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  Grossly offensive prosecution...

Free speech hero Count Dankula fined 800 pounds for Nazi pug Youtube gag


Link Here 23rd April 2018  full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter

count dankula pug video Youtuber Count Dankula who filmed his girlfriend's pet dog doing a Nazi salute has been fined £800.

Mark Meechan was sentenced at Airdrie Sheriff Court after he was found guilty last month of a 'hate crime'.

He recorded his girlfriend's pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as gas the Jews and Sieg Heil by raising its paw during the footage called M8 Yur Dug's a Nazi .

The original Youtube video had been viewed more than three million times on YouTube.

Surely free speech has dropped to a new low in Britain but the widespread disquiet at the verdict may have helped keep Count Dankula out of prison.

dankula protest video Free speech campaigners orgainised a protest in London to coincide with the announcement of the sentencing.

 

 Commented: Hurt feelings in Liverpool...

Woman convicted for commonly used racial insults from a rap song, that are then ramped up to 'hate' crimes by the personal perception of the investigating police officer


Link Here 23rd April 2018  full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
snapp dogg trippinA woman from Liverpool has been found guilty of sending a supposedly grossly offensive message after posting rap lyrics on Instagram.

The post referenced lyrics from Snap Dogg's I'm Trippin' to pay tribute to a 13-year-old boy who had died in a road crash in 2017. It is not clear exactly which words were deemed to 'hate crimes' but the words 'bitch' and 'nigga' seem to be the only relevant candidates.

Merseyside Police were anonymously sent a screenshot of the woman's Instagram update (on a public profile), which was received by hate crime unit PC Dominique Walker. PC Walker told the court the term the woman had used was grossly offensive to her as a black woman and to the general community.

The Liverpool Echo reported that the woman's defence had argued the usage of the word had changed over time and it had been used by superstar rapper Jay-Z in front of thousands of people at the Glastonbury Festival.

The woman was given an eight-week community order, placed on an eight-week curfew and fined £585.

Prosecutors said her sentence was increased from a fine to a community order as it was a 'hate crime'.

Spiked logoOffsite Comment: Now it's a crime to quote rap lyrics? Censorship in Britain is out of control.

See article from spiked-online.com By Andrew Doyle

So we are facing the bizarre situation in which a teenager has been given an eight-week community order and curfew because one police officer perceives a black musician's work to be inherently racist.

Offsite Video: Liverpool hate speech verdict

See video from YouTube By The Britisher

 
  
An eloquent examination of yet another British free speech failure
 

 

 

 

  Concentrating on what it does best...

IWF publishes its annual report for 2017 and notes that it now longer has the role to censor adult porn on the internet


Link Here 23rd April 2018
iwf 2017 The Internet Watch Foundation released its Annual Report covering 2017 on April 18, 2018 The The IWF searches for and removes online child sexual abuse imagery and the report shows that more of this disturbing material is being found than ever before.

Whilst the IWF concentrates on its commendable work against child abuse images it does have a wider remit to censor adult content deemed to be criminally obscene, and also to censor cartoons and other non-photographic imagery sexually depicting under 18s.

However in this annual report the IWF has announced that it no longer has any remit over adult porn. It writes:

6.4 Wider remit work

5,439 reports of alleged criminally obscene adult content were made to us. Almost all were not hosted in the UK, so they were not in our remit.

3,471 reports of alleged non-photographic images of child sexual abuse were made to us. None of these images were hosted in the UK, so they were not within our remit.

One URL depicted criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK received from a public source.

On 1 August 2017, criminally obscene adult content hosted within the UK was removed from IWF’s remit.

Presumably that role now belongs to the new internet porn censors at the BBFC. Anyway it is surely good for the IWF to rid itself of that toxic task, so it can concentrate on its good work that is supported by more or less everyone.

 

 Extract: Id required for social media users...

Yet more internet censorship laws on the way in Russia


Link Here 23rd April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russian Duma logoRussian lawmakers have proposed a draft law that would impose new obligations on the owners of public networks. Such owners with no registered presence in Russia would be required to set up a local representative office. Other obligations would include identifying users by their mobile phone numbers, deleting fake news, and preventing the posting of materials that promote violence or pornography, contain strong language, or otherwise breach Russian laws governing content.

...Read the full article from jdsupra.com

 

  Parents will be driven nuts if their kids can't spend all day on YouTube and Facebook...

Jeremy Hunt demands that social media companies immediately ban under 13s from using their apps and websites


Link Here 22nd April 2018
This is so wrong on so many levels. Britain would undergo a mass tantrum.

How are parents supposed to entertain their kids if they can't spend all day on YouTube?

And what about all the privacy implications of letting social media companies have complete identity details of their users. It will be like Cambridge Analytica on speed.

Jeremy Hunt wrote to the social media companies:

Dear Colleagues,

jeremy huntThank you for participating in the working group on children and young people's mental health and social media with officials from my Department and DCMS. We appreciate your time and engagement, and your willingness to continue discussions and potentially support a communications campaign in this area, but I am disappointed by the lack of voluntary progress in those discussions.

We set three very clear challenges relating to protecting children and young people's mental health: age verification, screen time limits and cyber-bullying. As I understand it, participants have focused more on promoting work already underway and explaining the challenges with taking further action, rather than offering innovative solutions or tangible progress.

In particular, progress on age verification is not good enough. I am concerned that your companies seem content with a situation where thousands of users breach your own terms and conditions on the minimum user age. I fear that you are collectively turning a blind eye to a whole generation of children being exposed to the harmful emotional side effects of social media prematurely; this is both morally wrong and deeply unfair on parents, who are faced with the invidious choice of allowing children to use platforms they are too young to access, or excluding them from social interaction that often the majority of their peers are engaging in. It is unacceptable and irresponsible for you to put parents in this position.

This is not a blanket criticism and I am aware that these aren't easy issues to solve. I am encouraged that a number of you have developed products to help parents control what their children an access online in response to Government's concerns about child online protection, including Google's Family Link. And I recognise that your products and services are aimed at different audiences, so different solutions will be required. This is clear from the submissions you've sent to my officials about the work you are delivering to address some of these challenges.
However, it is clear to me that the voluntary joint approach has not delivered the safeguards we need to protect our children's mental health. In May, the Department

for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will publish the Government response to the Internet Safety Strategy consultation, and I will be working with the Secretary of State to explore what other avenues are open to us to pursue the reforms we need. We will not rule out legislation where it is needed.

In terms of immediate next steps, I appreciate the information that you provided our officials with last month but would be grateful if you would set out in writing your companies' formal responses, on the three challenges we posed in November. In particular, I would like to know what additional new steps you have taken to protect children and young people since November in each of the specific categories we raised: age verification, screen time limits and cyber-bullying. I invite you to respond by the end of this month, in order to inform the Internet Safety Strategy response. It would also be helpful if you can set out any ideas or further plans you have to make progress in these areas.

During the working group meetings I understand you have pointed to the lack of conclusive evidence in this area — a concern which I also share. In order to address this, I have asked the Chief Medical Officer to undertake an evidence review on the impact of technology on children and young people's mental health, including on healthy screen time. 1 will also be working closely with DCMS and UKRI to commission research into all these questions, to ensure we have the best possible empirical basis on which to make policy. This will inform the Government's approach as we move forwards.

Your industry boasts some of the brightest minds and biggest budgets globally. While these issues may be difficult, I do not believe that solutions on these issues are outside your reach; I do question whether there is sufficient will to reach them.

I am keen to work with you to make technology a force for good in protecting the next generation. However, if you prove unwilling to do so, we will not be deterred from making progress.

 

  Web host Cloudfare bans sex workers social media site, Switter...

America's new FOSTA censorship law is proving devastatingly effective as adult consensual sex work related content has already been deleted from the US internet


Link Here 22nd April 2018  full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers
switter logoSESTA/FOSTA, a bill that president Donald Trump signed into law on April 11 continues to wreak havoc on the lives of sex workers across the United States and abroad.

After getting kicked off of platforms like Craigslist and advertising forums or pre-emptively limiting their digital footprint on social media platforms like Twitter, thousands of sex workers joined an alternative, decentralized social media platform called Switter, where they hoped to safely connect with and vet safe clients.

But on Wednesday, Assembly Four, the organization that developed Switter, announced that its content delivery network provided by the web-hosting company Cloudflare removed and blocked Switter.

At the time of writing, Switter has nearly 49,000 members and more than 376,500 posts, an explosion of activity since the service was launched in late March.

 

 Offsite Article: Right To Be Forgotten...


Link Here 22nd April 2018  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Google logo Should Google Decide Alone? By Ray Walsh

See article from bestvpn.com

 

  Don't forget the BBFC age verification consultation ends on Monday...

Note that BBFC has now re-opened its web pages with the consultation details


Link Here 20th April 2018
alarm clockThe BBFC is consulting on its procedures for deciding if porn websites have implemented adequately strictly such that under 18s won't normally be able to access the website. Any websites not complying will be fined/blocked and/or pressurised by hosting/payment providers and advertisers who are willing to support the BBFC censorship.

Now I'm sure that the BBFC will diligently perform their duties with fairness and consideration for all, but the trouble is that all the horrors of scamming, hacking, snooping, blackmail, privacy etc are simply not the concern of the BBFC. It is pointless to point out how the age verification will endanger porn viewers, it is not in their remit.

If a foreign website were to implement strict age verification and then pass over all the personal details and viewing habits straight to its blackmail, scamming and dirty tricks department, then this will be perfectly fine with the BBFC. It is only their job to ensure that under 18s won't get through the ID checking.

There is a little privacy protection for porn websites with a presence in the EU, as the new GDPR rues have some generic things to say about keeping data safe. However these are mostly useless if you give your consent to the websites to use your data as they see fit. And it seems pretty easy to get consent for just about anything just be asking people to tick a box, or else not be allowed to see the porn. For example, Facebook will still be allowed to slurp all you personal data even within the constraints of GDPR, so will porn websites.

As a porn viewer, the only person who will look after you, is yourself.

The woeful flaws of this bill need addressing (by the government rather than the BBFC). We need to demand of the government: Don't save the children by endangering their parents.

At the very least we need a class of critically private data that websites simply must not use, EVER, under any circumstances, for any reason, and regardless of nominal user consent. Any company that uses this critically private data must be liable to criminal prosecution.

Anyway there have been a few contributions to the debate in the run up to the end of the BBFC consultation.

ageid logoThe Digital Economy Act -- The Truth: AgeID

20th April 2018. See  article from cbronline.com

AgeID says it wants to set the record straight on user data privacy under pending UK smut age check rules. As soon as a customer enters their login credentials, AgeID anonymises them. This ensures AgeID does not have a list of email addresses. We cannot market to them, we cannot even see them

[You always have to be a bit sceptical about claims that anonymisation protects your data. Eg if Facebook strips off your name and address and then sells your GPS track as 'anonymised', when in fact your address and then name can be restored by noting that you spend 12 hours a day at 32 Acacia avenue and commute to work at Snoops R Us. Perhaps more to the point of PornHub, may indeed not know that it was Damian@Green.com that hashed to 00000666, but the browsing record of 0000666 will be stored by PornHub anyway. And when the police come along and find from the ID company that Damian@Green.com hashes to 0000666 then the can simply ask PornHub to reveal the browsing history of 0000666.

backlash logo Tell the BBFC that age verification will do more harm than good

20th April 2018. See  article from backlash.org.uk

MindGeek's age verification solution, AgeID, will inevitably have broad takeup due to their using it on their free tube sites such as PornHub. This poses a massive conflict of interest: advertising is their main source of revenue, and they have a direct profit motive to harvest data on what people like to look at. AgeID will allow them to do just that.

MindGeek have a terrible record on keeping sensitive data secure, and the resulting database will inevitably be leaked or hacked. The Ashley Madison data breach is a clear warning of what can happen when people's sex lives are leaked into the public domain: it ruins lives, and can lead to blackmail and suicide. If this policy goes ahead without strict rules forcing age verification providers to protect user privacy, there is a genuine risk of loss of life.

Update: Marc Dorcel Issues Plea to Participate in U.K. Age-Verification Consultation

20th April 2018. See  article from xbiz.com

marc dorcel french logoFrench adult content producer Marc Dorcel has issued a plea for industry stakeholders to participate in a public consultation on the U.K.'s upcoming age-verification system for adult content. The consultation period closes on Monday. The studio said the following about participation in the BBFC public consultation:

The time of a wild internet where everyone could get immediate and open access to porn seems to be over as many governments are looking for concrete solutions to control it.

U.K. is the first one to have voted a law regarding this subject and who will apply a total blockage on porn websites which do not age verify and protect minors. Australian, Polish and French authorities are also looking very closely into this issue and are interested in the system that will be elected in the U.K.

