Melon Farmers Original Version

Internet News


May

 2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   2015   2016   2017   2018   2019   2020   2021   Latest 
Jan   Feb   Mar   April   May    

 

Updated: Petition: Don't insult the British people...

Repeal Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 and expunge all convictions for internet insults


Link Here29th May 2021
Full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter

Repeal Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 and expunge all convictions of those whom have been persecuted under this section of the law. As well as acknowledge that the UK internet also shares our respect for peoples freedoms of speech and expression.

Over the last decade, people have been convicted [with record] under the pretence of personally/potentially grossly offensive material (of which no definition is given) over jokes and petty arguments on the internet via social media and other platforms. It is because of the increase of these cases that a growing number of people are concerned for their own online safety and the devastating real world ramifications under this section of law, that this petition has been created and signed.

Update: Government response

29th May 2021.

The petition has received 16124 signatures and so warrants a government response as follows:

We are committed to making the UK the safest place to be online while upholding rights to freedom of expression. The Law Commission is currently reviewing harmful and abusive communications online.

The Government recognises the importance of free speech, particularly in the context of online communications.

Current UK legislation protects the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). However, this right is qualified and may be restricted in some circumstances, including where there may be a serious intent to cause harm or incite hatred against others.

We are committed to ensuring the criminal law keeps pace with changes in technology, while also taking into account harmful communications online. Against this background, the Government has asked the Law Commission to review existing laws related to harmful and abusive communications online. This review is considering sections 127(1) and 127(2) of the Communications Act 2003 and section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988, determining whether these laws need amending and updating with new offences to account for a range of harms online including pile-on abuse, cyberflashing and self-harm.

Existing communications offences are important for protecting people from criminal activity, including online. However, we recognise that some elements pose problems, including vagueness in terms such as grossly offensive, obscene and indecent, which the Law Commission highlights in their consultation paper. The Law Commission's proposals are therefore an important step towards addressing such limitations.

The Law Commission has now consulted on provisional proposals for reform. They will publish final recommendations by the summer, which the Government will carefully consider. Subject to final proposals, the Government may be minded to take these forward into legislation, where necessary and appropriate to do so. When considering potential reforms, we will guarantee strong protections for citizens from harm while upholding the right to freedom of expression.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

 

 

Correcting people just winds them up...

Researchers find that challenging 'fake news' tends to only encourage people to share it more aggressively


Link Here29th May 2021
A research paper suggests that correcting 'fake news' can spur people to share it more widely.

Perverse Downstream Consequences of Debunking: Being Corrected by Another User for Posting False Political News Increases Subsequent Sharing of Low Quality, Partisan, and Toxic Content in a Twitter Field Experiment

By Mohsen Mosleh, Cameron Martel, Dean Eckles, David Rand

Abstract

A prominent approach to combating online misinformation is to debunk false content. Here we investigate downstream consequences of social corrections on users' subsequent sharing of other content. Being corrected might make users more attentive to accuracy, thus improving their subsequent sharing. Alternatively, corrections might not improve subsequent sharing - or even backfire - by making users feel defensive, or by shifting their attention away from accuracy (e.g., towards various social factors). We identified N=2,000 users who shared false political news on Twitter, and replied to their false tweets with links to fact-checking websites. We find causal evidence that being corrected decreases the quality, and increases the partisan slant and language toxicity, of the users' subsequent retweets (but has no significant effect on primary tweets). This suggests that being publicly corrected by another user shifts one's attention away from accuracy - presenting an important challenge for social correction approaches.

 

 

Offsite Article: OnlyFans pulled up by the BBC when youngsters fool age verification...


Link Here29th May 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
Asking the interesting question for future age verification laws. In today's blame society who has to carry the can when people inevitably find ways to circumvent the system. Is it the user, the website, or the age verification service?

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: Social media injustice and fake accusations...


Link Here 29th May 2021
So will social media apologise to the people it falsely labelled as conspiracy theory cranks?

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

Updated: Censored comments...

Comments about the UK Government's new Internet Censorship Bill


Link Here26th May 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media

Comment: Disastrous

11th May 2021. See article from bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

Mark Johnson, Legal and Policy Officer at Big Brother Watch said:

The Online Safety Bill introduces state-backed censorship and monitoring on a scale never seen before in a liberal democracy.

