SNP adopt a resolution to not use Scotland's archaic blasphemy law to prosecute anyone, there are plenty of modern equivalents to use instead
|30th March 2018
See article from scottishlegal.com
The Scottish National Party has passed a resolution that Scotland's centuries-old blasphemy law should be abolished, or at least never be used to prosecute anyone.
Blasphemy is outlawed under the Confession of Faith Ratification Act 1690 and was last
used in 1843 to convict the Edinburgh bookseller Thomas Paterson who was imprisoned for selling blasphemous literature.
The motion said Scotland lags behind other European countries by still having the law on the statute books and called for the
abolition of the archaic common law crimes of blasphemy, heresy and profanity to the extent that they remain law in Scotland.
Informative YouTube history lesson about Hitler presented in a light, but neutral observational tone banned for UK viewers
|22nd March 2018
See article from reddit.com
Hitler OverSimplified Part 1 from YouTube
See Hitler OverSimplified Part 2
| outside UK
OverSimplified is an informative factual series of short history lessons is an animated and light tone. However the commentary is unbiased, observational and neutral.
No sane and rational human would consider these videos as tight wind
propaganda or the like. Yet Google has banned them from UK eyes with the message 'This content is not available on this country domain'.
Google does not provide a reason fr the censorship but there are two likely candidates.
- Maybe Google's unintelligent AI systems cannot detect the difference between a history lesson about Hitler from a video inciting support for Hitler's ideas/
- Maybe someone flagged the video for unfair reasons and Google's commercial
expediency means its cheaper and easier to uphold the ban rather than get a moderator to spend a few minutes watching it.
Either way the cost of the censorship is that it will achieve nothing towards the censors were seeking, but it will alienate those that believe in free speech and democracy.
Scottish football fans win campaign to repeal law that criminalised football chants
See article from commonspace.scot
Fans Against Criminalisation campaigner Paul Quigley is celebrating momentous victory for the group which has lobbied for the repeal of the disgraceful Offensive Behaviour at Football Act for the last seven years.
The act was a knee jerk
reaction to Celtic vs Rangers game where Celtic manager Neil Lennon was attacked on field and letter bombs were later sent to Lennon, Paul McBride QC and Trish Godman MSP.
The resulting legislation was nominally about tackling sectarianism but in
reality gave the police carte-blanche powers to arrest fans for whatever they wished under the catch-all guise of offensiveness.
Paul Quigley explained:
A decision was taken to form a campaign to fight this,
partly due to a deeply held collective ideological belief in the right to freedom of expression and equality before law, and partly due to the simple notion of self defence.
Fans of all clubs would be welcome to join our
organisation and that we would help and campaign for all football fans who we deemed to be the subject of unjust treatment.
Fans Against Criminalisation was able to count on the support of thousands of passionate supporters of the
campaign, as was evidenced by a demonstration at George Square which drew thousands of people in late 2011. In spite of this, the government seemed to assume that this would all die down in due course, and that the fan campaign would not have the
capability or endurance required to give them real cause to reconsider their position.
The treatment that football fans have had to endure ever since has been appalling. The human cost of this legislation is often lost amid the
political rabble rousing, among the doctored statistics and the nauseatingly disingenuous moral grandstanding. The reality of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act is this; it has ruined lives and caused serious damage in our communities.
In the face of all of this, football fans endured. In the years that followed, an incredible campaign challenged this treatment of supporters and lobbied for the repeal of this ill advised and illiberal piece of legislation. Today,
the Scottish Parliament finally voted on this very question.
The Repeal Bill has passed, and this is the first time in the history of devolution that the Scottish Parliament has repealed its own legislation. This victory is
historic not just for football fans, but for the country.
As a follow up. James Dornan, the MSP for Glasgow Cathcart and a candidate for deputy leader of the Scottish National Party, has decided to quit Twitter. He describes it as a
cesspit of hate and bile, saying he has received abuse from football fans over his defence of the Offence Behaviour at Football Act (OBFA). His disgraceful 'defence' of the legislation was to try and suggest that the campaign was some sort Labour party
political effort. The fans were not impressed and clearly gave him the slagging off he deserved. See more on this in
article from spiked-online.com
Hooded thugs disrupt free speech event at Kings College London
|10th March 2018
6th March 2018. See
article from dailystar.co.uk
more details from reason.com
See Sargon of
Akkad from YouTube
Hooded thugs have stormed a free speech event King's College London, throwing smoke bombs and attacking security guards.
