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UK News

2005: Oct-Dec

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28th December

    Premium Rate Fines

From CNET News

British MPs have agreed to raise the maximum fine that can be imposed against companies that operate "rogue dialer" software that hijacks a dial-up Internet user's Web connection.

Parliament on Wednesday agreed that, as of Dec. 30, companies caught abusing U.K. premium-rate services should be liable to fines of up to £250,000, up from the existing limit of £100,000.

Many thousands of dial-up Internet users have fallen victim to rogue dialers throughout 2005. Once installed on a dial-up user's PC, the applications can secretly dial a premium-rate number. This has led some people to run up call charges of hundreds of pounds.

It's thought that many rogue dialers are spread using Trojan horses contained within spam e-mails.

Last month, Ofcom warned that there was "growing evidence of consumer harm" arising from rogue dialers. Victims include Microsoft UK's chief security advisor, Ed Gibson, who admitted in September that he had been hit with a £450 pound bill after becoming infected.

According to Icstis, which regulates the U.K. premium-rate market, the maximum fine had to be raised because companies conducting rogue-dialer scams would often generate more than £100,000 before they were caught. Icstis is now examining whether it can impose a separate fine for each individual offense, which could push the actual maximum fine into the millions of pounds.

Telephony and the Internet are crucial to a modern, global economy. All of us expect to use them without the threat of exploitation by rogue companies prepared to exploit genuine consumers, said Alun Michael, British minister for industry and the regions. This new fine level helps ensure that Icstis has the tools it needs to protect consumers and build trust in the premium-rate payment mechanism.

The higher fines will also apply to fraudulent text messages and voice mails that tell people they have won a prize.


26th December   Would be Censor FCUKed

From The Guardian

French Connection has won its battle to keep using its controversial advertising slogan FCUK on its watches and jewellery.

The fashion chain said recently that the UK Trade Mark Registry ruled in its favour after a retired businessman complained that the acronym was offensive. The challenge by Woodman from Surrey did not affect other goods such as clothing and aftershave.

Dennis Woodman challenged the use of the FCUK brand on watches and jewellery, saying it was contrary to generally accepted principles of morality but French Connection today claimed victory in the case. Woodman said the trademark, which has been used by the retailer on clothes and adverts for seven years, breached the 1994 Trade Marks Act.

But lawyers for French Connection argued FCUK was simply a lighthearted play on words and cited the trademark Dick & Fanny, which was deemed acceptable.

The retailer has used slogans such as "FCUK Fashion" and "FCUK Advertising" to promote the company and although it was censured on a number of occasions by the Advertising Standards Agency, sales and profits initially soared. But French Connection has dramatically scaled back the use of FCUK on clothes and billboards after a slump in sales this year.


24th December   SubStandard Fruit Cakes

Hold on a moment. Dundee council just refused to grant a sex shop licence. Now they are whinging that hardcore is being sold illegally. I for one am totally happy to buy knock off DVDs in a situation where the authorities refuse to allow legal sales. I consider it a political investment to support the process of change.

From the Evening Telegraph

Pirate DVDs harming local businesses. Christmas shoppers in Dundee who buy pirate DVDs and software harm local businesses and jobs, the city council’s trading standards manager has warned.

Ken Daly warned that trading standards officers would pursue any leads and people caught copying and selling counterfeit material could face unlimited fines or up to 10 years in jail. Shoppers are always looking for a bargain and at Christmas the pressure is really on, but he urged people not to buy DVDs or computer games that are sold in neighbourhoods, workplaces and public markets. These will often be counterfeit and do harm to local business and ultimately jobs .

John McGowan, senior investigator of the Federation Against Copyright Theft, said there had been cases of street traders selling substandard copies of films and hardcore pornography in Dundee.

Lavinia Carey, director general of the British Video Association, said, We also want people to stop and think about where their money is going when they buy a pirate DVD.


22nd December   Blood on the Carpet at the ASA

From the BBC

A video advertising a computer game has been banned by the ASA for glorifying violence. The viral advert - designed to be circulated by internet users - showed a man's heart being ripped out. The Advertising Standards Authority said the images in the advert were offensive and irresponsible.

