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16th December

 Update: Nick Clegg champions people's 'exotic' sexual kicks...

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Whilst David Cameron confirms that he is a miserable censorial prat
Link Here  full story: UK Internet Porn Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
nick clegg Nick Clegg has slammed new porn laws which outlaws British websites from hosting supposedly harmful bedroom acts between consenting adults

Nick Clegg today warned prudish David Cameron to keep his nose out of people's exotic bedroom habits. He said:

The Government is not there to stick its nose in the bedroom, as long as people are not doing things which are illegal. It's not really for us to judge how people get their kicks.

Speaking at his monthly press conference, Clegg made clear the face sitting porn protestors have his support:

In a free society, people should be free to do things that many people might find exotic, at mildest, or deeply unappetising at worst. It's their freedom to do so.

But Cameron made clear last week he backs the repressive and business destroying new laws. He told a conference in London:

I feel that it's very important. In Britain we have rules about how you can buy pornography in the shop. I believe we should try and make sure you apply those rules when you buy pornography online.

The PM said it was part of a broader principle that the same laws should apply online as on the high street. Of course it never occurred to him to achieve this by freeing up  the ridiculous prohibitions inflicted on high street stores. Cameron spouted further: 

We're trying to make sure that when something is a crime, it is prosecuted and convicted wherever it takes place. My view is that should happen whether it's online or offline. We should try and apply the same rule whether you're visiting a shop in a high street or visiting a store on the internet.

 

16th December

  Sharing Legal Arguments...

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MPAA pursues existing law to attempt to block the likes of The Pirate Bay in the US
Link Here

MPAA logo The MPAA is in discussions with the major US movie studios over ways to introduce site blocking to the United States. TorrentFreak has learned that the studios will try to achieve website blockades using principles available under existing law. Avoiding another SOPA-style backlash is high on the agenda.

Mechanisms to force ISPs to shut down subscriber access to infringing sites are becoming widespread in Europe but have not yet gained traction in the United States.

TorrentFreak has learned that during 2013 the MPAA and its major studio partners began to seriously consider their options for re-introducing the site blocking agenda to the United States. Throughout 2014 momentum has been building but with no real option to introduce new legislation, the MPAA has been looking at leveraging existing law to further its aims. We can reveal that the MPAA has been examining four key areas.

...See the full article

 

16th December

 Offsite Article: The Guardian view on the freedom of the internet...

Link Here
The Guardian It's under attack around the world The net is a powerful weapon, and governments don't want it in the hands of their critics

See article from theguardian.com

 

15th December

 Offsite Comment: Can We Stop Being Judgemental About People's Sex Lives...

Link Here  full story: UK Internet Porn Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
Intimate Games DVD Tudor Gates There seems to be a tired, frustrating belief in British culture that sex is something that needs to be kept indoors and not talked about, especially if you're a politician or public figure. By Frances Black

See article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

14th December

 Offsite Article: Why Google should leave Europe...

Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Google logo The company is under relentless attack by European authorities who won't stop until they do real damage. By Mike Elgan

See article from computerworld.com

 

14th December

 Offsite Article: Soon, the internet will be impossible to control...

Link Here
bitcoin logo From big companies to governments, the ability to censor what we do online is about to get a lot harder. By Jamie Bartlett

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

13th December

  Sly Foxes...

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Internet browser makers to implement website blocking within the browser software
Link Here
firefox logo David Cameron announced a new law this week defining a new offence of over 18's sending. sexual messages to under 16s.

The Government also announced that revenge porn will also become a specific crime.

And perhaps most interesting a small follow up snippet of news that Microsoft, Google and Mozilla will announce plans to directly block people from accessing websites hosting child pornography from software include as an integral feature in internet browsers. So sounds like another censorship tool that others will soon clamour for its extension to their pet censorship requirements.

 

13th December

 Update: Crap website blocking...

Sounds like Virgin media is blocking parliamentary website because they use words also used by extremist groups
Link Here  full story: Crap Internet Blocking...Cheapo automated filters are not up to the job
Account Rendered Extraordinary Rendition Britains At the behest of David Cameron and the Daily Mail, everyone who signs up for an Internet account is asked Would you like to keep 'adult content' blocked on this connection?

It's a misleading question. A more accurate version is Would you like an unnamed third party company to use a secret, arbitrary, ever-changing blacklist to spy on all your clicks and decide which ones are and are not allowed to get through?

Like China's Great Firewall, the UK firewall is a patchwork of rules and filters that are opaque to users and regulators. Every ISP uses its own censorship supplier to spy on its customers and decide what they're allowed to see, and they change what is and is not allowed from moment to moment, with no transparency into how, when or why those decisions are being made.

Case in point: Virgin Media is blocking access to the website of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition . The site hosts Parliament's own documents on extraordinary rendition (this being the favoured government euphemism for sending people to other countries to be tortured ).

There's no way to know why Virgin blocked this. It's probably because much of the vocabulary used, seems to a dumb algorithm, to sound a bit like a website glorifying terrorism. Virgin in fact makes the unlikely sounding claim that the site is serving malware.

Update: Now uncensored

14th December 2014. Thanks to Braintree

The site is now unblocked by Virgin Media.

 

13th December

  Freedom on the Net 2014...

