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21st July

  French Justice Earns Bad Review...

Restaurant reviewer ordered to pay damages for bad review that was highly ranked in Google
Link Here
France flag A French judge has ludicrously ruled against a blogger because her scathing restaurant review was too prominent in Google search results. The judge ordered that the post's title be amended and told the blogger Caroline Doudet to pay damages.

The restaurant owners claimed the article's prominence was unfairly hurting their business. Doudet was sued by the owner of Il Giardino restaurant in the Aquitaine region of southwestern France after she wrote a blogpost entitled the place to avoid in Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino .

In her article, which has now been deleted, she complained of poor service and what she said was a poor attitude on the part of the owner during a visit in August 2013. According to court documents, the review appeared fourth in the results of a Google search for the restaurant. The judge decided that the blog's title should be changed, so that the phrase: the place to avoid was less prominent in the results.

Doudet said the decision made it a crime to be highly ranked on search engines:

This decision creates a new crime of 'being too highly ranked [on a search engine]', or of having too great an influence'.

What is perverse, is that we look for bloggers who are influential, but only if they are nice about people.

The judge ordered Doudet to amend the title of the blog and to pay 1,500 to the restaurant.

 

21st July

  Encore...

Georgia Tech researchers develop tool to automate the monitoring of website blocking
Link Here
encore georgia tech logo Georgia Tech researchers have created a tool to monitor the accessibility of Web pages around the world that can be installed by adding a single line of code to a web page. The tool, Encore, runs when a user visits a website where the code is installed and then discreetly collects data from potentially censored sites.

The researchers hope the data they collect will allow them to determine the wheres, whens and hows of what's blocked, as well as identify ways to get around restricted access. Sam Burnett, the Georgia Tech Ph.D. candidate who leads the project said:

Web censorship is a growing problem affecting users in an increasing number of countries. Collecting accurate data about what sites and services are censored will help educate users about its effects and shape future Internet policy discussions surrounding Internet regulation and control.

The measurement tool that Burnett and his adviser Nick Feamster, professor at the Georgia Tech School of Computer Science, developed -- known as Encore -- works by collecting information about a users' Web access and censorship of various sites across other countries.

These measurements happen automatically in the background after a page has loaded and do not affect a site's performance or a user's experience. Most users won't ever notice them or realize they are helping to measure Web accessibility, although the tool provides ways to inform users that their browsers are conducting the measurements. Burnett said:

Encore doesn't track users' browsing behaviors or the content they visit, only whether or not a potentially censored website is reachable from where they are

Feamster said:

People who work on Internet freedom --- ranging from policymakers to the developers of tools for improving access to information --- need accurate information about what information is inaccessible and when it becomes blocked. Encore is the first tool that makes it possible to provide this kind of information continuously, on a global scale.

 

19th July

  Courtesy of the RDI and BBFC...

More details on the level of website blocking to implemented for public WiFi
Link Here
rdi logo The Registered Digital Institute is a trade group which promotes digital installation and digital service providers directly to the consumer. The institutes explains its role in setting up a standard for internet website blocking for public WiFi:

During his 2013 NSPCC speech on online safety, David Cameron announced that an agreement was in place with the UK's main Wi-Fi providers to commit to applying a level of filtering across all of their standard public Wi-Fi services, which are easily accessed by children and young people. Mr Cameron also highlighted the need to develop an industry-recognised and trusted symbol, which businesses could display to show customers that their public Wi-Fi is properly filtered. Discussions around the development of such a scheme and symbol began 12 months ago, when the RDI were asked to work in collaboration with The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), the Government and the UK's main Wi-Fi Providers, to design, develop and launch the UK-wide Friendly WiFi scheme that we see today.

RDI have also outlined the level of blocking that has been implemented and how the BBFC have been involved in the censorship process:

BBFC logo During meetings with DCMS and the UK's main Wi-Fi providers who we worked collaboratively with to design the online safety initiative, it was suggested that we contact the BBFC. We were introduced to the BBFC's Assistant Director, David Austin who kindly offered to assist us in the build of our specification for online content filtering. David hosted an initial meeting at the BBFC's London offices and provided what can only be described as an eye-opening view of how the BBFC operates and independently scrutinises films and video to ensure the highest possible level of protection and empowerment.

We learned how the BBFC had been appointed by the Mobile Broadband Group to provide an independent framework to underpin the Mobile Operators' code of practice that was set up in 2004 for the self-regulation of content on mobiles. The Classification Framework defines content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18 and is based on the BBFC's Classification Guidelines for film and video. The Classification Framework is also used to calibrate the filters used by the Operators to restrict access to internet content via mobile networks by those under 18. This was a major step forward to restrict content accessed via mobile networks and protect children from viewing inappropriate material whilst operating their mobile devices.

Although the specified level of content filtering within the Friendly WiFi scheme is below that which underpins the Mobile Operators code of practice, it is important that we were guided by the same technical expertise of the BBFC to support our development and advise us on future updates. The BBFC has contributed specific definitions and guided us in the use of correct and appropriate terms relating to the filtering of pornography. This is to make sure we are able to communicate the terms correctly and have the confidence that our specification is in line with what our Customers, Industry and Public expects.

The level of content filtering agreed by the main WiFi providers for their standard public WiFi offerings is the same level which has been included within the Friendly WiFi scheme. The level of filtering as follows:

  1. The standard public Wi-Fi offering will automatically filter the IWF list and participate in the IWF Self Certification process.

  2. The standard public Wi-Fi offering will also include filters to block pornography and will use generally recognised list providers to filter pornography.

No doubt the use of 'generally recognised list providers' means that the block on actual pornography will include a block on news and information websites that happen to include a few porny words in their text.

Any UK business wishing to join the Friendly WiFi scheme must meet the level of filtering standards described above. Once approved they will be authorised to display the scheme Friendly WiFi logo at their venues. At RDI, we will be working on a number of initiatives to support our Friendly WiFi customers and the Industry. As part of our service to Licensees of our scheme, we will manage consumer enquiries and deal with issues in relation to content viewed over public WiFi services. These may include reports of over blocking and under blocking. We are delighted that the BBFC have agreed to work with us by offering their support to handle enquiries of this nature. Their independent and technical expertise is essential and we look forward to a strong relationship and us working together to evolve the scheme.

 

19th July

 Update: Details shared of the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme...