The ban for the advert for Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is the first to be given to an internet viral advert by the watchdog. The ASA said it caused distress and serious offence.

The video clip - entitled Blood on the Carpet and made by Maverick Media for Midway Games - shows a fight breaking out at a board meeting between men in suits, accompanied by text saying "cut meetings short". One man's heart is ripped out and another man is decapitated.

The advert's creators said was meant to be humorous, but the ASA said it had had one complaint and that the advert was irresponsible, since it glorified violence and some scenes could be emulated.

The clip appeared on two websites which carry viral adverts. The site owners said they had not received any complaints.

Meanwhile, the ASA rejected 82 complaints from viewers about a TV commercial that showed a live cow wearing a logo for Burger King.


15th December   Television Without Frontiers but With Barriers

From Ofwatch
From Mac World

The European Commission have published their proposed new directive for audio-visual services together with an impact assessment. The proposals will (in the fullness of time) replace existing regulation under the Television Without Frontiers directive.

As expected the new proposals include requirements to regulate some Internet based services and generally upholds the country of origin principle, but the draft also suffers from a number of deficiencies. It is badly worded in places and vague in others, including passages such as “ non-linear audiovisual media services have the potential to partially replace linear services ”- hardly a clear and definitive statement of intent. It would be far better to wait a few more years before regulating in this area, but as we all no regulators just can't say no to regulation. 

Ofwatch will be taking a closer look at these documents in the new year.

Under new rules proposed by the European Commission, some of the requirements currently imposed on traditional broadcasters would be applied to film and video-on-demand providers.

While this would not include some of the requirements traditional broadcasters face, such as bans on advertising certain types of products like tobacco or medicines or quotas on the amount of European-produced films they offer, it would include some measures such as having to provide a "culturally diverse" range of content. This might involve requirements in terms of the catalogue they offer, said Martin Selmayr, a European Commission spokesman.

Other requirements to be applied to online service providers include proposals protecting children from unsuitable material and preventing online racial hatred.

The new rules have come under fire from the European Internet Service Providers Association (EurISPA). The Commission failed to justify why it needed to extend the current rules to new service providers, according to Richard Nash, secretary-general of EurISPA. He quoted a recent report by the UK's telecommunications regulator Ofcom, saying that the risks of applying the traditional rules to new forms of service providers "outweighed the benefits."

He also criticised the way that the Commission proposed new basic rules for all 25 EU member states, but left it up to each national government to decide how to enforce those rules: To build a single market for online services across the EU you need consistency. The Commission's approach will put a major obstacle in the way of businesses developing new products. The online services market is still in its infancy, he said, but the sector needs "business certainty" to have incentives to develop new services and content for consumers.

The new rules will have to be approved by representatives of member state governments and members of the directly elected European Parliament before coming into force.


14th December   Sony Villains

From The Register

Sony BMG, the European Commission (EC) and Russia have all been nominated for this year's "internet villain" award.

The annual awards - run by UK trade group ISPA - are supposed to "reflect those individuals or organisations that have either helped or hampered the interests of the Internet industry in the past year".

Among the villains nominated this year are EU Commissioner Viviane Reding and her plans to extend the scope of broadcasting regulation to content delivered via the Internet. The EC is also singled out for its "inability to get through one year without producing yet another piece of Intellectual Property legislation.

Then there's Russia, which has made the shortlist for "failing to deal with illegal websites and online abuse hosted within its borders".

Sony BMG gets the nod for "compromising the security of its customers' PCs with its copyright-protecting rootkit technology" while the UK Presidency of the European Union is booed and hissed for seeking EU-wide data retention laws which "will force ISPs and telcos to retain more data for longer without proper impact assessment".

Communications regulator Ofcom gets a mention for "not wrecking the 0845 regime used to access pay-as-you-go (PAYG) Internet services".

The 2006 ISPAs - the 8th annual UK internet industry awards - are due to be held early next year.


