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17th April

 Offsite Article: The First Letter...

Link Here
dreams of spanking logo The ATVOD Strangler stalks Pandora Blake's Dream of Spanking website

See article from dreamsofspanking.com

 

17th April

 Offsite Article: BlockBot Busted?...

Link Here
block bot checker logo A voluntary block list for Twitter users gets a little insulting and comes under fire

See article from matthewhopkinsnews.com

 

15th April

  Green Red Lines...

YourChoice


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The Green Party has a few fine words on reducing mass snooping but the miserable gits also want to ban horse racing
Link Here
green party logo The Green Party has published its manifesto with the promise to oppose secret unaccountable mass surveillance of the type exposed by Edward Snowden and to replace the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000, which empowers hundreds of UK state agencies to conduct covert mass surveillance on individuals. The manifesto continued:

We do accept that government law enforcement agencies may occasionally need to intercept communications in specific circumstances. Such specific surveillance should be proportionate, necessary, effective and within the rule of law, with independent judicial approval and genuine parliamentary oversight.

This compares with the Conservative manifesto pledge to re-introduce the Snooper's Charter, the Communications Data Bill

The Green Party also pledged to support and protect internet freedom and to limit surveillance - presumably both online and offline - and data retention by government agencies. At the same time, it supported the extension of EU data protection laws and expressed opposition to large US data-driven companies .

It would also oppose efforts to apply patents to software, limit online censorship and the takedown of content or [online] activity . However, the manifesto wasn't explicit in terms of the kinds of content referred to.

The Green Party also pledged to introduce a more satisfactory law on so-called malicious comments made on social media than the blanket and crude section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 .

But the Green Party are ban happy in other areas and it seems that the miserable gits have got horse racing in their sights. Reprehensible!

 

14th April

 Updated: 'Creative' Market Research...

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Open letter to the NSPCC about using questionable evidence from low quality survey to call for more internet censorship
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
nspcc logo The letter below was sent to Peter Wanless, CEO of the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), on 10th March. It is signed by leading academics, sex educators, journalists and campaigners.

Dear Mr Wanless,

We write to express our deep concern about a report you published last week, which received significant press coverage. The report claimed that a tenth of 12-13 year olds believe they are addicted to pornography, and appears to have been fed to the media with accompanying quotes suggesting that pornography is causing harm to new generations of young people.

Your study appears to rely entirely on self-report evidence from young people of 11 and older, and so is not -- as it has been presented -- indicative of actual harm but rather, provides evidence that some young people are fearful that pornography is harming them. In other words, this study looks at the effects on young people of widely published but unevidenced concerns about pornography, not the effects of pornography itself.

It appears that your study was not an academic one, but was carried out by a "creative market research" group called OnePoll. We are concerned that you, a renowned child protection agency, are presenting the findings of an opinion poll as a serious piece of research. Management Today recently critiqued OnePoll in an article that opened as follows: "What naive readers may not realise is that much of what is reported as scientific is not in fact genuine research at all, but dishonest marketing concocted by PR firms."

There have been countless studies into the effects of porn since the late 1960s, and yet the existence of the kinds of harm you report remains contested. In fact, many researchers have reached the opposite conclusion: that increased availability of porn correlates with healthier attitudes towards sex, and with steadily reducing rates of sexual violence. For example, the UK government's own research (1) generated the following conclusion in 2005: "There seems to be no relationship between the availability of pornography and an increase in sex crimes ...; in comparison there is more evidence for the opposite effect."

The very existence of "porn addiction" is questionable, and it is not an accepted medical condition. Dr David J Ley, a psychologist specialising in this field, says: "Sex and porn can cause problems in people's lives, just like any other human behavior or form of entertainment. But, to invoke the idea of "addiction" is unethical, using invalid, scientifically and medically-rejected concepts to invoke fear and feed panic." (2)

Immediately following the release of your report, the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced that the Tories would be introducing strong censorship of the Internet if they win the next election, in order to "protect children" from pornography. The Culture Secretary's new announcement would probably lead to millions of websites being blocked by British ISPs, should it come into force. We would point out the experience of the optional "porn filters", introduced in early 2014, which turned out in practise to block a vast range of content including sex education material.

The BBC news website quotes you as saying, in response to the minister's announcement: "Any action that makes it more difficult for young people to find this material is to be welcomed." We disagree: we believe that introducing Chinese-style blocking of websites is not warranted by the findings of your opinion poll, and that serious research instead needs to be undertaken to determine whether your claims of harm are backed by rigorous evidence.

