Internet News

 2013: November



 Update: Judgement Sharing...

French court demands that search engines delist file sharing sites entirely


Link Here 30th November 2013  full story: File Sharing in france...Early action against internet file sharing not entirely successful
France flag A French court case dating back to 2011 has concluded that three of the largest search engines in the world must ensure certain piracy websites are removed entirely from their search results. Media industry trade groups appealed for the complete removal of 16 domains from Google, Bing and Yahoo. All of the domains were variations of video streaming websites Allostreaming, Fifostreaming and Dpstream.

The search engines in question have been ordered to implement all appropriate measures to prevent access... by any effective means, including by blocking domain names , according to a statement released by the High Court. Additionally, specific ISPs, including Orange, Free, Bouygues Telecom, SFR, Numericable and Darty Telecom have been told to block the websites locally.

The industry groups also pushed for the ISPs and search engines to pay for all of the censorship and blocking methods that will now need to be implemented, however the court refused, stating: The cost of the measures ordered can not be charged to the defendants who are required to implement them.

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have been given two weeks to meet the court's demands.

 

 Update: New Offences...

More internet repression in Vietnam


Link Here 30th November 2013
Vietnam flag Vietnam's internet is changing fast. This week two new offences with large fines have been introduced as part of decree 174.
  • If a site does not have a proper e-commerce license, does not report changes, and does not report service changes on their site it will be liable to fines of $200 to $1,000
     
  • If a site reports incorrect information, and/or falsified information (the 'correctness' of information being decided by the authorities): $1,000 to $1,400. If any of these violations are intentional, the fine is doubled.

This follows up on Decree 72, which restricted the posting of news onto social media. The law states that it will fine people who post propaganda against the state or reactionary ideology on social media channels like Facebook.

 

 Update: Awaiting the Announcement...

Open Rights group do a good summary of where we are at with regards to government proposals for extremist website blocking


Link Here 29th November 2013  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
Open Rights Group logo Rumblings about a forthcoming announcement to block extremism and terrorist content began this summer. Then last month the Prime Minister made comments during Prime Minister's Questions about blocking extremism:

We have had repeated meetings of the extremism task force---it met again yesterday---setting out a whole series of steps that we will take to counter the extremist narrative, including by blocking online sites.

Yesterday, in response to a question from Patrick Robinson of Yahoo! at a conference, Home Office Minister James Brokenshire confirmed that an announcement is forthcoming .

The Extremism Task Force , mentioned by the Prime Minister, was set up in the aftermath of the Woolwich murder and is due to report very soon. So one assumes this announcement will likely be related to that.

We don't know what this forthcoming announcement will be. We don't know what sort of content the Government want to see blocked, or why, and how much it extends beyond what already happens through the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit .

There has been no public discussion about this so far. As far as we understand, no freedom of expression groups have been involved. The Guardian suggests the Government want to follow the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) model, who supply Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with a list of child abuse material they then block.

But the Government's policy on extremism content can't just be that ISPs should block sites that have been classified as extreme by some secretive government body, without any court decision about a law being broken or any public, democratic discussion in Parliament about the process involved.

This should not be another drift towards vague, unaccountable and privatised Internet regulation. This sort of Internet regulation is about who decides what we - not just terrorists - can look at and do online.

Once again we see that website blocking has become the go-to button for politicians to press when they need to be seen reacting strongly to the latest media outcry.

But website blocking is not an easy or effective option. Anyone who wants to look at blocked content will find a way to do so - it is fairly simple to get around any blocking for a start. It also, unhelpfully, adds an edginess to blocked material if those making or sharing it can say it is banned by the government.

We also know that unrelated content gets caught by blocking systems. Extremist content is not easy to define. Moreover, as Big Brother Watch point out in their blog, law enforcement agencies can define words like extremism broadly enough to include groups like political activists or protestors who are not terrorists or seemingly breaking any laws. If law enforcement agencies are responsible for drawing up a list of sites to be blocked, it is not a huge stretch of the imagination to think that block lists would include material that is not illegal. By accident or abuse blocking powers are likely to lead to blocking lists featuring content that has little if anything to do with terrorism and national security.

It looks like James Brokenshire and the Home Office are following a well trodden path with this approach. When it comes to the Internet the government seems to like voluntary arrangements in which they arm twist Internet service providers into doing what they want.

That spares the Government from having to deal with complicated issues like involving a court to prove a law has been broken, or a normal policy process that would involve public, democratic scrutiny of their ideas.

The IWF model for dealing with child abuse images is tolerated because their focus is such abhorrent and unequivocally illegal material. This model is not appropriate for less clearly defined content.

