Germany has banned a far-right website for spreading racist, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic content and arrested two people in a clampdown on hate crime.
Material on the website included banned Nazi slogans and the denial
of the Holocaust as well as incitement of violence against foreigners, the prosecutors' office said.
The ban on the Altermedia Deutschland platform came as raids were carried out in homes in four German states as well as in the northeastern
Spanish town of Lloret de Mar.
The two arrested people were the administrators of the Altermedia website and therefore responsible for its content that was served from a hosting company in Russia. German officials have asked Russia to take down
The head of Germany's domestic intelligence, Hans-Georg Maassen, told reporters that:
There is the danger of a gray zone developing between far-right extremists, right-wing conservatives and citizen
protesters with significant potential for violence.
Meanwhile Dutch far right website speaks of police taking action against people who tweet too much
Dutch police have been visiting the homes of people critical of asylum centres on
Twitter, urging them to delete posts.
In recent months, police have visited the homes of many more people that criticised the plans for asylum centres. In October 2015, in Leeuwarden about twenty opponents of the programs received police visits at
home. It happened in Enschede, and in some places in the Brabant, where, according to the Dutch media, people who had been critical of the arrival of refugees and ran a page on social media on the topic were told to stop.
A spokesman for the
national police acknowledged to Handelsblad that there are ten intelligence units of digital detectives monitoring in real time Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and looking for posts that go too far .
Netflix has surprised the tech community, and perhaps some of the world, when it announced at a CES, a US technology show, that its streaming service is now available everywhere in the world except for China, North Korea, Crimea, and Syria.
altering its original content to some of the more censorial of the new territories is something Netflix may have to confront. So far, however, Netflix hasn't censored any of its content, Anne Marie Squeo, a Netflix spokesperson, told Tech Insider:
We're an on-demand service that allows people to choose to sign up and decide what, where and when to watch, Squeo wrote in an email to Tech Insider. The service includes ratings guides and episode synopses to help people
decide, and we also provide a PIN-code system to ensure children can't view certain content.
But Reed Hastings, the company's CEO, hasn't ruled out censoring its programming in the future. The Verge's Ross Miller asked Hastings about
the company's policy with regard to such censorship, and he didn't exactly give a straight answer:
As to your question about... different versions like airplane cuts, we'll have to see and we'll have to learn, Hastings
said, according to The Verge . I think entertainment companies have to make compromises over time... the thrust of what we're trying to do is have the artistic vision be consistent through the world.
The Bangkok Post outlines some of
the issues about localised censorship requirements where the standard definition package costs 280 Baht ( £ 5.30) a month for 1 screen.
While opening the doors to Thai viewers , Netflix has not added any new
Thai-language content beyond the small selection of films it already had. And while the company on Thursday added support for three new languages, Thai was not among them. Neither the website, app or subtitles are available in Thai yet.
significant difference Thailand viewers may not look forward to is the same type of censorship used for movies showing in Thai movie theaters.
Netflix already applies censorship to movies showing in different markets around the world to adhere to
local media laws. Eg Netflix already sanitises content in Japan, pixelating full-frontal nudity seen, for example, in the Marco Polo series produced by Netflix as well as other content .
In Thailand, the service could follow standard practice at
movie theaters (cinemas) by pixelating smoking, drinking and bloody violence , as well as censoring nude scenes .
Update: Indonesian censors are the first to whinge about worldwide Netflix
Netflix's expansion to Indonesia has agitated the Indonesian Censorship Agency (LSF).
LSF Chairman Ahmad Yani Basuki, together with the agency's members, held a meeting to discuss the online streaming service. During the meeting, Ahmad said that
some of the movies provided by Netflix are not appropriate for Indonesian viewers There are some movies that we have forbid from being screened in the cinemas, Ahmad said, without mentioning the titles.
Several scenes that must be cut out
from a movie before it can be screened in Indonesia include scenes that exhibit violence, gambling, drug abuse, pornography, scenes that may well lead to sectarian conflict, blasphemy, encourage criminal acts, and degrading human rights. Ahmad said too
many of the abovementioned scenes in a movie will resulted in a ban.