Jerry Barnett, CEO Sex & Censorship
Frankie Mullin, Journalist
Clarissa Smith, Professor of Sexual Cultures, University of Sunderland
Julian Petley, Professor of Screen Media, Brunel University
David J. Ley PhD. Clinical Psychologist (USA)
Dr Brooke Magnanti
Feona Attwood, Professor of Media & Communication at Middlesex University
Martin Barker, Emeritus Professor at University of Aberystwyth
Jessica Ringrose, Professor, Sociology of Gender and Education, UCL Institute of Education
Ronete Cohen MA, Psychologist
Dr Meg John Barker, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, The Open University
Kath Albury, Associate Professor, UNSW Australia
Myles Jackman, specialist in obscenity law
Dr Helen Hester, Middlesex University
Justin Hancock, youth worker and sex educator
Ian Dunt, Editor in Chief, Politics.co.uk
Ally Fogg, Journalist
Dr Emily Cooper, Northumbria University
Gareth May, Journalist
Dr Kate Egan, Lecturer in Film Studies, Aberystwyth University
Dr Ann Luce, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Communication, Bournemouth University
John Mercer, Reader in Gender and Sexuality, Birmingham City University
Dr. William Proctor, Lecturer in Media, Culture and Communication, Bournemouth University
Dr Jude Roberts, Teaching Fellow, University of Surrey
Dr Debra Ferreday, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Lancaster University
Jane Fae, author of "Taming the beast" a review of law/regulation governing online pornography
Michael Marshall, Vice President, Merseyside Skeptics Society
Martin Robbins, Journalist
Assoc. Prof. Paul J. Maginn (University of Western Australia)
Dr Lucy Neville, Lecturer in Criminology, Middlesex University
Alix Fox, Journalist and Sex Educator
Dr Mark McCormack, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Durham University
Chris Ashford, Professor of Law and Society, Northumbria University
Diane Duke, CEO Free Speech Coalition (USA)
Dr Steve Jones, Senior Lecturer in Media, Northumbria University
Dr Johnny Walker, Lecturer in Media, Northumbria University

Update: NSPCC's shoddy political campaigning gets picked up by the Independent

13th April 2015.

The open letter has been picked up by both the Independent and the website politics.co.uk

The Independent leads

The Independent NSPCC accused of risking its reputation and whipping up moral panic with study into porn addiction among children

The NSPCC has been accused of deliberately whipping up a moral panic with a study suggesting a tenth of all 12- to 13-year-olds fear they are addicted to pornography.

In an open letter to the child protection organisation's chief executive Peter Wanless, a group of doctors, academics, journalists and campaigners criticised the NSPCC for suggesting that pornography is causing harm to new generations of young people .

See  article from  independent.co.uk

Meanwhile politics.co.uk note that the NSPCC research was hogwash

politics co uk logo How the NSPCC lost its way.

Late last month, the NSPCC released some startling findings. A tenth of all 12-to-13-year-olds were addicted to porn, it found. One in five had been shocked or upset by the things they'd found online. Twelve per cent had made their own porn.

The findings were widely reported . Immediately afterwards, culture secretary Sajid Javid promised new censorship measures, with a regulator ensuring adult sites have age verification technology to prevent young people accessing porn.

The cycle from research to reporting to promises of legislation was accomplished in the space of a morning. It was a remarkably effective operation.

The only problem was, it was all nonsense. The NSPCC research was hogwash.

See  article from  politics.co.uk

Update: The Guardian enters the fray

14th April 2015.

The Guardian Children addicted to porn Don't believe everything the surveys say

OnePoll was behind a recent survey revealing that 20% of people believe that smoking has improved their career opportunities . This one was commissioned by an E-cigarette company . A poll commissioned during National Ferry Fortnight for Discover Ferries -- which had just invested heavily in improved seating -- revealed that travellers really hate aircraft seats. You get the picture.

See  article from  theguardian.com

 

13th April

  Tartarstan vs xHamster...

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Russian Regional court calls on the internet censor to block 136 of the world's main porn sites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

tatarstan logo Vladimir Putin once said half the Internet is nothing but porno materials. While a major academic study in 2010 found that, in reality, just 4% of websites were pornographic, it's an undisputed fact that there is indeed a lot of adult-rated material on the Web.

If the Russian court system gets its way, however, the number of legal pornographic websites on the RuNet could drop to zero. That's right: a district court in Tatarstan has banned 136 porn sites, and the language of its ruling implies that all Internet porn is hereby against the law.

On April 13, 2015, the newspaper Izvestia reported that a court in Tatarstan's Apastovsky district has ordered Roskomnadzor, the federal government's media censor, to add 136 websites to its Internet blacklist, if the sites fail to purge themselves of all pornographic content within the next three days. The list of websites includes xHamster, one of the most popular destinations for pornography in the world.

The local district attorney's office, which petitioned the court to crack down on Internet porn, cited in its suit obscure international agreements from the early twentieth century, Izvestia reported.

First, prosecutors pointed out that international treaties constitute an integral part of Russian law according to the Russian Constitution, even arguing, rather unorthodoxly, that international obligations take priority over domestic legislation, when the two are in conflict. Then, prosecutors cited the Convention for the Suppression of the Circulation of Obscene Publications, signed in Paris in 1910, and the subsequent international agreement signed in Geneva in 1923, both of which ban the production, possession, and distribution of pornographic materials.

The signatories to these international accords were, of course, the Tsarist Empire and the Soviet Union, and the Apastovsky district attorney says today's Russian Federation is still bound by these agreements.

