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EU Censorship News

2021: April-June

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Give me your password or else!...

Irish police set to be given powers to demand people's passwords

Link Here18th June 2021
Irish police are to be given powers to demand people's passwords for electronic devices when carrying out a search warrant under new legislation.

The change is part of the Garda Síochána Bill published by Irish Injustice Minister Heather Humphreys. She said:

The aim is to create a system that is both clear and straightforward for gardaí to use and easy for people to understand what powers gardaí can use and what their rights are in those circumstances.

Special measures will be introduced for suspects who are children and suspects who may have impaired capacity.



Promoting repression...

Hungary's parliament passes law banning gay content that may be accessed by under 18s

Link Here15th June 2021
Hungary's parliament has just passed a law banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Of course the reality is that gay material will be widely banned for adults citing the possibility that children could be accessing any open media.

Critics claim the law -- which effectively bans educational programmes and publicity of LGBTQ groups -- would severely restrict freedom of expression and children's rights. More than 5,000 people rallied outside parliament on Monday against the legislation, which LGBTQ groups have compared to similar legislation in Russia.

The legal text reads:

In order to ensure... the protection of children's rights, pornography and content that depicts sexuality for its own purposes or that promotes deviation from gender identity, gender reassignment and homosexuality shall not be made available to persons under the age of 18.

It is not yet clear what scale of punishments will be available to enforce the law.

Local broadcaster RTL Klub Hungary commented:

The law could mean that movies that some see as promoting homosexuality, such as Bridget Jones's Diary, Harry Potter or Billy Elliot, can only be shown at night with an 18-plus classification,



Offsite Article: Adtech: let's get rid of cookie banners...

Link Here1st June 2021
Full story: EU ePrivacy Law...The Cookie Law: EU regulate consent for tracking cookies
Open Rights Group campaigns against a nuisance that is troubling the Internet and the digital life of Europeans: the consent or cookie banner.

See article from



Offsite Article: Spending controls...

Link Here1st June 2021
EU developing online wallet and identity verification system

See article from



Les Miserables...

French anti-smoking campaigners call for less smoking in French movies

Link Here26th May 2021
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films
Anti-smoking campaigners claim that French cinema is addicted to showing smoking on screen. A new survey claims smoking features in nearly all the country's films.

The French League Against Cancer says smoking gets 2.6 minutes of screen time on average per film. Tobacco remains quasi-ubiquitous in French films, the League says. However the survey stretches definitions so as to include the presence of ashtrays and of cigarettes, or a character talking about smoking.

The group claims the exposure glamorises smoking and is calling for new measures to cut down the amount shown in movies. A spokesman explained that the group wants to restrict cultural creation. A spokesperson explains:

We do not want to interfere in cultural creation ...BUT... we do not believe that tobacco smoking adds to the character of movies.

But some prominent French filmmakers are aghast at the suggestion that they could be restricted from depicting tobacco use. Mathieu Kassovitz, the award-winning director of La Haine and star of Am39lie, told the BBC:

Movies are not there to be role models - they are there to show what society is,. We have cigarettes in real life so they should be in movies too.

He also pointed out that smoking is not always shown in a positive light.



No privacy in the EU...

The EU is to re-enable companies to snoop into emails in the name of scanning for child abuse

Link Here6th May 2021
Full story: Mass snooping in the EU...The EU calls for member states to implement internet snooping with response to police requests in 6 hours

The EU Commission has welcomed a political agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on the proposed interim legislation regarding the detection of child sexual abuse online by communications services. This legal adjustment was urgently needed to give certain online communications services such as webmail and messaging services legal certainty in their voluntary measures to detect and report child sexual abuse online and to remove child sexual abuse material, as such services fell under the e-Privacy Directive as of 21 December 2020. The new Regulation will provide guarantees to safeguard privacy and protection of personal data. The voluntary measures play an important role in enabling the identification and rescue of victims and reducing the further dissemination of child sexual abuse material, and contribute to the identification and investigation of offenders as well as the prevention of offences.

