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24th June   

Updated: Offensive Behaviour...

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Police will use crowd surveillance and recording to arrest football fans for offensive speech
Link Here  full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up
crowd

  Police arrests for
insulting behaviour at a football match

Police armed with spy cameras and recording equipment will capture supposedly bigoted speech at Old Firm games as they enforce a new law that will see sectarian fans jailed for up to five years. Strathclyde Police will use the latest surveillance technology to identify supporters who offend against offensive behaviour laws.

Police will use the information recorded on their equipment to arrest fans after the final whistle, as they enforce a controversial anti-sectarianism law that is to be rushed through Holyrood before the start of next season.

Alex Salmond's government introduced its bill in the Scottish Parliament, and the legislation is expected to be passed before MSPs rise for the summer recess in two weeks.

The bill, which outlaws offensive and threatening behaviour at football matches, and sectarian postings on the internet, was published amid concerns it could be challenged in the courts because it is being forced through too quickly.

The proposed legislation has shied away from producing a list of proscribed songs and chants. The law will instead create two new offences - offensive behaviour and threatening communications . Determining whether a football fan has been offensive will come down to whether the he or she is judged to have indulged in behaviour likely to lead to public disorder. Much will depend on the context of their actions.

Offensive behaviour covers not only football matches but also fans travelling to and from a game and supporters gathering to watch a match on a big screen or at a pub.

Update: Dangerous Songs

22nd June 2011. See article from thescotsman.scotsman.com

Flower Of Scotland Football fans could be jailed for singing God Save the Queen or Flower of Scotland under the SNP's new law to crack down on sectarianism. Making the sign of the cross or singing Rule Britannia could also be regarded as an offence under certain circumstances once the legislation comes into force next football season.

Community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham said that such songs and gestures could be regarded as offensive acts when she was questioned about the SNP's anti-sectarian bill being fast-tracked through parliament with little scrutiny.

She said: A sign of a cross is not in itself offensive, but I suppose in circumstances such as Rangers and Celtic fans meeting each other on a crowded street, it could be construed as something offensive.

Senior figures in the legal fraternity urged the government to adopt a common sense approach to its Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill.

Conservative justice spokesman John Lamont asked the minister if she could envisage the singing of either the National Anthem or Flower of Scotland becoming offensive behaviour within the act? Ms Cunningham replied: The glib answer to that is 'no, of course not'. But the problem is, for a criminal offence, it is all the facts and circumstances that surround that, that may turn them (sic] into problematic.

She added: Perhaps it might have been more appropriate to, say, look at Rule Britannia, which I understand is one (song] frequently used on one side of the terraces. Now, I would not regard (that song] as offensive, but it is exactly why we don't start defining which songs, and listing the songs ... it really is a matter of facts and the circumstances of the case whether something is or is not offensive.

She went on to suggest that Celtic fans making the sign of the cross could also be judged offensive. I have seen hundreds of Celtic fans (behave] in a manner which I can only describe as aggressive - making signs of the cross, gesticulating across an open area to Rangers fans.

Update: Extra Time

24th June 2011. See article from thescotsman.scotsman.com

The Scottish ParliamentAlex Salmond has declared his crackdown on sectarianism will not be made law until the end of the year, less than two hours after the minister in charge of the plans had insisted it needed to be introduced within weeks. The First Minister revealed he had changed his mind on the timing of the bill and would allow further parliamentary scrutiny after Holyrood rises for its summer recess next week.

Afterwards, aides to the First Minister said he had changed his mind following the debate, and had agreed to alter the government's stance in a 20-minute meeting with Cunningham after it had finished.

The scope of the bill has come under scrutiny from MSPs this week, with some claiming the new laws were unnecessary, and amid questions over whether making the sign of the cross or singing God Save the Queen could be deemed an offence.

 

24th June   

Offsite: Reawakening Old Bollox...


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Daily Mail take action against blogger who railed at one of their bollox stories
Link Here

Daily Mail logoA blogger has been threatened with a libel action by the Daily Mail, one of the papers that rails against the libel laws because of their chilling effect on press freedom.

Kevin Arscott, author of the Angry Mob blog, reports that he and his webhosts have received letters from lawyers acting for the Mail's parent company, Associated Newspapers.

It concerns an item posted on his former blog in November 2009 that attacked the Mail and its editor, Paul Dacre, over a story about the number of babies born in a London hospital to non-British mothers. (Needless to say, it was economical with the truth).

...Read the full article

 

22nd June   

A Bit of a Card...

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Saucy seaside cards reprinted after 56 years on the banned list
Link Here
 
 

World Donald McGill Elfreda Buckland Saucy seaside postcards which were banned from resorts around the UK more than 50 years ago have gone on sale for the first time since they were censored.

Five of the obscene comic cards by prolific artist Donald McGill can now be bought, 56 years after the designs were destroyed because of their bawdy humour.

McGill designed saucy classics from 1904 until 1962. His images featured fat old ladies, drunken middle-aged men, honeymooning couples and prudish vicars. He produced 12,000 designs over his prolific career and more than 200million of his cards were sold.

But in 1954 he became the target of a morality campaign at seaside resorts across the UK,

An Isle of Wight vicar complained to his local paper and the police raided five seaside shops, confiscating more than 5,000 cards. Other raids took place across the UK and thousands of McGill's cards were ordered to be destroyed under the 1857 Obscene Publications Act.

The following year a show trial was held in Lincoln where the artist, then aged 79, was persuaded to plead guilty on four cards which were immediately banned. McGill and his publishers also agreed not to republish another 17 cards once existing stocks had been sold.

Now a museum in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, which houses the largest collection of McGill's work in the world, has re-printed five of the banned cards for the first time in nearly six decades. Although the ban on McGill's cards has never been revoked, the museum believes it is highly unlikely their publication would be challenged today.

 

15th June   

Doctors on Trial...

Bahrain to sue the Independent over a powerful report by Robert Fisk
Link Here

Bahrain flagThe government of Bahrain claimed yesterday to have commissioned a UK-based law firm to file a case against The Independent for its reporting on the crackdown on protests in the country.

Nawaf al-Mawada, a representative of the Information Affairs Authority, told Bahrain's state news agency that the action was being taken because The Independent had deliberately published a series of unrealistic and provocative articles targeting Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia .

The supposedly offending article is an opinion piece by Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, in which he criticises the Bahraini government for putting 48 surgeons on trial.

 

15th June   

Local Rag...

Brighton Argus threatens libel action after being called a local rag by Brighton Council
Link Here

brighton argus logoA dispute between The Argus and Brighton and Hove City Council has taken a farcical turn with editor Michael Beard threatening legal action after the council's communications chief John Shewell described the paper as a local rag in a tweet.

It follows the publication of a story discussing the creation of a tourist tax in Brighton and Hove.

Brighton council objected to any inference that they were actually considering such a tax and made this clear ina press release and various tweets. One of the tweets from John Shewell said: Local rag runs ridiculous line that @brightonhovecc thinking of introducing tourist tax er...no we're not!

A local rag is usually considered a colloquial term for a local newspaper rather than its official derogatory definition. However, in response Beard has emailed Shewell and said: As to your comment describing the Argus as a local rag , the advice from our company lawyer is that the tweet as a whole is defamatory in that it characterises The Argus (and therefore the Editor and individual members of staff) as a rag that carelessly or incompetently publishes false or misleading information and is not to be relied on.

Shewell has also written on Twitter about the email from the Argus' editor, which he has described as bullying tactics .

 

12th June   

Offsite: Mr Super Injunctionist...

Mr Justice Eady on balancing acts
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Privacy Dead privacy Index Censorship The British press loves to hate high court judge Sir David Eady for his judgments in privacy cases. He talks to Joshua Rozenberg about balancing rights

Where should we draw the line between personal privacy and freedom of expression? In England and Wales, such questions are left to the judges to decide. Parliament has chosen not to create a privacy law; no doubt because politicians of all parties have no wish to antagonise the media any more than is necessary. Even if there were legislation, it could not define all the subtle variants that occur in the real world. So it will always be up to judges to balance Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which requires respect for a person's private and family life, against Article 10, which protects freedom of expression.

...Read the full article

 

12th June   

Offsite: NOBODY Can Escape Britain's Thought Police...

More bollox abuse of the public order act to persecute someone for minor insult
Link Here

Crown Prosecution ServiceLast July, magistrates in Bristol found Shirley Brown guilty of racially aggravated harassment under the Public Order Act for using threatening, abusive or insulting words, with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress . In March, she lost her appeal against the conviction.

The court case followed a heated city council debate that Shirley, who was then a Liberal Democrat councillor, had with an Asian Conservative opponent. The public row culminated in Shirley calling the other councillor, Jay Jethwa, a coconut .

The word is used as slang to describe someone who is believed to be betraying their ethnic roots by pandering to white opinion -- referring to a coconut being brown on the outside but white on the inside.

It is, without doubt, a crude term that many would find offensive, and one Shirley regrets using. Although she insists the remark was not intended to be taken in the way it was, she now realises it was unacceptable.

But what she still cannot comprehend is the lengths to which the legal system was prepared to go to ensure that she was punished.

...Read the full article

 

12th June   

Offsite: Serious Affair...

A plumber who revealed his wife's affair investigated by elite serious crime unit
Link Here

ian puddick video A plumber who used the internet to highlight his wife's affair with a director of one of the world's largest financial companies will appear in court on harassment charges. Lawyers believe the case could help define the limits of free expression on the internet.

Ian Puddick was incensed after learning that his wife had conducted a 10-year relationship with her boss, a director of Guy Carpenter, a reinsurance company that advises clients on risk management.