In relation to Netflix, Ahmad underlined that Law No. 33/2009 on Movie Industry stated that movies that are going to be screened in Indonesia must first obtain a censorship
letter from LSF. On the other hand, the American-based online streaming service company is yet to file a request for censorship. Without the requirement, we will recommend the Communication and Informatics Ministry to block the service, Ahmad
Update: Kenyan film censors bid to censor Netflix turned down
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has differed with the Kenya Films and Classification Board (KFCB) over the handling of US online movie streaming service Netflix, which has launched operations in Kenya.
The CA said Netflix will not be
asked to apply for a local broadcasting licence, meaning the US firm is exempt from local broadcasting censorship rules that are part of the licensing conditions.
Previously KFCB had announced that the US firm would not be exempted from the
censorship law because it will be selling foreign content, adding that it had identified inappropriate programmes hosted by the on-demand service provider that are wrongly rated for children aged 13 years.
Netflix's video-streaming service is winding up Vietnam's censorial authorities. Lawyers have apparently raised questions about the legitimacy of Netflix's service providing in Vietnam and how it would affect Vietnam's own pay-TV market.
Toan, inspector of the Ministry of Information and Communication, affirmed that all foreign firms which provide services to Vietnam but do not register their business and do not have licenses are violating Vietnamese laws. Also according to Toan, the
government of Vietnam allows foreign firms to team up with Vietnamese to provide pay-TV services. However, the firms must complete business registration in Vietnam, pay tax to Vietnam and respect Vietnamese laws.
Vietnam sets very restrictive
regulations on TV program content editing, translation and content censoring. This means that movies and TV shows all must go through censorship before they can be shown in Vietnam.
Netflix's movies and television series that are streamed online will still have to comply with local regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commision (MCMC)'s content censorship minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has said.
to the New Straits Times (NST), Salleh told the paper that the MCMC can take action against Netflix if it makes offensive content available in Malaysia and breaches the regulator's content rules.
The communications and multimedia minister said
MCMC will be asked to meet with Netflix to notify them of local content standards and their obligations.
Netflix still has to meet the local regulator's content standards even if it is exempt from getting a license as an over-the-top content
application (OTT) provider like Facebook, Salleh said.
Malay Mail Online reported a US-based Netflix staff as confirming that there will be no censorship of television series and movies made available here, although certain content may be
unavailable due to regional licensing restrictions.
Indonesian 's largest telco, PT Telkom Indonesia, announced that as of 12 a.m. Wednesday morning they had blocked access to the Netflix streaming service on all of its Internet platforms.
Dian Rachmawan, Telkom's Director of Consumers, said the
ban was put in place due to Netflix not following the country's broadcast laws and for having violent and pornographic content. Rachmawan told Daily Social that he didn't want to ban Netflix completely from the country ...BUT... rather wants to ensure they follow local regulations.
This blocking action will not have an impact to our customers. They [Netflix] are still small here. While they are still small, we will teach them to follow the rules here.
Pakistani ISP are getting ready to write a lot of firewall censorship rules, with the country's telecommunications censor issuing a list of 429,343 banned porn Websites.
According to newspaper The Express Tribune , ISPs will be expected to implement
the blocks at the domain level . The outlet explains that the regulatory order followed instructions from the Supreme Court that it take remedial steps to quantify the nefarious phenomenon of obscenity and pornography that has an imminent role
to corrupt and vitiate the youth of Pakistan .
ISPs aren't impressed, complaining that they'll need both time and equipment to implement such a large block-list.
An ISP in Sweden is sounding the alarm over the government's plan to IP-block unauthorized online gambling sites.
Over the weekend, leading Swedish ISP Bahnhof released a statement saying it had received an email from an investigator hired by the
Swedish government to consider ways to efficiently prevent unauthorized online gambling operators from offering services to Swedish gamblers.
Sweden's government is in the process of revising the country's legal landscape for gambling,
which will see the end of state-owned operator Svenska Spel's online betting monopoly and the licensing of independent online operators.
As part of this process, specifics of which won't be made public until March 2017, steps would be taken to
ensure that operators who lack a new Swedish license are unable to serve Swedish punters. Bahnhof says the government investigator has asked for a meeting in which to discuss the ISP's role in this plan.
Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung said his
concern was the government's attempt to censor the internet and that gambling sites will be used as a precedent for future clampdowns.
