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Commented: Unstoppable Liberalism...

Indian press note that the BBFC demanded cuts for a 12A rating for Race 3 but, was uncut in India with the same certificate


Link Here 30th June 2018
Race 3 is a 2018 India action thriller by Remo D'Souza (as Remo).
Starring Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez. BBFC link IMDb

Revolves around a family that deals in borderline crime; ruthless and vindictive to the core.

The BBFC required 1:20s of cuts for a 12A rated cinema release. The BBFC noted that the cut version contained moderate violence, sex references. The BBFC explained the cut saying:

The company has chosen to remove scenes of strong violence in order to achieve a 12A classification. An uncut 15 classification was available

In India the censors have rated the film as U/A uncut. The U/A is equivalent to a 12A rating in that under 12s can only see the film if accompanied by a parent.

The UK cuts have generated interest in India with the perspective that it shows that Indian censors are not strict enough. Free Press Journal reports:

A source from the Indian censor board finds the discrepancy between the Indian and British censor's perception to be disconcerting. Are we to presume that the Indian censor board is more liberal than its British counterpart?

To be honest we did have reservations about certain shots being suitable for a 'UA' certification. But there is a standing instruction from above (meaning the I &B ministry) that nothing should be cut from any film unless absolutely necessary.

We are looking at an era of unstoppable liberalism in the censor board. This is to countermand the sanskari era of Pahlaj Nihalani .

Update: Another example of a higher rating from the BBFC than from the CBFC

30th June 2018. See  article from zeenews.india.com

Sanju is a 2018 India biography by Rajkumar Hirani.
Starring Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal and Manisha Koirala. IMDb

Few lives in our times are as dramatic and enigmatic as the saga of Sanjay Dutt. Coming from a family of cinema legends, he himself became a film star, and then saw dizzying heights and darkest depths: adulation of die-hard fans, unending battles with various addictions, brushes with the underworld, prison terms, loss of loved ones, and the haunting speculation that he might or might not be a terrorist. Sanju is in turns a hilarious and heartbreaking exploration of one man's battle against his own wild self and the formidable external forces trying to crush him.

UK: Passed 15 uncut for drug references, drug misuse, infrequent strong sex references for 2018 cinema release.

India: Passed U/A (12A) after 1 cut to delete the sight of an overflowing toilet in a prison cell.

Rajkumar Hirani's Sanju which opened in cinemas on Friday. India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cleared the film with a U/A certificate with just one cut asking the makers to remove the overflowing prison toilet scene from the movie for aesthetic reasons.

U/A is more a less a 12A rating in India and this has now been compared with the 15 BBFC 15 uncut rating for drug references, drug misuse, infrequent strong sex references.

It is the second example this month cited in the India press claiming that the India censors are more liberal than the BBFC.

Comment: BBFC go high

13th September 2018. Thanks to Joseph

Having seen both of the films mentioned in cinemas; including the 12A version of Race 3 and later the uncut bits online. I can definitely agree with the BBFC's decision to request cuts for a 12A; the cuts mainly occur to a shootout near the start of the film where large blood spurts are shown from shotgun blasts, and to some other violence later in the film.

As for Sanju I'm kinda conflicted, it would've definitely been a borderline decision between the 12A/15 categories and ultimately they went for a 15 (they usually go for the higher in borderline cases); while there is drug use it is entirely within the first act, in the context of actor Sanjay Dutt's drug addiction which is shown to have major negative effects and is strongly discouraged. The film has a very strong anti drug message. The drug use is also mostly implied with the exception of some joint smoking and a pill being placed in a man's mouth; although drugs such as cocaine are implied. The film also feels like a 12A rather than a 15 tonally with the film being upbeat and inspirational in tone. However the level of drug taking and frequency of verbal references in the first act meant I can understand the 15.

 

 

Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 84...


Link Here 23rd June 2018
Bollywood Films, Sholay and Baahubali 2

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 

Rated 18 for moderate #MeToo issues...

The BBFC is considering higher age categories for references or depictions of sexual violence


Link Here 22nd June 2018
At a conference organised by the NSPCC, BBFC director David Austin gave the keynote speech and spoke of early results from the organisation's five-yearly public consultation.

In previous consultations, the BBFC commissioned an in-depth survey of a panel of members of the public, and presumably have repeated the exercise this time. Austin reported increased concern about such sexually violent scenes, meaning certification guidelines may become stricter.

The BBFC asked the panel to review its decisions on 15-rated films featuring sexual violence including Don't Breathe , starring Jane Levy, Wind River and The Innocents, a French drama about brutalised nuns during the second world war. They were asked if these titles might have been more appropriately restricted to 18.

In a statement to the Guardian, the BBFC said that a number of the films might have been more appropriately restricted to 18. In the case of The Innocents -- which was given a PG13 certificate in the US -- the initial conclusion was that a 15 certificate was correct. The BBFC statement says:

It is premature to say what adjustments might finally be made to [our] guidelines but it is certainly fair to say that the [research] suggests heightened public concerns about the issue of sexual violence and some desire for a further tightening of our already strict standards at 15.

