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 Update: Howe Censorial...

Elspeth Howe initiates another censorship private members bill to amend the definition of extreme porn to criminalise anything not allowed by the BBFC


Link Here 18th July 2017  full story: Online Safety Bill...Elspeth Howe proposes onerous website age verification
elspeth howeElspeth Howe has tabled yet another internet censorship bill planning to define any sex work rejected by the BBFC to be 'extreme pornography'. The first reading of the bill took place in the House of Lords on 10th July 2017. The bill reads:

A Bill to Amend the definition of extreme pornography in the Digital Economy Act 2017.

1 Amendment of the definition of extreme pornography

(1) The Digital Economy Act 20 17 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 15 (meaning of "pornographic material"), in subsection (1), omit paragraphs (g) to (i). (3) In section 22 (meaning of "extreme pornographic material"), for subsections (1) to (4) substitute--

"(1) In this section "extreme pornographic material" means any of the following--

(a) the whole or part of a video work--

(i) if it is reasonable to assume from its nature that the video work was produced solely or principally for the purposes of sexual arousal, and

(ii) if the video works authority has determined the video work not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it;

(b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to assume--

(i) that it was produced solely or principally for the purposes of sexual arousal, and

(ii) that the video works authority would determine that a video work including it was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it."

 

  Internet Villain...

Turkey's President Erdogan wins ISPA accolade


Link Here 18th July 2017
recep tayyip erdoganThe Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) has recently announced at the 19th Annual UK Internet Industry Awards 203 colloquially dubbed the ISPAs.

The Internet Hero Award went to Marcus Hutchins for his role in finding the kill switch for the WannaCry ransomware that affected hundreds of thousands of computers earlier this year.

The less coveted, but widely contested award, the Internet Villain Award, went to President Erdogan of Turkey for his role in cracking down on online freedom of expression, including blocking Wikipedia and social media.

 

 Update: Fingerprints required for a top-up...

Thai government proposes extreme measures to control phone users and social media companies


Link Here 18th July 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking
NBTC logoInternational over-the-top (OTT) content providers have been the bane of Thai regulator National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's (NBTC) existence over the past few months.

The supposedly independent communications censor seems to be obsessed with finding ways to curb the likes of Facebook, Google, YouTube and Alibaba. In early April it boldly suggested imposing some kind of bandwidth fee on the consumption of OTT services, requiring OTT players to have an operating licence to run a business in Thailand and even making them pay a value-added service tax for transactions by local merchants.

The head of the broadcasting committee, Natee Sukonrat, was quoted as saying users on social media who influence public opinion will have to be reined in.

What on the surface may seem to be an effort to create a more level playing field for the mobile players could also be seen as a thinly disguised attempt to give the regulator the power to more easily monitor and censor content the government is finding difficult to regulate. The widely-criticised proposals are merely a backhanded move to bypass current legal processes and give the regulator the authority to demand the removal of content the military-run government considers illegal without waiting for a court order, which the government has complained is time consuming.

Facebook and co would not play ball with Thai government requests and the government was forced drop the plan to register OTT players for tax purposes. However the government said that it would push ahead to replace several weak points in the censorship process and come up with a revised proposal in 30 days.

And now the junta's ominously named National Reform Steering Assembly this month approved an 84-page social media censorship proposal, which would require such things as fingerprint and facial scanning just to top-up a prepaid plan, all in an effort to be able to identify those posting content to OTT services. The push for fingerprint and facial recognition is in addition to existing requirements for all SIM users to register with their 13-digit national IDs.

Commentators say the stringent rules are similar to those in use in China and Iran.

 

 Offsite Article: Over blocking...


Link Here 16th July 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
purevpn banner China moves towards banning VPNs use to circumvent internet blocking but say that this is not a total ban on all VPNs

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

 Offsite Article: The Europe-wide assault on internet freedom...


Link Here 7th July 2017
Spiked logo With clampdowns on Islamists and xenophobes, free speech online is under threat. By Naomi Firshtstaff

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  Censorship on demand...

China bans homosexuality, prostitution and drug addiction from online videos


Link Here 4th July 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

China flagNew censorship rules issued by Bejing will prohibit portrayals of homosexuality, prostitution and drug addiction in online videos. The China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) is targeting what they consider abnormal sexual activity.

The rules which were issued on Friday demand that online video platforms hire at least three professional censors. They were ordered to view entire programmes and take down any considered not sticking to the correct political and aesthetic standards.

Those who don't adhere to the new rules face being reported to the police for further investigation, according to Xhinua state news agency.

 

 Update: Censor first, and there's no point asking questions later...

Germany passes law requiring social media websites to immediately censor on request


Link Here 30th June 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
Germany flagSocial media companies in Germany face fines of up to 50m euros if they fail to remove obviously illegal content in time. From October, Facebook, YouTube, and other sites with more that two million users in Germany must take down posts containing hate speech or other criminal material within 24 hours. Content that is not obviously unlawful must be assessed within seven days.

Failure to comply will result in a 5m euro penalty, which could rise to 50m euros depending on the severity of the offence.

Facebook responded in a statement:

We believe the best solutions will be found when government, civil society and industry work together and that this law as it stands now will not improve efforts to tackle this important societal problem.

German MPs voted in favour of the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) law after months of deliberation, on the last legislative day before the Bundestag's summer break.

Opponents  responded the tight time limits are unrealistic, and will lead to accidental censorship as technology companies err on the side of caution and delete ambiguous posts to avoid paying penalties.