BBFC is the organization which will define and manage the operation. In a few weeks, the BBFC will deliver the government its age-verification guidance in order to define and detail how age-verification should comply with this new law.

BBFC wants to be pragmatic and is concerned about how end users and website owners will be able to enact this measure.

The organization has launched an open consultation in order to collect the public and concerned professionals' opinion regarding this matter here .

As a matter of fact, age-verification guideline involves a major challenge for the whole industry: age-verification processor cannot be considered neither as a gateway nor a toll. Moreover, it cannot be an instrument to gather internet users' data or hijack traffic.

Marc Dorcel has existed since 1979 and operates on numerous platforms -- TV, mobile, press, web networks. We are used to regulation authorities.

According to our point of view, the two main requirements to define an independent age-verification system that would not serve specific corporate interests are: 1st requirement -- neither an authenticated adult, nor his data should belong to any processor; 2nd requirement -- processor systems should freely be chosen because of their efficiency and not because of their dominant position.

We are also thinking that our industry should have two requests for the BBFC to insure a system which do not create dependency:

  • Any age-verification processor scope should be limited to a verification task without a user-registration system. As a consequence, processors could not get benefits on any data user or traffic control, customers' verified age would independently be stored by each website or website network and users would have to age verify for any new website or network.

  • If the BBFC allows any age-verification processor to control a visitor data base and to manage login and password, they should commit to share the 18+ login/password to the other certified processors. As a consequence, users would only have one age verification enrollment on their first visit of a website, users would be able to log in with the same login/password on any age verification system to prove their age, and verified adults would not belong to any processor to avoid any dependency.

In those cases, we believe that an age-verification solution will act like a MPSP (multiple payment service provider) which processes client payments but where customers do not belong to payment processors, but to the website and where credit card numbers can be used by any processor.

We believe that any adult company concerned with the future of our business should take part in this consultation, whatever his point of view or worries are.

It is our responsibility to take our fate into our own hands.

 

  European Production Orders...

The EU proposes that mass snooping data must be produced by internet companies with 6 hours of a police request


Link Here 19th April 2018
european commission logoThe European Commission has outlined new requirements for telecoms companies, clouds, email service providers, and operators of messaging apps, to produce snooping data on a specified individual within six hours of a rquest.

The proposed European Production Order will allow a judicial authority in one Member State to request electronic evidence (such as emails, text or messages in apps) directly from internet companies with an office in any Member State. The data may be nominally held overseas but will still have to be produced.

That super-short deadline will only be imposed in the case of an emergency. Less urgent investigations have been offered a ten-day deadline.

A European Preservation Order will also be issued to stop service providers deleting data.

The Production Orders will be applicable only to crimes punishable with a maximum sentence of at least three years, but governments have been artificially increasing maximum sentences for quite a while now to ensure that relatively minor crimes can be classed as 'serious'.

The EU Commission has cited terrorism as the justifications for the new requirements, but a 3 year maximum sentence rather suggests that the these orders will be used for more widely than just for terrorism prevention.

 

 Offsite Article: Old injustices...


Link Here 19th April 2018  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook logo Facebook found to be issuing posting punishments for years old posts that were OK at the time but are now contrary to recently updated censorship rules

See article from avn.com

 

 Offsite Article: Internet users left searching for help...


Link Here 19th April 2018
Google logo Google has redesigned its tools so that anti-censorship tools can no longer user Google as a proxy to evade state internet blocking

See article from theverge.com

 

 Offsite Article: Whois confused.com...


Link Here 19th April 2018
ICANN logo Time has run out and the internet overlords are still confused about what to do about the domain 'whois' service that will soon be illegal under EU GDPR privacy protection.

See article from eff.org

 

 Offsite Article: Facebook responds to the EU GDPR privacy requirements...


Link Here 19th April 2018  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
Facebook logo With a pretty new settings pages that boil down to either consenting to Facebook tracking your internet use or else deleting your Facebook account

See article from independent.co.uk

 

  Russians don't play games...

Russia blocks thousands of websites connected to casino games and sports betting


Link Here 18th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Putin's war room

Russia's new war room.
Putin decrees that Russians don't play games.
Maybe it was misunderstood.
 

The Russian internet censor Roskomnadzor, has blocked 1,882 sites with gambling content in just a week.

The latest statistics were published by Betting Business Russia (BBR), an independent online magazine focused on the gaming and betting industry.  The magazine estimates that the censor blocked 806 platforms that represent online casinos, online lotteries or Internet poker rooms.

A large number of the blocked sites during the past week include mirror sites trying to work around previous block. The most nirrored site, with 298 blocked domains, is Fonbet, the country's largest sportsbook operator.

Despite not offering gambling content, another 172 websites were blocked in the period April 8 to April 14. The magazine explains that these sites publish information on bookmakers, casinos, gambling machines, and sweepstakes.

Earlier in March 2018, the censor blocked 7398 sites with gambling content.

Russia has strict anti-gambling laws that prohibit almost any form of betting or real-money games.

 

  Threatening clouds...

Russia blocks millions of websites to try and force hosting companies to take down the encrypted messenger app, Telegram


Link Here 18th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
telegram logoRussia's internet censor Roskomnadzor has blocked an estimated 16 million IP addresses in a massive operation against the banned Telegram messaging app.

Telegram is widely used by the Russian political establishment, and prominent politicians and officials have openly flouted or criticised the ban. Data from the app showed several Kremlin officials had continued to sign in on Tuesday evening, four days after a court ordered the service to be blocked.

Backed by Russia's federal security service (FSB) and a court decision, Roskomnadzor has pushed forward, banning subnets, totalling millions of IP addresses, used by Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud, two hosting sites that Telegram switched to over the weekend to help circumvent the ban.

Andrei Soldatov, the co-author of The Red Web, an authoritative account of internet surveillance in Russia, said the campaign showed a no-holds-barred approach unconcerned with political fallout.  He said:

They've decided the political costs of blocking Telegram and millions and millions of IP addresses used by Amazon and Google are not that high, Soldatov said. Once you cross the line, you can do anything. I think it means that they could move on from Telegram to big services like Facebook and Google.

The tactic of effectively blocking all websites using a hosting company has worked in the past and the hosting companies have dropped websites as ordered by repressive politicians.

 

 Updated: Just sayin' but the most strident anti-gay politicians often turn out to be gay themselves...

Chinese social media site Weibo launches a 3 month campaign against gay content


Link Here 17th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Weibo logoChinese users of the Twitter-like Weibo have started an online protest with the hashtag I am gay in response to a recent government ban of gay content.

About 170,000 Weibo members had used the protst hashtag by midday Saturday before they were censored..

Weibo announced on Fridaythat it has launched a three-month clean-up campaign to get rid of illegal posts including manga and videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence or (related to) homosexuality. It is also targeting violent video games, like Grand Theft Auto.

Weibo's move is perceived as a crackdown by President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party on ideas.

There can be no homosexuality under socialism? a Weibo user wrote, according to AFP. It is unbelievable that China progresses economically and militarily but returns to the feudal era in terms of ideas.

Update: Backtracking

16th April 2018. See  article from bbc.com

Chinese social media network Sina Weibo has backtracked from a controversial gay content ban after a massive outcry.

Last Friday the microblogging platform said that posts related to homosexuality would be taken down. It prompted a deluge of posts from outraged netizens protesting against the decision. On Monday, Sina Weibo said it would reverse the ban.

Over the weekend many in the LGBT community took to the network to protest against the decision, using hashtags such as #IAmGay# and #ScumbagSinaHelloIAmGay#.

weibo gay protestSome tried testing the ban and uploaded pictures of themselves with partners or gay friends or relatives. Among them was LGBT rights activist Pu Chunmei, whose impassioned post accompanied with pictures of her with her gay son quickly went viral. The picture was captioned: Be yourself, don't hide.

As of early Monday morning many such posts were still online, as censors appeared to struggle to keep up with the deluge.

Then Sina Weibo made another announcement: it said its clean-up would no longer apply to homosexual content. We thank everyone for their discussion and suggestions, the company added.

 

  Russia fails to steam open the envelopes...

As Russian court announces Telegram ban, users stand defiant, amused... and worried


Link Here 16th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

telegram logoAs a Moscow court ordered the ban of messenger app Telegram on April 13, 2018, Deputy Communications Minister Alexey Volin tried to sound reassuring: those who want to keep using it, he said, will look for ways to bypass the blocking. In a rare moment of consensus with the Russian authorities, many Telegram users agreed.

Though conceived as a messenger app similar to WhatsApp, Telegram earned its popularity in Russia thanks to its "channels," a blogging platform somewhere between Twitter and Facebook which quickly attracted political commentators, journalists and officials. Telegram channels are a booming business, they are widely used in political and corporate wars. Last year Vedomosti, a business newspaper, claimed that political ads (or damaging leaks) on Telegram's most popular channels could cost as much as 450,000 rubles ($7,500.)

But Telegram's CEO Pavel Durov has repeatedly and vocally refused to comply with the demand of Russian security services to give up the messenger's encryption keys . And as the year-long battle between Telegram and the Russian authorities seemed to draw to a close with the decision to block the app, reaction to the announcement has been passionate and often derisive.

Kristina Potupchik, formerly a press officer for a pro-Kremlin youth movement, wrote:

Russia has finally become the world's second largest economy after China! At least in the field of permanently blocking Telegram.

Channels dedicated to Russian politics and the inner workings of the Kremlin --among the most popular on the platform-- also largely claimed they were not worried by the ban. About 85% of our users have installed one [a VPN] in the last 24 hours. If you haven't, here are the instructions, channel "Karaulny" (The Sentinel) told its 66,000+ followers.

So far, Telegram remains available in Russia, though sources have told the Interfax news agency that blocking could start as early as April 16.

Comment: Russia crosses another red line in online censorship

16th April 2018. See  article from rsf.org

Reporters without Borders logoReporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns today's decision by a Moscow court to order the immediate blocking of the popular encrypted messaging service Telegram after it refused to surrender its encryption keys to the Russian intelligence agencies. The decision represents yet another escalation in online censorship and an additional obstacle to journalism in Russia, RSF said.

Johann Bihr, the head of RSF's Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. said:

By blocking Telegram, the Russian authorities are crossing another red line in their control of the Internet. This is a major new blow to free speech in Russia. It also sends a strong intimidatory signal to the digital technology giants that are battling with the Russian authorities. The authorities are targeting a tool that is essential for the work of journalists, especially for the confidentiality of their sources and data.

 

 Offsite Podcast: Podcast: Steve Winyard - Age Verification and AV Secure...


Link Here 16th April 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
avsecure Perhaps the most hopeful age verification technology where you can be age verified for porn at your local supermarket without providing any ID whatsoever

See article from itsadult.com

 

  One law for the rich and no law for the poor...

It takes 10s of 1000s of pounds for the justice system to consider the nuances of censorship and the right to be forgotten yet we hand over the task to Google who's only duty is to maximise profits for shareholders


Link Here 15th April 2018  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Old BaileyA businessman fighting for the right to be forgotten has won a UK High Court action against Google.

The unnamed businessman who won his case was convicted 10 years ago of conspiring to intercept communications. He spent six months in jail. He as ked Google to delete online details of his conviction from Google Search but his request was turned down.

The judge, Mr Justice Mark Warby, ruled in his favour on Friday.

But he rejected a separate but similar claim made by another businessman who had committed a more serious crime. The other businessman, who lost his case, was convicted more than 10 years ago of conspiring to account falsely. He spent four years in jail.

Google said it would accept the rulings.

We work hard to comply with the right to be forgotten, but we take great care not to remove search results that are in the public interest, it said in a statement:

We are pleased that the Court recognised our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgements they have made in this case.'

Explaining the decisions made on Friday, the judge said one of the men had continued to mislead the public while the other had shown remorse.

But how is Google the right organisation to arbitrate on matters of justice where it is required to examine the level of remorse shown by those requesting censorship?

 

 Offsite Article: At least the Great Firewall helps protect the west from Chinese online competitors...


Link Here 15th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Great Firewall of China China's internet censorship should be lifted for the sake of the economy and innovators

See article from scmp.com

 

 Offsite Article: AI censors are just round the next corner...


Link Here 15th April 2018  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
us congress A good report from Mark Zuckerberg's grilling at the US Congress

See article from lawfareblog.com

 

 Offsite Article: High School DXD Season 4...


Link Here 15th April 2018
high school dxd 4 Funimation explains how the first US streaming will feature a censored version until the release window allows the streaming of the uncensored version

See article from comicbook.com

 

  Facebook censored criticism of the mainstream media...

