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Updated: Aquaman...

Dampeners for the UK cinema release as the film is cut for a 12A rating


Link Here24th December 2018
Aquaman is a 2018 Australia / USA action Sci-Fi fantasy by James Wan.
Starring Jason Momoa, Amber Heard and Nicole Kidman. BBFC link IMDb

Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.

The UK cinema release has been cut for a 12A rating. 2D and 3D versions were passed 12A for moderate violence, scenes of sustained threat after BBFC advised pre-cuts: advised pre-cuts:

The BBFC commented:
  • This work was originally seen for advice. The company was advised the film was likely to be classified 15 but that their preferred 12A classification could be achieved by removing bloody detail. When the film was submitted for formal classification the bloody detail had been removed and the film was classified 12A.

Meanwhile in the US the film was rated MPAA PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.

Update: Pools of blood

24th December 2018. Thanks to ThatFilmGuy

I went to go see Aquaman last week (in the UK) and aware of the cuts made in post production I watched an online copy of the US PG-13 version of the film to work out what was cut.

The scene in question occurs at 1 hour and 28 minutes into the film; in the US version Aquaman is stabbed in the shoulder by Black Manta following which a small red patch appears, in the UK version the small red patch was removed. After this Aquaman is slashed in the back following which a small blood spurt is seen again this blood spurt was removed digitally.

Also some foreign releases I saw this year were noticeably pre-cut by the distributor before being submitted to the BBFC (similarly to Bumblebee the BBFC marks these as uncut) these films in question being:

  • Baaghi 2 (which was pre-cut by around 1 or 2 minutes for violence and drug use) and
  • Maari 2 (which was pre-cut by around 3 minutes for violence)

I have compared these to the International releases online which include the aforementioned footage cut from the film in the UK. =

 

 

The Gandhi Murder...

Another film cut for a 12A rated cinema release


Link Here22nd December 2018

The Gandhi Murder

The Gandhi Murder is a 2018 UK historical drama by Karim Tra´dia and Pankaj Sehgal (co-director).
Starring Stephen Lang, Luke Pasqualino and Joseph K Bevilacqua. BBFC link IMDb

BBFC category cuts were required for a 12A rated cinema release in 2019.

Cut Small12A Small UK: Passed 12A for moderate violence, bloody images, scene of torture after 1:19s of BBFC category cuts ( 117:20s ) :
  • 2019 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to remove bloody detail, during and in the aftermath of violence, in order to obtain a 12A classification. An uncut 15 classification was available.
Summary Notes

Solar Eclipse is a conspiracy theory period movie based on true events, that led to the eventual assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The movie demonstrates a violent India, at the backdrop of a non-violent Gandhi, and hard-line fanatic mindsets beginning to grow roots in an India divided on the basis of religion. The feature is a story of three police officers in different parts of India, who, well aware of the intelligence that Gandhi's life in under threat, must take key decisions that would eventually either save the Mahatma, or the country.

 

 

The Last Warrior...

2018 Russia action fantasy drama by Rustam Mosafir just released on UK DVD with BBFC cuts for animal cruelty


Link Here22nd December 2018
The Last Warrior is a 2018 Russia action fantasy drama by Rustam Mosafir.
Starring Aleksey Faddeev, Aleksandr Kuznetsov and Yuriy Tsurilo. BBFC link IMDb
 
Cut Small18 Small UK: Passed 18 for strong violence, gore after 4s of compulsory BBFC cuts ( 101:20s ) :
The BBFC commented:
  • Cut required to remove sight of a horse being tripped and landing on its head and neck.

Summary Notes

These are times when one civilization is replacing another. A new era is about to begin in Central Eurasia. Scythians, the proud warriors, are all but gone. The few of their descendants have become ruthless mercenary assassins, the "waves of Ares." Lutobor, is a soldier with a difficult task at hand. He becomes involved in internecine conflicts and sets off on a perilous journey to save his family. His guide is a captive Scythian by the name of Weasel. Lutobor and Weasel are enemies. They pray to different gods but must embark on this journey together. They brave the wild steppes, moving toward the last haven of the Scythians, to what seems to be their inevitable demise.

 

 

Updated: 12A transformed to PG...

BumbleBee is the latest cinema film to be cut for category in the UK and Australia


Link Here18th December 2018
Bumblebee is a 2018 USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Travis Knight.
Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Justin Theroux and Angela Bassett. BBFC link IMDb

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.

The film was originally passed 12A uncut for moderate fantasy violence for UK cinema release.

