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The BBFC knows what's right for you...

A new slogan for 2019


Link Here 20th January 2019
The BBFC has changed its slogan from: "Age ratings you trust" , to the rather bizarre: " View what's right for you"

The new slogan seems a little strange to me, as it rather misses the point as to what age ratings are about. Surely the essence of age ratings is something more along the lines Avoid what's not right for children in your care. But the BBFC is addressing their slogan directly to your viewing rather than your children's, as if they know better than you, what is right for you.

Presumably the BBFC is trying to avoid a negative concept, and has tried to make it a more positive message. The BBFC is probably thinking that its detailed consumer advice provides enough details to help viewers decide whether they want to watch for themselves. But the slogan does not make this clear, and it seems likely to be read as if it is the BBFC that decides what is right for you. Then being 'right' comes across as presumptive, nannyish, or even Orwellian.

It is also interesting to speculate why the BBFC ditched its old slogan: "Age ratings you trust". It's surely a little awkward as it would come across as a proven lie to any reader who disagrees with BBFC decisions.

Also as the BBFC moves into internet censorship, the concept of 'trust' is a little dangerous. The BBFC will be forcing porn users to 'trust' age verifiers without any real protection in law to ensure that age verifiers keep the ID and browsing history of porn viewers secret. It is only a matter of time before data is found being sold to advertisers or worse, or else data is hacked, stolen or misused. The Government have already paid for insurance should the BBFC get sued by people whose lives get trashed by such data getting into the wrong hands. It is simply not wise for the BBFC to suggest 'trust' when this may be used in court against them.

 

 

Animated sausages...

BBFC censors get all worked up about the supposed 'pornification of culture'


Link Here 18th January 2019
Reports from the launch meeting for the recent publication of updated BBFC guidelines reveals some of the politically correct nonsense underpinning the changes.

thetelegraphandargus.co.uk reports that film censors have hit back at what has been deemed the pornification of culture. The BBFC has announced that the creeping-in of pornographic themes to popular culture is of major concern to the British viewing public.

The animated comedy Sausage Party was singled out as an example of where cinema has borrowed from the world of porn. The new guidelines prescribe higher age ratings for works with sexual violence, darkly realistic themes, and films steeped in the language of pornography.

Speaking at their launch in London, BBFC head of compliance Craig Lapper said:

I think there's a tendency for people to assume that everything must be increasingly more liberal. It always has that possibility of reaching a point and going the other way.

Public views are changing. This partly comes from the pornification of culture and whether almost borrowing from porn, cruder, stronger and harder sexual references are making their way into mainstream entertainment.

I think it's about the borrowing of themes and images from porn, and the visuals of pornography. It's all more available than it used to be when you had to go into a sex shop.

One film was Sausage Party. We had a lot of feedback. We heard from all sort of people about that, including teenagers. Of course they had watched it.

There is a scene in the film where animated vegetables engage in an orgy. It's crude.

Actually perhaps they (the public) feel that we need to rein it in. I think it's just the because it's so widespread and available.

 

 

Talking Dirty...

So what's actually changed in the updated BBFC guidelines for 2019?


Link Here 17th January 2019
There were relatively few changes in the 2019 BBFC Guidelines updated. The one's I spotted were:

Dangerous Behaviour at U

Previously potentially dangerous or anti-social behaviour which young children may copy can only appear in U rated film if it is clearly disapproved. Now such behaviour can also be included if it is presented unrealistically.

Nudity at 15

The BBFC is now allowing 'strong nudity' at 15, presumably referring to erections, is allowed if brief or presented in a comic context.

Sex references at 15

The BBFC has upgraded dirty talk to 18. A new rule has appeared stating:

Repeated very strong references, particularly those using pornographic language, are unlikely to be acceptable.

Sexual Violence and Sexual Threat at 12

A new section has appeared which builds on rules previously in the violence section. The 2014 rules included the following

Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated, and its depiction must be justified by context.

The new section reads:

There may be verbal references to sexual violence provided they are not graphic.

The stronger forms of sexual violence, including rape, may only be implied and any sexual threat or abusive behaviour must be brief and negatively presented.

So now the previously allowed brief and discreet indication of sexual violence is no longer allowed at 12.

Sexual Violence and Sexual Threat at 15

A new section has appeared which builds on rules previously in the violence section. The 2014 rules included the following:

There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but the depiction of sexual violence must be discreet and justified by context.

The new section reads:

There may be strong verbal references to sexual violence but any depiction of the stronger forms of sexual violence, including rape, must not be detailed or prolonged.