Puddick set up a series of websites, a Twitter account and a blog to draw attention to the affair, alleging that the director, who he named, was pursuing an affair with his wife on the company's time and expenses -- a claim rejected by Guy Carpenter. The company maintains Puddick's actions forced the director to leave his position due to stress.

Puddick's legal team are expected to use the three-day hearing at Westminster magistrates court to examine the actions of the City of London police, which dispatched its serious crime unit to raid his home and office in search of evidence.

Michael Wolkind QC, representing Puddick, said his client intended to defend his actions. This case is about Mr Puddick's right to express his feelings about another person's immorality. Ian Puddick dared to speak out about his wife's affair and it has cost the public £ 1m for the extraordinary investigation carried out by an unusually enthusiastic police alongside an elite security firm.

...Read the full article

Update: Acquitted

18th June 2011.  See article from guardian.co.uk

A man has been cleared of harassing his wife's millionaire lover on the internet in a victory for free speech and the small man .

Plumber Ian Puddick tweeted, blogged and posted videos online after being enraged by his wife Leena's 10-year affair with Timothy Haynes, a City director.

As district judge Elizabeth Roscoe dismissed two charges of internet harassment following a three-day trial at Westminster magistrates' court, he said: I am just absolutely relieved.

There seemed little mention of the 'over enthusiastic' police investigation.

 

11th June   

Carmarthenshire Council Caught Hiding from Public Scrutiny...

Blogger arrested on bollox charges for filming at council meeting
Link Here

carmarthenshire county council video A blogger who filmed a meeting of a local council was arrested for supposedly breaching the peace despite insisting that she broke no laws.

Jacqui Thompson, author of the blog Carmarthenshire Planning Problems and More , was using her phone to record a meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council during an angry debate on the closure of a day club for local elderly people.

According to her blog, she was in the public gallery when the row over the day club broke out, and began filming proceedings. She was asked to leave by the council chairman who called the police when she refused. Ten minutes later, four police officers arrived.

Mrs Thompson said:

I tried to argue my point but was then arrested in the Public Gallery for 'breaching the peace'. I was taken outside the door, handcuffed, searched, my phone taken and marched out to the waiting police cars.

I was then taken 30 miles to Llanelli police station where I remained handcuffed for another hour before being 'processed', and put in a cell for another two hours.

Mrs Thompson also claimed that she was threatened with being kept overnight at the station unless she signed an undertaking not to film any more meetings. She said that the council chairman, Councillor Ivor Jackson, told her that filming was against the council's standing orders. However, according to the standing orders, members of the public and press may only be excluded if they are making a disturbance.

David Allen Green, lawyer and legal correspondent of New Statesman, said:

The circumstances of the arrest of Mrs Thompson are concerning. In general terms, it is important that police and local authorities do not use 'breach of the peace' as the basis of arresting at will, especially when there are free expression and public accountability issues at stake. I hope this was not what happened with Mrs Thompson. On what we know, it seems alarming, illiberal and misconceived.

Update: Ordered to pay £25,000 libel damages to council leader

16th March 2013. See article from guardian.co.uk

Old BaileyThe political blogger who sparked online uproar after being arrested for filming a council hearing has been ordered to pay £25,000 in libel damages to a council's chief executive over what the high court described as an unlawful campaign of harassment, defamation and intimidation .

Jacqui Thompson was ordered to pay the five-figure sum over a series of defamatory internet posts in which she falsely accused Carmarthenshire county council chief executive, Mark James, and other council officers of corruption.

Britain's most senior libel judge, Mr Justice Tugendhat, said in his ruling on Friday:

Mrs Thompson conducted her campaign of harassment as publicly as she could, at first copying her letters and emails to the press and numerous other people and, after she had started her blog, publishing her unfounded allegations to the world at large.

 

6th June   

Updated: Daily Mail Pants...

Daily Mail details pants code for retailers selling children's wear
Link Here  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

pantsHigh street shops will be told not to sell padded bras and sexually suggestive clothes to children under guidelines to be unveiled on Monday. This will coincide with the publication of a Government-commissioned review into the sexualisation of children by Reg Bailey, head of the Mothers' Union.

Tesco and Sainsbury's have already signed up to the new deal drawn up by the British Retail Consortium, along with George, the clothing range promoted by Asda. Major high street stores including Marks & Spencer, Next, John Lewis, Debenhams, Argos and Peacocks have also agreed to comply.

The BRC's guidelines say:

Slogans and imagery including licensed images and brand marks must be age-appropriate and without undesirable associations or connotations -- for example, sexually suggestive, demeaning, derogative or political material.

Humorous slogans need to be tested against a broad range of views as they can cause unforeseen and unintended offence.

The guidelines warn that underwear ranges require the utmost care , ruling that knickers and pants must provide modesty. Thongs are not appropriate for children .

And in a crackdown on products which seek to treat girls like women, they say: Vests and crop tops should also be designed for modesty with no need for structural support. Under-wiring is not necessary or appropriate for the smallest cup sizes. First bras should be constructed to provide comfort, modesty and support but not enhancement.

No mention should be made of enhancement or under-wiring in any children's ranges.

Comment: False Modesty

5th June 2011. Thanks to Angelus

letter writing"...knickers and pants must provide modesty."

"Vests and crop tops should also be designed for modesty"

"First bras should be constructed to provide comfort, modesty and support..."

'm not saying I want little girls dressing like whores (a concept wonderfully deconstructed by South Park), but since when has it been so terrible for them to want to dress up like their mothers? And what is it with the obsession about modesty? Is this supposed to be Afghanistan or something? But actually the most worrying thing is that the guy thinks "first bras" need to support anything - he evidently knows even less about biology than he does anything else.

Update: Published

6th June 2011. See article from bbc.co.uk

responsible retailing In response to demands for restrictions on inappropriate children's clothing - including lace lingerie and push-up bras - the British Retail Consortium launched stricter guidelines. See Responsible Retailing [pdf]

The British Retail Consortium's director of public affairs, Jane Bevis, said the guidelines provided extra reassurance for parents that these companies are just as concerned as they are about what their children wear .

Nine stores - Asda, Debenhams, Argos, John Lewis, Next, Marks & Spencer, Peacocks, Sainsbury's and Tesco - have signed up, with others being urged to participate.

Children's Minister Sarah Teather said: It is not government's role to interfere in family life ...BUT... parents often tell me that they would like more support so that they can navigate the rapidly-changing technological and commercial world.

 

4th June   

Update: British TV is a Conveyer Belt of Smut...

Daily Mail adds details about Reg Bailey's sexualisation report
Link Here  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report
reg bailey

  Reg Bailey
Still suffering from
 premature sexualisation

The Daily Mail adds a few more details (in its typically overwrought style) about Reg Bailey's report:

A report commissioned by the Prime Minister, to be published on Monday, demands an end to the sexualisation of young children.

It will order the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom to consult parents about their concerns and report back every year on how it has reinforced taste guidelines.

David Cameron will endorse the proposals of Reg Bailey, the chief executive of the Mothers' Union, who found parents are deeply concerned that sexual imagery in television, advertising and pop videos is making children grow up too fast.

Ministers will make clear that they expect changes and the Government is prepared to intervene directly unless the conveyor-belt of smut is toned down.

The report also calls for a hard-hitting crackdown on internet pornography, demanding tighter parental controls over access to explicit websites.

Under the plans, laptops will be sold with parental controls automatically activated and customers will have to request specifically to receive porn -- a reversal of the current position.

Bailey is also demanding a crackdown on lewd lads mags such as Nuts and Zoo, urging retailers to sell the magazines in plain wrappers or put them behind modesty boards which hide their lurid covers from young children.

Ministers will set up a single website which parents can use to report excessive sexual content on screen, in adverts and where high street stores sell inappropriate clothing to youngsters.

The Bailey Review demands a return to the days when parents could be confident that programmes broadcast before 9pm would be suitable for the whole family.

The report accuses broadcasters of actively working against parents by peddling sexual content. 'Some parents even questioned whether the watershed still exists.'

Bailey warns: The watershed was introduced to protect children and pre-watershed programming should therefore be developed and regulated with a greater weight towards the attitudes and views of parents, rather than viewers as a whole. Broadcasters and Ofcom should report annually on how they have specifically engaged parents over the previous year, what they have learnt and what they are doing differently as a result. The onus is on broadcasters to show acceptable content in the first place, not to react to audience complaints after the event.

The report says parents are most concerned by music performances in music and talent shows during family viewing hours which were heavily influenced by the sexualised and gender-steroetyped content of music videos , making them more raunchy than was appropriate for that type of viewing .

It concludes: The industry needs to act and, in the case of pre-watershed family viewing, take a slightly more cautious approach than is currently the case.

 

3rd June   

Update: Polluted Minds...

Reg Bailey report to call for age classification of music videos and a one stop complaints shop for sufferers of premature sexualisation
Link Here  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report
reg bailey

  Reg Bailey
Suffering from
 premature sexualisation

The government report into sexualisation of childhood is due to be published on Monday. The press seem to have been briefed with advance details as reported in the Guardian.

The report has been commissioned by David Cameron from the biased Reg Bailey, the chief executive of the Mothers' Union and long-term campaigner against 'premature sexualisation'.

Bailey is likely to give the retail, advertising and video industry 18 months to improve their act voluntarily or face tougher government regulation.

He is also expected to demand some regulatory bodies such as Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority do more to ensure they seek the views of parents on what is acceptable to show to children.

The report is also set to criticise the growth of peer to peer marketing, where companies hire teenagers to sell or promote products in school.

The review has already led bodies such as the ASA and the BPI, responsible for the music industry, to make pre-emptive efforts to show they are aware of the criticism of the way they currently operate. The ASA has promised to set up an advisory body, as well as regulate advertising on company websites.