The bill has faced criticism from human right's campaigners. Many of the violations covered by the bill are highly dependent on context, context which platforms are in no position to assess, wrote the UN Special Rapporteur to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, David Kaye. He added that the obligations placed upon private companies to regulate and take down content raises concern with respect to freedom of expression.

The law may still be chllenged in Brussels, where campaigners have claimed it breaches EU laws.

 

  Threats to privacy and free speech...

Open Rights Group comment on the Queen's Speech


Link Here 23rd June 2017

open rights group 2016 logo There are references to a review of Counter-terrorism and a Commision for Countering Extremism which will include Internet-related policies. Although details are lacking, these may contain threats to privacy and free speech. The government has opted for a "Digital Charter", which isn't a Bill, but something else.

Digital Charter

This isn't a Bill, but some kind of policy intervention. Perhaps the Digital Charter will be for companies to voluntarily agree to, or a statement of government preferences. It addresses both unwanted and illegal content or activity online, and the protection of vulnerable people. The work of CTIRU and the IWF are mentioned as examples of work to remove illegal or extremist content.

At this point, it is hard to know exactly what harms will emerge, but pushing enforcement into the hands of private companies is problematic. It means that decisions never involve courts and are not fully transparent and legally accountable.

Counterterrorism review

There will be a review of counterterrorism powers . The review includes "working with online companies to reduce and restrict the availability of extremist material online".

This appears to be a watered down version of the Conservative manifesto commitment to give greater responsibility for companies to take down extremist material from their platforms. Already Google and Facebook have issued public statements about how they intend to improve the removal of extremist material from their platforms.

Commission for Countering Extremism

A Commission will look at the topic of countering extremism, likely including on the Internet.

This appears to be a measure to generate ideas and thinking, which could be a positive approach, if it involves considering different approaches, rather than pressing ahead with policies in order to be seen to be doing something. The quality of the Commission will therefore depend on their ability to take a wide range of evidence and assimilate it impartially; it faces a significant challenge in ensuring that fundamental rights are respected within any policy suggestions they suggest.

Data Protection Bill

A new Data Protection Bill , "will fulfil a manifesto commitment to ensure the UK has a data protection regime that is fit for the 21st century". This will replace the Data Protection Act 1998, which is in any case being removed as the result of the new General Data Protection Regulation passed by the European Parliament last year. Regulations apply directly, so the GDPR does not need to be 'implemented' in UK law before Brexit.

We welcome that (at least parts of) the GDPR will be implemented in primary legislation with a full debate in Parliament. It is not clear if the text of the GDPR will be brought into this Bill, or whether it supplements it.

This appears to be a bill to at least implement some of the 'derogations' (options) in the GDPR, plus the new rules for law enforcement agencies, that came in with the new law enforcement-related Directive and have to be applied by EU member states.

The bulk of the important rights are in the GDPR, and cannot be tampered with before Brexit. We welcome the chance to debate the choices, and especially to press for the right of privacy groups to bring complaints directly.

 

 Update: Unfriending Terrorists...

Facebook announces measures to prevent terrorist related content


Link Here 23rd June 2017  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook logoFacebook is launching a UK initiative to train and fund local organisations it hopes will combat extremism and hate speech. The UK Online Civil Courage Initiative's initial partners include Imams Online and the Jo Cox Foundation.

Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg said:

The recent terror attacks in London and Manchester - like violence anywhere - are absolutely heartbreaking. No-one should have to live in fear of terrorism - and we all have a part to play in stopping violent extremism from spreading. We know we have more to do - but through our platform, our partners and our community we will continue to learn to keep violence and extremism off Facebook.

Last week Facebook outlined its technical measures to remove terrorist-related content from its site. The company told the BBC it was using artificial intelligence to spot images, videos and text related to terrorism as well as clusters of fake accounts.

Facebook explained that it was aiming to detect terrorist content immediately as it is posted and before other Facebook users see it. If someone tries to upload a terrorist photo or video, the systems look to see if this matches previous known extremist content to stop it going up in the first place.

A second area is experimenting with AI to understand text that might be advocating terrorism. This is analysing text previously removed for praising or supporting a group such as IS and trying to work out text-based signals that such content may be terrorist propaganda.

The company says it is also using algorithms to detect clusters of accounts or images relating to support for terrorism. This will involve looking for signals such as whether an account is friends with a high number of accounts that have been disabled for supporting terrorism. The company also says it is working on ways to keep pace with repeat offenders who create accounts just to post terrorist material and look for ways of circumventing existing systems and controls.

Facebook has previously announced it is adding 3,000 employees to review content flagged by users. But it also says that already more than half of the accounts that it removes for supporting terrorism are ones that it finds itself.  Facebook says it has also grown its team of specialists so that it now has 150 people working on counter-terrorism specifically, including academic experts on counterterrorism, former prosecutors, former law enforcement agents and analysts, and engineers.

One of the major challenges in automating the process is the risk of taking down material relating to terrorism but not actually supporting it - such as news articles referring to an IS propaganda video that might feature its text or images. An image relating to terrorism - such as an IS member waving a flag - can be used to glorify an act in one context or be used as part of a counter-extremism campaign in another.

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship Bots...


Link Here 23rd June 2017
Facebook logo The Sex Tech Industry Says Facebook and PayPal Are Censoring Its Work

See article from venus-adult-news.com