According to an adult-film maker who spoke to Izvestia, Russian law is very vague about regulating pornography. The only law on the books, he says, is Article 242 of the federal criminal code, which delineates several illegal types of distribution, but does not clearly define legal ways to advertise, disseminate, and trade in porn.

How did the Tartarstan prosecutors flag 136 websites, Russia's largest-ever single ban request, for Roskomnadzor's blacklist? The district attorney's office says it searched Yandex (Russia's leading Internet search engine) for the terms Kazan prostitutes and porno video. Film experts at the Ministry of Culture then examined the websites on this list and confirmed that they are indeed brimming with pornographic content.

It remains unclear if Roskomnadzor will block these websites across Russia or only in Tatarstan. It is also unknown if Roskomnadzor and the Apastovsky district attorney will stop with these 136 websites, or wage a larger campaign against the millions of other porn sites online.

Whatever happens, this is just the latest episode in a broader crackdown on the Internet that has taken place in Russia since Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012. For some Russian Internet users, like musician Sergei Shnurov, Putin's third presidential term has already spoiled porn, whatever happens in Tatarstan.

 

12th April

 Update: Distorted News...

China threatens to punish internet news service that does not censor enough
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Weibo logo China's government has threatened to shut down Sina , one of the country's most popular news websites unless it improves censorship , state media reported via the Xinhua news agency. Sina is the fourth most visited website in China, according to ranking service Alexa.

The censors whose job it is to officially distort news facts, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), claimed that Sina:

Distorted news facts, violated morality and engaged in media hype.

The CAC will seriously punish Sina, with possible measures including a complete shut down of its Internet news services , Xinhua added.

The report did not provide specifics on which of Sina's news offerings had fallen foul of censors, but said the CAC accused Sina of spreading illegal information related to rumors, violence and terrorism , and advocation of heresies .

 

12th April

  Hulu Hullabaloo...

New Zealand media companies threaten ISPs over their global VPN services
Link Here

slingshot global mode logo Following copyright threats from large media companies a New Zealand ISP has taken down its VPN service. Lightbox, MediaWorks, SKY, and TVNZ had threatened legal action against services that bypass geo-restrictions on sites such as Netflix and Hulu. Other ISPs offering similar products are currently standing firm.

For a relatively small fee, users of the most popular VPN services can tunnel out of their country of origin and reappear in any one of dozens of countries around the world. This opens up a whole new world of media consumption opportunities.

Citizens of the United States, for example, can access BBC iPlayer just like any other Brit might, while those in the UK looking to sample the widest possible Netflix offering can easily tunnel right back into the U.S.

This cross-border content consumption is not popular with entertainment companies and distributors. It not only undermines their ability to set high prices on a per-region basis, but also drives a truck through hard-negotiated licensing agreements. Lightbox, MediaWorks, SKY, and TVNZ said in a joint statement:

We pay considerable amounts of money for content rights, particularly exclusive content rights. These rights are being knowingly and illegally impinged, which is a significant issue that may ultimately need to be resolved in court in order to provide future clarity for all parties involved,

Unlimited Internet became the first ISP to respond to media company pressure by pulling its geo-unblocking service known as TV VPN after receiving a warning letter from a lawfirm. The letter, which has been sent out to several local ISPs, threatens Unlimited Internet that its VPN service infringes the Copyright Act of 1994.

Currently there are no signs that other ISPs intend to follow suit.

 

11th April

 Updated: Censorial Gits...

China shows off it technical capability to censor and take down international websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
github logo The open source code sharing depository, GitHub, has been put under a prolonged distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack seemingly from China.

It seems likely that the attack were targeting GitHub projects that help circumvent the Great Firewall of China.

It appears a JavaScript file served from within China by Baidu's advertising network was intercepted such that internet browsers in China would fire repeated HTTP requests at GitHub.com rather than the usual Baidu advertising servers that are built to cope with the massive load.

Anti-censorship campaign group Greatfire.org said in a blog post the attacks are an effort to shut down its GitHub-hosted project , and an extension of an attack on anti-censorship groups by Chinese authorities.

Greatfire goes on to point the finger for the attacks directly to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The group argues that the CAC is deliberately trying to weaponize its Great Firewall to perform international attacks. The Greatfire team wrote:

This is a frightening development and the implications of this action extend beyond control of information on the internet. In one quick movement, the authorities have shifted from enforcing strict censorship in China to enforcing Chinese censorship on internet users worldwide.

Update: The Great Cannon

11th April 2015. See  article from  theregister.co.uk

great cannon China has upgraded the website-blocking systems, dubbed The Great Firewall, so it can blast foreign businesses and organisations off the internet.

Researchers hailing from the University of Toronto, the International Computer Science Institute, the University of California Berkeley, and Princeton University, have confirmed that China is hijacking web traffic and redirecting advert server requests so as to overpower sites critical of the authoritarian state.

This weaponized firewall has been dubbed the Great Cannon by the researchers, and typically hijacks requests to Baidu's advertising network in China. Anyone visiting a website that serves ads from Baidu, for example, could end up unwittingly silencing a foreign site disliked by the Chinese authorities.