A Facebook poster who was censored in the name of Germany's NetzDG law wins a first skirmish in a German court


Link Here 14th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
germanyA Berlin court has issued an injunction ordering Facebook not to block a user and not to delete a comment

The order appears to be the first such court intervention against censorship in Germany.

Last year a new law called the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) came into effect that effectively frces Facebook to over censor just in case it gets hit by ludicrously large fines. And it was an example of this over reaction by Facebook that is being challenged in court

The comment in question was placed by Gabor B under a Basler Zeitung article that referenced anti-immigrant statements by Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister. The Germans are becoming ever more stupid, Gabor B's comment, posted in January, read. No wonder, since they are every day littered with fake news from the left-wing Systemmedien about 'skilled workers', declining unemployment rates or Trump.

When Facebook removed his comment and hit him with a 30-day account suspension, Gabor B retained conservative Hamburg lawyer Joachim Steinhöfel who is well known for taking on free-expression cases and is running something of a crusade against what he sees as Facebook's overenthusiastic application of the NetzDG.

 

  Eying the UK policy to save the children by endangering their parents...

Moralist campaign group in New Zealand seems to be persuading the government to consider UK style age verification for porn viewing


Link Here 13th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in New Zealand...New Zealand considers internet blocking
Family First logoThe New Zealand moralist campaign group Family First have been campaigning for new laws to censor pornography.

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie is calling for an expert panel to consider health and social issues supposedly created by pornography, and somehwhat presumptively, how to solve the problems identified.

More than 22,000 people signed McCoskrie's petition, and this week he spoke to the Governance and Administration Select Committee at Parliament, where he said porn was feeding the health crisis of the digital age.

Parliament's Governance and Administration Select Committee is currently considering the petition and whether to set up an 'expert' panel.

Chief censor David Shanks seems to have been caught up in the pre-censorship momentum. He said more needs to be done to understand porn use, and the effects. Then NZ can get to work tackling the issue. He added that New Zealand needs to take a societal approach to tackling the pervasive effects of porn, including further regulation.

As far as regulation goes, Shanks said New Zealand could consider making similar moves to the United Kingdom, where anyone wanting to watching online porn had to go through an official age verification process. An ISP-level ban, where pornography viewers had to opt in to viewing pornographic content, could also be part of the solution.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification, headed by the chief censor, was dedicating its major research project for the year to the prevalence, and effects of porn.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said he was aware of the issues surrounding pornography use, and he was open to suggestions on what regulatory approach New Zealand could take to tackle problems. However, there was no specific legislation in the pipeline at the moment.

 

  Paying a heavy price for repression...

Tanzania introduces an unviably steep tax on blogging


Link Here 13th April 2018
Tanzania flagBlogging has been popular in Tanzania for more than a decade, enabling writers and independent journalists to express views and report news that might not otherwise appear in mainstream media. But as of last month, this kind of work will come with a price tag.

On March 16, 2018, the United Republic of Tanzania issued the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations demanding that bloggers must register and pay over USD $900 per year to publish online.

Application 2. These Regulations shall apply to online content including: (a) application services licensees; (b) bloggers; (c) internet cafes; (d) online content hosts; (e) online forums; (f) online radio or television; (g) social media; (h) subscribers and users of online content; and (i) any other related online content.

The new regulations have far-reaching implications for freedom of expression and human rights. Bloggers must fill out official regulatory forms and avoid publishing prohibited content including nudity, hate speech, explicit sex acts, extreme violence, "content that causes annoyance" fake news, and "bad language" among other restrictions.

The new regulations grant unrestrained power to the Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority ( TCRA ) to prescribe and proscribe. Under Part II, Number 4, TCRA then has the authority:

(a) to keep register of bloggers, online forums, online radio and online television;
(b) to take action against non-compliance to these Regulations, including to order removal of prohibited content

iAfrikan News further explains :

Online content publishers (blogs, podcasts, videos) will apply for a license at a fee of 100,000 Tanzanian Shillings (44 USD) pay an initial license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings (440 USD) and an annual license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings (440 USD). This means to run something as simple as a personal blog (text) if you live in Tanzania, you'd have to spend an initial (approximately) $900 (USD) in license fees.

[A quick look at average salary figures on Wikipedia suggests that the average annual salary in Tanzania ia about 900,000 Tanzanian Shillings, so the licence fees are simply impossible for the majority of Tanzanians].

According to Tanzania Bloggers Network Secretary-General Krantz Mwantepele, as quoted in The Citizen, many Tanzanian bloggers cannot afford these fees because the "license applications and annual subscriptions are way beyond earnings of many bloggers."

What is clear is that breaches of the new law will be punishable with a fine of "not less than five million Tanzanian shillings" (around USD $2,500), or imprisonment for "not less than 12 months or both."

Blogging as alternative news in Tanzania

Blogging emerged in Tanzania around 2007 and became popular as an alternative news platform with educated, middle class people, as well as politicians and political parties.

In Tanzania, where media historically holds strong ties to government interests, blogging opened up possibilities for individuals to establish private news outlets that proved immensely powerful in terms of reach and readership.

Before the rise of mobile apps, access to a stable Internet connected and laptop were imperative for bloggers. This set a relatively high barrier to participation for people with limited income.

 

  Mr. Sorry Goes to Washington...

Mark Zuckerberg apologises again for Facebook's disdain of privacy protection


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
mr sorryGrovelling to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, Mark Zuckerberg apologised that Facebook had not taken a broad enough view of its responsibility for people's public information. He ssaid:

It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here.

Zuckerberg said its audit of third-party apps would highlight any misuse of personal information, and said the company would alert users instantly if it found anything suspicious.

When asked why the company did not immediately alert the 87 million users whose data may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica (CA) when first told about the improper usage in 2015, Zuckerberg said Facebook considered it a closed case after CA said it had deleted it. He apologised:

In retrospect it was clearly a mistake to believe them.

Zuckerberg's profuse apologies seem to have been a hit at the stock exchange but techies weren't impressed when he clammed up when asked for details on how Facebook snoops on users (and non-users).

 

  Mr. Sorry skips Westminster...

Matt Hancock roasts two execs about Facebook's disdain of privacy protection


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
mr sorryUK Censorship Culture Secretary Matt Hancock met Facebook executives to warn them the social network is not above law.

Hancock told US-based Vice President of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert, and Global Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Stephen Deadman he would hold their feet to the fire over the privacy of British users.

Hancock pressed Facebook on accountability, transparency, micro-targeting and data protection. He also sought assurances that UK citizens data was no longer at risk and that Facebook would be giving citizens more control over their data going forward.

Following the talks, Hancock said:

Social media companies are not above the law and will not be allowed to shirk their responsibilities to our citizens. We will do what is needed to ensure that people's data is protected and don't rule anything out - that includes further regulation in the future.

 

  The EU hates Facebook too...

But then again, its doesn't much care for its own people either


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
Image: Facepalm , Brandon Grasley, CC-BYA loss of trust in Facebook in the light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal could prompt the EU to scrap its voluntary code of conduct on the removal of online hate speech in favour of legislation and heavy sanctions, European commission Vera Jourová said.

The EU's executive is examining how to have hateful content censored swiftly by social media platforms, with legislation being one option that could replace the current system.

JJourová said she would be grilling Sheryl Sandberg , Facebook's chief operating officer, later this week over unanswered questions about the company's past errors and future plans.

Jourove said she was wary of following the German path, because of the thin line between removing offensive material and censorship, but said all options were on the table.

 

  Taking tips from Putin on how to censor the internet...

Trump signs bill to censor websites offering services for sex workers


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
donald trumpPresident Donald Trump has signed the internet censorship FOSTA/SESTA bill into law, paving the way for more law enforcement actions against websites that facilitate prostitution.

Websites started shutting down sex-work forums even before Trump signed the bill. Craigslist removed its Personals section, Reddit removed some sex-related subreddits, and the Erotic Review blocked any user who appears to be visiting the website from the United States.

The bill becoming law will likely lead to more voluntary site shutdowns or law enforcement actions against sites that continue to be used for prostitution.

The SESTA and FOSTA acronyms (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) suggest that the new law is aimed at cracking down on sex trafficking. But the law barely distinguishes between trafficking and consensual sex work.

Operators of websites that let sex workers interact with clients could face 25 years in prison under the new law.

 

  Pinned...

Netflix US introduces new PIN options for parental control and on screen age ratings


Link Here 12th April 2018

age artings on netflixAt Netflix, we offer a wide variety of series and films catering to an equally broad variety of tastes and sensibilities. With that in mind, we are improving some long-standing Netflix features that provide members with the information and tools they need to make wise decisions about what's right for themselves and for their families. We're rolling out these improvements across the many devices used by Netflix members, and across our global markets, in the coming months.

The first change involves introducing a PIN parental control for individual movies and series to give parents and guardians more specific control over what children can watch on the service. We understand that every family is different and that parents have differing perspectives on what they feel is appropriate to watch at different ages. While we already provide PIN protection for all content at a particular maturity level for Netflix accounts, PIN protection for a specific series or film provides families with an additional tool to make decisions they are comfortable with.

In addition, we will also begin displaying more prominently the maturity level rating for a series or film once a member hits play on a title. While these maturity ratings are available in other parts of the experience, we want to ensure members are fully aware of the maturity level as they begin watching. We are also continuing to explore ways to make this information more descriptive and easier for our members to understand with just a quick glance.

One of the great benefits of internet TV is that it allows for amazing variety and provides viewers with complete control over their experience. At Netflix, we are proud to create and deliver to our members a large catalog of compelling stories crossing many genres from all over the world, while also giving them great control over how and when to enjoy them. These latest steps are part of our continuous efforts to keep members better informed, and more in control, of what they and their families choose to watch and enjoy on Netflix.

 

 Offsite Article: Porn Age Verification Rules...


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
cbr logo Expensive, Ineffective and a Hacker's DelightIncrease. By Vince Warrington, Founder Protective Intelligence

See article from cbronline.com

 

 Offsite Article: Free speech and Nazi dogs...


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
count dankula pug video David Baddiel on the disgraceful prosecution of Count Dankula

See article from the-tls.co.uk

 

  Now you have to pay tax for the privilege of having your data exploited...

Uganda dreams up the idea to tax social media usage


Link Here 11th April 2018
Uganda flagThere is no shortage of hostility towards Facebook at the moment, as a result of recent revelations about their exploitation of user data and dissemination of supposed 'fake news'.

And the Ugandan Government has taken this to a whole new level and come up with a novel approach to try and steer Ugandan social media users away from US social media like Facebook and WhatsApp; a social media tax.

The social media tax proposal has been widely mocked by Ugandan internet users and experts, but it seems that the idea, which is thought to have emanated from the long-standing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni himself, is destined to be implemented anyway.

His justification was that because social media apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp were developed overseas, Ugandan's are merely consumers of their services and profits from these apps are all being made overseas.

Information minister Frank Tumwebaze claimed that the Ugandan Government wanted to foster online innovation at home and claimed that by taxing these overseas services, Ugandan's would be encouraged to develop their own rival apps.

Exactly how the tax will work in practice is still unclear.

 

  Censorship straight out of the Ministry of Truth...

Crazed Californian senator proposes law to require all local websites to get all news items censored by a government approved fact checker


Link Here 11th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
California state sealThere is no shortage of hostility towards Facebook at the moment, as a result of recent revelations about their exploitation of user data and dissemination of supposed 'fake news'.

And the Californian Government has taken this to a whole new level and come up with a tradition approach to demand that all online news in the state is censored by government approved 'fact checkers'.

California State Senator Richard Pan introduced the bill SB1424 Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan. that requires any online communication to be run through government-approved censors fact-checkers.

This bill would require any person who operates a social media Internet Web site with a physical presence in California to develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Web site. The bill would require the plan to include, among other things, a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false information.

Although the bill initially suggests that this would apply only social media companies, the definitions confirm that it would apply to all internet communications from individuals, and companies large and small. The scope is defined in the bill:

As used in this section, social media means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.

conservativedailynews.com notes:

The bill stands little chance of passing and, if it did, would face serious challenges in court as an infringement of The First Amendment, but it is astonishing that a legislator would even consider such a thing in America.

 

  Even Russian internet censors consider public outcry when blocking social media...

Why are western internet companies cooperating with the Putin regime to censor the web


Link Here 10th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

roskomnadzor logoAfter Instagram removed a video detailing a corruption investigation into Russia's ruling elite, it's time to talk about social networks and the Kremlin.

The one thing that compensates for the strictness of Russian laws is the lack of necessity to follow them. The Russian writer Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin may have penned this aphorism in the mid-19th century, but it's still relevant in 2018 203 especially when discussing the specifics of doing business in Russia and interacting with the Russian government.

