UK Government Watch

 2015: April-June



  Power to the People...No Never...

High Court sides with big business over whether people are allowed to copy their own CDs


Link Here 20th June 2015
Old BaileySeveral groups representing the interests of big media companies have won a judicial review challenging the UK Government's decision to allow copying for personal use. According to the High Court, there's insufficient evidence to prove that the legislation doesn't hurt musicians and the industry.

last year the UK Government legalized copying for private use , a practice which many citizens already believed to be legal.

The change was in the best interest of consumers, the Government reasoned, but several music industry organizations challenged the decision as they felt it harmed their own interests.

In November the Musicians' Union (MU), the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and UK Music applied for a judicial review of the new legislation. They disagreed with the Government's conclusion that the change would cause no financial harm to the music industry.

Instead of keeping copies free, they suggested that a tax should be applied to blank media including blank CDs, hard drives, memory sticks and other blank media. This money would then be shared among rightsholders, a mechanism already operating in other European countries.

The High Court largely agreed with the music industry groups. The Government's conclusion that copyright holders will not suffer any significant harm was based on inadequate evidence, Mr Justice Green claimed. The judge wrote:

In conclusion, the decision to introduce section 28B [private copying] in the absence of a compensation mechanism is unlawful.

The UK music groups are happy with the outcome and are eager to discuss possible changes with lawmakers.

The High Court scheduled a new hearing next month to decide what action should be taken in response to the judgment, including whether the private copying exceptions should be scrapped from law.

 

 Update: A Question of Distrust...

Open Rights Group outlines the Anderson Report promoting the Snooper's Charter


Link Here 13th June 2015  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping

question of trust The UK's Independent Review of Terrorism Legislation has said, it is time for a clean slate when it comes to surveillance law in the UK. In his report, David Anderson QC condemned the current legislative framework as, fragmented, obscure, under constant challenge and variable in the protections that it affords the innocent .

Anderson was tasked with reviewing surveillance law as a requirement of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act,  one of the concessions gained by Labour and the Lib Dems in return for their support in rushing the Bill through Parliament last July.

Anderson, unsurprisingly, does not condemn mass surveillance in principle and endorses bulk collection by the security services, but the report does call for a radical overhaul of how surveillance is regulated.

Here are some of the key points:

Legal reform

Since the Snowden revelations began two years ago, Parliament has further legislated for surveillance through DRIPA, the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and amendments to the Computer Misuse Act that legitimise hacking by the security services. Anderson's damning verdict that the law, is variable in the protections that it affords the innocent can't be ignored. The report says: A comprehensive and comprehensible new law should be drafted from scratch, replacing the multitude of current powers and providing for clear limits and safeguards on any intrusive power that it may be necessary for public authorities to use.

Warrants

Under the current system, warrants for surveillance are signed off by government ministers, who are not independent. Anderson's recommendations that warrants should be signed off by judicial commissioners is a welcome shift away from politicial authorisation but it would be preferable for warrants to go through the courts and be signed by serving judges to help make sure that surveillance is necessary and proportionate .

Snoopers' Charter

Anderson says that extending capabilities through a new Snoopers' Charter should only happen if there is, a detailed operational case needs to be made out, and a rigorous assessment conducted of the lawfulness, likely effectiveness, intrusiveness and cost of requiring such data to be retained . So far the Government hasn't made such a case. In addition, it has made a report by Sir Nigel Sheinwald top secret. That report is believed to have suggested that a new international treaty could be a legal alternative to the Snoopers' Charter. Despite this, the Home Secretary Theresa May today told the House of Commons that the re-drafted Snoopers' Charter would be laid before Parliament in the autumn - although it would be scrutinised by a Joint Committee.

It is unlikely that Anderson's review and the Intelligence and Security Committee's Privacy and Security report would have happened were it not for Edward Snowden's revelations. Two years on, there are still many battles to be fought but one thing is certain - the status quo cannot continue. MPs from all parties must act to ensure that the UK has surveillance powers fit for a democracy.

Timetable

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, announced yesterday morning that the Investigatory Powers Bill will be published in draft form in the autumn. A joint committee of MPs and Peers will scrutinise the bill.

Petition

The police and intelligence services should be able monitor people suspected of serious crimes. But it's completely unclear that collecting information about everyone, all of the time is an efficient or cost-effective way of investigating crime. And it's even less likely that this is in line with our fundamental human rights to privacy and freedom of speech.

