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19th October

 Update: Resolving government popularity crisis by jailing more people...

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Government proposed to increase the penalty for internet insult to 2 years in jail
Link Here  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Ministry of Justice logo Internet insults could lead to two years in jail under new laws, 'Justice' Secretary Chris Grayling has said. He proposes that magistrates should be able to pass serious cases on to crown courts under the new measures.

He told the Mail on Sunday quadrupling the current maximum six-month term showed his determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob

These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No-one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media. That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence.

As the terrible case of Chloe Madeley showed last week, people are being abused online in the most crude and degrading fashion.

This is a law to combat cruelty - and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob. We must send out a clear message: if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years.

Those who subject others to sexually offensive, verbally abusive or threatening material online are currently prosecuted in magistrates' courts under the Malicious Communications Act, with a maximum prison sentence of six months. More serious cases could go to crown court under the proposals, where the maximum sentence would be extended.

The law change is to be made as an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill going through Parliament.

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, responded to the proposed new penalties:

Big Brother Watch logo The Justice Secretary should be focusing his efforts on incidents where real harm may be caused, not casting the net wider for anything that could be deemed offensive.

The Crown Prosecution Service and the police have completely failed to properly use the existing harassment law, which itself would address the actions of anyone who poses a serious threat.

The victims of serious abuse online, or indeed offline, do not need headline grabbing policies. They need definitive action to ensure that the police know what the law is when a compliant is made. It is that action which will keep them safe, not attempts to legally blur the line between illegal behaviour and being generally offensive.


19th October

 Offsite Article: Speaking volumes about your whereabouts...

Link Here
whisper logo Revealed how Whisper app tracks supposedly anonymous users

See article from


18th October

  Trademarked Blocking Systems... logo

DVDs, Blu-Ray, VOD, Sex Toys & Lingerie...

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ISP website blocking extended to websites accused of trademark infringement
Link Here
Old Bailey In a landmark ruling, the High Court has ordered several of the UK's leading ISPs to block websites dealing in counterfeit products. The decision follows legal action by Richemont, the owner of several luxury brands including Cartier and Montblanc.

Following successful action by the world's leading entertainment companies to have sites blocked at the ISP level on grounds of copyright infringement, it was perhaps inevitable that other companies with similar issues, such as trademark infringement would tread the same path.

Compagnie Financiere Richemont S.A. owns several well-known luxury brands including Cartier and Mont Blanc and for some time has tried to force sites selling counterfeit products to close down. Faced with poor results, in 2014 the company wrote to the UK's leading ISPs, Sky, TalkTalk, BT, Virgin Media, EE and Telefonica/O2, complaining that third party sites were infringing on Richemont trademarks.

Concerned that Richemont hadn't done enough to close the sites down on its own and that blocking could affect legitimate trade, the ISPs resisted and the matter found itself before the High Court.

The court decision means that the ISPs named in the legal action must now restrict access to websites selling physical counterfeits in the same way they already restrict file-sharing sites.

A Richemont spokesperson told TorrentFreak that the ruling represents a positive step in the fight to protect brands and customers from the sale of counterfeit goods online. T he company said:

We are pleased by this judgment and welcome the Court's recognition that there is a public interest in preventing trade mark infringement, particularly where counterfeit goods are involved. The Courts had already granted orders requiring ISPs to block sites for infringement of copyright in relation to pirated content. This decision is a logical extension of that principle to trade marks.

TorrentFreak reports that the decision is likely to be appealed.


18th October

  Forget the Children...

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Championing the right for young people to have their childhood forgotten
Link Here
martha lane fox The government's former digital champion, Martha Lane Fox, has said teenagers should be given the right to erase their online past when they reach 18.

The founder said it seems a pretty good idea that people should be able to scratch everything you did online pre-18 :

We should be able to create these safe places for kids to be OK and for it not be okay for that to then come back to haunt you at a later date. That feels quite urgent and important and manageable.

But she said she had mixed feelings about the more general principle of the right to be forgotten. She added:

Someone at Google suggested to me you cold be able to annotate Google, not completely Wikipedia style but that you would be able to put up a note saying, yes this is this, but this is related to me and this is what I think about it. I thought that was quite an interesting idea.


15th October

 Diary: Citizenfour...

17th October 2014: Preview screenings across Britain of Edward Snowden documentary
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
citizenfour Citizenfour is a 2014 Germany / USA documentary by Laura Poitras.
Starring Edward Snowden, Jacob Appelbaum and Julian Assange. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Next Friday, October 17th, there are preview screenings of the much talked about Snowden documentary, CITIZENFOUR, in over 50 cinemas across the UK. Visit for details of where it's being shown.