...Read the full article

 

11th April

 Update: Challenging the Right to Listen to Everything...

Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International have jointly filed a case with the European Court challenging the legality of mass snooping
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
European court buildings Rights groups have asked the European Court of Human Rights to rule on the legality of the UK's mass snooping regime.

Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International have jointly filed a legal complaint with the court. The three organisations claim that the surveillance carried out by GCHQ breaches the European Convention on Human Rights that enshrines certain freedoms in law.

A similar legal challenge mounted in the UK last year saw judges rule that the spying did not breach human rights.

Nick Williams, legal counsel for Amnesty said in a statement:

The UK government's surveillance practices have been allowed to continue unabated and on an unprecedented scale, with major consequences for people's privacy and freedom of expression.

Information that had come to light in the last 12 months showed, said Amnesty, that there were flaws in the oversight system. One revelation concerned arrangements GCHQ has with its US counterparts to get at data it would be difficult for the UK agency to get permission to acquire. There were also loopholes in UK laws governing surveillance being exploited by GCHQ to expand its spying abilities, it said.

 

9th April

  Unblocking...

EU Commission is considering an EU wide process for complaints about website overblocking
Link Here
EU flag The European Commission is considering creating an EU-wide complaint procedure for people whose websites are wrongly blocked by ISPs.

Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová said in a letter that:

The Commission is analysing the need for a specific initiative on notice-and-action procedures to bring legal certainty and transparency to the way online intermediaries take down content that is alleged to be illegal.

The concept will be published in the planned Digital Single Market legislative package, due to be presented next month, but there are no specific details of the process expected as yet.

Council of Europe human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks said two weeks ago:

The blocking of internet sites without prior judicial authorisation which recently started in France is a clear example of the risks that such measures represent for human rights, and particularly for freedom of expression and the right to receive and communicate information

He urged lawmakers to ensure that any blocking measures:

Are subject to effective democratic control and that the persons at whom they are directed have an effective remedy available to challenge them.

 

9th April

 Offsite Article: An Impossible Quandry...

Link Here
asacp logo US adult industry considers how to respond to age verification issues such as the mass website blocking threatened by Cameron

See article from xbiz.com

 

8th April

 Offsite Article: France Etait Charlie...

Link Here  full story: Comms Snooping in France...French database to monitor political activists
France flag France tables Patriot Act style mass snooping law

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

7th April

  A Picture of Government Repression...

Turkey blocks all social media in an attempt to censor news images that were considered propaganda
Link Here

Turkey flag Turkey got itself in a censorship mess in attempt to block a few news images.

Two gunmen, from a far-left group, took a prosecutor hostage at an Istanbul courthouse last week. Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was apparently taken hostage because he headed an investigation into the 2013 death of a boy during anti-government protests. Images were published in news reports showing the prosecutor being held at gunpoint. The gunmen and the hostage were later killed in a police 'rescue'.

Turkish authorities decided that the images were anti-government propaganda . and set about censoring them. Newspapers were stopped from printing the images, but it was not so easy to stop the images circulating on social media. So Turkey promptly blocked access to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and others in their entirety. In total, 166 websites which shared the images were blocked by the court order.

The blocks on Facebook and Twitter were later lifted after they both sites later took down the censored images. But not before the Turkish people had come to see how repressive their government has become.

Millions of social media users tried to post comments or videos on their favourite platforms only to find that they were blocked. But the block did not stop people from tweeting. Newspapers and individuals alike shared guidelines on how to circumvent the ban. The hashtag #TwitterisblockedinTurkey became the number one trending topic worldwide.

 

7th April

 Offsite Article: Reality Check...

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

See article from newstatesman.com

 

6th April

 Offsite Article: Doing the Decent Thing...

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

See article from eveningharold.com

 

4th April

 Update: The Nasty Party...

Tories will block all internet porn if they win the election
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
sajid javid The government has been trailing this policy by forcing onerous age verification requirements on British adult Video on Demand websites. Unfortunately there is currently no economically viable way to implement age verification and the net result is that pretty much the entire British VoD business has either been forced to close or else move overseas.

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

Anyway this is what the Tories are proposing:

It's time to protect children online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2nd April

 Update: Causing Extreme Discomfort to China...

In addition to American TV, China bans sexy and violent Japanese anime
Link Here  full story: Internet TV Censorship in China...Draconian censorship
High School Dead Drifters OVA Some of China's biggest video streaming sites have been warned that they face punishment after failing to remove sexy or violent Japanese cartoon video clips. The ministry noted that 12 offending clips on Todou alone had attracted more than one million hits.

China's Ministry of Culture said the firms had hosted anime that glorified violence and terrorism, and contained vulgar erotic elements. Net firms Baidu, Tencent and Youku were among those named as offenders.

The announcement coincides with the introduction of wider restrictions on the use of foreign online clips. Streaming sites are now censored by publication licences required to be able to add other countries' TV series and movies, which will be censored by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) on an individual basis.