If you agree, can you sign our petition? We think the police and intelligence agencies should have powers that are effective and genuinely protect our privacy and freedom of speech.

 

  Addicted to a Miserable Life...

Tory MPs get high on a power trip of banning people's businesses and enjoyment of life through legal highs


Link Here 9th June 2015
conservative party logoMore than 450 high-street head shops and online sellers of legal highs face closure across Britain under the blanket ban on new psychoactive substances to be debated in parliament on Tuesday.

The first Home Office estimate of the extent of the trade in legal highs, which are to be banned from April next year, describes it as an industry making a 40% profit of £32m a year on an annual turnover of £82m.

The psychoactive substances bill, which is to receive its second reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday, is designed to ban the trade in legal highs, probably from April next year. The legislation includes exemptions for everyday legitimate psychoactive substances including alcohol, tobacco and caffeine and is also expected to include an exemption for legitimate medical and scientific research.

The ban will cover a range of synthetic chemical substances designed to mimic traditional illegal drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy and will extend to cover nitrous oxide -- laughing gas or hippy crack -- the second most popular recreational drug in Britain.

The estimate of the size of the legal highs market is the first indication of the scale of the industry that faces closure as a result of the ban. The Home Office estimate that based on police and local authority sources there are about 335 high street head shops for whom legal highs is a main source of income. On top of this there are a further 115 UK-based websites offering them for sale online.

The Home Office says there are a further 210 smaller suppliers of legal highs including tattoo parlours, sex shops and newsagents for whom the trade is not a major source of income but which will also be hit by the ban.

The bill is expected to receive widespread support in its second reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday. But Lady Meacher, of the all-party parliamentary group for drug policy reform, is expected to warn that the blanket ban will lead to young people turning back to street dealers or the internet, and will not reduce their overall use.

 

 Update: Investigating Investigatory Powers...

Tom Watson and David Davis in court to challenge 'emergency' mass snooping legislation


Link Here 4th June 2015  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping
Old BaileyThe High Court is hearing a legal challenge to the government's 'emergency' surveillance law brought by two MPs.

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act was fast-tracked through Parliament in three days last July. It allows Britain's intelligence agencies to gather people's phone and internet communications data.

But former Conservative minister David Davis and Labour's Tom Watson will argue that the legislation is incompatible with human rights. The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act was rushed through Parliament in July 2014, after a ruling by the European Union's Court of Justice rendered existing powers illegal.

The plans were supported by the three main parties, but opposed by civil liberties campaigners. 'Lives at risk'

However, Watson and Davis say the legislation was rushed and lacked adequate safeguards, and needs to be re-thought. They will argue that the legislation is incompatible with the right to a private and family life, and data protection, under both the Human Rights Act and the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights.

 

 Update: A New Age of Censorship...

The UK adult trade is expecting a new law requiring age verification for all websites, and those that don't comply will be blocked


Link Here 26th May 2015  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet

David CameronBritons may soon face ID checks to access adult material on the internet, according to discussions between the government and groups from the beleaguered UK adult trade.

A scheme proposed by the industry group, The Digital Policy Alliance,  would see adult sites verifying visitors' identity with organisations such as banks, credit reference agencies or even the NHS.  Adult websites would offer visitors a choice of identity providers -- from Vodafone to the Department for Work and Pensions -- to vouch for their age, O'Connell said. The user would sign in to the provider with a username and password, and a check would be run against the data it holds. To boost privacy, checks would pass through an anonymising hub . This strips identifying information in both directions of the request. In theory, the provider never knows the reasons for the checks, and the site never knows users' true identities, just that they are over 18.

It comes ahead of an expected new law demanding age checks for online pornography and threatening a block on any sites which don't comply. It is a key Conservative pledge. But critics say the plans are a privacy nightmare. Some warn they are a step towards Chinese-style internet restrictions. Myles Jackman, a lawyer specialising in obscenity law said:

This is cutting-edge censorship. We are now becoming the world leaders in censorship. And we are being watched very closely from abroad.

British-based sites have had to make stringent age checks since 2010, using credit cards, the electoral roll and credit reference agencies. It's a quite intrusive means of identifying age, said Chris Ratcliff, chief executive of Portland TV, which runs Television X. Many customers simply go elsewhere, he said. Ratcliff, a key member of the DPA's age verification working group, expects government action by the end of the year.