About the film

In January 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras was several years into the making of a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America when she started receiving encrypted emails from someone identifying himself as "citizen four", who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

In June 2013, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her. This film resulted from their series of tense encounters. Have a look at  for details of where it's being shown.


15th October

 Updated: Seeking Consent of Parliament...

Government publishes the details of its new law targeting revenge porn
Link Here  full story: Revenge porn in the UK...UK government considers legislation
House of Commons logo The government has published the details of a new law targeting revenge porn:

Publication of private sexual images

(1) It shall be an offence for a person to publish a private sexual image of another identifiable person without their consent where this disclosure  causes distress to the person who is the subject of the image.

(2) A person is not guilty of an offence under subsection (1) if he or she-—

(a) reasonably believed that the person who is the subject of the image had consented to its publication;

(b) reasonably believed that the publication of the image would not cause distress;

(c) reasonably believed that the image had previously been published; or

(d) did not intend to publish the image.

(3) For the purposes of this section it is immaterial who owns the copyright of the published image.

(4) An offence under this section is punishable by—

(a) on conviction on indictment, imprisonment for a term of not exceeding 2 years or a fine (or both);

(b) on summary conviction, imprisonment for a term of not exceeding 6 months or a fine (or both).

Update: Unintelligible law

14th October 2014. See article from . Thanks to Therumbler

Seems to be a disgraceful government proposed amendment to turn the law into gobbledegook where people will be found guilty whatever the circumstances, whilst journalists seem to have been excused any responsibility whatever the circumstances.

Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress

(1) 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.

(2) But it is not an offence for the person to disclose the photograph or film to the individual mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b).

(3) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he or she reasonably believed that the disclosure was necessary for the purposes of preventing, detecting or investigating crime.

(4) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to show that---

  • (a) the disclosure was made in the course of, or with a view to, the publication of journalistic material, and

  • (b) he or she reasonably believed that, in the particular circumstances, the publication of the journalistic material was, or would be, in the public interest.

(5) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to show that---

  • (a) he or she reasonably believed that the photograph or film had previously been disclosed for reward, whether by the individual mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b) or another person, and

  • (b) he or she had no reason to believe that the previous disclosure for reward was made without the consent of the individual mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b).

(6) A person is taken to have shown the matters mentioned in subsection (4) or (5) if---

  • (a) sufficient evidence of the matters is adduced to raise an issue with respect to it, and

  • (b) the contrary is not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

(7) For the purposes of subsections (1) to (5)---

  • (a) consent to a disclosure includes general consent covering the disclosure, as well as consent to the particular disclosure, and

  • (b) publication of journalistic material means disclosure to the public.

(8) A person charged with an offence under this section is not to be taken to have disclosed a photograph or film with the intention of causing distress merely because that was a natural and probable consequence of the disclosure.

(9) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable---

  • (a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or a fine (or both), and

  • (b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine (or both).

(10) Schedule (Disclosing private sexual photographs or films: providers of information society services) makes special provision in connection with the operation of this section in relation to persons providing information society services.

(11) In relation to an offence committed before section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 comes into force, the reference in subsection (9)(b) to 12 months is to be read as a reference to 6 months.

(12) In relation to an offence committed before section 85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 comes into force, the reference in subsection (9)(b) to a fine is to be read as a reference to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.

Meaning of disclose and photograph or film

(1) The following apply for the purposes of section (Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress), this section and section (Meaning of private and sexual).

(2) A person discloses something to a person if, by any means, he or she gives or shows it to the person or makes it available to the person.

(3) Something that is given, shown or made available to a person is disclosed---

  • (a) whether or not it is given, shown or made available for reward, and

  • (b) whether or not it has previously been given, shown or made available to the person.

(4) Photograph or film means a still or moving image in any form that---

  • (a) appears to consist of or include one or more photographed or filmed images, and

  • (b) in fact consists of or includes one or more photographed or filmed images.

(5) The reference in subsection (4)(b) to photographed or filmed images includes photographed or filmed images that have been altered in any way.

(6) Photographed or filmed image means a still or moving image that---

  • (a) was originally captured by photography or filming, or

  • (b) is part of an image originally captured by photography or filming.

(7) Filming means making a recording, on any medium, from which a moving image may be produced by any means.

(8) References to a photograph or film include---

  • (a) a negative version of an image described in subsection (4), and

  • (b) data stored by any means which is capable of conversion into an image described in subsection (4).

