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  Grossly offensive prosecution...

Free speech hero Count Dankula fined 800 pounds for Nazi pug Youtube gag


Link Here 23rd April 2018  full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter

count dankula pug video Youtuber Count Dankula who filmed his girlfriend's pet dog doing a Nazi salute has been fined £800.

Mark Meechan was sentenced at Airdrie Sheriff Court after he was found guilty last month of a 'hate crime'.

He recorded his girlfriend's pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as gas the Jews and Sieg Heil by raising its paw during the footage called M8 Yur Dug's a Nazi .

The original Youtube video had been viewed more than three million times on YouTube.

Surely free speech has dropped to a new low in Britain but the widespread disquiet at the verdict may have helped keep Count Dankula out of prison.

dankula protest video Free speech campaigners orgainised a protest in London to coincide with the announcement of the sentencing.

 

 Commented: Hurt feelings in Liverpool...

Woman convicted for commonly used racial insults from a rap song, that are then ramped up to 'hate' crimes by the personal perception of the investigating police officer


Link Here 23rd April 2018  full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
snapp dogg trippinA woman from Liverpool has been found guilty of sending a supposedly grossly offensive message after posting rap lyrics on Instagram.

The post referenced lyrics from Snap Dogg's I'm Trippin' to pay tribute to a 13-year-old boy who had died in a road crash in 2017. It is not clear exactly which words were deemed to 'hate crimes' but the words 'bitch' and 'nigga' seem to be the only relevant candidates.

Merseyside Police were anonymously sent a screenshot of the woman's Instagram update (on a public profile), which was received by hate crime unit PC Dominique Walker. PC Walker told the court the term the woman had used was grossly offensive to her as a black woman and to the general community.

The Liverpool Echo reported that the woman's defence had argued the usage of the word had changed over time and it had been used by superstar rapper Jay-Z in front of thousands of people at the Glastonbury Festival.

The woman was given an eight-week community order, placed on an eight-week curfew and fined £585.

Prosecutors said her sentence was increased from a fine to a community order as it was a 'hate crime'.

Spiked logoOffsite Comment: Now it's a crime to quote rap lyrics? Censorship in Britain is out of control.

See article from spiked-online.com By Andrew Doyle

So we are facing the bizarre situation in which a teenager has been given an eight-week community order and curfew because one police officer perceives a black musician's work to be inherently racist.

Offsite Video: Liverpool hate speech verdict

See video from YouTube By The Britisher

 
  
An eloquent examination of yet another British free speech failure
 

 

 

 

 Extract: Id required for social media users...

Yet more internet censorship laws on the way in Russia


Link Here 23rd April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russian Duma logoRussian lawmakers have proposed a draft law that would impose new obligations on the owners of public networks. Such owners with no registered presence in Russia would be required to set up a local representative office. Other obligations would include identifying users by their mobile phone numbers, deleting fake news, and preventing the posting of materials that promote violence or pornography, contain strong language, or otherwise breach Russian laws governing content.

...Read the full article from jdsupra.com

 

  Parents will be driven nuts if their kids can't spend all day on YouTube and Facebook...

Jeremy Hunt demands that social media companies immediately ban under 13s from using their apps and websites


Link Here 22nd April 2018
This is so wrong on so many levels. Britain would undergo a mass tantrum.

How are parents supposed to entertain their kids if they can't spend all day on YouTube?

And what about all the privacy implications of letting social media companies have complete identity details of their users. It will be like Cambridge Analytica on speed.

Jeremy Hunt wrote to the social media companies:

Dear Colleagues,

jeremy huntThank you for participating in the working group on children and young people's mental health and social media with officials from my Department and DCMS. We appreciate your time and engagement, and your willingness to continue discussions and potentially support a communications campaign in this area, but I am disappointed by the lack of voluntary progress in those discussions.

We set three very clear challenges relating to protecting children and young people's mental health: age verification, screen time limits and cyber-bullying. As I understand it, participants have focused more on promoting work already underway and explaining the challenges with taking further action, rather than offering innovative solutions or tangible progress.

In particular, progress on age verification is not good enough. I am concerned that your companies seem content with a situation where thousands of users breach your own terms and conditions on the minimum user age. I fear that you are collectively turning a blind eye to a whole generation of children being exposed to the harmful emotional side effects of social media prematurely; this is both morally wrong and deeply unfair on parents, who are faced with the invidious choice of allowing children to use platforms they are too young to access, or excluding them from social interaction that often the majority of their peers are engaging in. It is unacceptable and irresponsible for you to put parents in this position.

This is not a blanket criticism and I am aware that these aren't easy issues to solve. I am encouraged that a number of you have developed products to help parents control what their children an access online in response to Government's concerns about child online protection, including Google's Family Link. And I recognise that your products and services are aimed at different audiences, so different solutions will be required. This is clear from the submissions you've sent to my officials about the work you are delivering to address some of these challenges.
However, it is clear to me that the voluntary joint approach has not delivered the safeguards we need to protect our children's mental health. In May, the Department

for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will publish the Government response to the Internet Safety Strategy consultation, and I will be working with the Secretary of State to explore what other avenues are open to us to pursue the reforms we need. We will not rule out legislation where it is needed.

In terms of immediate next steps, I appreciate the information that you provided our officials with last month but would be grateful if you would set out in writing your companies' formal responses, on the three challenges we posed in November. In particular, I would like to know what additional new steps you have taken to protect children and young people since November in each of the specific categories we raised: age verification, screen time limits and cyber-bullying. I invite you to respond by the end of this month, in order to inform the Internet Safety Strategy response. It would also be helpful if you can set out any ideas or further plans you have to make progress in these areas.

During the working group meetings I understand you have pointed to the lack of conclusive evidence in this area — a concern which I also share. In order to address this, I have asked the Chief Medical Officer to undertake an evidence review on the impact of technology on children and young people's mental health, including on healthy screen time. 1 will also be working closely with DCMS and UKRI to commission research into all these questions, to ensure we have the best possible empirical basis on which to make policy. This will inform the Government's approach as we move forwards.

Your industry boasts some of the brightest minds and biggest budgets globally. While these issues may be difficult, I do not believe that solutions on these issues are outside your reach; I do question whether there is sufficient will to reach them.

I am keen to work with you to make technology a force for good in protecting the next generation. However, if you prove unwilling to do so, we will not be deterred from making progress.

 

  Police decide to return from the planet where women never lie and all men are rapists...

Police decision to end the injustice of automatically believing complainants proceeds through the system


Link Here 22nd April 2018
college of policing logoPolice are to drop their controversial policy of automatically believing anyone who reports a crime.

A top-level report obtained by The Mail on Sunday says official guidance should be changed to tell detectives they must listen to victims and take them seriously -- but not automatically assume they are telling the truth.

The dramatic move follows a series of unjust inquiries based on false allegations that left dozens of innocent people's lives and reputations destroyed, including high-profile figures.

The U-turn has been drawn up by the College of Policing, which sets national standards, and after being considered by chief constables last week it will be sent to Home Office Ministers to become official policy.

Last night, former Police Minister David Mellor, who served under Leon Brittan, told the MoS: It's been obvious for years that the policy of automatic belief invites time-wasters and it's an invitation to cranks to come forward with ludicrous allegations. He said:

Plainly if someone complains of a crime, that has got to be looked at, but the idea police should assume they're telling the truth invites dreadful injustice.

However, the change will be fiercely opposed by some feminist campaigners who seem to think that its ok to lock up innocent men, saying it will deter genuine rape victims from coming forward, for fear they will be disbelieved or ignored.

 

 Offsite Article: Right To Be Forgotten...


Link Here 22nd April 2018  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Google logo Should Google Decide Alone? By Ray Walsh

See article from bestvpn.com

 

  Player Unknowns in Censorship Battlegrounds...