An open letter to the leaders of the world's governments SIGNED by organizations, companies, and individuals:
We encourage you to support the safety and security of users, companies, and
governments by strengthening the integrity of communications and systems. In doing so, governments should reject laws, policies, or other mandates or practices, including secret agreements with companies, that limit access to or undermine encryption and
other secure communications tools and technologies.
Governments should not ban or otherwise limit user access to encryption in any form or otherwise prohibit the implementation or use of encryption by grade or type;
Governments should not
mandate the design or implementation of "backdoors" or vulnerabilities into tools, technologies, or services;
Governments should not require that tools, technologies, or services are designed or developed
to allow for third-party access to unencrypted data or encryption keys;
Governments should not seek to weaken or undermine encryption standards or intentionally influence the establishment of encryption standards
except to promote a higher level of information security. No government should mandate insecure encryption algorithms, standards, tools, or technologies; and
Governments should not, either by private or public
agreement, compel or pressure an entity to engage in activity that is inconsistent with the above tenets.
Access Now, ACI-Participa, Advocacy for Principled Action in Government, Alternative Informatics Association, Alternatives, Alternatives Canada, Alternatives International,
American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association, Amnesty International, ARTICLE 19, La Asociación Colombiana de Usuarios de Internet, Asociación por los Derechos Civiles, Asociatia pentru Tehnologie si Internet (ApTI), Association for
Progressive Communications (APC), Association for Proper Internet Governance, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Australian Privacy Foundation, Benetech, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Bits of Freedom, Blueprint for Free Speech, Bolo Bhi, the Centre
for Communication Governance at National Law University Delhi, Center for Democracy and Technology, Center for Digital Democracy, Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights, the Center for Internet and Society (CIS), Center for Media, Data and Society
at the School of Public Policy of Central European University, Center for Technology and Society at FGV Rio Law School, Chaos Computer Club, CivSource, Committee to Protect Journalists, Constitutional Alliance, Constitutional Communications, Consumer
Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, ContingenteMX, Courage Foundation, Críptica, Datapanik.org, Defending Dissent Foundation, Digitalcourage, Digitale Gesellschaft, Digital Empowerment Foundation, Digital Rights Foundation, DSS216,
Electronic Frontier Finland, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Engine, Enjambre Digital, Eticas Research and Consulting, European Digital Rights, Fight for the Future, Föreningen för
digitala fri- och rättigheter (DFRI), Foundation for Internet and Civic Culture (Thai Netizen Network), Freedom House, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Freedom to Read Foundation, Free Press, Free Press Unlimited, Free Software Foundation, Fundacion
Acceso, Future of Privacy Forum, Future Wise, Globe International Center, The Global Network Initiative (GNI), Global Voices Advox, Government Accountability Project, Hiperderecho, Hivos, Human Rights Foundation, Human Rights Watch, Institute for
Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio), Instituto Demos, the International Modern Media Institute (IMMI), International Press Institute (IPI), Internet Democracy Project, IPDANDETEC, IT for Change , IT-Political Association of Denmark, Jonction, Jordan
Open Source Association, Just Net Coalition (JNC), Karisma Foundation, Keyboard Frontline, Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet, Localization Lab, Media Alliance, Modern Poland Foundation, Movimento Mega, Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO),
Net Users' Rights Protection Association (NURPA), New America's Open Technology Institute, Niskanen Center, One World Platform Foundation, OpenMedia, Open Net Korea, Open Rights Group, Panoptykon Foundation, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, Patient Privacy
Rights, PEN American Center, PEN International, Pirate Parties International, Point of View, Privacy International, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Privacy Times, Protection International, La Quadrature du Net, R3D (Red en Defensa de los Derechos
Digitales), R Street Institute, Reinst8, Restore the Fourth, RootsAction.org, Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Security First, SFLC.in, Share Foundation, Simply Secure, Social Media Exchange (SMEX),
SonTusDatos (Artículo 12, A.C.), Student Net Alliance, Sursiendo; Comunicación y Cultura Digital, Swiss Open Systems User Group /ch/open, TechFreedom, The Tor Project, Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University, Usuarios Digitales, Viet Tan,
Vrijschrift, WITNESS, World Privacy Forum, X-Lab, Xnet, Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum
Facebook has launched a censorship campaign designed to silence hate speech, extremism and racism in Europe.