19th November   Advertising ASA Coference

From Yorshire Post Today

The advertising industry watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), will be in Yorkshire next week, canvassing public opinion on ads and how they are policed.

In 2004, the ASA received a total of 12,711 complaints about 10,062 advertisements. The most complained about sector was leisure, with 3,343 complaints which represented a quarter of the total received. National press ads generated more complaints than any other media with 2,270 complaints followed by direct mail and then posters. More than 1,700 were formally investigated and upheld. Another 435 were investigated and not upheld, and 962 were resolved informally, which is where the advertiser agrees to amend or withdraw their ad without the need for a formal investigation.

Since the end of last year, the ASA's remit has included the processing of complaints about radio and TV, which had previously been administered by separate bodies. By the end of this year, the volume of complaints is expected to have risen to about 30,000, with more of them about advertising in the national press than any other medium. The ASA which carries out random checks on ads before they are broadcast or published, but relies on self-regulation and works mostly with complaints after the event is funded to the tune of £8m by a voluntary 0.1 per cent levy on advertisements, which most agencies pay. Despite the fact that it's the ads which allegedly offend standards of taste and decency that stir up most publicity, it's those that are perceived to make misleading claims which constitute the bulk of the complaints made to the ASA.

Present hot potatoes for the ASA include the advertising of alcohol, food, and the problems posed by marketing via new media, such as mobile phone messenging. The Government and consumer groups are pushing for a tightening of the rules surrounding advertising of food to children, and the industry is working on changes in its code of conduct. But is the advertising industry the scapegoat for a childhood obesity problem whose causes are wider and highly complex?

In general, ASA director-general Christopher Graham says advertising is gradually becoming raunchier and consumers are becoming more knowing in how they view ads across an increasing diversity of media. The ASA uses consumer research to help in informing its decisions, but it also holds regular public events around the country, which are open to individuals, community groups, colleges, parents and anyone else who wants to go along and air their views. Next Wednesday one of these day-long ASA Consumer Conference will be in Leeds.

This kind of thing is an important tool in understanding public tastes and sensibilities, says Graham.
Part of the day is spent in groups, looking at various ads and the many issues to be examined before a decision can be made about whether to uphold a complaint. It's also a valuable opportunity for the public to find out more about what we do and come back at us about how we do it. We're not perfect, we know we don't always get it right, and it's important to hear what people think. It's also important that they know we are there.

The ASA conference is to be held in the Park Plaza hotel, Leeds on Wednesday 23 November 2005. To get more details or register for the event call the ASA on 0207 492 2222, or email


17th November   Naked Rage

From The Scotsman

The Naked Rambler was jailed yesterday for three months for refusing to wear clothes during an appearance at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Gordon Liddle ordered Stephen Gough to cover himself while in the dock, but instead he appeared stark naked. He was led back to the cells while the case was heard in his absence.

Gough was only returned to the dock to be sentenced. Liddle told him: You have been given every opportunity today not to find yourself in contempt of this court. You were told it is not acceptable to appear on such a formal occasion naked but flagrantly ignored that. I do not think I have come across a clearer case of contempt of court in my professional career.

Gough had told the sheriff he was not showing disrespect by being naked but felt that it was natural. However, he added that he is not a naturist and often wears clothes.


12th November

    Mobility Restrictions

From Silicon

The major US carriers on Tuesday unveiled guidelines aimed at limiting children's access to adult content and services.

Those under the age of 18 would need parental or a guardian's permission to receive content that carriers offer that may be sexually explicit, excessively violent, or involve gambling, according to voluntary guidelines issued by the wireless industry's biggest trade group, CTIA.

Carriers also plan to make filters and other tools available to restrict internet access on wireless devices.

Steve Largent, CTIA president and chief executive officer, said: Parents must ultimately decide what materials are most suitable for their children, and wireless carriers participating in this important measure are committed to providing parents with the necessary tools to do so.

The top three wireless carriers are among the participants: Cingular Wireless, a joint venture of BellSouth and SBC Communications, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group.

About 21 million five- to 19-year-olds had wireless phones by the end of 2004, according to the technology research firm IDC. The Federal Communications Commission in February urged the industry to act on the issue of adult content.


