EU Censorship News


2018: Jan-March

2006   2007   2008   2009   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   2015   2016   2017   2018  
Jan-March   April-June   July-Sept   Oct-Dec   Latest  


 

Spain imprisons the most musicians of all countries...

Freemuse first annual State of Artistic Freedom report


Link Here 29th March 2018

In a first-of-its-kind report assessing the global state of artistic freedom, Freemuse warns of the emergence of a new global culture of silencing others, where artistic expression is being shut down in every corner of the globe, including in the traditionally democratic West.

In 2017, 48 artists were serving combined sentences of more than 188 years in prison. Spain imprisoned 13 rappers -- more musicians than any other country. On average, one artist per week in 2017 was prosecuted for expressing themselves. Egypt, Russia and Israel accounted for one-third of violations against LGBT artists and audiences. Seventy per cent of violations against women artists and audiences were on the grounds of indecency, a rationale used in 15 countries across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. And artists from minority groups suffered violations of their artistic freedom in a near 50/50 split between countries in the global North and South.

The nationalist politics in the US and Europe has created a new legitimacy to dismiss perspectives and artistic expression of 'others'. Together with traditional repressive regimes, the new global culture of silencing others has taken freedom of artistic expression to a new low, Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said. Our research and analysis show that those in power anywhere share a will to silence those with whom they disagree, dislike, fear or simply see as different.

The consequences of these violations against art and artists are incalculable. Artists challenge authorities by their creativity and by their power to convey sharp observations and ideas that many people share. When authorities silence artists, it affects a wide group of readers, listeners and audiences, Anna Livion Ingvarsson, Secretary General of Swedish PEN, said.

The State of Artistic Freedom 2018 report documents and examines 553 cases of artistic freedom violations in 78 countries, exploring the rationales and mechanisms in place that allow for these violations to take place.

Through this comprehensive analysis we have identified 18 countries, including China, Cuba, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the US, that have exhibited alarming developments in how they treat artists and their freedom of artistic expression, and are ones to keep a watch on throughout 2018.

 

 

More tears...

Spanish cuts restored for Carlos Saura's Weeping for a Bandit (1964)


Link Here 29th March 2018

 

 

 

They won't listen...

Netherlands voters reject the country's already implemented snooper's charter in a referendum


Link Here 26th March 2018
Dutch voters have rejected a law that would give spy agencies the power to carry out mass tapping of Internet traffic.

Dubbed the 'trawling law' by opponents, the legislation would allow spy agencies to install wire taps targeting an entire geographic region or avenue of communication, store information for up to three years, and share it with allied spy agencies.

The snooping law has already been approved by both houses of parliament. Though the referendum was non-binding prime minister Mark Rutte has vowed to take the result seriously.

 

 

How much more symbolic can you get?...

Facebook censors France's iconic artwork, Liberty Leading the People


Link Here 19th March 2018
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook has admitted a ghastly mistake after it banned an advert featuring French artist Eugène Delacroix's famous work, La Liberté guidant le peuple, because it depicts a bare-breasted woman.

The 19th-century masterpiece was featured in an online campaign for a play showing in Paris when it was blocked on the social networking site this week, the play's director Jocelyn Fiorina said:

A quarter of an hour after the advert was launched, it was blocked, with the company telling us we cannot show nudity.

He then posted a new advert with the same painting with the woman's breasts covered with a banner saying censored by Facebook, which was not banned.

As always when Facebook's shoddy censorship system is found lacking, the company apologised profusely for its error.

 

 

Council vs Union...

Whilst the EU ramps up internet censorship, particularly people's criticism of its policies, the Council of Europe calls for internet censorship to be transparent and limited to the minimum necessary by law


Link Here 18th March 2018
The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental body entirely separate from the European Union. With a wider membership of 47 states, it seeks to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law, including by monitoring adherence to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

Its Recommendations are not legally binding on Member States, but are very influential in the development of national policy and of the policy and law of the European Union.

The Council of Europe has published a Recommendation to Member States on the roles and responsibilities of Internet intermediaries. The Recommendation declares that access to the Internet is a precondition for the ability effectively to exercise fundamental human rights, and seeks to protect users by calling for greater transparency, fairness and due process when interfering with content.

The Recommendations' key provisions aimed at governments include:

  • Public authorities should only make "requests, demands or other actions addressed to internet intermediari es that interferes with human rights and fundamental freedoms" when prescribed by law. This means they should therefore avoid asking intermediaries to remove content under their terms of service or to make their terms of service more restrictive.
  • Legislation giving powers to public authorities to interfere with Internet content should clearly define the scope of those powers and available discretion, to protect against arbitrary application.
  • When internet intermediaries restrict access to third-party content based on a State order, State authorities should ensure that effective redress mechanisms are made available and adhere to applicable procedural safeguards.
  • When intermediaries remove content based on their own terms and conditions of service, this should not be considered a form of control that makes them liable for the third-party content for which they provide access.
  • Member States should consider introducing laws to prevent vexatious lawsuits designed to suppress users free expression, whether by targeting the user or the intermediary. In the US, these are known as " anti-SLAPP laws ".

