UK Government Watch

 2009: Oct-Dec

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17th December   

UK Internet Censorship...

Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

Clause 11 of the Digital Economy Bill
Link Here  full story: Digital Economy Act...Clause 11 grants government control of the internet

Ragged Union JackThere is a new bill in the UK called the Digital Economy Bill that would allow the Secretary of State to basically force ISPs to do the censorial dirty work. Clause 11 in the new proposal will block sites that speaks out against governments, against the new world order and those that expose the deceit of things like Climategate, fistgate etc

According to a British legal blogger Francis Davey they can censor sites like Wikileaks or any sites they dont like or agree with. The most shocking part of is clause 11 which says the following:

11 Obligations to limit internet access

After section 124G of the Communications Act 2003 insert—

124H Obligations to limit internet access

(1) The Secretary of State may at any time by order impose a technical

obligation on internet service providers if the Secretary of State

considers it appropriate in view of—

(a) an assessment carried out or steps taken by OFCOM under section 124G; or

(b) any other consideration.

(2) An order under this section must specify the date from which the technical obligation is to have effect, or provide for it to be specified.

(3) The order may also specify—

(a) the criteria for taking the technical measure concerned against a subscriber;

(b) the steps to be taken as part of the measure and when they are to be taken.

This bill is the same thing being implemented in Australia. Any government that censors the internet is not for the people and is against free speech and should be considered the enemy of the people. Internet censorship is the only way to stop people against governments will draconian laws and tyrants in the making.

Without free and open internet governments can make any country look like a fairy tale while total chaos reigns on the inside, just like we saw recently with Iran.

The internet should be open, free and fair to all people.

 

18th November   

Update: VRA Cloned...

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Government sees DVD censorship as public service to ensure legality
Link Here  full story: Video Recordings Act Erased...VRA was not properly enacted

DCMS logo Read the government's laughable big brother response to the Campaign to Reform the VRA's letter!

Thank you and your co-signatories for your email of 3 November to Sion Simon, about the Video Recordings Act 1984. I have been asked to reply to you.

As you are aware it has recently come to light that certain provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA) and the labelling Regulations made under it should have been notified to the European Commission in accordance with the Technical Standards Directive (83/189/EEC). We have now notified the necessary provisions and the Regulations made under it and therefore we will be in a position to rectify this problem as soon as possible.

The Government has no plans to include an amendment to allow the sale of 'unrated' films to 18+ adults, or to make any amendments. Our focus is on re-enacting the Bill, and the swiftest way to do that is not to make any amendments. Possible amendments must be properly considered and consulted on and the timetable on this Bill does not allow for this. In any event, the Government would not support an amendment that meant that some films were unrated. The BBFC classification is a guarantee that DVDs will not contain anything illegal. It would be impossible to ensure that that were the case were films not classified; we believe that the public has a right to that guarantee.

Yours sincerely,

Gemma Hersh Public Engagement and Recognition Unit

Comment: Big Brother Government

From Jonathan

Big Brother ends up saying: The BBFC classification is a guarantee that DVDs will not contain anything illegal. It would be impossible to ensure that that were the case were films not classified; we believe that the public has a right to that guarantee .

In that case shouldn't the government have the right to classify all books, magazines, CDs, and so on in order to guarantee that they will not contain anything illegal . And I presume they mean by that anything covered by the current laws of libel, obscenity, incitement and so on?

The BBFC is not staffed by judges. They are not qualified to judge whether anything is illegal or not! Their function is simply to protect minors from unsuitable material. They even freely admit that they do not make cuts in 18 films – if it's porn they'll rate it R18? – as this would contravene European Human Rights legislation on freedom of speech. Hence there would be no difference between an '18? and an 'unrated-18?. In both cases any question of the legality of the content is nothing to do with the BBFC, only the judiciary.

Reading the reply really does make my flesh creep! Oh yes, you might be interested to know that the VRA is actually policed by Trading Standards who, outside of whether it's a pirate DVD or not, are in no position to judge the legality of the content.

In fact my own researches have shown that by the way in which many Trading Standards officers interpret the Video Recordings Act the BBFC routinely oversteps the mark by suggesting that they have to classify all content on a DVD. I myself queried the BBFC on what they would do about classifying any text files, such as a copy of the script, included in a collection of DVD extras. Their reply was that they were sure that they could come up with a way of doing that – and presumably charging for it as well!

 

17th November   

Update: Glorifying Censorship...

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Video Universe
 

No records kept of action against websites promoting terrorism
Link Here

House of Lords logo The Terrorism Act 2006 granted powers for police to compel web hosts to shut down websites promoting terrorism. But the powers have never been used, and forces have instead persuaded providers to take down websites voluntarily, according to the security minister Lord West.