According to Tory proposals, a regulator would have the power to block sites that don't use stringent enough checks. Observers believe this will be the Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod), which currently enforces age-check and obscenity rules on UK streaming video sites. The result of ATVOD's 'enforcement' is that it is near impossible to run a UK site within the current rules and has led to the UK industry losing out to foreign operations.

The legal situation is also confused. Ratcliff said it was unclear whether new rules would make content not behind age filters illegal. Jackman added:

As a matter of international law, I don't understand how it can possibly work. And I don't understand how it can work under the Obscene Publications Act. It's just being made up as they go along.

The stub of the UK adult trade that has been persevering with ludicrous British censorship required, eg Ofcom rules only allowing softcore TV, believe that acceptable age verification may be a benefit, but this seems unlikely. As with eBay, Amazon, Apple, and Google, once governments start making life tough with onerous rules and red tape, only the largest operation have large enough economies of scale to handle the burdensome expenses, so creating a natural monopoly. and as the US has the largest markets, so they can grab the lion's share of the market.

And as for the kids, there's already enough porn knocking around on hard drives to keep them happy for decades. Perhaps they will just go back to swapping porn mags, or the modern day equivalent, 64GByte memory sticks with enough porn to last a year.

And as a final thought, It is not clear that the security services would be very impressed if half the population of Britain were forced into using VPNs and the like. It would make life an awful lot tougher to keep track of the bad guys.

 

  A challenge to default website blocking...

EU net neutrality policy requires that ISPs should not block legal content without permission


Link Here 25th May 2015
EU flagThe British Government is concerned that EU measures to ensure net neutrality could impact ISPs website blocking systems that are turned on by default.

Net neutrality is the concept of not allowing states or commercial entities from hijacking the internet for their own purposes. A particular example is for large VoD companies convincing the ISPs that for a suitable fee, their video services could be given priority over other people's internet communications.

A leaked document from Brussels dated May 17 proposes to make it illegal to try to manage web traffic, including by automatically applying parental controls. Instead, EU officials want ISPs to have to ask parents or account holders to opt-in to pornography filters.

Campaigners for internet blocking by default claim that the move would endanger children by putting another barrier in the way of parents wanting to keep internet usage at home free from adult material.

The rule change is included in a document banning mobile phone companies or ISPs from restricting or managing any legal content on the internet.

John Carr, a pro-censorship campaigner said that the risk is that a major plank of the UK's approach to online child protection will be destroyed at a stroke.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: The UK government will not support any proposals that do not allow us to maintain our child protection policies or bring forward new policies.

 

 Updated: Extreme proposals...

Theresa May's plans to pre-censor TV revealed


Link Here 23rd May 2015
Theresa MayTheresa May's plan to introduce counter-extremism powers to vet British broadcasters' programmes before transmission was attacked by a Conservative cabinet colleague, a leaked letter has revealed. Presumably May's censorship proposal is targeted at muslim TV channels broadcast in the UK or perhaps wider religion based channels but it is too politically incorrect to mention the target of these proposals.

Sajid Javid described the Home Secretary's proposal to give Ofcom extra powers to censor extremist content as a threat to freedom of speech and reducing Ofcom to the role of a censor.

Javid pointed out that other countries which have imposed similar powers are not known for their compliance with rights related to freedom of expression and the Government may not wish to be associated with such regimes .

He sent the letter on March 12 when he was Culture, Media and Sport Secretary to inform the Prime Minister that he could not support May's counter extremism strategy and sent a copy to the Home Secretary. In the letter published by the Guardian, Javid wrote:

Extending Ofcom's powers to enable it to take pre-emptive action would move it from its current position as a post-transmission regulator into the role of a censor.

This would involve a fundamental shift in the way UK broadcasting is regulated, away from the current framework which is designed to take appropriate account of the right to freedom of expression.

Whilst it is absolutely vital that Government works in partnership with individuals and organisations to do all it can to ensure that society is protected from extremism, it must also continue to protect the right to freedom of expression and ensure that these proposals do not restrict or prevent legitimate and lawful comment or debate.