Maybe the Government will surprise us with their announcement. But we have seen that when it comes to Internet blocking the government has a tendency to prioritise making favourable headlines above a smart, effective policy fix. So fingers are crossed in hope rather than expectation.

 

 Offsite Article: On Mass Snooping...


Link Here 29th November 2013  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
hardtalk glenn greenwald Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the Edward Snowden leaks story, says his mission is to hold power to account. An interesting interview on the BBC's HardTalk (on iPlayer, UK only)

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

 Commented: More Questions than Answers...

David Cameron announces that ISP level website blocking will be applied to terrorist websites


Link Here 28th November 2013  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
David Cameron Prime Ministers Questions, 23rd October 2014

Paul Goggins (Wythenshawe and Sale East) (Lab):

Two weeks ago, the head of the Security Service warned about the extent of Islamist extremism. This week, two individuals have been charged with serious terrorist offences. What is the Prime Minister going to do in January when, as a result of his Government's legislation, some of those whom the Home Secretary has judged to pose the greatest threat to our security are released from the provisions of their terrorism prevention and investigation measures?

The Prime Minister:

We have put in place some of the toughest controls that one can possibly have within a democratic Government, and the TPIMs are obviously one part of that. We have had repeated meetings of the extremism task force---it met again yesterday---setting out a whole series of steps that we will take to counter the extremist narrative, including by blocking online sites. Now that I have the opportunity, let me praise Facebook for yesterday reversing the decision it took about the showing of beheading videos online. We will take all these steps and many more to keep our country safe.

Offsite Comment: Who decides what we can read

28th November 2013. See  article from  bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

The Prime Minister told Parliament on October 23 that:

We have had repeated meetings of the extremism task force --- it met again yesterday --- setting out a whole series of steps that we will take to counter the extremist narrative, including by blocking online sites.

Such an announcement has not been preceded by a public consultation, or any engagement with civil liberties and freedom of speech organisations. The threat the freedom of speech is only too clear.

As we have previously warned around the shift of the child safety debate from illegal content to legal content, there is a danger that politicial figurues become embroiled in deciding what we can and cannot see online. The starting point should be if material meets a criminal threshold, can those involved be prosecuted. Blocking must never become an easier alternative to prosecution.

Read the full article

 

 Update: As if it is not the first thing they look for in all surveillance subjects...

The NSA is said to have targeted muslim extremists by collecting details that could undermine them, including online porn viewing habits


Link Here 28th November 2013  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet

NSA logo The NSA has been collecting details about the online sexual activity of prominent muslim extremists in order to undermine them, according to a new Snowden document published by the Huffington Post .

The American surveillance agency targeted six unnamed radicalisers , none of whom is alleged to have been involved in terror plots. One document argues that if the vulnerabilities they are accused of were to be exposed, this could lead to their devotion to the jihadist cause being brought into question, with a corresponding loss of authority. As an example of vulnerabilities, it lists: Viewing sexually explicit material online or using sexually persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls.

The names of the six targeted individuals have been redacted. One is listed as having been imprisoned for inciting hatred against non-Muslims. Under vulnerabilities, the unnamed individual is listed as being involved in online promiscuity .

Shawn Turner, press spokesman for the US director of national intelligence, in an email to the Huffington Post, said it was not surprising the US government uses all of the lawful tools at our disposal to impede the efforts of valid terrorist targets who seek to harm the nation and radicalise others to violence .

 

 Update: Sending a Message to China...

Microsoft announces anti snooping measures for Skype services in China


Link Here 28th November 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
skype logo Microsoft has made it harder to snoop on calls and chats over its Skype phone service in China.

Skype said it had ended an eight-year joint-venture with Hong Kong-based TOM Group and has found a new partner in China:

All user calls, chats and login information are encrypted and being communicated directly to Microsoft via HTTPS. This is a complete about-face for Microsoft from the TOM-Skype era, when all information was processed by TOM and stored by TOM on servers located in China with absolutely no privacy controls in place.

Outside China, Skype's security and privacy protection have been under the spotlight following revelations, disclosed by Edward Snowden in his leaks of U.S. National Security Agency documents, that the online communication service was part of the NSA's PRISM program to monitor communications through some of America's biggest Internet companies.

 

 Offsite Article: Is The UK Sleepwalking Towards Internet Censorship?...


Link Here 28th November 2013  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
forbes logo Here in the UK, a storm over child protection online has been whipped up in recent months by populist politicians and the Daily Mail, yes, that's right, the newspaper that likes to photograph a 14yo flaunting her womanly curves

See article from forbes.com

 

  Proportionate and Justifiable?...