A recent practical lesson in this reality emerged when president Putin signed the Personal Data Domestication Law (PDDL) in 2015. The PDDL, effective from 1 September 2015, demanded that every piece of personal data of Russian citizens operated by any online service should be stored in a data warehouse within the Russian Federation's geographical borders.

This is a quite remarkable (and typical) piece of Russia's legislative absurdity. Imagine a small online store somewhere in France selling, for instance, carpets. It stores its customers' data on a cloud service without even knowing the whereabouts of physical servers. In France? Iceland? Is the data somehow distributed throughout the globe by the hosting service provider? Even if the store managed to somehow separate its customers with Russian citizenship (and here don't forget the homesick employees of the French embassy in Moscow ordering carpets from home, still not being subject to the PDDL), it is hard to imagine our hypothetical store would be capable to setup technical infrastructure to comply with the PDDL.

Of course, Russian legislators were not concerned with small online stores (though a verbatim reading of the PDDL leaves no chance of excluding them). The law is targeted at messaging services and social networks: Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, Skype and so on. Roskomnadzor (the Russian government internet censorship agency) has been very clear 203 Facebook and Google should move their servers to Russia, making their users data and, most important, messages subject to SORM, the internet surveillance system created and run by the Russian security services.

An online petition addressed to Google, Facebook and Twitter urging them not to comply with the PDDL and thus to protect privacy and data of their customers from the FSB was launched in summer 2015. It quickly collected over 50,000 signatures, and some of the best known Russian internet gurus among them. It's hard to say whether the petition was effective or that the internet companies calculated their expenses for fulfilment of the PDDL, but the fact is three years later, in 2018, none of the major players (Viber being the only exception among messengers) agreed to follow the PDDL. No sanctions from Roskomnadzor followed, though it did threaten them on a number of occasions.

Why so? Dura lex, sed lex, surely? The legislation could be perfectly absurd, yet still it might be hard for a western reader to imagine how a corporation (with all its lawyers and compliance departments) could just disobey it and walk away. But this is Russia 203 not a democracy, but an authoritarian regime. And there is no rule of law, but the rule of political momentum.

Shutting down Twitter in Russia, where politicians loyal to Putin have accounts and enjoy tweeting, or including Instagram on Roskomnadzor's blacklist (which would imply an immediate block by any ISP in Russia), making million of young Instagram users unhappy just before the parliamentary and presidential elections 203 any decision of this kind has to be approved by the Russian president himself. No court and no other part of the regime would dare to take responsibility given the possible political consequences. Anything that could make people unhappy and drive them to the streets is decided by Putin. This is the way an autocracy operates.

linkedin logoOnce you realise this fact, it's easy to see why LinkedIn was selected by Roskomnadzor as the first victim of PDDL in summer 2016. Indeed, LinkedIn is still the only victim. It was selected by Roskomnadzor carefully: sure, it's a big brand, with an even a bigger one behind it (Microsoft), but LinkedIn's popularity in Russia has been limited to a small part of the white-collar audience working for or doing business with western companies. A rather small audience. And what's more important: this is not the kind of audience that would march on the streets against internet censorship. LinkedIn was chosen to scare off larger players. On the technical and legal side, there was absolutely no difference between how LinkedIn and how Facebook stored and dealt with the personal data of their Russian users. The only thing that made a difference was politics.

This PDDL case has been an important lesson, and it's a pity that not everyone has learnt it for good. In February, Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader unlawfully banned from the presidential election, but who remains Putin's most prominent and feared critic, published a video proving that Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to US lobbyist Paul Manafort, secretly met with Sergey Prikhodko, deputy prime minister of Russian government who oversees foreign policy. Indeed, the leaked conversation happened during a yacht trip off the Norwegian coast in August 2016. Several escort girls were also present.

This could be the missing link between Manafort and Putin 203 and perhaps it was, judging from the Russian government's reaction. The day after Navalny's investigation was published online on YouTube and Instagram, a court in the small southern Russian city of Ust'-Labinsk (which happens to be Deripaska's hometown) decided that Navalny's video violated the oligarch's and deputy prime minister right to a private life (!). It ordered every instance of the video to be blacklisted by Roskomnadzor, effective immediately. This pace was record-breaking: usually any lawsuits relating to violation of an individual's right to a private life take years. For instance, in summer 2016, the FSB leaked footage of Navalny fishing with his family on a lake. This surveillance video was included as part of a documentary on a state-owned TV-channel, and used as evidence that opposition leader spends his vacation in too chic a manner. The court is still due to set a hearing date.

But what does it mean when Roskomnadzor is required to block some video from the technical point of view? When a website is blacklisted, it is included on the registry of forbidden content, which Roskomnadzor updates several times a day and distributes among all Russians ISPs. The latter face huge fines or the revocation of their license if they fail to restrict access their customers' access to every website included in the registry. If a website uses HTTPS, a secure connection protocol, though, the ISP doesn't possess the information concerning which exact URL a user is trying to reach. Technically, in the Deripaska case, only two entries on Navalny's blog have been included in the blacklist registry, but all the ISPs blocked the entire domain of Navalny.com (some of them even blocked all the subdomains, including the website of Navalny's presidential campaign). They simply had no choice. Similarly, should any single YouTube video be included in the registry, YouTube will become inaccessible for customers of Russian ISPs on the same day. Should any Instagram story be put on the blacklist, millions of Instagram users will get angry. This is already politics.

Thus, having a valid (albeit speedy) court decision beforehand, Roskomnadzor immediately blacklisted navalny.com and a few dozen other websites which dared to publish Navalny's investigation 203 but not the YouTube and Instagram videos with exactly the same information and mentioned in the same court decision alongside other prohibited URLs. At the end of the day, Roskomnadzor are not fools: they are well aware of the risk of shutting down YouTube 203 this kind of action nearly led to a coup in Brazil recently. Instead, Roskomnadzor started sending emails. They informed YouTube and Instagram that Navalny's video is recognised as illegal in Russia and asked them to remove it voluntarily. YouTube contacted Navalny's office and asked him to remove it. Navalny refused. Youtube refused also. Instagram took the video down without even attempting to contest Roskomnadzor's email. Roskomnadzor threatened Google with sanctions because of YouTube's disobeyal. Google ignored it.

A month later, the video (which has over seven million views) is still freely accessible on the YouTube. No sanctions were applied to Google. After two weeks of threats, Roskomnadzor officially admitted it is not considering shutting down YouTube in Russia. So Google, via YouTube, has outplayed internet censorship and once again, as in the case of PDDL, proven its readiness to put its customers' interests first. Meanwhile, Facebook, in the form of Instagram, should be considered a company that is ready to help Putin clean up the Manafort mess by censoring material online.

Legal compliance shouldn't be the only way of doing business in authoritarian states, where the regime can easily undertake unlawful actions to pursue political goals. Politics is another consideration. So is protecting your customers.

 

  Widespread censorship to target a small proportion of crime...

US Authorities censor backpage.com featuring small ads by sex workers advertising their services


Link Here 10th April 2018  full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers
backpage seizedThe US authorities have taken control of a classified adverts website used by sex workers to advertise their services.

A notice was posted on Backpage.com's various international front pages late last week to inform visitors.

The site had previously shut down the adult section of its US site, but critics had alleged that prostitution ads had simply moved to other pages.

The authorities claim that some of the adverts were for trafficked sex workers, but such claims are generally hyped up by those campaigning to prohibit adult consensual sex work and rarely amount to any more than a few cases when properly investigated.

The US media has also reported that Backpage's co-founder Michael Lacey was arrested last week and his home raided.

The Californian authorities had previously attempted to close Dallas-based Backpage.com in 2016, when the state prosecuted the business's chief executive and two ex-owners - including Mr Lacey - over claims they had committed pimping offences and generated millions of dollars by hosting sex trade ads. However, the case was dismissed on the grounds that the US's Communications Decency Act said that publishers should not be held responsible for content created solely by their users.

But last month, Congress passed a new law, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (Fosta). It states that websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts should no longer be granted the same protection.

It has been reported that President Trump will sign a Senate-approved version of the act into law this week.

 

 Offsite Article: Endangering the people...


Link Here 10th April 2018  full story: US Crypto Wars...US authorities look to breaking the encryption used to keep people safe
democrats donkey logo US 'Democrats' re-visit legislation demanding that the US authorities should be given a backdoor key to encrypted communications

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

  Sounds like China...

The European Commission proposes designating internet censors, which it euphemistically calls 'trusted flaggers', and then requiring internet hosting companies to censor whatever the 'trusted flaggers' say


Link Here 9th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
european commission logoThe EU Commission has recommended an internet censorship decision sounding like something straight out of China. The system consists of designating police, state censors, commercial censors acting for the state, and perhaps independent groups like the IWF. These are euphemistically known as trusted flaggers.

Website and content hosting companies will then be required to remove any content (nominally illegal content) in a timely manner.

The IWF usefully summarises the proposals as follows:

The EU Commission's proposals to tackle illegal content online include:

  • Hosting providers and Member States being prepared to submit all monitoring information to the Commission, upon request, within six months (three months for terrorist content) in order for the Commission to assess whether further legislation is required.
  • Recommends introducing definitions for "illegal content" and "trusted flaggers".
  • Fast track procedures should be introduced for materials referred by trusted flaggers.
  • Hosting providers to publish a list of who they consider to be a "trusted flagger".
  • Automated takedown of content is encouraged, but should have safeguards such as human oversight.
  • Terrorist content should be removed within one hour.

 

 Offsite Article: Does a Pinocchio nose defeat facial recognition software?...


Link Here 9th April 2018
Facial recognition with Pinocchio nose Facebook's move to roll out previously banned facial recognition technology in Europe, just when new privacy rules are coming into force, is causing an uproar. By Mark Scott and Naomi O'Leary

See article from politico.eu

 

  Grime busters...

The Government launches a Serious Violence Strategy that will consider further censorship of gang related content in music and videos on social media platforms


Link Here 8th April 2018
Home Offie logoThe government has announced a new Offensive Weapons Bill, which will be brought forward within weeks. It will ban the sale of the most dangerous corrosive products to under-18s and introduce restrictions on online sales of knives. It will also make it illegal to possess certain offensive weapons like zombie knives and knuckle-dusters in private.

The government notes that the new legislation will form part of the government's Serious Violence Strategy, which will be launched tomorrow.

Along with other issues the Serious Violence Strategy will examine how social media usage can drive violent crime and focus on building on the progress and relationships made with social media providers and the police to identify where we can take further preventative action relevant to tackling serious violence.

When the strategy is launched tomorrow, the Home Secretary will call on social media companies to do more to tackle gang material hosted on their sites and to make an explicit reference to not allowing violent gang material including music and video on their platforms.

 

  YouTube Nazis...

YouTube are banning, censorsing and de-monitising independent voices seemingly to put mainstream media back in control


Link Here 8th April 2018  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
trunews logoTruNews is a 'YouTube channel run by the outlandish evangelist Rick Wiles. It has just been targetted by Google's censorship policies nad has been kicked into the unsearchable long grass.

Perhaps banned for being 'fake news' but in reality it is a little too unbelievable to even count as 'fake'. freethinker.co.uk offer an amusing description of why the channel has been censored:

Why? Because Wiles's broadcasts are so damned nutty they serve as a warning to viewers that this is what happens when people's brain's are running on Jesus.

Of course, Wiles is even more miffed. He alludes to Google not following its 'don't be evil' mantra:

I have warned for years that a spirit of Nazism is rising up inside the USA. The new Nazis are here. America is on the verge of a French Revolution-style upheaval during which leftist mobs will seek to execute Christians and conservatives in order to purge American society.

But this isn't the only example of Google being 'evil'. jimmy dores show video

See video from YouTube titled YouTube Admits Not Notifying Subscribers & Screwing With Algorithms

Jimmy Dore notes that independent news sites often no longer qualify for monetisation, they are booted into the unsearchable long grass (as noted by TruNews) and now Google no longer informs subscribers when new videos are added. He contends that the powers that be want news videos from mainstream media to be the dominant news source for YouTube viewers.

 

 Offsite Article: If YouTube-Ripping Sites Are Illegal, What About Tools That Do a Similar Job?...


Link Here 8th April 2018
torrentfreak logo YouTube-MP3 was the world's largest YouTube-ripping service but last year it shut down following a lawsuit filed by the world's largest record labels. But what about companies that supply rip-it-yourself downloading tools

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

  So much for the constitution then...