Believed to be part of the anti-facist movement, violent protesters forced their way into a lecture hall before setting off
smoke bombs and smashing windows. Thugs grabbed the speaker's microphone, while several security guards were punched during the melee.
A threatening note was also left for the compere.
Ten to 15 people dressed all in black, with black hoods
and black face masks, leapt over the barriers and instantly engaged in a fight with two or three security guards, said witness Tristan Teller:
They tried to stop them but they just started punching them in the face.
One guard, a grey-haired gentleman who looked to be in around 60, received several punches.
The event, which was organised by KCL Libertarian Society, saw YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad, real name Carl Benjamin, invited to speak
alongside Ayn Rand Institute director Dr Yaron Brook.
The group were had dispersed by the time police arrived. There have been no reported injuries. No arrests. Enquiries continue.
Update: Antifa: the militant wing of authoritarianism
10th March 2018. See article from
spiked-online.com by Fraser Myers
The clash at King's College confirms anti-fascism now just means censorship.
Ratcheting up the requirements for social networks to report posters of terrorist content to the police
|8th March 2018
See article from
Social media giants have been ramping up internet censorship to prevent or take down terrorist posts. However the police are now complaining that the companies are not proactively reporting such posters to the police.
Metropolitan Police Assistant
Commissioner Mark Rowley, the outgoing chief of UK counter-terror policing, said they are threatening public safety to maximise profit and customer satisfaction. Speaking at a counter-terror conference in London, Mr Rowley said social media firms should
work with police in the same way banks had been made to co-operate on tracing dirty money. He said:
The online extremists seem able to act with impunity, occupying spaces owned and managed by legitimate and very
I am disappointed that in the UK as a police service we are yet to receive a direct referral from them when they have identified such behaviour.
They are effectively private tenants to
their communication service provider landlords. In the real world if a landlord knew their property was being used to plan or inspire terrorist attacks you would expect them to show corporate responsibility by informing the authorities and evicting them
forthwith. We want to see those same standards applied in the virtual world.
Max Mosley launches legal action against several newspapers to delete coverage of his BDSM parties and his funding of the Impress press censor
See article from dailymail.co.uk
Stephen Glover laying into Max Mosley from dailymail.co.uk
The Daily Mail writes:
Max Mosley has launched a chilling new attack on Press freedom, with an extraordinary legal bid to scrub records of his notorious German-themed orgy from history.
The former Formula
One boss also wants to restrict reporting on the £3.8million his family trust spends bankrolling the controversial Press regulator Impress.
He has taken legal action against a range of newspapers -- the Daily Mail, The Times, The
Sun and at least one other national newspaper -- demanding they delete any references to his sadomasochistic sex party and never mention it again.
However, in a move that could have devastating consequences both for Press freedom
and for historical records, Mr Mosley is now using data protection laws to try to force newspapers to erase any mention of it. He has also insisted that the newspapers stop making references to the fact he bankrolls Impress -- the highly controversial,
state-approved Press regulator.
Yesterday, MPs warned against data protection laws being used to trample Press freedoms. Conservative MP Bill Cash said:
The freedom of the Press is paramount and
it would be perverse to allow historical records to be removed on the basis of data protection. If data protection can be used to wipe out historical records, then the consequences would be dramatic.
Whittingdale, a Tory former Culture Secretary, said:
Data protection is an important principle for the protection of citizens. However, it must not be used to restrict the freedom of the Press.
In his action, the multimillionaire racing tycoon claimed that the Daily Mail's owner, Associated Newspapers, had breached data protection principles in 34 articles published since 2013 -- including many opinion pieces defending the
freedom of the Press. These principles are designed to stop companies from excessive processing of people's sensitive personal data or from holding on to people's details for longer than necessary, and come with exemptions for journalism that is in
the public interest.
Royal Court theatre in London pulls drama about Tibet for fear of offending China
|4th February 2018
See article from theguardian.com
A stage drama about Tibet has been pulled by the Royal Court Theatre for fear offending China.