The IWF is advised to drop its remit for investigating illegal adult porn on human rights grounds. It is not a law enforcement agency, and is not well placed to adjudicate on what is illegal and what is not


Link Here 27th November 2013
Harris OBoyle Warbrick European Convention At the Internet Watch Foundation's (IWF) annual general meeting, former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Ken MacDonald reported on the results of his review into the human rights implications of the IWF's activities.

The independent review was commissioned by the IWF following suggestions that its activities might contravene the rights enshrined in the Human Rights Act.

Lord MacDonald put these fears partially to rest, praising the IWF for the respect and sensitivity with which it had balanced the rights to privacy and freedom of expression with the important task of combating the distribution of child abuse images online. Lord MacDonald argued the IWF's activities in this area do impact on the rights to privacy and freedom of expression, but in a way which is proportionate and justifiable.

However MacDonald found that IWF activity in other areas may be at risk of contravening human rights.

Firstly, he suggested that the IWF should explicitly limit its scope to child abuse content, removing other potentially illegal content from its remit. Child abuse content is unique in that it is universally condemned by the public and it is relatively easy for IWF analysts to identify. Other illegal content, on the other hand, is a much more complicated and controversial area of law, where legal defences are potentially available to publishers that the IWF would not be well placed to adjudicate. IWF decisions to remove or block such content would run a much higher risk of impinging unacceptably on human rights.

Secondly, MacDonald argued that the IWF should limit its scope to identifying and removing child abuse content, as opposed to investigating perpetrators, which is the proper role of law enforcement. In particular, he recommended abandoning for the time being plans to investigate and disrupt the distribution of child abuse content over peer-to-peer networks. Investigation of peer-to-peer networks, argued MacDonald, inevitably involves a degree of intrusion that, while appropriate in the context of a criminal investigation, is not an appropriate role for a private body such as the IWF.

The MacDonald report is currently before the IWF board, who will decide whether to accept or reject its recommendations. The IWF has promised to release the report publicly once a decision has been made.

 

 Petition: Campaigning for a Necessary and Proportionate Basis for State Snooping...

Human Rights and Privacy Groups Launch Global Action to Oppose Mass Surveillance


Link Here 27th November 2013  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
necessary and proportionate logo An international coalition of human rights and privacy organizations has launched an action center to oppose mass surveillance on the global stage: necessaryandproportionate.org/take-action . The new petition site went live just as the United Nations voted on a resolution to recognize the need for the international community to come to terms with new digital surveillance techniques.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with Access and Privacy International, took a leadership role in developing the campaign. The new action center allows individuals from around the world to sign their names to a petition in support of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance . Also known as the Necessary and Proportionate Principles, the document outlines 13 policies that governments must follow to protect human rights in an age of digital surveillance---including acknowledgement that communications surveillance threatens free speech and privacy and should only be carried out in exceptional cases and under the rule of law.

Once the signatures are collected, the organizations will deliver the petition to the UN, world leaders and global policymakers. Over 300 organizations, plus many individual experts, have already signed the petition.

EFF International Rights Director Katitza Rodriguez said:

Surveillance can and does threaten human rights. Even laws intended to protect national security or combat crime will inevitably lead to abuse if left unchecked and kept secret. The Necessary and Proportionate Principles set the groundwork for applying human rights values to digital surveillance techniques through transparency, rigorous oversight and privacy protections that transcend borders.

The UN General Assembly's unanimously adopted Resolution A/C.3/68/L.45 , The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age . Sponsored by 47 nations, the non-binding resolution recognizes the importance of privacy and free expression and how these core principles of democracy may be threatened when governments exploit new communications technologies. Rodriguez said:

While not as strong as the original draft resolution , the United Nations resolution is a meaningful and very positive step for the privacy rights of individuals, no matter what country they call home. We will be watching to see if countries such as China, Russia or even the US use the resolution to legitimize their mass surveillance programs. That is why it's important for nations to go further and comply with the Necessary and Proportionate principles.

The organizations behind the Action Center include Access, Chaos Computer Club, Center for Internet & Society-India, Center for Technology and Society at Fundac,a~o Getulio Vargas, Digitale Gesellschaft, Digital Courage, EFF, OpenMedia.ca, Open Rights Group, Fundacion Karisma, Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic, SHARE Foundation, and Privacy International.

Sign the petition .

 

 Update: Sharing Legal Advice...

Legal advice to the European Court of Justice confirms the legality of ISPs being ordered to block copyright infringing websites


Link Here 27th November 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
European Court of Justice In legal advice to the EU Court of Justice, Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalon has announced that EU law allows for ISPs to be ordered to block their customers from accessing known copyright infringing sites.

The opinion, which relates to a dispute between a pair of movie companies and an Austrian ISP over the now-defunct site Kino.to, is not legally binding. However, the advice of the Advocate General is usually followed in such cases.