11th November   Advertising Unrealistic Law

If the Government accept that online casinos to be legal then it should also accept that they need to market their product.

All this patronising nonsense will do is ensure that all successful internet casinos will be based offshore and their advertising budget will now also be spent offshore. Yet again UK business and tax payers will suffer and, as usual, the measures will do nothing to actually limit online gambling.

So we are going to bring misery on Brits by fining them and imprisoning them for what is a perfectly legal operation in the country of origin?

Based on an article from the BBC

Internet casino firms are facing a UK government clampdown over concerns some are breaking unrealistic advertising laws. Current laws allow internet casinos to promote their brands but forbid them from offering inducements to gamble.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell plans to stop gambling firms from advertising free entry to online tournaments or indicating the value of prizes. Jowell said adverts in newspapers, on London Underground platforms and on taxis had flouted these regulations.

Unlike traditional casinos, many internet casino operators are based offshore and are not subject to UK laws. However, the culture secretary said she planned to target the advertisers and publishers in the UK who work with them: I am not willing to turn a blind eye to this and have agreed with the Gambling Commission that we should crack down on advertisers and publishers who knowingly break the law."

News of the proposed government action comes at a sensitive time for online casino operators, with concern over the prospects for growth in the industry denting confidence among some investors.

The Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) said it planned to send letters to advertisers, publishers and gambling firms, warning them that the government would no longer tolerate advertisements for internet casinos that offered inducements. The letter will clarify what the legal status is. We will be saying if you break the law you will be prosecuted, a DCMS spokesman said. He said the warning letters would be sent jointly with the Gambling Commission, which regulates the UK industry. Advertisers or publishers found guilty of breaking the law could face fines of up to £5,000 or two years in prison, the spokesman said.


10th November   Gas Bag

From the BBC

An MP wants a children's poem written from the viewpoint of Adolf Hitler, to be withdrawn. The verse, written by a 14-year-old boy featured in the Great Minds anthology.

Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside, says the poem could "feed prejudice," and wants Education Secretary Ruth Kelly to intervene.

The poet, Gideon Taylor, said it was a school project and he was not racist. Gideon wrote: Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces.   Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber, where they will sleep in their manger.

In a statement, the teenager said of the school project:
It had to have a connection to the Holocaust, so I thought I would write a poem about Adolf Hitler and his perception of life and power. As soon as I had written the poem and read it through, I knew some people would interpret it in the wrong way. I did not mean to offend anybody by writing this poem and I am not a racist person.

Ellman said she was concerned that children may not understand what the poem is about. She added: The way it is presented can feed prejudice and I think that's very disturbing. I would like it to be withdrawn or if it is not withdrawn, then it should be reissued so that it's made clear what it is about.

A total of 452 copies of the anthology have been printed. Forward Press managing director Ian Walton insisted 11 to 18-year-olds would be well aware that the poet had written from the perspective of Adolf Hitler: E-mails coming in tell me that kids aged 11 to 18 wouldn't understand the subtleties of the poem. I take exception to that, as these 'kids' would be well aware that the poet has written from the perspective of Adolf Hitler. They are probably more intellectually minded than many of the bigots who comment before obtaining the facts. If this poem had caused an outrage, I am sure many of the other parents or schools would have complained ," he said.


10th November   Lordy Lordy

From MediawatchWatch

The House of Lords reverted to type last night when they voted by 153 to 113 to retain Britain’s archaic Blasphemy Law.

Last month they almost rebranded themselves as a progressive voice of sanity by voting overwhelmingly to amend the Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill. Sad to see them returning to their role as preposterous anachronisms.


7th November   Advertising Rights Abuses by the UK

So if Animal Defenders International can challenge our rights abusing broadcasting rules then surely the adult broadcasters can also challenge Ofcon's bag of contradictory nonsense that they call a programme code 

From Freelance UK

Britain’s advertising industry could be on track for an unprecedented shake-up that would see US-style adverts beamed into millions of homes, which are currently banned because they seek purely to stir up controversy.