The music industry is expected to be told to put some kind of advisory age rating such as films have on music videos. Critics are likely to argue that in practice these music videos go out on TV and parents will unable to stand over their children and prevent them watching them. Latest figures sent to the Bailey review suggest that half of children have access to TV via their computers in their own bedroom.

Senior figures associated with the review are to claim complacency from some industry bodies.

Bailey is likely to be asked by government to follow through his report to ensure his recommendations are implemented. Ministers are aware that the previous government published three reports into sexualisation of children in various aspects, but little happened. But Helen Goodman, the shadow justice minister, said: The voluntary approach has been tried and failed. We must have tougher regulations across the media, including social media. Pester power is the pollution of modern advertising and we should follow the polluter pays principle.

See article from dailymail.co.uk

The Daily Mail adds that at the moment advertising rules mean alcohol and fast food adverts are banned from billboards near schools. A source involved in drawing up the plans said that would be extended to cover adverts featuring sexual imagery.

 

3rd June   

Update: Asking for a Spanking from 17 Judges...

Max Mosley to appeal to the European Court Grand Chamber to obtain prior notification of newspaper stories exposing someone's private life
Link Here  full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex

European court buildingsMax Mosley has began an appeal against the European Court rejection of his attempt to extend privacy laws. He had demanded that newspapers about to expose details of someone's private life are forced to warn the individual before they do so. This would give the person time to seek an injunction to stop publication.

But last month the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg threw out the demand, saying it could have a chilling effect on journalism.

Now he has taken up his last option -- applying for a hearing before a 17-judge Grand Chamber of the same court.

A statement from Mosley's lawyers, Collyer Bristow said:

Despite the court's "severe criticisms" of the News of the World, this and other tabloid newspapers could use the same techniques tomorrow to obtain and publish intimate photographs and details of the sex lives of individuals, without notice and in the knowledge that it is wholly unlawful.

Privacy has been the subject of considerable public and media debate in the last month and a ruling from the Grand Chamber of the Court is needed upon this important issue to close a clear gap in UK law

 

2nd June   

Explicit Warnings...

UK online music services to carry parental advisory logos as per CDs
Link Here

parental advisory explicit lyrics logoParental warning logos are set to be introduced before songs and music videos on services such as Spotify and YouTube that contain explicit material, following recent 'concern' about supposedly risque music content available to children online.

Music industry body BPI is to update its 15-year-old Parental Advisory Scheme. Updated guidelines will expand the scheme for the well known advisory logo to appear with songs and videos available to stream or download on UK digital music and music video services.

Most audio and video streaming services including Google-owned YouTube, Spotify, Napster and Vevo do not currently have a uniform parental guidance system, according to the BPI.

We think it is important for parents to get the same standards of guidance and information online as they get when buying CDs or DVDs on the high street, said Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI. We are updating our scheme for the digital age to ensure that explicit songs and videos are clearly labelled.

 

31st May   

Dangerous Barnsley...

Shoppers warned to avoid Barnsley town centre lest they get fined for strong language by police abusing the Public Order Act
Link Here

Judge Dredd in BarnsleySwearing in public could land Barnsley town centre vistors with an £ 80 on-the-spot fine. Police are targeting bad language in the centre of Barnsley supposedly to encourage shoppers to return.

And members of the public are being urged to report offensive and intimidating language, including swearing, in a bid to clean up the town's bad image.

South Yorkshire Police will abuse existing powers under the 1986 Public Order Act to hand out fines. The 'initiative' comes into force today. 

Inspector Julie Mitchell of South Yorkshire Police said: It is important to note that some people feel upset and intimidated from hearing swearing. Therefore, it has been agreed that those found to be swearing in the town centre will be dealt with appropriately, by either advice or enforcement.

It is not clear how they will decide whether a particular use of language is offensive - both in terms of the words used and the effects on the person being spoken to. Perhaps they will take inspiration from Judge Dredd

Campaigner Phil Davies, from Barnsley Voice, which represents businesses in the town centre, said: There is nothing wrong with swearing, I do it every day, but it is when it is targeted at somebody. 

 

31st May   

Update: Revealing More...

Another batch of claimed celebrity injunctions published
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Twitter logoAnother twitter user has published details of more purported celebrity gagging orders.

A newly created Twitter account posted details of 13 alleged injunctions early yesterday morning, directing users to a website for further detailed information. After attracting more than 500 followers within the first 10 hours of publication, the tweets were removed.

Mark Stephens, a media lawyer, said the courts could instruct the Attorney General or solicitors to begin proceedings, at public expense, to find out who the person behind the breach was. They would then be subject to a contempt of court action: One of the things about this is that it is a cynical snub of the judiciary but a lot of this information has been available for people using the internet for quite some time.

But Sara Mansoori, a media barrister at Matrix chambers, which represents claimants and defendants including some mentioned in the latest alleged Twitter breach, said a judge had recently rebuffed solicitors' calls for the court to start contempt proceedings -- instead telling them they could apply to the Attorney General to intervene: The [breaches] are starting to be a head-on collision with the courts, she said. Courts are implementing laws by Parliament. We have moved away from privacy laws to contempt laws, we are in a very serious situation [but] we have got Parliament, through comments through the Prime Minister saying he is concerned about the courts, and John Hemming [the MP] saying they are unhappy with the way the courts are applying the law.

The author of the latest alleged Twitter breach used the anonymous mask -- employed by groups and individuals seeking to challenge institutions and whistle blow wrongdoings.

 

29th May   

Twitter Snitches...

Twitter to hand over contact details of allegedly libelous tweeter
Link Here  full story: Anonymous Tweets...Twitter and identification under court duress

Twitter logoFor the first time, the American social networking site Twitter has bowed to a court action brought by a British group complaining that they were libelled in messages.

The individuals who brought the legal action were councillors and officials at a local authority, South Tyneside. They launched the case in an attempt to unmask an anonymous whistle-blower who calls himself Mr Monkey.

The action is believed to have cost council tax payers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The unprecedented ruling has prompted a row over freedom of speech, with experts warning that it may lead to a flood of actions by lawyers in other cases seeking to obtain personal information about people who breach super-injunctions or post libellous messages on Twitter. Related Articles

Until now, Twitter has resisted releasing information about its users, although its privacy policy says it will do so to comply with a law, regulation or legal request . Tony Wang, the company's head of European operations, warned last week that it would not seek to protect users' confidential information when legally required to hand it over. He said the most the company could do was to inform users before it released their details, to give them a chance to challenge the rulings in court.

In their attempt to unmask Mr Monkey, the South Tyneside councillors and officials went to court in California, where Twitter is based. The court granted the order after it was told, by lawyers for the council, that messages posted on the accounts had been libellous.

Since 2008 Mr Monkey has levelled allegations against councillors ranging from ballot-rigging, drug-taking and fiddling expenses to a claim that one successfully ordered a public bus to turn around and pick him up from a pub late at night.

 

29th May   

Offsite: Secret Courts...

New gagging order over employment tribunal hearing sex discrimination case
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Old BaileyA new secrecy row has erupted after a tribunal judge imposed a gagging order on a sex discrimination case involving a married executive at one of Britain's most high-profile public bodies. The case has been brought by a female colleague with whom he had a close friendship.

The man, who is in his 50s and whom The Mail on Sunday is not allowed to name, was employed until a few weeks ago as a senior director at an organisation deeply involved in law and order. Protected: In an unusual move, both the man and the woman involved in the case persuaded a judge to impose a secrecy order. He has overseen a number of controversial issues that have led to turmoil within the organisation and the departure of key individuals.

Yet in a rare move, both he and his female colleague, who is considerably younger than him, have persuaded an employment tribunal judge to impose a secrecy order on the proceedings.

...Read the full article

 

26th May   

Update: Snitch Twitter...

Twitter will hand over data connected with accounts defying court injunctions
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Twitter logoTwitter said it was prepared to hand over information identifying tens of thousands of people who have used the social-networking website to break privacy injunctions.

A senior executive from Twitter has admitted that the website would turn over information to authorities if it was legally required to do so.

Experts had previously assumed that people who breached gagging orders on Twitter were protected from legal reprisals because the website is outside the jurisdiction of British courts.

Ryan Giggs, the Premiership footballer, last week started legal proceedings against Twitter and persons unknown after more than 70,000 users revealed that he had obtained an injunction to hide an extra-marital affair.

Tony Wang, Twitter's head of European operations, said that the website would notify users in advance so they could fight the application in the court before Twitter handed over the information. He said:

Platforms have a responsibility, not to defend that user but to protect that user's right to defend him or herself. If we're legally required to turn over user information, to the extent that we can, we want to notify the user involved, let them know and let them exercise their rights under their own jurisdiction. That's not to say that they will ultimately prevail, that's not to say that law enforcement doesn't get the information they need, but what it does do is take that process into the court of law and let it play out there.

 

25th May   

Offsite: Ofcom Get Political...

Ofcom censure Iranian Press TV for interview with arrested journalist
Link Here

Green protestOfcom has ruled that Iran's state-run Press TV is responsible for a serious breach of UK broadcasting rules and could face a fine for airing an interview with Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek journalist arrested covering the Iranian presidential election in 2009, that was obtained by force while he was held in a Tehran jail.

...Read the full article

 

25th May   

Offsite: Secret Extent...

Independent counts 333 gagging orders in the past 5 years
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

The IndependentThe extent of court privacy injunctions in British public life and the media can be revealed today after an analysis by The Independent found that more than 333 gagging orders protecting the identities of celebrities, children and private individuals have been granted in the past five years.