This Bill is disastrous for privacy rights and free expression online. The Government is clamping down on vague categories of lawful speech. This could easily result in the silencing of marginalised voices and unpopular views.

Parliament should remove lawful content from the scope of this Bill altogether and refocus on real policing rather than speech-policing.

Offsite Comment: Online safety bill: a messy new minefield in the culture wars

13th May 2021. See article from theguardian.com by Alex Hern

The message of the bill is simple: take down exactly the content the government wants taken down, and no more. Guess wrong and you could face swingeing fines. Keep guessing wrong and your senior managers could even go to jail.

Content moderation is a hard job, and it's about to get harder.

Offsite Comment: Harm Version 3.0

15th May 2021. See article from cyberleagle.com by Graham Smith

Two years on from the April 2019 Online Harms White Paper, the government has published its draft Online Safety Bill. It is a hefty beast: 133 pages and 141 sections. It raises a slew of questions, not least around press and journalistic material and the newly-coined content of democratic importance. Also, for the first time, the draft Bill spells out how the duty of care regime would apply to search engines, not just to user generated content sharing service providers.

This post offers first impressions of a central issue that started to take final shape in the government's December 2020 Full Response to consultation: the apparent conflict between imposing content monitoring and removal obligations on the one hand, and the government's oft-repeated commitment to freedom of expression on the other - now translated into express duties on service providers.

The draft Bill represents the government's third attempt at defining harm (if we include the White Paper, which set no limit). The scope of harm proposed in its second version (the Full Response) has now been significantly widened.

See article from cyberleagle.com

Offsite Comment: The unstoppable march of state censorship

17th May 2021. See article from spiked-online.com

Vaguely worded hate-speech laws can end up criminalising almost any opinion.

 

Offsite Comment: Drowning internet services in red tape

 18th May 2021. See article from techmonitor.ai by Laurie Clarke

The UK government has unveiled sprawling new legislation that takes aim at online speech on internet services 203 stretching from illegal to legal yet harmful content. The wide-ranging nature of the proposals could leave internet businesses large and small facing a huge bureaucratic burden, and render the bill impractical to implement.

 

 

Offsite Comment: UK online safety bill raises censorship concerns and questions on future of encryption

24th May 2021. See article from cpj.org

 

 

 

Offsite Comment: Why the online safety bill threatens our civil liberties

26th May 2021. See article from politics.co.uk by Heather Burns

With the recent publication of the draft online safety bill, the UK government has succeeded in uniting the British population in a way not seen since the weekly clap for the NHS. This time, however, no one is applauding. After two years of dangled promises, the government's roadmap to making the UK the safest place in the world to be online sets up a sweeping eradication of our personal privacy, our data security, and our civil liberties.

 

 

Every internet moment scrutinised...

European Court of Human Rights finds that GCHQ's mass snooping violates right to privacy


Link Here24th May 2021
Full story: Snooper's Charter Plus...2015 Cameron government expands the Snooper's Charter
GCHQ's methods for mass snooping on online communications violated the right to privacy and the regime for collection of data was not in accordance with the law, the grand chamber of the European court of human rights has ruled.

It also found the bulk interception regime contained insufficient protections for confidential journalistic material but said the decision to operate a bulk interception regime did not of itself violate the European convention on human rights.

The chamber also concluded that GCHQ's regime for sharing sensitive digital intelligence with foreign governments was not illegal.

The judgment is the culmination of a legal challenge to GCHQ's bulk interception of online communications begun in 2013 by Big Brother Watch and others after Edward Snowden's whistleblowing revelations.

Three judges dissenting from the majority position quoted from Orwell in their statement:

There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You have to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised.

Comment: ECHR's Judgment on UK Govt's Mass Surveillance Program

24th May 2021. See article from openrightsgroup.org

Responding to the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the UK's RIPA regime for bulk surveillance, Jim Killock, the Executive Director of the Open Rights Group and one of the organisations challenging the UK's activities before the European Court of Human Rights, said:

The Court has recognised that Bulk Interception is an especially intrusive power, and that 'end-to-end safeguards' are needed to ensure abuse does not occur.

The court has show that the UK Government's legal framework was weak and inadequate when we took them to court with Big Brother Watch and Constanze Kurz in 2013.

The court has set out clear criteria for assessing future bulk interception regimes, but we believe these will need to be developed into harder red lines in future judgments, if bulk interception is not to be abused.