The potential move has been sparked by Animal Defenders International (ADI), an animal rights group, which has won the right to challenge the UK-wide ban on political advertising on television and radio, after their proposed commercial was deemed unacceptable.

The group will test the Government’s advertising veto in court sometime in the new year - according to The Business, which adds a successful outcome for campaigners would revamp the advertising industry by setting it on track for US-style commercials.

UK-based lobbyists and pressure groups ranging from Amnesty International to the Make Poverty History campaigners have had their adverts shelved because the ban restricts organisations, with no official political policy, whose only aim is ”to influence public opinion on a matter of controversy.”

As a result, oil companies are free to advertise themselves as the guardians of our environment, while so-called ‘green’ campaigners are muted from responding on the same platforms of the broadcast media.

Such a contradiction is expected to form the central plank of the activists’ argument, consolidated by claims that the ban is too widely drafted and is not a justified interference with the right to freedom of expression.

Challenges to the British government will rest on the premise unearthed by the European Court of Human Rights, which has ruled a similar ban in Switzerland contravenes Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Tasmin Allen, for Bindman and Partners, which is handling ADI's forthcoming case, said she was “confident” that the challenge against a ban stopping pressure groups raising cash to vent their views on radio or TV would be successful. The current ban on political advertising means that campaigning organisations with no connection to any political party may not use broadcast media to raise money or to campaign on issues. This is unfair, particularly when the other side of the argument may be broadcast by commercial organisations.

If the challenge is successful, analysts indicate a massive boost in advertising expenditure would sweep the UK, as thousands of companies, lobbyists and organisations broadcast pent-up views via increasingly interactive broadcast services.

The RSPCA is supporting the challenge, after its 2001 advert about the rearing of broiler chickens was rejected under the ban.  In a statement at the time, the Society said: We thought it was quite extraordinary that we could not put this on television. We should be able to raise issues about how animals are kept, otherwise TV would only be promoting products.

Reflecting on her company’s incoming court battle, Jan Creamer of the ADI, said:
We have exposed the brutality and confinement behind the use of chimps in advertising, as part of our ‘My Mate’s a Primate’ campaign to save primates from extinction and abuse. It seems extraordinary that someone can use a chimpanzee on television to sell a soft drink, yet we are forbidden from questioning this behaviour through our own advertising.


27th October   Oh that we could Filter Out Knee Jerk Politicians

I surely don't want to use an ISP that has set up a filtering mechanism. Knee jerks like Margaret Moran will continually want to extend the filter eg into legal, staged depictions of violent porn. The Government simply cannot be trusted to use filtering mechanisms responsibly.

From Silicon

A Labour MP is intent on forcing ISPs to block access to websites which contain images of child pornography. Margaret Moran, MP for Luton South, today used a Ten Minute Bill ruling to get the issue on the agenda and is claiming support on both sides of the House. These sites have content which is illegal and we all have a responsibility to stop this vile, exploitative trade.

Speaking to she said the reading had gone "very well" and hopes it will set in motion a pressure campaign to force the hands of ISPs to state whether they block sites with child pornography, which is illegal.

Moran told I will soon meet with the Internet Watch Foundation to establish a list of ISPs who are slow learners. I am all for the freedom of the net but I fail to understand why some ISPs aren't using the technology which exists. These sites have content which is illegal and we all have a responsibility to stop this vile, exploitative trade.

Although a number of large ISPs already say they have blocks and measures in place to restrict access to illegal content, Moran says she is willing to name and shame any who do not do so. Moran said she is willing to push for measures which would force ISPs to declare the fact they block such access, either on their website or in their annual reports. She added: I think these slow learners have to be reassured that we will not rest until these measures are in place.

Moran said she doesn't expect too much opposition to the bill but said she hopes the strongest measures won't be necessary. She told
I hope the industry sees this as a wake-up call because soon it will be too late for self-regulation.


26th October   Little Tits

From The Guardian

Zoo magazine has been heavily criticised by advertising watchdogs after running a competition offering readers the chance to win a "boob job" for their girlfriends.