Meaning of private and sexual

(1) The following apply for the purposes of section (Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress).

(2) A photograph or film is private if it shows something that is not of a kind ordinarily seen in public.

(3) A photograph or film is sexual if---

  • (a) it shows all or part of an individual's exposed genitals or pubic area,

  • (b) it shows something that a reasonable person would consider to be sexual because of its nature, or

  • (c) its content, taken as a whole, is such that a reasonable person would consider it to be sexual.

(4) Subsection (5) applies in the case of ---

  • (a) a photograph or film that consists of or includes a photographed or filmed image that has been altered in any way,

  • (b) a photograph or film that combines two or more photographed or filmed images, and

  • (c) a photograph or film that combines a photographed or filmed image with something else.

(5) The photograph or film is not private and sexual if---

  • (a) it does not consist of or include a photographed or filmed image that is itself private and sexual,

  • (b) it is only private or sexual by virtue of the alteration or combination mentioned in subsection (4), or

  • (c) it is only by virtue of the alteration or combination mentioned in subsection (4) that the person mentioned in section (Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress)(1)(a) and (b) is shown as part of, or with, whatever makes the photograph or film private and sexual.


15th October

 Offsite Article: Open Case...

Link Here
European Court of Justice European Court to consider who is responsible for copyright infringement via open WiFi

See article from


12th October

 Update: Government to Avenge Revenge...

Government to introduce a new criminal offence of distributing revenge pornography
Link Here  full story: Revenge porn in the UK...UK government considers legislation
Ministry of Justice logo A new criminal offence of posting so-called revenge pornography on the internet will carry a maximum jail term of two years, Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, has announced.

Cruel and angry individuals who publish intimate pictures, videos or text messages to retaliate against their former partners will be targeted with the new law.

The proposal will be formally proposed in Parliament this week.

This is a significant change of tack by the government as a few days ago the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that there were sufficient existing laws available to target revenge porn.

Speaking ahead of the debate in Parliament on Monday, Grayling said:

The fact that there are individuals who are cruelly distributing intimate pictures of their former partners without their consent is almost beyond belief. We want those who fall victim to this type of disgusting behaviour to know that we are on their side and will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice. That is why we will change the law and make it absolutely clear to those who act in this way that they could face prison.

The new law will cover the sharing of images both online and offline. It will mean that images posted to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be caught by the offence, as well as those that are shared via text message. Images shared via email, on a website or the distribution of physical copies will also be caught. Those convicted will face a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

The Ministry of Justice said the offence would cover photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way, or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public.

Victims and others will be able to report offences to the police to investigate.


12th October

 Update: Revising History...

Google reports on the scale of censorship under the right to be forgotten
Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Google logo One in 10 requests for web links to be censored from search results under European right to be forgotten laws have come from the UK, Google has said.

Google said it had removed 498,737 links from search results since May this year - including 63,616 pages following requests from the UK. It said 18,304 requests were made in the UK, the third highest in the EU.

According to a transparency report released on its website, Google removed 35% - or 18,459 - of censorship requests.

Google also provided examples of the sorts of requests it had received, along with the search engine's decision.


9th October

 Update: Every Country Rules the World...

French court demands that Google blocks searches world wide, not just on French Google
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in France...Web blocking in the name of child protection
palais de justice In one of the first rulings of its kind, a French court last month ordered Google to remove links to defamatory information from its search results globally .

Up to now, most rulings have limited themselves to the local top level domain -- such as However, the decision of the High Court in Paris was that this would be insufficient because even in France users can search using the domain.

If Google does not comply, it will face daily fines of 1,000 euros.


7th October

 Update: CPS to Avenge Revenge...

The Crown Prosecution Service explains that 'revenge porn' will be prosecuted under existing plentiful existing laws that target internet communications
Link Here  full story: Revenge porn in the UK...UK government considers legislation
Crown Prosecution Service The CPS has updated its legal guidance regarding the prosecution of communications sent via social media with a clear section that explains how current legislation can be used to prosecute offences involving the malicious use of intimate media, sometimes referred to as 'revenge pornography'.

This clarification does not signify a new approach but clearly sets out for prosecutors which laws can be used to bring these cases to court. In all cases the CPS will apply the most appropriate law which best addresses the alleged offending. It is a matter for Parliament to decide if further laws are needed or if changes need to be made to the current legislation. A spokesperson for the CPS said:

No one should have to suffer the hurt and humiliation of 'revenge pornography' -- a nasty and invasive crime that appears, anecdotally at least, to have increased as social media use has gone up.