Official announcement of scheme to write informational letters to ISP subscribers spotted sharing pirated material
Link Here  full story: Digital Economy Act...Clause 11 grants government control of the internet

bittorrent logo Earlier this year news broke that UK ISPs are set to team up with copyright holders to notify subscribers found sharing pirated material. Today the initiative has been announced officially, receiving praise from all parties involved.

Despite the optimism it may take well over a year before the first warnings are sent out.

As we previously revealed, the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP) will only apply to P2P file-sharing and will mainly focus on repeat infringers. The monitoring will be carried out by a third-party company and unlike other warning systems there won't be any punishments. The main purpose of the warnings is to alert and educate copyright infringers, in the hope they will move over to legal alternatives.

Thus far BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have agreed to send warnings to customers whose connections are being used for unauthorized file-sharing. Commenting on the collaboration, all four ISPs praised the educational nature of the VCAP program.

However the Prime Minister's IP advisor Mike Weatherly has already said that it's already time to think about VCAP's potential failure. He suggested that the program needs to be followed by something more enforceable, including disconnections, fines and jail sentences.

 

19th July

 Extracts: Intelligence services creating vast databases of intercepted emails...

Government told internet surveillance tribunal that gathering material may be permissible, say human rights groups
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

gchq logo The intelligence services are constructing vast databases out of accumulated interceptions of emails, a tribunal investigating mass surveillance of the internet has been told.

The claim emerged during a ground-breaking case against the monitoring agency GCHQ, MI5, MI6 and the government at the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT).

Matthew Ryder QC, for Liberty and other human rights groups, told a hearing the government had not disputed that databases gathering material that may be useful for the future is something that may be permissible under Ripa [the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000] .

If they are deemed under the legislation to be necessary , he said, that may mean their use can stretch far into the future .

Ryder added: The government is now conceding it can gather such databases.

Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet

21st July 2014. See article from firstlook.org by Glenn Greenwald

The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, amplif[y] sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be extremist. The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call.

The tools were created by GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG's use of fake victim blog posts, false flag operations, honey traps and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.

Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

21st July 2014. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Intelligence agency GCHQ is able to spy on Facebook and Youtube users and can manipulate online polls, according to the latest documents allegedly leaked by fugitive CIA worker Edward Snowden.

Documents thought to have been provided by the whistleblower allegedly show that the Cheltenham-based agency has developed a set of software programmes designed to breach users' computers and manipulate the internet.

Among the listed tools are ones capable of searching for private Facebook photographs, sending fake text messages, changing the outcome of online polls, censoring extremist material, and collating comments on Youtube and Twitter.

Some of the software enables the psychological manipulation of internet users, not unlike the controversial secret study recently undertaken with the approval of Facebook, in which the social network altered people's newsfeeds to see if it had an effect on their emotions.

The list of programmes was revealed in a Wikipedia-style document allegedly compiled by GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), which was first published by The Intercept.

 

19th July

 Offsite Article: Net Threats...

Link Here
pew internet logo Experts say liberty online is challenged by nation-state crackdowns, surveillance, and pressures of commercialization of the Internet

See article from pewinternet.org

 

18th July

 Update: Unfriendly WiFi...

Highly censored public WiFi sources are now kindly identifying themselves as such, so you can look elsewhere
Link Here
friendly wifi logo The Registered Digital Institute (RDI), has launched what if misleadingly calls Friendly WiFi , which aims to indicate that WiFi source is highly censored and is suitable for kids. The highly censored internet feed inevitably going way beyond porn sites will be denoted with the logo shown right.

The official blurb reads:

Friendly Wifi - Public WiFi Licensing Scheme

Last summer the Prime Minister; David Cameron announced that a commitment had been made with the UK's main WiFi Providers that their standard public WiFi offering will automatically filter the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) list and block pornography, by the end of August 2013.

These filters mean that whoever accesses public WiFi is blocked from getting on certain websites, these websites will always remain blocked and filtering will also include a number of pornographic and child abuse sites.Filtering work is now compete and the idea of a Friendly WiFi logo and scheme were developed to promote the good work that has already been carried out to protect public WiFi users online.

Retailers, restaurants, hoteliers, transport companies and any other businesses offering public WiFi can now sign up to the new scheme and can display the Friendly WiFi logo to show their customers that the WiFi provided by them is filtered and safe for children and young people to use. 'Friendly WiFi Logo'

The Friendly WiFi logo is available to any UK business providing public WiFi, who are committed to supporting the need for safeguarding online content. The Friendly WiFi logo will be displayed by each business signed up to the Friendly WiFi scheme and will appear on their landing page as you sign into WiFi.

Wherever this logo is displayed on site or online, parents and young people can be assured that, the company displaying the logo has the correct filters in place and their business broadband service meets the commitment made by the WiFi providers.

 

18th July

 Update: Dear Theresa, see you in court...

Open Rights Group looks to legal action against mass snooping
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Open Rights Group logo Open Rights Group rights:

Parliament has a done a terrible thing. They've ignored a court judgment and shoved complex law through a legislative mincer in just three days.

But in doing so they won't have had the final word. You've already shown them the growing public opposition to mass surveillance. There was incredible action from supporters: 4458 of you wrote to your MPs with even more phoning up on the day of the vote. Together we helped 49 MPs rebel against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill. It may have passed, but thanks to you they know that we do not agree.

Whilst Parliament swallowed Theresa May's tired arguments that terrorist plots will go undetected and these are powers and capabilities that exist today , she failed to make a compelling argument that holding everyone's data is necessary and proportionate. Frankly, the Government was evasive and duplicitous, and they were in a hurry to cover their tracks.

Tom Watson MP described the process as democratic banditry, resonant of a rogue state. The people who put this shady deal together should be ashamed.

And the European Court's decision was very clear: blanket data retention is unlawful and violates the right to privacy.  The courts will have the final say on whether DRIP breaches human rights. And no matter what David Cameron believes, the UK has international obligations. The European Convention on Human Rights, the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and our own Human Rights Act -- all exist to defend our rights and are where we will be able to challenge DRIP.

We're already meeting with lawyers and taking Counsel's advice to work out the best way to take the Government to court. We will work with every other group who is willing to help. But a major legal battle like this is going to be tough. The more resources we have, the more we'll be able to do to stand up to DRIP.

ORG ask people to join their campaign against mass snooping.

Offsite Article: Peers criticise government over emergency data laws

21st July 2014. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

 

18th July

 Update: The ISPA Awards...