However the distributors preferred a cut PG version and the film was resubmitted shorn by about 6 secnds. The BBFC duly passed the film PG for moderate fantasy violence, mild sex references, injury detail, language.

In the US the film was Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence.

Update: Australia too

16th December 2018. See article from refused-classification.com

With echoes of the UK situation the Australian distributors of BumbleBee submitted the film uncut to the film censor and received an uncut M rating for moderate impact violence, mild impact themes, language Very mild drug use, sex. The M rating is an advisory 15 that would be labelled PG-15 in the US. It is the usual rating for films rated PG-13 in the US and 12A in the UK.

Like Britain the distributors preferred a local PG and resubmitted a cut version, presumably the same as the cut UK PG rated version . However it didn't cut any ice with the censor and was again M rated.

The distributors are now appealing the decision with the Review Board hoping to achieve the desired PG.

Update: Australia now PG rated too

18th December 2018. See article from classification.gov.au

The distributors were successful in their appeal for a PG rating for the pre-cut version. The review board wrote in a statement:

A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the film Bumblebee is classified PG with the consumer advice Mild science fiction violence, mild themes, some scenes may scare young children.

 

 

Updated: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid...

BBFC animal cruelty cuts required for a 2018 cinema release


Link Here13th December 2018
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a 1969 USA crime western biography by George Roy Hill.
Starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Katharine Ross. BBFC link IMDb

Butch and Sundance are the two leaders of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. Butch is all ideas, Sundance is all action and skill. The west is becoming civilized, and when Butch and Sundance rob a train once too often, a special posse begins trailing them no matter where they run. Over rocks, through towns, across rivers, the group is always just behind them. When they finally escape through sheer luck, Butch has another idea, "Let's go to Bolivia". Based on the exploits of the historical characters.

Uncut for 1969 cinema release and VHS releases but animal cruelty cuts were required by the BBFC for 2018 cinema release.

The BBFC commented:
  • Cut required to remove a scene of deliberate animal cruelty staged for the film (an animal being tripped using wires in a dangerous fashion).

Update: Director's Oops

13th December 2018. Thanks to Barton

The horse trip was simply not spotted until 2001 when a documentary was submitted to the BBFC in which the director admitted he used trip wires to achieve a particular fall. The BBFC told Fox they wouldn't be able to pass it uncut again. Indeed the UK Blu-ray is also cut, although Fox pre-cut it.

There's no record of a resubmission of a pre-cut version in the BBFC database at around the time of the 2013 Blu-ray release, so perhaps someone was looking the other way at the time.

 

 

Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 88...


Link Here7th December 2018
A discussion with Victoria and Albert Museum curator Keith Lodwick about the Censored! Stage, Screen, Society at 50, exhibition

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: The price of censorship...


Link Here4th December 2018
The BBFC increase charges by inflation - 1% so that a 90 minute films costs 934 GBP for a cinema rating and 757 for video

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 

South Wind...

The latest cinema release cut for category


Link Here24th November 2018

South Wind (Juzni Vetar) is a 2018 Serbia crime film by Milos Avramovic.
Starring Milos Bikovic, Miodrag Radonjic and Dragan Bjelogrlic. BBFC link IMDb

Cut Small15 Small UK: Passed 15 for strong violence, sex, sex references, drug misuse, very strong language after 43s of BBFC category cuts ( 129:43s ) :
  • 2018 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to reduce a scene of sadistic bloody violence, featuring accompanying very strong language, in order to obtain a 15 classification.  An uncut 18 classification was available.

Juzni Vetar was earlier passed 18 uncut for strong bloody violence ( 130:26s ) but the distributors preferred a cut 15 release.

Summary Notes

A story about Petar Maras, a Belgrade criminal in his late twenties, whose one reckless move causes an avalanche of events that will greatly affect the lives of those around him.

 

 

Another vice at the BBFC...

A new vice president and a schedule for a guidelines update


Link Here24th November 2018
The BBFC reported that its vice president Alison will be standing down after 10 years at the BBFC. Murphy Cobbings is set to take over the role.

The BBFC also reported that its latest updated guidelines are expected to be published in early January, coming into effect six weeks later in February.

 

 

Once Upon a Deadpool...

A festive version of Deadpool 2 was cut in the US for a PG-13 rating, but it doesn't make the cut for an equivalent BBFC 12A rating


Link Here17th November 2018
Once Upon a Deadpool (Deadpool 2 Re-edited Version) is a 2018 USA action comedy adventure by David Leitch.
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin and Morena Baccarin. BBFC link IMDb

Deadpool 2 was initially released as an MPAA R rated Theatrical Version and an unrated extended 'Super Duper $@%!#& Cut', Both are 15 rated by the BBFC.