Netherlands censors put 4 video games on notice that they will be banned if they don't remove loot boxes


Link Here 21st April 2018  full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
Rocket League Collector's Edition The Dutch Gaming Authority (kansspelautoriteit) has ruled on the matter of loot boxes i computer games and has determined that out of ten popular games with loot boxes the commission investigated, four don't comply with the country's Better Gaming Act.

According to the Dutch Gaming Authority, the four games in violation of the Better Gaming Act because they feature elements in them that can also be found in the gambling world. Because loot box items could be traded for euro at fluctuating prices, these items have economic value. And since players can earn money for rare items, the games violate the rules of chance.

Of the remaining six games the Dutch Gaming Authority investigated, they found that the loot boxes contained items that could not be traded. Thus they are in compliance with the Better Gaming Act. However, the group still criticized how loot boxes were implemented as slot machines or roulettes.

Companies that do not comply with the Better Gaming Act can be fined or even prohibited from being sold in the Netherlands.

The games will only be officially identified if they don't take the required remedial action. However it has been reported that likely games requiring cuts are Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), Dota 2 , and Rocket League which include items that can be traded through third-party services

 

  Hurt feelings in Hyderabad...

Journalist's cartoon winds up online vigilantes


Link Here 21st April 2018
swathi vadlamudiThe Hyderabad police have registered a case against Swathi Vadlamudi, a journalist working for an English daily, for a cartoon she created in response to high profile rape cases in India.

A right wing online vigilante group called Hindu Sanghatan reported the cartoon to police after Vadlamudi posted it on her Facebook page.

Hindu Sanghatan describes itself on its website:

The intent of the Sanghatan is to find public posts, which ridicule and demean Hindus and take legal action against them.

There is a rise of pseudo-seculars and pseudo-liberals who are maligning Hindu religion in all protests. Hence we wanted to take legal action against those tainting Hindu religion.

Police registered a case against her under Section 295 (a) of the Indian Penal Code (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).

The president of Hindu Sanghatan  commented:

There is nothing wrong in expressing her anger at Kathua incident and in fact, we, too, share her feelings. But where is the need draw Hindu gods into the incident?

 

 Offsite Article: We haven't even got our GDPR privacy rights yet and they are already being chipped away...


Link Here 21st April 2018
Nominet UK domain registrar Nominet explains that it will remove any personal details ffrom public whois service but will hand them over to anybody who has a 'legitimate interest', you know like copyright trolls

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

  Don't forget the BBFC age verification consultation ends on Monday...

Note that BBFC has now re-opened its web pages with the consultation details


Link Here 20th April 2018
alarm clockThe BBFC is consulting on its procedures for deciding if porn websites have implemented adequately strictly such that under 18s won't normally be able to access the website. Any websites not complying will be fined/blocked and/or pressurised by hosting/payment providers and advertisers who are willing to support the BBFC censorship.

Now I'm sure that the BBFC will diligently perform their duties with fairness and consideration for all, but the trouble is that all the horrors of scamming, hacking, snooping, blackmail, privacy etc are simply not the concern of the BBFC. It is pointless to point out how the age verification will endanger porn viewers, it is not in their remit.

If a foreign website were to implement strict age verification and then pass over all the personal details and viewing habits straight to its blackmail, scamming and dirty tricks department, then this will be perfectly fine with the BBFC. It is only their job to ensure that under 18s won't get through the ID checking.

There is a little privacy protection for porn websites with a presence in the EU, as the new GDPR rues have some generic things to say about keeping data safe. However these are mostly useless if you give your consent to the websites to use your data as they see fit. And it seems pretty easy to get consent for just about anything just be asking people to tick a box, or else not be allowed to see the porn. For example, Facebook will still be allowed to slurp all you personal data even within the constraints of GDPR, so will porn websites.

As a porn viewer, the only person who will look after you, is yourself.

The woeful flaws of this bill need addressing (by the government rather than the BBFC). We need to demand of the government: Don't save the children by endangering their parents.

At the very least we need a class of critically private data that websites simply must not use, EVER, under any circumstances, for any reason, and regardless of nominal user consent. Any company that uses this critically private data must be liable to criminal prosecution.

Anyway there have been a few contributions to the debate in the run up to the end of the BBFC consultation.

ageid logoThe Digital Economy Act -- The Truth: AgeID

20th April 2018. See  article from cbronline.com

AgeID says it wants to set the record straight on user data privacy under pending UK smut age check rules. As soon as a customer enters their login credentials, AgeID anonymises them. This ensures AgeID does not have a list of email addresses. We cannot market to them, we cannot even see them

[You always have to be a bit sceptical about claims that anonymisation protects your data. Eg if Facebook strips off your name and address and then sells your GPS track as 'anonymised', when in fact your address and then name can be restored by noting that you spend 12 hours a day at 32 Acacia avenue and commute to work at Snoops R Us. Perhaps more to the point of PornHub, may indeed not know that it was Damian@Green.com that hashed to 00000666, but the browsing record of 0000666 will be stored by PornHub anyway. And when the police come along and find from the ID company that Damian@Green.com hashes to 0000666 then the can simply ask PornHub to reveal the browsing history of 0000666.

backlash logo Tell the BBFC that age verification will do more harm than good

20th April 2018. See  article from backlash.org.uk

MindGeek's age verification solution, AgeID, will inevitably have broad takeup due to their using it on their free tube sites such as PornHub. This poses a massive conflict of interest: advertising is their main source of revenue, and they have a direct profit motive to harvest data on what people like to look at. AgeID will allow them to do just that.

MindGeek have a terrible record on keeping sensitive data secure, and the resulting database will inevitably be leaked or hacked. The Ashley Madison data breach is a clear warning of what can happen when people's sex lives are leaked into the public domain: it ruins lives, and can lead to blackmail and suicide. If this policy goes ahead without strict rules forcing age verification providers to protect user privacy, there is a genuine risk of loss of life.

Update: Marc Dorcel Issues Plea to Participate in U.K. Age-Verification Consultation

20th April 2018. See  article from xbiz.com

marc dorcel french logoFrench adult content producer Marc Dorcel has issued a plea for industry stakeholders to participate in a public consultation on the U.K.'s upcoming age-verification system for adult content. The consultation period closes on Monday. The studio said the following about participation in the BBFC public consultation:

The time of a wild internet where everyone could get immediate and open access to porn seems to be over as many governments are looking for concrete solutions to control it.

U.K. is the first one to have voted a law regarding this subject and who will apply a total blockage on porn websites which do not age verify and protect minors. Australian, Polish and French authorities are also looking very closely into this issue and are interested in the system that will be elected in the U.K.

BBFC is the organization which will define and manage the operation. In a few weeks, the BBFC will deliver the government its age-verification guidance in order to define and detail how age-verification should comply with this new law.

BBFC wants to be pragmatic and is concerned about how end users and website owners will be able to enact this measure.

The organization has launched an open consultation in order to collect the public and concerned professionals' opinion regarding this matter here .

As a matter of fact, age-verification guideline involves a major challenge for the whole industry: age-verification processor cannot be considered neither as a gateway nor a toll. Moreover, it cannot be an instrument to gather internet users' data or hijack traffic.

Marc Dorcel has existed since 1979 and operates on numerous platforms -- TV, mobile, press, web networks. We are used to regulation authorities.

According to our point of view, the two main requirements to define an independent age-verification system that would not serve specific corporate interests are: 1st requirement -- neither an authenticated adult, nor his data should belong to any processor; 2nd requirement -- processor systems should freely be chosen because of their efficiency and not because of their dominant position.