A BBFC spokesman told the Telegraph:

A general trend we found was that people seemed to find the fact the scenes occurred within recognisable 'real world' settings an aggravating factor, because it made them feel as if this was something that could happen to them.

The BBFC is now partway through the second stage of its consultation, which surveys around 10,000 members of the public, asking them if the BBFC is doing a good job and whether its age rating decisions are generally about right. This larger survey does not address detailed issues such as whether sexual violence should be restricted to an 18 rating.

The press is reporting that the BBFC will automatically award 18 ratings to films with depictions of sexual violence but this is surely bollox, the BBFC will perhaps make a few tweaks to its guidelines but will still take final decisions based on the content of the film.

 

 

Adventure in Sahara...

1938 action film just cut by the BBFC for animal cruelty


Link Here 20th June 2018
Adventure in Sahara is a 1938 USA action romance by D Ross Lederman.
Starring Paul Kelly, C Henry Gordon and Lorna Gray. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed PG for mild violence, language after 2s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:

  • 2018 Powerhouse Films UK [4:3] video
The BBFC commented:
  • Cut required to remove sight of a horse being tripped and made to fall onto its head and neck..
Summary Notes

Agadez is a lonely French outpost baking under the desert sun and commanded by the cruel and oppressive Captain Savatt (C. Henry Gordon). To it comes, at his own request, Legionnaire Jim Wilson (Paul Kelly soon followed by his fianc39e, Carla Preston (Lorna Gray), who has been tracing him from post to post. Legionnaires seize the fort and turn Savitt loose in the Arab-haunted desert with only a fraction of the water and food needed to get back to civilization. But Savitt gets through and returns to the fort at the head of an avenging troop of men. But Arabs surround Savitt and his men, and the mutineers, knowing that to leave the fort and aid them means their own death...

 

 

Brawl in Cell Block 99...

Already released 18 uncut for cinema and home video but now a 15 rated version has just been passed by the BBFC with cuts for category


Link Here 14th June 2018
Brawl in Cell Block 99 is a 2017 USA action crime thriller by S Craig Zahler.
Starring Jennifer Carpenter, Vince Vaughn and Tom Guiry. BBFC link IMDb

A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.

The BBFC has just passed  a video with a 15 rating for strong violence, threat, language, injury detail, sex and drug references after 44s of BBFC category cuts with some cuts substituted for:

  • 2018 Universal video

The DVD and Blu-ray has already be released in uncut 18 rated DVD and Blu-ray form. It is not yet clear where this cut 15 rated version will be used.

The BBFC commented:
  • Distributor chose to reduce or remove moments of stronger. sadistic violence and injury detail in order to achieve a 15 classification. An uncut 18, in line with previous versions of the work, was available.

 

 

Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 83...


Link Here 11th June 2018
Wonder Woman and Avengers Infinity War

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 

Updated: The dog's bollocks...

The children's film Show Dogs falls victim in the US to the dirty minds of Morality in Media. The BBFC doesn't concur and the film will be screened uncut in the UK


Link Here 5th June 2018
Full story: Morality in Media...Misreable campaigners for censorship
Show Dogs is a 2018 USA comedy by Raja Gosnell.
Starring Stanley Tucci, Natasha Lyonne and Will Arnett. BBFC link IMDb

Max, a macho, solitary Rottweiler police dog is ordered to go undercover as a primped show dog in a prestigious Dog Show, along with his human partner, to avert a disaster from happening.

The studio behind new family comedy Show Dogs has agreed to a last-minute edit in response to morality groups and bloggers claiming that the film might suggest to children that sexual molestation is something that should be silently endured.

Global Road Entertainment have now confirmed they would be cutting two scenes that some have deemed not appropriate for children. The scenes in question are thought to involve Max, a police rottweiler who has his genitals groped by cop Will Arnett as part of his training to go undercover at dog shows. Initially, Max is upset by the intrusion, but is instructed to go to a zen place. Global Road said:

The company takes these matters very seriously and remains committed to providing quality entertainment for the intended audiences based on the film's rating. We apologise to anybody who feels the original version of Show Dogs sent an inappropriate message. The revised version of the film will be available for viewing nationwide starting this weekend.

In the US, Morality in the Media, now going by the name National Center on Sexual Exploitation, flagged the film for the similarity of tactics used with Max and abusers grooming children, telling them to pretend they are somewhere else and that they will get a reward for withstanding the discomfort.

In the UK, the film was seen by the BBFC some weeks ago and was passed PG uncut. The UK and Irish distributors intend to stick with the BBFC/IFCO approved uncut version. A spokesman for Entertainment One said:

We are taking the BBFC/IFCO guidance on this matter in the UK and Ireland and will be releasing the original version that has been censored and reviewed.