The current dispute involves Austrian ISP UPC Telekabel Wien and movie companies Constantin Film Verleih and Wega Filmproduktionsgesellschaft. The film companies complained that the ISP was providing its subscribers with access to Kino.to which enabled them to access their copyrighted material without permission.

Interim injunctions were granted in the movie companies' favor which required the ISP to block the site. However, the Austrian Supreme Court later issued a request to the Court of Justice to clarify whether a provider that provides Internet access to those using an illegal website were to be regarded as an intermediary, in the same way that the host of an illegal site might.

In his opinion, Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalon said that the ISP of a user accessing a website said to be infringing copyright should also be regarded as an intermediary whose services are used by a third party, such as the operator of an infringing website. This means that the ISP of an infringing site user can be subjected to a blocking injunction, as long as it contain specifics on the technicalities.

 

 Offsite Article: Is Internet Porn to Blame?...


Link Here 27th November 2013  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
sue berelowitz After watching 'depraved' porn on the internet, millions of boys are turning into good husbands, fathers, businessmen, sportsmen, teachers, company employees, and even politicians, campaigners and journalists

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

  Gagged by Microsoft...

Microsoft bans XBox One gamers from using strong language in video comments


Link Here 26th November 2013
greeting card Microsoft has admited to punishing Xbox One owners who used strong language in videos posted on the platform.

The new Xbox One went on sale last week and users soon started complaining when they got banned from Internet-connected activities through Xbox Live accounts, including the ability to upload videos to share clips and commentary from their games.

If users use strong language in video comments they run the risk of getting blocked, which some users say they found out without warning, according to Xbox message boards where members vented frustration .

The censorship seems to be Microsoft's attempts to combat vitriol on its new platform, and has been implemented via temporary bans to users.

Microsoft confirmed suspensions over 'conduct violations in Upload Studio'.

 

 Update: Independent Voice of the Year...

The Guardian is honoured with an award from Liberty for keeping the world better informed about mass state snooping


Link Here 26th November 2013  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
The Guardian The Guardian has won a Liberty award for articles about GCHQ and NSA spying. The newspaper was named Independent Voice of the Year in recognition of ethical journalism essential to the rule of law

The award "recognises the courage it requires to speak out against injustice when others will not, to make a stand when no one else will and to put the truth before all else, even at great cost".

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said:

Whatever your position on blanket surveillance, the people and their parliament have a right to debate it and there can be no debate about what we do not know. In a time of deceit, telling the truth seems revolutionary. Spy chiefs should reflect on whether their occasional inconvenience isn't essential to the democracy they serve.

The Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, accepted the award at a ceremony and said:

What was worrying Edward Snowden was that we were, unknowingly, sleep-walking into a society where the infrastructure of total surveillance was being built behind our backs, without any discussion or wide public knowledge. This does need to be discussed, as calmer heads in security agencies now recognise. I am very proud to pick up this award in recognition of the Guardian's role in stimulating that necessary debate.

 

 Offsite Article: Twitter fires up stronger, anti-snooping encryption...


Link Here 24th November 2013  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Twitter logo Generates a temporary random key for each message and that key is deleted after use. Even if the main key is later compromised it cannot be used to decrypt old messages

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 Commented: The Future of Snooping is Encryption...

Google's Eric Schmidt believes that censorship can be broken via extensive use of encryption


Link Here 23rd November 2013  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
eric schmidt Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has made a bold prediction:

Censorship around the world could end in a decade, and better use of encryption will help people overcome government surveillance.

First they try to block you; second, they try to infiltrate you; and third, you win. I really think that's how it works. Because the power is shifted.

I believe there's a real chance that we can eliminate censorship and the possibility of censorship in a decade.

The solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everyone.

With sufficiently long keys and changing the keys all the time, it turns out it's very, very difficult for the interloper of any kind to go in and do that.

It's pretty clear to me that government surveillance and the way in which governments are doing this will be here to stay in some form, because it's how the citizens will express themselves, and the governments will want to know what they're doing.

In that race, I think the censors will lose, and I think that people would be empowered.

Offsite Comment: Google could end China's web censorship in 10 days -- why doesn't it?

23rd November 2013. See  article from  theguardian.com

Google China logo Google is too big for China to block. Just two simple steps and Eric Schmidt will have done something we can all celebrate

...Read the full article

 

 Offsite Article: Founding Principles...


Link Here 23rd November 2013  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
tim berners-lee Tim Berners-Lee: Insidious government surveillance may be worse than outright censorship

See article from wired.co.uk

 

  Protecting Bloggers...

