The French government has blocked access to the website of the popular hentai outlet Nhentai, with a new government redirect page warning that the site contain images of child porn.
News of this ban was first reported on November 19th , when multiple
French citizens took to social media to report that their attempts to access the page were being denied.
According to the generic block page, users were being redirected to this page by the Ministry of the Interior because you have attempted to
connect to a site containing image of child pornography, an act which was being done in order to protect the dignity of the [cartoon] victims of abuse seen in the images and protect the internet users and especially the very young, who did not want to
find these images.
The French government also noted that access to the website was banned so that the person who is trying to view this images can be made aware of the gravity of his attraction, in order to fight against the sites that produce these
The Austrian Supreme Court has decided that any censorship demands it places on Facebook must be implemented globally.
The ruling signifies defeat for Facebook in its final appeal in a case that has been running for years. Eva Glawischnig is former
Austrian politician who didn't like it when some random Facebook user described her as a traitor and corrupt. She apparently decided it would be easier to censor those accusations than challenge them and has been trying to force Facebook to remove the
posts ever since.
A year ago, the EU Court of Justice ruled in her favour, adding that anything that even comes close hurting the claimants feelings should be censored too. This created the absurd situation of making the global Facebook platform
beholden to the whims of every country in which it operates.
Facebook took the matter to the Austrian Supreme Court, has just published its ruling. A summary, as reported by Der Standard, is that Facebook must now censor those posts globally or
face the legal consequences in Austria and possibly the whole EU.
The precedent this sets is chilling. Not only is it absurd for one country to be able to dictate what is visible in all others, but the ruling effectively says it's no longer permissible to accuse politicians of corruption. Are you
still allowed to accuse other people of corruption? Does this protection only apply to people who can afford to litigate for years? What else can Austria now compel Facebook and other internet companies to do?
The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern after the Council of the European Union proposed a draft resolution last week calling for national authorities across the EU to have access to encrypted messages as part of criminal investigations
into terrorism and organized crime. Journalists rely on encryption to evade surveillance and protect their sources, CPJ has found .
End-to-end encryption prevents authorities, company employees, and hackers from viewing the
content of private digital messages, but the resolution proposes unspecified technical solutions to undermine those protections, according to rights groups European Digital Rights and Access Now. The groups said the resolution was drafted without input
from privacy experts or journalists.
EU institutions must immediately retract all plans to undermine encryption, which is vital to press freedom and the free flow of information, said Tom Gibson, EU Representative for the
Committee to Protect Journalists. Encryption offers essential protection for journalists who routinely communicate and share files electronically. If journalists cannot communicate safely with colleagues and sources, they cannot protect the anonymity of
The resolution was proposed by Germany, which holds the current presidency of the Council of the European Union, and could serve as a basis for further negotiations with other EU institutions in 2021.
In November of 2019, Tobias Schmid began a crusade to regulate some of porn's biggest players. Schmid , the director of the State Media Authority (LMA) of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia, wanted to enforce existing mandatory age laws on porn
sites like Pornhub, YouPorn, and xHamster. In practice, this would mean that all visitors to the sites would have to upload pictures of official IDs and risk the data falling into the hands of moralists and blackmailers.
Now, after an almost year long
legal scramble and porn sites refusing to back down, it looks like Schmid could get his way. After telecommunication providers like Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom refusing to voluntarily implement DNS blocks against a number of sites, including Pornhub,
YouPorn, and MyDirtyHobby, German authorities are now in the process of legally enforcing the bans.
Dragonfly Eyes is a novel written by Cao Wenxuan, a well-known Chinese author of children's and young adult books. The book was licensed for translation into German, but the original Chinese publisher was not happy with the translation and is
demanding small cuts and edits to show Chinese characters in the book in a better light.
The Chinese publisher told Nora Frisch, the German publisher of the translation, to take the book off the market pending edits.
Dragonfly Eyes tells the story
of a French woman married to a Shanghai entrepreneur. During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the woman - by then a grandmother -- is accused of being a spy. She is captured by the Red Guards paramilitary movement, who shave off her hair and parade
her through the streets. When infighting breaks out between various factions, she is able to escape.
The corrections which the Chinese publisher demanded from Frisch concerned a few passages in the last chapter. In the original version, the French
woman asks one of the Red Guards, an 18-year-old girl, to lend her a scarf so she can cover her head. In the revised version, it's the girl who offers the scarf to the old woman.
As Chinese authorities have begun paying more attention to how China
is perceived abroad in recent years, censorship has increased. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that he expects Chinese media and publishers to contribute to the country's soft power by telling China's story well.
The impact of this
policy recently became apparent in Germany, when Thalia, a large chain of bookstores, suddenly designated an unusual amount of shelf space to Chinese literature in some of its stores. Clients quickly noticed that the shelves lacked any literature
critical of the Communist Party. Instead, speeches by Xi Jinping were front and center.
Thalia later admitted that the display had been curated by China Book Trading, a German subsidiary of China International Publishing Group, which is owned by
the ruling Communist Party.