The BBFC said in a statement that:

The scenes in question are entirely innocent and non-sexual and occur within the clear context of preparation for and judging in a dog show. We regard the comments made about the film as suggesting 'grooming' as a misinterpretation of the scenes in question.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, Chief Censor David Shanks made the unusual decision to call the film in for review following a number of complaints. Normally, films rated G or PG arrive in New Zealand without requiring a localised classification. Shanks said in a statement:

We understand the film's distributors are currently re-editing this film in response to public concern. We can confirm that the version distributed in New Zealand will be classified, regardless of any edits made prior to release, the office said in a statement.

Update: Resubmitted to the MPAA

30th May 2018. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com

In the latest rating bulletin, the MPAA have confirmed that the film has been resubmitted after cuts.

It has again been PG rated for suggestive and rude humor, language and some action.

Update: Collective Shout recommends Show Dogs and kindly details the US cuts

5th June 2018. See  article from melindatankardreist.com

Open Letter to Australian Cinemas: Don't screen Show Dogs movie

We are writing to you in regards to the children's film Show Dogs, due for release 5 July. Upon its release in the US, it attracted substantial criticism from parents and child advocates over concerns of grooming children for sexual abuse.

The film tells the story of a police dog going undercover at a dog show. There are reportedly several scenes in which the dog, Max, has to have his genitals inspected. When he is uncomfortable and wants to stop he is told to go to a zen place. When he submits and allows his genitals to be touched, he is rewarded by advancing to the next level of the show.

In response to the global backlash, the production company withdrew the film, promising to re-cut it to remove the scenes in question. The film has been re-released, however the scenes remain, with only the encouragement to go to a zen place (essentially, to dissociate) being removed. The meaning remains intact, that unwanted sexual touching is to be endured and may be rewarded.

The film sends a disturbing and dangerous message to children about sexual touching. In Australia, one in five children are thought to be victims of sexual abuse. This film undermines efforts in prevention and education to address the scourge of child sexual abuse.

Collective Shout: for a world free from sexploitation is calling on Australian cinemas to take a stand against child sexual abuse and refuse to screen the film. We hope that cinemas will be prepared to take a role of leadership in the community, to stand up for the rights of children and refuse to profit from this film.

 

 

Public Consultation on Classification Guidelines...

The BBFC launches its 5 year update of its rules


Link Here 4th June 2018

Classification Guidelines - Public Consultation 2018 - 4 June - 31 August 2018

The BBFC makes classification decisions in accordance with our published Classification Guidelines. It's important that these Guidelines reflect public opinion, which we know evolves over time. In order to ensure our Classification Guidelines are still relevant and in line with public opinion, we undertake large scale public consultation exercises every four to five years. The current Classification Guidelines were introduced in 2014 and we intend to publish new Classification Guidelines in early 2019.

As part of the public consultation process that will lead to those new Guidelines we're asking visitors to our website to take a short survey to let us know their views about classification. The survey should take no more than six to eight minutes to complete.

But be warned the survey is a bit crappy. I tried it out and was underwhelmed. It asks a few questions about whether you think age ratings are very, critically or overwhelmingly important and whether you think the BBFC is doing a prefect, brilliant or exceptional job.

Then it asks which films you have watched from a list of children's, superhero, blockbuster, and a few worthy films selected by the Guardian's high priestesses of PC. Then you are asked how much you agree with BBFC ratings: a lot, mostly or spot on. If you do happen to disagree there is no way of explaining what you disagree about.

The survey concludes with a load of divisive impertinent personal questions about your class and religion etc. Why ask about religion for a survey on film classification? It either gives the impression that the BBFC want to prioritise the views of certain sections of the population, or else they want to tick all the boxes to say how 'inclusive' the survey has been. Either way it comes across as a dodgy survey like what Cambridge Analytica would design.

And to cap it all it failed with an internet 404 error: Page not found just as you submit all your efforts.

Update:

I tried again to complete the survey on the following day and found a different list of films, this time with more popular appeal. The religion question had reduced to 'Do you practice a religion?' and the survey submitted without error at the end.

Update: Response

19th October 2018. See Board Meeting minutes [pdf] from bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC wrote in the minutes of its September board meeting:

Craig Lapper presented the outcomes of the recent public consultation into the Classification Guidelines, to which over 10,000 people around the UK contributed. The meeting discussed the changes that will be required to the Classification Guidelines in the light of these findings.

 

 

Left without a leg to stand on...

The BBFC puts the Guardian right about an article about cuts to real vs faked animal cruelty


Link Here 2nd June 2018
A letter to the Guardian responding to an article inspired by faked animal cruelty in Lars von Trier's upcoming The House That Jack Built:

Anne Billson asserts that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) still cuts non-faked animal abuse, although it is more lenient on arthouse than horror . The article goes on to cite Sátántangó (1994) and Oldboy (2003) as examples of our alleged leniency towards "arthouse" films, in contrast to our long history of intervention with The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978) and Cannibal Ferox (1981). I am afraid this statement is incorrect and no preferential treatment is given to "arthouse" films.