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the contest to win your lady a brand new set of expertly crafted tits breached its codes on responsible advertising and told the publisher, Emap, not to repeat the approach. It said taking an irreverent approach to a surgical procedure that could cause physical and psychological damage was irresponsible.

Zoo, along with its weekly rival, Nuts, claims to be aimed at men in their 20s. Between them, the magazines sell more than 2m copies a month. According to official circulation figures, Nuts is selling 304,751 a week against Zoo's 260,317. Both magazines have upped the number of naked shots as the battle for readers has intensified.

The competition asked readers whether they loved their girlfriends enough to give them the ultimate gift that will last for all of eternity and draw jealous, lusty glances from everyone else she comes across ... The double page spread also featured before and after photographs of the model Jordan, who has had her breasts surgically enhanced several times. Under the headline Choose Your Chest were photos of eight pairs of breasts, with the caption: What type of tits do you want for your girlfriend?

In its submission to the watchdog, Zoo said the competition was written in a "tongue in cheek style" and was intended to be a parody of the view that men objectified women and of society's obsession with cosmetic appearance. Emap also argued that the prize was actually £4,000 in cash to be spent as decided by the winner.


22nd October   Whatever Happened to....Video Nasties

From The Guardian by Iain Hollingshead

We know of no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality, wrote Lord Macaulay almost two centuries ago. Seldom has this aphorism proved more apt than in the British media's stop-start furore over "video nasties".

In the early 1980s, cinema's rules of censorship did not stretch to video releases. Cheap, and often gruesome, films flooded the market as VCRs grew in popularity. Watchdogs expressed outrage over titles such as Driller Killer and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre . Mary Whitehouse showed a compilation tape of "highlights" to shocked Conservative MPs at their 1983 party conference.

The authorities reacted with some confusion. The Department of Public Prosecutions drew up a list of illegal titles that led to the confiscation of the saccharine Dolly Parton musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas . Some order was restored in the Video Recordings Act 1984, which saw the BBFC take responsibility for the certification of both cinema and video releases. The DPP stopped prosecuting distributors in 1987.

The debate subsequently went quiet until the murder of James Bulger in 1993. Mr Justice Morland's suggestion that violent videos - particularly Child's Play 3 - might have influenced the toddler's killers was initially dismissed. A year later, however, a study by a professor of developmental psychology at Nottingham University said psychologists had been naive in their failure to predict the extent of damaging material's influence on children.

A political outcry erupted. Roy Hattersley and Lynda Lee-Potter found themselves in surprising agreement. David (now Lord) Alton, a Liberal Democrat MP who had been campaigning on the issue before the Bulger case, introduced a hard-hitting classification amendment to Michael Howard's criminal justice bill that the then home secretary was forced to accept to stave off a backbench rebellion.

Eleven years later, however, much of the heat has been taken out of the debate. Last month a new DVD was marketed as a compilation of "six of the most shocking, depraved and corrupt movies which were banned under the Obscene Publications Act during 1983/4". These "DVD nasties" received barely any media coverage.

It's a very niche market, a BBFC spokesman explained, and your average person on the street probably wouldn't want to watch these films, but I think people have now accepted that these are just silly pieces of entertainment. Horror is a valid genre in film.

Not everyone is convinced. Lord Alton still believes there is a need to distinguish between the violence of intelligent and critically acclaimed films - such as City of God - and entirely gratuitous violence. Society should revisit these issues from time to time, he said. Elsewhere, the spirit of Mary Whitehouse lives on in John Beyer, the director of Media Watch UK, which continues to campaign against what it considers the glamourisation of violence in films and television.

For the most part, however, the debate over film licensing has been won by the libertarians. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre topped a Total Film poll this month of the greatest horror films of all time. The new battleground seems to be video games. Although warnings and age restrictions have recently been strengthened, even liberal Lord Macaulay might have expressed dismay at games such as Grand Theft Auto , in which players pay to have sex with a prostitute and then murder her to get their money back


9th October   Christian Hatred of Hated Legislation

From Christian Today

The Evangelical Alliance along with the Christian Lawyers Fellowship as well as numerous other Christian organisations gathered recently in Hyde Park's Speakers' Corner in a prayer rally against the proposed Racial and Religious Hatred legislation.