 

 

Censorship blows...

A Spanish book sellers association protests about a court ban on a book pending a libel case


Link Here 18th March 2018
A book about Spain's drug-smuggling underworld was banned last week by a Madrid courta. José Alfredo Bea Gondar, a former mayor of the coastal town of O Grove in Galicia, to freeze distribution of Fariña (Blow) by Nacho Carretero Pou because of references to his alleged involvement in the unloading of a shipment of cocaine and a supposed negotiation between Colombia's Cali cartel and local smugglers. The book is banned pending the hearing of libel case. 

Kicking against what they consider outdated censorship, a booksellers' association has reacted to the seizure of the non-fiction book 'Fariña' by launching a website to replicate it word for word. The website includes a digital tool that searches for and locates the 80,000 words that make up the banned book from within the text of Don Quixote , extracting them one by one to recompose the banned book. On Friday after two days online, the website had racked up over 30,000 hits, according to the Booksellers Guild of Madrid. Fernando Valverde, the Guild secretary explained;

It's a metaphor for the fact that in the digital era you can seize a book, but you cannot gag words.

It is not clear whether the ruse is a legal way for people to read it.

 

 

Open sourced protest...

The EU's disgraceful censorship machines are inevitably aimed at a lot wider censorship than that cited of copyrighted movies and music, and github is fighting back


Link Here 16th March 2018
The EU is considering a copyright proposal that would require code-sharing platforms to monitor all content that users upload for potential copyright infringement (see the EU Commission's proposed Article 13 of the Copyright Directive ). The proposal is aimed at music and videos on streaming platforms, based on a theory of a "value gap" between the profits those platforms make from uploaded works and what copyright holders of some uploaded works receive. However, the way it's written captures many other types of content, including code.

We'd like to make sure developers in the EU who understand that automated filtering of code would make software less reliable and more expensive--and can explain this to EU policymakers--participate in the conversation.

Why you should care about upload filters

Upload filters (" censorship machines ") are one of the most controversial elements of the copyright proposal, raising a number of concerns, including:

  • Privacy : Upload filters are a form of surveillance, effectively a "general monitoring obligation" prohibited by EU law
  • Free speech : Requiring platforms to monitor content contradicts intermediary liability protections in EU law and creates incentives to remove content
  • Ineffectiveness : Content detection tools are flawed (generate false positives, don't fit all kinds of content) and overly burdensome, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that might not be able to afford them or the resulting litigation

Upload filters are especially concerning for software developers given that:

  • Software developers create copyrightable works--their code--and those who choose an open source license want to allow that code to be shared
  • False positives (and negatives) are especially likely for software code because code often has many contributors and layers, often with different licensing for different components
  • Requiring code-hosting platforms to scan and automatically remove content could drastically impact software developers when their dependencies are removed due to false positives

 

 

Offsite Article: The rise of the censorship machines...


Link Here 15th March 2018
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
European Parliament has been nobbled by a pro censorship EU commissioner

See article from boingboing.net

 

 

Offsite Article: Glorifying censorship...


Link Here 14th March 2018
Spanish anti-terror law has chilling effect on satire, says Amnesty International

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Appeals for free speech...

Germany looks to create an appeals body to contest false censorship caused by the undue haste required for take downs


Link Here 9th March 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
A German law requiring social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to remove reported hate speech without enough time to consider the merits of the report is set to be revised following criticism that too much online content is being blocked.

The law, called NetzDG for short, is an international test case and how it plays out is being closely watched by other countries considering similar measures.

German politicians forming a new government told Reuters they want to add an amendment to help web users get incorrectly deleted material restored online.

The lawmakers are also pushing for social media firms to set up an independent body to review and respond to reports of offensive content from the public, rather than leaving to the social media companies who by definition care more about profits than supporting free speech.

Such a system, similar to how video games are policed in Germany, could allow a more considered approach to complex decisions about whether to block content, legal experts say.

Facebook, which says it has 1,200 people in Germany working on reviewing posts out of 14,000 globally responsible for moderating content and account security, said it was not pursuing a strategy to delete more than necessary. Richard Allan, Facebook's vice president for EMEA public policy said:

People think deleting illegal content is easy but it's not. Facebook reviews every NetzDG report carefully and with legal expertise, where appropriate. When our legal experts advise us, we follow their assessment so we can meet our obligations under the law.

Johannes Ferchner, spokesman on justice and consumer protection for the Social Democrats and one of the architects of the law said:

We will add a provision so that users have a legal possibility to have unjustly deleted content restored.