Sátántangó was only classified uncut after we received detailed assurances from the film-makers regarding how the scenes with the cat were prepared and filmed in such a way as to avoid cruelty to the animal involved. Those assurances were consistent with the onscreen evidence. Oldboy was classified uncut because the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937, which is mentioned in the article, only applies to "protected animals" as defined by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Currently invertebrates, such as octopuses, are not covered by the 2006 act and we therefore had no grounds on which to intervene.

By contrast, The Mountain of the Cannibal God and Cannibal Ferox both feature scenes of animal cruelty that are clearly real, that involve vertebrate animals and that certainly appear to have been deliberately orchestrated by the film-makers. Indeed, the makers of those films have confirmed that this is the case.

 

 

Offsite Article: I, Daniel Blake...


Link Here 30th May 2018
Latest case from the BBFC archives simply notes that the word 'cunt' is not allowed in a 12 rated film

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 

Healthy scepticism...

Pandora Blake suggests that there have been about 750 responses to its consultation on age verification requirements for porn sites


Link Here 28th May 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

Age verification has been hanging over us for several years now - and has now been put back to the end of 2018 after enforcement was originally planned to start last month.

I'm enormously encouraged by how many people took the opportunity to speak up and reply to the BBFC consultation on the new regulations .

Over 500 people submitted a response using the tool provided by the Open Rights Group , emphasising the need for age verification tech to be held to robust privacy and security standards.

I'm told that around 750 consultation responses were received by the BBFC overall, which means that a significant majority highlighted the regulatory gap between the powers of the BBFC to regulate adult websites, and the powers of the Information Commissioner to enforce data protection rules.

 

 

Offsite Article: UK push for porn passes raises privacy and data concerns...


Link Here 28th May 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Age verification requirement has raised fears about privacy, and concerns that independent providers will suffer disproportionately.

See article from wikitribune.com

 

 

Pornhub blows a raspberry at the BBFC...

And introduces a free VPN to short circuit UK porn censorship


Link Here 25th May 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Pornhub, the dominant force amongst the world's porn websites, has sent a challenge to the BBFC's porn censorship regime by offering a free workaround to any porn viewer who would prefer to hide their tracks rather then open themselves up to the dangers of offering up their personal ID to age verifiers.

And rather bizarrely Pornhub are one of the companies offering age verification services to  porn sites who want to comply with UK age verification requirements.

Pornhub describes its VPN service with references to UK censorship:

Browse all websites anonymously and without restrictions.

VPNhub helps you bypass censorship while providing secure and private access to Internet. Access all of your favorite websites without fear of being monitored.

Hide your information and surf the Internet without a trace.

Enjoy the pleasure of protection with VPNhub. With full data encryption and guaranteed anonymity, go with the most trusted VPN to protect your privacy anywhere in the world.

Free and Unlimited

Enjoy totally free and unlimited bandwidth on your device of choice.

 

 

Shopping: A Wizard's Tale...

2018 UK / Mexico family animation comedy by Andrés Couturier set for UK DVD release on 10th September 2018 with BBFC category cuts


Link Here 24th May 2018
A Wizard's Tale is a 2018 UK / Mexico family animation comedy by Andrés Couturier.
Starring Lily Collins, Toby Kebbell and Ian McShane. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed U for very mild threat, comic violence for after 2:05s of BBFC category cuts for:

  • 2018 Signature Entertainment R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 10th September 2018
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to remove a scene in which characters inhale gaseous substances in a manner referecing drug misuse. An uncut PG was available.

Promotional Material

Imagine a world where happiness, smiling and laughter are a thing of the past; where an evil wizard presides over all that is good in the land. A WIZARD S TALE is a magical family adventure about one boy s quest to restore happiness to the world. Join Terry on his magical quest, as he outwits a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures and finds friendship with a Princess along the way. From the writer of Ice Age: The Meltdown and with a stellar voice cast, including Ian McShane (John Wick, Coraline), Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror) and Toby Kebbell (Ben-Hur, Warcraft), A WIZARD S TALE is an uplifting magical journey that is guaranteed to cast its spell on adults and children alike.

 

 

15 rated erections...

David Austin of the BBFC speaks about the latest public consultation about guidelines


Link Here 17th May 2018
David Austin, CEO of the BBFC has been talking to Radio 4's Front Row about the BBFC's latest public consultation.

Austin said Brits are becoming more desensitised over nudity in films and TV, with the censors planning to publish new guidelines in 2019. He told Front Row:

These days if you have an erection on screen, the issue is is it a 15 level erection or an 18 level erection.

We've been consulting with the public on this and in 2013, we liberalised slightly and we're now going back to the public as we speak and saying, 'have we got this right, have we done what you asked us to do in terms of how we classify erections.