The Crown Prosecution Service prosecutes these cases using a range of current laws, and we have now clarified our legal guidance to set out clearly how these cases should be brought to court.

Due to the very personal nature of 'revenge pornography' prosecutors are being asked specifically to consider the impact on the victims involved. The new guidance also makes clear that the context of each case needs to be considered alongside current guidelines to ensure that the most appropriate legislation is used when prosecuting. The public, and indeed those intent on attacking former partners in this way, can now see clearly that this is a crime that can and will be prosecuted."

Revenge pornography' is typically sexually explicit media that is publically shared online without the consent of the pictured individual and is usually uploaded by ex-partners.  The images are often accompanied by personal information including the pictured individual's full name, links to social media profiles and address, and are shared with the intent to cause distress or harm to the individual.

The guidance outlines:

  • The issue in cases of 'revenge pornography' will be whether the message or communication is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false, not whether the image itself is indecent or obscene.
  • Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 deals with the sending of electronic communications which are indecent, grossly offensive, threatening or false, provided there is an intention to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient.
  • Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 makes it an offence to send or cause to be sent through a 'public electronic communications network' a message that is 'grossly offensive' or of an 'indecent, obscene or menacing character'.
  • Where there is more than one incident, or the incident forms part of a course of conduct directed towards an individual, a charge of harassment should be considered.
  • Where the images may have been taken when the victim was under 18, prosecutors will consider offences under the Protection of Children Act 1978.
  • In the most serious cases, where intimate images are used to coerce victims into further sexual activity, other offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 will be considered.

In order to prosecute, all cases must meet the evidential stage in the Full Code Test of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, and be considered to be in the public interest.

These offences would not normally be brought under the Obscene Publications Act.

We have informed the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications of this change, following their interest in the subject earlier this year. The CPS legal guidance on the prosecution of cases involving communications sent via social media were drafted specifically due to the rapid expansion of social media and can be found on


6th October

 Update: Award Winner Revealed...

The Guardian wins Emmy award for informing people about mass state snooping
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
The Guardian The Guardian US has won an Emmy for its groundbreaking coverage of Edward Snowden's disclosures about mass surveillance by US intelligence agencies.

The Guardian's multimedia interactive feature NSA Decoded was announced as the winner in the new approaches: current news category at the news and documentary Emmy.

The comprehensive interactive walks the audience through the facts and implications of the NSA's mass surveillance program, revealed by the Guardian last year in coverage based on leaks by Snowden. The interactive includes interviews and discussions with key players including the journalist Glenn Greenwald, former NSA employees, senators and members of US congress.

The project was led by interactives editor and reporter Gabriel Dance, reporter Ewen MacAskill and producers Feilding Cage and Greg Chen.


5th October

  Will some body think of the children...

Government led UKCCIS discusses new ideas for internet censorship
Link Here
UKCCIS logo The UK Council for Child Internet Safety is a government led forum where it discusses internet censorship issues with industry and selected campaigners. It is not really limited to child safety issues.

The latest minutes reveal discussions about:

  • Revenge porn .

    Maria Miller for the government argued that the posting of sexual images of adults without their consent should be classified as a sexual offence. The law is currently opaque in this area and there is a need for guidance.
  • Net Neutrality .

    There were concerns that the push for net neutrality does not allow for interference in a free internet, for example by imposing mandatory website censorship for public wi-fi.
  • Religious Extremism .

    Immediately before the Executive Board, James Brokenshire met with the four ISPs to talk about the inclusion of extremist material in their family friendly filters.

    Filtering often doesn't reach content on social media platforms. The Home Office is in conversation with major social media companies about safe mode   have spoken to Google, Facebook etc.

  • Public Wi-Fi

    It is worth considering other areas of concern where public Wi-Fi has a role to play e.g. revenge porn and extremism. We should find out whether public Wi-Fi could filter further.


5th October

 Updated: Facebook's real names policy is problematic for free speech...

From trans people to activists, there are some good reasons for some Facebook users to use a pseudonym. And yet, Facebook is unrelenting
Link Here

Facebook again made headlines this month for its refusal to allow users to represent themselves with their chosen identities. A number of users of the site, mainly drag performers, reported that their accounts had been taken down in violation of the company's real names policy that requires individuals to use their legal name for personal accounts.