Thomas Jarzombek, a Christian Democrat who helped refine the law, said the separate body to review complaints should be established, adding that social media companies were deleting too much online content. NetzDG already allows for such a self-regulatory body, but companies have chosen to go their own way instead. According to the coalition agreement, both parties want to develop the law to encourage the establishment of such a body.

 

 

Perhaps the problems of fake news, Russian propaganda etc are mostly hype...

German internet users aren't rushing to get Facebook posts censored


Link Here 6th March 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
Authorities in Germany said they have received far fewer complaints from citizens than expected since the country's social network censorship law (NetzDG) went into effect 01 January, reported Heise Online.

Germany's Federal Office for Justice (BfJ), the division of Germany's Federal Minister of Justice responsible for enforcing the law said they have received only 205 complaints since January, less than 1% of the amount predicted. The German government had assumed that citizens would file roughly 25,000 complaints with the BfJ .

 

 

Snap to it!...

Politicians, censors and campaigners scent blood in getting Facebook and Google to censor their pet peeves, in this case copyrighted and terrorist material


Link Here 5th March 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
The European Union has given Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other internet companies three months to show that they are removing extremist content more rapidly or face legislation forcing them to do so.

The European Commission said on Thursday that internet firms should be ready to remove extremist content within an hour of being notified and recommended measures they should take to stop its proliferation. Digital commissioner Andrus Ansip said:

While several platforms have been removing more illegal content than ever before ... we still need to react faster against terrorist propaganda and other illegal content which is a serious threat to our citizens' security, safety and fundamental rights.

The EC said that it would assess the need for legislation of technology firms within three months if demonstrable improvement is not made on what it describes as terrorist content. For all other types of 'illegal' content the EC will assess the technology firms' censorship progress within six months.

It also urged the predominantly US-dominated technology sector to adopt a more proactive approach, with automated systems to detect and censor 'illegal' content.

 

 

'Polish death camp' law goes into effect...

It is now a crime to use the phrase lest sensitive listeners get confused between a geographical and political usage of the adjective 'Polish'


Link Here 2nd March 2018
A controversial Polish law censoring certain claims regarding the Holocaust and banning the use of the phrase Polish death camps went into effect Thursday.

Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the bill into law, after it passed by wide margins in both chambers of the Polish legislature.

The law bans the phrase Polish death camps, and outlaws claims of collusion by the Polish nation with the Holocaust. Anyone found guilty of ascribing responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich could be sentenced to as much as three years in prison under the new law.

In the meantime the phrase "Polish death camps' has never been heard quite so often as in the last couple of months.

 

 

A vote for jobs...

Presumably the Italian authorities are behind the banning a porn star from repeating an election stunt involving free blowjobs for votes


Link Here 1st March 2018
An Italian porn star who dreamt up a fun filled stunt at a recent referendum has been banned from Instagram ahead of a general election lest she repeat it.

Paola Saulino previously promised a blow job for those that voted against constitutional reforms. The reforms were duly rejected Paola launched her Pompa Tour - which translates as Oral Tour - during which she claimed to have pleasured 700 men.

She says she has just been barred from contacting her 430,000 followers over fears she may try and swing the vote, which is due to take place on Sunday.

Saulino said she has complained to Instagram about being banned, saying she is paying the price for her lifestyle

It is a little bizarre that a government that has been in office for long enough to pass plenty of laws that effect people's lives. Presumably if they feel a little insecure, it is because they haven't done a good job in doing things that attract support. And then to think that elections can be swung by trivial propaganda or a silly stunt, it's insulting to the electors, and so the politicians deserve to be kicked out.

 

 

The censorship machines are coming...

It sounds like big business has got at MEPs rewriting copyright law. Perhaps Brexit is a good thing after all


Link Here 28th February 2018
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
Last week, the European Parliament's MEP in charge of overhauling the EU's copyright laws did a U-turn on his predecessor's position. Axel Voss is charged with making the EU's copyright laws fit for the Internet Age, yet in a staggering disregard for advice from all quarters, he decided to include a obligation on websites to automatically filter content.

Article 13 sets out how online platforms should manage user-uploaded content appears to have the most dangerous implications for fundamental rights. Never mind that the new Article 13 proposal runs directly contrary to an existing EU law -- the eCommerce Directive - which prohibits member states from imposing general monitoring obligations on hosting providers.

Six countries -- Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, and the Netherlands -- sought advice from the Council's Legal Service last July, asked specifically if the standalone measure/obligation as currently proposed under Article 13 [would] be compatible with the Charter of Human Rights and queried are the proposed measures justified and proportionate? But this does not seem to have been addressed.