As the ramifications of the naming in Parliament of footballer Ryan Giggs continued to fuel the debate over injunctions, MPs renewed calls for the Ministry of Justice to begin collating figures for the number of privacy orders being granted in Britain's courts after a senior judge warned that the absence of reliable data was undermining public confidence in the administration of justice.

...Read the full article

 

23rd May   

Update: Named and Shamed...

Ryan Giggs named in a Scottish newspaper, then Wikipedia, then the House of Commons
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Twitter logoThe attempt to use super-injunctions to gag the media in the internet age has reached new levels of absurdity.

It was reported that a High Court judge had referred an unidentified journalist to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, to consider a criminal prosecution for breaching a privacy injunction with a tweet about another footballer. The move could potentially mean that criminal proceedings would be brought against 30,000 people who have broken one or other of the contested injunctions by tweeting in recent days the identities of those involved.

However, sources close to the Attorney General suggested he would be highly unlikely to authorise criminal proceedings against anyone who had breached either injunction on Twitter. They said that he would be unlikely to want to become embroiled in an increasingly farcical situation and suggested that if the footballers' lawyers wanted redress against tweeters, they should do it through the civil courts.

Yet on the same day when the increasingly farcical attempts of lawyers to restrict the flow of information about their clients unravelled further, a Scottish newspaper, the Sunday Herald, devoted its front page to a clearly recognisable photo of one of the footballers involved. Below the picture, a caption read: Everyone knows that this is the footballer accused of using the courts to keep allegations of a sexual affair secret. But we weren't supposed to tell you that...

The Scottish paper's editor said he printed the picture because he did not think it was bound by the English legal injunction. However, the paper did not name the footballer in its two-page spread on privacy, and Scottish lawyers questioned whether it would be able to defend its decision in court.

However Campbell Deane, of the leading Scottish libel firm Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co, said he believed the paper was covered by the injunction and could now be referred to the Lord Advocate, who could bring charges against the paper's editor and its owners.

But Reuters reports that Scotland's most senior politician Alex Salmond said on Monday that the Herald should not be pursued by the English courts for publishing the player's photo: It looks to me like the English law, English injunctions look increasingly impractical in the modern world, It seems that everyone is out of step except the English courts.

In a later development Wikipedia has now added an item about the injunction identifying the footballer involved

 

23rd May   

Offsite: Swearwords and Parental Guidance...

If the Guardian were a film, what BBFC rating would it get?
Link Here

The GuardianA reader says that he will no longer buy the Guardian. On the face of it, the reason is the use in The Guide, the paper's weekly entertainment supplement, of a band's name that includes an obscenity. It is not a new issue for the Guardian and the policy on swearwords has been written about in this and other columns before.

While sitting on my sofa this morning, my seven-year-old daughter turned to me and said, 'Daddy, what does 'fucked up' mean' , wrote the reader, referring to a music review of a punk band called Fucked Up, on page 22 of The Guide on 30 April 2011.

The reader was unhappy with my reply. Should I really be prepared 'to intervene', as you put it, when my daughter picks up The Guide next time? he asked. What age do you recommend for Guardian readership if you are content to write 'Fucked Up' in bold text at the top of a review? 16 years old? 18 maybe?

This is what I wrote to the reader: In the past I have written that it is hard to write a paper for adults that is suitable for children. I think inevitably some parents will take the view that all sorts of material is unsuitable ... If the Guardian was a film I don't think it would carry a U certificate -- I think it would be a PG. Legitimate coverage of adult issues in a clear and comprehensible way is fine but we should keep out cheap, quick, gratuitously offensive pieces and pictures that are just there to shock in a puerile fashion. I don't think the Guardian always gets it right but we try harder than you might think.

...Read the full article

Comment: 12 rather than PG

On the topic of strong language in the Guardian, the certificate 12/12A seems closest:

From the BBFC guidelines:

Strong language at PG: Mild bad language only

Strong language at 12/12A: Moderate language is allowed. The use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’) must be infrequent.

 

22nd May   

Updated: Own Goal...

Infamous footballer vs heroic Twitter
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Twitter logoLegal proceedings are being taken by a professional footballer against Twitter for allegedly publishing information covered by a super-injunction.

The player, identified only by the initials CTB, is also known to be taking action against the Sun newspaper and ex-Big Brother star Imogen Thomas.

Papers lodged in the High Court are against Twitter and persons unknown . They request disclosure of Twitter users said to be behind the publication of confidential information. Legal fight The order requires Twitter to disclose the requested information within seven days - or within the appropriate time required by the law in California, where Twitter has its headquarters.

Media lawyer Nick Lockett said the legal action against Twitter may not have much effect. What will have to be established is that Twitter was subject to the jurisdiction of the court, he said. While UK courts claim worldwide jurisdiction this has often proved hard to enforce. In the case of the US, said Lockett, the situation was complicated by the Communications Decency Act which grants immunity from prosecution for providers of interactive computer services under certain circumstances. Lawyers acting for CTB may struggle to prove that Twitter does not deserve this immunity, said Lockett.

Based on article from bbc.co.uk

Hundreds of Twitter users have reacted to a footballer's bid to find out who is putting information about him on the website by posting new messages online.

Twitter has not commented but hundreds of users have repeated his name online.

Update: 30,000 Tweets

22nd May 2011. See article from dailymail.co.uk

A Premier League footballer's attempts to gag discussion of his extramarital affair with a Big Brother contestant appeared doomed to failure after the total of messages about the star posted on Twitter hit 30,000.

And the number of tweets about the affair has rocketed over the course of the last 48 hours following his decision to launch a second legal action aimed at trying to prevent disclosure of the relationship on Twitter.

Within 24 hours of the player launching the new challenge, more than 12,000 tweets about him and the relationship appeared on the site. Miss Thomas was named alongside the footballer in more than 6,000. Last night tweets about the affair were being posted at a rate of 900 every hour.

Update: Putting people in prison just to hide sexual peccadilloes

22nd May 2011. See article from dailymail.co.uk

A journalist on one of Britain's most respected newspapers -- who also appears on a widely-viewed BBC programme -- could face a jail sentence after naming on Twitter a Premier League footballer who had taken out a privacy injunction.

In the first case of its kind, lawyers for the soccer star have persuaded a High Court judge to ask Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC to consider a criminal prosecution against the writer for breaching a privacy injunction. If Grieve decides to issue contempt of court proceedings, the individual faces a prison sentence of up to two years.

The unprecedented legal action shows the extreme lengths to which public figure can go to prevent the exposure of adulterous affairs and misbehaviour.

 

21st May   

Update: Secret Parliament...

Up n coming review of superinjunctions
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

lord neubergerLord Neuberger's soon to be published review is expected to warn spate of restrictive privacy orders pose a grave threat to tradition of open justice Superinjunctions should only be granted in exceptional circumstances because of the threat they pose to open justice, a report by one of Britain's most senior judges is expected to warn.

Pre-notification ought to be given to third parties, such as the media, of court hearings where celebrities or others are applying for restrictive orders protecting their anonymity, the study headed by the master of the rolls, Lord Neuberger, is also expected to recommend.

Another issue the report may address is the question of how far parliamentary privilege protects the media in reporting speeches by MPs or peers that may be in contempt of court orders.

Whether Neuberger's report will add to the argument that the government needs to pass a privacy law is not clear.

The culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has ruled it out following a meeting with the justice secretary, Ken Clarke.

The long-awaited survey of superinjunctions and privacy orders, which runs to around 100 pages, will provide the government with clearer evidence about the need for a privacy law. Established last year in the wake of the Trafigura affair and the row over the England footballer John Terry's private life, the Neuberger committee of experts was asked to examine the use of injunctions which bind the press and so-called 'superinjunctions' .

 

20th May   

Offsite: Calm Down Dear...

Link suggestion on the subject of sexualisation
Link Here

calm down dear logo Showing the sexualisation hysterics that the past was a whole lot naughtier than the present and fighting the good fight against moralisers and would-be censors.

...See calmdowndear.blogspot.com

 

19th May   

Update: Searching for Defiance...

Google not impressed by UK website blocking measures in the Digital Economy Act
Link Here  full story: Digital Economy Act...Clause 11 grants government control of the internet

Google logoGoogle's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, has warned that government plans to block access to illicit filesharing websites could set a disastrous precedent for freedom of speech.

Speaking to journalists at Google's Big Tent conference in London, Schmidt said the online search giant would challenge attempts to restrict access to the Pirate Bay and other so-called cyberlocker sites,  part of government plans to fight online piracy through controversial measures included in the Digital Economy Act.

Schmidt described website blocking as akin to China's restrictive internet regime:

I would be very, very careful if I were a government about arbitrarily [implementing] simple solutions to complex problems, he said. So, 'let's whack off the DNS'. Okay, that seems like an appealing solution but it sets a very bad precedent because now another country will say 'I don't like free speech so I'll whack off all those DNSs' -- that country would be China.

It doesn't seem right. I would be very, very careful about that stuff. If [the UK government] do it the wrong way it could have disastrous precedent setting in other areas.

Speaking at the same conference, the culture minister, Jeremy Hunt, said plans to block access to illicit filesharing websites were on schedule. He admitted that a challenge of the controversial measure is deciding which sites get blocked.

Ofcom is due to present its report on the practicability of the site-blocking measures included in the DEA to Hunt in the coming weeks.

 

19th May   

Update: Successfully Avoiding the Point...

Nominet domain seizure debate discusses everything but
Link Here  full story: Internet Domain Censorship...In the Domain of Nominet internet censorship

NominetNominet, the .uk domain name manager, yesterday held its inaugural .uk Policy Forum, a talking shop designed to give stakeholders a chance to voice their opinions about internet governance.

Over the last year or so, law enforcement in the UK and US have started to zero in on top-level domain name registries -- such as VeriSign in the US for .com and Nominet for .uk -- as a useful choke-point that can be squeezed to shut down supposedly criminal activity online.

