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
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.
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 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
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 wealthy corporations.
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 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.
John 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
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 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
Downing Street insisted that the PM did raise the issues in her discussions with both President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.
But 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 the caption:
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?
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
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.
The decision 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
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.
After the case concluded, Humberside Police defended its decision to charge North, stating it takes hate crime allegations seriously.
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.
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 potential employers.
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.
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 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:
Whether designing 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.