Fotografiska, a contemporary photography museum in Stockholm, has elected to censor its own promotional material for an upcoming exhibition to draw attention to Facebook's ludicrous nudity ban.
We censored the photographs because Facebook
removed our pictures, said Fotografiska spokesperson Jens Hollingby to The Local: Our purpose was to bring attention to the issue and to open a discussion
The photographs in question are by the controversial US photographer Robert
Mapplethorpe and form part of a major new exhibition of his work which recently opened at the museum.
Hollingby told The Local that Facebook is an important channel for the museum to market
Beneath the photographs, which are censored with a
large blue rectangle with the text facebook-friendly square , the museum has explained its position:
Facebook thinks that naked bodies cause offence. They remove our photos. For them, it does not matter if
it is art or not. I you would like to see the photos in their full glory, we invite you to visit us.
The exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe's work runs until October 2nd 2011.
In Denmark, police have recommended to Parliament that it create laws that make it impossible for citizens to surf anonymously. According to Danish-language blog Computerworld Denmark, the proposal is intended to help investigate terrorism.
proposal, locations providing open Internet, like cafes and libraries, would have to confirm a user's identity, with some form of official ID, before letting them get online. Companies may also have to register and verify users' identities before
providing access, as well as retain records of user logs.
Danish law already requires that ISPs store user data for at least a year, as an anti-terrorism measure. The proposal suggests that with such information, police would be able to see who
exactly is on the network, where they go, and who they talk to.
While the Malaysian government has continually ensured that there would be no censorship of the Internet in the country, an alleged leaked memo requesting Malaysian ISPs to block file-hosting sites suggests otherwise.
The memo in question appears
to be issued by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on May 30, and was leaked on Facebook, Malaysia-based Lowyat.Net forum, and blogs on June 9.
The MCMC, which is the country's internet censor, has yet to deny or confirm the
In the memo, the MCMC requested that Malaysian ISPs block access to ten file-hosting and sharing URLs, including Megaupload, Fileserve, and The Pirate Bay. It cited Section 268 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998,
which states that ISPs (licensees) must try their best to prevent its network from being used for activities that contravenes with Malaysian law.
International hacktivist group Anonymous has carried through on its threat to attack the Malaysian government's main website www.malaysia.gov.my over the government's proposed censoring of several file sharing websites, including the
Pirate Bay and Megaupload.
A few days ago, the group posted a YouTube video about its intentions to carry out the attacks at 3.30am (local time) on Thursday.
At least 50 other government websites were attacked, including the state of
Sabah's tourism website, and the Tourism Malaysia website. The websites of the Royal Malaysian Police, the Malaysian Parliament, the Ministry of Finance as well as the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism, which were restored before 9 am (local time).
Thousands of Malaysians took to the roads in protest of the decision made by the regulatory body Malaysian Communications and Multimedia
Commission to block 10 file-sharing websites in its effort to combat piracy.
The websites are mostly used to download pirated content including movies, TV shows and music.
The protest could be seen on Facebook as well, with over 6,500
people posting messages against the decision.
Thomas Hammarberg, the commissioner for human rights for the Council of Europe has said that freedom on the internet is a matter for the United Nations (UN) to decide because it is an international concern.
He said the UN should look at the
differences between privacy and freedom of expression on the internet and added that politicians need to become more involved in the discussion.
He criticised the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for not
taking responsibility for this, as he felt this was the relevant body in charge of this area.
He said a balance needs to be struck between regulation, which would filter out pornography, incitement to war and hatred, and the right to freedom of
expression. He said that some countries are imposing restrictions, while others are letting the web run wild.
He said the UN should appoint a special commission to work on this issue and that there has to be an international dimension to
regulations since so many web sites are run by private companies, according to the Guardian.
Hammarberg also criticised the use of super injunctions in UK courts, like the recent one relating to footballer Ryan Giggs and Twitter. He said that it
means people are not allowed to even mention that there is a court case, which is a violation of the right to free expression. ?
The Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council has denounced three strikes laws that would cut off Internet users as a penalty for copyright infringement. The advice comes in a Report to the UN General Assembly on the Protection and
Promotion of Freedom of Opinion and Expression.
While blocking and filtering measures deny users access to specific content on the Internet, States have also taken measures to cut off access to the Internet entirely. The Special Rapporteur
considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Special Rapporteur calls upon all States to ensure that Internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest. In particular, the Special Rapporteur urges
States to repeal or amend existing intellectual copyright laws which permit users to be disconnected from Internet access, and to refrain from adopting such laws.
The Special Rapporteur also acknowledged the importance of protecting Internet
intermediaries from liability in order to protect human rights. Internet intermediaries should only act to limit the rights of their customers following a legitimate court order.
Parental warning logos are set to be introduced before songs and music videos on services such as Spotify and YouTube that contain explicit material, following recent 'concern' about supposedly risque music content available to children online.
Music industry body BPI is to update its 15-year-old Parental Advisory Scheme. Updated guidelines will expand the scheme for the well known advisory logo to appear with songs and videos available to stream or download on UK digital music and music video services.
Most audio and video streaming services including Google-owned YouTube, Spotify, Napster and Vevo do not currently have a uniform parental guidance system, according to the BPI.
We think it is important for parents to get the same
standards of guidance and information online as they get when buying CDs or DVDs on the high street, said Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI. We are updating our scheme for the digital age to ensure that explicit songs and videos are clearly
An international notice and takedown system should be implemented to combat the global problem of online child sexual abuse.
This is the key finding of an independent report by Dr Weixiao Wei, commissioned by the Internet Watch Foundation
(IWF) and funded by the Nominet Trust.
Entitled: Online Child Sexual Abuse Content: The development of a comprehensive, transferable international internet notice and takedown system , the report establishes the value of an international
notice and takedown system, through the examination of the legislative and regulatory approaches in eight countries. Dr Wei identifies impediments to achieving this aim and recommends a way forward.
The report found that there is compelling
evidence that the notice and takedown system already used in some countries is effective in removing child sexual abuse content at source, while still allowing law enforcement authorities to capture evidence for investigations aimed at prosecuting
offenders and where possible, the rescue of child victims.
Some of the obstacles to establishing this system on a global scale were identified as:
Gaps in legislation concerning child sexual abuse content where the law has not kept pace with the development of technology
Regulatory regimes in some countries which are still in the early stages of development
posed by differing national and legal standards
The potential impact on complex international relationships if an international notice and takedown system is developed;
In order to develop a comprehensive, transferable international internet notice and takedown system, Dr Wei recommends:
Harmonising laws between countries relating to online child sexual abuse content
Using a consistent and comprehensive international procedure for taking down child sexual abuse content
That those countries which already operate a
notice and takedown system harmonise their practice and procedures to enable the development and use of an international system
Developing partnerships between countries' Hotlines and law enforcement agencies to minimise the impact of an
international notice and takedown system on law enforcement
Managing the legal and reputational risk to the organisations that issue takedown notices, and the risk of compromising law enforcement investigations within that country.
For the first time, the American social networking site Twitter has bowed to a court action brought by a British group complaining that they were libelled in messages.
The individuals who brought the legal action were councillors and officials at
a local authority, South Tyneside. They launched the case in an attempt to unmask an anonymous whistle-blower who calls himself Mr Monkey.
The action is believed to have cost council tax payers hundreds of thousands of pounds.
unprecedented ruling has prompted a row over freedom of speech, with experts warning that it may lead to a flood of actions by lawyers in other cases seeking to obtain personal information about people who breach super-injunctions or post libellous
messages on Twitter. Related Articles
European operations, warned last week that it would not seek to protect users' confidential information when legally required to hand it over. He said the most the company could do was to inform users before it released their details, to give them a
chance to challenge the rulings in court.
