European police to obtain say tracking or user information as it is for more traditional telecoms services.

The Commission has been angling towards applying the rules controlling national telecoms companies to these US 'OTT' messaging services. Extended ePrivacy regulation was the chosen vehicle for new censorship laws.

But now it is reported that the EU countries have yet to find agreement on such issues as tracking users' online activities, provisions on detecting and deleting child pornography and of course how to further the EU's silly game of trying to see how many times a day EU internet users are willing to click consent boxes without reading reams of terms and conditions.

EU ambassadors meeting in Brussels on Friday again reached an impasse, EU officials said. Tech companies and some EU countries have criticized the ePrivacy proposal for being too restrictive, putting them at loggerheads with privacy activists who back the plan.

Now doubt the censorship plans will be resuming soon.

 

 

Following UK's lead...

Irish MP set to introduce bill to require ISPs to impose default internet censorship of phones until the user gets age verified


Link Here 25th November 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Israel...Legislation proposed to let police block websites

A Galway MP to bring forward a bill in the Irish Parliament to prevent children accessing pornography on phones.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Youth Affairs, Anne Rabbitte, is hoping to bring a bill before the Dáil in January.

The proposed legislation would mean under 18s using pre-pay mobile phones would have to prove their age when accessing certain content.  She says the bill means companies would have an automatic adult filter that will need age verification before being removed.

 

 

Don't fuck around with pigs or their dogs...

Swiss police create fake animal porn videos to warn that jokey videos passed around can lead to jail


Link Here 22nd November 2019

Swiss police say are finding more and more illegal videos on teenagers' smartphones. They decided to warn against such behaviour using what appeared to be footage of a man having sex with an animal.

The city police of Winterthur, raised a few eyebrows with their campaign. They released several videos that were supposed to show the dangers and consequences of possessing footage of crimes or bestiality porn.

One of the clips began with a scene featuring a man who ran up to a donkey, pulled his pants down, and appeared to have sex with the animal. The video then cut to a shot with prison bars over a smartphone with the donkey sex on it and a caption that said Animal porn is punished!

Pornography Police spokesman Adrian Feubli explained that earlier materials with dry information on the subject had reached the target group less effectively, while this clip is a door opener.

 

 

Museum of Censorship...

Wolfenstein 3D is unbanned in Germany after 27 years when a court accepted that video games are an art form and can so claim exemption from a law banning Nazi symbology


Link Here 18th November 2019
Full story: Games Censorship in Germany...German politicians target video games
Wolfenstein 3D is a 1992 US first person shooter by id Software

Wolfenstein 3D is considered one of the grandfathers of the genre. The game was a hit from 1992, building on other popular PC shooters at the time such as DOOM .

However the game was banned in Germany in 1992 for its Nazi symbology. Until now. Wolfenstein 3D has now officially been removed from the German Ban list, more than 25 years after the game was released.

The change of heart is based on a court ruling made in 2018, involving a web-based parody game Bundesfighter 2 Turbo . The game, which is a parody of politicians, featured right-wing leader Alexander Gauland who transformed into a Swastika as one of his special moves. The developers appealed the symbology censorship applied to the game with Germany's attorney general, who ruled that the exemption of art applies to video games. This then overrules games censorship rules previously applying to Nazi symbology in German games releases.

 

 

Offsite Article: These new GDPR rules were meant to protect our privacy. They don't work...


Link Here 13th November 2019
Imagine if ITV had to offer an option to let viewers opt out of adverts whilst continuing to watch for free. There would soon be no ITV. Yet the EU cloud cuckoolanders are trying to force the internet to offer that same option

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Offsite Article: The EU: a menace to internet freedom...


Link Here 9th November 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
Two recent ECJ rulings have serious global consequences for internet freedom. By Andrew Tettenborn

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Germany's Online Censorship Laws Inspire the World's Dictators...


Link Here 7th November 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
An anti-hate speech law written in Berlin has been copy-pasted by authoritarian regimes from Caracas to Moscow. By Jacob Mchangama and Joelle Fiss

See article from foreignpolicy.com

 

 

Spanish authorities feel a bit insecure...

Spain blocks Github to try to disrupt a secure communications app used by Catalonian protestors


Link Here 30th October 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Spain...Age verification debated in Parliament
The Spanish government has quietly begun censoring the entirety of GitHub in response to mounting Catalan protests, causing problems for those developers that use the Microsoft-owned service for their work projects.

While the issue is easily remedied by using a VPN, the fact that the Spanish government has been quick to try to censor such a valuable tool speaks volumes for the increasingly prominent but authoritarian idea that mass censorship is the best way to crush dissent.

One new pro-independence group, Tsunami Democratic, organizes digitally online and is known for the mass occupation of Barcelona's El Prat airport by an estimated 10,000 protesters. In addition to other social media it has a website hosted on Github as well as an encrypted communication app that's also available on Github.

The Android app uses geolocation and end-to-end protocols to make sure that only trusted and verified users have access. Verification takes place through the scanning of a QR code of an already-verified member. The app isn't available via Playstore so the APK file containing the app needs to be downloaded and manually installed on a phone.

It's for this reason that the Spanish government has begun to block GitHub in the country, cutting off access to all users. Over the last week, several Spanish internet service providers have blocked access to the service.