Later the film was cut for an MPAA PG-13 rated festive version titled Once Upon a Deadpool. This version was rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, crude sexual content, language, thematic elements and brief drug material.

Once Upon a Deadpool retained its 15 rating in the UK but the BBFC consumer advice demonstrates that it has been toned down. The original Theatrical Version was passed 15 uncut for strong bloody violence, sex references, very strong language, whilst Once Upon a Deadpool was passed 15 for strong violence, crude humour. So it seems that blood has been deleted from the violence, sex references have been removed, and strong language has been cut.

 

 

BBFC: Age verification we don't trust...

Analysis of BBFC's Post-Consultation Guidance by the Open Rights Group


Link Here 8th November 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
Following the conclusion of their consultation period, the BBFC have issued new age verification guidance that has been laid before Parliament. It is unclear why, if the government now recognises that privacy protections like this are needed, the government would also leave the requirements as voluntary.

Summary

The new code has some important improvements, notably the introduction of a voluntary scheme for privacy, close to or based on a GDPR Code of Conduct. This is a good idea, but should not be put in place as a voluntary arrangement. Companies may not want the attention of a regulator, or may simply wish to apply lower or different standards, and ignore it. It is unclear why, if the government now recognises that privacy protections like this are needed, the government would also leave the requirements as voluntary.

We are also concerned that the voluntary scheme may not be up and running before the AV requirement is put in place. Given that 25 million UK adults are expected to sign up to these products within a few months of its launch, this would be very unhelpful.

Parliament should now:

  • Ask the government why the privacy scheme is to be voluntary, if the risks of relying on general data protection law are now recognised;
  • Ask for assurance from BBFC that the voluntary scheme will cover the all of the major operators; and
  • Ask for assurance from BBFC and DCMS that the voluntary privacy scheme will be up and running before obliging operators to put Age Verification measures in place.

The draft code can be found here .

Lack of Enforceability of Guidance

The Digital Economy Act does not allow the BBFC to judge age verification tools by any standard other than whether or not they sufficiently verify age. We asked that the BBFC persuade the DCMS that statutory requirements for privacy and security were required for age verification tools.

The BBFC have clearly acknowledged privacy and security concerns with age verification in their response. However, the BBFC indicate in their response that they have been working with the ICO and DCMS to create a voluntary certification scheme for age verification providers:

"This voluntary certification scheme will mean that age-verification providers may choose to be independently audited by a third party and then certified by the Age-verification Regulator. The third party's audit will include an assessment of an age-verification solution's compliance with strict privacy and data security requirements."

The lack of a requirement for additional and specific privacy regulation in the Digital Economy Act is the cause for this voluntary approach.

While a voluntary scheme above is likely to be of some assistance in promoting better standards among age verification providers, the "strict privacy and data security requirements" which the voluntary scheme mentions are not a statutory requirement, leaving some consumers at greater risk than others.

Sensitive Personal Data

The data handled by age verification systems is sensitive personal data. Age verification services must directly identify users in order to accurately verify age. Users will be viewing pornographic content, and the data about what specific content a user views is highly personal and sensitive. This has potentially disastrous consequences for individuals and families if the data is lost, leaked, or stolen.

Following a hack affecting Ashley Madison -- a dating website for extramarital affairs -- a number of the site's users were driven to suicide as a result of the public exposure of their sexual activities and interests.

For the purposes of GDPR, data handled by age verification systems falls under the criteria for sensitive personal data, as it amounts to "data concerning a natural person's sex life or sexual orientation".

Scheduling Concerns

It is of critical importance that any accreditation scheme for age verification providers, or GDPR code of conduct if one is established, is in place and functional before enforcement of the age verification provisions in the Digital Economy Act commences. All of the major providers who are expected to dominate the age verification market should undergo their audit under the scheme before consumers will be expected to use the tool. This is especially true when considering the fact that MindGeek have indicated their expectation that 20-25 million UK adults will sign up to their tool within the first few months of operation. A voluntary accreditation scheme that begins enforcement after all these people have already signed up would be unhelpful.

Consumers should be empowered to make informed decisions about the age verification tools that they choose from the very first day of enforcement. No delays are acceptable if users are expected to rely upon the scheme to inform themselves about the safety of their data. If this cannot be achieved prior to the start of expected enforcement of the DE Act's provisions, then the planned date for enforcement should be moved back to allow for the accreditation to be completed.