As the court sets out, bulk interception powers are a great power, secretive in nature, and hard to keep in check. We are far from confident that today's bulk interception is sufficiently safeguarded, while the technical capacities continue to deepen. GCHQ continues to share technology platforms and raw data with the USA.

This judgment is an important step on a long journey.

 

 

Twitter's political censorship doesn't go down well in India...

India harasses Twitter after tweets by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party were labelled as 'manipulated media'


Link Here 24th May 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
A police team from the Special Cell, an elite branch in charge of investigating terrorism and organized crime in New Delhi, descended on Twitter's offices in the city to serve a notice to the head of Twitter in India. Police also attempted to enter a Twitter office in Gurugram, a location that has been permanently closed.

The move came three days after Twitter put a manipulated media label on the tweets of half a dozen members of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, in which they had accused the Indian National Congress, the main opposition party, of scheming to damage Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his handling of the second wave of India's coronavirus pandemic.

In an image the members circulated, they claimed that the Indian National Congress was giving special medical favors to journalists affected by the pandemic among other things. AltNews, an Indian fact-checking website, found that the image was forged. India's IT ministry then sent a letter to the company asking it to remove the labels. Twitter did not.

 

 

ASA role plays the high priestess of holier than thou...

The advert censor bans the interactive game Dream Zone for its politically incorrect jokey sexism


Link Here 21st May 2021

An in-game ad for the online game Dream Zone: Interactive Story , was seen on 4 January 2021 in the online property trading game, Landlord. It featured a cartoon video of a woman being splashed in her face with water by a faulty tap. On-screen text stated Turn it off. She bent down and looked into a cupboard under the sink and saw a leaking pipe. Behind her was a woman wearing a towel about to hand over a mobile phone. Two buttons were shown with the options Help her and Take advantage. A super-imposed cartoon hand selected the Take advantage button. The woman wearing the towel bit her lip and the video shot to the first woman's face. She displayed a startled expression and then smiled. Beneath the video, text stated Play and have fun You choose your destiny.

The app was described by SWAG MASHA in the Apple App store as a series of interactive stories for guys and a thrilling game for men.

A complainant, who believed the ad was sexually suggestive, challenged whether the ad:

  1. was irresponsible and offensive because it objectified women; and

  2. had been irresponsibly targeted.

Reality Games, the publisher of the game app in which the ad appeared, said that since they were notified of the complaint, they had blocked ads for the game Dream Zone: Interactive Story from being served.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

1. Upheld

The ad, which was for a dating and love simulation game for men, featured two women; one looking into a cupboard and the other behind her wearing a towel. Two options appeared on-screen for the woman standing up: to either help her or take advantage of the woman looking into the cupboard. We considered that the option to take advantage had sexual connotations and alluded to non-consensual sexual activity where the woman looking into the cupboard would be unaware of the second character's intentions. We considered that the ad objectified and stereotyped women by presenting them as objects in a scenario designed for the purposes of titillating viewers. Overall, we considered that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and included a gender stereotype in a way that was likely to cause harm. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and breached the Code.

2. Upheld

The ad was for a game that featured adult themes and sexually suggestive content, which was seen in an unrelated online property trading game. We considered that because this specific ad was irresponsible and likely to cause serious and widespread offence it was not suitable to be featured in any game. More generally, we expected Dream Zone to have targeted their ads for adult games to users aged 18 and over by using age-verification measures including interest-based targeting factors that described an adult audience and excluded a child audience. However, the ad was seen in a game that had an age rating of 4+ years and therefore could be downloaded by children. The Dream Zone game had an age rating of 17+ years but did not feature any verification measures that would prevent the game being downloaded by children who had seen the ad.

Furthermore, we considered that those playing an unrelated game would not expect to be served an ad for a dating game which featured adult content. We acknowledged that on receipt of the complaint the publisher of the game in which the ad was seen had taken measures to ensure that the ad would not be shown in the game. Nevertheless, Dream Zone were responsible for ensuring that their ads were correctly targeted and had not done so. We therefore concluded that the ad had been irresponsibly targeted.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Swag Masha LLC to ensure that their ads were socially responsible and did not cause serious or widespread offence by objectifying women. We told them to ensure that they did not present gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm and to ensure that their ads were responsibly targeted.

 

 

Offsite Article: Unsafe legislation...