 

 

Offsite Article: Upcoming automated censorship...


Link Here 11th October 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
Former MEP Catherine Stihler keeps up the campaign against the EU's censorship machines

See article from eureporter.co

 

 

Facebook can be ordered to remove posts worldwide...

EU judges make up more internet censorship law without reference to practicality, definitions and consideration of consequences


Link Here 4th October 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
Facebook and other social media can be ordered to censor posts worldwide after a ruling from the EU's highest court.

Platforms may also have to seek out similar examples of the illegal content and remove them, instead of waiting for each to be reported.

Facebook said the judgement raised critical questions around freedom of expression. What was the case about?

The case stemmed from an insulting comment posted on Facebook about Austrian politician Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, which the country's courts claimed damaged her reputation.

Under EU law, Facebook and other platforms are not held responsible for illegal content posted by users, until they have been made aware of it - at which point, they must remove it quickly. But it was unclear whether an EU directive, saying platforms cannot be made to monitor all posts or actively seek out illegal activity, could be overridden by a court order.

Austria's Supreme Court asked Europe's highest court to clarify this. The EU curt duly obliged and ruled:

  • If an EU country finds a post illegal in its courts, it can order websites and apps to take down identical copies of the post
  • Platforms can be ordered to take down equivalent versions of an illegal post, if the message conveyed is essentially unchanged
  • Platforms can be ordered to take down illegal posts worldwide, if there is a relevant international law or treaty

Facebook has said countries would have to set out very clear definitions on what 'identical' and 'equivalent' means in practice.  It said the ruling undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on speech on another country.

Facebook is unable to appeal against this ruling.

 

 

The EU's cookie law crumbles like something from Alice in Wonderland...

The EU Court decides that websites cannot use cookies until users have actively ticked a clear consent box, neutrally presented next to a decline option. Who is then going to sign up for tracking?


Link Here 3rd October 2019
Full story: EU ePrivacy Law...The Cookie Law: EU regulate consent for tracking cookies
  


White Rabbit: The EU Council is now in session.

Dormouse: Anyone for a magic cookie. If you accept it you will be devoured by evil giants, if you decline, your community will be visited by pestilence and famine.

Alice: That is an impossible choice.

Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is. Everyone wants some magical solution for their problem and everyone refuses to believe in magic.

Alice: Sometimes I've believed in as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast.

Mad Hatter: And we've legislated them into EU law by lunch
 

European lawmakers (including judges) seem to live in an Alice in Wonderland world where laws are made up on the spur of the moment by either the Mad Hatter, or the Dormouse. No thought is given to how they are supposed to work in practice or how they will pan out in reality.

For some reason EU lawmakers decided that the technology of internet cookies personified all that was bad about the internet, particularly that it is largely offered for 'free' whilst in reality being funded by the invasive extraction and exploitation of people's personal data.

Justifiably there is something to be legislated against here. But why not follow the time honoured, and effective, route of directing laws against the large companies doing the exploiting. It would have been straightforward to legislate that internet companies must not retain user data that defines their behaviour and personal information. The authorities could back this up by putting people in prison, or wiping out companies that don't comply with the law. 

But no, the EU came up with some bizarre nonsensical requirement that does little but train people to tick consent boxes without ever reading what they are consenting to. How can they call this data protection? It's data endangerment.

And unsurprisingly the first wave of implementation by internet companies was to try and make the gaining of consent for tracking cookies a one sided question, with a default answer of yes and no mechanism to say no.

Well it didn't take long to see through this silly slice of chicanery, but that doesn't matter...it takes ages for the EU legal system to gear up and put a stop to such a ploy.

So several years on, the European Court of Justice has now ruled that companies should give real options and should not lead people down the garden path towards the option required by the companies.

In an excellent summary of this weeks court judgement, the main court findings are:

  • pre-ticked boxes do not amount to valid consent,

  • expiration date of cookies and third party sharing should be disclosed to users when obtaining consent,

  • different purposes should not be bundled under the same consent ask,

  • in order for consent to be valid 'an active behaviour with a clear view' (which I  read as 'intention') of consenting should be obtained (so claiming in notices that consent is obtained by having users continuing to use the website very likely does not meet this threshold) and,

  • these rules apply to cookies regardless of whether the data accessed is personal or not.

pdpecho.com commented on what the court carefully decided was the elephant in the room, that would be better not mentioned. ie what will happen next.

The latest court judgement really says that websites should present the cookie consent question something like this.


Website cookie consent
 
YES

I consent to this website building a detailed profile of my browsing history, personal information & preferences, financial standing and political leaning, to be used to monetise this website in whatever way this website sees fit.


NO

No I  do not consent

Now it does not need an AI system the size of a planet to guess which way internet users will then vote given a clearly specified choice.

There is already a bit of discussion around the EU tea party table worrying about the very obvious outcome that websites will smply block out users who refuse to sign up for tracking cookies. The EU refers to this as a cookie wall, and there are rumblings that this approach will be banned by law.

This would lead to an Alice in Wonderland type of tea shop where customers have the right to decline consent to be charged the price of a chocolate chip cookie, and so can enjoy it for free.

Perfect in Wonderland, but in the real world, European internet businesses would soon be following in the footsteps of declining European high street businesses.

 

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