The European Union has made the first step towards a significant overhaul of its core platform regulation, the e-Commerce Directive .
In order to inspire the European Commission, which is currently preparing a proposal for a Digital Services Act Package , the EU Parliament has voted on three related Reports ( IMCO , JURI , and LIBE reports), which address the legal
responsibilities of platforms regarding user content, include measures to keep users safe online, and set out special rules for very large platforms that dominate users' lives.
Clear EFF's Footprint
Ahead of the votes, together with our allies , we argued to preserve what works for a free Internet and innovation, such as to retain the E-Commerce directive's approach of limiting platforms' liability over user content and banning Member States from imposing obligations to track and monitor users' content. We also stressed that it is time to fix what is broken: to imagine a version of the Internet where users have a right to remain anonymous, enjoy substantial procedural rights in the context of content moderation, can have more control over how they interact with content, and have a true choice over the services they use through interoperability obligations .
It's a great first step in the right direction that all three EU Parliament reports have considered EFF suggestions. There is an overall agreement that platform intermediaries have a pivotal role to play in ensuring the
availability of content and the development of the Internet. Platforms should not be held responsible for ideas, images, videos, or speech that users post or share online. They should not be forced to monitor and censor users' content and
communication--for example, using upload filters. The Reports also makes a strong call to preserve users' privacy online and to address the problem of targeted advertising. Another important aspect of what made the E-Commerce Directive a success is the
"country or origin" principle. It states that within the European Union, companies must adhere to the law of their domicile rather than that of the recipient of the service. There is no appetite from the side of the Parliament to change this
Even better, the reports echo EFF's call to stop ignoring the walled gardens big platforms have become. Large Internet companies should no longer nudge users to stay on a platform that disregards their privacy or
jeopardizes their security, but enable users to communicate with friends across platform boundaries. Unfair trading, preferential display of platforms' own downstream services and transparency of how users' data are collected and shared: the EU
Parliament seeks to tackle these and other issues that have become the new "normal" for users when browsing the Internet and communicating with their friends. The reports also echo EFF's concerns about automated content moderation, which is
incapable of understanding context. In the future, users should receive meaningful information about algorithmic decision-making and learn if terms of service change. Also, the EU Parliament supports procedural justice for users who see their content
removed or their accounts disabled.
The focus on fundamental rights protection and user control is a good starting point for the ongoing reform of Internet legislation in Europe.
However, there are also a number of pitfalls and risks. There is a suggestion that platforms should report illegal content to enforcement authorities and there are open questions about public electronic identity systems. Also, the general focus of
consumer shopping issues, such as liability provision for online marketplaces, may clash with digital rights principles: the Commission itself acknowledged in a recent internal document that "speech can also be reflected in goods, such as books,
clothing items or symbols, and restrictive measures on the sale of such artefacts can affect freedom of expression." Then, the general idea to also include digital services providers established outside the EU could turn out to be a problem to the
extent that platforms are held responsible to remove illegal content. Recent cases ( Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook ) have demonstrated the perils of worldwide content takedown orders.
It's Your Turn Now @EU_Commission
The EU Commission is expected to present a legislative package on 2 December. During the public consultation process, we urged the Commission to protect freedom of expression and to give control to users rather than the big platforms.
We are hopeful that the EU will work on a free and interoperable Internet and not follow the footsteps of harmful Internet bills such as the German law NetzDG or the French Avia Bill, which EFF helped to strike down . It's time to make it right. To
preserve what works and to fix what is broken.
A history museum in western France has postponed an exhibition about the Mongol emperor Genghis Khan for three years, citing censorial interference by the Chinese government.
The Château des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes says that it decided to pause the
production after Chinese authorities asked that names and terms like "Genghis Khan," "empire," and "Mongol" not be used in the exhibition. The museum also alleges that the Chinese government asked to oversee the exhibition's
brochures, legends, and maps.
The museum further detailed that the collaboration was hampered by the interference of the Chinese Bureau of Cultural Heritage, which requested changes that included notably elements of biased rewriting of Mongol
culture in favour of a new national narrative. The museum noted that censorship underscored the hardening ... of the position of the Chinese government against the Mongolian minority.
The European Commission is beefing up its weapons to take on Big Tech.
Under Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, the commission is planning to merge two major legislative initiatives on competition into a single text.
the so-called New Competition Tool, a market investigation tool that would allow competition enforcers to act more swiftly and forcefully. The other is a part of the Digital Services Act , a new set of rules due to be unveiled in December for companies
like Google, Apple and Amazon. Combined, the new powers would be known as the Digital Markets Act.
The act will include a list of do's and don'ts for so-called gatekeeping platforms -- or those who are indispensable for other companies to reach
consumers online -- to curb what it sees as anti-competitive behavior.
The CJEU has ruled to prevent national legislation from ordering telecommunication companies to transfer data in a general and indiscriminate manner to security agencies, even for purposes of national security