...Read the full article

Update: Facebook apologises to drag queens for deleting their accounts due to fake names'

3rd October 2014. See article from . Thanks to Nick

Facebook logo As per standard procedure at the Facebook censor's office, when enough negative publicity is created, the PR department springs into life. Facebook then makes profuse apologies, claims it was all some sort of ghastly mistake, then makes an exception to the rules for the publicised case, makes no real changes, and then carries on as normal in censoring all the vast majority of people who are not quite so adept at generating publicity.

In this case Facebook has now appealed for attempting to out drag queens, Mentioning two drag queens while clarifying their policy Facebook's Chris Cox said:

Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name. The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that's Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that's Lil Miss Hot Mess. Part of what's been so difficult about this conversation is that we support both of these individuals, and so many others affected by this, completely and utterly in how they use Facebook.

Facebook has said that a single user highlighted the accounts as possibly using fake names and the reports were lost in the several hundred thousand fake name reports they process a week.

Offsite Comment: Dear Facebook: Sorry is a Start. Now Let's See Solutions

5th October 2014. See  article from

Electronic Frontier Foundation When it comes to Facebook's real names policy, it's really clear---something needs to change. Over the last few weeks, we've joined dozens of advocates in saying so. And in a meeting with LGBTQ and digital rights advocates, Facebook agreed. Of course, admitting there's a problem is always the first step towards a solution. But what's not clear is what that solution will be.

EFF continues to believe that the best solution is simply to get rid of the real names policy entirely. But barring that, Facebook needs to find a solution that takes into account the myriad groups of people affected by Facebook's faulty policy, from undocumented immigrants, to activists in oppressive regimes, to survivors of domestic violence.

...Read the full article


3rd October

 Update: The Worst of the Worst...

Selecting the most repressive neighbours to provide the model for internet censorship in Laos
Link Here
laos internet cafe Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong has signed a new decree imposing stricter Internet control in the country. Signed last September 16, 2014, the new regulation promotes responsible and constructive use of the Internet among Lao netizens.

A few months ago, Lao officials announced that they were studying the experience of other Southeast Asian nations as a guide in drafting an Internet law which they plan to implement this year. They chose the restrictive cyber laws of Myanmar and Vietnam as models in formulating the framework of Laos' Internet law. Laos officials also reportedly looked at the approach used by China in regulating the Web.

As expected, the result is a law that claims to support the growth of the Internet but actually contains numerous contradictory provisions that undermine free speech and other citizen rights.

Provisions that recognize the privacy rights of Internet users, the protection of intellectual property, and prohibitions on pornography may be less controversial for Laotians. But the law also prohibits sharing photos that contradict Lao traditions and culture. The question is this, who will decide whether an obscene image insults Laotian heritage?

The same decree also identified several so-called cybercrimes whose definitions are unclear and very broad. They include:

  • Disseminating false information against the Lao People's Revolutionary Party;
  • Circulating information that encourages citizens to be involved in terrorism, murder, and social disorder;
  • Supporting online campaigns that seek to divide solidarity among ethnic groups and between countries;
  • Spreading information that distorts truth or tarnishes the dignity and rights of individuals, sectors, institutions and organizations;
  • Sharing of comments whose contents are in line with the abovementioned prohibitions.

Internet service providers are ordered not to provide service to individuals, legal entities or organizations whose movement seeks to undermine the Party and government policies.

Based on these guidelines, it seems that legitimate criticism of government programs and policies can be interpreted as a criminal act if it creates division, confusion, or disorder among the public. It is easy to see how authorities could use the law to prosecute journalists, activists, and other critics of the government.

The law also prohibits the creation of anonymous or pseudonymous accounts online, purportedly in an effort to ease the efforts of authorities in regulating the Internet. This is a big blow to citizens who seek to expose wrongdoings in the government through the Internet.

The government believes that this kind of Internet regulation is necessary to prevent abuse and misuse of the Internet as a space for communication and connection. While acknowledging the positive contributions of the Internet to the local economy, Lao officials also warned that it can be used to cause panic in society. They cited the spread of inaccurate information about the Lao Airlines crash and a recently online rumor of human organ trafficking in Attapeu province. In both cases, the Laos government was forced to make official statements to clarify the wrong information.

Despite these excesses, however, the Laos government previously vowed not to block the Internet, believing that it is essential to the modernization and industrialization of the country. But the new Internet law will undermine the commitment of Laos officials to keep the Internet open and free. It will discourage netizens from maximizing online spaces to engage public officials and challenge public policies.

The law could also impede the growth of the IT sector. In 2011 there were only 60,000 Facebook users in Laos. Today, more than half a million Lao citizens use the popular social networking site. According to news reports, there are now five telecommunications companies, seven Internet service providers and about 900 computer shops in the country. At this time, what Laos needs is a law that will boost this industry and not something that will unfairly penalize critics, activists, and even ordinary Internet users.