Yesterday's event, subtitled Protection & Trust , heard from lawyers, advocacy groups, journalists, law enforcement and government, and covered topics from porn-filtering by ISPs to balancing free speech rights against the needs of law enforcement in an increasingly complex international environment.

Every attendee we spoke to yesterday called the event a success, an unprecedented venue to air views about the wider internet governance debate. A similarly positive sentiment was recorded on Twitter (#nominetpf), but this reporter was surprised by the lack of discussion about Nominet's actual powers.

As the .uk registry, Nominet has the ability, if not necessarily the authority, to unilaterally remove any .uk domain name from the internet. Whether yesterday's debate focused on security, anti-pornography measures, copyright enforcement, or freedom of speech, the exercise of this power over internet addresses was arguably the only real, practical, underlying issue.

Yet Nominet itself barely merited a mention. The organisation sometimes felt the like the elephant in the room at its own conference. Its brand was on every PowerPoint slide, but it was not until the final minutes of the very last session that any panelist started to talk in any depth about its policies. Even then, they were hurried on by moderator Sarah Montague in the interests of timing.

 

17th May   

Updated: Unlawful Killing...

The film the British won't get to see
Link Here

unlawful killing video My documentary about the Diana inquest will be shown everywhere but the UK. Here's why

The internet is a global lavatory wall, a Rabelaisian mixture of truth, lies, insanity and humour. I felt its power and madness this week, when an excerpt from my new film, Unlawful Killing, was leaked on to YouTube and seized on by US conspiracy theorists, who immediately began claiming that the CIA had murdered Princess Diana, thereby allowing others to dismiss my documentary as mad.

Deriding its critics as mad is an age-old British establishment trick. My inquest of the inquest film contains footage of Diana recalling how the royals wanted her consigned to a mental institution, and the inquest coroner repeatedly questioning the sanity of anyone who wondered if the crash was more than an accident. His chief target was Mohamed Al Fayed, a man I once profiled for a Channel 4 documentary. Before I met him, I'd half-believed the media caricature of him as a madman, driven nuts by the death of his son, and wildly accusing the Windsors of having planned the 1997 crash. However, I found a man who was sane and funny but frustrated that Britain wouldn't hold an inquest into his son's death. Michael Mansfield QC thought it unfair too, and fought for one to be held; which was why the longest inquest in British legal history eventually began in 2007.

...

Why is the film being premiered next week at Cannes, three years after the inquest ended? Because British lawyers insisted on 87 cuts before any UK release could be contemplated. So rather than butcher the film, or risk legal action, we're showing it in France, then the US, and everywhere except the UK.

...Read the full article

Update: Maybe

17th May 2011. See article from digitalspy.co.uk

Keith Allen has suggested that his Princess Diana documentary Unlawful Killing may be screened in London.

Speaking at a press conference for the film in Cannes, Allen said:

I haven't made any cuts of the 87 that were suggested, which is contributing to why the film isn't being shown in England. When you want to screen a film in England you have to have insurance, and the only way to get insurance is to be lawyer-approved. I could get lawyer approval if I made the 87 cuts, which I wasn't prepared to make.

It's an ongoing process, there's a chance it may be seen in England. We're in talks with the [BFI] London Film Festival and it could be shown there.

Update: Sydney Film Festival

25th August 2013.  See article from dailyadvertiser.com.au

A controversial documentary alleging dark forces in the British establishment covered up details of Diana, the Princess of Wales' death in 1997 will be screened at a Sydney film festival next month.

The screening of Unlawful Killing at the Sydney Underground Film Festival on September 7 and 8 is understood to be the only time it has been shown outside a private screening at the 2011 Cannes film festival and at an Irish festival.

It will be screened one day after the world premiere of Diana , a biopic starring Naomi Watts, in London on September 5.

 

13th May   

Update: Twitter Protection...

Latest privacy injunction specifically bans publication on social networking sites
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Twitter logoThe first injunction specifically banning the publication of information on Facebook and Twitter was issued yesterday.

The far-reaching order was issued in the Court of Protection in the case of a mother who wants to withdraw life support from her brain-damaged daughter. It prevents the identification of the woman, her relatives and those caring for her.

Legal experts said they had never seen an injunction which specifically barred publication of information on social networking websites.

John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP who is campaigning against the excessive use of gagging orders, said: They are like King Canute, the tide will keep coming in no matter what they do. The problem the courts have is Twitter is not registered in the UK and is therefore outside British jurisdiction. What they are saying is unrealistic. This is about life and death and I don't think it's acceptable, there is a real issue with transparency. The Court of Protection operates in a bubble -- it's out of touch with the real world.

 

12th May   

Update: At the People's Court...

Jon Gaunt gets his day in the Court of Appeal
Link Here

Old BaileyRadio presenter Jon Gaunt has put his case to the Court of Appeal. He contended that his right to freedom of expression was violated by a decision to uphold complaints about him calling an interviewee a Nazi.

Gaunt, whose contract was terminated by TalkSport in November 2008, 10 days after the exchange with councillor Michael Stark, says media watchdog Ofcom's response was disproportionate .

His QC, Gavin Millar, told three judges headed by the Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger that context is everything when considering rights under Article 10 of the European Convention.

Last summer, Gaunt, supported by Liberty, challenged Ofcom's June 2009 finding that the interview failed to comply with the broadcasting code but the High Court backed Ofcom.

The judges have indicated they will give their decision at a later date.

 

10th May   

Update: TalkTalk BlockBlock...

British ISP starts a website blocking service for children
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

talktalk homesafe logoOne of the UK's largest ISPs has launched network-level website blocking aimed at protecting subscribers' children and their computers. While reports of HomeSafe's ability to block access to viruses, pornography and violent content has been widespread, it also blocks file-sharing sites and even information about file sharing at torrentfreak.com .

The package offers various services

  • Virus Alerts which blocks sites (or sections of sites) known to be infected with malware.
  • Homework Time , a feature which allows parents to grant kids access to the Internet for educational purposes, but stops them in their tracks should they attempt to become distracted by social networking sites such as Facebook.
  • KidsSafe, offers parents a set of controls to stop their kids (or indeed anyone else using a TalkTalk Internet connection) from accessing violent, pornographic or gambling content.

TalkTalk is stressing that HomeSafe is completely optional and is disabled by default. The list of blocked sites will not be made available.

 

10th May   

Update: Mosley Lashed by the European Court...

Max Mosley fails bid to force publishers to warn those effected by newspaper exposes
Link Here  full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex

European court buildingsEx Formula 1 boss Max Mosley has lost his European Court of Human Rights bid to force newspapers to warn people before exposing their private lives.

He said the Strasbourg verdict was disappointing but he may appeal, to keep fighting for tighter privacy laws: [I'm] obviously disappointed, but it's satisfying that they've been extremely critical of the News of the World.

Mosley won his 2008 High Court battle after a judge ruled there was no justification for the News of the World's front-page article about him paying five women to take part in a sado-masochistic orgy.

The tabloid reported that the orgy involving Mosley, the son of fascist leader Oswald Mosley, had Nazi overtones, but this was rejected by the judge.

Although he was awarded £ 60,000 damages, everyone had learned the details of his sexual preferences, and he argued money alone could not restore his reputation. He said once a story had been published, you could not un-publish it, and the damage had been done.

He took his case to the Human Rights Court, challenging UK laws which allow publication without giving targets advanced warning. The court clearly had some sympathy for Mosley's individual case, but said it had to look more broadly and assess the balance between an individual's right to privacy and the media's right to freedom of expression under the UK's legal system.

The UK, along with other contracting states, has a margin of appreciation - ie some leeway in the way it protects people's right to privacy. Taking that into account, the court found that the mix of rights and remedies available to people in the UK - which includes actions for damages, injunctions when the person knows of an imminent story, and regulation of the press through the Press Complaints Commission - sufficiently protected their privacy. It also feared that a general requirement of prior notification risked having a chilling effect on serious investigative journalism.

 

9th May   

Update: There's No Twitter Smoke Without Fire...

Twitter user stirs things up by naming celebrities claimed to have taken out super injunctions
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Twitter logoA Twitter user named InjuctionSuper has stirred things up with some celebrities who he claims to have obtained super-injunctions to prevent publication of details of their private lives.

The press say that some of these claims are not true but of course they cannot say which these are nor can they confirm any false names.

The use of super injunctions seems ever present in the news these days and seems to be causing much disquiet. A report by a committee set up by the Master of the Rolls - the most senior civil law judge at the Court of Appeal - will report on their use later this month.

BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman said it will have to grapple with the issue of publication online.

If it doesn't the super or secret-injunction may no longer be an effective tool in the administration of justice, he said.

Media lawyer Charlotte Harris, of Mishcon de Reya, said the stories subject to super-injunctions were quite often cases of nasty blackmail . She said: You should be allowed to end a relationship with somebody, whether you are married or not, without having that person say 'right, I'm going to go to the paper, I'm going to destroy your life, I'm going to tell everybody every intimate thing about you'.

A lawyer who acts for newspapers suggested the viral effect of postings on social media websites could make a mockery of super-injunctions. Niri Shan, head of media law at Taylor Wessing, added: You can get an allegation that is made but before you know... it goes to potentially millions of people. Although people don't take these allegations as seriously as newspapers they certainly have a detrimental effect.

 

6th May   

Offsite: Gagging For It...

Celebrities in a rush for gagging orders
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Old BaileySee  article from telegraph.co.uk

A Premiership footballer is the latest to obtain a gagging order to prevent details of an affair becoming public. Kimberley West

Miss West, 18, claims she had a three-month relationship with the footballer after meeting in a nightclub.