The aim of the rule, which is in line with the European Commission's proposals more than a year ago, is to strengthen the music industry in negotiations with the likes of YouTube, Dailymotion, etc. Under Voss' revised Article 13, websites and apps that allow users to upload content must acquire copyright licenses for EVERYTHING, something that is in practice impossible. If they cannot, those platforms must filter all user-uploaded content.

The truth is that this latest copyright law proposal favors the rights-holders above anyone else. And we though MEPs represented the people.

 

 

The Image of Spain...

Artwork highlighting political prisoners in Spain is censored


Link Here 22nd February 2018
Madrid's International Contemporary Art Fair (ARCO) has pulled a photo exhibition called Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain amid controversy because it includes images of Catalan politicians that are currently in jail.

The decision to remove the exhibition within hours of the art fair opening to the press has been attributed to censorship. The exhibition space is government funded so sensitivities have to be observed.

The polemic exhibit contained 24 black and white portraits by Spanish conceptual artist Santiago Sierra, displayed in the stand assigned to the Helga de Alvear gallery.

Gallery organisers were asked to remove the exhibit on Wednesday just hours after a press preview ahead of the art fair opening to the public.

 

 

Insulting words...

Spanish rapper jailed for a song insulting royalty and alluding to ETA terrorism


Link Here 22nd February 2018
The Spanish Supreme Court has upheld a decision to jail a rapper for three and a half years for a song deemed to have glorified terrorism and insulted the crown, sparking a debate about freedom of expression in the country.

The court rejected arguments by little-known rapper Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran, stage name Valtonyc, that his songs were protected by freedom of expression laws, when ratifying a sentence handed down last February.

Among the lyrics deemed criminal were: Let them be as frightened as a police officer in the Basque Country, a reference to violence against police officers in the region by the now-disarmed Basque separatist group ETA.

Valtonyc went on to fantasize about the king having a rendez-vous at the village square, with a noose around his neck. In another track Valtonyc referenced a Spanish politician and aristocrat involved in a corruption scandal about forcing her to see how her son lives among rats.

 

 

Extract: Flawed Social Media Law...

Human Rights Watch criticises the recent German internet censorship law that leaves social media companies with little choice but to take down any complained about posts without due consideration


Link Here 15th February 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

The new German law that compels social media companies to remove hate speech and other illegal content can lead to unaccountable, overbroad censorship and should be promptly reversed, Human Rights Watch said today. The law sets a dangerous precedent for other governments looking to restrict speech online by forcing companies to censor on the government's behalf. Wenzel Michalski, Germany director at Human Rights Watch said:

Governments and the public have valid concerns about the proliferation of illegal or abusive content online, but the new German law is fundamentally flawed. It is vague, overbroad, and turns private companies into overzealous censors to avoid steep fines, leaving users with no judicial oversight or right to appeal.

Parliament approved the Network Enforcement Act , commonly known as NetzDG, on June 30, 2017, and it took full effect on January 1, 2018. The law requires large social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, to promptly remove "illegal content," as defined in 22 provisions of the criminal code , ranging widely from insult of public office to actual threats of violence. Faced with fines up to 50 million euro, companies are already removing content to comply with the law.

At least three countries -- Russia, Singapore, and the Philippines -- have directly cited the German law as a positive example as they contemplate or propose legislation to remove "illegal" content online. The Russian draft law, currently before the Duma, could apply to larger social media platforms as well as online messaging services.

Two key aspects of the law violate Germany's obligation to respect free speech, Human Rights Watch said. First, the law places the burden on companies that host third-party content to make difficult determinations of when user speech violates the law, under conditions that encourage suppression of arguably lawful speech. Even courts can find these determinations challenging, as they require a nuanced understanding of context, culture, and law. Faced with short review periods and the risk of steep fines, companies have little incentive to err on the side of free expression.

Second, the law fails to provide either judicial oversight or a judicial remedy should a cautious corporate decision violate a person's right to speak or access information. In this way, the largest platforms for online expression become "no accountability" zones, where government pressure to censor evades judicial scrutiny.

At the same time, social media companies operating in Germany and elsewhere have human rights responsibilities toward their users, and they should act to protect them from abuse by others, Human Rights Watch said. This includes stating in user agreements what content the company will prohibit, providing a mechanism to report objectionable content, investing adequate resources to conduct reviews with relevant regional and language expertise, and offering an appeals process for users who believe their content was improperly blocked or removed. Threats of violence, invasions of privacy, and severe harassment are often directed against women and minorities and can drive people off the internet or lead to physical attacks.

...Read the full article from hrw.org

 

 

Last chapter...

Politician calls for the end of the Irish book censor because it does not censor enough (or anything at all)


Link Here 13th February 2018
Full story: Book Censorship in Ireland...Minister for censorship investigated by how own censor board

Irish book censors have not banned a single magazine and have blocked just one book in the last ten years. Now a member of the Irish Parliament has called for the Censorship of Publications Board to be shut down.