It's clear from the research we're doing at the moment and were doing four/five years ago and to an extent before that that the public are relaxed about nudity and don't equate it to sex.

Austin told The Sun:

We speak to the public on a large scale every four to five years to get their views on age rating key issues like violence, drug misuse, sex and discrimination.

Our 2014 Guidelines review involved more than 10,000 members of the British public.

This ensures our classification guidelines reflect public expectations. We're out speaking to the public now and will be publishing our new guidelines in 2019.

 

 

Newsagents to sell 'porn passes'...

The press picks up on the age verification offering from AVSecure that offers anonymous porn browsing


Link Here 14th May 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Adults who want to watch online porn (or maybe by adults only products such as alcohol) will be able to buy codes from newsagents and supermarkets to prove that they are over 18 when online.

One option available to the estimated 25 million Britons who regularly visit such websites will be a 16-digit code, dubbed a 'porn pass'.

While porn viewers will still be able to verify their age using methods such as registering credit card details, the 16-digit code option would be a fully anonymous option. According to AVSecure's the cards will be sold for £10 to anyone who looks over 18 without the need for any further identification. It doesn't say on the website, but presumably in the case where there is doubt about a customer's age, then they will have to show ID documents such as a passport or driving licence, but hopefully that ID will not have to be recorded anywhere.

It is hope he method will be popular among those wishing to access porn online without having to hand over personal details to X-rated sites.

The user will type in a 16 digit number into websites that belong to the AVSecure scheme. It should be popular with websites as it offers age verification to them for free (with the £10 card fee being the only source of income for the company). This is a lot better proposition for websites than most, if not all, of the other age verification companies.

AVSecure also offer an encrypted implementation via blockchain that will not allow websites to use the 16 digit number as a key to track people's website browsing. But saying that they could still use a myriad of other standard technologies to track viewers.

The BBFC is assigned the task of deciding whether to accredit different technologies and it will be very interesting to see if they approve the AVSecure offering. It is easily the best solution to protect the safety and privacy of porn viewers, but it maybe will test the BBFC's pragmatism to accept the most workable and safest solution for adults which is not quite fully guaranteed to protect children. Pragmatism is required as the scheme has the technical drawback of having no further checks in place once the card has been purchased. The obvious worry is that an over 18s can go around to other shops to buy several cards to pass on to their under 18 mates. Another possibility is that kids could stumble on their parent's card and get access. Numbers shared on the web could be easily blocked if used simultaneously from different IP addresses.

 

 

The government is acting negligently on privacy and porn AV...

Top of our concerns was the lack of privacy safeguards to protect the 20 million plus users who will be obliged to use Age Verification tools to access legal content.


Link Here 8th May 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

We asked the BBFC to tell government that the legislation is not fit for purpose, and that they should halt the scheme until privacy regulation is in place. We pointed out that card payments and email services are both subject to stronger privacy protections that Age Verification.

The government's case for non-action is that the Information Commissioner and data protection fines for data breaches are enough to deal with the risk. This is wrong: firstly because fines cannot address the harm created by the leaking of people's sexual habits. Secondly, it is wrong because data breaches are only one aspect of the risks involved.

We outlined over twenty risks from Age Verification technologies. We pointed out that Age Verification contains a set of overlapping problems. You can read our list below. We may have missed some: if so, do let us know.

The government has to act. It has legislated this requirement without properly evaluating the privacy impacts. If and when it goes wrong, the blame will lie squarely at the government's door.

The consultation fails to properly distinguish between the different functions and stages of an age verification system. The risks associated with each are separate but interact. Regulation needs to address all elements of these systems. For instance:

  • Choosing a method of age verification, whereby a user determines how they wish to prove their age.

  • The method of age verification, where documents may be examined and stored.

  • The tool's approach to returning users, which may involve either:

    • attaching the user's age verification status to a user account or log-in credentials; or

    • providing a means for the user to re-attest their age on future occasions.

  • The re-use of any age verified account, log-in or method over time, and across services and sites.

The focus of attention has been on the method of pornography-related age verification, but this is only one element of privacy risk we can identify when considering the system as a whole. Many of the risks stem from the fact that users may be permanently 'logged in' to websites, for instance. New risks of fraud, abuse of accounts and other unwanted social behaviours can also be identified. These risks apply to 20-25 million adults, as well as to teenagers attempting to bypass the restrictions. There is a great deal that could potentially go wrong.

Business models, user behaviours and potential criminal threats need to be taken into consideration. Risks therefore include:

Identity risks

  • Collecting identity documents in a way that allows them to potentially be correlated with the pornographic content viewed by a user represents a serious potential risk to personal and potentially highly sensitive data.

Risks from logging of porn viewing

  • A log-in from an age-verified user may persist on a user's device or web browser, creating a history of views associated with an IP address, location or device, thus easily linked to a person, even if stored 'pseudonymously'.