Three specific examples of indecent anime cartoons are mentioned in a statement posted to the Ministry of Culture's website:

  • Blood-C, a series about a sword-wielding teenage girl who fights monsters in her town. It is accused of containing a particularly bloody beheading scene that would cause extreme discomfort
  • Terror in Resonance, a series involving two teenagers who carry out a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon. Officials said this glorified violence and criminal activities
  • High School of the Dead, a show about a group of students struggling to survive in a world overtaken by zombies. The programme, which was given a certificate 15 when released in the UK.

The firms involved have been told they will learn what penalties they face at a later stage.

 

1st April

 Commented: Children's 'charities' get nasty about internet censorship...

Seeking onerous age verification that would make it near impossible to have anything adult on the internet
Link Here
chis charities The political organisation, Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, is lobbying parliamentary candidates to sign up for oppressive policies to ban all businesses from working with age restricted websites who don't sign for onerous and unviable age verification requirements.

The political campaign group, Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, is an umbrella organisation funded by Action for Children, BAAF, Barnardo's, Children England, Children's Society, ECPAT UK, Kidscape, NCB, NSPCC, and Stop It Now!

CHIS has launched its Digital Manifesto which it is sending to all the major political parties contesting seats in the forthcoming General Election to the UK Parliament. The manifesto asks the parties to commit themselves to the policy recommendations which are put forward. CHIS has more or less guaranteed political support by cunningly tacking on the internet censorship measures to a raft of measures targeting child porn.

Perhaps the most oppressive section in the document is:

Data protection and access to age restricted goods and services

39. The government should consider ways to ensure stricter compliance with the decision in R v Perrin (CCA 2002)15 in respect of adult pornography sites. Perhaps the Gambling Commission's experience in certifying age verification systems could be brought to bear in this area. The Authority for Television on Demand's remit could be extended to enable them to advise or adjudicate on whether particular sites are covered by the decision in R v Perrin.

40. Legislation should be introduced to make it illegal for any bank, credit card company or other form of business or association to provide any services or facilities to companies or organisations that publish pornography on the internet but do not have a robust age verification process in place.

41. Legislation should be brought forward to provide for the development of regulations governing the online sale of age-restricted goods and services. It should be a crime for any bank, credit card company or other organisation to provide financial or other services to websites selling age restricted goods or services without a robust age verification system in place.

42. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) should issue clear, research-based advice and guidance on the respective rights and responsibilities of all the parties where online data transactions involving children are concerned. These regulations should specifically address but not be limited to data transactions linked to the engagement of children in e-commerce.

43. In particular, the ICO should consider setting, or asking parliament to set, a legally defined minimum age below which verifiable parental consent will always be required in an online environment (though this should be balanced to avoid overly restricting the children's activities online). This should apply for all types of data transactions, or for those transactions linked to e-commerce, or both.

Comment: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

letter writing 2nd April 2015. Thanks to Alan

Two thoughts spring to mind here.

1. How can these outfits claim to be charities when they are engaged in naked political activity by campaigning for changes in the law? Would it be worthwhile to mount a challenge with the Charity Commissioners?

2. I note their enthusiasm for the decision in R v. Perrin. You covered this case at the time, and it was pretty outrageous. Perrin, a straight Frenchman, had acquired as a going concern an American business, one of whose activities was a gay scat site. (Nothing else it did involved porn.) Perrin ensured that the site complied with American federal law and the law of the states in which the porn was filmed and the servers housed. It was Perrin's misfortune to live in Sussex. He was nicked on the basis that since the stuff could be downloaded here it was published here. The charities are creaming their pants over this case because the jury only found Perrin guilty in relation to the free samples, not the stuff behind the paywall. Incidentally, the case was met with outrage and incomprehension in France, where Le Nouvel Observateur had to explain the bizarre concept of obscene publication to its readers.

 

31st March

  Daily Mail and the BBFC recommend the first 18 rated music video on YouTube...

Couple of Stacks by Dizzee Rascal
Link Here  full story: BBFC Online Music Censors...Scheme for UK music publishers to get BBFC rating for videos

dizzee rascal couple of stacks video British made online music videos are to being given age ratings. The BBFC, which is running the initiative, has estimated that one in five videos released will be deemed unfit for those under 12. Video sharing sites YouTube and Vevo have signed up to the scheme and pledged to include the warnings on clips uploaded to their sites. Vevo puts the rating in the top corner of the video, while YouTube includes it in the information beneath.

However some of the world's raunchiest performers, such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, are not covered by the scheme and there are no measures in place to enforce the guidelines. A spokesman for Vevo said:

There is no signing in as such or filters -- although this is a next step that may be added in time. At the moment this is about giving parents and users the information they need to make a more informed viewing choice and decision. To be effective it requires that parents also take an active interest in what their children are watching.

Rapper Dizzee Rascal has scored a first, his video Couple of Stacks is the first and so far the only 18 rating under the initiative for strong bloody violence, gore, very strong language . The three and a half minute clip contains extreme violence with the rapper ripping the heart out of a stripping woman, brandishing a knife while covered in blood and decapitating a woman whose body then stumbles around the room.  He also holds a family hostage and serves a cake with severed fingers instead of candles. He is shown pulling out a person's eyeball, slitting one woman's throat and cutting another's head in half.