Fianna Fail Arts and Culture Spokesperson Niamh Smyth said: This is one quango that should be whacked. She was referring to a political campaign slogan whack a quango, to shut down quangos. Smyth added:

The ongoing existence of a Censorship Board that doesn't censor anything is bringing the concept of censorship into disrepute at a time where we need it more than ever.

The only time the board has been heard of in ten years was the ludicrous submission of Alan Shatter's novel Laura over something to do with abortion.

 

 

Extract: Hate speech thrives underground...

The EU is failing to engage with platforms where the most hateful and egregious terrorist content lives.


Link Here 8th February 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

Illegal content and terrorist propaganda are still spreading rapidly online in the European Union -- just not on mainstream platforms, new analysis shows.

Twitter, Google and Facebook all play by EU rules when it comes to illegal content, namely hate speech and terrorist propaganda, policing their sites voluntarily.

But with increased scrutiny on mainstream sites, alt-right and terrorist sympathizers are flocking to niche platforms where illegal content is shared freely, security experts and anti-extremism activists say.

See  article from politico.eu

 

 

Banning lucky bags...

Germany and Sweden to consider banning loot boxes from video games played by children


Link Here 7th February 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
Germany is looking into imposing restrictions on loot boxes in videogames, according to Welt. A study by the University of Hamburg has found that elements of gambling are becoming increasingly common in videogames. It's an important part of the game industry's business model, but the chairman of the Youth Protection Commission of the State Media Authorities warned that it may violate laws against promoting gambling to children and adolescents.

The Youth Protection Commission will render its decision on loot boxes in March.

Update: Sweden too

9th February 2018.  See  article from neoseeker.com

Ardalan Shekarabi, the nation's minister of civil affairs, is concerned about making sure Swedish consumer protection laws apply across the board when it comes to gaming. Shekrabi admits that loot boxes are like gambling, but has asked Swedish authorities to consider whether that's what they should actually be classified as. The idea is to have legislation ready by January of next year to ensure Swedish gamers don't have to worry about a transaction falling outside of the nation's consumer protection laws in the event something goes south.

 

 

The Origin of Facebook's World...

Facebook defends art censorship case in France saying that the complaint has been made to the wrong part of the company


Link Here 2nd February 2018
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

Frederic Durand-Baissas, a primary school teacher in Paris, has sued Facebook in French court for violating his freedom of speech in 2011 by abruptly removing his profile.

Durand-Baissas' account was suspended after he posted a photo of Gustave Courbet's The Origin of the World , a painting from 1866 that depicts female genitalia.

The case was heard on Thursday. His lawyers have asked a Paris civil court to order Facebook Inc. to reactivate the account and to pay Durand-Baissas 20,000 euros ($23,500) in damages. Durand-Baissas also wants Facebook to explain why his account was closed.

Lawyers for Facebook argued the lawsuit should be dismissed on a technicality, that Durand-Baissas didn't sue the right Facebook entity. The teacher should have sued Facebook Ireland, the web host for its service in France, and not the California-based parent company, Facebook Inc., they claimed. Facebook Inc. can't explain why Facebook Ireland deactivated Mr. Durand-Baissas' account, lawyer Caroline Lyannaz said in court.

Facebook's current policy appears to allow postings such as a photo of the Courbet painting. Its standards page now explicitly states: We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures.

The civil court's ruling in Durand-Baissas' case is expected on March 15.

 

 

Updated: But disregard for justice and free speech hardly puts Poland on the moral high ground...

MPs approve law to send people who say 'Polish death camps' to Polish prison camps


Link Here 1st February 2018
Last week, Polish lawmakers granted initial approval to a law that aims to make it illegal to suggest that Poland bore any responsibility for atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Under the new legislation, individuals could face fines and up to three years in jail for using phrases like Polish death camps (rather than Nazi death camps).

The so-called death camp bill was passed overwhelmingly by Poland's lower legislature.

News of the lower legislature's vote has provoked an international outcry. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet that they will under no circumstances accept any attempt to rewrite history, alluding to the fact that although Poland was occupied by the Nazis, Poles were caught up in the day to day running of the camps. The Smithsonian Museum explained:

During World War II, the Poles suffered a brutal occupation at the hands of the Nazis, who saw the Poles as racially inferior. At least 2.5 million non-Jewish civilians and soldiers died before the war's end, according to the United States Holocaust Museum. However, the Nazis also drew upon some Polish agencies, such as Polish police forces and railroad personnel, in the guarding of ghettos and the deportation of Jews to the killing centers. Individual Poles often helped in the identification, denunciation, and hunting down of Jews in hiding, often profiting from the associated blackmail, and actively participated in the plunder of Jewish property.

Poland has long resisted acknowledging its complicity in the Holocaust. Polish lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to pass the controversial bill back in 2013, after then-President Barack Obama referred to Polish death camps during a speech honoring Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski.