For internet heroes and villains
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

ispas logo The Internet Services Providers' Association (ISPA UK) announced the winners of the 2014 ISPAs, the UK's longest running internet industry awards, now in their 16th year. Almost fifty organisations were nominated across sixteen categories, and the evening ended with the Internet Hero and Villain Awards, given to those who have helped or hindered the industry in the last year.

Surveillance and broadband dominated the Internet Hero and Villain shortlists, sponsored by NetLynk Direct, with The Guardian named Hero for their work covering the PRISM revelations..

Conversely, GHCQ/NSA won the Internet Villain Award for their role in the surveillance state, a particularly important issue for industry given yesterday's new Bill on data retention. The Guardian collected their award on the evening whilst digital rights campaigners, Big Brother Watch , picked up the award on behalf of GCHQ.

Internet Hero sponsored by NetLynk winner: The Guardian

For their excellent reporting of mass surveillance programmes.

Internet Villain sponsored by NetLynk winner: GCHQ/NSA

For running the widest covert electronic surveillance programme in the world.

The other Internet Villain finalists were:

  • Charles Farr, Director of the Office of Security, Home Office  For continued attempts to collect communications data in spite of the growing consensus to balance retention of data with fundamental rights.
  • Norfolk County Council  For failing to rollout superfast broadband to 80% of residents as promised.
  • Russian Government  For passing one of the most restrictive internet freedom laws in the world.

 

17th July

 Offsite Article: Hey, O2 Wifi Your filters are leaky...

Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
https everywhere logo Using HTTPS confounds website blocking by O2 on public wifi

See article from bawdybloke.com

 

17th July

 Offsite Article: Facebook's online shaming mobs...

Link Here
index logo Shutting down comments by unfriending those with disputed opinions

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

16th July

 Updated: Data Retention and Investigatory Powers...

Analysing the emergency bill to enable further mass snooping
Link Here

Big Brothers Clegg and Cameron Dissecting DRIP - the emergency Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill


14th July 2014. See  article from  cyberleagle.blogspot.co.uk

What does DRIP do? With so much material appearing at such short notice, considered analysis is difficult. Here are some first impressions. DRIP, now with its accompanying provisional draft regulations which appeared on the Home Office website yesterday afternoon, has to square a circle.  Ideally it should make a plausible attempt to address the 15 or so fundamental rights grounds on which the ECJ held that the Data Retention Directive was invalid.

In reality DRIP cannot square the circle. Indeed the newly published Impact Assessment recognises that the legislation does not overcome all the ECJ stumbling blocks, claiming only to address the ECJ judgment "where possible" and "to the extent practicable".  It also acknowledges the "Risk of being perceived as ignoring the ECJ judgment".

We should recognise that DRIP does far more than replace the 2009 Data Retention Regulations.  It makes substantive changes to the interception warrants, interception capability and communications data access provisions of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).  The Home Secretary has justified these amendments on a different basis from the data retention legislation: an urgent need to clarify, in particular, the territorial scope of RIPA's interception and communications data acquisition provisions. These are the non-data retention aspects of DRIP.

  • Clause 4 addresses the government's concern that it should be able to apply RIPA to non-UK companies that provide communications services to the UK public.

  • Clause 5 broadens the RIPA definition of telecommunications services. The Explanatory Note says this is so that webmail providers are clearly caught.  The change will also have implications for data retention because of crossover into DRIP.

  • Clause 3 places a further restriction on the general purposes for which interception warrants and communications data acquisition notices can be issued.  This will bring RIPA into line with the existing codes of practice.

Whatever the merits of the non-data retention amendments (more on that below), it is debatable why any of them requires emergency legislation to be fast-tracked through Parliament at such breakneck speed.

...Read the full article

Liberty, Privacy International, Open Rights Group, Big Brother Watch, Article 19 and English PEN briefing on the fast-track Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill

See  Briefiing Paper [pdf] from  bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

Update: Bill passed in the House of Commons

16th July 2014. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

House of Commons logo Controversial emergency legislation enabling continued mass snooping has cleared the Commons after an extended sitting and angry exchanges alleging an abuse of Parliament.

56 heroic MPs stood against the massed ranks of three main parties after the front benches agreed on the supposed urgent need for new laws.

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill was agreed at third reading by an overwhelming majority of 416, after MPs voted 449 to 33 in favour.

Earlier, Labour MP Tom Watson's cross-party bid to force the legislation to expire by the end of the year was defeated 454 vote to 56, majority 398. Watson said:

Parliament has been insulted... (This is) democratic banditry resonant of a rogue state.

Former Tory leadership contender David Davis said:

My understanding is there was an argument inside Government between the two halves of the Coalition and that argument has gone on for three months so what the Coalition cannot decide in three months this House has to decide in one day.

The House of Lords will look at the Bill on Wednesday and Thursday as ministers aim to have it sent for Royal Assent before the end of the week.

 

15th July

  Oh My!...

Album covers get caught up in Google's recent move to ban adverts associated with porn
Link Here
lambchop oh ohio A leading music website has censored album covers by artists including Sigur Rós and Lambchop after they fell foul of a Google advertising ban on supposedly sexually explicit content.

Drowned in Sound (DiS) was told that the covers, which include scenes of uncontroversial nudity, could no longer be shown on web pages which sit alongside Google's Adsense advertising network.

The website relies upon income from Google's advertising system and so has had to cover up the offending artworks. DiS was told that it would be blocked from accessing Google's advertising network within days if it failed to comply.

Sean Adams, who founded DiS in 2000, said that it seems crazy that they feel they can police our editorial and questioned whether Google might one day seek the removal of material which could seriously compromise freedom of expression.

The cover of Sigur Rós' 2008 album, Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust , which features naked buttocks, incorporates an image by the acclaimed American photographer, Ryan McGinley.

Another offending cover, OH (Ohio) by Lambchop, features a painting called New Orleans Police Beating by Michael Peed. Its image of naked lovers is designed to contrast scenes of intimacy with violence outside.

Google is seeking to distance itself from the porn industry. The warning to DiS seems to have been caught up in a recent Google move to ban adverts that promote graphic depictions of sexual acts.

 

14th July

  Bad Reputation...

Singapore passes legislation to block copyright infringing websites
Link Here
Singapore flag Singapore has become the latest in a line of countries to crack down on copyright infringement via web blocking.

The newly-passed legislation will allow copyright holders to obtain High Court orders to force local service providers to block access to websites that flagrantly infringe copyright. How that will be determined is not yet clear.