Freedom House surveys the world of internet freedom
Link Here
freedom on the net 2014 Freedom on the Net 2014 is the fifth annual comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe, covering developments in 65 countries that occurred between May 2013 and May 2014. The report finds internet freedom around the world in decline for the fourth consecutive year, with 36 out of 65 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period.

In a departure from the past, when most governments preferred a behind-the-scenes approach to internet control, countries rapidly adopted new laws that legitimize existing repression and effectively criminalize online dissent.

The past year also saw increased government pressure on independent news websites, which had previously been among the few uninhibited sources of information in many countries, in addition to more people detained or prosecuted for their digital activities than ever before.

Key Findings

  • Between May 2013 and May 2014, 41 countries passed or proposed legislation to penalize legitimate forms of speech online, increase government powers to control content, or expand government surveillance capabilities.
  • Since May 2013, arrests for online communications pertinent to politics and social issues were documented in 38 of the 65 countries, most notably in the Middle East and North Africa, where detentions occurred in 10 out of the 11 countries examined in the region.
  • Pressure on independent news websites, among the few unfettered sources of information in many countries, dramatically increased. Dozens of citizen journalists were attacked while reporting on conflict in Syria and antigovernment protests in Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine. Other governments stepped up licensing and regulation for web platforms.

Emerging Threats

Freedom House identified three emerging threats that place the rights of internet users at increasing risk:

  • Data localization requirements, by which private companies are required to maintain data storage centers within a given country, are multiplying, driven in part by NSA revelations, which spurred more governments to bring international web companies under domestic jurisdiction. These costly measures could expose user data to local law enforcement.
  • Women and LGBTI rights are undermined by digital threats and harassment, resulting in self-censorship that inhibits their participation in online culture.
  • Cybersecurity is eroding as government critics and human rights organizations are subject to increasingly sophisticated and personalized malware attacks, documented in 32 of the 65 countries examined.

Despite overall declines in global internet freedom, pushback by civil society was amplified this year by reactions to the NSA surveillance revelations. Awareness of the threats to fundamental rights expanded beyond civil society, as ordinary users around the world became more engaged in securing their privacy and freedom of expression online. In select cases, long-running internet freedom campaigns finally garnered the necessary momentum to succeed.

 

13th December

  They'll soon be searching for the nose they cut off...

Most companies in the world clamour to get as a ranking as possible in Google Search and pay big money for the privilege, except in Spain where they want Google shut out
Link Here
Spanish flag

 

11th December

 Update: Opposing snooper's charters...

Permission granted for judicial review of DRIPA
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

Old Bailey A judicial review of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) has been granted permission by Mr Justice Lewis in the High Court today. Open Rights Group (ORG) and Privacy International (PI) intervened in the case, which was brought by Tom Watson MP and David Davis MP, represented by Liberty. ORG and PI have now been given permission to make further submissions in advance of the next hearing.

Legal Director Elizabeth Knight said:

After the Court of Justice of the EU declared the Data Retention Directive invalid, the UK government had the opportunity to design new legislation that would protect human rights. It chose instead to circumvent the decision of the CJEU by introducing the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), which is almost identical to the Data Retention Directive.

Through our submission, we hope to help demonstrate that DRIPA breaches our fundamental human right to privacy and does not comply with human rights and EU law.

ORG's submission addresses the EU data protection regime in place before the Data Retention Directive (in particular the Data Protection Directive, the E-privacy Directive and the E-Commerce Directive) and why we consider DRIPA does not comply with the requirements of the regime in light of the clear guidance from the CJEU.

 

 

11th December

 Update: Dictatorship Report...

Thailand slips from 'partly free' to 'not free' in Freedom House report
Link Here  full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup
Thailand flag Thailand's internet freedom has slipped from partly free last year to not free this year, placing it among the ranks of China, Vietnam, Iran and Libya in that category, according to the latest annual report by Freedom House. The report notes:

After the coup, the NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order] made dozens of arrests, stepped up digital surveillance, infringed on online privacy and create a climate of fear where Internet users conducted an on and offline witch hunt against fellow citizens.

Freedom House noted that charges of lese majeste and computer-related crimes brought by Internet users against fellow citizens increased along with political detention:

In the month after the coup, there were at least five cases of a lese majeste charge added when an individual was already in detention. Three notable ones involved digital content.

Even those who use the Internet anonymously have come under threat since the May 22 coup, the organisation noted:

In late May, the MICT reportedly proposed to establish a single national gateway to the International Internet to expedite monitoring and censorship online content that is deemed illegal. Reports in June 2014 said MICT officials were consulting with vendors to implement plans, which would require every Thai citizen to authenticate their identity using their smart ID cards before logging onto the Internet.

 

 

11th December

 Update: Classified as Repressive...

South Africa also plans for the film censors to take control of the internet
Link Here
south africa film censor logo South African film censors from the Film and Publications Board (FPB) plans to extend its censorship control to the digital space and, in a draft policy document, proposes that all online content distributed in South Africa must be censored by March 2016.

However there are concerns that the agency has drafted this online regulation policy without consulting stakeholders and the breadth of its ambit could invite abuse.