A strong and sustained focus on sexual threat is unacceptable.

The upshot is that strong and sustained sexual threat is no longer allowed at 15.

R18 content

The BBFC has deleted its prohibition on penetration with items associated with violence although it retains the prohibition of items that may cause physical harm.

 

 

Unprotected sex...

Gay website closes as user fears of being outed via age verification makes the site too dangerous for it to be viable


Link Here 17th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
gaystarnews.com has published an article outlining the dangers of porn viewers submitting their identity data and browsing history to age verifiers and their websites. The article explains that the dangers for gay porn viewers are even mor pronounced that for straight viewers. The artisle illustrates this with an example:

David Bridle, the publisher of Dirty Boyz , announced in October that last month's issue of the magazine would be its last. He said:

Following the Conservative government's decision ... to press ahead with new regulations forcing websites which make money from adult content to carry an age verification system ... Dirtyboyz and its website dirtyboyz.xxx have made the decision to close.

The new age verification system will be mostly run by large adult content companies which themselves host major "Tube" style porn sites. 'It would force online readers of Dirtyboyz to publicly declare themselves.

Open Rights Group executive director, Jim Killock, told GSN the privacy of users needs protecting:

The issue with age verification systems is that they need to know it's you. This means there's a strong likelihood that it will basically track you and know what you're watching. And that's data that could be very harmful to people.

It could cause issues in relationships. Or it could see children outed to their parents. It could mean people are subjected to scams and blackmail if that data falls into criminal hands. Government response

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told Gay Star News:

Pornographic websites and age verification services will be subject to the UK's existing high standard of data protection legislation. The Data Protection Act 2018 provides a comprehensive and modern framework for data protection, with strong sanctions for malpractice and enforced by the Information Commissioner's Office.

But this is bollox, the likes of Facebook and Google are allowed to sell browsing data for eg targeted advertising within the remit of GDPR. And targeted advertising could be enough in itself to out porn viewers.

 

 

Reflecting the public mood...terrorism, self-harm, suicide and discriminatory behaviour...

BBFC publishes a Guidelines update for 2019


Link Here 16th January 2019

BBFC launches new Classification Guidelines and calls for greater age rating consistency across online channels

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has published new Classification Guidelines, and in response to public demand is calling for greater consistency for age ratings across different platforms.

The BBFC's public consultation - involving more than 10,000 people -- showed that young people and parents want to see an increase in classification guidance, particularly around online content, as well as more consistency across all platforms.

Demand for age classification has never been higher, with 97% of people saying they benefit from age ratings being in place. 91% of people (and 95% of teenagers) want consistent age ratings that they recognise from the cinema and DVD to apply to content accessed through streaming services.

David Austin, Chief Executive Officer at the BBFC, said: Over the last five years the way we consume film and video has changed beyond all recognition. That's why it's so important that there is consistency between what people watch on and offline. The research shows that parents and teenagers want us to give them the information and guidance that they need to view what's right for them.

The BBFC's consultation confirms that people feel a heightened sense of anxiety when it comes to depictions of real world scenarios, in which audiences -- especially young people -- are likely to be concerned that it could happen to them. For example, realistic contemporary scenarios showing terrorism, self-harm, suicide and discriminatory behaviour. This research confirms that the BBFC's current category standards are reflecting the public mood.

The large scale research also found that attitudes towards sexual threat and sexual violence have moved on since 2013/14. Although the BBFC already classifies such content restrictively, people told us that certain depictions of rape in particular should receive a higher rating. The BBFC has therefore adjusted its Classification Guidelines in these areas.

People also told us that they expect the strongest sex references, in particular those that use the language of pornography, to be classified at 18. The new guidelines reflect this demand.

David Austin added:

We're here to listen to what people want, which is why they trust our age ratings. So it's encouraging to know that we've been classifying content in line with what people want and expect when it comes to difficult themes around credible real life scenarios. We also know that people are more comfortable with issues such as action violence, if it's in a way that they are expecting -- such as a Bond or Bourne film. We are updating our standards around depictions of sexual violence and very strong sex references to reflect changes in public attitudes.

The BBFC found film classification checking is most evident among parents of children under the age of 12, finding that 87% check all or most of the time, and a further 9% check occasionally. Interestingly, there has been a marked increase in the level of claimed classification checking by parents of children aged 12-14 years -- up from 90% ever checking in 2013 to 97% in 2018.

The new guidelines will come into effect on 28 February 2019.

 

 

Fill your boots whilst you still can...