Issues with Lack of Consumer Choice

It is of vital importance that consumers, if they must verify their age, are given a choice of age verification providers when visiting a site. This enables users to choose which provider they trust with their highly sensitive age verification data and prevents one actor from dominating the market and thereby promoting detrimental practices with data. The BBFC also acknowledge the importance of this in their guidance, noting in 3.8:

"Although not a requirement under section 14(1) the BBFC recommends that online commercial pornography services offer a choice of age-verification methods for the end-user".

This does not go far enough to acknowledge the potential issues that may arise in a fragmented market where pornographic sites are free to offer only a single tool if they desire.

Without a statutory requirement for sites to offer all appropriate and available tools for age verification and log in purposes, it is likely that a market will be established in which one or two tools dominate. Smaller sites will then be forced to adopt these dominant tools as well, to avoid friction with consumers who would otherwise be required to sign up to a new provider.

This kind of market for age verification tools will provide little room for a smaller provider with a greater commitment to privacy or security to survive and robs users of the ability to choose who they trust with their data.

We already called for it to be made a statutory requirement that pornographic sites must offer a choice of providers to consumers who must age verify, however this suggestion has not been taken up.

We note that the BBFC has been working with the ICO and DCMS to produce a voluntary code of conduct. Perhaps a potential alternative solution would be to ensure that a site is only considered compliant if it offers users a number of tools which has been accredited under the additional privacy and security requirements of the voluntary scheme.

GDPR Codes of Conduct

A GDPR "Code of Conduct" is a mechanism for providing guidelines to organisations who process data in particular ways, and allows them to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the GDPR.

A code of conduct is voluntary, but compliance is continually monitored by an appropriate body who are accredited by a supervisory authority. In this case, the "accredited body" would likely be the BBFC, and the "supervisory authority" would be the ICO. The code of conduct allows for certifications, seals and marks which indicate clearly to consumers that a service or product complies with the code.

Codes of conduct are expected to provide more specific guidance on exactly how data may be processed or stored. In the case of age verification data, the code could contain stipulations on:

  • Appropriate pseudonymisation of stored data;
  • Data and metadata retention periods;
  • Data minimisation recommendations;
  • Appropriate security measures for data storage;
  • Security breach notification procedures;
  • Re-use of data for other purposes.

The BBFC's proposed "voluntary standard" regime appears to be similar to a GDPR code of conduct, though it remains to be seen how specific the stipulations in the BBFC's standard are. A code of conduct would also involve being entered into the ICO's public register of UK approved codes of conduct, and the EPDB's public register for all codes of conduct in the EU.

Similarly, GDPR Recital 99 notes that "relevant stakeholders, including data subjects" should be consulted during the drafting period of a code of conduct - a requirement which is not in place for the BBFC's voluntary scheme.

It is possible that the BBFC have opted to create this voluntary scheme for age verification providers rather than use a code of conduct, because they felt they may not meet the GDPR requirements to be considered as an appropriate body to monitor compliance. Compliance must be monitored by a body who has demonstrated:

  • Their expertise in relation to the subject-matter;
  • They have established procedures to assess the ability of data processors to apply the code of conduct;
  • They have the ability to deal with complaints about infringements; and
  • Their tasks do not amount to a conflict of interest.
Parties Involved in the Code of Conduct Process

As noted by GDPR Recital 99, a consultation should be a public process which involves stakeholders and data subjects, and their responses should be taken into account during the drafting period:

"When drawing up a code of conduct, or when amending or extending such a code, associations and other bodies representing categories of controllers or processors should consult relevant stakeholders, including data subjects where feasible , and have regard to submissions received and views expressed in response to such consultations."

The code of conduct must be approved by a relevant supervisory authority (in this case the ICO).

An accredited body (BBFC) that establishes a code of conduct and monitors compliance is able to establish their own structures and procedures under GDPR Article 41 to handle complaints regarding infringements of the code, or regarding the way it has been implemented. BBFC would be liable for failures to regulate the code properly under Article 41(4), [1] however DCMS appear to have accepted the principle that the government would need to protect BBFC from such liabilities. [2]

GDPR Codes of Conduct and Risk Management

Below is a table of risks created by age verification which we identified during the consultation process. For each risk, we have considered whether a GDPR code of conduct may help to mitigate the effects of it.