In their attempt to unmask Mr Monkey, the South Tyneside councillors and officials went to court in California, where Twitter is based. The court granted the order after it was told, by lawyers for the
council, that messages posted on the accounts had been libellous.
Since 2008 Mr Monkey has levelled allegations against councillors ranging from ballot-rigging, drug-taking and fiddling expenses to a claim that one successfully ordered a public
bus to turn around and pick him up from a pub late at night.
Polish authorities have shut down a website that mocked the country's president. This, along with recent police fines given to soccer fans who called the prime minister a moron, has raised questions about an authoritarian legacy of criminal law
that restricts freedom of speech.
Internal Security agents have raided the house of a blogger who ran antykomor.pl---a website with a name alluding to President Bronislaw Komorowski. The site was full of mockery of the president with games that
allowed surfers to throw objects, like a hammer or excrement, at the president's image. The blogger is now under investigation for slandering the president.
Internal Security was enforcing a law that protects the president and other top officials
from publicly expressed disrespect. It's an echo of communist-era penal legislation. Decades later, after a partial makeover of the criminal code, the law on slander still stands, earlier this month allowing the police to fine soccer fans for hanging out
a poster that coarsely criticized Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Donald, you moron, soccer hooligans will overthrow your government , is what they had to say about Tusk's decision to shut some stadiums after riots following the Polish Cup finals this
It has emerged that You Tube is complying with thousands of requests from governments to censor and remove videos that show protests and other examples of citizens simply asserting their rights, while also deleting search terms by government mandate.
The latest example is You Tube's compliance with a request from the British government to censor footage of the British Constitution Group's Lawful Rebellion protest, during which they attempted to civilly arrest Judge Michael Peake at Birkenhead
Peake was ruling on a case involving Roger Hayes, former member of UKIP, who has refused to pay council tax. Hayes has embarked on an effort to legally prove that the enforced collection of council tax by government is unlawful
because no contract has been agreed between the individual and the state.
We then click through to learn that, YouTube occasionally
receives requests from governments around the world to remove content from our site, and as a result, YouTube may block specific content in order to comply with local laws in certain countries.
You can also search by country to discover that
Google, the owner of You Tube, has complied with the majority of requests from governments, particularly in the United States and the UK, not only to remove You Tube videos, but also specific web search terms and thousands of data requests, meaning demands for information that would reveal the true identity of a You Tube user.
Between July 1 and Dec. 31 (2009), Google received 3,580 requests for user data from U.S. government agencies, slightly less than the 3,663 originating from Brazil, reports PC World. The United Kingdom and India sent more than 1,000
requests each, and smaller numbers originated from various other countries.
Automatic image-analysis systems are already used to catch filtered pornography before it reaches a computer monitor. But they often struggle to distinguish between indecent imagery and more innocuous pictures with large flesh-coloured regions, such as a
person in swimwear or a close-up face. Analysing the audio for a sexual scream or moan could solve the problem, say electrical engineers MyungJong Kim and Hoirin Kim at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon, South
The pair used a signal-processing technique to create spectrograms of a variety of audio clips, each just half a second long. They found that speech signals are normally low-pitched and musical clips have a wide range of pitches; both vary
only gradually over time. In contrast, pornographic sounds tend to be higher-pitched, change quickly and also periodically repeat. These characteristics allow software to distinguish porn audio from other content.
It's quite ingenious, says
Richard Harvey, a computer scientist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, who previously worked on image-based pornography detection. But image-based methods are no less accurate, he says, and only require a single frame whereas the
performance of the audio method needs to analyse longer clips.
He suggests it might be better to combine both methods to weed out unusual cases: Think of that scene in When Harry Met Sally [in which a female character fakes an orgasm while
fully clothed in a diner] -- the audio is very clearly pointing in one direction, but the video is not.
