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 2021   Latest 

 

SnoopTec...

UK government funds development of methods to snoop on photos on your device


Link Here16th November 2021
Full story: UK Government vs Encryption...Government seeks to restrict peoples use of encryption
The UK government has announced that it is funding five projects to snoop on your device content supposedly in a quest to seek out child porn. But surely these technologies will have wider usage.

The five projects are the winners of the Safety Tech Challenge Fund, which aims to encourage the tech industry to find practical solutions to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse online, without impacting people's rights to privacy and data protection in their communications.

The winners will each receive an initial £85,000 from the Fund, which is administered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Home Office, to help them bring their technical proposals for new digital tools and applications to combat online child abuse to the market.

Based across the UK and Europe, and in partnership with leading UK universities, the winners of the Safety Tech Challenge Fund are:

  • Edinburgh-based Cyan Forensics and Crisp Thinking, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and Internet Watch Foundation, will develop a plug-in to be integrated within encrypted social platforms. It will detect child sexual abuse material (CSAM) - by matching content against known illegal material.
  • SafeToNet and Anglia Ruskin University will develop a suite of live video-moderation AI technologies that can run on any smart device to prevent the filming of nudity, violence, pornography and CSAM in real-time, as it is being produced.
  • GalaxKey, based in St Albans, will work with Poole-based Image Analyser and Yoti, an age-assurance company, to develop software focusing on user privacy, detection and prevention of CSAM and predatory behavior, and age verification to detect child sexual abuse before it reaches an E2EE environment, preventing it from being uploaded and shared.
  • DragonflAI, based in Edinburgh, will also work with Yoti to combine their on-device nudity AI detection technology with age assurance technologies to spot new indecent images within E2EE environments.
  • T3K-Forensics are based in Austria and will work to implement their AI-based child sexual abuse detection technology on smartphones to detect newly created material, providing a toolkit that social platforms can integrate with their E2EE services.

 

 

Making the UK internet the most censorial and red tape infested outside of China...

The Government salivates over suffocating proposals for censoring internet TV, now that it can go even further than the red tape Dystopia called the EU


Link Here 30th August 2021
The UK Government has just opened a public consultation on proposals to significantly extend censorship laws for internet TV to match the nannying, burdensome control freakery that currently applies to broadcast TV in the UK. The tone of the press release highlights the obvious glee that the Government holds for more censorship:

Government to consult on better protections for UK audiences on video-on-demand services

Audiences could be better protected from harmful material like misinformation and pseudoscience while watching programmes on video-on-demand services (VoD), Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced.

  • Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ could be subject to stricter rules protecting UK audiences from harmful material
  • It would mean audiences - particularly children - receive a consistent level of protection on video-on-demand services as they do on traditional broadcasters
  • Ministers seek views to level the regulatory playing field in consultation launched today

The government is considering how to better level the regulatory playing field between mainstream VoD services and traditional broadcasters and is seeking views on the matter in a consultation launched today. This could mean aligning the content standards rules for on-demand TV services with those for traditional linear TV like BBC 1 and Sky.

Now that the UK has left the EU there is an opportunity to create regulation suited to UK viewers that goes beyond the minimum standards as set out in EU regulation under the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

We want to give UK audiences peace of mind that however they watch TV in the digital age, the shows they enjoy are held to the same high standards that British broadcasting is world-renowned for.

It is right that now we have left the EU, we look at introducing proportionate new rules so that UK audiences are protected from harm.

Ofcom data shows a huge growth in popularity and use of on-demand services in the UK. The number of households that subscribe to one rose by almost 350% between 2014 and 2020. In 2021, 75% per cent of UK households say that they have used a subscription VoD service.

Viewers have access to thousands of hours of VoD shows and content at the touch of a button. However, services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ are not regulated in the UK to the same extent as UK linear TV channels.

For example, except for BBC iPlayer, they are not subject to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code which sets out appropriate standards for content including harmful or offensive material, accuracy, fairness and privacy.

This means there is a gap between existing protections for audiences watching traditional TV and those watching newer VoD services. There are some protections for under-18s but minimal rules exist to regulate content. There are very few rules to protect audiences, for example, from misleading health advice or pseudoscience documentaries.

Some service providers have taken welcome steps to introduce their own standards and procedures for audience protection - such as pin-codes and content warnings - but the extent of these measures varies across services. Age ratings are also inconsistent and sometimes non-existent.

The consultation asks for views on whether UK audiences viewing TV-like VoD programmes should receive the same or similar level of protections as when they are watching traditional television. It asks which measures can and should be made consistent across VoD services.

It will also consider whether mainstream VoD services not currently regulated in the UK by Ofcom - like Netflix and Apple TV+ - should be brought within UK jurisdiction to provide accountability to UK audiences who use them.

Not all VoD providers deliver a TV-like experience, so any regulatory change will need to be proportionate, particularly for smaller or niche services, to ensure essential protections like freedom of speech are not affected.