We are also thinking that our industry should have two requests for the BBFC to insure a system which do not create dependency:

  • Any age-verification processor scope should be limited to a verification task without a user-registration system. As a consequence, processors could not get benefits on any data user or traffic control, customers' verified age would independently be stored by each website or website network and users would have to age verify for any new website or network.

  • If the BBFC allows any age-verification processor to control a visitor data base and to manage login and password, they should commit to share the 18+ login/password to the other certified processors. As a consequence, users would only have one age verification enrollment on their first visit of a website, users would be able to log in with the same login/password on any age verification system to prove their age, and verified adults would not belong to any processor to avoid any dependency.

In those cases, we believe that an age-verification solution will act like a MPSP (multiple payment service provider) which processes client payments but where customers do not belong to payment processors, but to the website and where credit card numbers can be used by any processor.

We believe that any adult company concerned with the future of our business should take part in this consultation, whatever his point of view or worries are.

It is our responsibility to take our fate into our own hands.

 

  European Production Orders...

The EU proposes that mass snooping data must be produced by internet companies with 6 hours of a police request


Link Here 19th April 2018
european commission logoThe European Commission has outlined new requirements for telecoms companies, clouds, email service providers, and operators of messaging apps, to produce snooping data on a specified individual within six hours of a rquest.

The proposed European Production Order will allow a judicial authority in one Member State to request electronic evidence (such as emails, text or messages in apps) directly from internet companies with an office in any Member State. The data may be nominally held overseas but will still have to be produced.

That super-short deadline will only be imposed in the case of an emergency. Less urgent investigations have been offered a ten-day deadline.

A European Preservation Order will also be issued to stop service providers deleting data.

The Production Orders will be applicable only to crimes punishable with a maximum sentence of at least three years, but governments have been artificially increasing maximum sentences for quite a while now to ensure that relatively minor crimes can be classed as 'serious'.

The EU Commission has cited terrorism as the justifications for the new requirements, but a 3 year maximum sentence rather suggests that the these orders will be used for more widely than just for terrorism prevention.

 

 Offsite Article: Old injustices...


Link Here 19th April 2018  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook logo Facebook found to be issuing posting punishments for years old posts that were OK at the time but are now contrary to recently updated censorship rules

See article from avn.com

 

 Offsite Article: Internet users left searching for help...


Link Here 19th April 2018
Google logo Google has redesigned its tools so that anti-censorship tools can no longer user Google as a proxy to evade state internet blocking

See article from theverge.com

 

 Offsite Article: Whois confused.com...


Link Here 19th April 2018
ICANN logo Time has run out and the internet overlords are still confused about what to do about the domain 'whois' service that will soon be illegal under EU GDPR privacy protection.

See article from eff.org

 

 Offsite Article: Facebook responds to the EU GDPR privacy requirements...


Link Here 19th April 2018  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
Facebook logo With a pretty new settings pages that boil down to either consenting to Facebook tracking your internet use or else deleting your Facebook account

See article from independent.co.uk

 

  Ofcom get heavy with RT seemingly with an intent to ban it...

The government does not like Russian propaganda channel casting doubt about Salisbury murder attempt and the Syrian chemical weapon attack


Link Here 18th April 2018

russia today international logoOfcom has today opened seven new investigations into the due impartiality of news and current affairs programmes on the RT news channel.

The investigations (PDF, 240.5 KB) form part of an Ofcom update, published today, into the licences held by TV Novosti, the company that broadcasts RT.

Until recently, TV Novosti's overall compliance record has not been materially out of line with other broadcasters.

However, since the events in Salisbury, we have observed a significant increase in the number of programmes on the RT service that warrant investigation as potential breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

We will announce the outcome of these investigations as soon as possible. In relation to our fit and proper duty, we will consider all relevant new evidence, including the outcome of these investigations and the future conduct of the licensee.

 

  Russians don't play games...

Russia blocks thousands of websites connected to casino games and sports betting


Link Here 18th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Putin's war room

Russia's new war room.
Putin decrees that Russians don't play games.
Maybe it was misunderstood.
 

The Russian internet censor Roskomnadzor, has blocked 1,882 sites with gambling content in just a week.

The latest statistics were published by Betting Business Russia (BBR), an independent online magazine focused on the gaming and betting industry.  The magazine estimates that the censor blocked 806 platforms that represent online casinos, online lotteries or Internet poker rooms.

A large number of the blocked sites during the past week include mirror sites trying to work around previous block. The most nirrored site, with 298 blocked domains, is Fonbet, the country's largest sportsbook operator.

Despite not offering gambling content, another 172 websites were blocked in the period April 8 to April 14. The magazine explains that these sites publish information on bookmakers, casinos, gambling machines, and sweepstakes.

Earlier in March 2018, the censor blocked 7398 sites with gambling content.

Russia has strict anti-gambling laws that prohibit almost any form of betting or real-money games.

 

  Threatening clouds...

Russia blocks millions of websites to try and force hosting companies to take down the encrypted messenger app, Telegram


Link Here 18th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
telegram logoRussia's internet censor Roskomnadzor has blocked an estimated 16 million IP addresses in a massive operation against the banned Telegram messaging app.

Telegram is widely used by the Russian political establishment, and prominent politicians and officials have openly flouted or criticised the ban. Data from the app showed several Kremlin officials had continued to sign in on Tuesday evening, four days after a court ordered the service to be blocked.

Backed by Russia's federal security service (FSB) and a court decision, Roskomnadzor has pushed forward, banning subnets, totalling millions of IP addresses, used by Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud, two hosting sites that Telegram switched to over the weekend to help circumvent the ban.

Andrei Soldatov, the co-author of The Red Web, an authoritative account of internet surveillance in Russia, said the campaign showed a no-holds-barred approach unconcerned with political fallout.  He said:

They've decided the political costs of blocking Telegram and millions and millions of IP addresses used by Amazon and Google are not that high, Soldatov said. Once you cross the line, you can do anything. I think it means that they could move on from Telegram to big services like Facebook and Google.

The tactic of effectively blocking all websites using a hosting company has worked in the past and the hosting companies have dropped websites as ordered by repressive politicians.

 

  Agonising cuts...

Publishers explain that they are having to censor the upcoming video game, Agony, to get an ESRB M rating


Link Here 17th April 2018
Agony A gony is a 2018 US survival horror by Madmind Studio

Players begin their journey as a tormented soul within the depths of Hell without any memories about their past. The special ability to control people on their path, and possess minded demons, gives the player the necessary measures to survive in the extreme conditions they are in

The publishers of the Kickstarter funded video game Agony have been explaining that release delays are down to censorship problems at the ESRB. The game features nudity which does not sit well with the M (17yo+) rating needed to avoid the commercial ban on adults only games in the US. PlayWay explains:

In order to be able to publish the game, we had to make some compromises. Otherwise, we would have had to to delete the whole project and never release it. With that in mind, we have spent a lot of time to make sure that censorship will not affect the perception of the game. That is why for many months we have been conducting interviews with age-rating companies in order not to cut out entire scenes from the game but at the same time modify it enough (e.g. just slightly changing the camera's frame) to get an M (Mature) rating instead of AO (Adult-Only) rating. AO rating means that the game could not be released on PS4 and Xbox One, and we would not keep the promise made on the Kickstarter.

We also want to confirm that we are preparing a special, optional patch for PC that will remove the aforementioned censorship. We would love to do something similar for consoles but from a technical and legal point of view it is simply not possible.

Many of you ask us what exactly we had to censor, fearing that the game you have been supporting for years will not be the same experience you hoped for. We do not want to list exactly what's been censored due to possible spoilers, but it is important for you to understand that none of the elements you have seen in Agony's promotional materials (gameplay, trailers, screenshots, GIFs) have been censored. Do not be afraid, the full version of Agony is much heavier than what you've seen so far anyway.