In a statement, Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah said the new amendments will help reduce piracy and boost legal alternatives:

The prevalence of online piracy in Singapore turns customers away from legitimate content and adversely affects Singapore's creative sector. It can also undermine our reputation as a society that respects the protection of intellectual property.

Unsurprisingly The Pirate Bay is first on the list of sites set to be targeted by copyright holders, with KickassTorrents reportedly a close second. The law could come into force by the end of August.

 

11th July

 Update: Everything You Need to Know About Russia's Internet Crackdown...

Putin's routemap to trashing the internet
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
putin trashing internet The number of restrictions placed on the Internet in Russia since Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012 is daunting. What's been outlawed and what's still legal on the RuNet? To help people keep track of what's what in Russian cyberspace, RuNet Echo has compiled a chronological list of the most important laws to hit the Russian Internet in the past two years. For each law, readers can find links to the legislation's full text in Russian, as well as RuNet Echo articles in English describing the details and significance of each initiative.

The law that launched a thousand ships: creating the RuNet Blacklist

[The full text in Russian. RuNet Echo's commentary in English.]

Signed by Putin on July 28, 2012. This is law that launched the crackdown on Internet freedom in Russia. The law created a government registry for websites found to contain materials deemed harmful to children. Illegal content under this law includes child pornography, drug paraphernalia, and instructions about self-harm. Without a court order, Russia's federal communications agency is able to add to the registry any website hosting such material. Later laws have allowed police to blacklist other kinds of websites, too, using the infrastructure created here.

The 'Russian SOPA'

[The full text of the original law in Russian. The text of the updated draft legislation. RuNet Echo's commentary in English .]

Signed on July 2, 2013. Often referred to as the "Russian SOPA," this is an anti-piracy law that allows courts to block websites accused of hosting stolen intellectual property. What ultimately reached Putin's desk in July 2013 was a somewhat watered-down version of the initial legislation, which called for applying the law to a wide variety of content. (The law's final text addressed only stolen films.) The Russian Parliament is poised , however, to pass a new bill later this year that will expand the law's application to music, e-books, and software.

Blacklisting the news

[The full text in Russian. RuNet Echo's commentary in English.]

Signed on December 28, 2013. This law gives Russia's Attorney General the extrajudicial power to add to the RuNet Blacklist any websites containing "calls to riots, extremist activities, the incitement of ethnic and (or) sectarian hatred, terrorist activity, or participation in public events held in breach of appropriate procedures." In March 2014, police used this law to block four major opposition websites, including three news portals and the blog of Russia's most prominent anti-corruption activist. Since the law passed last year, the Attorney General as blacklisted 191 different Web addresses .

The law that got away: policing news-aggregators

In April 2014, Putin revealed at a public forum that the government was investigating the legal status of online news-aggregation services like Yandex News. In May, a Duma deputy asked the Russian Attorney General to issue a ruling about the status of Yandex News, to determine if the state should regulate such websites as mass media outlets. In early June, Yandex's CEO joined Putin onstage at a forum on Internet entrepreneurship, where the two chatted amicably about the RuNet's economic potential. On July 1, Russian newspapers reported that the Attorney General does not consider news-aggregation to qualify as mass media, aborting the Duma's effort to impose new regulations on Yandex News and similar websites.

The anti-terrorism package, aka "the Bloggers Law"

[The full text in Russian. RuNet Echo's commentary in English.]

Signed on May 5, 2014. This package consisted of three separate laws, hurried through the Duma after terrorist attacks in the city of Volgograd in December 2013. Two of the laws added new Internet regulations, creating restrictions on electronic money transfers (banning all foreign financial transactions involving anonymous parties) and extensive requirements for governing the activity of "popular bloggers" and the data retention of certain websites and online networks. The "law on bloggers" takes effect on August 1, 2014, creating a new registry especially for citizen-media outlets with daily audiences bigger than three thousand people. Bloggers added to this registry face a series of new regulations (against obscene language, libel, and so on), increasing their vulnerability to criminal prosecution.

Hard time for retweets

[The full text in Russian. RuNet Echo's commentary in English.]

Signed on June 28, 2014. This law allows the government to hand down five-year prison sentences to people who re-disseminate extremist materials online. The "law against retweets" codifies an existing police practice, but making the policy official could increase the number of such prosecutions in the future.

A digital Gulag

[The full text in Russian. RuNet Echo's commentary in English .]

Passed by the Duma on July 4, 2014. This legislation still awaits the Senate's approval and Putin's signature. The law, if passed, will require all websites that store user data about Russian citizens to house that data on servers located inside Russia. According to the legislation's logic, websites will be barred from storing Russian users' personal data anywhere outside of Russia (though the law's actual text is somewhat vague on this point, perhaps because of jurisdictional limitations on what Russia can mandate outside its borders). The law applies to a wide variety of websites, ranging from e-booking services to Facebook, affecting any website or online service operating on the concept of "users."

 

10th July

 Update: Big Brothers want to Continue Listening...

Government moves to enable continued mass snooping after threat from European Court
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Big Brothers Clegg and Cameron Emergency legislation will be brought in next week to force phone and internet companies to continuing logging customer calls, texts and internet use.

Ministers claim it is necessary so police and security services can access the data they need after a legal ruling which declared existing powers invalid. The proposed law has the backing of Labour and the coalition parties.

A recent ruling of the European Court of Justice has removed the obligation on telecoms companies to retain records of when and who their customers have called, texted and emailed, and which websites they visit.

 

10th July

 Offsite Article: Searching for Customers...

Link Here
google adwords logo Porn biz publisher releases letter calling out Google for hypocritical ban of adverts for porn sites

See article from upstart.bizjournals.com

 

10th July

 Offsite Article: When is the right to be forgotten not a right to be forgotten?...

Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
simon hughes When government minister Simon Hughes tries to spin that it's not

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

8th July

 Offsite Article: : So why is the government encouraging use of Tor to work around crappy website blocking?...

US internet surveillance targeted at web surfers showing a keen interest in the Tor browser
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
tor logo

 

6th July

 Update: Which ISP?...

Blocking report for MelonFarmers.co.uk
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
org blocked logo ORG have set up an internet service to check which ISPs block websites that the user is interested in. Here are the results for www.melonfarmers.co.uk .

The results presented below may be different to your experience depending on the level of filtering configured on your network.