US internet censorship of websites related to sex work is hitting hard


Link Here 6th April 2018  full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers
cityxguide logoThe US has passed laws FOSTA/SESTA that make internet websites responsible for any user content related to sex trafficking. Websites can't distinguish sex trafficking from adult consensual sex work information so have respponded in the only way they can be banning all sex work related content, just in case.
  • Cityvibe shut down completely,
  • the Erotic Review, the Yelp of the sex trade where men rate their experiences with sex workers, shut down advertisement boards in the United States,
  • NightShift shut down to review policies,
  • VerifyHim shut down its newsreel,
  • Craigslist personals section was shut down,
  • Reddit's prostitution-related subreddits were marked private and the site instituted new policies banning the sale of sex acts and drugs,
  • Google reportedly deleted its publicly shared commercial sex-related advertising,
  • WordPress.com reportedly removed its commercial sex-related advertising sites,
  • Paypal reportedly disabled advertised accounts for commercial sex-related payment,
  • Rubmaps, Erotic Monkey, and USA Sex Guide had extended maintenance periods over the weekend, suggesting upcoming changes due to the new law,
  • Microsoft is issuing new Terms of Service effective May 1st covering all of its platforms, including Skype and Xbox, to urge users not to use the services to share pornography or criminal activity.

The sex trafficking sites Cityxguide and Backpage were reportedly seeing a surge in use by sex workers as the other sites shut down.

Perhaps there's an opportunity for European companies to get a look in and offer replacement services to the US.

 

  Trump should declare reverse tariffs to charge Chinese companies more to use US VPNs...

The Chinese VPN ban hasn't kicked in yet


Link Here 6th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
nordvpn logo

China's VPN ban came into effect on March 31, 2018, but virtual private network providers are still claiming their users have access to their services in the country.

NordVPN has reportied a lack of information from Chinese authorities about how and when exactly the ban will be implemented. The company also said businesses have reported that so far there have been no announcements from authorities about the ban. The company commented:

We understand the concern of local and international businesses in China, as well as the needs of scholars, scientists, students, and others who vitally need VPNs to freely access the World Wide Web,

Perhaps the rest of the world would well appreciate Chinese VPN blocking, it must surely make trade a bit tougher for Chinese companies to be cut off from the world.

 

  Fake News Offers Latin American Consolidated Powers...

An Opportunity to Censor Opponents


Link Here 6th April 2018  full story: Fake News...Declining respect for the authorities is blamed on 'fake' news

Electronic Frontier Foundation Today's headlines are dominated by the role of misinformation campaigns or "fake news" in undermining democracy in the West. From ongoing accusations of Russian meddling in Trump's election to Russian efforts to sway the Brexit and French Presidential election votes, these countries are confronting "fake news" as an ongoing and urgent threat to democracy. Yet in Latin America, where misinformation campaigns have prevailed throughout the twentieth century, concerns over "fake news" are hardly new . Latin American media concentration, disinformation campaigns, and biased coverage have long undermined informed civic discourse .

"Fake News" as a pretext for curbing free expression in Latin America

In 2018, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica, among others, will undergo electoral processes involving their respective presidencies. These governments are beginning to exploit concerns over "fake news," as though it were a novel phenomenon, in order to adopt proposals to increase state control over online communications and expand censorship and Internet surveillance. Such rhetoric glosses over the fact that propaganda from traditional Latin American media monopolies has long been the norm in the region, and that Internet companies have played a critical role in counterbalancing this power dynamic. Frank La Rue, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Free Expression, remarked at the 2017 Internet Governance Forum on the inherent risks of importing the term "fake news" to Latin America:

I don't like the term "fake news" because I think there is a bit of a trap in it. We are confronting campaigns of misinformation. So we should talk about information and disinformation.

La Rue believes that when distinctions between fake and real news are drawn, they are done ultimately to dissuade the public from reading news or thinking independently. He argues that "the problem again is that fake news becomes a perfect excuse to just silence or shut down any alternative or any dissident voice." To respond to this threat, EFF co-signed an open letter along with other 34 Latin American NGOs at the end of last year.

Latam Trends

When Brazil set up a council to counter fake news, the Army and the Brazilian intelligence agency--entities with a long track record of crushing minority or dissenting voices--were invited to join. The specter of "fake news" has also been a pretext for draconian bills in Brazilian parliament. The latest one, a recent proposal of unknown authorship , led to a great controversy when it was submitted to the Communication Council of National Congress' analysis without prior notice. The text defined as a crime the creation or sharing of false news, imposing detention penalties for those who propagate information the government deemed false. It also sought to modify a key component of Brazilian civil rights framework, the Marco Civil da Internet, by making companies liable for failing to remove or block reported posts within 24 hours or for not providing an easy tool by which the user can check whether the news is trustworthy. Internet companies would be subject to a staggering fine of up to 5% of their revenue in the previous fiscal year if they failed to remove content. Although the proposal was withdrawn as a reaction to public outcry, other bills with similar content remain in the parliament.

Mexico is also approaching election season; the country is set to hold the largest election in its history. In July 2018, Mexicans will elect not only a new president but also all federal legislators and nine state governors. The country's National Election Institute (INE) has recently signed an agreement with Facebook Ireland to fight fake news. The INE is expected to sign similar agreements with Google and Twitter. The agreement , a copy of which was obtained by the newspaper El Universal , includes the use of Facebook's tools to measure civic participation, access to real-time data of voting results granted by INE, and the provision of a physical space in the Institute's office where, on election day, the company is expected to perform activities such as posting live videos. While neither party is meant to get involved in deciding what is true or false, transparency is a must. Luis Fernando Garcia, of Mexican NGO Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales, told EFF:

We need complete transparency about the nature of the relationship between INE and Facebook. Facebook should also refrain from adopting measures that discriminate against some media outlets and benefit others in the name of combating "fake news".

We need an Internet where we are free to meet, create, organize, share, associate, debate and learn. And we also need elections to be free from manipulation. As we have said before , people should be empowered by the tools they use, not left passive by others' use of such technology. But platforms should remain wary of purporting to validate news even in the face of calls to do so; if they assume this role, it will raise obvious concerns about how they'll respond to political pressures.

Like "fake news," policies around hate speech are often used as cover for censorship. It has served as a convenient pretext for advancing a repressive Honduran draft bill on Internet content regulation. After fraud accusations marred 2017 Honduras' presidential elections, Honduras finds itself in a grave political crisis. Amidst the turbulence, a bill regulating online speech was introduced in the Honduran National Congress in February 2018. The bill, which was widely criticized by civil society , provides broad leeway for Internet companies to block Internet content in the name of protecting users from hate speech, discrimination, or insults. The bill compels companies to take down third-party content within 24 hours in order not to be fined or even find their services blocked. This pro-censorship bill has also spurred recent debates on the creation of a national cybersecurity committee assigned to deal with, among other issues, fake news.

Efforts to keep "fake news" in check are spreading across Latin America. Disinformation campaigns cannot serve to wreck democracy and free speech. EFF will be monitoring this issue as this year's Latin American elections progress.

 

 Offsite Article: Europe is trying to force Facebook to take customers' privacy seriously...


Link Here 6th April 2018
EU flag The US has been reluctant to step in on tech regulations. The EU is barreling ahead.

See article from vox.com

 

  Facebook repent for you have sinned...

You have rejected Jesus Christ whilst accepting tainted coin from those that would corrupt the lambs that have entrusted their souls to you as their shepherd


Link Here 5th April 2018  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
An almost theological question for, what will AI make of religion? What will it make of people who proclaim peace whilst inciting violence; who preach tolerance whilst practising intolerance; and whose hypocrisy about sexuality is simply perverse?

Anyway, Facebook have excelled themselves by banning an image of Jesus Christ on the cross in a context of religious education.

A post on the Franciscan University blog explains:

We posted yesterday a series of ads to Facebook to promote our online MA Theology and MA Catechetics and Evangelization programs.

One ad was rejected, and an administrator of our Facebook page noticed this rejection today. The reason given for the rejection?

Your image, video thumbnail or video can't contain shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content.

Our ad was rejected because it contained:

  • shocking content

  • sensational content

  • excessively violent content

What was the offending image?

banned cruxifictionAnd indeed, the Crucifixion of Christ was all of those things. It was the most sensational action in history: man executed his God.

It was shocking, yes: God deigned to take on flesh and was obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)

And it was certainly excessively violent: a man scourged to within an inch of his life, nailed naked to a cross and left to die, all the hate of all the sin in the world poured out its wrath upon his humanity.

Although the university owned up to the 'violent' image Facebook then decided that of course the image wasn't violent and yet again issued a grovelling apology for its shoddy censorship process. So do you think AI censorship process will be any better?

 

 Extract: Your thoughts may be recorded for training purposes...

Mark Zuckerberg admits that private conversations via Facebook are monitored and may be censored


Link Here 5th April 2018  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

mark zuckerbergOne of the more understated but intriguing statements in Zuckerberg's Vox interview this past Monday was his public acknowledgement at long last that the company uses computer algorithms to scan all of our private communications on its platform, including Facebook Messenger. While users could always manually report threatening or illegal behavior and communications for human review, Zuckerberg acknowledged for the first time that even in private chat sessions, Facebook is not actually a neutral communications platform like the phone company that just provides you a connection and goes away -- Facebook's algorithms are there constantly monitoring your most private intimate conversations in an Orwellian telescreen that never turns off.

...

The company emphasized in an interview last year that it does not use mine private conversations for advertising, but left open the possibility that they might scan them for other purposes.

In his interview this week, Zuckerberg offered that in cases where people are sending harmful and threatening private messages our systems detect that that's going on. We stop those messages from going through. His reference to our systems detect suggested this was more than just humans manually flagging threatening content. A spokesperson confirmed that in this case the first human recipients of the messages had manually flagged them as violations and as large number of users began flagging the same set of messages, Facebook's systems deleted future transmission of them. The company had previously noted that it uses similarity detection for its fake news and other filters, both matching exact duplicates and highly similar content. The company confirmed that its fingerprinting algorithms (which the company has previously noted include revenge porn, material from the shared terrorism database and PhotoDNA) are applied to private messages as well.

...Read the full article from forbes.com

 

  Power crazed EU maniacs now want to stop people giving away their own content free...

Head of copyright committee wants to deny EU creators the right to share


Link Here 5th April 2018

creative commons logoOver the last few years the European Union has been working on revising its rules on copyright . But the latest proposal from the head of the copyright committee would deny creators the right to refuse remuneration -- the right to share a work without getting paid -- which could undermine the use of CC licenses if approved.

Ever since the European Commission released a lackluster draft Directive on copyright in 2016, Creative Commons, Communia Association , and dozens of other organisations have been engaging policymakers in the Parliament to make crucial changes in order to protect user rights and the commons, enable research and education, and promote creativity and business opportunities in the digital market.

But as evidenced by the latest proposal, the direction of the copyright reform seems to be getting worse, not better. This week Axel Voss, the lead member of the European parliament (MEP) for the influential legal affairs committee, released his own proposed changes to an especially controversial part of the draft Directive, Article 11. This is the provision that would introduce an additional right for press publishers to extract fees from news aggregators for incorporating short snippets of--or even linking to--their content.

This press publisher's right (also commonly known as the "Link Tax") already poses a significant threat to an informed and literate society. But Voss wants to amplify its worst features by asserting that press publishers will receive--whether they like it or not--an "inalienable right to obtain an [sic] fair and proportionate remuneration for such uses." This means that publishers will be required to demand payment from news aggregators.

This inalienable right directly conflicts with publishers who wish to share freely and openly using Creative Commons licenses. As we've warned before , an unwaivable right to compensation would interfere with the operation of open licensing by reserving a special and separate economic right above and beyond the intention of some publishers. For example, the Spanish news site eldiario.es releases all of their content online for free under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license . By doing so, they are granting to the public a worldwide, royalty-free license to use the work under certain terms. Other news publishers in Europe using CC licenses that could also find themselves swept up under this new provision include La Stampa , 20 Minutos , and openDemocracy .

Forcing publishers who use CC to accept additional inalienable rights to be remunerated violates the letter and spirit of Creative Commons licensing and denies publishers the freedom to conduct business and share content as they wish. The proposal would pose an existential threat to the over 1.3 billion CC-licensed works online, shared freely by hundreds of millions of creators from around the world.

We support authors and creators, and we firmly believe in their right to choose to share, or to seek compensation for all or some uses of their works. At the same time, we must find solutions that also honor those au thors who choose to share with few or no restrictions.

Voss' proposal must be rejected, and Article 11 should be deleted . It's been clear all along that an additional right for press publishers won't do much of anything to support quality journalism or grow the digital single market. Instead, it will negatively affect access to information and the ability for publishers to share using the platforms, technologies, and terms beneficial to them.

 

  Messing with people's livelihoods...