 

 Updated: Just sayin' but the most strident anti-gay politicians often turn out to be gay themselves...

Chinese social media site Weibo launches a 3 month campaign against gay content


Link Here 17th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Weibo logoChinese users of the Twitter-like Weibo have started an online protest with the hashtag I am gay in response to a recent government ban of gay content.

About 170,000 Weibo members had used the protst hashtag by midday Saturday before they were censored..

Weibo announced on Fridaythat it has launched a three-month clean-up campaign to get rid of illegal posts including manga and videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence or (related to) homosexuality. It is also targeting violent video games, like Grand Theft Auto.

Weibo's move is perceived as a crackdown by President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party on ideas.

There can be no homosexuality under socialism? a Weibo user wrote, according to AFP. It is unbelievable that China progresses economically and militarily but returns to the feudal era in terms of ideas.

Update: Backtracking

16th April 2018. See  article from bbc.com

Chinese social media network Sina Weibo has backtracked from a controversial gay content ban after a massive outcry.

Last Friday the microblogging platform said that posts related to homosexuality would be taken down. It prompted a deluge of posts from outraged netizens protesting against the decision. On Monday, Sina Weibo said it would reverse the ban.

Over the weekend many in the LGBT community took to the network to protest against the decision, using hashtags such as #IAmGay# and #ScumbagSinaHelloIAmGay#.

weibo gay protestSome tried testing the ban and uploaded pictures of themselves with partners or gay friends or relatives. Among them was LGBT rights activist Pu Chunmei, whose impassioned post accompanied with pictures of her with her gay son quickly went viral. The picture was captioned: Be yourself, don't hide.

As of early Monday morning many such posts were still online, as censors appeared to struggle to keep up with the deluge.

Then Sina Weibo made another announcement: it said its clean-up would no longer apply to homosexual content. We thank everyone for their discussion and suggestions, the company added.

 

  Russia fails to steam open the envelopes...

As Russian court announces Telegram ban, users stand defiant, amused... and worried


Link Here 16th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

telegram logoAs a Moscow court ordered the ban of messenger app Telegram on April 13, 2018, Deputy Communications Minister Alexey Volin tried to sound reassuring: those who want to keep using it, he said, will look for ways to bypass the blocking. In a rare moment of consensus with the Russian authorities, many Telegram users agreed.

Though conceived as a messenger app similar to WhatsApp, Telegram earned its popularity in Russia thanks to its "channels," a blogging platform somewhere between Twitter and Facebook which quickly attracted political commentators, journalists and officials. Telegram channels are a booming business, they are widely used in political and corporate wars. Last year Vedomosti, a business newspaper, claimed that political ads (or damaging leaks) on Telegram's most popular channels could cost as much as 450,000 rubles ($7,500.)

But Telegram's CEO Pavel Durov has repeatedly and vocally refused to comply with the demand of Russian security services to give up the messenger's encryption keys . And as the year-long battle between Telegram and the Russian authorities seemed to draw to a close with the decision to block the app, reaction to the announcement has been passionate and often derisive.

Kristina Potupchik, formerly a press officer for a pro-Kremlin youth movement, wrote:

Russia has finally become the world's second largest economy after China! At least in the field of permanently blocking Telegram.

Channels dedicated to Russian politics and the inner workings of the Kremlin --among the most popular on the platform-- also largely claimed they were not worried by the ban. About 85% of our users have installed one [a VPN] in the last 24 hours. If you haven't, here are the instructions, channel "Karaulny" (The Sentinel) told its 66,000+ followers.

So far, Telegram remains available in Russia, though sources have told the Interfax news agency that blocking could start as early as April 16.

Comment: Russia crosses another red line in online censorship

16th April 2018. See  article from rsf.org

Reporters without Borders logoReporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns today's decision by a Moscow court to order the immediate blocking of the popular encrypted messaging service Telegram after it refused to surrender its encryption keys to the Russian intelligence agencies. The decision represents yet another escalation in online censorship and an additional obstacle to journalism in Russia, RSF said.

Johann Bihr, the head of RSF's Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. said:

By blocking Telegram, the Russian authorities are crossing another red line in their control of the Internet. This is a major new blow to free speech in Russia. It also sends a strong intimidatory signal to the digital technology giants that are battling with the Russian authorities. The authorities are targeting a tool that is essential for the work of journalists, especially for the confidentiality of their sources and data.

 

 Offsite Podcast: Podcast: Steve Winyard - Age Verification and AV Secure...


Link Here 16th April 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
avsecure Perhaps the most hopeful age verification technology where you can be age verified for porn at your local supermarket without providing any ID whatsoever

See article from itsadult.com

 

  One law for the rich and no law for the poor...

It takes 10s of 1000s of pounds for the justice system to consider the nuances of censorship and the right to be forgotten yet we hand over the task to Google who's only duty is to maximise profits for shareholders


Link Here 15th April 2018  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Old BaileyA businessman fighting for the right to be forgotten has won a UK High Court action against Google.

The unnamed businessman who won his case was convicted 10 years ago of conspiring to intercept communications. He spent six months in jail. He as ked Google to delete online details of his conviction from Google Search but his request was turned down.

The judge, Mr Justice Mark Warby, ruled in his favour on Friday.

But he rejected a separate but similar claim made by another businessman who had committed a more serious crime. The other businessman, who lost his case, was convicted more than 10 years ago of conspiring to account falsely. He spent four years in jail.

Google said it would accept the rulings.

We work hard to comply with the right to be forgotten, but we take great care not to remove search results that are in the public interest, it said in a statement:

We are pleased that the Court recognised our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgements they have made in this case.'

Explaining the decisions made on Friday, the judge said one of the men had continued to mislead the public while the other had shown remorse.

But how is Google the right organisation to arbitrate on matters of justice where it is required to examine the level of remorse shown by those requesting censorship?

 

 Offsite Article: At least the Great Firewall helps protect the west from Chinese online competitors...


Link Here 15th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Great Firewall of China China's internet censorship should be lifted for the sake of the economy and innovators

See article from scmp.com

 

 Offsite Article: AI censors are just round the next corner...


Link Here 15th April 2018  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
us congress A good report from Mark Zuckerberg's grilling at the US Congress

See article from lawfareblog.com

 

 Offsite Article: High School DXD Season 4...


Link Here 15th April 2018
high school dxd 4 Funimation explains how the first US streaming will feature a censored version until the release window allows the streaming of the uncensored version

See article from comicbook.com

 

  Facebook censored criticism of the mainstream media...

A Facebook poster who was censored in the name of Germany's NetzDG law wins a first skirmish in a German court


Link Here 14th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
germanyA Berlin court has issued an injunction ordering Facebook not to block a user and not to delete a comment

The order appears to be the first such court intervention against censorship in Germany.

Last year a new law called the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) came into effect that effectively frces Facebook to over censor just in case it gets hit by ludicrously large fines. And it was an example of this over reaction by Facebook that is being challenged in court

The comment in question was placed by Gabor B under a Basler Zeitung article that referenced anti-immigrant statements by Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister. The Germans are becoming ever more stupid, Gabor B's comment, posted in January, read. No wonder, since they are every day littered with fake news from the left-wing Systemmedien about 'skilled workers', declining unemployment rates or Trump.

When Facebook removed his comment and hit him with a 30-day account suspension, Gabor B retained conservative Hamburg lawyer Joachim Steinhöfel who is well known for taking on free-expression cases and is running something of a crusade against what he sees as Facebook's overenthusiastic application of the NetzDG.

 

 Offsite Article: Another moral panic about rap...


Link Here 14th April 2018
drill and trap Drill music is not the cause of youth violence. By Fraser Myers

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Article: GrayKey...


