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Hungary tires of social media interference in free speech...

Hungarian data censor proposes a law requiring that social media companies justify why they ban people


Link Here 5th August 2020
Hungary's Data Protection Chief has proposed new legislation which would enable social media platforms to ban people from their services only with a compelling reason, while also granting the right to Hungarian authorities to review the decisions.

The head of the Hungarian Data Protection Authority (NAIH), requested a regulation on social media at a meeting of the Digital Freedom Working Group, according to which community profiles can only be suspended for compelling reasons. Also, according to Attila Péterfalvi, Hungarian authorities should have the right to review these decisions.

The justice ministry's digital freedom committee aimed at improving the transparency of tech firms has penned a letter to the regional director of Facebook asking whether the company's supervisory board complied with the requirements of political neutrality and transparency in its procedures, Justice Minister Judit Varga said:

Péterfalvi said:

I made the suggestion of establishing a Hungarian authority procedure in which the Hungarian authorities would oblige Facebook to review unjustified suspensions so that freedom of expression would remain free indeed.

 

 

Relationships with Russia get colder...

Latvia bans the Russian propaganda channel RT


Link Here24th July 2020
Full story: Russia Today Propaganda TV...Russia Today, English language international propaganda channel
The Latvian TV censor has banned the Russian propaganda channel RT (formerly named Russia Today). The channel was also recently banned in Lithuania.

Latvia's National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) on July 21 banned RT claiming incitement to hatred. It was prompted by a 60 minute broadcast on July 10, in which remarks on Ukraine are described as hate speech. Ivars Abolins, head of the NEPLP, said:

We believe it is an incitement to hatred against Ukraine, against the Ukrainian people. We are absolutely convinced that the European Commission will also agree with our view, and if a second infringement is detected within a year, Rossija RTR can be banned on the territory of Latvia.

RT responded citing a statement from the Association for International Broadcasting which strongly criticised the Latvian media regulator. A letter from AIB commented:

We wish to protest in the strongest terms on what appears, on the face of it, to be a political decision that has no regulatory legitimacy.

The banning of the RT channels appears to flow from the misinterpretation by the Council of the ownership structure of RT and the alleged control of RT by Dmitry Kiselyov who is sanctioned by the European Union.

We draw to your attention that RT disputes the reason for the Council's ban on its licensed channels and that it has not been granted the right to present evidence of the ownership and control of the company. This is an extraordinary omission by a media regulator in a western democracy.

 

 

Age old censorship...

France passes intern porn censorship laws similar to those that failed in the UK


Link Here10th July 2020
The French parliament has agreed a new law requiring age verification on pornographic websites to prevent access by children under 18. The censorship law has the support of President Emmanuel Macron, who called for such a measure in January.

The French law gives sites discretion to decide how to perform that age verification.

The law gives French regulators the power to create a blacklist for overseas sites that don't comply with the new rules. If a site doesn't respond to a warning from French officials, they can ask the Paris Court of Justice to send an order to telecom operators to block the access to these sites from France.

A major sticking point in the UK's failed age verification law was privacy. Critics pointed out that it wasn't a great idea to force adult consumers to turn over their credit card numbers to porn sites that might not have the strongest privacy protections. It's not clear what privacy protections will be offered to consumers under the French law.

In order to enforce the law, the French audiovisual regulator CSA will be granted new powers to audit and sanction companies that do not comply -- sanctions could go as far as blocking access to the websites in France with a court order.

The Senate has already voted on the bill. Following an agreement between senators and lawmakers from the lower house National Assembly, a final vote will be held again in the Senate where the bill is expected to pass.


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