He told the Lords on Wednesday that he could not say how many websites have been censored because no records have been kept.

When we passed the Act in 2006, we laid down a requirement to make such records, but it has not really been done, he said.

When measures against extremist websites were announced, the government suggested ISPs might introduce filtering arrangements similar to the Internet Watch Foundation's blocklist of URLs leading to images of child abuse. No system has emerged, however, and industry sources say the idea is not being discussed.

 

8th October   

Update: Free Trade Restrictions Notified...

Government target 11th December to enact the Video Recordings Act
Link Here  full story: Video Recordings Act Erased...VRA was not properly enacted

DCMS logo The buzz is that the UK Government lodged the Video Recordings Act with the European Commission on 11th September 2009 such that the Act will finally come into force on 11th December 2009.

 

2nd October   

Comment: Labour for a Miserable Britain...

Harriet Hatemen takes aim at PunterNet, the sex worker ratings site
Link Here

PunterNet.com Harriet Hatemen, the minister for Intolerance and Inequality addressed the Labour Party conference and brought up the subject of her personal pet hate, prostitution:

And on prostitution. We know that prostitution is not work - it's exploitation of women by men - often women who have mental health problems or drug or alcohol addiction. So we're introducing a new criminal offence of having sex with a prostitute who's being controlled by a pimp.

We're stepping up our action to tackle human trafficking. We're determined to ensure that, especially in the run up to the Olympics, international criminal gangs don't trick and abduct women from abroad and sell them for sex in London.

And there is a very sinister development which we are determined to stop. You know trip advisor - a website where guests put their comments on line for others to see. There is now a website, like that, where pimps put women on sale for sex and then men who've had sex with them put their comments on line. It is Punternet and fuels the demand for prostitutes. It is truly degrading and puts women at risk.

Punternet has pages and pages of women for sale in London. But Punternet is based in California so I've raised it with the US Ambassador to London and I've called on California's governor Arnie Schwarzenegger to close it down. Surely it can't be too difficult for the Terminator to terminate Punternet and that's what I am demanding that he does.

Galahad, host of PunterNet has replied in an open letter:

Dear Mrs. Harman,

I have a few points to make regarding your recent remarks regarding my website and your fantastic demand that the Governor of California close it down.

Firstly, PunterNet is not violating any laws. If it were, then surely the many websites catering to the US prostitution scene (where sex for pay is almost completely illegal) would already have been closed down.

In the USA, there is a concept called freedom of speech which is considered the most important personal right guaranteed by the Constitution. It exists specifically to prevent the sort of abuse of power that you are attempting. The Governor (indeed, even the President) has no authority with which to shut down a perfectly lawful enterprise such as PunterNet.

PunterNet was not the first, and is certainly not the only, website in the UK with the same subject matter. Rather than creating the demand for commercial sex, sites like PunterNet are a response to that demand, which has existed since the dawn of mankind and certainly long before the advent of the Internet!

One of the missions of PunterNet is education - to provide information and guidance in hopes that the commercial sex scene is limited to consenting adults and those who choose of their own free will to engage in it.

If sites like this one did not exist, and if prostitution were outlawed, then it would effectively be handed to organised crime on a platter - just as happened with liquor during Prohibition. If, on the other hand, sexwork is recognised as a legitimate, honourable profession, then there will be no market for the criminal elements, and the truly despicable aspects of the scene such as sex slavery and trafficking will die out. Surely that is a far more desirable goal than driving it back underground where it will then consist only of criminals and victims?

In closing, I would like to thank you for the huge influx of traffic to my website which your actions have caused. I am sure that the ladies who are a part of the PunterNet community thank you as well, as they will no doubt benefit financially from the many new clients who might otherwise never have found them.

Comment: Censorious authoritarian

2nd October 2009. From Alan

I suppose Harridan Hatemen's latest piece of nonsense is fairly typical of the woman.

Quite how a (rather good) young civil liberties lawyer has turned into a middle-aged censorious authoritarian baffles me.

So much for evidence-based policy, when the evidence conflicts with the predetermined victim feminist ideological line.

I should think that those running Punter Net could probably clap a writ for defamation on her, since some of her claims were blatantly false.

 

2nd October   

Labouring for a Miserable Britain...

Harriet Hatemen takes aim at Page 3 Calendars
Link Here

Sun Page 3 Calandar Harriet Hatemen, the minister for Intolerance and Inequality, claims it is harassment to put up saucy pics at work.

The small print of the Government's flagship Equalities Bill declares: An employer who displayed any material of a sexual nature, such as a topless calendar, may be harassing employees where this makes the workplace an offensive place to work.

Critics fear a witch-hunt against workers. Tory MP Philip Davies fumed: This is crazy - the nanny state running riot.

 

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