.XXX domains set to be expensive even for non-adult sites wanting to prevent someone else using the .XXX variant
The new .XXX domain is set to be more expensive than others due to more onerous and restrictive terms & conditions and their enforcement. It has been noted that these high prices may have to be paid by those not wanting anything to do with XXX
material, but just wanting to prevent someone setting up a similar website name but with a .xxx suffix.
Prices are even higher during a so called 'sunrise' period when .xxx domains are up for grabs for companies with existing claims on a url. Eg
it is a time when Melon Farmers could grab melonfarmers.xxx before it is thrown open to the public. Prices to reserve a url with .xxx are reported to be $300 to $650 during this process.
But before paying big money to reserve a .xxx suffiix it
must be noted that it is not yet clear how claims on names will be handled after this sunrise period.
Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, has warned that government plans to block access to illicit filesharing websites could set a disastrous precedent for freedom of speech.
Speaking to journalists at Google's Big Tent conference in
London, Schmidt said the online search giant would challenge attempts to restrict access to the Pirate Bay and other so-called cyberlocker sites, part of government plans to fight online piracy through controversial measures included in the
Digital Economy Act.
Schmidt described website blocking as akin to China's restrictive internet regime:
I would be very, very careful if I were a government about arbitrarily [implementing] simple
solutions to complex problems, he said. So, 'let's whack off the DNS'. Okay, that seems like an appealing solution but it sets a very bad precedent because now another country will say 'I don't like free speech so I'll whack off all those DNSs' -- that
country would be China.
It doesn't seem right. I would be very, very careful about that stuff. If [the UK government] do it the wrong way it could have disastrous precedent setting in other areas.
Speaking at the same conference, the culture minister, Jeremy Hunt, said plans to block access to illicit filesharing websites were on schedule. He admitted that a challenge of the controversial measure is deciding which sites get
Ofcom is due to present its report on the practicability of the site-blocking measures included in the DEA to Hunt in the coming weeks.
Eight New York residents have filed a lawsuit against China and Chinese online-search provider Baidu Inc., alleging they violated the plaintiffs' U.S. constitutional rights by blocking prodemocracy speech from Baidu search results. The complaint seeks
damages of $16 million, or $2 million for each plaintiff.
The plaintiffs allege their articles or videos about the Chinese democratic movement are unavailable via searches on Baidu, which the lawsuit calls an agent and enforcer of the
anti-democracy policies of China. The censorship violates their rights under the U.S. Constitution, the New York constitution and New York law, the suit alleged. It didn't elaborate on why Baidu should be punished for actions that Baidu says are
required by Chinese law.
Senator Richard Durbin earlier this month wrote a letter to Baidu Chief Executive Robin Li expressing concerns that the company wasn't taking measures to safeguard human rights, including freedom of expression and
privacy. Durbin said he was working on legislation that would require companies to take steps to protect human rights or face liability, and that Baidu would be subject to such legislation because its shares are traded in the U.S.
A 13 year old schoolboy faced US federal interrogation at school for what he posted on his Facebook page.
After Osama bin Laden was killed, 13-year-old Vito LaPinta posted an update to his Facebook status that got the Feds attention.
was saying how Osama was dead and for Obama to be careful because there could be suicide bombers, says Vito.
A week later he was called in to the principal's office. A man walked in with a suit and glasses and he said he was part of the
Secret Service . He told me it was because of a post I made that indicated I was a threat toward the President. The Tacoma school district acknowledged a Secret Service agent questioned Vito.
The teen's mom says she rushed to Truman
Middle School immediately and arrived to discover her son had already been questioned for half an hour. I just about lost it, she said. My 13 year-old son is supposed to be safe and secure in his classroom and he's being interrogated without my
knowledge or consent privately.
Vito said that once his mom showed up, the agent finished the interview and told him he was not in any trouble. Now he's more careful about what he posts online.
Breast-feeding advocates are angry that Facebook has once again removed photos of mothers nursing their babies.
In the latest ludicrous censorship, last month Facebook removed breast-feeding images from Earth Mama Angel Baby's Facebook page.