ISP Result Last check on Last blocked on
AAISP ok 2014-07-02 17:34:56 No record of prior block
BT ok 2014-07-02 17:34:56 No record of prior block
EE blocked 2014-06-30 22:10:20 2014-06-30 22:10:20
O2 blocked 2014-07-02 17:34:56 2014-07-02 17:34:56
Sky blocked 2014-07-02 17:34:56 2014-07-02 17:34:56
TalkTalk ok 2014-07-02 17:34:56 No record of prior block
Three blocked 2014-05-27 22:21:23 2014-05-27 22:21:23
VirginMedia ok 2014-07-02 17:34:56 No record of prior block
Vodafone blocked 2014-07-02 17:34:56 2014-07-02 17:34:56

 

ORG explains the level of blocking that the website tests against:

We're testing using the default "adult content" filter levels for each network. Where an ISP provided their service with a level of filtering active by default we chose not to change these settings. For lines that came with no filtering active by default we activated the "medium" filtering level where a choice of filters was offered. If the choice was just filtering: yes or no, we chose yes. Some networks do not offer controls to activate filtering or change filter settings on their services. This means the active level of filtering varies across our test lines

Try the service at blocked.org.uk

 

6th July

 Update: It's a Trap...

Thailand attempts to lure those visiting censored websites into revealing their ID
Link Here  full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup

thai facebook lure Thailand's censorship regime has grown ever more pervasive since the military took over last month, with punishments aimed at both speakers and consumers of prohibited media.

According to the regime's own reports, hundreds of new websites have been added to the Thai government's official blacklist including politics and news sites covering the coup. Now the authorities are deceiving Internet users into disclosing their personal details, including email addresses and Facebook profile information, when they try to visit these prohibited sites.

Under Thailand's national web blocking infrastructure, Net users attempting to visit blocked sites in Thailand are redirected to a government web landing page, managed by the country's Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD).

After the coup, the Thai Netizen Network, a local digital rights group, noticed that the TCSD block page had sprouted two new graphics: a blue close button, and a Login with Facebook icon. Both lead to what appears to be a Facebook Login page, where users are asked for permission to hand over personal information stored in their Facebook profile --- without any indication, in Thai or English, of where that data was being sent, or for what purpose. In fact, the Login app was being run by TCSD itself, which used Facebook's application platform to collect the details of Facebook users visiting to the landing page.

Thai authorities have long claimed that foreign companies should comply with all their demands for removing content and handing over personal data. Facebook has consistently refused such requests. By misleading users to click through the permissions-granting first page of its Facebook application, Thai authorities have been gathering the type of user information that Facebook's legal department has long refused to hand over.

A deceptive Facebook app without a clear privacy policy or embedded explanation is a violation of Facebook's own platform policies, and the Crime Suppression Division's app has now been suspended by Facebook at least twice. The first Login app was removed shortly after the Thai Netizen Network published details of its deceptive appearance. An identical app which subsequently replaced it on the page was suspended by Facebook after less than a week of operation.

Facebook's own public app statistics pages show that these two apps managed to scoop up hundreds of Thai email addresses before being shut down. Did these Internet users understand that they were handing over their names and email addresses as potential witnesses to future prosecutions?

 

6th July

 Offsite Article: Crap and Illegal...

Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Google logo The Register asks if recent examples of right to be forgotten censorship by Google were a ploy

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

6th July

 Offsite Article: Court Hearing...

Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
gchq logo ISPs launch legal challenge against mass snooping by government and GCHQ

See article from theguardian.com

 

5th July

 Commented: MyRedBook Censored...

Sex worker review/information website seized by the US authorities with a generalised justification that prostitution is illegal
Link Here
myredbook logo On Wednesday, June 25th , the long-running San Francisco area sex worker advertising/community website MyRedbook was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Two employees were arrested and the site, which featured listings and discussions forums for sex workers; a review section, and a bad date list, was shut down.

CNN is reporting that the raid was part of Operation Cross Country , a national anti-trafficking effort. CNN cites an anonymous law enforcement source saying that some of the children rescued in the sweep were identified through My Redbook. However, the F.B.I's indictment of My Redbook cites no trafficking charges. Both suspects are charged with one count of interstate travel in the aid of a racketeering enterprise, and one is charged with 24 counts of money laundering.

A statement from the F.B.I describes the grounds for its actions:

According to information available on the publically accessible website as of the date of its seizure by the FBI, myredbook.com purported to provide Escort, Massage, and Strip Club Reviews. Instead, however, the website hosted advertisements for prostitutes, complete with explicit photos, lewd physical descriptions, menus of sexual services, hourly and nightly rates, and customer reviews of the prostitutes' services.

The Indictment seeks the forfeiture of more than $5 million in property and money derived from the facilitation of prostitution, as well as the Internet domain names myredbook.com and sfredbook.com.

As my Redbook was a free service for sex workers, allowing workers to advertise services in a safe environment and to screen potential clients, it is the most marginalised sex workers who are likely feeling the biggest impact. Sex workers of The Sex Workers' Outreach Project addressed this concern with the following statement on their website :

We are very alarmed by the seizure of Myredbook. Many Bay Area sex workers have been able to improve their working conditions by using Myredbook as the site provided a private, discreet venue for negotiations that otherwise often happen in a public venues or on the street. Now that the only free local online female sex worker ad hosting site is gone, where will people go to work? We are very concerned for those who may be forced into more dangerous working conditions at this time.

Today we also lost extensive online forums for a community of sex workers to keep each other safe, screen clients, and blacklist predators. Myredbook also hosted resource guides for sex workers who were struggling and created a venue for community counseling for those in need. Many local outreach organisations used this forum to connect with vulnerable sex workers.

While we are certainly concerned with the issue of sex trafficking, this misguided effort only pushes the most marginalised of us further into the underground. The current anti trafficking moral panic is causing so much unnecessary harm, which we will continue to see as a result of this seizure. Sex workers want to end trafficking. The answer is the decriminalisation of prostitution, which would effectively end the black market, and give workers the ability to unionise and report crimes committed against and around us. It would then be much easier to see the difference between choice and coercion or force. Increasing criminalisation of poor working women in the Bay Area is a dangerous move and the most marginalised of us will suffer the worst.

Comment: Why Everyone Should be Concerned By the Seizure of MyRedBook.Com

5th July 2014. See  article from  eff.org

Electronic Frontier Foundation Last week, an online community for sex workers disappeared from the Internet. Visit SFRedbook.com, MyPinkBook.com, or MyRedBook.com right now, and you'll only find the seals of the law enforcement agencies--the FBI, the DOJ, and the IRS--that seized the sites as part of a prostitution and money laundering investigation.