Gun spree at Google offices may be related to YouTube's de-monitisation censorship policies


Link Here 5th April 2018  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
YouTube logoNasim Najafi Aghdam, the woman who allegedly opened fire at YouTube's headquarters in a suburb of San Francisco, injuring three before killing herself, was apparently furious with the video website because it had stopped paying her for her clips.

No evidence had been found linking her to any individuals at the company where she allegedly opened fire on Tuesday.

Two of the three shooting victims from the incident were released from hospital on Tuesday night. A third, is currently in serious condition.

Aghdam's online profile shows she was a vegan activist who ran a website called NasimeSabz.com, meaning Green Breeze in Persian, where she posted about Persian culture and veganism, as well as long passages critical of YouTube .

Her father, Ismail Aghdam, told the Bay Area News Group from his San Diego home on Tuesday that she was angry with the Google-owned site because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, and that he had warned the police that she might be going to the company's headquarters.

 

 Offsite Article: Let's stand up for the right to be offensive...


Link Here 5th April 2018  full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Spiked logo Shame on those comedians who are siding with the courts against Count Dankula. By Andrew Doyle

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Article: Outlaw, ignore or exploit?...


Link Here 5th April 2018  full story: Fake News...Declining respect for the authorities is blamed on 'fake' news
BBC logo How Asia is exploiting fake news for increased censorship. by Jonathan Head of the BBC

See article from bbc.com

 

 Offsite Article: A radical proposal to keep your personal data safe...


Link Here 5th April 2018
comment is free logo The surveillance imposed on us today is worse than in the Soviet Union. We need laws to stop this data being collected in the first place. By Richard Stallman

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Offsite Article: Facebook Isn't Telling the Whole Story...


Link Here 4th April 2018  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
Facebook logo About Its Decision to Stop Partnering With Data Brokers

See article from eff.org

 

  Real repression vs fake news...

Malaysia's parliament passes another internet censorship law


Link Here 3rd April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet
Malaysia flagMalaysia passed a repressive new law today that would punish citizens on social media or those working at a digital publication for publishing material deemed to be 'fake news' with a 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) fine and a possible a prison sentence of up to six years.

Led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Anti-Fake News bill passed in parliament today despite opponents who had criticized the bill for impeding free speech and attempting to censor the prime minister's involvement in a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal.

A draft of the bill had specified a prison sentence of up to 10 years as punishment, but the government toned it down to six in the finalized version. 'Fake news' cases will be handled by a court process. Violators could even include those outside of Malaysia as long as they're writing about the country or its people.

The Malaysian law defines fake news as news, information, data and reports which is or are wholly or partly false. News includes stories, video, and audio content.

 

  Pakistan leads the way while the UK will soon follow...

Pakistan's internet censor blocks 400,000 porn sites and 10,000 proxy sites


Link Here 3rd April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
pakistan telecommunication authority logoThe Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has blocked around 0.4 million porn websites and 9,846 proxy sites as well.

The figures were revealed when Additional Attorney General Nayyar Rizvi reported to the Supreme Court (SC).

His report also revealed that PTA has blocked several illegal satellite programming and content relayed by local cable operators.

 

 Offsite Article: Scrubbed clean: why a certain kind of sex is vanishing from the internet...


Link Here 2nd April 2018
The Guardian A US government effort to fight online sex trafficking has cleansed many sites of personal ads and consensual eroticism, in a shift advocates say amounts to dangerous censorship. By Erin McCormick in San Francisco

See article from theguardian.com

 

  The Internet: to censor or not to censor? inquiry...

UK Parliament committee to consider the case to set up a wide reaching UK internet censor


Link Here 31st March 2018
home affairs committeeThe UK's parliamentary Communications Committee has announced a new inquiry into internet censorship. It writes:

The Committee wishes to explore how the regulation of the internet should be improved, including through better self-regulation and governance, and whether a new regulatory framework for the internet is necessary or whether the general law of the UK is adequate. This inquiry will consider whether online platforms which mediate individuals' use of the internet have sufficient accountability and transparency, adequate governance and provide effective behavioural standards for users.

The committee is now accepting submissions from the public and those likely to be impacted by internet censorship decisions and policy,

 

 Offsite Article: The latest in Big Tech: Censorship...


Link Here 31st March 2018
politico logo In Europe, internet platforms are incentivized to take down first, ask questions second. By William Echikson

See article from politico.eu

 

 Offsite Article: A New Bill Claims to Fight Sex Trafficking...


Link Here 31st March 2018  full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers
time magazine logo But it is ending up censoring everything and anything to do with sex

See article from time.com

 

  No peeking!...

Facebook seems to have blocked an independent research project analysing how the Facebook news feed algorithm works


Link Here 30th March 2018

open rights group 2016 logo Facebook Tracking Exposed (FTE) is a browser extension which intends to find out - but you won't find it in the chrome store because Facebook have issued a takedown request.

Facebook don't want you to know how their algorithm works. That will hardly be a shock to you or anyone else, but it is a serious problem. The algorithm is what Facebook uses to determine what you, or anyone else around the world, will see.

What it chooses to promote or bury has become increasingly important to our democracy. But Facebook don't want you to know how it works.

Facebook Tracking Exposed (FTE) is a browser extension which intends to find out - it lets users compare their timeline posts against the potential chronological content, helping them to understand why some posts have been promoted, and other haven't. It also allows comparative research, pooling data to help researchers try and reverse engineer the algorithm itself.

So far, so great - but you won't be able to find FTE in the chrome store because Facebook have issued a takedown on the basis on the basis of an alleged trademark infringement. Facebook do not want you to know how their algorithm works - how it controls the flow of information to billions of people.

To pretend the premise of Facebook's trademark claim is reasonable for a second (it's not likely - the Facebook used in the name describes the purpose of the tool rather than who made it) the question becomes - is it reasonable for Facebook to use this as an excuse to continue to obfuscate their filtering of important information?

The answer, as all of the news around Cambridge Analytica is making clear, is that it absolutely is not. People looking to understand the platform they are using would find it very difficult to find without the Facebook in the name. But then, Facebook don't want you to know how their algorithm works.

This is easy for Facebook to fix, they could revoke their infringement claim, and start taking on some genuine accountability. There is no guarantee that FTE will be able to perfectly reveal the exact workings of the algorithm - attempts to reverse engineer proprietary algorithms are difficult, and observations will always be partial and difficult to control and validate.

That doesn't change the fact that companies like Facebook and Google need to be transparent about the ways they filter information. The information they do or don't show people can affect opinions, and potentially even sway elections.

We are calling on Google to reinstate the application on the Chrome store and for Facebook to withdraw their request to remove the app. But, then, Facebook don't want you to know how their algorithm works.

The equivalent add-on for Firefox is also now unavailable.

 

  Massive user data breach at Under Armour...

And a reminder to UK porn viewers, don't believe the BBFC's fake assurances that your data 'should' be kept safe. Companies regularly sell, give away, exploit, lose and get it stolen, and of course, hand it over to the authorities


Link Here 30th March 2018
under armour logoThe athletic apparel company Under Armour has announced a massive data breach affecting at least 150 million users of its food and nutrition app MyFitnessPal.

On March 25, the MyFitnessPal team became aware that an unauthorized party acquired data associated with MyFitnessPal user accounts in late February 2018, reads a press release detailing the breach. The investigation indicates that the affected information included usernames, email addresses, and hashed passwords - the majority with the hashing function called bcrypt used to secure passwords.

There is one other bit of good news: It looks like social security numbers and credit cards were not stolen in the digital heist.

 

  Fifty Shades of Censorship...

Amazon hides away erotic books in its latest search algorithm


Link Here 30th March 2018  full story: Book Censorship on Amazon...Banning reprehensible book starts chain reaction
Off Limits Amazon has changed its search algorit to prevent erotic books from surfacing Unless a user searches for erotic novels.

Amazon is trying to make its vast website a bit less NSFW. The internet giant made some sudden changes to the way that erotic novels surface in its search results. As a result of the update, erotic novels have been filtered out of the results for main categories and many of their best-selling titles have been relegated into nowhere land.

The move has angered many erotica authors who say it could lead to a massive dent in revenue.

When a book has been labeled a best-seller, eg Fifty Shades of Grey, it might make the title more likely to appear at the top of search results.

Amazon has yet to issue a statement on the changes to its search results. However, one author said it received a notice from Amazon via email following inquiry. It said:

We've re-reviewed your book and confirmed that it contains erotic or sexually explicit content.

We have found that when books are placed in the correct category it increases visibility to customers who are seeking that content.

In addition, we are working on improvements to our store to further improve our search experience for customers.

It is not yet clear whether the search algorithms have been changed as part of US internet censorship requirements recently passed in the FOSTA that nominally required censorship of content related to sex trafficking but in fact impacts a much wider range of adult content.

 

 Offsite Article: Are you ready? Here's all the data Facebook and Google have on you...


Link Here 30th March 2018
Google logo The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look. By Dylan Curran

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Rolling eyes and bad haircuts...

China's latest internet censorship attack is to ban parody videos


Link Here 29th March 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

rocket manChina's latest internet censorship laws announced just last week now ban videos that parody TV shows, or distort, mock or defame classical literary and art works.

China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), the government media censorship body , issued new rules last week -- rules that it labeled extra urgent -- that justify the new censorship of parody videos and re-edited videos.

The ban covers videos that re-edit content from other works such as classic TV shows and films, according to a report by the news site Quartz.

The new rules appear to have been spurred at least in part by a Chinese news reporter who was captured on camera rolling his eyes during a press conference held by a government official last week. The eye-roll video went viral and was re-edited into dozens of satirical videos -- before Chinese censors cracked down on the humorous videos, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday .

The Chinese internet censorship became highly evident during this week's state visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to China. According to media reports out of South Korea, China blocked all searches for such aliases for Kim as Fatty and Fatty the Third.

Articles containing the more straightforward phrase Kim Jong Un visit were also rendered invisible to search engines in China, according to the reports.

 

 Updated: It's the Wild West out there run by the Zuckerberg Gang, Butch Bannon and the Analytica Kid...

So when even the most senior internet figures can't keep our data safe, why does Matt Hancock want to force us to hand over our porn browsing history to the Mindgeek Gang?


Link Here 29th March 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
wild west character
  
Your data's safe with us
 

The Culture Secretary has vowed to end the Wild West for tech giants amid anger at claims data from Facebook users was harvested to be used by political campaigns.

Matt Hancock warned social media companies that they could be slapped with new rules and regulations to rein them in.

It comes amid fury at claims the Facebook data of around 50 million users was taken without their permission and used by Cambridge Analytica.

The firm played a key role in mapping out the behaviour of voters in the run-up to the 2016 US election and the EU referendum campaign earlier that year.

Tory MP Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture select committee, has said he wants to haul Mark Zuckerberg to Parliament to explain himself.

Hancock said:

Tech companies store the data of billions of people around the world - giving an unparalleled insight into the lives and thoughts of people. And they must do more to show they are storing the data responsibly.

Update: They'll have to put a price on his head if they want Zuckerberg hauled in front of a judge

28th March 2018. See  article from theguardian.com

Mark Zuckerberg has turned down the request to appear in front of the a UK parliamentary committee for a good grilling. In response to the request, Facebook has suggested one of two executives could speak to parliament: Chris Cox, the company' chief product officer, who is in charge of the Facebook news feed, or Mike Schroepfer, the chief technology officer, who heads up the developer platform.

The Culture select committee chair, Damian Collins said:

It is absolutely astonishing that Mark Zuckerberg is not prepared to submit himself to questioning in front of a parliamentary or congressional hearing, given these are questions of fundamental importance and concern to his users, as well as to this inquiry. I would certainly urge him to think again if he has any care for people that use his company's services.

Update: Pulling the big data plug

29th March 2018. See article from reuters.com

Facebook said on Wednesday it would end its partnerships with several large data brokers who help advertisers target people on the social network. Facebook has for years given advertisers the option of targeting their ads based on data collected by companies such as Acxiom Corp and Experian PLC.

Facebook has also adjusted the privacy settings on its service, giving users control over their personal information in fewer taps. This move also reflects new European privacy laws soon to come in force.

Update: Facebook's listening

29th March 2018. See  article from dailymail.co.uk

Culture, Media and Sport select committeeChristopher Wylie, the whistle blower who revealed lots of interesting stuff about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, has been speaking to Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee about what Facebook gets up to.

He told the committee that he believes the social media giant is able to decipher whether someone is out in a crowd of people, in the office or at home.

Asked by Conservative MP Damian Collins whether Facebook can listen to what people are saying to shape their advertising, Wylie said they use the smartphone app microphone for environmental purposes.

My understanding generally of how companies use it... not just Facebook, but generally other apps that pull audio, is for environmental context.

So if, for example, you have a television playing versus if you're in a busy place with a lot of people talking versus a work environment.