The draft policy requires that, as of 31 March 2016, no one will be allowed to distribute digital content in South Africa unless it is classified in terms of the board's guidelines, or a system accredited by the board, and aligned to its classification guidelines, and the Film and Publications Act and its classifications. The FPB logo must also be prominently displayed.

This regulation would clearly apply to major corporates such as Google and Apple, who face sanctions if they don't comply, but it could also affect bloggers or individuals posting video clips online, who in some cases could face legal action.

The draft policy requires that anyone who wants to distribute a film, game or certain publications online will have to apply for an online distribution agreement. A prescribed fee, determined by the minister, will be imposed and, after payment, the distributor can classify content on behalf of the board by using its classification guidelines and those of the FPB Act.

 

 

8th December

 Update: Dangerous Blogging...

Iranian blogger sentenced to death for insulting a religious character
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Iran...Repression of free speech
stop execution soheil arabi logo A man in Iran has been sentenced to death for supposedly insulting the religious character, Mohammed on Facebook.

Soheil Arabi, a 30-year-old blogger, was convicted in August after admitting posting supposedly offensive material on eight Facebook pages, under different names.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said that Arabi now faces imminent execution by hanging after the Supreme Court upheld the sentence. Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director of the rights group, siad:

It is simply shocking that anyone should face the gallows simply because of Internet postings that are deemed to be crude, offensive, or insulting. Iran should urgently revise its penal code to eliminate provisions that criminalise peaceful free expression, especially when they punish its exercise with death.

An Arabic Facebook page to protest the decision has been set up, and now has more than 2,400 likes, but so far Iran is holding firm with the sentence.

 

6th December

 Update: Small Business Saturday...

The Government chips in by killing an entire industry of small adult internet businesses (without even having the decency to ask parliament first)
Link Here  full story: UK Internet Porn Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

mistress whiplash logo The whiplash backlash: it's not as if we're hurting anyone (else)

A new law will outlaw video-on-demand websites which showcase certain sexual practices. Jamie Merrill meets the practitioners with livelihoods on the line

From her secluded studio in Hampshire, Nikki has been running her online business for 15 years. A successful local businesswoman, until this week she would give work to up to 30 different models, actors and actresses.

Few of her neighbours will have known her speciality though; she produces pornographic videos of face sitting and female domination.

Following a change in the law, Nikki, who is professionally known as Mistress Whiplash, has had to close six of her video-on-demand websites after the new rules made her business model unprofitable.

She used to charge visitors to her websites up to £30 to view her niche videos, which she insists are consenting , legal and helping to reduce the stigma for people who have different kinks in society.

Nikki, 30, is not alone. She is one of dozens of small British pornographers who have hit out against a change in the law which means niche paid-for online pornography of unusual fetishes is now regulated in the same way as traditional DVDs bought in sex shops.

...Read the full article

 

6th December

 Update: Ripa abused by police to snoop on journalists...

Surveillance law allows police to act in an unacceptable way, says that Home Affairs Select committee
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Keith Vaz Britain's surveillance laws, which have recently been used by the police to seize journalists's phone records in the Plebgate and Huhne cases, are not fit for purpose and need urgent reform, a Commons inquiry has found.

The Commons home affairs select committee says that the level of secrecy surrounding use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) allows the police to engage in acts which would be unacceptable in a democracy .

The committee chairman, Keith Vaz, said the surveillance law was not fit for purpose:

Using Ripa to access telephone records of journalists is wrong and this practice must cease. The inevitable consequence is that this deters whistleblowers from coming forward.

The MPs' inquiry followed claims by Sun and Daily Mail journalists that the Metropolitan and Kent police forces were secretly using the powers to trawl through thousands of phone numbers to detect their confidential sources in high-profile stories.

In response Home Office ministers have claimed they will revise the Ripa rules on communications data requests involving sensitive professions such as journalists and lawyers.

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said:

When a senior Parliamentary Committee says that the current legislation is not fit for purpose, then this simply cannot be ignored. It is now abundantly clear that the law is out of date, the oversight is weak and the recording of how the powers are used is patchy at best. The public is right to expect better.

The conclusion of the Committee that the level of secrecy surrounding the use of these powers is permitting investigations that are deemed unacceptable in a democracy, should make the defenders of these powers sit up and take notice. At present, the inadequacy and inconsistency of the records being kept by public authorities regarding the use of these powers is woefully inadequate. New laws would not be required to correct this.

Whilst this report concentrates on targeting journalists, it is important to remember that thousands of members of the public have also been snooped on, with little opportunity for redress. If the police fail to use the existing powers correctly then it is completely irresponsible for the Home Office to be planning on increasing those powers.

Failure by the Government to address these serious points means we can already know that there will be many more innocent members of the public who will be wrongly spied on and accused. This is intolerable.

 

5th December

 Petitions: Remove Regulations for Video on Demand Pornography...

We call for a complete removal of this amendment, underhandedly rushed through parliament in only one month, which is inherently sexist, insulting and damaging to many British people
Link Here  full story: UK Internet Porn Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

remove regulations for vod porn Sexist, archaic and damaging. This amendment to the communications act (2003) was rushed through parliament to take away the rights British people have on the internet.

Since 1/12/14, The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 requires that video-on-demand (VoD) online porn now adhere to the same guidelines laid out for DVD sex shop-type porn by the BBFC.