He joins a growing list of celebrities who have taken out injunctions to prevent details of their private life being made public.

See article from dailymail.co.uk

A serving MP is seeking a super-injunction preventing details of their activities being exposed, it was disclosed today.

The revelation came in the Commons as MPs discussed future Parliamentary business - including whether to debate creeping judge-made privacy laws and the spiralling use of gagging orders.

Each Thursday MPs are allowed to press Leader of the House Sir George Young to allocate Government time for debates. Conservative Matthew Offord (Hendon) used the session to raise the gagging orders.

He said: There has been much public discussion on the increasing use of super-injunctions and the ability of judges to decide policy instead of elected Parliamentarians.

Is the Leader of the House aware of the anomaly this creates if, as has been rumoured, a member of this place seeks a super-injunction to prevent discussion of their activities?'

See article from dailymail.co.uk

A celebrity chef won a privacy order yesterday granting him anonymity over claims he mistreated two employees whom he later sacked at his business empire.

The ruling means that he cannot be named at an employment tribunal later this year brought by the female and male members of his staff.

It is the latest example of a major public figure remaining anonymous thanks to creeping privacy rulings by judges.

The woman -- known only as Miss J -- claims she suffered sex discrimination and also a detriment after she acted as a whistleblower at the company -- which can be referred to only as K Ltd .

No reasons have been given for the gagging order, but such devices can be used in cases of sexual misconduct under industrial tribunal rules.

 

30th April   

Anti-Cuts Chopped...

Facebook deletes 50 groups associated with student protests
Link Here

ucl occupation logoThere appears to be a political purge of Facebook taking place. Profiles are being deleted without warning or explanation. Facebook has just deleted around 50 sites.

It may well be that these groups are technically in violation of Facebook's terms of agreement, but the timing on the royal wedding and May day weekend, is deeply suspicious.

We don't know for certain, but this purge of online organising groups could be linked to the wider crackdown on protest by authorities in Britain. Either way, it is a scandalous abuse of power by Facebook to arbitrarily destroy online communities built up over many months and years.

Ultimately, the anti-cuts movement in the UK will need to start organising through self-hosted, open source platforms to avoid reliance upon the very corporate power structures we are aiming to challenge.

Facebook pages that have been deleted: Open Birkbeck UWE Occupation Chesterfield Stopthecuts Camberwell AntiCuts IVA Womensrevolution Tower Hamlets Greens No Cuts ArtsAgainst Cuts London Student Assembly Beat'n Streets Roscoe Manchester Occupation Bristol Bookfair Newcastle Occupation Socialist Unity Whospeaks Forus Ourland FreeLand Bristol Ukuncut Teampalestina Shaf Notts-Uncut Part-of UKUncut No Quarter Cutthewar Bootle Labour Claimants Fightback Ecosocialists Unite Comrade George Orwell Jason Derrick Anarchista Rebellionist BigSociety Leeds Slade Occupation Anti-Cuts Across Wigan Firstof Mayband Don't Break Britain United Cockneyreject SWP Cork Westiminster Trades Council York Anarchists Rock War Sheffield Occupation Central London SWP North London Solidarity Southwark Sos Save NHS Rochdale Law Centre Goldsmiths Fights Back Occupy Monaco

 

30th April   

Offsite: Sterilised Wedding...

Police round up 'potential' protestors ahead of the royal wedding
Link Here

Royal Wedding Activity Perfectly Pretty Offsite: Royal wedding protest: three anti-capitalist activists arrested

Thanks to emark
29th April 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

Three anti-capitalist activists who were planning a mock execution of Prince Andrew with a guillotine to mark the royal wedding have been arrested and detained at Lewisham police station.

Officers arrested Professor Chris Knight, a leading member of the G20 Meltdown group, outside his home in Brockley, south east London at around 6.15pm, according to an eyewitness.

Also arrested were Knight's partner Camilla Power and Patrick Macroidan, who was dressed as an executioner, said fellow activist Mike Raddie, of north London, who was with them.

The three activists were preparing to drive their theatrical props, including a home-made guillotine and effigies, into central London when three police cars and two police vans drew up near Knight's home in Brockley, said Raddie.

..read the full article

Offsite: Police swoop on squatters planning to disrupt Royal Wedding as central London is locked down

29th April 2011. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Daily Mail logoHundreds of officers raided five squats across the capital, and 20 people were arrested.

Around 70 people have already been banned from Westminster after being arrested or charged over previous demonstrations. Police and MI5 have said there has been no direct threat from terrorists including Al-Qaeda or Irish dissident groups. Ring of steel: Armed police are on guard outside the Goring Hotel in central London where Kate Middleton and her family are stayed last night

Police officers admitted the raids had been brought forward but claimed they were not connected to the royal wedding.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Only 55 arrests among a million well-wishers as police's ring of steel around the capital is hailed a success

30th April 2011. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Daily Mail logoA huge police operation successfully thwarted hundreds of anarchists who planned to wreck the royal wedding.

There were fears of mass disorder after masked thugs gathered in central London, but officers swooped on two anti-royal protests, preventing an outbreak of violence.

The biggest security operation in a generation was described as a huge success after Scotland Yard mounted a series of pre-emptive strikes.

...Read the full article

Update: Met accused of sexual assault during pre-emptive policing

30th April 2011. By Jane Fae

Metropiltan Police badgeThe trans community was tonight seething at reports that a Metropolitan Police Officer sexually assaulted a trans woman as part of pre-emptive policing during the Royal Wedding in London, today

The allegation was made by queer activist Logan Le'Belle, who went to Soho Square intending to take part in a zombie flashmob event. Part theatre, part direct action, this event was conceived as a dramatic means to contrast today's celebrations with the ongoing climate of cuts.

However, police intervened before the event could get under way, arresting Logan and other participants on suspicion of intention to breach the peace.

According to Le'Belle police officers consistently misgendered both himself and his companion, a trans woman. He described how a police woman cupped his companion's genital area in order to ascertain her genital status before conducting a search.

Trans activist and writer, Jane Fae reacted angrily to this report. She said: if true, this suggests that the Met have learnt absolutely nothing about how to deal with trans men and women. It means that transphobia is still rife amongst the rank and file.

If a police officer did this to an ordinary member of the public, they would, quite rightly, be charged with a sexual assault. However, as the trans community knows all too well, ordinary decency often breaks down when dealing with ourselves - despite the fact that we remain a significant target for abuse and violence as we go about our day to day lives.

I have been in touch with the Met this evening, to see if anyone can shed any light on this incident. It is my fervent hope that it is not true. If it is, I have no hesitation whatsoever in asking that the Met dismiss this officer today .

 

29th April   

We Are Not Amused...

Australian TV show banned from joking about royal wedding
Link Here

chasers royal weddingThe Australian TV show The Chaser, which had planned an irreverent commentary to accompany images of the ceremony, has been pulled from ABC2's schedule, after learning that footage of the event is banned from being used in any comedy or satirical program.

ABC TV director Kim Dalton said he was surprised and disappointed that The Chaser could not be aired, while one of the show's stars, Julian Morrow, described the rule as out of step with a modern democracy.

Clarence House, which oversees the affairs of Prince William and drew up the broadcast contract with the BBC, issued a statement saying that it was standard practice for these kinds of religious ceremonies to include a clause which restricts usage in drama, comedy, satirical, or similar entertainment programs.

Organizations championing freedom of expression have questioned whether the royals should have the right to impose such restrictions, especially given that the taxpayer will pick up most of the costs involved in organizing the event.

Padraig Reidy, news editor at Britain's Index on Censorship, describes the royal family's control of the coverage as bizarre. He adds that plans for preemptive arrests and restrictions on the right to protest were even more concerning, branding as unprecedented the police's intended approach.

 

29th April   

Update: Starting Blocks...

Options for British internet censorship of file sharing sites
Link Here  full story: Sharing in the UK...UK Government stick and carrot for file sharing

jeremy huntThe culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, appeared to have kicked the ball into the long grass when he asked Ofcom to review the workability of the government's controversial web blocking plans earlier this year. In fact, the measures continue to move apace.

Proposals are being mooted on two fronts: one could establish a new version of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to deal with filesharing; the other would put Google and the government on a collision course.

Proposal 1

Rights holders and internet providers are understood to be roughly in favour of an industry-wide voluntary code . This code would govern how and which filesharing sites are censored. Rights holders would likely have to satisfy a number of points before a Pirate Bay-like site would be blocked.

The code could establish a independent third body akin to the IWF that would implement the code and ultimately decide which filesharing sites are censored.

Detractors argue that such a newly created body would simply be too expensive and time consuming.

Proposal 1a

A variant, favoured by the legal professionals, is for a judge to rule whether a site should be blocked after the voluntary code has been satisfied. This would quell ISPs' fears about having to paying compensation to sites that claim to have been wrongly blocked, and also negate the need for a new body.

Proposal 2

Ofcom has been asked to review censorship via website blocking against the backdrop of the Digital Economy Act - in other words, this won't be voluntary, but set in a statutory context.

According to people consulted by Ofcom in recent weeks, the regulator is thought to be leaning down the domain name blocking route . Although Ofcom is not expected to recommend one blocking method over another, it will spell out the pros and cons of each.

Update: Meanwhile

30th April 2011. See  article from  torrentfreak.com

Old BaileyFollowing complaints from two of the country's largest ISPs, last month the High Court began its judicial review of the Digital Economy Act, the legislation put in place in the UK to deal with illicit file-sharing.

Both ISPs accused the former government of pushing through the legislation without due process and questioned whether the Act is enforceable under current EU legislation. They also challenged the statutory order, currently in draft, designed to apportion the costs of meeting the requirements of the DEA. Under the law, service providers are required to take action against subscribers flagged as illicit file-sharers and could be required to block domains associated with infringement.