Abhishek Majumdar said his play Pah-la was shelved because of fears over an arts programme in Beijing. His play deals with life in contemporary Tibet
and draws on personal stories of Tibetans he worked with in India,
The London theatre, once known for its groundbreaking international productions, is facing questions after Abhishek Majumdar revealed a copy of the poster for the play Pah-la ,
bearing the imprints of the Arts Council and the Royal Court along with text suggesting that it was due to run for a month last autumn.
Majumdar claimed the play was withdrawn because of fears over the possible impact on an arts programme in
Beijing, where Chinese writers are working with the publicly funded theatre and British Council.
The play was in development for three years and rehearsals had been fixed, according to Majumdar, who claimed that the British Council had pressurised
the theatre to withdraw it because of sensitivities relating to the writing programme.
The Royal Court said it had had to postpone and then withdraw Pah-la for financial reasons last year, after it had been in development for three years, and that
it was now committed to producing the play in spring 2019 in the light of recent events. It added:
The Royal Court always seeks to protect and not to silence any voice. [...BUT...] In an international
context, this can sometimes be more complex across communities. The Royal Court is committed to protecting free speech, sometimes within difficult situations.
China praises Theresa May for not bringing up the issue of human rights abuse
|3rd February 2018
article from standard.co.uk
China has praised Theresa May for not mentioning Chinese human rights abuse during her three day visit.
The Global Times newspaper hailed her for avoiding rebuking the regime for its treatment of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and human rights
record in China, and instead to confine herself to enthusiastic and positive remarks about China.
Downing Street insisted that the PM did raise the issues in her discussions with both President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.
May must have said something not quite right though as a BBC World News report on May's visit to the country was cut out midway through the broadcast in the country. China correspondent Stephen McDonnell tweeted a video of the incident alongside
So I hope @BBCWorld viewers are enjoying their screens going to black in mainland #China today as the censors pull the feed with coverage of PM Theresa May @Number10gov + Pres Xi Jinping and human rights
as well as #Xinjiang crack down.
Clive Stafford Smith, who founded human rights group Reprieve, tweeted:
What we all want in a principled leader! Theresa May commended by China for sidestepping
human rights - so why not just abolish them, or abolish humans? Or maybe we could have @RealDonad_Trump for PM instead after he has been impeached?
Humberside police launch a one sided prosecution of an innocent man who joked about gypsies, just so that they can virtue signal about how seriously they take hate crime
|29th January 2018
See article from dailymail.co.uk
Joshua North, who was prosecuted by Humberside police with the help of counter-terror experts, has been cleared by a jury over his satirical Facebook post where he called for national batter gypos day. A costs order in North's favour will be made.
North had responded on Facebook after national news reported that travellers had caused trouble in Cleethorpes. North said he made the statement to mock other people's 'hateful comments'.
North said the case had led to almost two years of hell for
him and his family and noted that there was no investigation into my side of the story.
After he was cleared of inciting racial hatred Joshua North, from Cleethorpes, blasted the decision to prosecute him as
political correctness gone mad. He said:
I told the police, if you check all my other Facebook posts, it indicates that I'm very friendly to immigrants, other races and religions.
to prosecute was criticised by North's lawyer who said the case had been brought with 'the full force of the resources of the counter-terrorism unit'. He said:
I am disappointed that the prosecution, who had the full
force of the resources of the counter-terrorism unit behind them, did not at any point consider what kind of a person Joshua actually is.
Had they spent any time thinking about him, looking at his other posts or even considering
the possibility of another interpretation other than that they fixed upon, it would have occurred to them that Joshua is the last person to incite racial hatred.
Instead, they fixed on an interpretation and they refused to
consider any other possibility even after he had advanced his position in interview.
What we have is a young, kind, decent, liberal, broad-minded man who works hard and who has been put through hell.
case concluded, Humberside Police defended its decision to charge North, stating it takes hate crime allegations seriously.
Seems like a government propaganda campaign calling for more censorship by internet companies, this time with a recent GCHQ boss chipping in.
|23rd January 2018
See article from
Robert Hannigan, a recent director of GCHQ has joined the clamour for internet censorship by US internet monopolies.