The event drew speakers and prayers from various organisations. Each lead the large crowd gathered, in prayer and praise, calling for the legislation to be rejected by the House of Lords next week.

The Alliances have also urged their members to take time off work this coming week as part of the protest, and are calling for huge numbers of people to gather outside the Houses of Parliament on 11 October, the date that the Bill’s first full debate is scheduled to take place at the House of Lords.

More than 100 Christian groups, churches and denominations started a full weekend of prayer and protests against the legislation today, which has been seen by many critics as a threat to freedom of speech as well as a threat to evangelism for religious groups.

There will be a day of prayer in local churches throughout the nation on Sunday, concluding with a mass protest rally on Tuesday (11th October) in Parliament Square, commencing at 1pm and concluding at 4pm.

The Chief Executive Officer of the ACEA, Rev Katei Kirby said, The impact of the proposed legislation will form part of the legacy that we will leave for our children and our children’s children. This is an opportunity for the Church to unite with one voice in prayer and protest to make a difference.

The Evangelical Alliance is in unity with many other faith organisations and groups, as well as entertainers and secularists, that fear the proposed legislation will greatly restrict the right to freedom of speech in Britain.

Despite large protests, the legislation has already passed through the House of Commons, and now it just remains for the House of Lords to approve the Bill for it to come into effect as law in Britain.

The General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, Rev Joel Edwards said, We continue to oppose this Bill as a matter of principle because it affects the freedom of speech of every UK citizen. We are committed to defending religious liberty and precious freedoms like free speech. This protest is about pulling people together to be a united voice in opposition to this proposed law.

Backing this view, Don Horrocks, the Head of Public Affairs at the Evangelical Alliance stated,
Many observers believe the Government is so committed to getting the measures through Parliament that the Bill will inevitably pass into statute law. However, opposition to the Bill, even at this late stage, is not futile. It is quite possible that the Lords may press for amendments that the Government will feel obliged to accept and which could make the Bill less destructive. I therefore urge everyone who believes in the principles of free speech to do everything they can to join the thousands of Christians and others at the rally in Parliament Square on Tuesday.


4th October   Cum Off It

Based on an article from Life Site

Unionized hotel staff in Norway are calling for a ban on pay-per-view pornography, after reports that porn-viewing guests occasionally sexually harass female staff.

Hotels there offer access, as do hotels in North America and other European countries like the UK, to pornography through pay-per-view stations available in every room. Hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton report making more money from pornography offerings in their hotel rooms than from snack and drink sales.

Norway’s biggest hotel and restaurant union has complained that men viewing pornography often call for room service asking for frivolous items like extra towels only to lure female staff to their room. It can be very unpleasant to get called to a room to be met by a naked man, said union official Eli Ljunggren, according to a BBC report. Some have found themselves in the presence of men watching X-rated movies and several have been accosted.

A similar situation exists in Northern Ireland, where at least one politician is speaking out. Northern Ireland Assemblyman, Dr. Esmond Birnie, a leading nutter against the normalization of pornography in the British Isles, said I am sure many will be disturbed by reports that the Belfast Hilton is providing its guests with access to hardcore porn films. Shameful Birnie, Ulster Unionist MLA for South Belfast, said, The Hotel seems to take the view that what is watched in a room is purely a matter for each guest. Sadly, however, this is not the case. The availability of such material could have some impact on the staff who have to work in the Hotel and move around the rooms. [Typical bollox from someone with so little respect for human rights. His presumed solution of a ban would hardly seem proportionate to the problem]

It seems the Hilton got its permission to show such material from the London Department for culture and media, Birnie added.
Yet another case of how a metropolitan morality is now being imposed here in Northern Ireland.


3rd October   Medical Opinions Need Bollox Warnings

From The Independent

Why Hollywood films should come with a health warning.