Risk CoC Appropriate? Details
User identity may be correlated with viewed content. Partially This risk can never be entirely mitigated if AV is to go ahead, but a CoC could contain very strict restrictions on what identifying data could be stored after a successful age verification.
Identity may be associated to an IP address, location or device. No It would be very difficult for a CoC to mitigate this risk as the only safe mitigation would be not to collect user identity information.
An age verification provider could track users across all the websites it's tool is offered on. Yes Strict rules could be put in place about what data an age verification provider may store, and what data it is forbidden from storing.
Users may be incentivised to consent to further processing of their data in exchange for rewards (content, discounts etc.) Yes Age verification tools could be expressly forbidden from offering anything in exchange for user consent.
Leaked data creates major risks for identified individuals and cannot be revoked or adequately compensated for. Partially A CoC can never fully mitigate this risk if any data is being collected, but it could contain strict prohibitions on storing certain information and specify retention periods after which data must be destroyed, which may mitigate the impacts of a data breach.
Risks to the user of access via shared computers if viewing history is stored alongside age verification data. Yes A CoC could specify that any accounts for pornographic websites which may track viewed content must be strictly separate and not in any visible way linked to a user's age verification account or data that confirms their identity.
Age verification systems are likely to trade off convenience for security. (No 2FA, auto-login, etc.) Yes A CoC could stipulate that login cookies that "remember" a returning user must only persist for a short time period, and should recommend or enforce two-factor authentication.
The need to re-login to age verification services to access pornography in "private browsing" mode may lead people to avoid using this feature and generate much more data which is then stored. No A CoC cannot fix this issue. Private browsing by nature will not store any login cookies or other objects and will require the user to re-authenticate with age verification providers every time they wish to view adult content.
Users may turn to alternative tools to avoid age verification, which carry their own security risks. (Especially "free" VPN services or peer-to-peer networks). No Many UK adults, although over 18, will be uncomfortable with the need to submit identity documents to verify their age and will seek alternative means to access content. It is unlikely that many of these individuals will be persuaded by an accreditation under a GDPR code.
Age verification login details may be traded and shared among teenagers or younger children, which could lead to bullying or "outing" if such details are linked to viewed content. Yes Strict rules could be put in place about what data an age verification provider may store, and what data it is forbidden from storing.
Child abusers could use their access to age verified content as an adult as leverage to create and exploit relationships with children and teenagers seeking access to such content (grooming). No This risk will exist as long as age verification is providing a successful barrier to accessing such content for under-18s who wish to do so.
The sensitivity of content dealt with by age verification services means that users who fall victim to phishing scams or fraud have a lower propensity to report it to the relevant authorities. Partially A CoC or education campaign may help consumers identify trustworthy services, but it can not fix the core issue, which is that users are being socialised into it being "normal" to input their identity details into websites in exchange for pornography. Phishing scams resulting from age verification will appear and will be common, and the sensitivity of the content involved is a disincentive to reporting it.
The use of credit cards as an age verification mechanism creates an opportunity for fraudulent sites to engage in credit card theft. No Phishing and fraud will be common. A code of conduct which lists compliant sites and tools externally on the ICO website may be useful, but a phishing site may simply pretend to be another (compliant) tool, or rely on the fact that users are unlikely to check with the ICO every time they wish to view pornographic content.
The rush to get age verification tools to market means they may take significant shortcuts when it comes to privacy and security. Yes A CoC could assist in solving this issue if tools are given time to be assessed for compliance before the age verification regime commences .
A single age verification provider may come to dominate the market, leaving users little choice but to accept whatever terms the provider offers. Partially Practically, a CoC could mitigate some of the effects of an age verification tool monopoly if the dominant tool is accredited under the Code. However, this relies on users being empowered to demand compliance with a CoC, and it is possible that users will instead be left with a "take it or leave it" situation where the dominant tool is not CoC accredited.
Allowing pornography "monopolies" such as MindGeek to operate age verification tools is a conflict of interest. Partially As the BBFC note in their consultation response, it would not be reasonable to prohibit a pornographic content provider from running an age verification service as it would prevent any site from running their own tool. However, under a CoC it is possible that a degree of separation could be enforced that requires an age verification tools to adhere to strict rules about the use of data, which could mitigate the effects of a large pornographic content provider attempting to collect as much user data as possible for their own business purposes.
 

[1] "Infringements of the following provisions shall, in accordance with paragraph 2, be subject to administrative fines up to 10 000 000 EUR, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 2 % of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher: the obligations of the monitoring body pursuant to Article 41(4)."

[2] "contingent liability will provide indemnity to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) against legal proceedings brought against the BBFC in its role as the age verification regulator for online pornography."