Babies get hungry, explained a post on Earth Mama's website. And breasts feed babies. We don't consider either photo obscene. Each shows a human baby having lunch.
Peggy O'Mara, editor of Mothering magazine, decried the move
in a lengthy blog post that called for readers to post pictures of themselves nursing on their personal Facebook pages if you agree with me that breast-feeding is normal and not obscene :
A Swedish film distributor's attempt to use an image of two women kissing in a Facebook advertising campaign has been rejected by the ever censorial website.
Sweden-based TriArt Film was hoping to use Facebook to publicise the Greek film Attenberg
, currently showing in Swedish cinemas.
Our ad for Attenberg, using the poster image of two women touch tongues, has been DISAPPROVED, TriArt said in a statement on its own Facebook page. TriArt went on to suggest that Facebook appears
to have a double standard when it comes to who can be seen locking lips in advertisements running on the site, explaining that their ad for the film Tre , featuring a male-female couple engaged in a deep kiss, was approved.
confused, TriArt CEO Eva Esseen Arndorff said in a statement.
The Lahore High Court has directed the government to submit the complete judicial record in connection with the issue of blasphemy on facebook and remarked that it would not be accepted at any cost.
The petitioner Muhammad Azhar Siddieque arguing
before the court said that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Ministry of Communication completely has failed to detect the blasphemy on internet and especially on facebook.
The petitioner said some people who had their agenda to
disgrace Mohammed and to defame the dignity of Islam. He prayed before the court to issue notice to the concerned authorities on the negligence on their part. He also prayed that PTA and Ministry for communication be directed to ban facebook on permanent
The court will sit again on May 10 for further proceedings.
British MPs have called for Google to be regulated as a dominant player in the Internet industry. The call follows a complaint by a British-based price comparisons company to the European Commission.
The MPs debated whether Google should be
regulated in the context of its dominance as a search engine. The debate was prompted by the complaint by a British company, Foundem, to the European Commission. Foundem operates a price-comparison service for online shopping. According to the MP Dominc
Raab, Conservative Member for Esher and Walton, Foundem has alleged that Google downgraded its search results, and acted anti-competitively in a way which was financially negative for Foundem.
Mr Raab accused the regulators, Ofcom and the Office
of Fair Trading, of complacency. He called on them to take action against companies abusing dominance. Search engines are the gateways to the Internet, and with a 95% share, Google is in a dominant position. If Google does not allow consumers to
access potential competitors via its search engine gateway, they will be choked out of the market-place he said.
Phillip Lee, member for Bracknell, pointing out that 90% of Britons use Google to find things online, accused Google of
suppressing the growth of a business based in his consitutuency. I don't think that one company having that much power is good for industry
Ed Vaizey, the Minister responsible, gave his support to Foundem, but declined to take any further
action because the issue is with the EU Commission.
Following approval from ICANN, a US quango, the new pornography-only suffix has been added to the Domain Name System.
The first registered addresses, porn.xxx, sex.xxx and xxx.xxx are being
used to promote sales of .xxx domain names.
A trade organisation, the Free Speech Coalition, said that it will make it easier for governments to block access to pornography websites and has called on pornographers to boycott .xxx. Saudi Arabia and
India have already said they want to block all the new addresses.
The first tranche of addresses, which will allow brands to buy their trademarks, will reportedly go on sale in November.
Once other high-value keywords have been auctioned
off, .xxx addresses are expected to cost around $70, seven times as much as a typical .com address.
The UK government appears to be pressing ahead with plans to filter the internet to prevent porn and filesharing.
Jeremy Hunt had seen some common sense about the plan by asking Ofcom to review if it was workable, it seems that plans to block 100
P2P sites are going ahead anyway.
According to the Guardian there are plans to build a quango similar to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). This would scour the net for illegal images of children, obscene adult content and non-photographic
child sexual abuse hosted in the UK and filesharing.