WordPress very commendably stand up to fight copyright abuse as a tool for censorship


Link Here 22nd November 2013
wordpress logo The Electronic Frontier Foundation write:

The abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's notice-and-takedown process to silence lawful speech is well-documented and all too common. Far less common, though, is a service provider that is willing to team up with its users to challenge that abuse in court.

That's what WordPress.com's parent company, Automattic, Inc, did today and we couldn't be more pleased. Represented by Durie Tangri, LLP, Automattic has joined two lawsuits in federal court under Section 512(f) of the DMCA. Section 512(f) is the provision that allows users to hold people accountable when they make false infringement accusations.

The suits respond to two particularly egregious examples of DMCA abuse. The first involved Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus. Their website, Retraction Watch , provides a window into the scientific process by documenting the retraction of scientific papers due to everything from honest error to falsified data. A disgruntled researcher allegedly copied portions of the Retraction Watch site onto his own site, claiming the work as his own, and then issuing a DMCA takedown notice against Retraction Watch.

The second concerns Oliver Hotham , a student journalist living in the UK. An anti-gay-rights group called Straight Pride UK was incensed when Hotham had the nerve to publish of a press statement they themselves had sent him. So Straight Pride sent a DMCA notice claiming copyright infringement and, per its policy, WordPress.com took the post down. Hotham was outraged and frustrated because he did not feel he could fight back. But now he's got some new allies. [See detailed account of the case from ministryoftruth.me.uk ]

Both of these cases highlight a fundamental problem with the DMCA: it creates a world where allegations of infringement are a fast track to censorship, usually with few real consequences for anyone but the user. By standing with its users in these cases, Automattic is doing its part to help fix that problem. From the WordPress blog :

Until there are some teeth to the copyright laws, it's up to us - websites and users, together - to stand up to DMCA fraud and protect freedom of expression. Through these suits, we'd like to remind our users that we're doing all we can to combat DMCA abuse on WordPress.com....and most importantly, remind copyright abusers to think twice before submitting fraudulent takedown notices. We'll be watching, and are ready to fight back.

As long-term veterans of the DMCA wars, we know these legal fights aren't always easy, and that many users fear to stand up and defend themselves against false, even harassing, infringement allegations. It's a big help when your service provider stands with you. Well done, Retraction Watch, Oliver Hotham, and Automattic.

 

 Offsite Article: India: Digital freedom under threat?...


Link Here 22nd November 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
India flag The rules India makes for its online users are highly significant, not only will they apply to 1 in 6 people on earth, but as the country emerges as a global power they will shape future debates over freedom of expression online.

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

  Harming the Reputation of the UAE and Kuwait...

Extreme punishments handed out for trivial tweets


Link Here 20th November 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in UAE...Extreme punishments for trivial tweets
UAE flag A Kuwaiti activist has been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of insulting the religious character Mohammed. Musaab Shamsah was charged after posting a message on Twitter deemed offensive to religious characters.

Shamsah plans to appeal the ruling. Shamsah wrote on Twitter that Hassan and Hussein, who were the sons of Mohammad's cousin, Ali, were more honest than Mohammed himself, comparing him unfavorably to the two.

Meanwhile Waleed al-Shehhi, an activist from the United Arab Emirates, was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 500,000 Dirhams ( £ 84,500) for tweeting about the trial of a group of human rights defenders known as the UEA 94?.

The 94 activists, many of which were arrested in September 2012, were charged in January for seeking to seize power. Al-Shehhi tweeted about the authorities failure to investigate alleged torture against political prisoners, and called for the release of activists he believed had been detained for taking part in the pro-democracy movement.

 

 Offsite Article: Victimhood does not trump reason...


Link Here 20th November 2013
ask.fm Mother's campaign to close Ask.fm after her daughter's suicide because of online abuse

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

  Dangerous Times...

Cameron speaks of Dangerous Pictures Act being extended to staged depictions of rape.


Link Here 19th November 2013
David Cameron New Government plans would mean that anybody found with pornography depicting rape, albeit verifiably simulated, could be jailed for up to three years.

The new rules will be implemented in January and should bring England and Wales in line with the law in Scotland, where the offence carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Prime Minister David Cameron, said the new plans will target websites showing images and videos of rape, whether the websites claim that the act is simulated or not.

It is not yet clear how the law will be amended, and how 'realistic' the rape depiction has to be. No doubt it will be left vague and more innocent people will get caught up prosecutions/persecutions usually kicked off by something else leading computer seizures and inspections.

 

 Update: Searching for Words...

Cameron takes the credit for solving a Google search problem that didn't exist


Link Here 19th November 2013  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
David Cameron On 18th November the Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a key summit at Downing Street to welcome progress made by internet service providers, leading search engines and police agencies to better protect children from harmful material online and block child abuse and other illegal content but warned that there is still more to do.