Update: Passed by the Senate

1st February 2018. See  article from bbc.com

Poland's Senate have approved a controversial bill which makes it illegal to say 'Polish death camps' when meaning Nazi death camps located in Poland, or more generally to infer that Poland had responsibility for Holocaust related operations within the occupied country.

The bill sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term as punishment. The bill must now be signed off by the president before entering into law. It passed in the upper house of the Polish parliament with 57 votes to 23.

 

 

Let's Stop the Censorship Machines...

A few MEPs produce YouTube video highlighting the corporate and state censorship that will be enabled by an EU proposal to require social media posts to be approved before posting by an automated censorship machine


Link Here 23rd January 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

In a new campaign video, several Members of the European Parliament warn that the EU's proposed mandatory upload filters pose a threat to freedom of speech. The new filters would function as censorship machines which are "completely disproportionate," they say. The MEPs encourage the public to speak up, while they still can.

Through a series of new proposals, the European Commission is working hard to modernize EU copyright law. Among other things, it will require online services to do more to fight piracy.  

These proposals have not been without controversy. Article 13 of the proposed Copyright Directive, for example, has been widely criticized as it would require online services to monitor and filter uploaded content.

This means that online services, which deal with large volumes of user-uploaded content, must use fingerprinting or other detection mechanisms -- similar to YouTube's Content-ID system -- to block copyright infringing files.

The Commission believes that more stringent control is needed to support copyright holders. However, many legal scholars , digital activists , and members of the public worry that they will violate the rights of regular Internet users.

In the European Parliament, there is fierce opposition as well. Today, six Members of Parliament (MEPs) from across the political spectrum released a new campaign video warning their fellow colleagues and the public at large.

The MEPs warn that such upload filters would act as censorship machines, something they've made clear to the Council's working group on intellectual property, where the controversial proposal was discussed today.

Imagine if every time you opened your mouth, computers controlled by big companies would check what you were about to say, and have the power to prevent you from saying it, Greens/EFA MEP Julia Reda says.

A new legal proposal would make this a reality when it comes to expressing yourself online: Every clip and every photo would have to be pre-screened by some automated 'robocop' before it could be uploaded and seen online, ALDE MEP Marietje Schaake adds.

Stop censorship machines!

Schaake notes that she has dealt with the consequences of upload filters herself. When she uploaded a recording of a political speech to YouTube, the site took it down without explanation. Until this day, the MEP still doesn't know on what grounds it was removed.

These broad upload filters are completely disproportionate and a danger for freedom of speech, the MEPs warn. The automated systems make mistakes and can't properly detect whether something's fair use, for example.

Another problem is that the measures will be relatively costly for smaller companies ,which puts them at a competitive disadvantage. "Only the biggest platforms can afford them -- European competitors and small businesses will struggle," ECR MEP Dan Dalton says.

The plans can still be stopped, the MEPs say. They are currently scheduled for a vote in the Legal Affairs Committee at the end of March, and the video encourages members of the public to raise their voices.

Speak out ...while you can still do so unfiltered! S&D MEP Catherine Stihler says.

 

 

The accuser is always right...

The EU Commission reports that internet companies are now censoring a higher proportion of posts that are reported for being 'illegal hate speech'


Link Here 22nd January 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
The third evaluation of the EU's 'Code of Conduct' on censoring 'illegal online hate speech' carried out by NGOs and public bodies shows that IT companies removed on average 70% of posts claimed to contain 'illegal hate speech'.

However, some further challenges still remain, in particular the lack of systematic feedback to users.

Google+ announced today that they are joining the Code of Conduct, and Facebook confirmed that Instagram would also do so, thus further expanding the numbers of actors covered by it.

Vera Jourová, with the oxymoronic title of EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said:

The Internet must be a safe place, free from illegal hate speech, free from xenophobic and racist content. The Code of Conduct is now proving to be a valuable tool to tackle illegal content quickly and efficiently. This shows that where there is a strong collaboration between technology companies, civil society and policy makers we can get results, and at the same time, preserve freedom of speech. I expect IT companies to show similar determination when working on other important issues, such as the fight with terrorism, or unfavourable terms and conditions for their users.

On average, IT companies removed 70% of all the 'illegal hate speech' notified to them by the NGOs and public bodies participating in the evaluation. This rate has steadily increased from 28% in the first monitoring round in 2016 and 59% in the second monitoring exercise in May 2017.T

The Commission will continue to monitor regularly the implementation of the Code by the participating IT Companies with the help of civil society organisations and aims at widening it to further online platforms. The Commission will consider additional measures if efforts are not pursued or slow down.