The seizure is part of a disturbing trend of targeting sex workers, but more than that, it is an attack on the rights to free speech and free association exercised by a diverse group of people, many of whom have nothing to do with the alleged crimes.

MyRedBook and its companion sites served a large and diverse community of sex workers. The sites functioned as social media platforms, with discussion boards for users in topics from politics to financial tips. It also served as a resource guide with information ranging from explanations of the law as it pertains to sex work to health information. For archived versions of the forums sex workers no longer have access to, click here .

These sites were essential tools for First Amendment protected speech and association--especially important for a community that values its privacy for a variety of legitimate reasons. This platform has been pulled out from under the feet of this community. As the Bay Area Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP) said in a statement:

Today we also lost extensive online forums for a community of sex workers to keep each other safe, screen clients, and blacklist predators. Myredbook also hosted resource guides for sex workers who were struggling and created a venue for community counseling for those in need. Many local outreach organizations used this forum to connect with vulnerable sex workers.

To compound the destruction of this indispensible forum, the users of these sites now have cause to worry that their private information, such as IP addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses, may be in the hands of the FBI. In fact, news reports specifically note : [FBI]Agents seized several boxes of evidence @ including business documents and computer hardware.

SWOP spokesperson Kristina Dolgin put it mildly when she said , It's a very scary thing.

EFF has always supported freedom of association and free speech, no matter who is doing the talking. In fact, these rights are especially important for controversial groups. That's why we are so concerned to see these sites shut down--especially on the heels of the bank account closures of sex workers nationwide.

It's true that in many states, some forms of sex work are illegal. But sex workers have First Amendment rights to speak out about the issues that concern them, to advocate for changes in the law, to counsel each other, to discuss the issues that are important to them, and to advertise legally permissible services. And sex workers have First Amendment rights to associate with each other on Internet forums and elsewhere.

As society changes, its values and laws change as well. But the oppression of disfavored groups uses the same tactics. Today, sex workers are being oppressed, but it will be a different group tomorrow. When we allow any group to be silenced and targeted, we are paving the way for it to happen again.

EFF is keeping an eye on what happens in the case, and the ripple effect in the sex worker community as the criminal charges associated with this seizure move forward. In the meantime, we've compiled a list of resources and strategies sex workers can use to protect their anonymity.

 

4th July

 Update: Serious Discussion...

Ministry of Justice consider legislation against revenge porn
Link Here  full story: Rowan Atkinson...Offending the easily offended
Ministry of Justice logo The law could be changed to protect people from ex-partners who put explicit revenge pornography pictures of them on the internet, a minister has said.

Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, said that that there will be a serious discussion in Government about the practice,.

Maria Miller, the former Cabinet minister, has called for a change in the law to tackle the appalling practice.

Victims often find that the images are impossible to remove once they are posted online as they are reproduced on a host of other sites within minutes.

Grayling told the Commons:

What I'd say to you today is the Government is very open to having a serious discussion about this with a view to taking appropriate action in the autumn if we can identify the best way of doing so.

The Ministry of Justice is expected to now look at how existing sexual offences laws could be amended to outlaw the distribution of sexual images without the person's consent.

Comment: Acquitted

4th July  2014. See article from bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

Big Brother Watch logo A debate has erupted around revenge pornography and whether new legislation is required to tackle the problem of jilted lovers posting sexually explicit photographs online. Whilst there is no doubt that these occurrences are deeply damaging and upsetting for the individuals involved, the Government must ensure that any new laws created to police what is posted on the internet is done so with a clear head and not in the heat of the moment.

...Read the full article

 

3rd July

  Sharing International Concerns...

Switzerland consults on copyright restrictions on file sharers
Link Here
Switzerland flag A draft bill for the modernization of Swiss copyright law will be presented for public consultation in the coming months. While downloading for personal use will remain legal, uploading infringing content via BitTorrent will not. In addition to infringement warnings for Internet subscribers, the blocking of obviously illegal sites is also on the table.

The Federal Council says its aim is to improve the situation for creators without impairing the position of consumers, so there is an element of give-and-take in the proposals for file-sharing, with a focus on balance and careful consideration given to data protection issues.

Current download-and-share-with-impunity will be replaced with an acceptance of downloading for personal use, but with uploading specifically outlawed. This means that while downloading a pirated album from a cyberlocker would be legal, doing so using BitTorrent would be illegal due to inherent uploading.

While commercial level infringers can already be dealt with under Swiss law, the proposals seek to lower the bar so that those who flout an upload ban on a smaller but persistent scale can be dealt with. It has been recommended that this should be achieved by sending warning notices to infringers via their ISPs. Only when a user fails to get the message should his or her details be handed over to rightsholders for use in civil proceedings.

Other recommendations are that Internet providers will not only be required to remove infringing content from their platforms, but also prevent that same content from reappearing, a standard that U.S. rightsholders are currently pressuring Google to adopt.

Additionally, in serious cases authorities should be able to order the blocking of obviously illegal content or sources . Any new obligations on service providers would be balanced by granting them with exemption from liability.

 

3rd July

 Offsite Article: Why has Google cast me into oblivion?...

Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
BBC logo The BBC reveals how its news archives have been censored by Google in the name of the right to be forgotten

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

3rd July

 Offsite Article: Guardian articles have been hidden by Google...

Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
The Guardian The Guardian reveals how its news archives have been censored by Google in the name of the right to be forgotten

See article from theguardian.com

 

2nd July

 Update: Blocked...

ORG's Blocked project finds almost 1 in 5 sites are blocked by UK ISPs' filters
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet

org blocked logo Today, Open Rights Group relaunched www.blocked.org.uk

A Porsche broker, a political blogger and a mum hoping to read an article about post pregnancy care are among those that have been affected by Internet filters, designed to protect young people from adult content.

In 2012 we published the Mobile Filtering Report , investigating the way default blocking on mobile phones was denying people access to important information. We reported on what has seemed like rather arbitrary censorship, such as the New Wine church block. ORG analysed and drew examples from our site at blocked.org.uk which originally allowed people to submit when they found that a site had been blocked.

Now the full extent of Internet blocking can be revealed by our relaunched Blocked project .