Speaking ahead of the event, the Prime Minister said the internet search engines in particular have made "significant progress" since July to prevent child abuse content from being available across the world but will make clear that he will still bring forward legislation if they fail to deliver.

The Prime Minister also said:

Back in July , I said I wanted to do much more to protect our children from the risks posed by the internet and those who seek to use the web to look at and share illegal and vile content.

Since then, we have made real progress on filters and parental controls to protect children, and on the government side we've strengthened Britain's ability to combat child abuse online with the new National Crime Agency, with over 4000 specially trained officers.

But we were clear that we needed the search engines to do more to ensure people can't access extreme material via a simple search.

At the time, Google and Microsoft - who cover 95% of the market - said blocking search results couldn't be done, that it shouldn't be done.

They argued that it was against the very principle of the internet and search engines to block material even if there was no doubt that some of the search terms being used by paedophiles were abhorrent in a modern society.

I did not accept that then and I do not accept that now.

Since then, we have worked closely with both Google and Microsoft and they have made significant progress in preventing child abuse content from being returned.

Both companies have made clear to me that they share my commitment to stop child abuse content from being available not only in the UK but across the world.

This must mean making sure that it is not possible for people to find child abuse content via search engines now or in the future.

If the search engines are unable to deliver on their commitment to prevent child abuse material being returned from search terms used by paedophiles, I will bring forward legislation that will ensure it happens.

With the progress that has been made in 4 months, I believe we are heading in right direction but no-one should be in doubt that there is a red line: if more isn't done to stop illegal content or pathways being found when someone uses a child abuse search term, we will do what is necessary to protect our children.

Changes introduced by search engines

Google and Microsoft have introduced a number of changes to their search function, not only in the UK, but across the world and National Crime Agency testing of the new measures shows that child abuse images, videos or pathways are no longer being returned against a blacklist of search terms at present.

The changes introduced by the search engines include:

  • the introduction of new algorithms that will block child abuse images, videos and pathways that lead to illegal content, covering 100,000 unique searches on Google worldwide
  • stopping auto-complete features from offering people child abuse search terms
  • Google and Microsoft will now work with the National Crime Agency and the Internet Watch Foundation to bring forward a plan to tackle peer to peer networks featuring child abuse images
  • Google will bring forward new technology that will put a unique identification mark on illegal child abuse videos, which will mean all copies are removed from the web once a single copy is identified
Action must be taken

The internet safety summit came 4 months after the Prime Minister said that action must be taken in 2 different areas: first, to end the proliferation and accessibility of child abuse images on the internet and, second, to stop so many children viewing online pornography and other damaging material at a very early age.

Following the Prime Minister's speech in July, CEOP, part of the National Crime Agency, gave the search engines a list of terms which they said were unambiguous. If you used these you were looking for child abuse images online. In the speech, the search companies were challenged to block these terms, to make sure that no illegal content or pathways to illegal content were returned.

That was not the case in July but the new measures mean that is now happening.

The government will work with the National Crime Agency and others to monitor the effectiveness of the new technology introduced by Google and Microsoft. It is imperative that they can show they are preventing imagery or pathways are returned against blacklisted search terms identified by the National Crime Agency.

A recent deterrence campaign from Google led to a 20% drop off on people trying to find illegal content, showing this sort of action will make a difference.

Progress already made

The key areas where progress has been made include:

  1. Hundreds of thousands of homes have already been given a whole home family friendly internet filter just months after the Prime Minister signed up internet service providers to do more to help parents keep their children safe online. The providers will confirm to the Prime Minister that 20 million homes -- 95% of all homes in Britain with an existing internet connection -- will be required to choose whether to switch on a whole home family friendly internet filter by the end of next year. The 6 largest public Wi-Fi providers across Britain have switched on family friendly filters in all areas where children might access the internet.
  2. Britain and the US have team up to target child abuse online with a new UK-US taskforce, set up between US Assistant Attorney General and the UK government, that will identify cross-Atlantic targeting of criminals who think they are hidden from the law, including those operating on the 'dark web'. Ex-Google and Facebook chief Joanna Shield will lead an industry group of technical experts to explore what more can be done.
  3. Internet service providers have announced a new £25 million internet safety campaign over 3 years that will reach out to millions of parents on how best to protect their children and make good use of filters.
  4. The newly formed National Crime Agency will target child abusers online in Britain, working with crime agencies across the world. Britain has strengthened its ability to combat child abuse online via the new National Crime Agency and 4,000 staff are available to help track, investigate and arrest paedophiles. In the National Crime Agency's first month, 24 people were arrested on suspicion of distributing indecent images of children as part of a stand-alone operation.
  5. The Internet Watch Foundation -- the industry body tasked with identifying and taking down illegal content -- will now expand its operation with an additional £1.5 million funding boost. A new group of skilled analysts are being recruited and will be operational within months, effectively tripling the team. With the additional fire-power, the IWF will for the first time ever proactively seek out child abuse sites, so that the more material is blocked and warning 'splash' pages put in place.