Cameron last week outlined plans to fast-track powers to tackle radicalisation, including a commitment to give Ofcom a strengthened role in taking action against channels which broadcast extremist content, alongside banning and disruption orders for people who seek to radicalise others or use hate speech in public. It is not clear whether the Government has revisited May's plans since taking office, or whether they could be included in next week's Queen's Speech.

Update: Cameron confirms plans for TV pre-censorship

23rd May 2015. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

David CameronDavid Cameron seems to have confirmed plans to allow Ofcom to censor television programmes. The measure is presumably targeted at religious/muslim channels showing interviews with extremists. Ofcom will be given powers to pre-censor such content before it airs.

Cameron has now said that the Home Secretary's counter-extremism proposals, which are expected to be a centrepiece of next week's Queen's Speech, were sensible . Hhe said:

Our proposals on extremism are extremely sensible and I think need to be put into place. Ofcom has got a role to make sure we don't broadcast extremist messages through our media as well.

Cameron last week outlined plans to fast-track powers to tackle radicalisation, including a commitment to give Ofcom a strengthened role in taking action against channels which broadcast extremist content, alongside banning and disruption orders for people who seek to radicalise others or use hate speech in public.

A Downing Street spokesman said the proposals would be part of next week's Queen's Speech.

 

 Updated: John Whittingdale appointed as the Secretary for Censorship Culture...

The Daily Mail's favourite 'go to' politician for censorial sound bites appointed as the government's chief censor


Link Here 18th May 2015
john whittingdaleTory MP John Whittingdale, the chair of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee over the last decade, is the new Culture Secretary, taking over from Sajid Javid.

Whittingdale has a lamentable record of being one of the Daily Mails favourite 'go to' sources for a censorial or moralistic sound bite.

The BBC is non too impressed by the appointment, as the broadcaster is often the target of Whittingdale's critical comments and sound bites. And of course it is one of the Culture Secretary's jobs to steer through the upcoming BBC charter that will apply for the next decade.

In fact, the BBC apparently responded to the appointment by tweeting Whittingdale's anti-gay voting record, but soon thought it better of it, and deleted the tweets.

Update: Minister of horror

18th May 2015. See  article from  theguardian.com

John Whittingdale's eclectic tastes mark him out as an unlikely-sounding cabinet minister. The newly appointed secretary of state for culture, media and sport is a devotee of Star Trek and Thunderbirds and a heavy metal fan known to sing karaoke versions of Smoke on the Water and Bat out of Hell.

The Conservative MP is also a horror fan including the so-called torture porn of Hostel director Eli Roth. I quite like really nasty films, Whittingdale once told journalists. Hostel is undoubtedly the most unpleasant film I have ever seen, he said, while Roth's Netflix series Hemlock Grove made An American Werewolf in London look like Mary Poppins .

 

  Commentators on Censored Commentators...

A Conservative government has been in power for less than a week, and already our fundamental human rights are under threat


Link Here 16th May 2015  full story: Extremism in the UK...UK government introduces wide ranging ban on extremism

newstatesman logoOur fundamental human rights are under threat

16th May 2015. SSee  article from  newstatesman.com

It has been announced that the Queen's Speech will contain plans for banning orders intended to limit the harmful activities of extremists. The detail of the plans are chilling.

They are part of a strategy to promote British values including freedom of speech and democracy, yet they'll actually prevent people from exercising those very values. According to the proposals, anyone who undertakes activities that cause harassment, alarm or distress, could be faced with a high court order requiring them to submit anything they plan to publish online, in print, or even on social media, to the police.

 

Spiked logoAnti-terror: the perversion of tolerance

16th May 2015. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Bill Durodié, academic and author

Cameron's crackdown on extremists will destroy freedom, not protect it.


Government's anti-extremism plans will have chilling effect on free speech

16th May 2015. See  article from  secularism.org.uk

nss 2015 logoThe National Secular Society has expressed concern at the Government's new proposals to challenge extremism and radicalisation.

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced renewed plans to introduce extremism disruption orders that would target those spreading extremist ideology.

David Cameron said:

For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.

Comment: Theresa May's plans are a threat to British values

19th May 2015. See article from politics.co.uk by Ian Dunt

politics co uk logoThe details are still not clear and won't get much clearer until the Queen's Speech, or probably afterwards. But we do know three things:

  1. that the definition of an extremist is being expanded
  2. that the process for how someone is officially designated as an extremist is shrouded in mystery, and
  3. that the list of restrictions which applies to them once they have been designated an extremist is now extremely broad and intrusive.