Now the High Court has almost completely rejected the challenge by BT and TalkTalk, with the ISPs winning only a slight concession on costs.

Mr Justice Kenneth Parker upheld the principle of taking measures to tackle the unlawful downloading of music, films, books and other copyright material. BT and TalkTalk had brought the judicial review, claiming that the measures in the Act were not compliant with EU law and were not proportionate. The judge rejected the challenge.

The judge ruled ISPs could be made to pay a share of the cost of operating the system and the appeals process but not Ofcom's costs from setting up, monitoring and enforcing it.

The Government will now consider changes to the statutory instrument.

 

28th April   

Every Little Helps...

Police censor public screening of film about the Bristol Tesco Riot
Link Here

stokes croft tesco An unofficial screening of a film showing footage of a riot in Bristol has been blocked by the police.

A large number of people had been expected to attend the event in a park in the city after advertising had been posted online.

The free Riot Special , which has been organised by Occasional Cinema, was due to take place in Mina Park, in the St Werburghs area of the city.

It was to show footage recorded last Friday night by citizen journalists during the riot in the Stokes Croft area. The advert stated: After the spectacular events of last week we present an evening of citizen journalist footage from the riot and discussions on how police tactics failed so miserably.

However, before the event could start Avon and Somerset Police used legislation to prevent the screening. A force spokeswoman said: The group was dispersed under legislation available to the police to maintain public safety and reduce the risk of potential disorder.

Bristol City Council, the owners of the land, also supported this decision. The organisers have now engaged with the police and the event has been moved to a privately-owned property nearby.

Even there the police tried to stop the screening claiming that gathering constituted a rave under the Criminal Justice Act.

Chief Inspector John Holt claimed: This was not about censorship. We believed there was a very real risk to the local community if the screening were to go ahead in a public park. We would always encourage people wishing to organise outdoor events to engage with us so that they can go ahead safely, peacefully and without disruption to local residents.

 

27th April   

In fact it was a little bit frightening...

Ludicrous easy offence at a beach bar performance of Carl Douglas' Kung Fu Fighting
Link Here

Kung Fu Fighting A pub singer has been arrested on supposed suspicion of racial harassment after singing King Fu Fighting in front of two Chinese people.

Carl Douglas had a hit with the song in 1974

Simon Ledger says he fears he will end up with a criminal record for performing the disco classic at a seafront bar on the Isle of Wight on Sunday after two people walking past apparently took offence.

After striking up the melody in front of customers at the weekend he noticed a man of Chinese origin walking past with his mother, making gestures at him and taking a picture on his mobile phone.

He said that he later received a telephone call from police - while he was dining in a Chinese restaurant - asking him to meet officers about the incident. He was then arrested and questioned before being bailed.

 

26th April   

Update: Super Injunctionist...

Andrew Marr comes out
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

andrew marr show logoBBC presenter Andrew Marr has revealed he took out a super-injunction to protect his family's privacy - but says he will not pursue it any further.

Marr told the Daily Mail he was embarrassed about the gagging order he took out in 2008 to suppress reports of an affair with a fellow journalist: I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists, he said. The use of injunctions seemed to be running out of control, he added.

In his interview in the Mail, Marr confirmed he had taken out an injunction to prevent details about the affair, which happened eight years ago while he was BBC political editor, from being published. He said: Am I embarrassed by it? Yes. Am I uneasy about it? Yes. 'Sense of proportion' But he added: I also had my own family to think about, and I believed this story was nobody else's business.

Marr who hosts a Sunday politics show on BBC One went on to say he knew injunctions were controversial, and the situation seems to be running out of control . There is a case for privacy in a limited number of difficult situations, but then you have to move on. They shouldn't be forever and a proper sense of proportion is required.

 

24th April   

Angering Greek Gods...

Dangerous email wipes out 5% from the worth of Greek banks
Link Here

citigrioup logoA London trader will be questioned by police after he was accused by Greek authorities of allegedly sending an email which sent markets crashing.

Paul Moss who works at the London-based Citigroup allegedly sent an email from the Canary Wharf office and said Greece would restructure its debt as soon as the weekend.

He is now being accused of causing a 4.6% drop in Greek bank shares.

The country has been excluded from financial markets because of the crippling debt crises it suffered last year. However, authorities have constantly tried to ease investment fears by saying the debt is manageable.

Greek police confirmed they had recovered a computer from the US bank Citigroup and plan to question Moss about the damaging email .

 

23rd April   

Update: Old Firm Censors...

Scottish Labour and Greens call for more internet censorship of football sectarianism
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

james kellyScottish Labour has called for more censorship of sectarian internet sites.

It was noted that there have been no prosecutions in recent years in connection with the internet bile that attaches itself to Rangers and Celtic.

Solicitor General Frank Mulholland has indicated that such offences will soon be punishable by up to five years in prison.

But Labour's community safety spokesman James Kelly said:

It's clear from recent days that there are still instances of online campaigns which are sectarian in nature and are unacceptable.

As well as condemning that behaviour, the authorities should be doing all in their power to try and clamp down on that. The job for a future parliament is to look at the laws around the internet and examine whether they're tough enough or not - and if they're not, look to beef those up.

It's not just a case of saying that these online campaigns are unacceptable and we want the authorities to act. We must ensure that the authorities have got the appropriate tools in legislation at their disposal to clamp down on this.

Two youth footballers with Scottish senior clubs have been dismissed in recent days over online comments. Max McKee, an under-19 player with Clyde, was sacked after posting on Twitter: Somebody needs to hurry up and shoot Neil Lennon. Berwick Rangers youth player Keiran Bowell was dismissed for an online post which said he wished Lennon had been killed.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said ISPs and hosting companies must take the same degree of responsibility as newspapers or magazine publishers in policing their content: If an ISP or a hosting company is having their service abused, or is allowing it to be abused in that way, they need to take action to cut people off.

See  article from  independent.co.uk

Police were said to be preparing to raid the homes of people allegedly involved in Old Firm internet hate campaigns.

An operation to target people posting racial and religious hate comments about Old Firm stars such as Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers striker El Hadji Diouf is planned ahead of the two teams meeting at Ibrox on Sunday. it was reported.

The Daily Record newspaper said that the addresses were identified with the help of the ISPs.

 

21st April   

Update: Celebrity Judge...

Yet another gagging order with an even more far reaching scope
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Old BaileyA High Court judge has issued an unprecedented gagging order in an attempt to prevent details of a television star's private life being published, even on the internet.

Mr Justice Eady, who has been at the centre of most recent controversial libel and privacy cases, made the injunction against the world rather than just against national newspapers and broadcasters.

His order seeks to prevent the publication of intimate photographs of a married public figure after a woman tried to sell them for a large sum of money .

The judge said the woman owed the unidentified claimant a duty of confidence and breaching his privacy would damage the health of the man and his family.

His order is intended to cover discussion of the case online as well as in traditional media, despite the difficulties in enforcing it.

The injunction contra mundum is intended to be never-ending and, as its Latin name suggests, applies to the entire world.

It is understood that it is the first time that such an order has been granted in a privacy case.

The ruling takes secrecy laws to a new level, marking a further advance in the steps the courts are prepared to take to protect high-profile figures and to restrict the right to freedom of expression.

 

18th April   

Update: Selling Justice...

John Hemming highlights another case of super gagging
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Old BaileyA new breed of gagging order is preventing miscarriages of justice from being investigated, according to an MP campaigning against secrecy in Britain's courts.

John Hemming said the rising tide of injunctions granted by the courts threatened to contravene the Magna Carta. The MP has launched an inquiry into excessive and unlawful court secrecy and will put his evidence before the Commons Justice Select Committee.

The new order to which he refers involves a pregnant woman caught up in a High Court battle with her local authority. The order threatens her with imprisonment if she speaks to the media about her case. Journalists could also face jail for asking questions about the case.

Hemming said: This goes a step further than preventing people speaking out against injustice. It also puts any investigative journalist at risk if they ask any questions of a victim of a potential miscarriage of justice.

I call this the 'Quaero injunction', after the Latin word 'to seek'. I don't think this should be allowed in English courts. It has the effect of preventing journalists from speaking to people subject to this injunction without a risk of the journalist going to jail. That is a recipe for hiding miscarriages of justice.

Hemming is collecting examples of such orders to place before the Justice Select Committee. He said: What is clear is that almost all of the super-- and hyperinjunctions have no public judgment. That means they are not compliant with the rules of a fair trial. It is wrong to have a system whereby people can buy the sort of justice they want. That is a contravention of the Magna Carta. Clause 29 of the Magna Carta states that we will sell to no man ... either justice or right .

 

17th April   

Truely Worrying Vision...

IWF hand over reporting of internet hate crime role to the police
Link Here

true vision logoA new service for reporting all hate crimes online has been launched by the police. The website, called True Vision, is supported by all forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and can be accessed at www.report-it.org.uk.

All reports of incitement to racial hatred content hosted in the UK previously reported to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) should now be reported directly to True Vision.

The True Vision website provides information about what hate crime is, and includes a new online reporting form. The site also provides links to organisations that can offer support and advice on hate crime related issues.

Eve Salomon, Chair, IWF said:

We are very pleased to see our law enforcement partners develop a comprehensive reporting service incorporating all forms of hate crime. The Internet industry deserves a great deal of credit for funding an IWF service to receive reports of incitement to racial hatred content hosted in the UK since 2000 when no alternative system existed. However as new legislation has been introduced to include a wider range of hate crime definitions, the development of one all-embracing direct reporting service is an excellent idea. Having made a significant contribution to providing a public service for many years the IWF is now pleased to hand over responsibility for racial hatred reports to our police partners. We now turn our attention to focus more effort on other areas of our remit and in particular the removal of child sexual abuse content wherever it is hosted in the world.