  • An age verified log-in system may track users across websites and be able to correlate tastes and interests of a user visiting sites from many different providers.

  • Data from logged-in web visits may be used to profile the sexual preferences of users for advertising. Tool providers may encourage users to opt in to such a service with the promise of incentives such as discounted or free content.

  • The current business model for large porn operations is heavily focused on monetising users through advertising, exacerbating the risks of re-use and recirculation and re-identification of web visit data.

  • Any data that is leaked cannot be revoked, recalled or adequately compensated for, leading to reputational, career and even suicide risks.

Everyday privacy risks for adults

  • The risk of pornographic web accounts and associated histories being accessed by partners, parents, teenagers and other third parties will increase.

  • Companies will trade off security for ease-of-use, so may be reluctant to enforce strong passwords, two-factor authentication and other measures which make it harder for credentials to leak or be shared.

  • Everyday privacy tools used by millions of UK residents such as 'private browsing' modes may become more difficult to use to use due to the need to retain log-in cookies, increasing the data footprint of people's sexual habits.

  • Some users will turn to alternative methods of accessing sites, such as using VPNs. These tools have their own privacy risks, especially when hosted outside of the EU, or when provided for free.

Risks to teenagers' privacy

  • If age-verified log-in details are acquired by teenagers, personal and sexual information about them may become shared including among their peers, such as particular videos viewed. This could lead to bullying, outing or worse.

  • Child abusers can use access to age verified accounts as leverage to create and exploit a relationship with a teenager ('grooming').

  • Other methods of obtaining pornography would be incentivised, and these may carry new and separate privacy risks. For instance the BitTorrent network exposes the IP addresses of users publicly. These addresses can then be captured by services like GoldenEye, whose business model depends on issuing legal threats to those found downloading copyrighted material. This could lead to the pornographic content downloaded by young adults or teenagers being exposed to parents or carers. While copyright infringement is bad, removing teenagers' sexual privacy is worse. Other risks include viruses and scams.

Trust in age verification tools and potential scams

  • Users may be obliged to sign up to services they do not trust or are unfamiliar with in order to access specific websites.

  • Pornographic website users are often impulsive, with lower risk thresholds than for other transactions. The sensitivity of any transactions involved gives them a lower propensity to report fraud. Pornography users are therefore particularly vulnerable targets for scammers.

  • The use of credit cards for age verification in other markets creates an opportunity for fraudulent sites to engage in credit card theft.

  • Use of credit cards for pornography-related age verification risks teaching people that this is normal and reasonable, opening up new opportunities for fraud, and going against years of education asking people not to hand card details to unknown vendors.

  • There is no simple means to verify which particular age verification systems are trustworthy, and which may be scams.

Market related privacy risks

  • The rush to market means that the tools that emerge may be of variable quality and take unnecessary shortcuts.

  • A single pornography-related age verification system may come to dominate the market and become the de-facto provider, leaving users no real choice but to accept whatever terms that provider offers.

  • One age verification product which is expected to lead the market -- AgeID -- is owned by MindGeek, the dominant pornography company online. Allowing pornographic sites to own and operate age verification tools leads to a conflict of interest between the privacy interests of the user, and the data-mining and market interests of the company.

  • The online pornography industry as a whole, including MindGeek, has a poor record of privacy and security, littered with data breaches. Without stringent regulation prohibiting the storage of data which might allow users' identity and browsing to be correlated, there is no reason to assume that data generated as a result of age verification tools will be exempt from this pattern of poor security.

 

 

Offsite Article: The New ‘Video Nasties'...


Link Here 8th May 2018
A summary of films banned by the BBFC since the video nasties

See article from gutterpunch.net

 

 

BBFC Podcast Episode 82...

15 ratings for Boyhood and Lady Bird


Link Here 30th April 2018

 

 

All you need to know about the UK's porn block...

The BBC takes its turn in trying to summarise the current status of the upcoming internet porn censorship regime


Link Here 27th April 2018

 

 

Offsite Article: Expect a schoolyard black market in adult login-codes...


Link Here 24th April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The Economist does a piece on porn age verification and quotes some bollox from the BBFC about the requirements not making life harder for adult porn viewers

See article from economist.com

 

 

When have internet companies ever followed 'best practice'?...

Response to the BBFC consultation on UK internet porn censorship


Link Here 23rd April 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Re Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements

I agree with the BBFC's Approach as set out in Chapter 2

Re Age-verification Standards set out in Chapter 3

4. This guidance also outlines good practice in relation to age-verification to encourage consumer choice and the use of mechanisms that confirm age but not identity.

I think you should point out to porn viewers that your ideas on good practice are in no way enforceable on websites. You should not mislead porn viewers into thinking that their data is safe because of the assumption that websites will follow best practice. They may not.

5c. A requirement that either a user age-verify each visit or access is restricted by controls, manual or electronic, such as, but not limited to, password or personal identification numbers

This is a very glib sentence that could be the make or break of user acceptability of age verification.