It unveiled its Online Civil Courage Initiative following months of pressure from the German government.
insists its strategy is about combating extremism, it does not make it clear whether this means Islamic terrorism, right wing racism or both.
Announcing the launch of the initiative, Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, said:
The best cure for bad ideas is good ideas. The best remedy for hate is tolerance. Hate speech has no place in our society - not even on the Internet. Facebook is not a place for the dissemination of hate speech or incitement to violence.
The French government has rejected an amendment to its forthcoming Digital Republic law that required backdoors in encryption systems.
Axelle Lemaire, the Euro nation's digital affairs minister, shot down the amendment during the committee stage of
the forthcoming omnibus digital bill, saying it would be counterproductive and would leave personal data unprotected. She said:
Recent events show how the fact of introducing faults deliberately at the request -
sometimes even without knowing - the intelligence agencies has an effect that is harming the whole community
Even if the intention [to empower the police] is laudable, it also opens the door to the players who have less laudable
intentions, not to mention the potential for economic damage to the credibility of companies planning these flaws. You are right to fuel the debate, but this is not the right solution according to the Government's opinion.
called the proposal a plan to introduce vulnerability by design, and said that while she was aware that law enforcement would like such powers they were not a good idea, and could be used without the proper legal processes that the government
supported. She said that, like the Dutch government, her party supported strong encryption.
For those utilizing VPNs, proxies and unblocking tools to access geo-restricted content on Netflix, the party may soon be over. According to an announcement by the company's Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture, people using such services will
face new roadblocks in the coming weeks.
While increasing numbers of people are becoming tuned in to the joys of Netflix, growing numbers of subscribers are discovering a whole new world of content beyond what the service offers them as standard.
Netflix serves healthy libraries of content to many regions, but users in countries such as the United States get access to far more content than those located elsewhere. Likewise, not all European countries are served equally, with citizens of Italy
falling short on content offered in the UK, for example.
As a result more and more customers of Netflix are bypassing restrictions designed to limit subscribers to content designated to their home countries. This is usually achieved by using a
generic VPN or proxy service but some companies offer dedicated products to unlock Netflix on a global basis.
Even though Netflix admits it takes measures to try and limit the use of its service in this manner, the situation has traditionally
seemed of minor interest to the company. However, in recent months Netflix has addressed the issue several times in the media and today has given the clearest sign yet that a crackdown is imminent.
In a post to Netflix's blog today, Vice President
of Content Delivery Architecture David Fullagar said that while the company would continue to break down borders in order to offer content to the broadest possible audience, measures will be taken to ensure that content licensing agreements are
That means that circumvention devices -- VPNs, proxies and similar tools -- will fall further under the company's spotlight.
Some members use proxies or 'unblockers' to access titles available outside
their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do, Fullagar says.
This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and
unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are.
The news will come as a blow to those enjoying the best possible Netflix experience, especially those in countries where the local library is
limited compared to that of the United States, for example.
Note: While VPNs were not mentioned in the announcement, Netflix confirmed to TorrentFreak that these services will be targeted as well.
The Dutch government has issued a statement in defence of strong encryption, bucking the recent trend of governments and intelligence agencies arguing for weaker encryption. Ard van der Steur, the Dutch minister of security and justice, wrote that:
The government believes that it is currently not desirable to take legal measures against the development, availability and use of encryption within the Netherlands.
Encryption supports respect for
privacy and the secret communication of citizens by providing them a means to communicate protected data confidentially and with integrity. This is also important for the exercise of the freedom of expression. For example, it enables citizens, but also
allows empowers important democratic functions like journalism by allowing confidential communication.
Security experts have welcomed the statement. Nithin Thomas, CEO of London-based security company SQR Systems called the
announcement a powerful example that other world governments should follow .
Microsoft will warn email and OneDrive users if it detects apparent attempts by governments to hack into their accounts.
Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo already offer similar government hacker alert systems to the one just introduced by Microsoft.
Alerts are far from rare. Google, for example, reportedly tells tens of thousands of users every few months that they've been targeted by foreign spooks.