It's not to say they're listening to what you're saying. It's not natural language processing. That would be hard to scale.

It is interesting to note that he said companies don't listen into conversations because they can't for the moment. Butt he explanation is phrased such that they will listen to conversations just as soon as the technology allows.

 

  Banning anything to do with sex to prevent sex trafficking...

US internet companies go into censor everything mode just in case they are held responsible for users using internet services for sex trafficking


Link Here 28th March 2018
MicrosoftThe US has just passed an internet censorship bill, FOSTA, that holds internet companies responsible if users use their services to facilitate sex trafficking. It sounds a laudable aim on paper, but in reality how can say Microsoft actually prevent users from using communication or storage services to support trafficking?

Well the answer is there is no real way to distinguish say adverts for legal sex workers from those for illegal sex workers. So the only answer for internet companies is to censor and ban ALL communications that could possibly be related to sex.

So there have been several responses from internet companies along these lines. Small ad company Craigslist has just taken down ALL personal ads just in case sex traffickers may be lurking there. A Craigslist spokesperson explained:

Any tool or service can be misused. We can't take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services.

Last week, several online porn performers who use Google Drive to store and distribute their adult content files reported that the service had suddenly and without warning blocked or deleted their files, posing a threat to their income streams.

And now it seems that Microsoft is following suit for users of its internet services in the USA. Microsoft has now banned offensive language, as well as nudity and porn, from any of its services -- which include Microsoft Office, XBox and even Skype.

The broad new ban was quietly inserted into Microsoft's new Terms of Service agreement, which was posted on March 1 and which takes effect on May 1 . The new rules also give Microsoft the legal ability to review private user content and block or delete anything, including email, that contains offensive content or language.  The rules do not define exactly what would constitute offensive language.

In theory, the new ban could let Microsoft monitor, for example, private Skype chats, shutting down calls in which either participant is nude or engaged in sexual conduct.

So wait a sec: I can't use Skype to have an adult video call with my girlfriend? I can't use OneDrive to back up a document that says 'fuck' in it? asked civil liberties advocate Jonathan Corbett, in a blog post this week. If I call someone a mean name in Xbox Live, not only will they cancel my account, but also confiscate any funds I've deposited in my account?

denofgeek.com answers some of these queries:

Seemingly aware of the tentative nature of this policy, Microsoft included a couple of disclaimers. First off, the company notes that it cannot monitor the entire Services and will make no attempt to do so. That suggests that Microsoft is not implementing live monitoring. However, it can access stored and shared content when looking into alleged violations. This indicates that part of this policy will work off of a user report system.

Microsoft also states that it can remove or refuse to publish content for any reason and reserves the right to block delivery of a communication across services attached to this content policy. Additionally, the punishments for breaking this code of conduct now include the forfeiture of content licenses as well as Microsoft account balances associated with the account. That means that the company could theoretically remove games from your console or seize money in your Microsoft account.

 

  It's Google's party and it can censor who it likes...

Judge sides with Google over the censorship of alt-right YouTube videos


Link Here 28th March 2018  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
YouTube logoA federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Google filed by the conservative site PragerU whose YouTube videos had been censored by Google.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh wrote in her decision that PragerU had failed to demonstrate that age restrictions imposed on the company's videos are a First Amendment violation.

PragerU filed its lawsuit in October, claiming that Google's decision to shunt some of its videos into the dead zone known as restricted mode, was motivated by a prejudice against conservatives.

The list of restricted videos included segments like The most important question about abortion, Where are the moderate Muslims? and Is Islam a religion of peace?

In her decision, Koh dismissed the PragerU's free speech claims, arguing that Google is not subject to the First Amendment because it's a private company and not a public institution. She wrote:

Defendants are private entities who created their own video-sharing social media website and make decisions about whether and how to regulate content that has been uploaded on that website.

 

  Gullible lawmaker realises he has been taken for a ride...

Rhode Island senator removes bill calling for $20 charge for internets users to access adult material


Link Here 28th March 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
Rhode Island logoRhode Island state Senator Frank Ciccone has pulled his bill that would have charged users $20 to unblock online porn, citing that dubious origins of the people who suggested th ebill to him.

Ciccone said he made the decision to shelve SB 2584 , which would have required mandatory porn filters on personal computers and mobile devices, after Time.com and the Associated Press published stories on the main campaigner, Chris Sevier, who has toted his ideas to several states.

Sevier had publicized that language in his template called the legislation the Elizabeth Smart Law after the girl who was kidnapped from her Utah home as a teenager in 2002.  But Smart wanted nothing to do with Sevier idea, and she sent a cease-and-desist letter to demand her name be removed from any promotion of the proposal.

Ciccone later found out about Smart's letter and learned another thing about Sevier: He had a history of outlandish lawsuits, including one trying to marry his computer as a statement against gay marriage. Besides filing similar lawsuits targeting gay marriage in Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kentucky, Sevier was sentenced to probation after being found guilty four years ago of harassment threats against country singer John Rich.

 

  Facebook have been logging ALL your calls...

People deleting Facebook reveal just how wide your permissions you have granted to Facebook are


Link Here 27th March 2018  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
Facebook logoFor years, privacy advocates have been shouting about Facebook, and for years the population as a whole didn't care. Whatever the reason, the ongoing Cambridge Analytica saga seems to have temporarily burst this sense of complacency, and people are suddenly giving the company a lot more scrutiny.

When you delete Facebook, the company provides you with a compressed file with everything it has on you. As well as every photo you've ever uploaded and details of any advert you've ever interacted with, some users are panicking that Facebook seems to have been tracking all of their calls and texts. Details of who you've called, when and for how long appear in an easily accessible list -- even if you don't use Facebook-owned WhatsApp or Messenger for texts or calls.

Although it has been put around that Facebook have been logging calls without your permission, but this is not quite the case. In fact Facebook do actually follow Facebook settings and permissions, and do not track your calls if you don't give permission.  So the issue is people not realising quite how wide permissions are granted when you have ticked permission boxes.

Facebook seemed to confirm this in a statement in response:

You may have seen some recent reports that Facebook has been logging people's call and SMS (text) history without their permission. This is not the case. Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android. People have to expressly agree to use this feature. If, at any time, they no longer wish to use this feature they can turn it off.

So there you have it, if you use Messenger of Facebook Lite on Android you have indeed given the company permission to snoop on ALL your calls, not just those made through Facebook apps,

 

  A matter of trust...

The BBFC consults about age verification for internet porn, and ludicrously suggests that the data oligarchs can be trusted with your personal identity data because they will follow 'best practice'


Link Here 26th March 2018  full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC designated as the UK internet porn censor
mark zuckerberg grinning Alexander Nix vladimir putin
  
Your data is safe with us.
We will follow 'best practices', honest!
 

The BBFC has launched its public consultation about its arrangements for censoring porn on the internet.

The document was clearly written before the Cambridge Analytica data abuse scandal. The BBFC gullibility in accepting the word of age verification providers and porn websites, that they will look after your data, now rather jars with what we see going on in the real world.

After all European data protection laws allow extensive use of your data, and there are absolutely no laws governing what foreign websites can do with your identity data and porn browsing history.

I think that under the current arrangements, if a Russian website were to hand over identity data and porn browsing history straight over to the Kremlin dirty tricks department, then as long as under 18s would be prohibited, then the BBFC would have to approve that website's age verification arrangements.

Anyway there will be more debate on the subject over the coming month.

The BBFC writes:

Consultation on draft Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements and draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers

Under section 14(1) of the Digital Economy Act 2017, all providers of online commercial pornographic services accessible from the UK will be required to carry age-verification controls to ensure that their content is not normally accessible to children.

This legislation is an important step in making the internet a safer place for children.

The BBFC was designated as the age-verification regulator under Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 on 21 February 2018.

Under section 25 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the BBFC is required to publish two sets of Guidance: Guidance on Age-verification Arrangements and Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers .

The BBFC is now holding a public consultation on its draft Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements and its draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers. The deadline for responses is the 23 April 2018 .

We will consider and publish responses before submitting final versions of the Guidance to the Secretary of State for approval. The Secretary of State is then required to lay the Guidance in parliament for formal approval. We support the government's decision to allow a period of up to three months after the Guidance is formally approved before the law comes into force, in order to give industry sufficient time to comply with the legislation.

Draft Guidance on Age-verification Arrangements

Under section 25 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the BBFC is required to publish:

"guidance about the types of arrangements for making pornographic material available that the regulator will treat as complying with section 14(1)".

The draft Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements sets out the criteria by which the BBFC will assess that a person has met with the requirements of section 14(1) of the Act. The draft guidance outlines good practice, such as offering choice of age-verification solutions to consumers. It also includes information about the requirements that age-verification services and online pornography providers must adhere to under data protection legislation and the role and functions of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The draft guidance also sets out the BBFC's approach and powers in relation to online commercial pornographic services and considerations in terms of enforcement action.

Draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers

Under section 25 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the BBFC is required to publish: "guidance for the purposes of section 21(1) and (5) about the circumstances in which it will treat services provided in the course of a business as enabling or facilitating the making available of pornographic material or extreme pornographic material".

The draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers includes a non-exhaustive list of classes of ancillary service provider that the BBFC will consider notifying under section 21 of the Act, such as social media and search engines. The draft guidance also sets out the BBFC's approach and powers in relation to online commercial pornographic services and considerations in terms of enforcement action.

How to respond to the consultation

We welcome views on the draft Guidance in particular in relation to the following questions:

Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements

  • Do you agree with the BBFC's Approach as set out in Chapter 2?

  • Do you agree with the BBFC's Age-verification Standards set out in Chapter 3?

  • Do you have any comments with regards to Chapter 4?

The BBFC will refer any comments regarding Chapter 4 to the Information Commissioner's Office for further consideration.

Draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers

  • Do you agree with the BBFC's Approach as set out in Chapter 2?

  • Do you agree with the classes of Ancillary Service Provider set out in Chapter 3?

Please submit all responses (making reference to specific sections of the guidance where relevant) and confidentiality forms as email attachments to:

DEA-consultation@bbfc.co.uk

The deadline for responses is 23 April 2018 .

We will consider and publish responses before submitting final versions of the Guidance to the Secretary of State for approval.

Update: Intentionally scary

31st March 2018. From Wake Me Up In Dreamland on twitter.com

The failure to ensure data privacy/ protection in the Age Ver legislation is wholely intentional. Its intended to scare people away from adult material as a precursor to even more web censorship in UK.

 

  They won't listen...

Netherlands voters reject the country's already implemented snooper's charter in a referendum


Link Here 26th March 2018
NetherlandsDutch voters have rejected a law that would give spy agencies the power to carry out mass tapping of Internet traffic.

Dubbed the 'trawling law' by opponents, the legislation would allow spy agencies to install wire taps targeting an entire geographic region or avenue of communication, store information for up to three years, and share it with allied spy agencies.

The snooping law has already been approved by both houses of parliament. Though the referendum was non-binding prime minister Mark Rutte has vowed to take the result seriously.

 

  US heads in the clouds act...

US Congress passes an unscrutinised bill to allow foreign countries to snoop on US internet connections, presumably so that GCHQ can pass the data back to the US, so evading a US ban on US snooping on US citizens


Link Here 25th March 2018  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Snooping continues after Snowden revelations

us congressOn Thursday, the US House approved the omnibus government spending bill, with the unscrutinised CLOUD Act attached, in a 256-167 vote. The Senate followed up late that night with a 65-32 vote in favor. All the bill requires now is the president's signature.

U.S. and foreign police will have new mechanisms to seize data across the globe. Because of this failure, your private emails, your online chats, your Facebook, Google, Flickr photos, your Snapchat videos, your private lives online, your moments shared digitally between only those you trust, will be open to foreign law enforcement without a warrant and with few restrictions on using and sharing your information. Because of this failure, U.S. laws will be bypassed on U.S. soil.

As we wrote before, the CLOUD Act is a far-reaching, privacy-upending piece of legislation that will:

Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people's communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant.Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge.Allow the U.S. president to enter executive agreements that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws.Allow foreign police to collect someone's data without notifying them about it.Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it's a U.S. person's or not, no matter where it is stored.

And, as we wrote before, this is how the CLOUD Act could work in practice:

London investigators want the private Slack messages of a Londoner they suspect of bank fraud. The London police could go directly to Slack, a U.S. company, to request and collect those messages. The London police would not necessarily need prior judicial review for this request. The London police would not be required to notify U.S. law enforcement about this request. The London police would not need a probable cause warrant for this collection.

Predictably, in this request, the London police might also collect Slack messages written by U.S. persons communicating with the Londoner suspected of bank fraud. Those messages could be read, stored, and potentially shared, all without the U.S. person knowing about it. Those messages, if shared with U.S. law enforcement, could be used to criminally charge the U.S. person in a U.S. court, even though a warrant was never issued.