This includes the likes of: Spanking, Caning, Penetration by any object associated with violence , Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual), Watersports, Female ejaculation, Facesitting, Fisting.

The regulations make NO distinction between consensual and non-consensual acts.

They treat female ejaculation as a myth (and more unsafe/disgusting than male ejaculation).

This is one further attempt to censor the internet, as with David Cameron's plan to force ISPs to filter pornography.

They will damage smaller, independent film makers and producers, where as huge pornography companies will be left comparatively unscathed, causing a loss of british jobs as independent film makers are forced overseas.

Uneccesary censorship, patriarchal behaviour is all too often the path our government takes. We have 50 shades of grey out in the CINEMA in february, yet we're not allowed to watch a real equivalent made by British people. The government have no right to dictate what a responsible adult does for work, or what they look at on the internet.

We call for a complete removal of this amendment, underhandedly rushed through parliament in only ONE MONTH, which is inherently sexist, insulting and damaging to many British people.

Sign the petition

Petition: Bound-by-law. Against sexually repressive legislation.

4th December 2014. See petition from you.38degrees.org.uk (607 signatures on 4th December)

keep ypur filthy hands off me To: Sajid Javid MP - Minister for censorship culture

Reverse the recent ban on a variety of sexual acts being depicted in UK content. They breach the freedoms and civil rights of consenting adults who participate in the sexual acts as listed below, and have duly signed their legal agreement to such participation of their own free will.

Why is this important?

Recently the government and the BBFC banned a list of sexual acts, which mainly appear to take aim at female pleasure, from appearing in UK pornography. The government are arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex.

There are greater acts of violence in mainstream movies, as indeed there are also acts of a sexual nature, and some of which are extreme. Are the government also intent on banning the multi-billion dollar Hollywood movie industry from showing such films to a British audience?

I certainly don't recall being consulted about this back-door sexual repression policy by my MP! Yet it affects me, as it does every other adult, here in the UK.

We must NOT be denied the right to choose for ourselves with regard to what do watch and what we do, and just because I happen to view a female ejaculate , for instance, what does it matter?

They banned: Spanking Caning Aggressive whipping Penetration by any object associated with violence Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual) Urolagnia (known as water sports ) Female ejaculation Strangulation Facesitting Fisting

Sign the petition

Petition: Repeal new anti-porn legislation

5th December 2014. See petition from submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk   (874 signatures on 5th December)

hm government e-petitions4 logo Responsible department: Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 came into force on December 1st, restricting UK production of online pornography which depicts spanking, caning, facesitting, female ejaculation, fisting, bondage, and other acts legal to perform between consenting adults. We want this legislation repealed.

The list of banned activities is transparently sexist: depictions of irrumatio (forceful fellatio) are explicitly permitted, but facesitting (even fully clothed) is banned. Similarly, male ejaculation on a partner is explicitly permitted, but female ejaculation on a partner is banned.

In addition, these restrictions will cripple small independent UK businesses producing niche pornographic content, while favouring large companies producing mainstream content. They will also benefit foreign companies producing content which is now illegal to produce in the UK, but still legal for UK customers to purchase and view online.

Sign the petition

 

29th November

  MPs Confused about Facebook Privacy...

Earlier MPs claimed that Facebook isn't doing enough to snoop on users. Now MPs say Facebook is doing too much to use private data without adequate permission
Link Here
home affairs committee MPs on the Science and Technology select committee have called for the Government to draw up new guidelines for websites and apps explaining clearly how they use personal data, warning that laws will be needed if companies fail to comply.

Facebook can gain direct access to a person's mobile and take pictures or make videos at any time without explicit consent, MPs warn as they call on social media companies to simplify their terms and conditions.

The MP said that they should simplify the conditions of using their services, which are designed for US courts, because they are so impenetrable that no reasonable person can be expected to understand them.

The MPs on the Science and Technology select committee called for the Government to draw up new guidelines for websites and apps explaining clearly how they use personal data, warning that laws will be needed if companies fail to comply.

The committee highlighted terms for Facebook Messenger's mobile app, used by more than 200,000 million people a month, that means it can gain direct access to a mobile or tablet, including to take pictures or make videos, at any time without explicit confirmation from the owner.

 

29th November

 Update: Double Blocked...

High doubles the list of piracy websites that have to be blocked by major ISPs
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block
Old Bailey The High Court has ordered the biggest batch yet of piracy websites to be blocked.

The latest rulings cover 53 services in total and apply to the country's six leading ISPs. It brings the tally of blocked sites providing access to copyright-infringing content to 93 since the first blocking began in 2012. The blocked sites include: BitSoup, IP Torrents, Isohunt, Sumotorrent, Torrentdb, Torrentfunk, Torrentz, Warez BB, Rapid Moviez.

Twenty-one of the sites were a result of a court order prompted by the BPI, a music industry group.

The ISPs affected are Sky, BT, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin.

BT will only block access to websites engaged in online copyright infringement when ordered by a court to do so, said the UK's biggest broadband provider, reflecting a stance shared by the other firms.

Ernesto Van Der Sar, editor of the Torrentfreak news site said:

It deters a few people who can't access their usual sites, but most people will try to find ones that are not yet blocked or use VPNs [virtual private networks] or proxy sites to get the same content.