It is unfortunate that Laos has aligned itself with its neighbors in the region that are implementing repressive Internet laws to stifle dissent, intimidate the opposition, and even punish critical citizens. Laos should strive to distinguish itself in the region by adopting a human rights-based framework in regulating the Internet.


2nd October

 Update: Trade Barrier...

Chinese internet censorship may be blocking dissent but it also blocking business opportunities too
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Great Firewall of China China's government has tightened its control over the Internet so much recently that businesses, researchers and ordinary people are finding it hard to complete basic and innocuous tasks, like placing ads on websites, sharing documents and reading technical documents. It seems the government of President Xi Jinping is so determined to crack down on dissent that it is even willing to stifle commerce and scientific research.

The country has imposed burdensome controls on the Internet in recent months by blocking online libraries, text messaging applications and cloud computing services, including those provided by American companies like Google. For example, the government has made it very hard to use web services that were previously available, like Google Drive, which many businesses use to share documents among employees. And virtual private networks that allow employees to log on to their corporate servers remotely have also come under attack.

The tougher line will certainly make it harder for foreign companies to do business in China -- one American executive told The Times the new controls were a frustrating and annoying drain on productivity.

Most Chinese people and businesses, however, cannot easily get around these controls. They will have a harder time getting access to information stored on foreign computer servers or communicating with people outside China.


1st October

 Update: New schemes start todayish...

Voluntary BBFC ratings for UK based music videos on YouTube
Link Here  full story: BBFC Online Music Censors...Scheme for UK music publishers to get BBFC rating for videos
robin thicke blurred lines video This Friday a pilot scheme to add age ratings to online music videos starts but don't expect to see any huge 12s, 15s or 18s on videos just yet. All parties involved say people watching the videos won't see any changes until the end of the year.

YouTube says it is committed but technical change may take time and Vevo has agreed to trial the scheme.

Three of the biggest labels in the UK - Sony, Universal, and Warner Brothers - have all also agreed to take part. But it will only apply to artists signed to UK labels.

The BBFC will be awarding the age ratings.

Mercury-nominated singer FKA Twigs commented:

I think that the answer to protecting younger viewers is not to ban things, it's to show an alternative.

I guess with my videos we're talking directly about sexuality and there's nothing wrong with that.

Why shouldn't younger people learn and explore about what sexuality is as an adult? Why shouldn't they do that?

We're not living in Victorian Britain, do we want to be repressed? Do we want to have these kids doing weird things behind closed doors or should this be a country that is leading by example in explaining to people?


1st October

  Enemies of the People...

Tim Berners-Lee notes: 'Suddenly the power to abuse the open internet has become so tempting both for government and big companies'
Link Here

tim berners-lee Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist who invented the web 25 years ago, called on Saturday for a bill of rights that would guarantee the independence of the internet and ensure users' privacy. He said at the Web We Want festival on the future of the internet:

If a company can control your access to the internet, if they can control which websites they go to, then they have tremendous control over your life.

If a government can block you going to, for example, the opposition's political pages, then they can give you a blinkered view of reality to keep themselves in power.

Suddenly the power to abuse the open internet has become so tempting both for government and big companies.

He called for an internet version of the Magna Carta, the 13th century English charter credited with guaranteeing basic rights and freedoms:

There have been lots of times that it has been abused, so now the Magna Carta is about saying...I want a web where I'm not spied on, where there's no censorship.


30th September

 Update: Religious ASBOs...

Theresa May responds to China's call to censor religious extremism on the internet
Link Here  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim
China flag China called on Saturday for a worldwide crackdown on the use of the Internet by religious extremists and terrorists to stamp out their ability to communicate their ideas and raise funds.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks during the annual gathering of the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly in New York. he said:

As new developments emerge in the global fight against terrorism, the international community should take new measures to address them.

In particular, it should focus on combating religious extremism and cyber terrorism, resolutely eliminate the roots and block channels of spreading terrorism and extremism.

UK Government arms Theresa May responded on Tuesday for the British government.

She announced policies for new Extremist Disruption Orders. Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives. They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to the functioning of democracy , under the new Extremist Disruption Orders.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will lay out plans to allow judges to ban people from broadcasting or protesting in certain places, as well as associating with specific people.

The Home Secretary will also introduce banning orders for extremist groups, which would make it a criminal offence to be a member of or raise funds for a group that spreads or promotes hatred. The maximum sentence could be up to 10 years in prison.