Any web users can use the free checking tool on www.blocked.org.uk where they can instantly check to see if a website has been blocked by filters. Our tool checks the submitted url for blocks across the main Internet networks on both broadband and phone. We have test lines from 3, Andrews & Arnold, BT, Everything Everywhere, O2, Plusnet, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Vodafone.

Through the Blocked project we wanted to find out about the impact of web filters. So far Open Rights Group has tested over 100,000 sites and found that over 19,000 - almost one in five - are blocked by one ISP or another. The problem of overblocking is not going away. Different ISPs are blocking different sites and the result is that many people, from businesses to bloggers, are being affected because people can't access their websites.

We've found that there is a lack of information about how to get sites unblocked. Mother-of-one Marielle, said she was 'humiliated' when she visited the Three store to find out how she could order to access an article about post-partum care on her phone: "The manager told me that I couldn't access filtered articles without entering a 4 digit pin every time I wanted to read a filtered article because I had a PAYG plan." Marielle submitted a report to Three saying that the article had been incorrectly blocked but didn't get a response.

There are more personal stories on the Blocked site and we'd like to hear from you if you've been affected by filters.

We'd like to thank our supporters who committed to make this project happen. ORG's team of technical volunteers worked with us to build the systems and software for this project and we're very grateful for their time. We couldn't have done this without the support of our community, so thank you.

How you can help Blocked?

Test your url: https://www.blocked.org.uk

Spread the word: @We want as many people as possible to talk about how filtering effects them. It's only through being vocal that we'll be able to change the Government's attitude to Internet censorship.

Join ORG: By joining ORG you can help us continue to provide Blocked for free and support our on-going development of the tool.

 

1st July

 Update: Jury Delivers Damning Verdict...

Government abandon's its ideas to censor newspaper archives for information pertinent to court trials
Link Here  full story: Googling for Sub-Judicy...Sub-Judicy and associated censorship
dominic grieve The government has abandoned plans to give itself powers to order media organisations to remove articles from their online archives. A clause in the criminal justice and courts bill would have enabled the attorney general, currently Dominic Grieve QC, to order newspapers and other publishers to take down past articles on the grounds that their continued presence would create a danger of contempt if jurors in a court case searched for information on the internet.

Media organisations, including the Guardian, had opposed the move. In written evidence to MPs last year, they said:

We fear that the introduction of statutory powers could lead to the use of notices becoming standard practice leading to the courts and media becoming inundated with requests to take down material.

This has serious practical implications for the resourcing and maintenance of and public access to the archives of both national and regional media.

The plan originated in a proposal from the Law Commission two years ago which argued that courts should be armed with powers compelling media organisations to take down old stories from electronic archives in order to remove potentially prejudicial material.

A statement from the attorney general's office confirmed the decision to abandon the proposal. It said:

The governmen recognises the disquiet surrounding the proposal. Given that this measure was designed to assist the media, it is significant that representatives of the media consider that this provision does not do so.

Whilst the government considers that the notice provision would be an improvement for the media, courts and attorneys general alike, it is satisfied that the existing law will continue to provide satisfactory protection to the integrity of legal proceedings.

 

30th June

 Offsite Article: Censorship is being outsourced to the mob...

Link Here
Spiked logo Two recent cases Down Under show how dangerous Twittermobs can be. By Brendan O'Neill

See article from spiked-online.com

 

29th June

 Offsite Article: How Bing became the search engine for porn...

Link Here
bing logo Bing leaves Google searching for excuses

See article from dailydot.com

 

27th June

 Updated: Public Enemy No 1...

ATVOD attacks internet news website with bollox claims of being TV like but The UKColumn fights back with a hard hitting unTV-like video
Link Here
ukcolumn video An internet news website the UKColumn have pulled all their news videos rather than submit to censorship and fee extortion from ATVOD.

Brian Gerrish and Mike Robinson discuss the attempted ATVOD regulation/censorship of the UK Column in a non-television-like way.

The video is available for download here . Please feel free to distribute as far and wide as you can, including your own Youtube channels.

See video from YouTube

See ATVOD determination [pdf] from atvod.co.uk

Update: ATVOD: A Major Risk To Freedom of Speech on the Internet

27th June. See  pree release [pdf] from  ukcolumn.org

The UK Column have issued a press release outlining their case against ATVOD:

ukcolumn logo The UK government has finally moved to directly regulate Youtube content and internet freedom of speech.

On the 2nd February 2014, the UK Column received a letter from ATVOD, the Authority for Television On Demand. ATVOD is a subsidiary of Ofcom, the UK government's communications regulator. The ATVOD letter gave notice to the UK Column that as the result of a Statutory Instrument amendment to the 2003 Communications Act, the UK Column was required to notify ATVOD that it was running an on demand programme service , to pay a fee, and to submit to regulation.

ATVOD mainly chooses organisations to regulate based upon whether or not they are perceived to produce television-like programmes . In several television conversations between the UK Column and ATVOD, an ATVOD representative admitted that there is no fixed standard for what constitutes television-like video content, and that their determinations are made on purely arbitrary opinion.

When asked by the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications Inquiry on Media Convergence and Its Public Policy Impact on the 5th February 2013 if [ATVOD] had trouble defining [television-like services], Ruth Evans Chairman of ATVOD replied, yes. It is an evolving art.

It is on the basis of the evolving art statement that ATVOD's claims of a light regulatory burden should be seen. At present ATVOD claims to exist in order to prevent harmful material becoming available to children and to prevent hate speech. It is clear, though, that anyone submitting to the current light regulatory framework joins a fluid and evolving regulatory framework with potentially draconian financial penalties. The penalties allowed for through the Communications Act 2003 amount to 5% of the regulated organisation's turnover or £250,000, whichever is the greater amount.

Following discussion with ATVOD, the UK Column made the decision that ATVOD's requirements would be detrimental to our freedom of speech and expression on the internet, and we would not submit to regulation by ATVOD.

ATVOD subsequently issued an enforcement notice giving the UK Column ten working days to comply with their demands. Having carefully considered our options, we decided to cease the activity which ATVOD describes as an on demand television service, and removed all UK Column video on demand content from the internet.

UK Column co-editor Brian Gerrish says:

This represents an immediate and dangerous attack on free speech on the internet and should be of massive concern to all Youtube users, as the government seems to be moving to censor individuals directly, putting them on the same regulatory footing as global corporations like the BBC and CNN. As a government agency, ATVOD's clearly flawed working practices and their alignment to the corporate media pose a direct threat to our personal liberty and freedoms.