It's making it harder - some people will decide it's just too much trouble and give up - but the overwhelming majority will still find ways to download material illegally.

 

28th November

 Update: Collect 200 Pounds and go straight to jail...

Poland to prosecute gamblers who use unlicensed foreign websites, starting with those that have won the most
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Poland...In the name of dangerous gambling
Poland flag Poland has just made a decision to put online gamblers on notice that betting with unlicensed operators could result in criminal prosecution. T

Poland officially approved online sports betting in 2011. However the onerous regulatory restrictions have attracted just four Polish-licensed operators and it has been suggested that the four operators capture only about 9% of Poland's internet betting market which is estimated at approximately $1.5 billion annually by Roland Berger consulting.

Poland still doesn't allow poker or casino games within its realm but last June revamped its Gambling Act that would allow EU-based operators to just establish a Polish branch office for tax purposes and open a Polish bank account. The amendment would also require operators to supply responsible betting measures, including providing a record of player wins and losses upon request and periodically reminding players just how long they've been online with gambling.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the Polish Regulator has information about more than 24,000 players who have been participating in overseas gambling. The Regulator has already initiated more than 1,100 criminal investigations in this area, and further proceedings will be initiated against the players who have received the highest winnings.

 

28th November

 Update: Forever Blocked...

Russia extends anti-piracy law and takes the opportunity to impose further controls on other website operators
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flag Starting next May, Russian websites guilty of more than one copyright violation will be permanently blocked. The move comes as part of a new anti-piracy bill signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, ramping up what many critics see as an already draconian set of copyright protection rules. Once a website is blocked by a court decision, it cannot be unblocked, according to the bill.

The bill extends a previous measure that was limited to video production, but amendments approved by Putin this week expand it to include all kinds of copyrighted content such as books, music and software. The only exception made is for photographs.

The amendments also oblige website owners to disclose their real names, postal addresses and e-mail addresses on the site.

An online petition against the amendments gathered more than 100,000 signatures in August, mandating a governmental review, but has so far been ignored by the relevant officials.

 

28th November

 Update: GreatFire.org...

A simple idea to work round Chinese internet censorship of BBC news
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
greatfire logo Transparency group GreatFire.org is working with the BBC to deliver the news organization's Chinese-language reporting to people censored by the country's Great Firewall.

The Chinese government has been censoring BBC China content for years and also began blocking most of the English-language version last month during pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong. But working with GreatFire.org should increase the availability of BBC content in China. The group uses a method it calls collateral freedom to serve content through a network of mirror sites that the group claims is unblockable.

The idea is to host the mirror sites through services that are so ubiquitous that it would be difficult, even for China to justify blocking the entire domain. GreatFire.org uses hosting options like Amazon Web Services to keep its mirror sites going.

GreatFire.org explained that its partnership with the BBC is specifically pegged to elections in Taiwan on Nov. 29. The goal is to present diverse information that's written in Chinese for Chinese audiences. As GreatFire.org points out, a lot of English speakers in China already use VPNs and other workarounds to access foreign media, but if they don't know how to do this or speak only Chinese, these backdoors don't help much.

 

28th November

 Offsite Article: Facebook's arrogance and Snowden's hypocrisy put us all at risk...

Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Jack Straw And if ever there were major corporations who deserve a fall because of their puffed up vanity and self-serving ambition, it is internet giants like Facebook and their ilk. By Jack Straw

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

27th November

 Update: Forgotten Freedoms...

EU internet censors want to prevent Europeans from accessing censored links via google.com
Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
EU flag Google is under fresh pressure to expand censorship under the right to be forgotten to its international .com search engine.

A panel of EU censors claimed the move was necessary to prevent the law from being circumvented.

Google currently de-lists results that appear in the European versions of its search engines, but not the international one. At present, visitors are diverted to localised editions of the US company's search tool - such as Google.co.uk and Google.fr - when they initially try to visit the Google.com site. However, a link is provided at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen offering an option to switch to the international .com version. This link does not appear if the users attempted to go to a regional version in the first place. Even so, it means it is possible for people in Europe to easily opt out of the censored lists.

 

27th November

  Highly Intrusive Snooping...

Mass snooping nations get UN to drop meta data collection from resolution condemning violations of privavcy
Link Here
UN logo The five eyes mass snooping partners, the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, have joined forces to nobble a UN General Assembly committee's statements on digital privacy.

While the General Assembly's human rights committee has adopted a non-binding resolution saying that unlawful or arbitrary mass surveillance, interception and data collection are highly intrusive acts and a violation of the right to privacy.

However, metadata collection, revealing most of what people are up to the internet, was dropped from the privacy violations noted in the resolution, at the behest of the US and its allies.

 

27th November

 Offsite Article: The war on Facebook...

Link Here
home affairs committee MPs rebuke Facebook for failure to act on online activities of Lee Rigby's murderer

See article from independent.co.uk

 

26th November

 Update: Enforcing Religious Norms...

Malaysia moves to implement widespread website blocking
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

Malaysia flag Malaysia has taken the first steps toward censoring the Internet with talks underway between the Home Ministry and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to begin blocking content that doesn't reflect supposed local culture and sensitivity.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the country's firewall would ensure that content on websites, such as YouTube and video-streaming sites, comply with Film Censorship Board rules. He said:

We are working with MCMC on this matter and I urge the commission to implement the system soon.