The rules agreed today have a narrow scope: they will create a temporary and strictly limited derogation concerning the voluntary detection activities of the online communication services. The main elements of today's agreement include:

  • A definition of child sexual abuse online in line with the existing EU rules on child sexual abuse , including content constituting child sexual abuse material and solicitation of children.

  • Complaint mechanisms so that content that has been removed erroneously can be reinstated as soon as possible.

  • Human oversight for any processing of personal data including, where necessary, human confirmation before reporting to law enforcement authorities or organisations acting in the public interest.

  • Guarantees to protect privacy : Service providers will have to ensure that the technologies they use to detect child sexual abuse online are the least privacy-intrusive.

  • Data protection safeguards: Service providers will have to consult with data protection authorities on their processing to detect and report child sexual abuse online and remove child sexual abuse material. The European Data Protection Board will also be asked to publish guidelines to assist the relevant authorities in assessing compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation of the processing in scope of the agreed Regulation.

  • The Commission will have to establish a public register of organisations acting in the public interest against child sexual abuse, with which providers of online communications services can share personal data resulting from the voluntary measures.

  • Transparency and accountability to be supported by annual transparency reports.

  • A 3-year limit on the application of the Regulation, allowing time for the adoption of long-term legislation in this area.

The Regulation must now be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.

This interim Regulation will cease to apply at the latest 3 years from its application. As announced in the EU Strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse and in the Commission Work Programme for 2021 , the Commission will propose later this year new comprehensive legislation with detailed safeguards to fight child sexual abuse online and offline. These long-term rules will be intended to replace the interim legislation agreed today.



European businesses suffer another attack from the EU...

The EU demands that internet platforms take down terrorist content with an hour of being told

Link Here 2nd May 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
The EU has dreamed up another impossible to comply with piece of internet legislation that places onerous, if not impossible, requirements on small internet businesses that will have to relocate user forums and the likes onto the platforms of the US internet giants that are able to deal with the ludicrously short timescales demanded by the EU.

The EU describes its latest attack on business in a press release:

A new law to address the dissemination of terrorist content online was approved by the EU Parliament:

The new regulation will target content such as texts, images, sound recordings or videos, including live transmissions, that incite, solicit or contribute to terrorist offences, provide instructions for such offences or solicit people to participate in a terrorist group. In line with the definitions of offences included in the Directive on combating terrorism , it will also cover material that provides guidance on how to make and use explosives, firearms and other weapons for terrorist purposes.

Terrorist content must be removed within one hour

Hosting service providers will have to remove or disable access to flagged terrorist content in all member states within one hour of receiving a removal order from the competent authority. Member states will adopt rules on penalties, the degree of which will take into account the nature of the breach and the size of company responsible.

Protection of educational, artistic, research and journalistic material

Content uploaded for educational, journalistic, artistic or research purposes, or used for awareness-raising purposes, will not be considered terrorist content under these new rules.

No general obligation to monitor or filter content

Internet platforms will not have a general obligation to monitor or filter content. However, when competent national authorities have established a hosting service provider is exposed to terrorist content, the company will have to take specific measures to prevent its propagation. It will then be up to the service provider to decide what specific measures to take to prevent this from happening, and there will be no obligation to use automated tools. Companies should publish annual transparency reports on what action they have taken to stop the dissemination of terrorist content.

Next steps

The Regulation will enter into force on the twentieth day following publication in the Official Journal. It will start applying 12 months after its entry into force.



EU funds the development of online age verification...