Link Here 14th April 2018
graykey box Police are buying a $30,000 box that can crack iPhone passwords by brute force

See article from alphr.com

 

  Eying the UK policy to save the children by endangering their parents...

Moralist campaign group in New Zealand seems to be persuading the government to consider UK style age verification for porn viewing


Link Here 13th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in New Zealand...New Zealand considers internet blocking
Family First logoThe New Zealand moralist campaign group Family First have been campaigning for new laws to censor pornography.

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie is calling for an expert panel to consider health and social issues supposedly created by pornography, and somehwhat presumptively, how to solve the problems identified.

More than 22,000 people signed McCoskrie's petition, and this week he spoke to the Governance and Administration Select Committee at Parliament, where he said porn was feeding the health crisis of the digital age.

Parliament's Governance and Administration Select Committee is currently considering the petition and whether to set up an 'expert' panel.

Chief censor David Shanks seems to have been caught up in the pre-censorship momentum. He said more needs to be done to understand porn use, and the effects. Then NZ can get to work tackling the issue. He added that New Zealand needs to take a societal approach to tackling the pervasive effects of porn, including further regulation.

As far as regulation goes, Shanks said New Zealand could consider making similar moves to the United Kingdom, where anyone wanting to watching online porn had to go through an official age verification process. An ISP-level ban, where pornography viewers had to opt in to viewing pornographic content, could also be part of the solution.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification, headed by the chief censor, was dedicating its major research project for the year to the prevalence, and effects of porn.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said he was aware of the issues surrounding pornography use, and he was open to suggestions on what regulatory approach New Zealand could take to tackle problems. However, there was no specific legislation in the pipeline at the moment.

 

  Paying a heavy price for repression...

Tanzania introduces an unviably steep tax on blogging


Link Here 13th April 2018
Tanzania flagBlogging has been popular in Tanzania for more than a decade, enabling writers and independent journalists to express views and report news that might not otherwise appear in mainstream media. But as of last month, this kind of work will come with a price tag.

On March 16, 2018, the United Republic of Tanzania issued the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations demanding that bloggers must register and pay over USD $900 per year to publish online.

Application 2. These Regulations shall apply to online content including: (a) application services licensees; (b) bloggers; (c) internet cafes; (d) online content hosts; (e) online forums; (f) online radio or television; (g) social media; (h) subscribers and users of online content; and (i) any other related online content.

The new regulations have far-reaching implications for freedom of expression and human rights. Bloggers must fill out official regulatory forms and avoid publishing prohibited content including nudity, hate speech, explicit sex acts, extreme violence, "content that causes annoyance" fake news, and "bad language" among other restrictions.

The new regulations grant unrestrained power to the Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority ( TCRA ) to prescribe and proscribe. Under Part II, Number 4, TCRA then has the authority:

(a) to keep register of bloggers, online forums, online radio and online television;
(b) to take action against non-compliance to these Regulations, including to order removal of prohibited content

iAfrikan News further explains :

Online content publishers (blogs, podcasts, videos) will apply for a license at a fee of 100,000 Tanzanian Shillings (44 USD) pay an initial license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings (440 USD) and an annual license fee of 1,000,000 Tanzanian Shillings (440 USD). This means to run something as simple as a personal blog (text) if you live in Tanzania, you'd have to spend an initial (approximately) $900 (USD) in license fees.

[A quick look at average salary figures on Wikipedia suggests that the average annual salary in Tanzania ia about 900,000 Tanzanian Shillings, so the licence fees are simply impossible for the majority of Tanzanians].

According to Tanzania Bloggers Network Secretary-General Krantz Mwantepele, as quoted in The Citizen, many Tanzanian bloggers cannot afford these fees because the "license applications and annual subscriptions are way beyond earnings of many bloggers."

What is clear is that breaches of the new law will be punishable with a fine of "not less than five million Tanzanian shillings" (around USD $2,500), or imprisonment for "not less than 12 months or both."

Blogging as alternative news in Tanzania

Blogging emerged in Tanzania around 2007 and became popular as an alternative news platform with educated, middle class people, as well as politicians and political parties.

In Tanzania, where media historically holds strong ties to government interests, blogging opened up possibilities for individuals to establish private news outlets that proved immensely powerful in terms of reach and readership.

Before the rise of mobile apps, access to a stable Internet connected and laptop were imperative for bloggers. This set a relatively high barrier to participation for people with limited income.

 

  Mr. Sorry Goes to Washington...

Mark Zuckerberg apologises again for Facebook's disdain of privacy protection


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
mr sorryGrovelling to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, Mark Zuckerberg apologised that Facebook had not taken a broad enough view of its responsibility for people's public information. He ssaid:

It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here.

Zuckerberg said its audit of third-party apps would highlight any misuse of personal information, and said the company would alert users instantly if it found anything suspicious.

When asked why the company did not immediately alert the 87 million users whose data may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica (CA) when first told about the improper usage in 2015, Zuckerberg said Facebook considered it a closed case after CA said it had deleted it. He apologised:

In retrospect it was clearly a mistake to believe them.

Zuckerberg's profuse apologies seem to have been a hit at the stock exchange but techies weren't impressed when he clammed up when asked for details on how Facebook snoops on users (and non-users).

 

  Mr. Sorry skips Westminster...

Matt Hancock roasts two execs about Facebook's disdain of privacy protection


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
mr sorryUK Censorship Culture Secretary Matt Hancock met Facebook executives to warn them the social network is not above law.

Hancock told US-based Vice President of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert, and Global Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Stephen Deadman he would hold their feet to the fire over the privacy of British users.

Hancock pressed Facebook on accountability, transparency, micro-targeting and data protection. He also sought assurances that UK citizens data was no longer at risk and that Facebook would be giving citizens more control over their data going forward.

Following the talks, Hancock said:

Social media companies are not above the law and will not be allowed to shirk their responsibilities to our citizens. We will do what is needed to ensure that people's data is protected and don't rule anything out - that includes further regulation in the future.

 

  The EU happily sells out its 300 million souls to the US corporate devil...

The EU's latest copyright proposal is so bad, it even outlaws Creative Commons licenses


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

Image: Facepalm , Brandon Grasley, CC-BYThe EU is mooting a new copyright regime for the largest market in the world, and the Commissioners who are drafting the new rules are completely captured by the entertainment industry, to the extent that they have ignored their own experts and produced a farcical Big Content wishlist that includes the most extensive internet censorship regime the world has ever seen, perpetual monopolies for the biggest players, and a ban on European creators using Creative Commons licenses to share their works.

Under the new rules, anyone who allows the public to post material will have to maintain vast databases of copyrighted works claimed by rightsholders , and any public communications that matches anything in these databases has to be blocked. These databases have been tried on much more modest scales -- Youtube's Content ID is a prominent example -- and they're a mess. Because rightsholders are free to upload anything and claim ownership of it, Content ID is a font of garbagey, sloppy, fraudulent copyright abuse: five different companies claim to own the rights to white noise ; Samsung claims to own any drawing of its phones ; Nintendo claims it owns gamers' animated mashups ; Sony claims it owns stock footage it stole from a filmmaker whose work it had censored; the biggest music companies in the world all claim to own the rights to "Silent Night" , a rogues' gallery of sleazy copyfraudsters claim to own NASA's spacecraft landing footage -- all in all, these systems benefit the large and the unethical at the cost of small and nimble.

That's just for starters.

Since these filter systems are incredibly expensive to create and operate, anyone who wants to get into business competing with the companies that grew large without having to create systems like these will have to source hundreds of millions in capital before they can even enter the market. Youtube 2018 can easily afford Content ID; Youtube 2005 would have been bankrupted if they'd had to build it.

And then there's the matter of banning Creative Commons licenses.