This bill has large privacy implications both in the U.S. and abroad. It was never given the attention it deserved in Congress.

 

  Russian Supreme Court demands that Telegram hands over its encryption keys...

Presumably the absence of similar government demands in the west suggests the existence of a quiet arrangement


Link Here 25th March 2018
russian supreme court logoEncrypted messaging app Telegram has lost an appeal before Russia's Supreme Court where it sought to block the country's Federal Security Service (FSB) from gaining access to user data.

Last year, the FSB asked Telegram to share its encryption keys and the company declined, resulting in a $14,000 fine. Today, Supreme Court Judge Alla Nazarova upheld that ruling and denied Telegram's appeal. Telegram plans to appeal the latest ruling as well.

If Telegram is found to be non-compliant, it could face another fine and even have the service blocked in Russia, one of its largest markets.

 

 Commented: Inciting justifiable contempt of the establishment...

Scottish court convicts YouTuber Count Dankula over Nazi dog joke


Link Here 25th March 2018  full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
count dankula pug video A man who filmed a pet dog giving Nazi salutes before putting the footage on YouTube has been convicted of committing a hate crime.

Mark Meechan recorded his girlfriend's pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as gas the Jews and Sieg Heil by raising its paw.

It is interesting to note that the British press carefully avoided informing readers of Meechan's now well known Youtube name, Count Dankula.

The original clip had been viewed more than three million times on YouTube. It is still online on Youtube albeit in restricted mode where it is not included in searches and comments are not accepted.

Meechan went on trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court where he denied any wrong doing. He insisted he made the video, which was posted in April 2016, to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, 29.

But Sheriff Derek O'Carroll found him guilty of a charge under the Communications Act that he posted a video on social media and YouTube which O'Carroll claimed to be grossly offensive because it was anti-semitic and racist in nature and was aggravated by religious prejudice.

Meechan will be sentenced on 23rd April but has hinted in social media that court officials are looking into some sort of home arrest option.

Comedian Ricky Gervais took to Twitter to comment on the case after the verdict. He tweeted:

A man has been convicted in a UK court of making a joke that was deemed 'grossly offensive'. If you don't believe in a person's right to say things that you might find 'grossly offensive', then you don't believe in Freedom of Speech.

Yorkshire MP Philip Davies has demanded a debate on freedom of speech. Speaking in the House of Commons, hesaid:

We guard our freedom of speech in this House very dearly indeed...but we don't often allow our constituents the same freedoms. Can we have a debate about freedom of speech in this country - something this country has long held dear and is in danger of throwing away needlessly?

Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Commons, responded that there are limits to free speech:

I absolutely commend (Mr Davies) for raising this very important issue. We do of course fully support free speech ...HOWEVER... there are limits to it and he will be aware there are laws around what you are allowed to say and I don't know the circumstances of his specific point, but he may well wish to seek an adjournment debate to take this up directly with ministers.

Comment: Freedom of expression includes the right to offend

index logo See article from indexoncensorship.org

Index on Censorship condemns the decision by a Scottish court to convict a comedian of a hate crime for teaching his girlfriend's dog a Nazi salute.

Mark Meechan, known as Count Dankula, was found guilty on Tuesday of being grossly offensive, under the UK's Communications Act of 2003. Meechan could be sentenced with up to six months in prison and be required to pay a fine.

Index disagrees fundamentally with the ruling by the Scottish Sheriff Appeals Court. According to the Daily Record, Judge Derek O'Carroll ruled: The description of the video as humorous is no magic wand. This court has taken the freedom of expression into consideration. But the right to freedom of expression also comes with responsibility. Defending everyone's right to free speech must include defending the rights of those who say things we find shocking or offensive

Index on Censorship chief executive Jodie Ginsberg said: Numerous rulings by British and European courts have affirmed that freedom of expression includes the right to offend. Defending everyone's right to free speech must include defending the rights of those who say things we find shocking or offensive. Otherwise the freedom is meaningless.

One of the most noted judgements is from a 1976 European Court of Human Rights case, Handyside v. United Kingdom, which found: Freedom of expression206is applicable not only to 'information' or 'ideas' that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population.

the britisher video Video Comment: Count Dankula has been found guilty

See video from YouTube by The Britisher

A powerful video response to another step in the decline of British free speech.

Offsite Comment : Hate-speech laws help only the powerful

23rd March 2018. See  article from spiked-online.com by Alexander Adams

Spiked logoTalking to the press after the judgement, Meechan said today, context and intent were completely disregarded. He explained during the trial that he was not a Nazi and that he had posted the video to annoy his girlfriend. Sheriff Derek O'Carroll declared the video anti-Semitic and racist in nature. He added that the accused knew that the material was offensive and knew why it was offensive. The original investigation was launched following zero complaints from the public. Offensiveness apparently depends on the sensitivity of police officers and judges.

...Read the full article from spiked-online.com

Offsite: Giving offence is both inevitable and often necessary in a plural society

25th March 2018. See  article from theguardian.com by Kenan Malik

comment is free logoEven the Guardian can find a space for disquiet about the injustice in the Scottish Count Dankula case.

 

  A dark day for the Internet...

US congress passes a supposed anti sex trafficking bill and immediately adult consensual sex workers are censored off the internet


Link Here 23rd March 2018  full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers

us congressIt was a dark day for the Internet.

The U.S. Senate just voted 97-2 to pass the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865), a bill that silences online speech by forcing Internet platforms to censor their users. As lobbyists and members of Congress applaud themselves for enacting a law tackling the problem of trafficking, let's be clear: Congress just made trafficking victims less safe, not more.

The version of FOSTA that just passed the Senate combined an earlier version of FOSTA (what we call FOSTA 2.0) with the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA, S. 1693). The history of SESTA/FOSTA -- a bad bill that turned into a worse bill and then was rushed through votes in both houses of Congress2 -- is a story about Congress' failure to see that its good intentions can result in bad law. It's a story of Congress' failure to listen to the constituents who'd be most affected by the laws it passed. It's also the story of some players in the tech sector choosing to settle for compromises and half-wins that will put ordinary people in danger. Silencing Internet Users Doesn't Make Us Safer

SESTA/FOSTA undermines Section 230, the most important law protecting free speech online. Section 230 protects online platforms from liability for some types of speech by their users. Without Section 230, the Internet would look very different. It's likely that many of today's online platforms would never have formed or received the investment they needed to grow and scale204the risk of litigation would have simply been too high. Similarly, in absence of Section 230 protections, noncommercial platforms like Wikipedia and the Internet Archive likely wouldn't have been founded given the high level of legal risk involved with hosting third-party content.

Electronic Frontier Foundation The bill is worded so broadly that it could even be used against platform owners that don't know that their sites are being used for trafficking.

Importantly, Section 230 does not shield platforms from liability under federal criminal law. Section 230 also doesn't shield platforms across-the-board from liability under civil law: courts have allowed civil claims against online platforms when a platform directly contributed to unlawful speech. Section 230 strikes a careful balance between enabling the pursuit of justice and promoting free speech and innovation online: platforms can be held responsible for their own actions, and can still host user-generated content without fear of broad legal liability.

SESTA/FOSTA upends that balance, opening platforms to new criminal and civil liability at the state and federal levels for their users' sex trafficking activities. The platform liability created by new Section 230 carve outs applies retroactively -- meaning the increased liability applies to trafficking that took place before the law passed. The Department of Justice has raised concerns about this violating the Constitution's Ex Post Facto Clause, at least for the criminal provisions.

The bill also expands existing federal criminal law to target online platforms where sex trafficking content appears. The bill is worded so broadly that it could even be used against platform owners that don't know that their sites are being used for trafficking.

Finally, SESTA/FOSTA expands federal prostitution law to cover those who use the Internet to promote or facilitate prostitution.  The Internet will become a less inclusive place, something that hurts all of us.

And if you had glossed over a little at the legal details, perhaps a few examples of the immediate censorship impact of the new law

Immediate Chilling Effect on Adult Content


See  article from xbiz.com

xbiz 2016 logoSESTA's passage by the U.S. Senate has had an immediate chilling effect on those working in the adult industry.

Today, stories of a fallout are being heard, with adult performers finding their content being flagged and blocked, an escort site that has suddenly becoming not available, Craigslist shutting down its personals sections and Reddit closing down some of its communities, among other tales.

SESTA, which doesn't differentiate between sex trafficking and consensual sex work, targets scores of adult sites that consensual sex workers use to advertise their work.

And now, before SESTA reaches President Trump's desk for his guaranteed signature, those sites are scrambling to prevent themselves from being charged under sex trafficking laws.

It's not surprising that we're seeing an immediate chilling effect on protected speech, industry attorney Lawrence Walters told XBIZ. This was predicted as the likely impact of the bill, as online intermediaries over-censor content in the attempt to mitigate their own risks. The damage to the First Amendment appears palpable.

  • Today, longtime city-by-city escort service website, CityVibe.com, completely disappeared, only to be replaced with a message, Sorry, this website is not available.

  • Tonight, mainstream classified site Craigslist, which serves more than 20 billion page views per month, said that it has dropped personals listings in the U.S.

  • Motherboard reported today that at least six porn performers have complained that files have been blocked without warning from Google's cloud storage service. It seems like all of our videos in Google Drive are getting flagged by some sort of automated system, adult star Lilly Stone told Motherboard. We're not even really getting notified of it, the only way we really found out was one of our customers told us he couldn't view or download the video we sent him.

  • Another adult star, Avey Moon was trying to send the winner of her Chaturbate contest his prize -- a video titled POV Blowjob -- through her Google Drive account, but it wouldn't send.

  • Reddit made an announcement late yesterday explaining that the site has changed its content policy, forbidding transactions for certain goods and services that include physical sexual contact. A number of subreddits regularly used to help sex workers have been completedly banned. Those include r/Escorts , r/MaleEscorts and r/SugarDaddy .

 

  Following Britain's lead...

Turkish parliament extends the TV censor's control to internet TV


Link Here 23rd March 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
rtuk logoTurkey's parliament on Thursday passed legislation widening government control of the internet, one of the last remaining platforms for critical and independent reporting.

The TV, and now internet censor RTUK is controlled by representatives of the ruling AKP party.

Under the new legislation, internet broadcasters will have to apply for a license from the censor. And of course risk being turned down because the government doesn't like them. Websites that do not obtain the required licence will be blocked.

Turkish authorities have already banned more than 170,000 websites, but observers point out that Turks have become increasingly savvy on the internet, using various means to circumvent restrictions, such as by using virtual private networks (VPN).

But authorities are quickly becoming adept, too. Fifteen VPN providers are currently blocked by Turkey, cyber rights expert Akdeniz said. It's becoming really, really difficult for standard internet users to access banned content. It's not a simple but a complex government machinery now seeking to control the internet.

 

  Internet Censorship Bill Looms Large Over Egypt...

Egypt set to introduce new law to codify internet censorship currently being arbitrarily implemented


Link Here 23rd March 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Egypt...Egypt blocks political and porn websites

egypt mickey mouse protest by Alisdare Hickson via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) Egyptian parliamentarians will soon review a draft anti-cybercrime law that could codify internet censorship practices into national law.

While the Egyptian government is notorious for censoring websites and platforms on national security grounds, there are no laws in force that explicitly dictate what is and is not permissible in the realm of online censorship. But if the draft law is approved, that will soon change.

Article 7 of the anti-cybercrime law would give investigative authorities the right to order the censorship of websites whenever evidence arises that a website broadcasting from inside or outside the state has published any phrases, photos or films, or any promotional material or the like which constitute a crime, as set forth in this law, and poses a threat to national security or compromises national security or the national economy. Orders issued under Article 7 would need to be approved by a judge within 72 hours of being filed.

Article 31 of the law holds internet service providers responsible for enacting court-approved censorship orders. ISP personnel that fail to comply with orders can face criminal punishment, including steep fines (a minimum of 3 million Egyptian pounds, or 170,000 US dollars) and even imprisonment, if it is determined that their refusal to comply with censorship orders results in damage to national security or the death of one or more persons.

In an interview with independent Cairo-based media outlet Mada Masr, Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression legal director Hassan al-Azhari argued that this would be impossible to prove in practice.

The law also addresses issues of personal data privacy, fraud, hacking, and communications that authorities fear are spreading terrorist and extremist ideologies.

 

 Offsite Article: Build your own VPN to elude state censorship...


Link Here 23rd March 2018
outline logo Jigsaw, the Alphabet-owned Google sibling, will now offer VPN software that you can easily set up on your own server in the cloud

See article from wired.com

 

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