Vivienne Pattison, a moralist campaigner from Media Watch-UK, said:

When parents are surveyed, the two areas that came up as being particularly problematic were soap operas and music videos, those are the two areas that come up again and again as the issue. One in five, that's a huge number of videos.

What happens is one video pushes the boundaries and the next artists is under pressure to do the same in order to get people talking about it. It becomes a great merry-go-round and I think that is a fantastic illustration of exactly where this is gone, it's quite extraordinary.

It's not a magic bullet but it's a fantastic step and I think it will really make a difference. I don't know where we will end up down the line but I would like this to act as a kite mark for music videos. This is not a move about censorship, the videos will all still be there, but I think artists and record companies need to take seriously that if they are targeting young fans they have got to do it responsibly.

On the lack of enforcement of the ratings, she said: You can't go into a shop and buy a 15 rated film without ID and we need to see about extending those protections online.

 

30th March

 Update: Block On...

India's Supreme Court confirms India's website blocking regime buts finds against other aspects of internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
india supreme court India's Supreme Court has ruled on three internet censorship sections of the Information Technology Act 2000 - Section 66A, Section 79 and Section 69A.

The draconian Section 66A was originally meant to tackle spam and cyber-stalking but was used by the powerful elite to crack down on online dissent and criticism.

Section 79 was meant to give immunity to internet intermediaries for liability emerging from third-party speech, but it had a chilling effect on free speech because intermediaries erred on the side of caution when it came to deciding whether the content was legal or illegal.

And Section 69A was the web blocking or internet censorship provision, but the procedure prescribed did not adhere to the principles of natural justice and transparency. For instance, when books are banned by courts, the public is informed of such bans but when websites are banned in India, there's no clear message from the ISP.

The Supreme Court upheld 69A, so web blocking and internet censorship in India will continue to happen in an opaque fashion which is worrying.

But on 66A and 79, the landmark judgment protects the right to free speech and expression. It struck down 66A in entirety, saying the vague and imprecise language made the provision unconstitutional and it interfered with the right of the people to know - the market place of ideas - which the internet provides to persons of all kinds .

However, it only read down Section 79 saying unlawful acts beyond what is laid down as reasonable restrictions to the right to free speech in the Constitution obviously cannot form any part of the section. In short, the court has eliminated any additional restrictions for speech online even though it admitted that the internet is intelligibly different from traditional media and might require additional laws to be passed by the Indian Parliament.

 

29th March

 Update: Sharing a long list...

UK ISPs now blocking 110 file sharing sites by court order
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block
Old Bailey Major UK ISPs must now block 110 piracy related websites after a new High Court order. The latest blocking round was issued on behalf of the major record labels and targets several MP3 download sites as well as a search engine for the cloud hosting service Mega.co.nz.

In a new wave the BPI, which represents the major record labels, has teamed up with music licensing outfit Phonographic Performance Limited to obtain an order targeting a series of MP3 download sites.

A few days ago several providers including Sky, BT and Virgin implemented the new changes, making it harder for their subscribers to reach these sites. The other ISPs are expected to follow suit during the days to come.

Thus far the sealed Court order hasn't been released to the public but the list of 17 sites was confirmed to TorrentFreak by one of the major ISPs, which preferred not to comment on the latest blocking round.

Because the ISPs have given up on defending their position in court, it is now a mere formality for copyright holders to have a pirate site banned. However, the blocking efforts are not without cost. Leaked information previously revealed that even an unopposed application for a blocking order costs copyright holders around £14,000 per website . This brings the total costs of the requesting parties well over a million pounds.

 

26th March

 Offsite Article: Internet in Iran...

Link Here  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
Iran flag Evaluating Rouhani's First Two Years as President

See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

 

25th March

 Update: Shared Prosecutions...

More internet censorship is Turkey where people sharing censored material will be prosecuted
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Facebook logo Social media users who share content that has been subject to a legal complaint in Turkey will be punished, according an omnibus bill currently being debated in parliament.

Internet censors at the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) will be able to decide for the removal or blocking of Internet content based on vague claims about "protection of national security and public order" in the omnibus bill, and users who then share such content will also be punished.

On March 20, parliament approved a key article of the contentious omnibus bill that gives power to the prime minister and other ministers to shut down websites within four hours. The approval came just six months after a similar bill was overturned by the Constitutional Court.

The TİB could enforce the ministry's request as a blanket ban of the website if deemed necessary, within a maximum four hours. The TİB would then submit the decision to the judge of a criminal court of peace within 24 hours for approval. The judge would have to issue a ruling within 48 hours. If no verdict is issued, the ban would automatically be revoked.

According to the law, the TİB could also file criminal complaints by applying to prosecutors regarding the content of the website. ISPs or web hosts would be required to submit the necessary information to help locate those being censored through a court order. Providers that do not identify censored account holders could be given hefty fines Authorities would also be able to revoke their provider licenses in Turkey.

 

23rd March

 Update: GreatFire Under Fire...