Of course no mention of the possibility that some of the reports of supposed 'illegal hate speech' are not actioned because they are simply wrong and may be just the politically correct being easily offended. We seem to live in an injust age where the accuser is always considered right and the merits of the case count for absolutely nothing.

 

 

Offsite Article: Another example of censorship backfire...


Link Here 14th January 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
Can social media become less hateful by law? Germany is trying it -- and failing

See article from washingtonpost.com

 

 

Self inflicted censorship...

German 'justice' minister falls victim to his own badly thought out new censorship law


Link Here 9th January 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
Germany's justice minister fell victim to the rules he himself championed against online social media when one of his tweets was deleted following several complaints.

The censored tweet dated back to 2010, when Heiko Maas was not yet minister. in the tweet he had called Thilo Sarrazin, a politician who wrote a controversial book on Muslim immigrants, an idiot.

Maas told Bild on Monday that he did not receive any information from Twitter about why the tweet was deleted, or whether it would be deleted from Twitter.

Germany meanwhile signalled on Monday it was open to amending the controversial law which combats online hate speech. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said an evaluation would be carried out within six months to examine how well the new law was working.

 

 

Inevitably shoddy results from forcing commercial companies to censor posts for free...

German opposition parties speak out about new internet censorship law that even if the first week is manifestly failing freedom of speech


Link Here 8th January 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

Germany's NetzDG internet censorship law has been in force since the New Year and has already sparked multiple controversies. Opposition parties across the political spectrum already say its time for change.

Senior figures in the rival Free Democratic (FDP), Green and Left parties on Sunday demanded lawmakers replace Germany's recently passed online hate speech law. The call comes after Twitter decided to delete allegedly offensive statements by far-right politicians and suspend the account of a German satirical magazine.

The last few days have emphatically shown that private companies cannot correctly determine whether a questionable online statement is illegal, satirical or tasteless yet still democratically legitimate, the FDP's general secretary Nicola Beer told Germany weekly Die Welt am Sonntag .

Beer said Germany needed a law similar to the one the FDP proposed before Christmas that would give an appropriately endowed authority the right to enforce the rule of law online rather than give private companies the right to determine the illegality of flagged content.

Green Party Chairwoman Simone Peter has also called for a replacement law that would take away the right of private companies to make decisions regarding flagged content. He said:

It is not acceptable for US companies such as Twitter to influence freedom of expression or press freedoms in Germany. Last year, we proposed a clear legal alternative that would hold platforms such as Twitter accountable without making them judges.

Greens' internet policy spokesman, Konstantin von Notz, also criticized the current statute, telling the newspaper that the need for reform the law was overdue.

Left leader Sarah Wagenknecht added:

The law is a slap in the face of all democratic principles because, in a constitutional state, courts rather than private companies make decisions about what is lawful and what is not.

 

 

The right context...

Echoing Germany's controversial publication of Mein Kampf, France debates whether to censor the works of Louis-Ferdinand Céline who wrote pamphlets supporting the Holocaust


Link Here 6th January 2018
A censorship row has erupted in Paris after publishing house Gallimard announced it would publish a collection of pro-Hitler pamphlets by the otherwise notable novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline.

Céline is hailed as one of France's most brilliant writers for his 1932 novel Journey to the End of the Night, regarded as one of the greatest French works of the 20th century.

Gallimard has insisted it will go ahead with the publication of Bagatelles pour un massacre, a collection of 1930s pamphlets by Céline, who called for the extermination of Jews. The publication date is not set but Gallimard has insisted its intention is to frame the texts with a critical commentary.

When Gallimard was reported to be about to publish the collection last spring, the government stepped in and summoned the publisher. The government urged the publisher to include notes giving the full context drawn up by specialists, including historians. The editor is understood to have rejected this, claiming that notes by a literary expert on Céline would suffice.

Serge Klarsfeld, a French lawyer and Nazi-hunter has demanded the publication be stopped, threatening legal action if Gallimard continues. He said he supported historians studying the texts, but said that presenting a shiny new edition of Céline's "abject" writing in bookshops would be "intolerable" and no amount of footnotes could temper that.

The book has already been published in Canada in 2012, although Le Monde warned that the Canadian edition's notes were insufficient.

 

 

German free speech sails the Titanic...

As feared, Twitter is unable to distinguish between hateful comments and criticism of hateful comments and so just censors everything


Link Here 6th January 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
The Twitter account of German satirical magazine Titanic was blocked after it parodied anti-Muslim comments by AfD MP Beatrix von Storch.

She accused police of trying to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men by putting out a tweet in Arabic.

On Tuesday night, the magazine published a tweet parodying von Storch, saying:

The last thing that I want is mollified barbarian, Muslim, gang-raping hordes of men.

Titanic said on Wednesday its Twitter account had been blocked over the message, presumably as a result of a new law requiring social media sites to immediately block hateful comments on threat of massive fines. There is no time allowed or economic reason for assessing the merits of censorship claims, so social media companies are just censoring everything on demand, just in case.

