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Melon Farmers

18th October

 Update: Internet watershed...

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China proposes curfew law to block children from playing online games into the night
Link Here
curfew China has proposed new restrictions for online gaming companies to implement. Major tech companies with significant presence in the region could have to undergo substantial operational changes, reports Dow Jones Business News.

The draft rules posted online by the Chinese government on Sept. 30, would require online-game operators to lock out users under the age of 18 between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m. The rules will apply to all smart devices.

The regulation is vague as to whether companies would have to use Beijing-approved software. The country says it will support the development of web-filtering software to keep children safe online and will determine whether preexisting products comply with the new requirements.

Along with the internet curfew would be a requirement for a number of websites to post warnings for content unsuitable for minors.


17th October

 Offsite Article: Internet censorship: making the hidden visible...

Link Here
cambridge university logo Censorship on the internet is rampant with 60+ countries engaging in state censorship. A Cambridge University research project is aiming to uncover the scale of this censorship, and how it affects users and publishers of information

See article from


15th October

 Extract: Ever more extreme censorship demands...

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Germany is getting worked up that it cannot get Facebook to adequately censor negative comments about refugees
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
Facebook logo Germanpulse has published an interesting piece about German politicians expecting social media websites to pre-censors posts that the government doesn't like:

We have reported on the German government's war against social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google many times over the last year as the country tries to rid the popular sites of any signs of hate speech. While the companies have made attempts to appease government officials with stricter enforcement, each move is said to still not be enough. The question is: is Germany taking the fight too far?

Volker Kauder, a member of the CDU, spoke with Der Spiegel this week to say the time for roundtables is over. I've run out of patience, and argues that Facebook, Twitter and Google have failed and should pay 50,000 euro ($54,865) fines for not providing a strict level of censorship.

All major social media sites do provide tools to report hate speech offenders, but Kauder isn't the only one to argue that the tool is ineffective.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas made a statement that only 46 percent of the comments were erased by Facebook, while a mere one percent were taken care of by Twitter.

Maas' solution is not much different from Kauder's, as he told Handelsblatt that the companies should face legal consequences.

...Read the full article from

Der Spiegel has also published an opinion piece showing a little exasperation with trying to get comments censored by Facebook.

In June, the national body made up of justice ministers from the 16 federal states in Germany launched a legislative initiative to introduce a law which, if passed, would require operators of Internet platforms to immediately disclose the identity of users whose online actions are the subject of criminal proceedings. The law explicitly covers companies that are not based in Germany, but in fact do business here.

Justice Minister Maas must now introduce the draft law to Chancellor Merkel's cabinet, but he's hesitant out of fear of a backlash among a net community that still views Facebook as a symbol of Internet freedom. So far, he has done little that goes beyond appeals. If he wanted too, however, Maas could push for a further tightening of the country's telecommunications law. All that would be needed is a clause stipulating that every Internet company that does business in Germany would be required to name one person within the firm who is a resident in the country who could be held liable under German law.

...Read the full article from


11th October

 Update: Jailing everybody...

The Crown Persecution Service outlines changes to widen the scope of prosecutions for insults on the internet
Link Here  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Crown Prosecution Service Social media users who encourage flame wars or retweet the doxing (revealing identifying information with malicious intent) of others are set to be punished more severely by British prosecutors.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)'s latest Guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media target doxing, online mobs, fake social media profiles and other social media misbehaviour.

Also included in the latest version of the guidance is a specific encouragement to prosecutors to charge those who egg on others to break social media speech laws. Those who encourage others to commit a communications offence may be charged with encouraging an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007, warns the guidance.

In a Kafka-esque twist, the guidance also includes this chilling line, discussing how prosecutors can prove the criminal offence of sending a grossly offensive message, under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003:

The offence is committed by sending the message. There is no requirement that any person sees the message or be offended by it.

Another nasty touch is that the CPS will allow victims to decide whether crimes are deemed to be 'hate crimes' and therefore attract more severe penalties. The CPS policy consultation defines race/religion hate crimes as follows:

Crimes involving hostility on the basis of race or religion

The reporting and prosecution of hate crime are shaped by two definitions; one is subjective and is based on the perception of the victim and the other is objective and relies on supporting evidence.

Both the subjective and objective definitions refer to hostility, not hatred. There is no statutory definition of hostility and the everyday or dictionary definition is applied, encompassing a broad spectrum of behaviour.