This is not like watching films on Netflix, ie entering a PIN and watching a film. Viewing porn is more akin to browsing, hopping from one website to another, starting a film, quickly deciding it is no good and searching for another, maybe on a different site. Convenient browsing requires that a verification is stored for at least a reasonable time in a cookie. So that it can be access automatically by all websites using the same verification provider (or even different verification providers if they could get together to arrange this).

At the very least the BBFC should make a clearer statement about persistence of PINs or passwords and whether it is acceptable to maintain valid verifications in cookies.(or age verifier databases). The Government needs adults to buy into age verification. If the BBFC get too fussy about eliminating the risk that under 18s could view porn then the whole system could become too inconvenient for adults to be bothered with, resulting in a mass circumvention of the system with lots of information in lots of places about how and where porn could be more easily obtained. The under 18s would probably see this too, and so this would surely diminish the effectiveness of the whole idea. The very suggestion that users age verify each visit suggests that the BBFC is simply not on the right wavelength for a viable solution. Presumably not much thought has been put into specifying advance requirements, and that instead the BBFC will consider the merits of proposals as they arise. The time scales for enactment of the law should therefore allow for technical negotiations between developers and the BBFC about how each system should work.

5d. the inclusion of measures that are effective at preventing use by non-human operators including algorithms

What a meaningless statement, surely the age verification software process itself will be non human working on algorithms. Do bots need to be protected from porn? Are you saying that websites should not allow their sites to be accessed by Google's search engine bots? Unless there is an element of repeat access, a website does not really know that it is being accessed by a bot or a human. I think you probably have a more specific restriction in mind, and this has not been articulated in this vague and meaningless statement

7. Although not a requirement under section 14(1) the BBFC recommends that age-verification providers adopt good practice in the design and implementation of their solutions. These include solutions that: include clear information for end-users on data protection

When have websites or webs services ever provided clear information about data protection? The most major players of the internet refuse to provide clear information, eg Facebook or Google.

9. During the course of this age-verification assessment, the BBFC will normally be able to identify the following in relation to data protection compliance concerns: failure to include clear information for end-users on data protection and how data is used; and requesting more data than is necessary to confirm age, for example, physical location information.

Excellent! This would be good added value from the BBFC At the very least the BBFC should inform porn viewers that for foreign non-EU sites, there will be absolutely no data protection, and for EU websites, once users give their consent then the websites can do more or less anything with the data.

10. The BBFC will inform the Information Commissioner's Office where concerns arise during its assessment of the age-verification effectiveness that the arrangement does not comply with data protection legislation. The ICO will consider if further investigation is appropriate. The BBFC will inform the online commercial pornography provider(s) that it has raised concerns with the ICO.

Perhaps the BBFC could make it clear to porn users, the remit of the ICO over non-EU porn sites, and how the BBFC will handle these issues for a non-EU website.

Re Data Protection and the Information Commissioner's Office

The world's major websites such as Facebook that follow all the guidelines noted in this section but end up telling you nothing about how your data is used, I don't suppose porn sites will be any more open.

3b Where an organisation processing personal data is based outside the EU, an EU-based representative must be appointed and notified to the individual

Will the BBFC block eg a Russian website that complies with age verification by requiring credit card payments but has no EU representative? I think the BBFC/ICO needs to add a little bit more about data protection for websites and services outside of the EU. Porn viewers need to know.

General

Perhaps the BBFC could keep a FAQ for porn viewers eg Does the UK vetting service for people working with children have access to age verification data used for access to porn sites?

 

 

Concentrating on what it does best...

IWF publishes its annual report for 2017 and notes that it now longer has the role to censor adult porn on the internet


Link Here 23rd April 2018
The Internet Watch Foundation released its Annual Report covering 2017 on April 18, 2018 The The IWF searches for and removes online child sexual abuse imagery and the report shows that more of this disturbing material is being found than ever before.

Whilst the IWF concentrates on its commendable work against child abuse images it does have a wider remit to censor adult content deemed to be criminally obscene, and also to censor cartoons and other non-photographic imagery sexually depicting under 18s.

However in this annual report the IWF has announced that it no longer has any remit over adult porn. It writes:

6.4 Wider remit work

5,439 reports of alleged criminally obscene adult content were made to us. Almost all were not hosted in the UK, so they were not in our remit.

3,471 reports of alleged non-photographic images of child sexual abuse were made to us. None of these images were hosted in the UK, so they were not within our remit.

One URL depicted criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK received from a public source.

On 1 August 2017, criminally obscene adult content hosted within the UK was removed from IWF’s remit.

Presumably that role now belongs to the new internet porn censors at the BBFC. Anyway it is surely good for the IWF to rid itself of that toxic task, so it can concentrate on its good work that is supported by more or less everyone.

 

 

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
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The 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.

The 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.

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

French 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.