 

 Update: Hacking away safeguards from mass surveillance...

British Government sneakily enacts legislation to exempt the security services from laws against hacking


Link Here 16th May 2015  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
arms of the british governmentjpg logoThe British government sneakily changed anti-hacking laws to exempt GCHQ and other law enforcement agencies from criminal prosecution, it has been revealed.

Details of the change became apparent at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal which is hearing a challenge to the legality of computer hacking by UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The Government amended the Computer Misuse Act (CMA) two months ago. It used a little-noticed addition to the Serious Crime Bill going through parliament to provide protection for the intelligence services. The change was introduced just weeks after the Government faced a legal challenge that GCHQ's computer hacking to gather intelligence was unlawful under the CMA.

Eric King, the deputy director of Privacy International, said:

The underhand and undemocratic manner in which the Government is seeking to make lawful GCHQ's hacking operations is disgraceful.

Hacking is one of the most intrusive surveillance capabilities available to any intelligence agency, and its use and safeguards surrounding it should be the subject of proper debate. Instead, the Government is continuing to neither confirm nor deny the existence of a capability it is clear they have, while changing the law under the radar.

 

 Offsite Article: Should You Be Worried About The Snoopers' Charter?...


Link Here 11th May 2015  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping
snoopers charter flowchart The Huffinton Post provides a handy flowchart to find out

See article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

 Update: First victims of new Tory internet censorship rules...

ATVOD internet censors act against BDSM material on two VoD websites


Link Here 9th May 2015  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
ATVOD with award for service to foreign industryATVOD has announced actions against two adult services breached new Tory censorship laws banning material on UK video on demand services which would be banned on DVD under the police censorship rules implemented by the BBFC.

Two providers of on-line porn have fallen vicyim of new regulations banning on a UK video on demand ( VOD ) service material which would be banned on DVD. The service providers also failed to keep strong fetish videos and hardcore porn images behind unviable and onerous age verification requirements.

Banned pornographic material made available on the UK based services included videos of whipping likely to cause more than trifling harm, and the infliction of pain on a person who 'appears' unable to withdraw consent, even if filmed under totally consensual and safe conditions. Also repeated strong kicks to the genitals which appear to draw blood. Such material has been prohibited on UK based VOD services since 1 December 2014 under new censorship rules introduced by the Tory government.

The findings by the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ) are the first it has made under the new prohibited material rule introduced by Government in December and comes as ATVOD issues new guidance on the statutory rules it enforces following a three month consultation.

The two online video on demand victims are Glasgow Mistress Megara Furie and Mistress R'eal were held to be in breach of statutory requirements incorporated into ATVOD's censorship rulebook as Rule 11 (age verification) and the new Rule 14 (following BBFC R18 rules for VoD).

The UK based services allowed under 18s access to explicit hardcore and strong fetish porn videos which could be viewed on-demand. Yet the content of the videos was equivalent to, and in some cases went beyond, that which could be sold only to adults in licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD.

Both services allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic video promos or still images featuring strong fetish material and real sex in explicit detail. Access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the services accepted the most common payment methods, such as debit cards, which can be theoretically used by under 18's. However nobody seems to have actually documented any cases of any under 18s actually paying for porn with a debit card.

The operator of Glasgow Mistress Megara Furie closed the service within three days of the breaches being brought to their attention.

Enforcement action regarding the Mistress R'eal service is ongoing. If it fails to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD, the service provider will be referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction, a procedure which can lead to operators being fined or having their right to provide a service suspended, as happened in relation to the service Jessica Pressley.

ATVOD has also published determinations that three further UK based adult websites - Lads Next Door, Panties Pulled Down and Montys POV , failed to keep hardcore porn videos and images beyond the reach of children.

Following enforcement action by ATVOD, the operator of the Lads Next Door service acted to bring the website into compliance with the relevant Rule. The operators of Panties Pulled Down and Montys POV failed to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD. The service providers have therefore been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction.

The latest rulings come as ATVOD publishes new guidance on the rules it enforces. Publication of the new guidance follows a three month consultation which began when the new censorship rules came into force.