UK Column co-editor Mike Robinson says:

It used to be that to produce high quality studio based video content, the financial barrier to entry was very high. Today, with television studios in a box costing as little as a few hundred pounds, ATVOD seems to be attempting to extend its remit to even the one man band producer operating out of his bedroom. This is a dangerous road to tread.

 

27th June

 Update: Social media and the law on insults, trolling and harassment...

Lords committee to inquire as to whether vague internet insult laws are clear enough
Link Here
house of lords red logo A House of Lords Communications Committee, chaired by Lord Best, will conduct a short inquiry into the legal and regulatory framework around social media and communications offences, such as one-to-one targeted harassment and trolling .

It is a problem that is in the news on a regular basis, and yet many people do not seem to realise that communications sent via social media are capable of amounting to criminal offences under a range of statutes. These include the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988, and the Communications Act 2003.

The Committee will be holding two evidence sessions, which will look at whether the legislation on the issue of social media and communications offences is appropriate and fit for purpose or would benefit from clarification; whether the line between free speech and protection of victims is clear; and more generally, whether the steps which have already been taken to deal with these problems are sufficient, or whether further action is necessary.

On a wider note, the Committee sees this piece of work as an integral part of pursuing its interest in the way changes in media and technology are likely to affect consumers' and citizens' behaviour and the way in which the legal and policy debate needs to respond. Questions

Questions likely to be raised in this inquiry include:

  • Whether the law currently covering offences related to social media and communications offences is capable of adapting to the way in which people behave, given the speed of changes in technology.
  • If there are areas of overlap or gaps in the range of legislation covering social media and communications offences, which means that categorising the offence is not always clear.
  • Whether the sentences handed out for social media and communications offences are known, consistent and appropriate and, more generally, whether other approaches, such as restorative justice and education, might be more effective.
  • How, in responding to these issues, reform to the current package of legislation can strike an effective balance between victim protection and freedom of expression.

 

27th June

 Update: Searching for Censorship...

Google begins removing search links under the EU's right to be forgotten
Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Google logo Google has begun removing search links to content in Europe under the right to be forgotten ruling, which obliges it exclude web pages with supposedly outdated or irrelevant information about individuals from web searches.

Searches made on Google's services in Europe using peoples' names includes a section at the bottom with the phrase Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe , and a link to a page explaining the ruling by the European court of justice (ECJ) in May 2014.

However searches made on Google.com, the US-based service, do not include the same warning, because the ECJ ruling only applies within Europe.

Google would not say how many peoples' search histories have been censored, nor how many web pages have been affected.

Comment: Goggle.eu.censored

28th June 2014. From Alan

Not mentioned in the Guardian report is the difficulty for UK surfers of finding uncensored searches on the American site. If I'm in Italy, I can either search in Italian at google.it or, if I want to search in English and enter google.com, I get the American site. But in this country, typing the URL for google.com redirects to google.co.uk. Looks like we Brits are particular disadvantaged by the absurd decision of twattish Euro-judges.

 

27th June

 Offsite Article: The Intelligence Services Commissioner's Oversight Is Weak and Unaccountable...

Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Big Brother Watch logo Big Brother Watch examine the annual report monitoring mass snooping of the UK internet

See article from bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

 

26th June

  Like it or lump it...

Egyptian christian jailed for 6 years for a Facebook like
Link Here
facebook like logo A Christian in southern Egypt has been sentenced to six years in prison and fined the equivalent of $840 on charges of blasphemy and contempt of Islam for simply liking a Facebook page, according to International Christian Concern.

Kerolos Shawky didn't intend to insult the Islamic religion, Rafla Zekry Rafla, a lawyer representing Kerolos, told ICC. He only clicked like on the Facebook page of Knights of the Cross .

Kerolos was accused of violating Article 98(f) of the Egyptian Penal Code, which prohibits ridiculing, or insulting heavenly religions or inciting sectarian strife .

The initial accusations against Kerolos are that he had somehow incited a muslim mob who vanadalised and set alight Christian shops and homese.

 

25th June

 Update: Cheapo Censors at Instagram...

Another example of incompetent social media censorship
Link Here  full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo hsaring website gets heavy on the censorship
instagram logo In a picture, a little girl is seen lifting her dress to admire her new underpants, evidence to her of her first steps in toilet training. But the tummy and underpants are considered by Instagram to be nudity. Adamo was warned by the site about posting inappropriate content, but not being able to recognise sexual tones in her children's photos fast enough she had her account deleted before she could resolve it.

Adamo's account has since been reactivated after mounting furore. But an incident like this still begs the questioin: are photography sharing sites being unnecessarily rigid about content and prudish about flesh? Facebook, for instance, has only just lifted its long held ban on the appearance of female nipple in breastfeeding photos. Advertisement

Indeed, there's a deliberate reluctance to involve themselves in the debate required for interpreting content. Blanket policies alleviate social media sites from needing to pay people, rather than inexpensive filter programs, to do specialised decision making. Adamo, cofounder of a fashionable online baby boutique had over 36,000 followers of her family photo album on Instagram before her account was removed.

 

25th June

 Offsite Article: Adult entertainment is coming of age...

Link Here
veridu logo An interesting promotional feature about the various forms of ID systems being considered for internet age verification

See article from veridu.com

 

21st June

 Extract Blackmail Potential?...

Would you allow a verification service to access to all your social network links to check you out for porn access?
Link Here

veridu logo An identity authentication company is suggesting the UK online pornography industry adopt its technology when regulation is inevitably brought in.

Peer-to-peer sites already use Veridu's technology to rate people as trustworthy or not. It works by asking an individual to setup a profile using social media logins, in much the same way an app would ask you to sign up with your Twitter or Facebook details. The more logins the individual provides to Veridu, the richer and more reliable its verification will be. The system will then ask if you recognise friends in your social network, look for friendship links mirrored across multiple social networks including LinkedIn, and compare age groups in your network. For the new age verification model, it could also include Paypal details (more helpful if the user has signed up with a credit card) and other details from telecommunications providers.

Veridu promises it is not storing the data it analyses, nor using it for any purpose other than to deliver a token at the end of the process that the user can then take away and show to adult content sites -- all it will say is whether that person has been verified as over 18, and how robust that conclusion is on a specific scale.

...Read the fascinating article

Update: Audit of accuracy

26th June. From Twitter

TVXboss:  ATVOD have asked for an independent audit of the accuracy of social vs traditional AV methods