 

 

Updated: Not a happy new year...

German internet censorship law comes into force


Link Here 5th January 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
Germany starts enforcing an internet censorship law where contested content has to be taken down pronto by social media who will suffer massive fines of they don't comply.

The law is supposedly targeted at obviously illegal hate speech, but surely it will be used to take down content anyone doesn't like for any reason. The threats of fines and short time allowed simply means that websites will opt for the easiest and most economic policy, and that is to take down anything contested.

The new law states the sites that do not remove obviously illegal posts could face fines of up to 50m euro. The law gives the networks 24 hours to act after they have been told about law-breaking material.

Social networks and media sites with more than two million members will fall under the law's provisions. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be the law's main focus but it is also likely to be applied to Reddit, Tumblr and Russian social network VK. Other sites such as Vimeo and Flickr could also be caught up in its provisions.

Facebook has reportedly recruited several hundred staff in Germany to deal with reports about content that breaks the NetzDG and to do a better job of monitoring what people post.

Update: First examples of fair free speech being censored in Germany

5th January 2018. See  article from politico.eu

Sophie Passmann is an unlikely poster child for Germany's new online hate speech laws.

The 24-year-old comedian from Cologne posted a satirical message on Twitter early on New Year's Day, mocking the German far right's fear that the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that have entered the country in recent years would endanger Germany's culture. Instead of entertaining her more than 14,000 Twitter followers , Passmann's tweet was blocked within nine hours by the American social media giant, telling users in Germany that Passmann's message had run afoul of local laws.

...Read the full article from politico.eu

Update: German censorship law is a sin against free speech

5th January 2018. See  article from dailymail.co.uk

A top-selling German newspaper has called for a new social media hate speech law to be axed after labelling it a sin against freedom of opinion.

The law which took effect on January 1 can impose fines of up to 2£44million on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly.

The Bild newspaper, under the headline Please spare us the thought police!, says the new law risks making martyrs out of anti-immigrant politicians whose posts are deleted.

Update: Germany's AfD party seeks to turn online censorship to its advantage

5th January 2018. See article from dw.com

Germany's rightwing AfD party have been busy with political posters pointing out that they will be the likely victims of censorship under Germany's new law.

And they will certainly have a good claim. The new law will surely over censor, and any complaint will end up in a censored post, regardless of the merits of the claim. A slightly UnPC post by AfD is likely to be blocked, and so the AfD will rightly be able to highlight the censorship.

The publicity for examples of censorship will surely chime with a significant proportion of the German population, and so will add to the general level of disaffection with the political elite.

Perhaps Germany ought to at least ensure that censorship should be based on the merits of the case, not implemented by a commercial company who only cares about the cheapest possible method of meeting the censorship requirements.

 

 

Surely a bigger threat to democracy is a crap political system that don't look after its own people...

Macron thinks that the internet censorship of 'fake news' is a panacea for widespread disrespect of politicians


Link Here 4th January 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in France...Web blocking in the name of child protection
Emmanuel Macron has vowed to introduce a law to censor 'fake news' on the internet during French election campaigns. He claimed he wanted new legislation for social media platforms during election periods in order to protect democracy.

For fake news published during election seasons, an emergency legal action could allow authorities to remove that content or even block the website, Macron said. If we want to protect liberal democracies, we must be strong and have clear rules.

He said France's media censor, the CSA, would be empowered to fight against any attempt at destabilisation by TV stations controlled or influenced by foreign states. Macron said he wanted to act against what he called propaganda articulated by thousands of social media accounts.

Macron has an axe to grind about fake news, during the election campaign in spring 2017 he filed a legal complaint after Le Pen, the Front National leader, referred to fake stories about him placing funds in an offshore account in the Bahamas. Also a bogus website resembling the site of the Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported that Saudi Arabia was financing Macron's campaign. Le Soir totally distanced itself from the report.

 

2006   2007   2008   2009   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   2015   2016   2017   2018  
Jan-March   April-June   July-Sept   Oct-Dec   Latest  

melonfarmers icon
 

Top

Home

Index

Links

Email
 

UK

World

Media

Info

US
 

FilmCuts

Nutters

Liberty
 

Cutting Edge

Shopping

Sex News

Sex+Shopping

Advertise
 



US

Americas

International

Campaigns
 

UK

West Europe

Middle East

Africa
 

East Europe

South Asia

Asia Pacific

Australia
 


Adult DVD+VoD

Online Shop Reviews
 

Online Shops

New  & Offers
 
Sex Machines
Fucking Machines
Adult DVD Empire
Adult DVD Empire
Simply Adult
30,000+ items in stock
Low prices on DVDs and sex toys
Simply Adult
Hot Movies
Hot Movies