Comment: ATVOD, the self appointed Pornfinder General

9th May 2015. See  article from  independent.co.uk

backlash logo Critics of the new rules have long argued online viewers of niche pornography are still able to access content banned in the UK by watching videos filmed abroad, and new rules amounts to arbitrary censorship , while Myles Jackman, a British obscenity lawyer said that the case showed regulators were making up their interpretation of obscenity laws as they go along .

A spokesperson for Backlash UK, which is campaigning to defend freedom of sexual expression, added:

Atvod have erected themselves - pun intended - as the UK's Pornfinder General.... The sole purpose of this new puritanism is mass control and surveillance, under the pretence of protection.

Megara Furie, who describes herself as a professional dominatrix, said that she had taken her site down immediately after she was informed by the censor. She now uses a more robust third-party operator to host her videos. She said:

The banned material, as far as I am aware was one ball kick, which resulted in the equivalent of a shaving cut and lots of blood because it was a testicle. I was happy to take that down. It was an eye-opener and I'll now be more selective about my content. I wasn't aware I was breaching the rules.

Comment: Mistress R'eal appeals against ATVOD censorship

9th May 2015.  See  article from  xbiz.com

mistress real logo Mistress R'eal, the dominatrix whose scenes on Clips4Sale.com were the subject of a recent ATVOD probe and determination, has appealed the U.K. video-on-demand regulator's decision that she breached Rule 14.

With her appeal, Mistress R'eal also is challenging the legitimacy of the AVMS 2014 law. Currently, she faces a £10,000 fine and a ban on streaming online.

The videos that breached Rule 14 are:

  • A Bullwhipping in the Woods, parts 1 and 2,
  • Double Domme CBT and Pegs.

The scenes are explicit in the films, but they are like most BDSM content shown on a countless number of websites. For example, in Double Domme CBT and Pegs, a man is retrained against a cross and has weights attached to his bound scrotum, several pegs attached to his body, and a violet wand played over his genitals,. While his arms appear to be free initially, it's implied (and seems to be the case) that his wrists are restrained quite early in the clip. He is also gagged (and appears to be unable to speak with any real clarity) and has his legs bound. Hence his means of clearly indicating a withdrawal of consent is not apparent.

Mistress R'eal yesterday appealed against ATVOD's ruling that her site is in breach of regulations on the basis that the AVMS 2014 is not valid. Her appeal, according to SexAndCensorship.org , says the following:

I submit that the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, which introduced sections 368E(2) and (3) into the Communications Act 2003, were made ultra vires the Secretary of State's power to pass secondary legislation under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. Section 2(2) gives the Secretary of State the power to pass secondary legislation for the purpose of implementing any EU obligation or for the purpose of dealing with matters arising out of or related to EU obligations. I note that the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU) imposes an obligation on Member States to prohibit hate speech on ODPS (Art. 6); by contrast, it does not contain any obligation to ban content that may be harmful to minors from ODPS, only an obligation to ensure that access to such content is appropriately restricted (Article 12). In the premises, I fail to see how the 2014 Regulations (and, by extension, section 368E(2) & (3) of the 2003 Act), could be said to implement an obligation in the AVMS Directive or to deal with matters arising out of related to that Directive. The 2014 Regulations plainly go well beyond the scope of the directive -- and, in doing so, subvert the appropriate democratic process for dealing with an important human rights (free speech) issue. In light of the foregoing, I submit that the 2014 Regulations and sections 368E(2)-(3), CA2003 are void -- as so, by extension, is ATVOD's Rule 14, which is based solely on the aforementioned sections of the Communications Act 2003.

 

 Update: Lord forgive us for what we have done...

Giving the Tories a majority lets them quickly move to resurrect the snooper's charter


Link Here 9th May 2015  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping
Theresa MayThe Conservatives are already planning to introduce the huge surveillance powers known as the Snoopers' Charter, hoping that the removal from government of the Liberal Democrats that previously blocked the controversial law will allow it to go through.

The law, officially known as the Draft Communications Data Bill, is already back on the agenda according to Theresa May. It is expected to force British internet service providers to keep huge amounts of data on their customers, and to make that information available to the government and security services in a searchable format.

The snoopers' charter received huge criticism from computing experts and civil liberties campaigners in the wake of introduction. It was set to come into law in 2014, but Nick Clegg withdrew his support for the bill and it was blocked by the Liberal Democrats. Theresa May, who led the legislation as home secretary, said shortly after the Conservatives' election victory became clear that she will seek to re-introduce it to government. With the re-election of May and the likely majority of her party, the bill is likely to find success if the new government tries again.