We have an agreed definition with the police for identifying and flagging cases involving hostility on the basis of race or religion. The joint definition is:

Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or religion or perceived race or religion.

The equivalent paragraph an disability hate crime adds explaining how the CPS has waved its hands and extended the scope:

This definition is wider than the statutory definition, to ensure we capture all relevant cases:

The guidance also encourages prosecutors to treat social media crimes committed against persons serving the public more seriously than nasty words directed against their fellow members of the public. Similarly, coordinated attacks by different people should also attract greater prosecutorial attention.

Prosecution in all cases is said to be less likely if swift and effective action has been taken by the suspect and/or others, for example service providers, to remove the communication .


10th October

  No fucking way!...

Australian advert censors ban online trailer for Sausage Party
Link Here
banned sausage party advert video Australia's advert censor has upheld a complaint against Sony Pictures Australia over online advertising for animated comedy movie Sausage Party that a couple of viewers found 'offensive'.

The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) released the case reports of two separate complaints about the advertising, one appearing on Facebook and the other appearing on

The advertisement shows characters from the movie with dialogue including fuck you up, move your fucking ass, and shit . The dialogue is not only spoken, but the words appear written on the screen in large letters.

The complainants told the ASB the advertisement was a pop-up, which they did not choose to open, and involved no warning of inappropriate language.

In a response to the complainants and the ASB, Sony claimed the advertisement was purchased programmatically and was not intended for viewing by people under the age of 15. In response to the complainant who saw the video on Facebook, Sony said, Facebook requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account . Sony claimed that due to the programmatic purchasing of the online advertisement, which is intended to limit the age groups that can view the ad, the content did not breach the code.

However the ASB disagreed, believing the advertisement's use of the word fuck infringed on the code of ethics, and upheld the complaints. The ASB also determined the ad's placement on Facebook would include people under the age of 15, as website allows users to register once they turn 13.


10th October

  Calling on Facebook to pre-censor all posts...

A revenge porn victim is arguing n court that because Facebook has the technology to prevent the uploading of child porn pics, then this can be used to prevent the reposting of revenge porn pics
Link Here
Old Bailey A legal case against Facebook, which will involve a 14-year-old taking the company to court over naked images published on the social network, could open the floodgates for other civil claims, according to lawyers who work with victims of revenge pornography.

Facebook's forthcoming trial, which centres on the claim that it is liable for the publication of a naked picture of the girl posted repeatedly on a shame page as an act of revenge.

The girl's lawyers say the photograph, which the girl's parents say was extracted from her through blackmail, was removed by Facebook several times after being reported, but it had not been permanently blocked.

A lawyer for Facebook argued the claim for damages should be dismissed, saying the company always took down the picture when it was notified. They pointed to a European directive that they claimed provided protection from having to monitor a vast amount of online material.

Facebook currently actively scans every image uploaded on to the site, and uses PhotoDNA to block known child abuse images. Other potentially problematic images, such as those in revenge pornography cases, have to be reported and reviewed before they are taken down. But critics argue that if it has the technology to catch other photographs that cause distress, it should do more to protect users from repeated harassment.

But there may be another reason Facebook is not removing images before they are reported. Under current EU law social media sites are immune from liability for content as long as they react quickly to complaints, under a notice and takedown mechanism.

One reason they could be reluctant to proactively search for all potentially abusive images is that, ironically, by assuming some level of editorial responsibility, in theory they could be held liable for the abuse they miss. Censorship campaigner John Carr noted:

It's all a mess which is why we need a specific law saying that if companies try and prevent bad content, they won't lose their immunity if they don't always get it right.


6th October

 Offsite Article: Shadow Regulation: the Back-Room Threat to Digital Rights...

Link Here
shadow regulation Companies get together to impose their owns rules in areas that should be regulated by democratically elected governments

See article from


4th October

  Same Same Tianamon Square...

Google implements Chinese censorship techniques to misdirect searches for information about Islamic State
Link Here  full story: Google Censorship...Google censors adult material froms its websites

Google logo Google is now reported to be blocking the searches of would-be ISIS recruits and sending them to anti-ISIS websites.

That means that if you search for keywords like the Isis slogan baqiya wa tatamaddad (remaining and expanding), the deferential term al dawla al islamiya (supporters of Islamic State), or ISIS media sources like Al-Furqan and Al-I'tisam, you'll end up seeing videos on why ISIS is bad.

