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Now we are all well trained to tick boxes without reading the consequences...

UK Government seeks an easier commercial environment to exploit data, but at least seeks to reduce silly cookie consent nonsense


Link Here 9th September 2021

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is set for an overhaul to drive greater innovation and growth in the UK's data sector and better protect the public from major data threats, under planned reforms announced by the Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden.

One year on from the publication of the National Data Strategy, the government has today launched a wide-ranging consultation on proposed changes to the UK's data landscape. As part of this, a new governance model is planned for the ICO, including an independent board and chief executive to mirror the governance structures of other regulators such as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Ofcom.

This follows the selection of John Edwards as the government's preferred candidate as the new Information Commissioner, who is currently serving as the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner.

Now that we have left the EU, the government wants to create a pro-growth and trusted data regime that unleashes data's power across the economy and society, for the benefit of British citizens and British businesses.

The reforms outlined in this consultation will:

  • Cement our position as a science superpower, simplifying data use by researchers and developers of AI and other cutting edge technologies.

  • Build on the unprecedented and life-saving use of data to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Secure the UK's status as a global hub for the free and responsible flow of personal data - complementing our ambitious agenda for new trade deals and data partnerships with some of the world's fastest growing economies.

  • Reinforce the responsibility of businesses to keep personal information safe, while empowering them to grow and innovate.

  • Ensure that the ICO remains a world-leading regulator, enabling people to use data responsibly to achieve economic and social goals.

 

 

Offsite Article: Government GitHub...


Link Here7th September 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
How the draft Online Safety Bill would affect the development of Free/open source software. By Neil Brown

See article from decoded.legal

 

 

Open Letter: The current version of the Online Safety Bill is not the answer...

Individuals and LGBT organisations speak out against the Governments Online Safety Bill


Link Here4th September 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media

As proud members of the LGBTQ+ community, we know first-hand the vile abuse that regularly takes place online. The data is clear; 78% of us have faced anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime or hate speech online in the last 5 years. So we understand why the Government is looking for a solution, but the current version of the Online Safety Bill is not the answer -- it will make things worse not better.

The new law introduces the "duty of care" principle and would give internet companies extensive powers to delete posts that may cause 'harm.' But because the law does not define what it means by 'harm' it could result in perfectly legal speech being removed from the web.

As LGBTQ+ people we have seen what happens when vague rules are put in place to police speech. Marginalised voices are silenced. From historic examples of censors banning LGBTQ+ content to 'protect' the public, to modern day content moderation tools marking innocent LGBTQ+ content as explicit or harmful.

This isn't scaremongering. In 2017, Tumblr's content filtering system marked non-sexual LGBTQ+ content as explicit and blocked it, in 2020 TikTok censored depictions of homosexuality such as two men kissing or holding hands and it reduced the reach of LGBTQ+ posts in some countries, and within the last two months LinkedIn removed a coming out post from a 16-year-old following complaints.

This Bill, as it stands, would provide a legal basis for this censorship. Moreover, its vague wording makes it easy for hate groups to put pressure on Silicon Valley tech companies to remove LGBTQ+ content and would set a worrying international standard.

Growing calls to end anonymity online also pose a danger. Anonymity allows LGBTQ+ people to share their experiences and sexuality while protecting their privacy and many non-binary and transgender people do not hold a form of acceptable ID and could be shut out of social media.

The internet provides a crucial space for our community to share experiences and build relationships. 90% of LGBTQ+ young people say they can be themselves online and 96% say the internet has helped them understand more about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This Bill puts the content of these spaces at potential risk.

Racism, homophobia, transphobia, and threats of violence are already illegal. But data shows that when they happen online it is ignored by authorities. After the system for flagging online hate crime was underused by the police, the Home Office stopped including these figures in their annual report all together, leaving us in the dark about the scale of the problem. The government's Bill should focus on this illegal content rather than empowering the censorship of legal speech.

This is why we are calling for "the duty of care", which in the current form of the Online Safety Bill could be used to censor perfectly legal free speech, to be reframed to focus on illegal content, for there to be specific, written, protections for legal LGBTQ+ content online, and for the LGBTQ+ community to be properly consulted throughout the process.