David Cameron has suggested that his party could introduce even more wide-ranging powers if he was re-elected to government. Speaking in January, he said that there should be no form of communication that the government was unable to read -- likely causing chaos among the many internet services that rely on encryption to keep users' data safe .

 

 

  Pornography for Beginners...

Fun game makes light of the UK's repressive porn laws


Link Here 24th April 2015
pornography for beginners Designer Holly Gramazio makes games you play in person, at events and installations. But thanks to a very special set of rules--namely, the long list of sex acts suddenly banned in the United Kingdom --Gramazio was drawn to make a hilarious digital game for the first time.

So when the UK's bizarre list of sex acts banned from pornography began making the rounds, Gramazio saw an opportunity to try making a digital game for the first time ( these sound like bad rules, she thought).

The result is Gramazio's Pornography for Beginners , released late last year. It's a charming game that sees the player visiting a porn shed to find all the little bits that make up a porn, from genitalia to faces and wine glasses. Thanks to the natural limitations of PuzzleScript, the tool Gramazio used to make her game, the genitalia is limited to 25 pixels. Watching your screen fill with tiny dongs is hilarious, as is Gramazio's charming, winking writing.

See game from hollygramazio.net

 

 Update: Scammer's Charter...

Tories' election pledge to introduce website age restrictions is more worrying than it appears


Link Here 18th April 2015  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
conservative party logo

 

  Lack of Trust...

Tories keen that the TV censor Ofcom should extend its reach to include the BBC


Link Here 14th April 2015

BBC TrustGeorge Osborne has signalled that he favours the handover of BBC regulation from the BBC Trust to the current media censor Ofcom. Speaking to the Radio Times, Osborne said:

The trust arrangement has never really worked. I've never understood why the BBC is so frightened of regulation by Ofcom. It's not as if ITV is poorly regulated. Ofcom has proved itself to be a robust regulator.

The BBC Trust was established in 2007, taking on the responsibilities formerly exercised by the board of governors for setting a strategic direction for the BBC and exercising oversight of its work in the supposed interests of licence-fee payers.

 

  Criminal Injustice and Courts Act 2015...

Dangerous Pictures Act extended to include the pornographic depiction of rape


Link Here 13th April 2015
arms of the british governmentjpg logoThe extension of the Dangerous Pictures Act to include the pornographic depiction of rape or non consensual penetration has come into force.

The Criminal Injustice and Courts Act 2015 amends the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 to add the depiction of rape to the list of content already banned.

The relevant section defining the new category of porn that is illegal to posses is:

37 Possession of pornographic images of rape and assault by penetration

(1) Part 5 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 63 (possession of extreme pornographic images)—

(a) after subsection (5) insert—

“(5A) In relation to possession of an image in England and Wales, an “extreme image” is an image which—

(a) falls within subsection (7) or (7A), and
(b) is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character.”,

(c) after subsection (7) insert—

“(7A) An image falls within this subsection if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, either of the following—

(a) an act which involves the non-consensual penetration of a person’s vagina, anus or mouth by another with the other person’s penis, or
(b) an act which involves the non-consensual sexual penetration of a person’s vagina or anus by another with a part of the other person’s body or anything else,
and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that the persons were real.

(7B) For the purposes of subsection (7A)—

(a) penetration is a continuing act from entry to withdrawal;
(b) “vagina” includes vulva.”

Also people who share sexual images without consent can be jailed for up to two years under the new law that came into effect in the UK on 13th April 2015. The Crown Prosecution Service said:

The law covers images that show the genitals but also anything that a reasonable person would consider to be sexual, so this could be a picture of someone who is engaged in sexual behaviour or posing in a sexually provocative way.

It is an offence for a person to disclose a private sexual photograph or film if the disclosure is made (a) without the consent of an individual who appears in the photograph or film, and (b) with the intention of causing that individual distress.

 

 Offsite Article: Reality Check...


Link Here 7th April 2015  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
the spectator logo A quick skim over some of the online age verification issues about porn website restrictions

See article from newstatesman.com

 

 Offsite Article: Doing the Decent Thing...