 

 

Updated: The Grinch...

Cinema release cut for a 'U' rating


Link Here2nd November 2018

The Grinch is a 2018 China / USA children's cartoon comedy by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch. BBFC link IMDb

BBFC category cuts were required for a U rated cinema releases in 2018.

Cut SmallU Small UK: 2D and 3D versions including Short Yellow is the New Black passed U for mild slapstick, very mild bad language after 1s of BBFC category cuts ( 89:55s ) :
  • 2018 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • The work had Cuts for Category cuts made. Company chose to remove a use of mild bad language in order to obtain a U classification. An uncut PG was available.

Summary Notes

For their eighth fully animated feature, Illumination and Universal Pictures present The Grinch, based on Dr. Seuss' beloved holiday classic. The Grinch tells the story of a cynical grump who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl's generous holiday spirit. Funny, heartwarming, and visually stunning, it's a universal story about the spirit of Christmas and the indomitable power of optimism. Academy Award« nominee Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice to the infamous Grinch, who lives a solitary life inside a cave on Mt. Crumpet with only his loyal dog, Max, for company. With a cave rigged with inventions and contraptions for his day-to-day needs, the Grinch only sees his neighbors in Whoville when he runs out of food. Each year at Christmas they disrupt his tranquil solitude with their increasingly bigger, brighter, and louder celebrations. When the Whos declare they are going to make Christmas three times bigger this year, the Grinch ...

Update: Assinine decision

2nd November 2018. Thanks to Hadyn

The BBFC commented on Twitter:

A few uses of the word 'ass' in a song were removed.

 

 

Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 86...


Link Here31st October 2018
Halloween, the 1978 original and the 2018 remake

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 

Updated: Showing a little Northern Soul...

Nottingham joins the list of Councils that are overriding BBFC censorship of working class strong language


Link Here25th October 2018

Scarborough Borough Council's licensing sub-committee has just granted A Northern Soul a 12A rating, changing a decision by the BBFC.

The Council has joined Hull, Lambeth, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Southampton, Hackney, Bradford and Calderdale as councils that have downgraded the film to 12A.

The ruling means that the film can now be shown at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on October 16 to anyone aged over 12. Children under 12 can also attend if they are accompanied by an adult.

Update: BBFC update

19th October 2018. See Board Meeting minutes [pdf] from bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC wrote in the minutes of its September board meeting:

A Northern Soul is a UK documentary classified 15 for cinema release for around twenty uses of strong language. Prior to its submission to the BBFC Sheffield City Council classified the film 12A, for its premiere, as did Hull City Council. The film's director complained in the media about the BBFC's decision. A letter co-signed by three Hull MPs was sent to the BBFC requesting that the 15 classification be reviewed, to which David Austin responded. The film is now classified 12A by seven local authorities (Sheffield, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Halifax, Southampton and Lambeth).

Update: Nottingham too

25th October 2018. See article

 Nottingham City Council has joined the group of councils that has disagreed with the BBFC 15 rating for the documentary, A Northern Soul. The film will be released locally with a Nottingham 12A rating.

 

 

Offsite Article: Millions of porn videos will not be blocked by UK online age checks...


Link Here21st October 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The government makes changes such that image hosting sites, not identifying as porn sites, do not need age verification for porn images they carry

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid...

Japanese anime series cut by the BBFC


Link Here19th October 2018
Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid is a 2015 Japan adult action anime TV series
Starring Yuka Iguchi, Mikako Izawa and Yurika Kubo. IMDb

Cut by the BBFC for home video in 2018.

Summary Notes

A virgin girl named Mamori who arrives on an island must compete in battle using special powers only activated through her sexual activity with the other girls on the island.

UK: BBFC details not yet published but the BBFC has revealed cuts in a board meeting minute:

See Board Meeting minutes [pdf] from bbfc.co.uk

Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid [Season 1, Episodes 1 -12] is a Japanese anime series submitted for DVD classification with an 18 request.

Two of the main characters are described as being 15-years-old and 16-years-old respectively. They are shown engaging in sexual activity, both with each other and with other characters. They are also sexualised.

Sections of the submission were viewed by the Chief Executive, the Head of DEA, the Head of Compliance and the Compliance Manager. It was concluded that the submission is not in violation of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 but that the scenes showing the children engaged in sexual activity, or otherwise being sexualised, are in violation of the harm provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1984 and the BBFC's Guidelines which prohibit portrayals of children in sexualised or abusive contexts. Accordingly, a general cuts list has been issued instructing the distributor to remove all such material throughout.