30th September

 Update: Defacement...

Russia moves forward a deadline for social media internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russian Duma logo Russia's State Duma (parliament) has approved a bill to accelerate a new set of Internet restrictions that will provide for the banning of such web services as Facebook, and Amazon.

A law requiring all online companies to store users' personal data on Russian territory was passed last July and was set to enter into effect in September 2016, but then awmakers submitted a bill to move the deadline forward by more than a year. The bill to set the deadline to Jan. 1, 2015, has now passed the crucial second reading.

Lobbying group the Information & Computer Technologies Industry Association said in an open letter on Monday that the rule would cripple Russia's IT industry. Russia simply lacks the technical facilities to host databases with users' personal data, and setting up the infrastructure within the remaining three months is impossible, the letter said. , The group said on its website:

Most companies will be forced to put their operations on hold, inflicting untold damage on the Russian economy

But their appeal failed to sway lawmakers, who fast-tracked the bill --- a procedure that, most political pundits say, implies endorsement from the Kremlin.


29th September

  Hiding a tear for lost democracy...

China attempts to censor news of protests from Hong Kong ofver being denied democratic elections
Link Here
hong kong protest video China started blocking the popular photo-sharing app Instagram on Sunday, as part of its efforts to censor any mention of the use of tear gas on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Instagram had until then remained one of the few U.S. social networking apps still accessible in china known for its extreme censorship of political topics.

Presumably the block on Instagram is an attempt to stop photos of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests from spreading into mainland China. On Sunday, police in Hong Kong used tear gas to disperse large protesting crowds, with video and photos of the clashes immediately going online.

Hong Kong protests against a mainland attempt to deny democracy in Hong Kong have been widely blocked in Chinese local media and internet too.


25th September

  An Expensive Watch...

Open Rights Group is monitoring legal case calling for ISPs to block websites on grounds of trade mark infringement
Link Here
Old Bailey For the first time ISPs are being asked to block websites on the basis of alleged trade mark (rather than copyright) infringement. Whilst ORG takes no view on the merits of the trade mark claims in the current case, we believe the outcome of this case will have implications for future trade mark blocking applications, which could potentially threaten the legitimate interests of third parties.

Legal Director, Elizabeth Knight said:

As the court is being asked to extend the circumstances in which blocking orders are granted, it's vital that the wider public interest is taken into account. We hope that our intervention will help ensure that future claimants cannot use blocking orders to restrict legitimate activity or free speech.

David Allen Green, lawyer at Preiskel & Co LLP, is acting for ORG pro bono. He said:

In our adversarial system it is hard for the voices of third parties to be heard by a judge, even when the court will be developing remedies which can affect the legitimate rights of people who are not parties to a particular case. In this case the High Court has kindly permitted the ORG to intervene so as to make detailed submissions on how this novel jurisdiction should not be abused.

The case has been brought by luxury brands Cartier International and related companies. They are calling for BSkyB, BT, EE, TalkTalk and VirginMedia to block a number of websites that they claim have been using the brands' trade marks for counterfeiting activity.

In its submission to the Court, ORG stresses that it is neutral about the details over this particular case. The organisation's concerns are that if the claimants are successful, the ruling could be used as a basis for applications for blocking orders that are contrary to the public interest - for example, if the judgment was used to try and block websites that use trademarks to legitimately criticise or parody well known brands. Court blocking orders may also affect commercial third parties who have no involvement in any alleged infringement - for example law abiding businesses whose products appear on websites alongside those of companies involved in infringing activity. ORG is not opposing the current application, but has submitted to the court a test that should be adopted so that blocking orders are only granted in circumstances where they are proportionate, effective and contain safeguards against abuse.

ORG is campaigning for more transparency around websites blocked for legal reasons through its Error 451 project . ORG is calling for ISPs to show an error 451 message when material has been blocked by a court order and to provide more information to the public.


25th September

  Dragging their Heels...

Facebook get heavy about users who would prefer not to use their real names
Link Here
Facebook logo Facebook has decided to move forward with deleting all profiles who do not change their personal profile names to their legal names during a two week grace period.

The decision comes after Facebook agreed to meet with a group of drag queen activists on Wednesday to discuss Facebook's recent campaign to delete hundreds of drag queen profiles who are using their stage names or chosen names on their Facebook accounts.

Facebook's policy stipulates that a name displayed on a personal account must be your real name as it would be listed on your credit card, driver's license or student ID. Facebook spokesperson Andrew Souvall in a statement:

We had a good discussion with the group about their perspectives on our real name standard, and we stressed how the standard helps prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable environment.