In order to bail out the largest newspapers in the EU, the Commission is proposing a Link Tax -- a fee that search engines and sites like Boing Boing will have to pay just for the right to link to news stories on the web. This idea has been tried before in Spain and Germany and the newspapers who'd called for it quickly admitted it wasn't working and stopped using it.

But the new, worse-than-ever Link Tax contains a new wrinkle: rightsholders will not be able to waive the right to be compensated under the Link Tax. That means that European creators -- who've released hundreds of millions of works under Creative Commons licenses that allow for free sharing without fee or permission -- will no longer be able to choose the terms of a Creative Commons license; the inalienable, unwaivable right to collect rent any time someone links to your creations will invalidate the core clause in these licenses.

Europeans can write to their MEPs and the European Commission using this joint Action Centre ; please act before it's too late.

The European Copyright Directive was enacted in 2001 and is now woefully out of date. Thanks in large part to the work of Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, many good ideas for updating European copyright law were put forward in a report of the European Parliament in July 2015. The European Commission threw out most of these ideas, and instead released a legislative proposal in October 2016 that focused on giving new powers to publishers. That proposal was referred to several of the committees of the European Parliament, with the Parliament's Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee taking the lead.

As the final text must also be accepted by the Council of the European Union (which can be considered as the second part of the EU's bicameral legislature), the Council Presidency has recently been weighing in with its own "compromise" proposals (although this is something of a misnomer, as they do little to improve the Commission's original text, and in some respects make it worse). Not to be outdone, German MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Axel Voss last month introduced a new set of his own proposals [PDF] for "compromise," which are somehow worse still. Since Voss leads the JURI committee, this is a big problem.

 

  The EU hates Facebook too...

But then again, its doesn't much care for its own people either


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
Image: Facepalm , Brandon Grasley, CC-BYA loss of trust in Facebook in the light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal could prompt the EU to scrap its voluntary code of conduct on the removal of online hate speech in favour of legislation and heavy sanctions, European commission Vera Jourová said.

The EU's executive is examining how to have hateful content censored swiftly by social media platforms, with legislation being one option that could replace the current system.

JJourová said she would be grilling Sheryl Sandberg , Facebook's chief operating officer, later this week over unanswered questions about the company's past errors and future plans.

Jourove said she was wary of following the German path, because of the thin line between removing offensive material and censorship, but said all options were on the table.

 

  Taking tips from Putin on how to censor the internet...

Trump signs bill to censor websites offering services for sex workers


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
donald trumpPresident Donald Trump has signed the internet censorship FOSTA/SESTA bill into law, paving the way for more law enforcement actions against websites that facilitate prostitution.

Websites started shutting down sex-work forums even before Trump signed the bill. Craigslist removed its Personals section, Reddit removed some sex-related subreddits, and the Erotic Review blocked any user who appears to be visiting the website from the United States.

The bill becoming law will likely lead to more voluntary site shutdowns or law enforcement actions against sites that continue to be used for prostitution.

The SESTA and FOSTA acronyms (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) suggest that the new law is aimed at cracking down on sex trafficking. But the law barely distinguishes between trafficking and consensual sex work.

Operators of websites that let sex workers interact with clients could face 25 years in prison under the new law.

 

  Pinned...

Netflix US introduces new PIN options for parental control and on screen age ratings


Link Here 12th April 2018

age artings on netflixAt Netflix, we offer a wide variety of series and films catering to an equally broad variety of tastes and sensibilities. With that in mind, we are improving some long-standing Netflix features that provide members with the information and tools they need to make wise decisions about what's right for themselves and for their families. We're rolling out these improvements across the many devices used by Netflix members, and across our global markets, in the coming months.

The first change involves introducing a PIN parental control for individual movies and series to give parents and guardians more specific control over what children can watch on the service. We understand that every family is different and that parents have differing perspectives on what they feel is appropriate to watch at different ages. While we already provide PIN protection for all content at a particular maturity level for Netflix accounts, PIN protection for a specific series or film provides families with an additional tool to make decisions they are comfortable with.

In addition, we will also begin displaying more prominently the maturity level rating for a series or film once a member hits play on a title. While these maturity ratings are available in other parts of the experience, we want to ensure members are fully aware of the maturity level as they begin watching. We are also continuing to explore ways to make this information more descriptive and easier for our members to understand with just a quick glance.

One of the great benefits of internet TV is that it allows for amazing variety and provides viewers with complete control over their experience. At Netflix, we are proud to create and deliver to our members a large catalog of compelling stories crossing many genres from all over the world, while also giving them great control over how and when to enjoy them. These latest steps are part of our continuous efforts to keep members better informed, and more in control, of what they and their families choose to watch and enjoy on Netflix.

 

 Offsite Article: Porn Age Verification Rules...


Link Here 12th April 2018  full story: UK Porn Censorship...Digital Economy Bill introduces censorship for porn websites
cbr logo Expensive, Ineffective and a Hacker's DelightIncrease. By Vince Warrington, Founder Protective Intelligence

See article from cbronline.com

 

  Now you have to pay tax for the privilege of having your data exploited...

Uganda dreams up the idea to tax social media usage


Link Here 11th April 2018
Uganda flagThere is no shortage of hostility towards Facebook at the moment, as a result of recent revelations about their exploitation of user data and dissemination of supposed 'fake news'.

And the Ugandan Government has taken this to a whole new level and come up with a novel approach to try and steer Ugandan social media users away from US social media like Facebook and WhatsApp; a social media tax.

The social media tax proposal has been widely mocked by Ugandan internet users and experts, but it seems that the idea, which is thought to have emanated from the long-standing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni himself, is destined to be implemented anyway.

His justification was that because social media apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp were developed overseas, Ugandan's are merely consumers of their services and profits from these apps are all being made overseas.

Information minister Frank Tumwebaze claimed that the Ugandan Government wanted to foster online innovation at home and claimed that by taxing these overseas services, Ugandan's would be encouraged to develop their own rival apps.

Exactly how the tax will work in practice is still unclear.

 

  Censorship straight out of the Ministry of Truth...

Crazed Californian senator proposes law to require all local websites to get all news items censored by a government approved fact checker


Link Here 11th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
California state sealThere is no shortage of hostility towards Facebook at the moment, as a result of recent revelations about their exploitation of user data and dissemination of supposed 'fake news'.

And the Californian Government has taken this to a whole new level and come up with a tradition approach to demand that all online news in the state is censored by government approved 'fact checkers'.

California State Senator Richard Pan introduced the bill SB1424 Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan. that requires any online communication to be run through government-approved censors fact-checkers.

This bill would require any person who operates a social media Internet Web site with a physical presence in California to develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Web site. The bill would require the plan to include, among other things, a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false information.

Although the bill initially suggests that this would apply only social media companies, the definitions confirm that it would apply to all internet communications from individuals, and companies large and small. The scope is defined in the bill:

As used in this section, social media means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.

conservativedailynews.com notes:

The bill stands little chance of passing and, if it did, would face serious challenges in court as an infringement of The First Amendment, but it is astonishing that a legislator would even consider such a thing in America.

 

  Even Russian internet censors consider public outcry when blocking social media...

Why are western internet companies cooperating with the Putin regime to censor the web


Link Here 10th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

roskomnadzor logoAfter Instagram removed a video detailing a corruption investigation into Russia's ruling elite, it's time to talk about social networks and the Kremlin.

The one thing that compensates for the strictness of Russian laws is the lack of necessity to follow them. The Russian writer Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin may have penned this aphorism in the mid-19th century, but it's still relevant in 2018 203 especially when discussing the specifics of doing business in Russia and interacting with the Russian government.