 

 

The new UK porn censor lays out its stall...

The BBFC launches a new website


Link Here 11th October 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
There's loads of new information today about the upcoming internet porn censorship regime to be coordinated by the BBFC.

The BBFC has launched a new website, ageverificationregulator.com , perhaps to distance itself a bit from its film censorship work.

The BBFC has made a few changes to its approach since the rather ropey document published prior to the BBFC's public consultation. In general the BBFC seems a little more pragmatic about trying to get adult porn users to buy into the age verification way of thinking. The BBFC seems supportive of the anonymously bought porn access card from the local store, and has taken a strong stance against age verification providers who reprehensibly want to record people's porn browsing, claiming a need to provide an audit trail.

The BBFC has also decided to offer a service to certify age verification providers in the way that they protect people's data. This is again probably targeted at making adult porn users a bit more confident in handing over ID.

The BBFC tone is a little bit more acknowledging of people's privacy concerns, but it's the government's law being implemented by the BBFC, that allows the recipients of the data to use it more or less how they like. Once you tick the 'take it or leave it' consent box allowing the AV provider 'to make your user experience better' then they can do what they like with your data (although GDPR does kindly let you later withdraw that consent and see what they have got on you).

Another theme that runs through the site is a rather ironic acceptance that, for all the devastation that will befall the UK porn industry, for all the lives ruined by people having their porn viewing outed, for all the lives ruined by fraud and identity theft, that somehow the regime is only about stopping young children 'stumbling on porn'... because the older, more determined, children will still know how to find it anyway.

So the BBFC has laid out its stall, and its a little more conciliatory to porn users, but I for one will never hand over any ID data to anyone connected with a servicing porn websites. I suspect that many others will feel the same. If you can't trust the biggest companies in the business with your data, what hope is there for anyone else.

There's no word yet on when all this will come into force, but the schedule seems to be 3 months after the BBFC scheme has been approved by Parliament. This approval seems scheduled to be debated in Parliament in early November, eg on 5th November there will be a House of Lords session:

Implementation by the British Board of Film Classification of age-verifications to prevent children accessing pornographic websites 203 Baroness Benjamin Oral questions

So the earliest it could come into force is about mid February.

 

 

Preventing children and non human operators from being able to access porn...

BBFC publishes its sometimes bizarre Guidance on Age-verification Arrangement


Link Here11th October 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

The BBFC has published its Age Verification Guidance document that will underipin the implementation of internet porn censorship in the UK.

Perhaps a key section is:

5. The criteria against which the BBFC will assess that an age-verification arrangement meets the requirement under section 14(1) to secure that pornographic material is not normally accessible by those under 18 are set out below:

a. an effective control mechanism at the point of registration or access to pornographic content by the end-user which verifies that the user is aged 18 or over at the point of registration or access

b use of age-verification data that cannot be reasonably known by another person, without theft or fraudulent use of data or identification documents nor readily obtained or predicted by another person

c. a requirement that either a user age-verify each visit or access is restricted by controls, manual or electronic, such as, but not limited to, password or personal identification numbers. A consumer must be logged out by default unless they positively opt-in for their log in information to be remembered

d. the inclusion of measures which authenticate age-verification data and measures which are effective at preventing use by non-human operators including algorithms

It is fascinating as to why the BBFC feels that bots need to be banned, perhaps they need to be 18 years old too, before they can access porn. I am not sure if porn sites will appreciate Goggle-bot being banned from their sites. I love the idea that the word 'algorithms' has been elevated to some sort of living entity.

It all smacks of being written by people who don't know what they are talking about.

In a quick read I thought the following paragraph was important:

9. In the interests of data minimisation and data protection, the BBFC does not require that age-verification arrangements maintain data for the purposes of providing an audit trail in order to meet the requirements of the act.

It rather suggests that the BBFC pragmatically accept that convenience and buy-in from porn-users is more important than making life dangerous for everybody, just n case a few teenagers get hold of an access code.

 

 

A significant number of responses raised concerns about the introduction of age-verification...

BBFC publishes its summary of the consultation repsonses


Link Here11th October 2018
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

BBFC Executive Summary

The British Board of Film Classification was designated as the age-verification regulator under Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act on 21 February 2018. The BBFC launched its consultation on the draft Guidance on Age-verification Arrangements and draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers on 26 March 2018. The consultation was available on the BBFC's website and asked for comments on the technical aspects on how the BBFC intends to approach its role and functions as the age-verification regulator. The consultation ran for 4 weeks and closed on 23 April 2018, although late submissions were accepted until 8 May 2018.