All very commendable but now doubt the censorship capability will be eyed by not such shining causes. How long before searches for your local chippie get redirected to government dietary websites, or how long before searches for escorts get redirected to vintage car auctions.


2nd October

 Update: Trouble in store...

Windows Store begins taking down apps that haven't complied with mandatory age ratings
Link Here
windows store logo Microsoft is now removing apps because they don't fall under the new International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) rating system.

Microsoft informed developers months ago that their public and private apps needed to be updated to meet the new age rating. Those that didn't comply would face having their apps kicked off the Windows Store on September 30.

The IARC provides a global, unified platform for games and apps so that customers from around the world know the age requirements for the software. The IARC was established in 2013, and makes it easy for developers to obtain age ratings from different regions. All developers need to do is answer a five-minute questionnaire about the app's content and interactive elements.

Previously, Microsoft's Windows Store provided five ratings for apps and games: 3+ (suitable for young children), 7+ (suitable for ages 7 and older), 12+ (suitable for ages 12 and older), 16+ (suitable for ages 16 and older), and 18+ (suitable for adults).


29th September

 Offsite Article: UnEuropean censorship...

Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
twitter 2015 logo Turkey's bid to make Twitter block reporter is part of a growing digital censorship trend

See article from


28th September

 Offsite Article: U-tube censors...

Link Here
federal elections commission logo US election censors consider banning social media as it is supposedly a form of communication that targets non ethnic voters

See article from


28th September

  Will Facebook buy it?...

Nude Portraits Without Nipples Challenge Censorship Policies
Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
nippleless psoes


23rd September

  Recruiting censors on the cheap...

YouTube to create an army of Stasi snitches and whingers, rewarding them for flagging videos as inappropriate
Link Here
tubeheroes YouTube is looking for what if calls, heroes to snitch on videos and inappropriate comments, but early feedback has been overwhelmingly negative with users describing it as crowdsourced censorship.

Users who join the Heroes program will earn points for adding captions and subtitles to videos, flagging inappropriate videos and answering questions on the site's Help forum.

Accruing points will earn them with rather underwhelming and cheapo 'privileges' like joining video chats with others in the Heroes program, exclusive previews of upcoming product launches and the ability to flag abusive videos en masse instead of one at a time.

However, YouTube employees ultimately make the final decision on what to do with content marked as inappropriate.

Users on YouTube made their voices heard almost immediately, with an overwhelming number of Dislikes on the announcement video. It currently has over 200,000 Dislikes compared to 3,000 Likes, after nearly 600,000 views.


22nd September

 Update: Porn register...

South Africa works on an internet censorship bill that requires adult video websites to log the names and addresses of all viewers in a register available for government perusal
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in South Africa...Proppsal to block all porn from South Africans
South Africa flag If the Films and Publications Amendment Bill is passed in its current form, South Africans may no longer upload videos to online channels, such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram -- unless they register as a distributor and pay a censorship registration fee.

A spokesperson from the Democratic Alliance party, Phumzile van Damme, said that government is increasingly overplaying its hand with regard to freedom of speech:

There seems to be a firm hand in a broader project of censorship that is very worrying.The 'Internet Censorship Bill' in its current form gives government wide-sweeping powers to censor content on the internet.

The bill seeks to restrict the distribution of digital films in that such content needs to be pre-classified by the Films and Publications Board. The terminology used in this provision is broad enough to include all digital videos and films, also user-generated video materia uploaded to social media platforms.

A section in the bill states that any person who distributes a film or game classified as X18 must keep a register when access to the content is granted to a user. The user's name, address and age will be captured in the register and the CEO of the Films and Publications Board will have access to this register.

Van Damme commented:

This is an unjustifiable breach of the right to privacy, which includes the right to not have your private communications infringed.

south africa film censor logo Meanwhile as the bill is being discussed in parliament, South Africa's film censors have demand that Google censor seraches for adult material.

The Film and Publication Board has stated it is unacceptable for people to be able to access pornography with a Google search. The FPB made the statement during a parliamentary hearing into submissions on what has been called its Internet censorship bill. Lawyer Nicholas Hall quoted the FPB during the IESA's submissions on the FPB Amendment Bill.

FPB: It is unacceptable that you can type in Pornography and get access to porn, Google needs to take steps to address this


20th September

 Offsite Article: If You Build A Censorship Machine, They Will Come...

Link Here
MPAA logo EFF notes that MPAA are fighting censorship of smoking on film whilst seeking censorship for uses of film that they do not approve

See article from