The minister added that the public needed to understand the government was responsible for ensuring Malays are not influenced by negative elements . He said that content creators would have to ensure their works did not encourage Malaysians to do things against social and religious norms.

 

25th November

 Diary: Protest against internet porn censorship law...

12th December 2014, outside UK parliament at noon
Link Here  full story: UK Internet Porn Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

protest outside parliament against sexist porn law Protest against internet porn censorship law
12th December 2014, at noon
Old Palace Yard, Parliament, London

To meet outside parliament and protest against the new sexist laws - This is not supporting sexual equality and something needs to be done! Pornography produced in the UK was quietly censored today through an amendment to the 2003 Communications Act, and the measures appear to take aim at female pleasure.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 requires that video-on-demand (VoD) online porn now adhere to the same guidelines laid out for DVD sex shop-type porn by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC).

Seemingly arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex, the board's ruling on content that is not acceptable (p.23) effectively bans legal and consensual acts from being depicted by British pornography producers:

Update: Reports from and about the event

12th December 2014.

See article from theguardian.com
See  pictures from the protest from  huffingtonpost.co.uk
See pictures from the protest from independent.co.uk
See  article from  independent.co.uk by Charlotte Rose

 

25th November

 Updated: Searching for someone else to do the work...

Man goes to court to force Google to track down links to delete
Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Old Bailey The case of a UK businessman who wants Google to stop malicious web postings about him appearing in its search results is set to begin.

Daniel Hegglin says he has been wrongly called a murderer, a paedophile and a Ku Klux Klan sympathiser during a malicious online campaign against him. He wants Google to block the anonymous posts from its search engine results.

Google asked him to provide a list of web links to be removed, but High Court judges will rule if it should do more. He claims there are more than 3,600 websites containing abusive and untrue material about him, and says listing all the posts for Google to remove would be expensive, time consuming, and ineffective.

He says that although Google is not the originator of the abusive campaign, its search engines have allowed the abuse to become more widespread.

He is seeking a legal order to force Google to take steps to prevent the abusive posts being processed in searches in England and Wales.

Update: Settled

25th November 2014. See  article from  wiggin.co.uk  

The case was settled on the first day of trial.

Daniel Hegglin's barrister said in a statement:

The settlement includes significant efforts on Google's part to remove the abusive material from Google-hosted websites and from its search results. Mr Hegglin will now concentrate his energies on bringing the persons responsible for this campaign of harassment to justice .

And a statement for Google:

Google provides search services to millions of people and cannot be responsible for policing internet content. It will, however, continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches local applicable laws .

 

25th November

  Home Sharing...

Google refuses the MPAA's take down request for the like of the Pirate Bay's home page
Link Here
Google logo The MPAA recently asked Google to remove the homepages of dozens of sites that offer links to pirated content. Google, however, refused to take down most of the URLs, likely because the takedown notices are seen as too broad.

So far the MPAA has asked Google to remove only 19,288 links from search results. The most recent request is one worth highlighting though, as it shows a clear difference of opinion between Hollywood and Google.

Last week the MPAA sent a DMCA request listing 81 allegedly infringing pages, mostly torrent and streaming sites. Unlike most other copyright holders, the MPAA doesn't list the URLs where the pirated movies are linked from, but the site's homepages instead. This is a deliberate strategy, one that previously worked against KickassTorrents .

However, this time around Google was less receptive. Google took no action for 60 of the 81 submitted URLs. It's unclear why Google refused to take action, but it seems likely that the company views the MPAA's request as too broad. While the sites' homepages may indirectly link to pirated movies, for most this required more than one click from the homepage.

 

25th November

 Update: Regin: The super-snoopware the security industry has been silent about...

NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
NSA logo

 

23rd November

 Update: Snooper's Charter Extended...

Government introduces new law to extend detailed logs of internet usage to mobile phones and tablets
Link Here  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping
Theresa May Police are to get powers to force internet firms to hand over details linked to IP addresses in order to help them help snoop on people's internet use.

The anti-terrorism and security bill will oblige internet service providers (ISPs) to retain information linking IP (Internet Protocol) addresses to individual subscribers.

The home secretary, Theresa May, said the measure would boost national security, but again complained that Liberal Democrats were blocking further steps.

Loss of the capabilities on which we have always relied is the great danger we face, May said. The bill provides the opportunity to resolve the very real problems that exist around IP resolution and is a step in the right direction towards bridging the overall communications data capability gap.

However, the Lib Dems insisted that the communications data bill -- branded the snooper's charter -- was dead and buried . The party also stressed that the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, had been calling for the IP measures since spring 2013.

The technical details are either sparse or misleading, maybe deliberately. Home and mobile broadband users have obviously had their IP address recorded and logged for sometime along with logs of messages and websites visited. I believe that the bill is targeted at internet access on mobile phones where an IP address is shared by many users simultaneously without retaining detailed user records per IP message.

The Register obtained a slightly getter explanation from the Home Office:

Home Offie logo Every internet user is assigned an IP address to ensure communication service providers know which data should go to which customer and routes it accordingly. Addresses are sometimes assigned to a specific device, such as a broadband router located in a home or company. But they are usually shared between multiple users and allocated randomly by the provider's automated systems.