Hannigan accused the web giants of doing too little to remove terrorist and extremist content and he threatened that the companies
have a year to reform themselves or face government legislation.
Hannigan suggested tech companies were becoming more powerful than governments, and had a tendency to consider themselves above democracy. But he said he believed their window to
change themselves was closing and he feared most were missing the boat. He predicted that if firms do not take credible action by the end of 2018, governments would start to intervene with legislation.
Two UK court cases set to test Google's decisions over deleting factual data concerning convicted criminals from search results
|21st January 2018
See article from bendbulletin.com
Google is set for its first appearance in a London court over the so-called right to be forgotten in two cases that will test the boundaries between personal privacy and public interest.
Two anonymous people, who describe themselves in court filings
as businessmen, want the search engine to take down links to information about their old convictions.
One of the men had been found guilty of conspiracy to account falsely, and the other of conspiracy to intercept communications. Judge Matthew
Nicklin said at a pre-trial hearing that hose convictions are old and are now covered by an English law -- designed to rehabilitate offenders -- that says they can effectively be ignored. With a few exceptions, they don't have to be disclosed to
A Google spokeswoman said:
We work hard to comply with the right to be forgotten, but we take great care not to remove search results that are clearly in the public interest and will defend
the public's right to access lawful information.
The cases will start on February 27 and March 13.
Update: Convicted business man wins right to be forgotten
21st December 2018. See
article from theregister.co.uk
Google has settled a legal case brought against it by a convicted criminal who
wanted the adtech company to delete embarrassing search results about his criminal past.
The Court of Appeal in London was due to hear the anonymised businessman's appeal against an earlier High Court ruling which said he couldn't have the results
Known only as NT1 thanks to a reporting restriction order , the man was found guilty of conspiracy to account falsely in the late 1990s.
14th January 2018
Nick Cohen notes that the illiberal left's suffocation of free speech is not winning many people to their cause
article from theguardian.com
Iran makes an official complaint that British media is orchestrating the anti-government protests in Iran
|6th January 2018
See article from alaraby.co.uk
See also A former hacktivist reveals how a UK spy agency is actively subverting
democracy in Iran. From thecanary.co
Iran's embassy in London has written an official letter to the UK TV censor Ofcom claiming of bias in Britain's media coverage of the ongoing anti-government protests in Iran.
Ofcom said on Friday that the letter is being carefully evaluated.
Iranian state media says its government is complaining about what it calls a propaganda campaign orchestrated by UK-based Persian-language broadcasters.
The letter claims that the media outlets violated UK and international media regulations and tried to incite protesters into using violent tactics.
In an attempt to shut down protests and manage the unrest, Iran's government blocked access
to the encrypted Telegram messaging app and the photo-sharing app Instagram, which now join Facebook and Twitter in being banned.
The ICO thinks a few guidelines can keep kids off Facebook until they are 13
|5th January 2018
See article from dailymail.co.uk
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has warned Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to tighten up their age controls and kick off underage users.
The ICO stepped in after it became aware that millions of British children join the platform before
they were 13. New ICO guidelines state that social media giants must examine whether they put children at risk -- by showing minors adverts for alcohol or gambling, for example.
The guidance, which is under consultation, also calls on the firms to
do a better job of kicking underage users off their platforms, and to stop or deter children from sharing their information online.
Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, threatened:
services to provide protection for children or having a system to verify age, organisations, including social media companies, need to change the way they offer services to children.
It's also vital that we ensure children's
interests and rights are protected online in the same way they are in all other aspects of life.
In November, an Ofcom report revealed that half of British 12-year-olds and more than a quarter of ten-year-olds have their own social
media profiles. At the moment, all the major web giants demand that users are over 13 before they get an account -- but they do next to nothing to enforce that rule.
Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat insist it is unrealistic to have to verify the age
of users under the age of 18.
The ICO does not seem to have addressed the enormity of their demand. Facebook and social networks are the very essence of smart phones. If children aren't allowed to share things, how does any website or app feed up
news and articles to anyone if it does now what the reader likes nor who is linked to that person. Typing in what you want to see is no longer practical or desirable, so the basic idea of sending people more of what they have already shown they liked is
the only game in town. Of course the kids could play games all day instead, but maybe that has a downside too.