China censors website helping to workaround Chinese censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
greatfire A campaign organisation that circumvents Chinese website blocks has said it has come under a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) instigated by the Chinese authorities.

Greatfire called the attack an attempt to enforce censorship and noted in a tweet:

China internal docs show military, Ministries of State & Public Security and rogue operators used to wage cyberwar

Greatfire has tracked which sites are blocked in China and recently began offering a mirroring service to try to restore them for Chinese users. Similar to the campaign started by Reporters Without Borders last week, it set up content distribution networks (CDNs) using the same hosting services as many entities on which China relies. In a statement published on its website, Greatfire said the attacks started on 17 March and added:

We are receiving up to 2.6 billion requests per hour which is about 2,500 times more than normal levels. Likely in response to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) , we've experienced our first ever distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

In theory, the method provided protection to Greatfire because, to be sure that the blocked websites remained inaccessible, attackers would have to take down the whole hosting service - including many sites that China wanted to remain live. However, in practice, the attackers managed to find the individual URLs of the sites the authorities sought to block and bombarded them, in a more targeted attack, said Prof Alan Woodward of the University of Surrey. He added that keeping the sites online would require the purchase of more bandwidth, adding that he consequently believed the Chinese authorities wanted to put financial pressure on Greatfire.

 

23rd March

 Update: Blogs Censored...

Pakistan blocks the WordPress, the largest blocking platform in the world
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
wordpress logo The largest blogging platform of the world, WordPress.com, has been banned in Pakistan which a tech blog says has been done on orders of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

According to the ProPakistani blog, who claims to have been confirmed by an anonymous source within PTA, reports that WordPress.com has been blocked due to references to the Pakistan Day. The exact nature of threat on WordPress.com that triggered the blocking is unreported.

The blog also reports the ban might be lifted in next two days

PTA has a history of blocking websites without giving any prior notice or reason of doing so.

 

22nd March

  Over strict...

The BBFC publishes rules for EE 'strict' website blocking. The BBFC treat this as a PG rating
Link Here
ee logo The BBFC writes:

The BBFC is introducing a new Classification Framework for film and video, to filter video and website content available to customers under the age of 12 via mobile networks. The change on the EE networks will take effect from 16th March 2015.

EE restricts access to content classified as 18 and over on its mobile network as default for all customers, but offers three types of settings Off , Moderate and Strict giving customers the option to choose what content lock is right for them. The new Classification Framework is based on the BBFC's PG standard and will be added to EE's Strict content setting which can be changed on the device at any time.

David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC said:

We first provided a framework for Mobile Operators to restrict access to content via mobile networks by customers aged under 18, in September 2013. We are pleased to be able to provide an additional Classification Framework for EE, to allow them to restrict content unsuitable for users under the age of 12. The Framework takes into account the same issues the BBFC considers when age rating a film or DVD and defines content which meets the BBFC's PG Guidelines and is therefore suitable for those under 12.

The Classification Framework is a living document and will be updated regularly to reflect evolving public attitudes and societal concerns. It has been developed using the BBFC's Classification Guidelines, these are based on large scale public consultations involving around 10,000 people, and are revised every 4-5 years.

And indeed the rules are strict

Sex

  • sexualised posing, dancing or gestures
  • sight of sexual activity unless discreet, infrequent and implied only
  • sight of sex toys and paraphernalia
  • moderate or crude sex references
  • nudity in a sexual context
  • sight of genitals in a work with no apparent educational purpose
  • sex education and advice which is inappropriate for children aged under 12 (this will include detailed discussion of topics such as abortion or sexual positions and performance)
  • verbal or visual references to bondage and other BDSM activities
Violence and Threat
  • moderate or strong violence
  • emphasis on injuries or blood, gory moments, which may be animated
  • prolonged or intense frightening sequences
  • moderate physical and psychological threat and horror
  • visual or verbal references to sexual violence
Surely a rule such as the clause that bans 'verbal references to sexual violence' would mean that all newspaper websites and perhaps all news site in general would have to be blocked along with daytime TV. The rules don't seem very will adapted to website usage. There doesn't seem to be any sense of practicality in applying the rules to large websites. Does a single use of strong language in a 12 thousand page website generally useful to kids, mean that the entire site has to be blocked?

 

22nd March

 Offsite Article: ATVOD: Is It Time to Choose a Side?...

Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
pacino godfather 2 If they were the mafia, their fees would be termed protection money and their business model would be extortion. By Ben Yates

See article from xbiz.com

 

21st March

 Update: Internet Bounty Hunters...

South Africa looks to its film censors to wander the internet looking for things to ban and to invoice their victims for censorship 'services'
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in South Africa...Proppsal to block all porn from South Africans
south africa film censor logo South Africa's Film and Publications Board (FPB) is expecting to be granted the power to order an administrator of any online platform to take down any content that the Board may deem to be potentially harmful and disturbing to children of certain ages.

The censors have generated a 14-page set of draft rules for online content that would, in theory, have given it the power to order Wikipedia et al to remove images, and then send them an invoice for the cost of doing so.