Comment: Child abuse image policies risk looking like cynical manipulation

19th November 2013.  See  article from  openrightsgroup.org

A police officer specialising in child abuse told PC Pro that the announcement is hype :

"I simply do not see people using Google, etc to search for child abuse," the source said. "It's too risky for them."

 

 Update: All Guns Blazing...

GCHQ, IWF and the National Crime Agency all set to seek out child abuse material


Link Here 19th November 2013  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
gchq logo The Internet Watch Foundation does not at the moment pursue images and videos on so-called peer-to-peer networks because it lacks permission from the Home Office. But it was announced on Monday that the watchdog would begin a six-month pilot scheme in collaboration with Google, Microsoft and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection agency (Ceop), so that IWF can develop procedures to identify and blacklist links to child abuse material on P2P services.

Separately, David Cameron said the dark net , a general term for areas of the internet not accessible through search engines, was policeable. And he said that the government listening service GCHQ would be brought in to tackle child abuse images. Cameron told the BBC's Jeremy Vine:

There's been a lot in the news recently about the techniques, ability and brilliance of the people involved in the intelligence community, in GCHQ and the NSA in America. That expertise is going to be brought to bear to go after these revolting people sharing these images [of child abuse] on the dark net, and making them available more widely.

A No 10 spokesperson said the details of the project had yet to be confirmed but roles and responsibilities between IWF and the National Crime Agency would be clarified in due course.

Jim Gamble, former head of Ceop, said rather contradicting the need for all the Google work to block searches:

Nobody actually knows how much child abuse material is on the dark net, but the vast majority is shared on P2P. I think the government is masking the problem by not investing in real human resource.

IWF itself currently has only five staff monitoring the internet, though it has been given approval by its 110 industry members for a bigger budget, following a large donation by Google, and more resources from April 2014.

 

 Update: Seeking a Good Image...

Google reveals technology to prevent searches for child abuse material


Link Here 18th November 2013  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
Google logo Google is targeting 100,000 terms associated with online child sexual abuse in a move hailed by David Cameron, who will announce a series of measures to tackle the problem at a cyber-summit in Downing Street. The prime minister said that Google and Yahoo had come a long way after the internet firms announced a series of initiatives to try to block access to child pornography.

Cameron is set to announce that British and US law enforcement agencies are to jointly target online child abuse by monitoring those who operate on the hidden internet.

Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, has announced that a 200-strong team has cleaned up Google Search to target 100,000 terms that can be used to locate child pornography. The changes will soon apply to more than 150 languages. The company is also showing warnings at the top of its search results for 13,000 queries. Schmidt said:

In the last three months put more than 200 people to work developing new, state-of-the-art technology to tackle the problem. We've fine-tuned Google search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in our results.

 

 Update: Web of Fear...

Official Malaysian islamic group calls for the censorship of the internet to protect the religion


Link Here 17th November 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

department of islamic development malaysi logo Malaysia's Federal Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) has urged the government to consider internet censorship to stop supposed attacks against Islam.

The call delivered in a sermon stated that given the challenges posed by anti-Islam groups through information technology, it was important that the Muslim community used whatever reasonable strategy available including social media to counter, answer and ward off the propaganda of the enemies of Islam.

Muslims must be kept updated on current developments so that we get accurate information and not be influenced by enemy propaganda.

You all can also use new media such as YouTube, Twitter and blogs as mediums to send out the right message and spread the teachings of Islam.

While Muslims are working at strengthening the economy and the Malay race, the enemies have not slackened for a minute to run their mission to destroy Islam by using whatever strategy possible, including cyber troopers.

The Islamic body said it was required of Muslims to identify the agenda designed to erode the sanctity of Islam and to also identify those who attempted to do so. Jakim warned that the international line of thinking, such as liberalism and pluralism, seems to be spreading fast via the internet and influencing the younger generation.

From our observations, many symbols and hundreds of websites on the internet are being used to confuse and weaken those of the Islamic faith.

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship Dope...


Link Here 12th November 2013  full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo hsaring website gets heavy on the censorship
instagram logo Soone everything will be banned on Instagram continuing with tags related to drugs

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

 Update: A Conflict of National Interests...