A recent practical lesson in this reality emerged when president Putin signed the Personal Data Domestication Law (PDDL) in 2015. The PDDL, effective from 1 September 2015, demanded that every piece of personal data of Russian citizens operated by any online service should be stored in a data warehouse within the Russian Federation's geographical borders.

This is a quite remarkable (and typical) piece of Russia's legislative absurdity. Imagine a small online store somewhere in France selling, for instance, carpets. It stores its customers' data on a cloud service without even knowing the whereabouts of physical servers. In France? Iceland? Is the data somehow distributed throughout the globe by the hosting service provider? Even if the store managed to somehow separate its customers with Russian citizenship (and here don't forget the homesick employees of the French embassy in Moscow ordering carpets from home, still not being subject to the PDDL), it is hard to imagine our hypothetical store would be capable to setup technical infrastructure to comply with the PDDL.

Of course, Russian legislators were not concerned with small online stores (though a verbatim reading of the PDDL leaves no chance of excluding them). The law is targeted at messaging services and social networks: Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, Skype and so on. Roskomnadzor (the Russian government internet censorship agency) has been very clear 203 Facebook and Google should move their servers to Russia, making their users data and, most important, messages subject to SORM, the internet surveillance system created and run by the Russian security services.

An online petition addressed to Google, Facebook and Twitter urging them not to comply with the PDDL and thus to protect privacy and data of their customers from the FSB was launched in summer 2015. It quickly collected over 50,000 signatures, and some of the best known Russian internet gurus among them. It's hard to say whether the petition was effective or that the internet companies calculated their expenses for fulfilment of the PDDL, but the fact is three years later, in 2018, none of the major players (Viber being the only exception among messengers) agreed to follow the PDDL. No sanctions from Roskomnadzor followed, though it did threaten them on a number of occasions.

Why so? Dura lex, sed lex, surely? The legislation could be perfectly absurd, yet still it might be hard for a western reader to imagine how a corporation (with all its lawyers and compliance departments) could just disobey it and walk away. But this is Russia 203 not a democracy, but an authoritarian regime. And there is no rule of law, but the rule of political momentum.

Shutting down Twitter in Russia, where politicians loyal to Putin have accounts and enjoy tweeting, or including Instagram on Roskomnadzor's blacklist (which would imply an immediate block by any ISP in Russia), making million of young Instagram users unhappy just before the parliamentary and presidential elections 203 any decision of this kind has to be approved by the Russian president himself. No court and no other part of the regime would dare to take responsibility given the possible political consequences. Anything that could make people unhappy and drive them to the streets is decided by Putin. This is the way an autocracy operates.

linkedin logoOnce you realise this fact, it's easy to see why LinkedIn was selected by Roskomnadzor as the first victim of PDDL in summer 2016. Indeed, LinkedIn is still the only victim. It was selected by Roskomnadzor carefully: sure, it's a big brand, with an even a bigger one behind it (Microsoft), but LinkedIn's popularity in Russia has been limited to a small part of the white-collar audience working for or doing business with western companies. A rather small audience. And what's more important: this is not the kind of audience that would march on the streets against internet censorship. LinkedIn was chosen to scare off larger players. On the technical and legal side, there was absolutely no difference between how LinkedIn and how Facebook stored and dealt with the personal data of their Russian users. The only thing that made a difference was politics.

This PDDL case has been an important lesson, and it's a pity that not everyone has learnt it for good. In February, Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader unlawfully banned from the presidential election, but who remains Putin's most prominent and feared critic, published a video proving that Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to US lobbyist Paul Manafort, secretly met with Sergey Prikhodko, deputy prime minister of Russian government who oversees foreign policy. Indeed, the leaked conversation happened during a yacht trip off the Norwegian coast in August 2016. Several escort girls were also present.

This could be the missing link between Manafort and Putin 203 and perhaps it was, judging from the Russian government's reaction. The day after Navalny's investigation was published online on YouTube and Instagram, a court in the small southern Russian city of Ust'-Labinsk (which happens to be Deripaska's hometown) decided that Navalny's video violated the oligarch's and deputy prime minister right to a private life (!). It ordered every instance of the video to be blacklisted by Roskomnadzor, effective immediately. This pace was record-breaking: usually any lawsuits relating to violation of an individual's right to a private life take years. For instance, in summer 2016, the FSB leaked footage of Navalny fishing with his family on a lake. This surveillance video was included as part of a documentary on a state-owned TV-channel, and used as evidence that opposition leader spends his vacation in too chic a manner. The court is still due to set a hearing date.

But what does it mean when Roskomnadzor is required to block some video from the technical point of view? When a website is blacklisted, it is included on the registry of forbidden content, which Roskomnadzor updates several times a day and distributes among all Russians ISPs. The latter face huge fines or the revocation of their license if they fail to restrict access their customers' access to every website included in the registry. If a website uses HTTPS, a secure connection protocol, though, the ISP doesn't possess the information concerning which exact URL a user is trying to reach. Technically, in the Deripaska case, only two entries on Navalny's blog have been included in the blacklist registry, but all the ISPs blocked the entire domain of Navalny.com (some of them even blocked all the subdomains, including the website of Navalny's presidential campaign). They simply had no choice. Similarly, should any single YouTube video be included in the registry, YouTube will become inaccessible for customers of Russian ISPs on the same day. Should any Instagram story be put on the blacklist, millions of Instagram users will get angry. This is already politics.

Thus, having a valid (albeit speedy) court decision beforehand, Roskomnadzor immediately blacklisted navalny.com and a few dozen other websites which dared to publish Navalny's investigation 203 but not the YouTube and Instagram videos with exactly the same information and mentioned in the same court decision alongside other prohibited URLs. At the end of the day, Roskomnadzor are not fools: they are well aware of the risk of shutting down YouTube 203 this kind of action nearly led to a coup in Brazil recently. Instead, Roskomnadzor started sending emails. They informed YouTube and Instagram that Navalny's video is recognised as illegal in Russia and asked them to remove it voluntarily. YouTube contacted Navalny's office and asked him to remove it. Navalny refused. Youtube refused also. Instagram took the video down without even attempting to contest Roskomnadzor's email. Roskomnadzor threatened Google with sanctions because of YouTube's disobeyal. Google ignored it.

A month later, the video (which has over seven million views) is still freely accessible on the YouTube. No sanctions were applied to Google. After two weeks of threats, Roskomnadzor officially admitted it is not considering shutting down YouTube in Russia. So Google, via YouTube, has outplayed internet censorship and once again, as in the case of PDDL, proven its readiness to put its customers' interests first. Meanwhile, Facebook, in the form of Instagram, should be considered a company that is ready to help Putin clean up the Manafort mess by censoring material online.

Legal compliance shouldn't be the only way of doing business in authoritarian states, where the regime can easily undertake unlawful actions to pursue political goals. Politics is another consideration. So is protecting your customers.

 

 Offsite Article: Endangering the people...


Link Here 10th April 2018  full story: US Crypto Wars...US authorities look to breaking the encryption used to keep people safe
democrats donkey logo US 'Democrats' re-visit legislation demanding that the US authorities should be given a backdoor key to encrypted communications

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

  Sounds like China...

The European Commission proposes designating internet censors, which it euphemistically calls 'trusted flaggers', and then requiring internet hosting companies to censor whatever the 'trusted flaggers' say


Link Here 9th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
european commission logoThe EU Commission has recommended an internet censorship decision sounding like something straight out of China. The system consists of designating police, state censors, commercial censors acting for the state, and perhaps independent groups like the IWF. These are euphemistically known as trusted flaggers.

Website and content hosting companies will then be required to remove any content (nominally illegal content) in a timely manner.