For Video on Demand services, the board has proposed co-cesnorship, which will allow each streaming provider to classify its own content with an in-house team of people after they are trained, for no more than five days, by the FPB.

By June 2016, everything such streaming providers make available to South African audiences must be rated. That may prove a challenge for in-house teams too, so the FPB draft regulations make another concession -- content classified under another system can be deemed classified by the FPB, if the regimes are sufficiently similar. In practice, a 13 (language) or 16 (nudity) classification imposed by regulators in the US or Europe will be accepted for South African use.

The censors look set to become very nasty about what the board describes as self-generated content. This, the draft rules say, could include a drawing, picture, illustration or painting; recording or any other message or communication, including a visual presentation, placed on any distribution network including, but not confined to, the internet .

Streaming services will be responsible for their own classification expenses, and those who distribute self-generated content can expect an invoice from the FPB once it has decided to classify such content of its own accord. So it appears that finding harmful content is the driver behind an expected eight-fold increase in the money the FPB says it will need to police the online space.

This week the department of communications, under which the FPB falls, published its budget forecasts. In the last financial year, the budget shows, the FPB spent under R1-million for online and mobile content regulation . By 2016 that is expected to increase to R8.2-million.

The department of state security is expected to release, within weeks, a first draft of the Cybercrimes and Related Matters Bill. That law is being drafted behind closed doors, but is understood to be a clear victory for the state security department over the department of telecommunications and the department of communications.

 

20th March

  Causing public panic...

Government threatens people with 5 years in prison just for posting an underboob selfie
Link Here

underboob selfie Thailand's military government threatened women posting photos of the lower half of their breasts, a current social media trend, saying their actions could violate the country's computer crime laws and lead to 5 years in prison.

Thailand's computer crimes act 2007 bans material that causes damage to the country's security or causes public panic or any obscene computer data which is accessible to the public .

The culture ministry said offenders faced up to five years in jail. Ministry spokesman Anandha Chouchoti said:

When people take these 'underboob selfies' no one can see their faces.  So it's like, we don't know who these belong to, and it encourages others to do the same.

We can only warn people to not take it up. They are inappropriate actions.

 

18th March

 Update: Watching the Watchers...

Big Brother Watch responds to parliamentary committee findings on mass snooping in the UK
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Big Brother Watch logo The Intelligence and Security Committee publishes the findings of its Privacy and Security Inquiry while Open Rights Group has published its own report into the activities are GCHQ and their impact on British citizens.

The consequences of GCHQ's activities have the potential to harm society, the economy and our foreign standing. These have not been fully explored by Parliament. We hope that this report helps MPs to understand the range of GCHQ's activities and the fact that they affect ordinary people not just those suspected of threatening national security.

Open Rights Group responded to the Intelligence and Security Committee's report into Security and Privacy. Executive Director, Jim Killock said:

The ISC's report should have apologised to the nation for their failure to inform Parliament about how far GCHQ's powers have grown. This report fails to address any of the key questions apart from the need to reform our out-of-date surveillance laws. This just confirms that the ISC lacks the sufficient independence and expertise to hold the agencies to account.

A report published by Open Rights Group, has called for the reform of oversight mechanisms, including the Intelligence and Security Committee, so that they are truly independent, accountable to Parliament and have sufficient technical expertise to tackle the technical, legal and ethical issues around surveillance. We also call for reform of the laws that allow surveillance to be replaced by new comprehensive surveillance legislation that complies with human rights law and reflects the current technical landscape.

These would mean:

  • Targeted surveillance not mass surveillance
  • Prior judicial authorisation for all surveillance decisions
  • Increasing the legal protection for communications data so that it is the same as for the content of communications
  • Ending statutory definitions that are out outdated in the digital age -- such as the current distinctions between 'internal' and 'external' communications.

See  Big Brother Watch report from  openrightsgroup.org

Update: Report acknowledges failings but paves way for snooper's charter

See  article from  theguardian.com

The conclusion from the cross-party group of senior MPs and peers on the intelligence services -- who operate within the ring of secrecy -- that Britain's complex web of surveillance laws needs replacing with a single act of parliament would never have happened without those disclosures taking place.

Their recommendation that this new legal framework must be based on an explicit avowal of intrusive surveillance capabilities and spell out authorisation procedures, privacy constraints, transparency requirements, targeting criteria and the rest is also significant.

...Read the full article

 

17th March

  Caught Red Handed...

France blocks 5 terrorists websites without the requirement to obtain a court order
Link Here
France flag The French authorities have used new powers to block without a court order, five websites which they claim condone terrorism.

Internet service providers have 24 hours to comply. The chairman of European Internet Service Provider OVH tweeted that his firm had not been given any warning.

The rules were approved along with other counter-terrorism measures by the French parliament last year. It is the first time they have been put to use to block websites without going through a court process.

Visitors to the sites affected are now directed to a page from the French Interior Ministry, containing a graphic of a big red hand.

 

17th March

 Offsite Article: Super-complex snoopware...

Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
NSA logo Kaspersky claims to have found NSA's space station snoopware that gets forcibly downloaded on to the computers of those under surveillance

See article from theregister.co.uk