Liam Fox calls for the prosecution the Guardian for revealing details of the mass snooping of comms and internet use


Link Here 10th November 2013  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
The Guardian Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary has called for the Guardian newspaper to be prosecuted over its role in disclosing information about Britain's mass surveillance system.

Fox has written to Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), urging her to set out whether the newspaper breached counter-terrorism laws by publishing secrets which were stolen by the former US spy contractor Edward Snowden .

Fox accuses The Guardian's editor Alan Rusbridger of:

Exhibit[ing] no sense of understanding, never mind remorse, about what damage might have been done to the safety of individuals or the country.

The former defence secretary's letter asks the DPP how a prosecution against the Guardian could be initiated , although Fox has not yet indicated whether he would be prepared to trigger such action himself.

In an article for The Telegraph , Fox says he recognised surveillance by government agencies was a legitimate topic for debate. But he accused The Guardian of collaborating in indiscriminate publication of material which had damaged national security.

Fox's intervention comes after the nation's three leading spy chiefs last week told Parliament that terrorists around the world have already been monitored discussing how to evade surveillance by implementing knowledge gleaned from Snowden's leaks .

 

 Update: An Orgy of Censorship...

Max Mosley persuades French court to ban Google from linking to his pictures he doesn't like


Link Here 7th November 2013
France flag Google has been ordered by a French court to remove links to images of Max Mosley with prostitutes.

Google said the ruling should worry all those who defend freedom of expression on the internet . It intends to appeal.

Mosley successfully sued the UK's now-defunct News of the World after it ran a story in 2008 claiming he had organised an orgy with Nazi overtones. He won damages for breach of privacy. The News of the World secretly filmed the former Formula One chief with five prostitutes and published a front-page story.

Mosley said Google had agreed to remove links to material from the story on a case-by-case basis. But he claimed that when he had asked the firm to re-programme its technology to ensure it did not show up at all in searches about him it had refused as a matter of principle even though it was technically feasible .

 

  Spying for Britain...

New Zealand passes bill to enable mass snooping


Link Here 7th November 2013
New Zealand flag New Zealand has approved an email and phone-snooping law that will force telecommunications firms to install interception equipment on their networks.

Under the telecommunications interceptions and security capability bill, firms must also consult with the electronic eavesdropping agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, (GCSB), when developing new infrastructure and networks, and allow interception equipment to be installed on their networks.

The law, which passed by 61 votes to 59, would give GCSB powers similar to Britain's Government Communications Headquarters ( GCHQ ) and the US National Security Agency ( NSA ). Along with the Australian and Canadian intelligence agencies, GCSB shares large amounts of data with its US and UK counterparts through the Five Eyes electronic espionage alliance.

It is not clear whether such warrants can be used to give blanket permission for GCSB to intercept the internet and phone traffic of millions of people, as is the case in GCHQ's Tempora programme , and a variety of NSA operations.

Last week, the New Zealand defence minister, Jonathan Coleman, said he was not worried at all about revelations that the NSA had spied on world leaders .

At a Washington press conference with the US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, Coleman said: We don't believe it would be occurring. And, look, quite frankly, there'd be nothing that anyone could hear in our private conversations that we wouldn't be prepared to share publicly.

 

 Offsite Article: Tim Berners-Lee: encryption cracking by spy agencies appalling and foolish...


Link Here 7th November 2013  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
tim berners-lee Inventor of world wide web calls for debate about dysfunctional and unaccountable oversight of NSA and GCHQ

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Offsite Article: Apple reports on government requests for information...


Link Here 7th November 2013  full story: Internet Transparency Reports...Google, Twitter and Microsoft report on law enforcement requests
Apple logo But is there any point when companies can't mention the mass snooping

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 Update: No Brains!...

Facebook ludicrously bans poster who likes faggots


Link Here 2nd November 2013  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
brains faggots A man was banned from Facebook for being homophobic after posting a comment about his favourite childhood dish which read, I like faggots .

Robert Wilkes was referring to the traditional British meat balls which are usually made from butchers' off-cuts minced together with onion and breadcrumbs but he was blocked from the site for 12 hours after other users complained about his language, which is used as derogatory term for gay men in the US.

Speaking to The Sun, he said:

It may have a different meaning in America but I used it in a food context. Facebook allows beheading videos, cruelty to animals, stabbing and terrible swear words -- but not this. It's political correctness gone mad.

But this was not a one off mistake by Facebook incompetent censors. The comment was posted in response to a report that Eileen Perrin had her account similarly locked for 12 hours for posting a picture of savoury dish. Eileen said:

A lot of people on the Facebook group found it very funny and started saying things like 'free Eileen'.

Facebook claimed that the word had been misinterpreted.