There were a total of 624 responses to the consultation. The vast majority of those (584) were submitted by individuals, with 40 submitted by organisations. 623 responses were received via email, and one was received by post. Where express consent has been given for their publication, the BBFC has published responses in a separate document. Response summaries from key stakeholders are in part 4 of this document.

Responses from stakeholders such as children's charities, age-verification providers and internet service providers were broadly supportive of the BBFC's approach and age-verification standards. Some responses from these groups asked for clarification to some points. The BBFC has made a number of amendments to the guidance as a result. These are outlined in chapter 2 of this document. Responses to questions raised are covered in chapter 3 of this document.

A significant number of responses, particularly from individuals and campaign groups, raised concerns about the introduction of age-verification, and set out objections to the legislation and regulatory regime in principle. Issues included infringement of freedom of expression, censorship, problematic enforcement powers and an unmanageable scale of operation. The government's consultation on age-verification in 2016 addressed many of these issues of principle. More information about why age-verification has been introduced, and the considerations given to the regulatory framework and enforcement powers can be found in the 2016 consultation response by the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport1.

 

 

A bit of rivalry for the BBFC...

Sky decides to use US rating service Common Sense Media for parental advice information


Link Here1st October 2018
Sky TV has decided to partner with the US media rating service, Common Sense Media to introduce a detailed rating system that will help parents make smarter choices about what their children watch on Sky. The new service will launch in the UK in 2019.

Since its founding in 2003, Common Sense has built the largest library of independent age-based reviews for everything kids watch, play, read and learn. The service, which will be available on Sky Q, will include in-depth information on the prevalence of specific types of content. This includes the educational value of the show, positive messages, use of positive role models, bad language, violence, sex and drink and drugs. Each is rated on a scale of one to five depending on how applicable it is to each show.

Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, Sky, said:

As a parent I know how reassuring it is that the Sky platform offers a safe, highly-regulated, family-friendly environment 203 but we know we can always do more.? Our partnership with Common Sense will help give parents greater peace of mind, helping them make smarter viewing choices for their children.

Later this year Sky Kids Safe Mode will launch on Sky Q, helping parents hand pick and ring-fence the content they want their children to watch and password protect any content they feel is unsuitable.

Sky also offers Sky Kids app which re-launched earlier this year with improved safety controls, and the network level internet blocking system, Sky Broadband Shield.

The announcement does not mention how this will effect Sky's relationship with the BBFC, presumably this is a bit of a snub to cinema and video ratings provided by the BBFC.

As an example of Common Sense Media I compared their comments on the Marvel superhero Venom with the more detailed BBFC advice:

MPAA Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Venom is a sci-fi action movie based on an antihero/villain from the Marvel universe. Photo journalist Eddie Brock's (Tom Hardy) life is disrupted for good when he becomes host to an alien parasite. The alien symbiote is able to take over Brock's body, giving him superpowers but also a dark alter ego called Venom. As his worried girlfriend, Anne (Michelle Williams), watches, Brock struggles with whether to escape the destructive being taking over his body or to give in to its dangerous power. This movie looks darker than most of the Marvel films; expect intense, graphic violence, strong language, and lots of scares.

Rated 15 for strong threat, horror, violence

VENOM is a US sci-fi action fantasy in which alien organisms are brought back to Earth.

Threat

There are a number of sequences in which people are threatened and attacked by the alien organisms, or by people into whose bodies the aliens have entered.

Horror sequences include the alien organisms entering people's bodies, causing their limbs to distort and their bones to crack. There is sight of injury detail, including protruding bones

Violence

Stronger moments of violence include people being impaled by the alien organisms, sometimes with bloody detail, and people being eaten by the aliens. There is also moderate action violence throughout, including heavy punches, kicks and other blows as well as use of tasers.

There is also infrequent strong language ('f**k'), alongside milder bad language (eg pussy, shit'). There are sequences in which live animals appear to be eaten but no animals were harmed in the making of the film.

 

 

Classified Ex...

Gerard Lemos leaves the BBFC


Link Here20th April 2018
The BBFC reported in the minutes of a board meeting:

After 10 years as Vice-President of the BBFC, Gerard Lemos is standing down. On behalf of the Board Patrick Swaffer thanked him for his extraordinary contribution to the work of the BBFC over a period that has seen significant changes to how the BBFC provides trusted content advice for families, particularly online.


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