The IWF usefully summarises the proposals as follows:

The EU Commission's proposals to tackle illegal content online include:

  • Hosting providers and Member States being prepared to submit all monitoring information to the Commission, upon request, within six months (three months for terrorist content) in order for the Commission to assess whether further legislation is required.
  • Recommends introducing definitions for "illegal content" and "trusted flaggers".
  • Fast track procedures should be introduced for materials referred by trusted flaggers.
  • Hosting providers to publish a list of who they consider to be a "trusted flagger".
  • Automated takedown of content is encouraged, but should have safeguards such as human oversight.
  • Terrorist content should be removed within one hour.

 

  Sounds like China...

US to generate a database of global news sources, journalists, social media influencers and bloggers etc so that they will know where to send the boys round when somebody says something they shouldn't


Link Here 9th April 2018
homeland security logoThe US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking to create a database that would monitor news outlets, journalists and media influencers around the world, it has been reported.

DHS is looking to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, television, and radio, according to a request for information. It will also look at trade and industry publications, local, national and international outlets, and social media, according to documents.

The plans also encompass media coverage being tracked in more than 100 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, with instant translation of articles into English.

The DHS Media Monitoring plan would allow for 24/7 access to media influencer database, including journalist, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc to identify any and all media coverage of a particular event.

 

 Offsite Article: Does a Pinocchio nose defeat facial recognition software?...


Link Here 9th April 2018
Facial recognition with Pinocchio nose Facebook's move to roll out previously banned facial recognition technology in Europe, just when new privacy rules are coming into force, is causing an uproar. By Mark Scott and Naomi O'Leary

See article from politico.eu

 

  Cannibal Ferox...

Violence cuts to Umberto Lenzi's 1981 video nasty have just been waived by the BBFC, but cuts to animal cruelty remain


Link Here 8th April 2018
Cannibal Ferox Director's Cut DVD Cannibal Ferox is a 1981 Italy horror adventure by Umberto Lenzi.
Starring Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Lorraine De Selle and Danilo Mattei. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 18 for strong bloody violence, gore after some previous cuts waived but still with 1:55s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:

  • 2018 Argent Films  video
The BBFC commented:
  • Compulsory cuts required to sequences of real animal cruelty.

The previous submission to the BBFC was in 2001 when the video ended up with about 7 minutes of cuts. Just 6s of these cuts were formally required by the BBFC but the BBFC concurred with 6:51s of pre-cuts.

The 2001 BBFC cuts were:

  • Cut required to sight of small animal on end of rope banging against side of a jeep

From IMDb, the 2001 pre-cuts were:

  • Removed scene of coati being eaten by a snake whilst the adventurers look on.
  • Removed scene of a monkey being attacked by a jaguar.
  • Removed scene of iguana fending off snake
  • Removed scenes of Pat & Mike tormenting a native girl about being a virgin and then threatening to hurt her with a knife drawn across her naked breasts
  • Removed scene of live turtle having its head an legs chopped off.
  • Removed scene of Mike removing a native's eye with a knife.
  • Shortened scene of Joe getting speared and his innards becoming a cannibal feast.
  • Removed scene of Mike being castrated with a machete and then the natives eating the tasty morsel.
  • Removed flashback to Mike's ex-girl being kicked in the head.
  • Removed scene of a crocodile being killed and devoured by natives
  • Removed scenes of Mike's hand being chopped off.
  • When Zora Kerowa is killed, this edited version plays as though she has disappeared, never once showing either the actual event of the aftermath of the famous "hooks through the breasts" death.
  • After having his skull sliced off, cuts to natives eating his brains.

And previous to that, the video was banned on pre-cert VHS as one of the most notable of the video nasties.

See further details at Melon Farmers Film Cuts: Cannibal Ferox

Summary Notes

Anthropologists take a trip to the jungles of Colombia to study native cannibals. Instead, they find a band of drug dealers, using the natives to harvest coca leaves. After awhile, the natives are tired of being tortured slaves, and turn on their masters, as well as the anthropologists, thus filling the screen with gruesome splatter!

 

  Grime busters...

The Government launches a Serious Violence Strategy that will consider further censorship of gang related content in music and videos on social media platforms


Link Here 8th April 2018
Home Offie logoThe government has announced a new Offensive Weapons Bill, which will be brought forward within weeks. It will ban the sale of the most dangerous corrosive products to under-18s and introduce restrictions on online sales of knives. It will also make it illegal to possess certain offensive weapons like zombie knives and knuckle-dusters in private.

The government notes that the new legislation will form part of the government's Serious Violence Strategy, which will be launched tomorrow.

Along with other issues the Serious Violence Strategy will examine how social media usage can drive violent crime and focus on building on the progress and relationships made with social media providers and the police to identify where we can take further preventative action relevant to tackling serious violence.

When the strategy is launched tomorrow, the Home Secretary will call on social media companies to do more to tackle gang material hosted on their sites and to make an explicit reference to not allowing violent gang material including music and video on their platforms.

 

  YouTube Nazis...

YouTube are banning, censorsing and de-monitising independent voices seemingly to put mainstream media back in control


Link Here 8th April 2018  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
trunews logoTruNews is a 'YouTube channel run by the outlandish evangelist Rick Wiles. It has just been targetted by Google's censorship policies nad has been kicked into the unsearchable long grass.

Perhaps banned for being 'fake news' but in reality it is a little too unbelievable to even count as 'fake'. freethinker.co.uk offer an amusing description of why the channel has been censored:

Why? Because Wiles's broadcasts are so damned nutty they serve as a warning to viewers that this is what happens when people's brain's are running on Jesus.

Of course, Wiles is even more miffed. He alludes to Google not following its 'don't be evil' mantra:

I have warned for years that a spirit of Nazism is rising up inside the USA. The new Nazis are here. America is on the verge of a French Revolution-style upheaval during which leftist mobs will seek to execute Christians and conservatives in order to purge American society.

But this isn't the only example of Google being 'evil'. jimmy dores show video

See video from YouTube titled YouTube Admits Not Notifying Subscribers & Screwing With Algorithms

Jimmy Dore notes that independent news sites often no longer qualify for monetisation, they are booted into the unsearchable long grass (as noted by TruNews) and now Google no longer informs subscribers when new videos are added. He contends that the powers that be want news videos from mainstream media to be the dominant news source for YouTube viewers.

 

  Bombing an iconic line of tanks...

China bans Call of Duty Black Ops II as players can choose to bomb Tiananmen Square


Link Here 8th April 2018  full story: Games censorship in China...A wide range of censorship restrictions
Call of Duty: Black Ops II An American video game that allows players to bomb Tiananmen Square has become the focal point of the latest Chinese censorship crack down.

Although Call of Duty Black Ops II was first released in 2012, officials in the eastern province of Jiangxi singled it out in a recent crackdown that ordered internet cafes to stop their customers playing banned games. A short sequence in the game's alternative reality, in which a character recalls a fictional Second World War bombing raid in the heart of the Chinese capital, appears to have particularly angered the censors.

Another game that fell foul of the censors was a locally produced one, Red Alert 2: Glory of the Republic, which allows players to fight against the People's Liberation Army.

Provincial authorities from the culture ministry visited 39 internet cafes in the province in the last week of March to make sure they were not offering banned games, the report added. More than 5,000 internet cafes in the province have now installed a government surveillance system on their computers. Officials will be notified if users have been playing banned games in the cafes. Nag screens regularly interrupt players at internet cafes without the latest update of the games snooping program.

 

 Offsite Article: If YouTube-Ripping Sites Are Illegal, What About Tools That Do a Similar Job?...


Link Here 8th April 2018
torrentfreak logo YouTube-MP3 was the world's largest YouTube-ripping service but last year it shut down following a lawsuit filed by the world's largest record labels. But what about companies that supply rip-it-yourself downloading tools

See article from torrentfreak.com

 


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