Link Here 6th April 2015  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
evening harold logo Calling on porn sites to protect on-line youngsters by blocking links to the Conservative Party

See article from eveningharold.com

 

 Update: The Nasty Party...

Tories will block all internet porn if they win the election


Link Here 4th April 2015  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
sajid javidThe government has been trailing this policy by forcing onerous age verification requirements on British adult Video on Demand websites. Unfortunately there is currently no economically viable way to implement age verification and the net result is that pretty much the entire British VoD business has either been forced to close or else move overseas.

Widening out the policy to all internet porn will not do anything to make age verification practical and so the only possible outcome is that all internet porn will have to be blocked by the ISPs. Perhaps a few sites with a massively comprehensive selection of porn (think porn Amazon) may be able absorb the administrative burden, but they will for sure be American.

Anyway this is what the Tories are proposing:

It's time to protect children online

By Sajid Javi, Culture & Censorship Secretary, writing for the Daily Mail

Imagine a 12-year-old-boy being allowed to walk into a sex shop and leave with a DVD showing graphic, violent sexual intercourse and the subjugation of women.

You would, quite rightly, ask whether society should allow such a young mind to view hard-core pornography. I'm sure we'd all agree that the answer would be an emphatic no .

Yet each and every day children right across our country are being exposed to such images. And it's happening online.

The internet has been an amazing force for good in so many ways. But it also brings new threats and challenges for us to contend with. I'm a father of four young children and I know all too well that the online world can be a worrying place for mums and dads. After all, even the most attentive and engaged parents cannot know for sure which websites our children are visiting and what images they're seeing. Culture and Media Secretary Sajid Javid is setting out plans to shield youngsters from easy access to hardcore online pornography

Culture and Media Secretary Sajid Javid is setting out plans to shield youngsters from easy access to hardcore online pornography

In 2015 anyone, regardless of their age, is only ever two clicks away from the kind of material that would be kept well away from young eyes in the high street. And allowing young people to access pornography carries alarming consequences both for individuals and for society. It can lead to children pressuring each other to try out things they've seen online, and sharing inappropriate sexual pictures and videos. And it can lead to children having unhealthy attitudes towards sex AND relationships.

It is because of these types of concerns that we have long restricted and regulated adult content in the offline world -- whether that is magazines, TV programmes, DVDs or video-on-demand content. Such protections are taken for granted, and, as the Daily Mail has argued for years, it's time our approach to the online world caught up.

So today we are announcing that, if the Conservatives win the next general election, we will legislate to put online hard-core pornography behind effective age verification controls.

Of course adults should be perfectly free to look at these sites. But if websites showing adult content don't have proper age controls in place -- ones that will stop children looking at this kind of material -- they should and will be blocked altogether. No sex shop on the high street would be allowed to remain open if it knowingly sold pornography to underage customers, and there is no reason why the internet should be any different.

An independent regulator will oversee this new system. It will determine, in conjunction with websites, how age verification controls will work and how websites that do not put them in place will be blocked.

One thing is absolutely clear: the Conservative Party's commitment to child safety online. For the past five years we have been working with industry on A voluntary basis, an approach that led to the creation of default-on family filters. But filtering is just one way in which we can keep our children safe online. Now we can -- and must -- go further to give our children the best start in life.

There will be some who say that this exercise is futile, that websites and children alike will find ways to get around this law. And I agree that there are always people who try to avoid legal restrictions. But we must not let the best be the enemy of the good.

It is right that we act now and do what we can to restrict this content. It is right that we have the same rules applying online as we do offline. And it is right that we do everything we can to protect our children.

If we fail to take action, there is every chance that the sort of things children see on these websites will be considered normal by the next generation. That is not the sort of society I want to see and it's certainly not the sort of society I want my children to live in.

Over time Britain's laws have evolved to reflect our most deeply held values and beliefs, and the protection of children has long been a sacrosanct principle at the heart of that. I don't believe that we should abandon such an important principle simply because the latest threat to our young people comes from a technology that also brings incredible benefits.

There is a choice at this election, and it is between a party which backs families wants to give children the best start in life, and a chaotic Labour Party with no plan.

We are clear: adults should and will be free to view legal content, but we would never stand by and allow that 12-year-old boy to buy hardcore pornography from a sex shop.

It's time to make sure our children are just as well protected online as they are on the high street.