 

 

The Little Vampire...

Children's cartoon required BBFC category cuts for a U rated cinema release


Link Here 20th April 2018
The Little Vampire is a 2017 Netherlands / Germany / Denmark / UK family animation comedy by Richard Claus and Karsten Kiilerich.
Starring Rasmus Hardiker, Amy Saville and Jim Carter. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed U for mild comic violence, threat, very mild bad language after 29s of BBFC category cuts for:

  • 2018 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to remove a scene of potentially dangerous imitable behaviour involving electricity in order to achieve a U classification. An uncut PG was available.

Summary Notes

The story of Rudolph, a thirteen year old vampire, whose clan is threatened by a notorious vampire hunter. He meets Tony, a mortal of the same age, who is fascinated by old castles, graveyards and - vampires. Tony helps Rudolph in an action and humor packed battle against their adversaries, and together they save Rudolph's family and become friends.

 

 

Commented: Tom Jones...

BBFC waives animal cruelty cuts for 1963 UK comedy adventure by Tony Richardson


Link Here 17th April 2018
Tom Jones is a 1963 UK comedy adventure by Tony Richardson.
Starring Albert Finney, Susannah York and George Devine. BBFC link IMDb

The BBFC has just made the unusual decision to waive animal cruelty cuts. In this case the cuts were to a cockfight.

The BBFC does seem more likely these days to waive cuts to animal cruelty shown to be staged, but maybe this case is different in that the BBFC commented in 2003 that cuts to Tom Jones were r equired to sight of real animal cruelty (cockfighting).

The BBFC has also uprated the age classification from the previous PG rating to a 12 rating this time.

An upcoming BFI release will feature the Theatrical Version and shorter Director's Cut and have both just been rated 12 for moderate sex references, violence, language

Censorship History

Passed X uncut by the BBFC for 1963 cinema release. BBFC have required animal cruelty cuts for all releases from  1971 until 2018 when the cuts were waived for home video release. The film exists in a longer original version and a shortened Director's Cut. Both versions are available MPAA Unrated and so without censor cuts in the US.

Promotional Material

In the early 1960s, at the height of the British New Wave, a movement whose gritty realism they had helped establish, director Tony Richardson and playwright John Osborne set out for more fanciful narrative territory. Tom Jones brings a theatrical flair to Henry Fielding s canonical eighteenth-century novel, boisterously chronicling the misadventures of the foundling of the title (Albert Finney, in a career-defining turn), whose easy charm seems to lead him astray at every turn from his beloved, the wellborn Sophie Western (Susannah York). This spirited picaresque, evocatively shot in England s rambling countryside and featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast, went on to become a worldwide sensation, winning the Oscar for best picture on the way to securing its status as a classic of irreverent wit and playful cinematic expression.

Update: Re the BBFC and faked/real animal cruelty

16th April 2018. Thanks to Jon

There was a foreign-language film from a few years back called A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE, and that features scenes of a simian being experimented on and electrocuted!

The scenes had been faked by clever CGI and animatronics, but if you've seen the film, and didn't know that the cruelty was faked, it looks horrendously real, and abhorrent!

The film received a 12A rating (for disturbing images ) and the BBFC DIDN'T mention anything in the BBFC Advice about the cruelty. When I emailed them about it, they said as long as the cruelty is fake, they can and will pass it!

If animal cruelty has been faked, and the BBFC are shown evidence to backup that fakeness, then it can be passed, at any rating.

 

 

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 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!

 

 

Spawning the legend that all anime is naughty tentacles...

A rare New York screening of Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend prompts a retelling of its part in the history of film censorship


Link Here 6th April 2018
A Depraved Classic of Adult Anime Returns to the Big Screen

Originally released in the US in 1993 to much puzzlement and shock, a rare 35mm print of Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend will screen at Nitehawk (136 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) on April 6 and 7.

The occasion generates a recap of censorship history in the US and UK:

The film's notoriety lies in its extreme violence and visceral visuals. The film's women get the worst treatment; female students are lecherously lensed, starting with scenes of half-clothed locker room horseplay and continuing in excessive up-skirt shots. Maimed and mutilated female bodies randomly litter the background of other scenes. Perhaps the most prominent atrocities are the repeated scenes of rape, with the film's most infamous attack featuring phallic tentacles accosting and probing an unwilling victim. This tentacled violation, which occurs in an early scene, is often cited as the representative moment of this feature-length depravity.

Urotsukidoji was initially released in three parts, between 1987 and 1989, as an original video animation (or OVA), ie it was not made as a broadcast TV series.

The first part was released in the US edited into a feature length film after 30 minutes of censor cuts for material deemed too extreme for the US. It ended up being rated NC-17. The film gained a reputation as the cinematic obscenity that forged the stereotype that All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles .

... Read the full article from hyperallergic.com

... See further BBFC cuts details at Melon Farmers Film Cuts: Urotsukidoji

 

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