Notes to Editors

  • The consultation is open for 8 weeks and closes on 26 October at 23:45 BST.
  • This review into VoD regulation will form part of a number of measures as part of a wide-ranging broadcasting White Paper into the future of broadcasting which will be published this autumn.
  • The consultation examines the current level of audience protection from harmful content provided through regulation and voluntarily by individual VoD services, and what steps are required to ensure appropriate protection levels for UK audiences going forward.
  • Now the UK has left the European Union, this is an opportunity to improve upon EU aligned provisions under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive with regulations that are designed in the best interests of UK audiences.
  • This consultation does not seek responses on wider broadcasting regulation, nor changes to how television or public service broadcasters such as the BBC or Channel 4 are funded or regulated. This consultation will also not cover changes to advertising rules/restrictions and does not cover topics such as introducing levies/quotas on VoD services. Responses on these issues will not be considered as part of this consultation.

 

 

Updated - Lords comment: Censored comments...

Comments about the UK Government's new Internet Censorship Bill


Link Here21st July 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media

Offsite Comment: The Online Safety Bill won’t solve online abuse

 2nd July 2021. See article by Heather Burns

The Online Safety Bill contains threats to freedom of expression, privacy, and commerce which will do nothing to solve online abuse, deal with social media platforms, or make the web a better place to be.

 

Update: House of Lords Committee considers that social media companies are not the best 'arbiters of truth'

21st July 2021. See article from dailymail.co.uk , See report from committees.parliament.uk

A house of Lords committee has warned that the government's plans for new online censorship laws will diminish freedom of speech by making Facebook and Google the arbiters of truth.

The influential Lords Communications and Digital Committee cautioned that legitimate debate is at risk of being stifled by the way major platforms filter out misinformation. Committee chairman Lord Gilbert said:

The benefits of freedom of expression online mustn't be curtailed by companies such as Facebook and Google, too often guided their commercial and political interests than the rights and wellbeing of their users.

The report said:

We are concerned that platforms approaches to misinformation have stifled legitimate debate, including between experts.

Platforms should not seek to be arbiters of truth. Posts should only be removed in exceptional circumstances.

The peers said the government should switch to enforcing existing laws more robustly, and criminalising any serious harms that are not already illegal.

 

 

Commented: Censorship on Demand...

The Government is considering extending the TV censorship regime to Video on Demand services like Netflix and Apple TV


Link Here8th July 2021

As part of an ongoing strategic review of the UK public service broadcasting system, the government will review the ownership model and remit of Channel 4 and consider tightening regulation of video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.

With a fast-evolving media landscape, increasing competition and changing audience habits posing imminent challenges, moving Channel 4 into private ownership and changing its remit could help secure its future as a successful and sustainable public service broadcaster.

The government will also consult on whether the regulation of video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime need strengthening so they are subject to similar rules as traditional "linear" broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Sky.

It will consider whether new rules are needed to protect viewers of video-on-demand services - such as changes to age ratings and addressing impartiality and accuracy rules for documentaries and news content - alongside measures to level the playing field so public service broadcasters can compete with international rivals.

This will help ensure the country has a diverse, free and pluralistic broadcasting landscape with high standards.

The reviews will come ahead of a broadcasting white paper due in the autumn. The white paper would consider the future of the country's broadcasting landscape with the ultimate aim of making sure it serves listeners and viewers on all platforms and across the UK.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

Technology has transformed broadcasting but the rules protecting viewers and helping our traditional channels compete are from an analogue age.

The time has come to look at how we can unleash the potential of our public service broadcasters while also making sure viewers and listeners consuming content on new formats are served by a fair and well-functioning system.

So we'll now be looking at how we can help make sure Channel 4 keeps its place at the heart of British broadcasting and level the playing field between broadcasters and video-on-demand services.

Video-on-demand services

Video-on-demand services available in the UK are not regulated to the same level as "linear" television channels and some services such as Netflix and Apple TV+ are not regulated in the UK at all.

Only content on the BBC iPlayer is subject to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code, which includes enhanced protections to audiences from harmful or offensive material and rules on accuracy and impartiality.

Existing audience protections on UK-regulated video-on-demand services are primarily focused on children and rules preventing content which incites hatred. Some services have introduced their own voluntary procedures - such as Netflix's voluntary age ratings partnership with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

The current landscape makes for an inconsistent, ad-hoc and potentially harmful gap in regulation between video-on-demand services alongside a potential competitive disadvantage between UK broadcasters and their internationally-funded online counterparts.

It is also almost twenty years since the UK broadcast sector's regulatory framework was introduced in the Communications Act 2003, which was designed before the arrival of online companies such as Apple+, Amazon Prime and Netflix in their current form.

The government will also take forward existing commitments to legislate to strengthen public service broadcasters' "prominence" online so that their video-on-demand content can easily be found and accessed on smart TVs and other platforms and devices.

 

Update: Now the censors are coming for Netflix

8th July 2021. See article from spiked-online.com

The government wants Ofcom to regulate streaming services. This is bad news for free expression.

 2021   Latest 

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