Many providers currently have no business reason for keeping a log of who has used each address. It is therefore not always possible for law enforcement agencies accessing the data to identify who was using an IP address at any particular time.

Such communications data is a vital tool in the investigation of terrorist and criminal activity, and significantly contributes to the conviction of child sex offenders.

The inability to link IP addresses to individuals poses serious challenges for law enforcement agencies. The proposed measures would reduce the risk of terrorism by improving the ability of the police and other agencies to identify terror suspects who may be communicating with each other via the internet.

It would also help to identify and prosecute organised criminals; cyber bullies and computer hackers; and protect vulnerable people. For example, it can be used to identify a child who has threatened over social media to commit suicide.

This legislation will not however address all the capability gaps that the Draft Communications Data Bill aimed to fill. These gaps will continue to have a serious impact on law enforcement and intelligence agencies. For example, the provisions will not enable the retention of weblogs -- a record of information relating to a communication between a user and the internet, including a record of websites that have been visited.

Update: Retaining MAC addresses

27th November 2014. See  article from  publicaffairs.linx.net

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill amends the definition of relevant communications data that Internet providers are required to retain. The apparent intention is to ensure that Internet providers retain IP port numbers or machine MAC addresses when these are necessary to distinguish users, such as when the network is employing Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation (CGN).

 

21st November

 Offsite Article: Banning Everything...

Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
india government logo Detailed notes from Indian government meeting about implementing massive internet censorship

See article from medianama.com

 

17th November

 Update: An Encyclopedia of Propaganda...

Russia plans to replace US Wikipedia with Russian Wikipedia
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
wikipedia logo The Russian government is claiming that Wikipedia is US propaganda so plans to create a home grown variant able to provide proper Russian propaganda.

Newsweek notes that the move is the result of an analysis by Russia's National Library that claimed the U.S. website's content on Russia unreliable. It reported:

An analysis of [Wikipedia] showed it was incapable of providing Russian regions with reliable and comprehensive information about the life of the nation.

The Russian government claims their website will objectively reflect the country, its population and the diversity of the Russian nation, according to the statement.

 

17th November

 Update: House of Cards Collapses...

China bans everything from internet TV
Link Here  full story: Internet TV Censorship in China...Draconian censorship
sarft logo Film and television programmes featuring one-night stands, adultery, supernatural occurrences and gambling will be banned from Chinese streaming websites in the latest episode of Beijing's continuing moral crackdown.

US streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are already effectively banned, but local sites such as Sohu, which recently release House of Cards , would be expected to suffer under the effects of the ban.

In a statement to content providers, censors also demanded the removal of content featuring depictions of sexual abuse, rape, polyamorous relationships, necrophilia, prostitution and masturbation. Violent murder, suicides, drug use and gambling were also among the subjects banned via the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) circular, as well as instances of pornography.

Prof Tan Tian of Jinan university told the Times the new regulations would radically reduce the number of movies and television shows that could be legally streamed in China.

 

16th November

 Update: Courage...

Top musicians, actors and Nobel laureates show support for Edward Snowden, publishers and whistleblowers
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

courage foundation logo An international coalition of more than fifty actors, musicians and intellectuals have announced their support for Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, whistleblowers and publishers. Some are also encouraging donations to the Courage Foundation --which runs the official legal defense fund for Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers, as well as fights for whistleblower protections worldwide -- with tweets and social media posts.

The courage that Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers and truthtellers have shown and continue to show is truly extraordinary and necessary in helping the public have access to their historical record through media, said Sarah Harrison, WikiLeaks Investigations Editor and Director of the Courage Foundation. WikiLeaks and Harrison ensured Edward Snowden's safe exit from Hong Kong and secured his asylum. We cannot thank these cultural icons enough for showing their support.

The announcement coincides with the expanded theatrical release of Laura Poitras' critically acclaimed documentary CitizenFour -- providing a first-hand account of Edward Snowden's disclosure of the NSA's mass surveillance program.

Signed by Susan Sarandon, Russell Brand, Peter Sarsgaard, M.I.A., Thurston Moore, David Berman, Vivienne Westwood, Alfonso Cuaròn and several other artists and intellectuals, the statement praises the work of whistleblowers such as Snowden, highlighting the need to support these individuals as they face social and legal persecution for their revelations to the public. The statement reads:

We stand in support of those fearless whistleblowers and publishers who risk their lives and careers to stand up for truth and justice. Thanks to the courage of sources like Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, and Edward Snowden, the public can finally see for themselves the war crimes, corruption, mass surveillance, and abuses of power of the U.S. government and other governments around the world. WikiLeaks is essential for its fearless dedication in defending these sources and publishing their truths. These bold and courageous acts spark accountability, can transform governments, and ultimately make the world a better place.

In addition to urging the public to stand in solidarity with Snowden and other whistleblowers, many of the artists are calling on fans to watch CitizenFour, and are raising awareness of the Courage Foundation's whistleblower defense efforts, which fundraises for the legal and public defense of whistleblowers and campaigns for the protection of truthtellers and the public's right to know generally.