Kids have to hand over personal data to anyone that asks to protect themselves from handing over personal data to anyone that asks

Link Here 28th April 2021
Full story: EU Internet Video Censorship...EU extends censorship to all video websites
A consortium of twelve of the Europe's leading academic institutions, NGOs and technology providers has been awarded EU funding to design, deliver and pilot a new Europe-wide system. This solution will allow service providers to verify the age of their users to protect them from harmful content, and will ensure that younger children have parental consent before they share personal data. The Age Verification Providers Association is a leading member of the team that will deliver this system.

euCONSENT is a European Commission project under the call:

Outline and trial an infrastructure dedicated to the implementation of child rights and protection mechanisms in the online domain based on the GDPR and other existing EU legislation relevant for the child within the online domain .

The objective of this project, initiated by the European Parliament, is to demonstrate an interoperable technical infrastructure dedicated to the implementation of child protection mechanisms (such as age verification) and parental consent mechanisms as required by relevant EU legislation (such as the Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)).

The euCONSENT solution will be designed with help from children and young people and under the guidance of the continent's leading academic experts, NGOs and other key stakeholders in child rights and online safety. EU Kids Online, Eurochild and COFACE -- FAMILIES EUROPE, amongst others, will provide regular input to the work of the project team, which will be advised by a panel, chaired by John Carr, one of the world's leading campaigners on children's and young people's use of the internet and digital technologies.

The new system will then be used during a pilot phase by over 1,500 children, young people and parents from at least three EU Member States. Users' experience will be independently evaluated to provide convincing evidence for this solution to be adopted across the EU, with hundreds of Europe's kids already positioned as its most enthusiastic advocates to their peers, their parents and EU policymakers.



Brexit has its up sides...

Aggressive new EU terrorism internet censorship law will require onerous and expensive self censorship by all websites

Link Here18th April 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

An upcoming European law pretexts fighting terrorism to silence the whole Internet

In September 2018, under French and German influence, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online .

The text was adopted in December 2018 by the EU Council and adopted (with some changes) by the EU Parliament in April 2019. After negotiations in trilogue (between the three institutions), this text is now back in the Parliament for a final vote .

This new regulation will force every actor of the Web's ecosystem (video or blog platforms, online media, small forums or large social networks) to block in under an hour any content reported as "terrorist" by the police (without a judge's prior authorisation), and therefore to be on call 24/7.

If some "exceptions" have been provided in the text, they are purely hypothetical and will not protect our freedoms in practice :

  • The one hour deadline is unrealistic and only big economic platforms will be capable of complying with such strict obligations. With the threat of heavy fines and because most of them will not be able to comply whithin the removal orders, it will force Web actors to censor proactively any potentially illegal content upstream, using automated tools of mass surveillance developed by Google and Facebook.

  • Such a power given to the police can easily lead to the censorship of political opponents and social movements.

  • The text allows an authority from any Member State to order removal in another Member State. Such cross-border removal orders are not only unrealistic but can only worsen the danger of mass political censorship.

The European Parliament must reject this text



Propaganda victory...

Chinese propaganda channel CGTN works round Ofcom's ban and will now again be available across Europe

Link Here10th April 2021
Full story: Diplomatic Censorship at Ofcom...Ofcom get caught up in international relations
China's state propaganda channel CGTN could soon be back on British TV screens, as French authorities have agreed to regulate, so overriding a decision by the UK TV censor Ofcom to ban the channel.

Ofcom decided to pull CGTN off air in February after finding it unacceptable that the channel is editorially controlled by the Chinese Communist party.

France does not have rules that prohibit state-controlled broadcasters from airing in the country.

But now that the channel is officially regulated by another Council of Europe country, then Ofcom is bound by treaty to accept that CGTN can now broadcast to Britain.

The treaty between members of the Council of Europe, a 47-member organisation that is separate from the EU and therefore not affected by Brexit, mandates that an international broadcaster can beam into the territories of signatories as long as it falls under the jurisdiction of one member.

Saying that, it is not yet clear whether Sky will be including the channel in its package. However Sky currently carries the channel on its networks in Italy and Germany.



Italy ends censorship of films on moral and religious grounds...

Filmmakers will instead self classify their own movies with age ratings

Link Here 7th April 2021

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.

Film 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.

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.

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.

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