The police believe that the website will help increase the reporting of hate crime by building confidence in victims and offering a range of reporting options for victims who may not wish to talk directly to the police. It also provides links to a number of organisations who can offer support.

 

16th April   

Update: Standing Up for British Humour...

Stephen Fry organises benefit gig to help Paul Chambers appeal his conviction for tweeting a supposedly menacing joke
Link Here  full story: Police Twitter Twits...Man charged over terrorism quip on twitter

  twitter joke trial gig logoComedian Stephen Fry has said he is prepared to go to prison over the Twitter joke trial. Fry was appearing at a benefit gig for Paul Chambers who is appealing to the High Court against his conviction for sending a supposedly menacing communication. He had tweeted: Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week... otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!

The benefit gig, at London's Bloomsbury Theatre, aimed to raise funds for Chambers' appeal. Freedom of speech. Among the other celebrities lending their support to the fundraising evening were Al Murray, Rufus Hound, Katy Brand and Father Ted writer Graham Linehan.

Fry argued that Chambers' tweet was an example of Britain's tradition of self-deprecating humour and banter. Appeal funds This [verdict] must not be allowed to stand in law, Fry said, adding that he would continue to repeat Chambers' message and face prison if that's what it takes .

Chambers' lawyer, David Allen Green, also addressed the audience, briefing them on the key details of his case. 'Speak freely' Although he was careful not to criticise the courts, he said the decision to find his client guilty does not make me proud to be an officer of the court . We should be able to have banter. We should be able to speak freely without the threat of legal coercion.

Chambers' appeal is likely to go before the High Court later this year.

 

16th April   

Updated: A Burning Challenge to Democracy...

Election candidate gets Koran burning charges dropped
Link Here

welsh assembly logoA British National Party election candidate accused of publicly burning a copy of the Koran has been freed after the charge against him was unexpectedly dropped. He had uploaded a video of his burning a Koran in a private garage saying : I am burning the Holy Koran and I hope that you Muslims are watching.

Sion Owens was arrested and charged at the weekend under Section 29 (probably meant Section 4A) of the the much abused Public Order Act. The BNP candidate in next month's Welsh Assembly elections spent the weekend in custody.

He has been warned that police are continuing to investigate the alleged incident and to expect further action. It is understood that his release was due to a technicality regarding the Act under which he was arrested and charged.

Offsite Update: Koran burning was on a private video and was not made public

16th April 2011. Based on article from spiked-online.com by Patrick Hayes

Something very odd happened at the weekend. A 40-year-old member of the far-right British National Party (BNP) was arrested for burning a copy of the Koran in his own back garden. Yes, it is apparently now a crime to express your disdain for a certain religious faith in the privacy of your own home. But that's not the end of it. What makes this case especially odd is that the man in question - Sion Owens - was reported to the police by a broadsheet newspaper that claims to be liberal: the Observer. Since when has it been the job of the respectable, left-leaning press to grass people up to the cops for alleged speech crimes?

When spiked looked into this strange story, we discovered that there are some major disagreements at the Observer in relation to it. The crime correspondent defended the Observer's actions, but one of the paper's top columnists questioned the wisdom of reporting a private expression of ideas to the authorities.

Owens, a senior member of the BNP who lives in south Wales, does seem to be an odd individual. Going into his garden, placing a Koran in a metal Quality Street box, dousing it with flammable liquid and then setting it alight while a colleague filmed him - it was a stupid and childish act. However, it was done in a private garden. So regardless of the fact that it was videoed, this was a form of private expression, and therefore none of the state's business.

...Read the full article

 

11th April   

Update: Nutters See Sexualisation Everywhere...

Preliminary releases from the review, Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood
Link Here
girls dress up

  Historically sexualised

The review, Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood,  is due out next month. It claims that nine out of 10 parents think that their children are growing up too quickly because of increasing sexualisation and commercial pressures, mainly from the internet and television.

The review has found that direct advertising through mobile phones was the marketing tool that most angered parents, with 35% believing it wrong. Products linked to social networking websites which invite children to click on them were second on the list of features to upset parents.

Although mothers and fathers want their children to have a mobile phone for safety and social reasons, they now realise it leaves them powerless to stop access to inappropriate internet sites, including pornography, the review claimed.

The review, conducted by Reg Bailey, the chief executive of Mothers' Union, a Christian charity, has also claimed growing concerns about the exposure of children to sex on television.

In a poll of 1,000 parents, the review has found 41% said that in the previous three months they had seen television programmes or advertisements before the 9pm watershed that they considered wrong for their children to view because of their sexual content. 40% said they had seen window displays or advertising hoardings inappropriate for children.

Bailey is unlikely to call for new legislation, but will argue that the process for parents to lodge complaints should be strengthened and simplified.

Parents concerns are said to include:

  • Children are growing up to quickly and behaving in an overtly sexual manner before they are old enough to really understand what sexually provocative behaviour means.
  • Celebrity culture, adult style clothes and music videos are encouraging children to act older than they are.
  • Lack of responsibility from business and government in allowing advertising to children.
  • Too many clothes, toys, games, music videos or other products that are inappropriate for the age group they were aimed at.
  • The use of phone and text adverts when promoting products for children.
  • The increasing pressure to buy non-essential items for their children so they don't feel left out.
  • Public places (shop window displays, advertising hoardings) that they felt were inappropriate for children to see because of their sexual content.
  • Programmes or adverts on TV before 9pm watershed that they felt were unsuitable or inappropriate for children due to their sexual content.

 

5th April   

Offsite: Awesomely Bad Policing...

Operation Ore was based on flawed evidence from the start
Link Here

Police raid houseBritain's biggest ever computer crime investigation, Operation Ore, was flawed by a catalogue of discrepancies, errors and uncertainties , disclosed reports of two national police conferences seen by The Register reveal.

The police memoranda show that within months of the operation launching in April 2002, detectives who forensically examined computers taken from suspects' homes in dawn raids found files showing that the main evidence used in Operation Ore was wrong. The evidence, it was claimed, showed that over 7,000 British-based subscribers had purchased access to child pornography websites.

At a national police conference held in a Pimlico hotel in February 2003, local police forces warned that claims made by the National Crime Squad (NCS), in control of the operation, had gone pear-shaped .

...Read the full article

Judge hits police with massive bill over false Operation Ore charges

Based on article from theregister.co.uk

A man wrongly accused in Britain's largest ever child pornography investigation has won [ £ 20,000] damages in the High Court after an eight-year legal battle.

Jeremy Clifford, 51, from Watford, was arrested and falsely charged in 2003 as part of Operation Ore. His credit card details had been found among those of thousands of British people on a list maintained by Landslide, a commercial provider of illegal pornography based in the US.

Hertfordshire Constabulary seized a computer that had belonged to Mr Clifford and discovered 10 illegal thumbnail images in its temporary internet files folder.

However, a senior High Court judge found on Friday that the arresting officer had been told by a computer forensics expert that the images were not sufficient evidence to charge.

The images could have been received unsolicited by and even without the knowledge of the operator of the computer, for example as 'pop-ups', said Mr Justice Mackay.

Despite this, the officer, Detective Constable Brian Hopkins, pressed three charges of possession of indecent images of children. Mr Justice Mackay said he cut a rather pathetic figure in the witness box, having initially claimed he could not give evidence because of a psychiatric condition.

The judge found that Mr Hopkins, who has since left policing, not only had no honest belief in the possession charges when he caused them to be brought against [Mr Clifford] , but did so to protect his own position .

Update: Background

16th April 2011. See  article from  gardencourtchambers.co.uk
See also Instrumental in the case was the cross examination of Mr Hopkins [pdf] from  gardencourtchambers.co.uk

In a six day trial, before Mr Justice Mackay, in the High Court, the judge found that the prosecution against Mr Clifford for the offences of possessing child pornography was maliciously motivated.

The police officer in the case had been told specifically that he had no case against the Claimant by the police expert because there was no evidence that the Claimant knew about the images which had been found his computer. Indeed the expert evidence in the officers possession made it clear that the images were small thumbnail 'pop ups', which had made their way onto the computer as a result of malware. Yet despite this the suppressed this evidence from the Claimant's criminal defence team and pursued prosecution. He even threw in additional charges to add weight to the indictment despite the fact that the officer knew this was completely improper.

In particular the Judge found that Mr Hopkins, the officer in the case had no honest belief in the Claimant's guilt and that he had no reasonable and proper cause, either on the basis of his own honest intent or judged objectively by the standards of a reasonable prosecutor in his position to charge the Claimant with the possession offences.

It was further found that Mr Hopkins made a decision to conceal that which he knew at the time of charging from the CPS, that he lied to his superiors about consulting the CPS before charge and that he inflated the charges in order to give them additional weight.

 

4th April   

Offsite: Hyper-Secrecy...

New gagging orders stretch right into the heart of parliament
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Henry PorterWays have to be found to guarantee privacy and provide protection from malicious allegations, but these oppressive court orders are not the answer

The revelation by the Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming of a new breed of hyperinjunction , which forbids the recipient talking about it to MPs, is one of the most disturbing developments in the contest between legitimate privacy and the need for open justice.

In an age when accusations can be made anonymously on the internet, ways have to be found to guarantee privacy and provide protection from malicious allegations, but these oppressive court orders are not the answer. As the Times said, there are at least 30 orders blocking publicity in high-profile cases, as well as a new type of order -- the hyperinjunction -- which affects parliamentary privilege by preventing discussion between an MP and his constituent.

...Read the full article

 

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