We've decided to temporarily reactivate the profiles of several hundred members of the LGBT community whose profiles were recently deactivated. This will give them a chance to decide how they'd like to represent themselves on Facebook. Over the next two weeks, we hope that they will decide to confirm their real name, change their name to their real name, or convert their profile to a Page.

Buzzfeed notes:

Activists have raised s imilar concerns for transgender users who could be at risk if they no longer identify with the names they were given at birth and use chosen names on their Facebook profiles. Many transgender people, especially transgender youth, may not be able to legally change their names and provide proof of the name they identity with if asked by Facebook. And for some transgender users, being outed by having to use their legal names could be dangerous, the activists said.

A petition reads:

This issue is discriminatory against transgender and other nonconforming individuals who have often escaped a painful past. They've reinvented themselves or been born again and made whole, adopting names and identities that do not necessarily match that on their driver's license.

One has also to wonder if the requirement for real names is being pushed by the authorities. It must make their life very easy for snopping especially as people post such intimate details about their life.


24th September

 Offsite Article: New Australian E-Safety Commissioner could be censorship czar...

Link Here
australian government logo The Australian government is preparing to legislate wide-ranging internet censorship, and hoping that sentence won't scare the hell out of you if they shout children! By Luke McKinney

See article from


22nd September

 Offsite Article: Australia's 'counter-terror' laws will restrict free speech and the free press...

Link Here
australian government logo Sweeping laws to gag publication of sensitive materials are dangerous for democracy. Abbott should not let hysteria over terrorism be used to thwart the freedom agenda. By Elaine Pearson

See article from


21st September

  Rejecting calls for 10 year prison sentences for online copyright breaches...

Open Rights Group has responded to a consultation into changes to the law that could lead to people found guilty of online copyright infringement facing up to ten years in prison.
Link Here

Open Rights Group logo The consultation, carried out on behalf of the IPO by Inngot is based around the following question:

Today, there is a significant difference between the penalties for offline and online copyright infringement. If convicted, criminals can serve up to ten years for the first -- but only a maximum of two years for the second. Do you think the law should be changed?

In our response , we have outlined why we believe that it is is misleading to suggest that online and physical copyright infringement are comparable offences and should therefore carry the same penalties. It is relatively easy to distribute large numbers of digital copies of a work online, while doing the same in the physical world would involve infrastructure clearly beyond the reach of ordinary citizens. We believe that there is a risk that members of the public could be unwittingly in criminal online infringement -- even if they are not making any money.

Changing the law could even lead to harsher sentencing for online infringement than for offline infringement. The difficulty in making evidence based assessments of the actual values involved in online infringement tends to generate estimates of very high economic harms, easily in the millions. This could make non commercial online infringers end up with much higher sentences than hardened criminals dealing with physical goods.

ORG also believes the consultation is flawed because it doesn't seek the opinions of ordinary internet users but assumes that respondents, generate income from the copyright of their works. We do not believe this policy should be considered but if it is, we will mobilise our supporters and the rest of civil society to oppose it.


20th September

  Searching for the good stuff...

Boodigo is a new search engine targeted at porn
Link Here
boodigo logo Boodigo bills itself as an adult-oriented search engine. On the surface, it looks like a regular search engine, aside from the pop-up message that warns you must be at least 18 years old to access it.

Boodigo lets you do a regular web search or target it exclusively to Tumblr sites -- as that photo blog platform is often used for pornographic content. All the results from any search should be links to porn. And these searches won't be cached in the history or tracked so you can be more discrete about your fetishes. Boodigo explains:

Boodigo is designed to return accurate adult entertainment search results for our customers in a secure, private and anonymous environment. Boodigo does not use cookies or other user-tracking technologies to gather information about our users. We aren't interested in building a 'profile' on our users; our core mission is simply to help you find what you're looking for in a way that's as efficient, effective and enjoyable as possible. In other words, using Boodigo means finding what you're looking for without having to worry about what someone else might be finding out about you.

But, at least so far, Boodigo doesn't even really seem to measure up to Google. Daily Dot gives some comparisons in its article gave examples of searches in both Google and Boodigo and the results were mixed.  Boodigo provides links to individual performer websites and pay porn sites and so touts itself as being more ethical than porn search engines, such as and PornMD, which provides links to pirated content.


20th September

 Offsite Article: War on Citizens...

Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
NSA logo Tor, proxy and VPN users will soon be liable to having their devices taken over by US state snoops

See article from