The statement was signed by:

Udi Aloni, Pamela Anderson, Anthony Arnove, Etienne Balibar, Alexander Bard, John Perry Barlow, Radovan Baros, David Berman, Russell Brand, Victoria Brittain, Susan Buck-Morss, Eduardo L. Cadava, Calle 13, Alex Callinicos, Robbie Charter, Noam Chomsky, Scott Cleverdon, Ben Cohen, Sadie Coles, Alfonso Cuaròn, John Deathridge, Costas Douzinas, Roddy Doyle, Bella Freud, Leopold Froehlich, Terry Gilliam, Charlie Glass, Boris Groys, Michael Hardt, P J Harvey, Wang Hui, Fredric Jameson, Brewster Kahle, Hanif Kureishi, Engin Kurtay, Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, Nadir Lahiji, Kathy Lette, Ken Loach, Maria Dolores Galán López, Sarah Lucas, Mairead Maguire, Tobias Menzies, M.I.A., W. J. T. Mitchell, Moby, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello, Viggo Mortensen, Jean-Luc Nancy, Bob Nastanovich, Antonio Negri, Brett Netson, Rebecca O’Brien, Joshua Oppenheimer, John Pilger, Alexander Roesler, Avital Ronell, Pier Aldo Rovatti, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, Assumpta Serna, Vaughan Smith, Ahdaf Soueif, Oliver Stone, Cenk Uygur, Yanis Varoufakis, Peter Weibel, Vivienne Westwood, Tracy Worcester and Slavoj Zizek

 

16th November

 Updated: Ban Everything!...

David Cameron calls for more internet censorship of 'extremist' material. And no doubt the authorities will define 'extremist' as meaning more or less everything
Link Here  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim
David Cameron David Cameron has called for governments around the world to do more to censor 'extremist' material online. He made his comments during a visit to Australia's Parliament. He said:

The root cause of the challenge we face is the extremist narrative. A new and pressing challenge is getting extremist material taken down from the Internet. There is a role for government in that. We must not allow the Internet to be an ungoverned space. But there is a role for companies too.

Cameron then went on to detail measures already being taken in the UK to combat online extremism, including adding supposedly extremists material to ISP blocking lists, improving reporting mechanisms and being more proactive in taking down supposedly harmful material.

The British government also recently revealed plans to reduce the amount of hate material online. However, a report released in May revealed that the proposal is experiencing a number of hurdles, including opposition from ISPs and social networks, particularly those based outside the UK.

Open Rights Group has responded to the announcement that ISPs will add extremist websites to filters designed to protect children from seeing adult content. Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group said:

We need transparency whenever political content is blocked even when we are talking about websites that espouse extremist views. The government must be clear about what sites they think should be blocked, why they are blocking them and whether there will be redress for site owners who believe that their website has been blocked incorrectly.

Given the low uptake of filters, it is difficult to see how effective the government's approach will be when it comes to preventing young people from seeing material they have deemed inappropriate. Anyone with an interest in extremist views can surely find ways of circumventing child friendly filters

Update: Censorship button

16th November 2014. See article from bbc.co.uk

The UK's major internet service providers (ISPs) are to introduce new measures to tackle online extremism, Downing Street has said. The ISPs had committed to strengthening their filters and adding a public reporting button to flag terrorism-related material. In a briefing note, No 10 said the ISPs had subsequently committed to filtering out extremist and terrorist material, and hosting a button that members of the public could use to report content. It would work in a similar fashion to the reporting button that allows the public to flag instances of child sexual exploitation on the internet.

However, the BBC understands that while the ISPs agreed in principle to do more to prevent extremism, they have not actually committed to the measures outlined by No 10.

We have had productive dialogue with government about addressing the issue of extremist content online and we are working through the technical details, a spokeswoman for BT said. A spokesman for Sky said: We're exploring ways in which we can help our customers report extremist content online, including hosting links on our website. The plan presents logistical problems as extremist groups such as Isis typically use channels like YouTube or Twitter that are popular for entirely legal purposes.

 

16th November

  An Objectionable Film Censor...

New Zealand film censor threatens and ISPs proxy service claiming it lets people see objectionable uncensored films from the US
Link Here
slingshot logo New Zealand's film censor at the Office of Film and Literature Classification is threatening CallPlus subsidiary Slingshot with prosecution over the access it is providing to blocked overseas internet television services such as Netflix through its free GlobalMode service.

Inevitably, the movie trade group, the Film and Video Labelling Body, an incorporated society whose members include Sony, Universal and Paramount, said it agreed with chief censor Andrew Jack that Slingshot was breaking the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act. That was because GlobalMode provided a gateway to overseas services such as Netflix that showed programmes that had not gone through New Zealand's classification system, some of which it claimed were objectionable.

However the ISP trade group, InternetNZ said that it did not believe internet providers were responsible for what its customers did on the internet and to suggest otherwise creates a bizarre world where internet providers are held up to a different standard to other utility suppliers .

CallPlus chief executive Mark Callander has said GlobalMode is not illegal and the company does not intend to axe it despite the chief censor's legal threat.

Canterbury University law professor Ursula Cheer has said any prosecution of Slingshot would be a test case . The outcome would hinge on whether Slingshot's decision to actively promote GlobalMode as a means to access overseas television programming meant it had lost the safe harbour protections in the Act that usually shield internet providers from prosecution for the content they carry.