According to the Guardian there is a plan b which involves having a judge rule whether a site should be blocked after an industry agreed voluntary code has been satisfied.
Apparently the government does not want to block whole sites just the parts of them where there is pirated material, which is a greater challenge than domain name blocking.
Facebook prudes have picked on acclaimed photographer Renee Jacobs over lesbian imagery.
The issue arose over an advert for an exhibition. This showed two topless women embracing in a modest pose.
Facebook's Terms of Service prevent
the posting of anything that is pornographic, contains nudity or is inappropriately sexual.
Jacobs gave the following Statement regarding her removal from the Facebook to SheWired:
Well, we all know
that there's been much worse material on Facebook. It's hard to see how this is anything but discriminatory. As a photographer with a background in law, I've tried to adhere strictly to Facebook's Terms of Service.
believe they have the right to be as prudish and ridiculous as they want, as long as it's applied evenhandedly. This--however--is blatantly discriminatory. The photo does not in any way have nudity (you can barely see the side of one breast), it's not
pornographic (not even under the Supreme Court's nebulous standards of I know it when I see it......
Jacobs, who routinely censors work she puts up on Facebook with strategically placed black bars, is hoping, demanding
actually, that Facebook reinstates her original profile, she told SW:
I had more than 1,700 friends and business contacts. If Facebook wants to be taken seriously as a place of business and networking for adults,
they need to address this issue.
Once upon a time Facebook had an anything goes attitude to what people posted. But now Facebook walks on eggshells, fearing obscenity suits and nutter 'outrage'.
Facebook have just made the University of North Florida's newspaper, The Spinnaker
, take down their profile pic, the cover of their latest edition.
The cover depicts a couple engaging in oral sex, the cover story being about the news that there may be a link between throat cancer and performing oral sex on someone infected
with the human papillomavirus, or HPV.
Spinnaker's Editor-in-Chief Josh Gore defended the image, which was taken of UNF students, saying that it got people to read the story and this was not pornography.
Many companies use Facebook to reach the 4 million or so users in Sweden. One of these is Bjo rn Borg, who since 2007 has a large platform of user-generated content on their page. Fans upload their own images and every week the company chooses a
picture, which becomes the Swedish export of the week .
The happy snapper gets rewarded with free underwear and a chance to see his or her image posted on the official Bjo rn Borg Facebook page. But this particular image, taken by Jacob
Mohr Hansen from Denmark, proved too much for Facebook. The picture got many hits and many users left comments. But by the evening it had been erased.
We realized it was probably the most daring image we had ever uploaded, but were
confident it was still within what is considered OK, Micke Kazarnovicz, responsible for digital communication at Bjo rn Borg, told The Local. But Kazarnovicz' Facebook account had been frozen. In order to get his account back he had to promise
not to upload any more 'pornographic' images.
They saw this as pornographic, but to us it was really more a laugh, completely tongue in cheek. There is no eroticism at all in the picture, just nudity, said Kazarnovicz.
said that : Facebook needs to be more aware of the cultural differences of its users. Otherwise they are promoting a cultural uniformity that really shouldn't be pursued.
Facebook and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg have been hit with a lawsuit seeking more than $1 billion in damages over a page on the social network which called for a Third Intifada against Israel.
Facebook this week shut down the Third
Intifada page, which had almost 500,000 fans, but the lawsuit filed in a US court claims that the social network showed negligence by not quickly responding to appeals to remove the page.
Besides awarding damages, the complaint calls on
the court to bar Facebook from allowing the Facebook page titled 'Third Palestinian Intifada,' and other related and similar sites, which advocate violence and death to Jews.
The suit was filed in Washington DC Superior Court by Larry
Klayman, who describes himself in the complaint as an American citizen of Jewish origin who is active in matters concerning the security of Israel and all people.
Facebook dismissed the case as without merit and said it would
fight. Facebook said the page was initially tolerated because it began as a call for peaceful protest but direct calls for violence began appearing and the page was removed for violating Facebook's policies.