  • Stephen Fry , actor, broadcaster, comedian, director, and writer.
  • Munroe Bergdorf , model, activist, and writer.
  • Peter Tatchell , human rights campaigner.
  • Carrie Lyell , Editor-in-Chief of DIVA Magazine.
  • James Ball , Global Editor of The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism.
  • Jo Corrall , Founder of This is a Vulva.
  • Clara Barker , material scientist and Chair of LGBT+ Advisory Group at Oxford University.
  • Marc Thompson , Director of The Love Tank and co-founder of PrEPster and BlackOut UK.
  • Sade Giliberti , TV presenter, actor, and media personality.
  • Fox Fisher , artist, author, filmmaker, and LGBTQIA+ rights advocate.
  • Cara English , Head of Public Engagement at Gendered Intelligence, Founder OpenLavs.
  • Paula Akpan , journalist, and founder of Black Queer Travel Guide.
  • Tom Rasmussen , writer, singer, and drag performer.
  • Jamie Wareham , LGBTQ journalist and host of the #QueerAF podcast.
  • Crystal Lubrikunt , international drag performer, host, and producer.
  • David Robson, Chair of London LGBT+ Forums Network
  • Shane ShayShay Konno , drag performer, curator and host of the ShayShay Show, and founder of The Bitten Peach.
  • UK Black Pride , Europe's largest celebration for African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin America, and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQI+ people.

 

 

Comment: A push for age verification...

A pithy summary abut the current parliamentary clamour for age verification for porn and social media


Link Here2nd September 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
 
Ben Greenstone comments on a recent article in the Times commenting on a cross party cartel of powerful parliamentarians all calling for more obtrusive age verification:

The Chairs of both the Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee and the DCMS Select Committee, alongside the Shadow DCMS Secretary of State and the Children's Commissioner, are all calling for tougher age verification measures online.

It blows my mind that the piece does not make more of the fact that DCMS tried to introduce age verification for *actual online pornography* and failed because it was too hard. 18 year olds can have a credit card which can be used as a proxy measure... what do 13 year olds have?

This is classic just fix it from people who don't seem to have spent any time actually thinking about what fixing it would look like and what it would require. It's bad news for online service providers, but great news if you are planning to set up an age verification business.

 

 

Offsite Article: Britannia still rules the waves...


Link Here2nd September 2021
Full story: ICO Age Appropriate Design...ICO calls for age assurance for websites accessed by children
Britain tamed Big Tech and nobody noticed. The Age Appropriate Design Code has caused huge global changes. Not that tech platforms want to admit it

See article from wired.co.uk

 

 

Making the UK internet the most censorial and red tape infested outside of China...

The Government salivates over suffocating proposals for censoring internet TV, now that it can go even further than the red tape Dystopia called the EU


Link Here30th August 2021
Full story: UK Internet TV censorship ...UK catch-up and US internet streaming
The UK Government has just opened a public consultation on proposals to significantly extend censorship laws for internet TV to match the nannying, burdensome control freakery that currently applies to broadcast TV in the UK. The tone of the press release highlights the obvious glee that the Government holds for more censorship:

Government to consult on better protections for UK audiences on video-on-demand services

Audiences could be better protected from harmful material like misinformation and pseudoscience while watching programmes on video-on-demand services (VoD), Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced.

  • Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ could be subject to stricter rules protecting UK audiences from harmful material
  • It would mean audiences - particularly children - receive a consistent level of protection on video-on-demand services as they do on traditional broadcasters
  • Ministers seek views to level the regulatory playing field in consultation launched today

The government is considering how to better level the regulatory playing field between mainstream VoD services and traditional broadcasters and is seeking views on the matter in a consultation launched today. This could mean aligning the content standards rules for on-demand TV services with those for traditional linear TV like BBC 1 and Sky.

Now that the UK has left the EU there is an opportunity to create regulation suited to UK viewers that goes beyond the minimum standards as set out in EU regulation under the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

We want to give UK audiences peace of mind that however they watch TV in the digital age, the shows they enjoy are held to the same high standards that British broadcasting is world-renowned for.

It is right that now we have left the EU, we look at introducing proportionate new rules so that UK audiences are protected from harm.

Ofcom data shows a huge growth in popularity and use of on-demand services in the UK. The number of households that subscribe to one rose by almost 350% between 2014 and 2020. In 2021, 75% per cent of UK households say that they have used a subscription VoD service.

Viewers have access to thousands of hours of VoD shows and content at the touch of a button. However, services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ are not regulated in the UK to the same extent as UK linear TV channels.

For example, except for BBC iPlayer, they are not subject to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code which sets out appropriate standards for content including harmful or offensive material, accuracy, fairness and privacy.

This means there is a gap between existing protections for audiences watching traditional TV and those watching newer VoD services. There are some protections for under-18s but minimal rules exist to regulate content. There are very few rules to protect audiences, for example, from misleading health advice or pseudoscience documentaries.

Some service providers have taken welcome steps to introduce their own standards and procedures for audience protection - such as pin-codes and content warnings - but the extent of these measures varies across services. Age ratings are also inconsistent and sometimes non-existent.

The consultation asks for views on whether UK audiences viewing TV-like VoD programmes should receive the same or similar level of protections as when they are watching traditional television. It asks which measures can and should be made consistent across VoD services.

