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EU Censorship News


2023: April-June

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Dangerous technology...

Dorcel porn website tests identity verification system for porn viewers


Link Here20th June 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
The notable French adult company Dorcel is currently testing a double anonymity age verification solution designed by a French tech company. The Dorcel Group is testing an AV solution by GreenBadg. The report states that 10,000 visitors to Dorcel's site will be targeted as guinea pigs during the test period.

GreenBadg founder Jacky Lamraoui said that his company built its solution in consultation with French authorities, including media regulator ARCOM.

To access Dorcel sites, users must first register on GreenBadg by providing identification and a video selfie. Another company, IDNow will verify the ID, from which the date of birth is extracted, and confirm that the ID photo corresponds to the video selfie. The video selfie/ID photo facial comparison is performed by artificial intelligence, with a second validation done by a human.

Once verified, the user will receive a badge valid for three years, allowing them to scan a QR Code on the relevant site to certify they are over 18.

 

 

Advertising the latest censorship nightmare from the EU...

The EU is set to redefine political comment as political advertising and so bring it into its lair of control and censorship via mountains of red tape


Link Here 6th June 2023
Balancing the fundamental principles of free speech and expression with the regulation of technology, platforms, and content to promote fairness and safety presents a significant challenge to the censorship loving EU.

The European Union is striving to introduce new censorship rules during the trilogue discussions on EU Political Advertising regulations.

On the surface, it appears to be an attempt to introduce transparency, scrutiny, and accountability into the digital systems that are now deeply intertwined with our political processes. However, the current proposals, aimed at encompassing all aspects of digital political engagement, reveal mechanisms that will undermine freedom of speech.

As it stands, the proposals would cover any content with a political nature that could be considered advertising. This means that a journalist reporting on national elections and covering manifesto launches or policy initiatives could be classified as a political advertisement and subjected to these new rules.

Organisations like Index on Censorship, which express views on government actions through articles like this, could face moderation, regulation, and potential censorship.

Even well-known voices championing important issues, such as Greta Thunberg, could find themselves subject to European regulations for every tweet, Facebook post, or snap they share.

This not only stifles organisations' willingness to intervene or comment but also significantly narrows political debate. By covering anything that could be deemed a political advertisement, it encroaches on the private lives of citizens and compromises a free and independent press.

Another concern is the proposed flagging system, allowing anyone to flag content for platform review to determine if it falls under the new regulation. Platforms would be required to review flags within 48 hours. However, this transfer of responsibility to the opaque internal workings of tech giants raises questions.

How will they determine what constitutes political advertising, and why should they possess such power? Imposing an arbitrary 48-hour limit on this process may result in the removal of thousands of voices and opinions, particularly from marginalised communities, as platforms fear legal repercussions and penalties for non-compliance.

 

 

Accelerated censorship...

Macron introduces a bill to side step the courts so as to block porn websites more quickly


Link Here9th May 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
Exasperated by slow legal progress in porn censorship, Emmanuel Macron's government has confirmed that it will attempt to bypass the courts to force the porn websites comply with a controversial, vaguely worded 2020 age verification law.

Macron's government is clearly frustrated with the legal challenge mounted by lawyers for Pornhub, Tukif, xHamster, XVideos and Xnxx. The lawyers presented requests to nullify the proceedings and order a stay of the proposed block. The tribunal then gave itself until July 7 to make a decision.

The French Minister Delegate for Digital Jean-NoŽl Barrot announced the government's intention to empower ARCOM to order, without needing to go through the courts, the blocking and delisting of adult sites that do not prevent minors from accessing their content.

Le Monde reports that the extra-judicial gambit will be part of a new bill intended to secure and regulate the digital space. Barrot intends to present the bill to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, and expects it to be examined in the Senate over the summer and by the National Assembly by the start of the school year.

The bill will also empower government regulator ARCOM to stop the dissemination on the internet of media banned in the European Union.

 

 

Guilty until proven innocent...

Ireland set to pass an unjust bill to criminalise the possession of material that could be claimed to be hateful


Link Here4th May 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in Ireland...Ireland considers the UK's lead in censoring porn and social media
Ireland is closer to being the latest country to pass authoritarian legislation on so-called hate speech.

The Lower House (DŠil …ireann) passed the Criminal Justice Bill 2022 titled the Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offenses.

The bill makes it a crime to incite violence or hatred against a person, condoning, denial or gross trivialization of genocide, and preparing or possessing material likely to incite violence or hatred against persons on account of their protected characteristics. Protected characteristics include race, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and disability.