The biggest box office hits of the last 20 years are accused today of promoting unsafe sex and drug use, putting the health of their global audiences at risk.

Hasantha Gunasekera and colleagues, who conducted a review, said the most successful films are now shown around the world and their makers must consider their impact on public health. The review, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, says: Comments made by characters during the movies reinforced promiscuity and ridiculed monogamy and celibacy.

The movie industry influences the perceptions of billions of people. With globalisation and the growth of home-based media technologies, movies are more accessible to a wider audience and there is convincing evidence that the entertainment media influences behaviour, Dr Gunasekera said.

Films such as Basic Instinct, American Pi e and the James Bond movie Die Another Day showed frequent acts of sex between new partners who never give a thought to birth control or the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

A review of the 200 highest grossing films in cinematic history says they are undermining the safe sex and "just say no" messages that underpin public health campaigns. Only one included a suggestion of condom use.

In 98 per cent of the sex scenes studied - 53 episodes in 87 of the films - no form of birth control was used.
None of the films referred to the risks of unsafe sex, such as sexual infection or pregnancy. Instead, they were more likely to depict the social embarrassment of being caught in the act or of being unfaithful.

Drug use featured less commonly than casual sex but it too was shown without damaging effects. Just 8 per cent of the films showed cannabis and 7 per cent other illicit non-injected drugs, always in a positive or neutral light.

Scenes of drunkenness appeared in a third of the films and smoking featured in two thirds. None of the films showed injecting drug use, perhaps reflecting the target audience, the researchers say.

Television producers were more responsible and showed more safe sex scenes. Film producers should learn from television, the authors say.


2nd October   Ore Inspired Suicide

Clearly the Second Sea Lord, Sir James Burnell-Nugent was not aware that some innocent people have been stitched up  by discredited evidence presented by the persecutors of Operation Ore.

The US authorities provided a list of people using Landslide payment services for subscription to a package of websites. Some of these websites contained child porn and some contained adult porn.

US police claimed that all subscribers were made aware that their subscription included child porn sites. However this has been shown to be a lie.

Some people clearly subscribed to download child porn and were correctly prosecuted. However some subscribed without being aware of the child porn and only downloaded adult pictures. These people have also been prosecuted simply on the back of the police lie that they knew they were also subscribing to child porn.

More details at: Collapse of Operation Ore.

From The Independent

The credibility of a major investigation into child pornography came under renewed scrutiny yesterday after an inquest into the death of a naval officer who was suspended by the Royal Navy despite a lack of evidence against him.

The Navy suspended Commodore David White, commander of British forces in Gibraltar, after police placed him under investigation over allegations that he bought pornographic images from a website in the US. Within 24 hours he was found dead at the bottom of the swimming pool at his home in Mount Barbary.

The inquest into his death heard that computer equipment and a camera memory chip belonging to Commodore White had yielded no evidence that he downloaded child pornography, and a letter was written by Ministry of Defence police to Naval Command on 5 January this year indicating that there were "no substantive criminal offences" to warrant pressing charges. But the Second Sea Lord, Sir James Burnell-Nugent, feared that the media would report the case and on 7 January removed him from his post anyway.

The head of the Royal Navy, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, expressed his "deep regret" over Commodore White's death yesterday, after the inquest recorded an open verdict.

The coroner, Charles Pitto, said there was insufficient evidence to conclude whether the commodore's death was accidental or suicide. If it was suicide, it would have taken to 34 the total number of people who have killed themselves after being identified as suspects by Operation Ore, Britain's biggest child-sex probe. The nationwide police investigation was launched three years ago after a list of 7,200 British suspects was handed to British police by US authorities. The men on the list are accused of using credit cards to pay for child porn through Landslide, a sex website that operated in Texas from 1996-99.

The results have seemed impressive. Nearly 4,000 people have been arrested, some 1,600 have been charged and 1,200 convicted. But the operation has placed some apparently innocent individuals under suspicion. In one case at Hull Crown Court last year, a distinguished hospital consultant was acquitted after it emerged that hackers had used his credit card on Landslide. The judge dismissed some police evidence as "utter nonsense".

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