British porn viewers are reported to be building up their collections ahead of the introduction of censorship and age verification


Link Here 13th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
UK-based porn viewers seem to be filling their boots before the government's age check kicks in as traffic to xHamster rose 6% in 2018

According to xHamster's Alex Hawkins, the trend is typical of countries in which plans to block online pornography becomes national news. It seems the more you talk about it, the more people feel invested in it as a right, he said.

The government has promised a minimum of three months for industry and the public to prepare for age verification, meaning they are likely to come into force around Easter. However this is a little unfair to websites as the BBFC has not yet established the process by which age verification services will be kitemarked and approved as promising to keep porn viewers identity and/or browsing history acceptably safe. For the moment websites do not know which services will be deemed acceptable.

Countries that have restrictions already in place showed, unsurprisingly, a decline in visitors. Traffic from China fell 81% this year, which xHamster put down to the nation's ban on VPNs and $80,000 cash rewards for people who shopped sites hosting illegal content, like porn.

Elsewhere, the report showed an increase in the number of female visitors to the site -- up 42% in the US and 12.3% worldwide -- a trend Hawkins predicted would continue into 2019.

 

 

The dangers lurking behind age verification schemes...

UK internet porn censorship marches on with the publication of a new law supporting age verification


Link Here 11th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The government has published Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations 2019 which defines which websites get caught up in upcoming internet porn censorship requirements and how social media websites are excused from the censorship.

These new laws will come into force on the day that subsection (1) of section 14 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 comes fully into force. This is the section that introduces porn censorship and age verification requirements. This date has not yet been announced but the government has promised to give at least 3 months notice.

So now websites which are more than one-third pornographic content or else those that promote themselves as pornographic will be obliged to verify the age of UK visitors under. However the law does not provide any specific protection for porn viewers' data beyond the GDPR requirements to obtain nominal consent before using the data obtained for any purpose the websites may desire.

The BBFC and ICO will initiate a voluntary kitemark scheme so that porn websites and age verification providers can be audited as holding porn browsing data and identity details responsibly. This scheme has not yet produced any audited providers so it seems a little unfair to demand that websites choose age verification technology before service providers are checked out.

It all seems extraordinarily dangerous for porn users to submit their identity to adult websites or age verification providers without any protection under law. The BBFC has offered worthless calls for these companies to handle data responsibly, but so many of the world's major website companies have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, and hackers, spammers, scammers, blackmailers and identity thieves are hardly likely to take note of the BBFC's fine words eg suggesting 'best practice' when implementing age verification.

Neil Brown, the MD of law firm decoded.legal told Sky News:

It is not clear how this age verification will be done, and whether it can be done without also have to prove identity, and there are concerns about the lack of specific privacy and security safeguards.

Even though this legislation has received quite a lot of attention, I doubt most internet users will be aware of what looks like an imminent requirement to obtain a 'porn licence' before watching pornography online.

The government's own impact assessment recognises that it is not guaranteed to succeed, and I suspect we will see an increase in advertising from providers in the near future.

It would seem particularly stupid to open one up to the dangers of have browsing and identity tracked, so surely it is time to get oneself protected with a VPN, which enables one to continue accessing porn without having to hand over identity details.

 

 

Appealing choice...

A chair has been appointed for independent appeals panel for the age verification


Link Here 9th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

Kirsty Brimelow QC is the new chairwoman of the independent appeals panel for the age verification regime of the British Board of Film Classification. The panel will oversee attempts to prevent children gaining access to adult content online. The initial term is for 3 years in the post

 

 

Censorship Archive...

The BBFC publishes its quarterly adjudication on complaints about website blocking by mobile ISPs


Link Here 7th January 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Censors...BBFC write the censorship rules for ISP internet blocking
The BBFC has just published a very short list of adjudications responding to website blocking complaints to mobile ISPs during the last quarter of 2018.

There are several cases where innocuous websites were erroneously blocked by ISPs for no apparent reason whatsoever and a quick check by a staff member would have sorted out without the need to waste the BBFC's time. These sites should get compensation from the for grossly negligent and unfair blocking.

The only adjudication of note was that the general archive website archive.org which of course keeps a snapshot of a wide range of websites including some porn.

The BBFC noted that this was the second time that they have taken a look at the site::

The BBFC provided a further adjudication when we viewed the website on 10 October 2018. As in September 2015, we determined that the site was a digital archive which hosted a range of media including video, books and articles. We found a range of pornography across the archive which featured explicit images of sexual activity, in both animated and non-animated contexts. The site also contained repeated uses of very strong language. Additionally, out of copyright film and video material which the BBFC has passed 18 was also present on the site.