It will also consider whether mainstream VoD services not currently regulated in the UK by Ofcom - like Netflix and Apple TV+ - should be brought within UK jurisdiction to provide accountability to UK audiences who use them.

Not all VoD providers deliver a TV-like experience, so any regulatory change will need to be proportionate, particularly for smaller or niche services, to ensure essential protections like freedom of speech are not affected.

Notes to Editors

  • The consultation is open for 8 weeks and closes on 26 October at 23:45 BST.
  • This review into VoD regulation will form part of a number of measures as part of a wide-ranging broadcasting White Paper into the future of broadcasting which will be published this autumn.
  • The consultation examines the current level of audience protection from harmful content provided through regulation and voluntarily by individual VoD services, and what steps are required to ensure appropriate protection levels for UK audiences going forward.
  • Now the UK has left the European Union, this is an opportunity to improve upon EU aligned provisions under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive with regulations that are designed in the best interests of UK audiences.
  • This consultation does not seek responses on wider broadcasting regulation, nor changes to how television or public service broadcasters such as the BBC or Channel 4 are funded or regulated. This consultation will also not cover changes to advertising rules/restrictions and does not cover topics such as introducing levies/quotas on VoD services. Responses on these issues will not be considered as part of this consultation.

 

 

Maybe more about data monetisation than data protection...

The government nominates the new Information Commissioner


Link Here 27th August 2021
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced that John Edwards is the Government's preferred candidate for Information Commissioner.

John Edwards is currently New Zealand's Privacy Commissioner. He will now appear before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for pre-appointment scrutiny on 9th September 2021.

It seems that the Government has its eyes on market opportunities related to selling data rather than data protection. Dowden commented:

Data underpins innovation and the global digital economy, everyday apps and cloud computing systems. It allows businesses to trade, drives international investment, supports law enforcement agencies tackling crime, the delivery of critical public services and health and scientific research.

The government is outlining the first territories with which it will prioritise striking data adequacy partnerships now it has left the EU as the United States, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the Dubai International Finance Centre and Colombia. It is also confirming that future partnerships with India, Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia are being prioritised.

Estimates suggest there is as much as 11 billion worth of trade that goes unrealised around the world due to barriers associated with data transfers.

The aim is to move quickly and creatively to develop global partnerships which will make it easier for UK organisations to exchange data with important markets and fast-growing economies. T

The government also today names New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards as its preferred candidate to be the UK's next Information Commissioner, following a global search.

As Information Commissioner and head of the UK regulator responsible for enforcing data protection law, he will be empowered to go beyond the regulator's traditional role of focusing only on protecting data rights, with a clear mandate to take a balanced approach that promotes further innovation and economic growth.

...

It means reforming our own data laws so that they're based on common sense, not box-ticking. And it means having the leadership in place at the Information Commissioner's Office to pursue a new era of data-driven growth and innovation. John Edwards's vast experience makes him the ideal candidate to ensure data is used responsibly to achieve those goals.

 

 

Offsite Article: Verified as the age of self interest...


Link Here 27th August 2021
Full story: ICO Age Appropriate Design...ICO calls for age assurance for websites accessed by children
Trade group for age verification companies s clearly campaigning for its own commercial interests but it does lay out the practical vagaries of ICO's Age Appropriate Design

See article from techmonitor.ai

 

 

Withdrawing consent...

UK government proposes to drop some of the ludicrous GDPR/Cookie laws introduced by the EU


Link Here24th August 2021
The British Government plans to sweep away inane parts of the EU's data laws in a move that would put an end to pointless web cookie consent banners and red tape.

In the first major regulatory reforms since Brexit, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has set out proposals which he says will turbocharge the UK's digital economy and allow data to be used more flexibly.

In particular Dowden signalled the reforms would cut down on cookie banners, used by websites to secure consent for storing personal data when using their websites, arguing that many of them were pointless. The cookie banners achieve little beyond dangerously training internet users to mindlessly tick boxes when asked, just to make the damn things go away.

Ministers also intend to shake up the Information Commissioners Office and have poached John Edwards, New Zealand's current privacy commissioner, to head up the data censor and oversee the new-look regime.

Describing the reforms as the data dividend of Brexit, Dowden said a new British framework would be more proportionate, help cut costs for businesses, and enable greater innovation, which will drive growth and opportunities and jobs.

However, the move risks opening up a fresh schism with the European Commission, which believes GDPR has been highly influential in driving up data privacy standards across the world.

 

 

Offsite Article: A legal view on the Online Harms Bill...


Link Here 15th August 2021
Regulating content on user-to user and search service providers. By Rafe Jennings

See article from ukhumanrightsblog.com


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