It adds that someone violates the law if they displays, publishes, distributes, disseminates, shows or plays the material, or makes the material available in any other way including the use of an information system like social media.

The bill has a controversial provision that makes it an offense to possess material that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person or group. More concerning is that the burden of proof lies on the person accused (they have to prove that their intention was not to spread hate), rather than the age-old idea of the burden being on the prosecution to prove their case. The government's proposal is the opposite of this: guilty until proven innocent.

The bill is headed for the upper house (Seanad …ireann), which will be the seventh stage of 11 before it becomes law.

 

Update: Ireland's new thoughtcrime bill is shockingly draconian

2nd May 2023. See article from spiked-online.com by Fraser Myers

You could soon be sent to jail just for possessing offensive material.

 

 

Very Large Censorship Opportunities...

New EU internet censorship laws look likely block or restrict Google Search from linking to adult websites


Link Here28th April 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
The European Commission has officially identified 19 major platforms and search engines to be targeted for compliance under its new internet censorship law, the Digital Services Act (DSA).

Under the new rules, Very Large providers will be required to assess and mitigate the risk of 'misuse' of their services and the measures taken must be proportionate to that risk and subject to robust conditions and safeguards.

The EU Commission officially designated 17 Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and two Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs), each of which, according to the EC, reaches at least 45 million monthly active users.

The VLOPs are: Alibaba AliExpress, Amazon Store, Apple AppStore, Booking.com, Facebook, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube and German retailer Zalando.

The two VLOSEs are Bing and Google Search.

Following their designation, an EC statement explained, these companies will now have to comply, within four months, with the full set of new censorship rules under the DSA. Under the subheading Strong protection of minors, the EC listed the following directives:

  • Platforms will have to redesign their systems to ensure a high level of privacy, security, and safety of minors;
  • Targeted advertising based on profiling towards children is no longer permitted;
  • Special risk assessments including for negative effects on mental health will have to be provided to the Commission four months after designation and made public at the latest a year later;
  • Platforms will have to redesign their services, including their interfaces, recommender systems, terms and conditions, to mitigate these risks.
According to industry attorney Corey Silverstein of Silverstein Legal, the impact of the new designations and consequent obligations could be substantial because many of the platforms that have been designated as VLOPs and VLOSEs are frequently utilized by the adult entertainment industry.

Assuming these platforms decide to comply with the DSA, Silverstein told XBIZ, there may be major changes coming to what these platforms allow on their services within the EU.

This could end up leading to major content moderation and outright blocking of adult content in the EU, including the blocking of websites that display adult entertainment from being listed in search results.

It is also noted that as the larger adult platforms continue to grow, some may pass the EC's benchmark of having 45 million monthly active users, and therefore face the potential for future designation under the DSA, which could have even more direct impact on their users and creators.

 

 

Government sin bin...

Germany plans to extend internet censorship to ban users it does not like from social media


Link Here17th April 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
According to the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), tech companies themselves are responsible for deleting hate speech on social media in Germany, and face up to 50 million euro in fines if they don't. But it's left to their own discretion whether or not they block the often-anonymous users behind it.

Now Germany's coalition government wants to extend censorship controls of online content that the government does not like, both by blocking users who spread censorable speech through a court order, and forcing social media companies to reveal the person or group behind a perpetrator's profile.

The length of any account block would have to be proportionate and regard serious violations -- yet it would be left to the respective court to decide what exactly that means. An account holder must first be informed that their account could be blocked -- and have the chance to comment on the incident.

 

 

Something to do whilst waiting for itself to approve an official age verification mechanism...

French internet censor makes next move to block porn websites including Pornhub


Link Here12th April 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
Arcom is the French internet censor who is tasked with the censorship of porn websites. It has published a press release explaining its latest steps to block a group of prominent porn websites:

In accordance with article 23 of the law of July 30, 2020, Arcom gave formal notice on April 6, 2023 to Technius Ltd (eg XHamster.com) and Techpump Solutions SL (eg Porn300.com) to prevent access by minors to respectively one and two pornographic sites that they publish.

In addition, due to the failure of MG Freesites (eg pornhub.com) to comply with the formal notices issued on April 7, 2022, the president of the Paris court was petitioned to order the main ISPs to prevent access to two sites published by this company.

Protecting young audiences from inappropriate content in the digital sphere is a priority for Arcom, within the framework set by the legislator.


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