As such, we concluded that we would continue to classify the site 18.

It is interesting to note that the BBFC have never been asked to adjudicate about similarly broad websites where it would be totally untenable to come to the same 18 rated but correct conclusion, eg google.com, youtube.com, twitter.com. They would all have to be 18 rated and it would cause untold trouble for everybody. I wonder who decides 'best not go there'?

 

 

Updated: Aquaman...

Dampeners for the UK cinema release as the film is cut for a 12A rating


Link Here 24th December 2018
Aquaman is a 2018 Australia / USA action Sci-Fi fantasy by James Wan.
Starring Jason Momoa, Amber Heard and Nicole Kidman. BBFC link IMDb

Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.

The UK cinema release has been cut for a 12A rating. 2D and 3D versions were passed 12A for moderate violence, scenes of sustained threat after BBFC advised pre-cuts: advised pre-cuts:

The BBFC commented:
  • This work was originally seen for advice. The company was advised the film was likely to be classified 15 but that their preferred 12A classification could be achieved by removing bloody detail. When the film was submitted for formal classification the bloody detail had been removed and the film was classified 12A.

Meanwhile in the US the film was rated MPAA PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.

Update: Pools of blood

24th December 2018. Thanks to ThatFilmGuy

I went to go see Aquaman last week (in the UK) and aware of the cuts made in post production I watched an online copy of the US PG-13 version of the film to work out what was cut.

The scene in question occurs at 1 hour and 28 minutes into the film; in the US version Aquaman is stabbed in the shoulder by Black Manta following which a small red patch appears, in the UK version the small red patch was removed. After this Aquaman is slashed in the back following which a small blood spurt is seen again this blood spurt was removed digitally.

Also some foreign releases I saw this year were noticeably pre-cut by the distributor before being submitted to the BBFC (similarly to Bumblebee the BBFC marks these as uncut) these films in question being:

  • Baaghi 2 (which was pre-cut by around 1 or 2 minutes for violence and drug use) and
  • Maari 2 (which was pre-cut by around 3 minutes for violence)

I have compared these to the International releases online which include the aforementioned footage cut from the film in the UK. =

 

 

The Gandhi Murder...

Another film cut for a 12A rated cinema release


Link Here 22nd December 2018

The Gandhi Murder

The Gandhi Murder is a 2018 UK historical drama by Karim Tra´dia and Pankaj Sehgal (co-director).
Starring Stephen Lang, Luke Pasqualino and Joseph K Bevilacqua. BBFC link IMDb

BBFC category cuts were required for a 12A rated cinema release in 2019.

Cut Small 12A Small UK: Passed 12A for moderate violence, bloody images, scene of torture after 1:19s of BBFC category cuts ( 117:20s ) :
  • 2019 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to remove bloody detail, during and in the aftermath of violence, in order to obtain a 12A classification. An uncut 15 classification was available.
Summary Notes

Solar Eclipse is a conspiracy theory period movie based on true events, that led to the eventual assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The movie demonstrates a violent India, at the backdrop of a non-violent Gandhi, and hard-line fanatic mindsets beginning to grow roots in an India divided on the basis of religion. The feature is a story of three police officers in different parts of India, who, well aware of the intelligence that Gandhi's life in under threat, must take key decisions that would eventually either save the Mahatma, or the country.

 

 

The Last Warrior...

2018 Russia action fantasy drama by Rustam Mosafir just released on UK DVD with BBFC cuts for animal cruelty


Link Here 22nd December 2018
The Last Warrior is a 2018 Russia action fantasy drama by Rustam Mosafir.
Starring Aleksey Faddeev, Aleksandr Kuznetsov and Yuriy Tsurilo. BBFC link IMDb
 
Cut Small 18 Small UK: Passed 18 for strong violence, gore after 4s of compulsory BBFC cuts ( 101:20s ) :
The BBFC commented:
  • Cut required to remove sight of a horse being tripped and landing on its head and neck.

Summary Notes

These are times when one civilization is replacing another. A new era is about to begin in Central Eurasia. Scythians, the proud warriors, are all but gone. The few of their descendants have become ruthless mercenary assassins, the "waves of Ares." Lutobor, is a soldier with a difficult task at hand. He becomes involved in internecine conflicts and sets off on a perilous journey to save his family. His guide is a captive Scythian by the name of Weasel. Lutobor and Weasel are enemies. They pray to different gods but must embark on this journey together. They brave the wild steppes, moving toward the last haven of the Scythians, to what seems to be their inevitable demise.

 

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