Link Here21st May 2021
The protections of Australia's online safety bill exclude us sex workers. By Gala Vanting

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

No respect...

Britbox adds a silly trigger warning to Da Ali G Show and Keeping Up Appearances


Link Here20th May 2021
Woke Britbox bosses have added a trigger warning to Sacha Baron Cohen's Da Ali G Show.

The Streaming platform is warning viewers sensitive to racist terms. Viewers are warned episodes contain crude humour, including racist terms which may offend, sexual references and strong language.

The show first aired on Channel 4 in 2000. Cohen won a string of awards playing the wannabe urban rapper and spoof interviewer for several years.

The Sun quotes a TV insider saying:

The warning will be greeted with disbelief by anyone who watched the original series which was almost universally liked.

There were some voices who criticised the show for allowing people to laugh at black, urban street culture, but the majority of viewers thought Ali G was hilarious.

The classic comedy Keeping Up Appearances, which originally ran from 1990 to 1995, has also suffered similar treatment by Britbox.  A trigger warning has been prefixed saying that episodes contain language and attitudes of the era that may offend.

The Sun speculates that the offending lines were about Polish imigrants and phrases such as bent as a £4 note.

Offsite Comment: Is it cos I is racist?

20th May 2021. See article from spiked-online.com

Da Ali G Show, an anti-racist satire, has been slapped with content warnings about its racist content.

 

 

'Google insanity'...

Maybe becomes 'Google struggling with mental wellness issues' according a new PC spell checker to be implemented in Google Docs


Link Here20th May 2021
Google announced during its I/O developer conference, that editing capabilities of Google Docs have been expanded to police text for political incorrectness.

Google Docs will start suggesting changing words like mailman to mail carrier and chairman to chairperson , it has been revealed.

Users will also be prompted to avoid using passive voice or what Google determines to be offensive language.

CEO Sundar Pichai is said to have made implementing PC tenets a priority for the whole of Google.

 

 

Don't dare mention Trump...

Reports suggest that the US is planning to snoop on political views expressed on social media by its own armed forces


Link Here20th May 2021
Joe Biden's government is reportedly planning to reverse its current privacy policy and snoop on members of its own military by monitoring political opinions they express on social media.

In the past, this type of surveillance was not used out of fear that it might infringe on service members' First Amendment rights, but now that the Biden administration is making combating domestic extremism one of its main narratives, that is changing.

According to The Intercept , which said it had access to relevant internal Defense Department documents and spoke to a source with direct knowledge, a pilot program is in the works to continuously screen behavior on social media of the members of the military, looking for any concerning signs, in the context of opinions espousing domestic extremism.

According to the same source, the Pentagon plans to outsource this job to a private surveillance company -- most likely Babel Street -- and thus bypass the First (and Fourth) Amendment.

 

 

Offsite Article: Pole dancing on TikTok and the implied nudity ban...


Link Here 20th May 2021
Full story: TikTok Censorship...Chinese ownership adds to the usual social media censorship
My experience of pole dancing on TikTok in 2021. By Blogger on Pole

See article from bloggeronpole.com

 

 

Censorship bid...

Ebay extends its wide ranging ban on adult products


Link Here17th May 2021
Ebay has amended its censorship policy

Restricted adult items policy

Adult and sexual wellness items must be listed in the correct category and must follow our guidelines.

Most adult items are subject to some form of restriction or prohibition. We'll review the content of the listing description, images, and categories, to determine if an item is allowed.

What is the policy?

Sexually-oriented adult material is not allowed. This includes the following:

  • Adult films and video games with a rating of X, XXX, R18 (the statement appears on the UK site and so presumably refers to the BBFC pornographic rating rather than the Australian general 18 rating), or unrated for an adults-only audience

  • Sexually explicit anime, comics, books, films, animation, manga, hentai, yaoi

  • Adult magazines, nudist publications, or adult anime/manga that include sexually-explicit content, nudity, or sexual stories

    • The following magazines and books can be listed as long as the listing and product don't contain nude images or explicit content: Playboy, Playgirl, Mayfair, and Penthouse

  • Listings containing nudity (other than nude art)

    • eBay defines nudity as male/female genitalia, anus, or female breasts where the areola or nipple is visible

Sex toys and sex accessories can be listed in the Health & Beauty > Health Care > Sexual Wellness categories, and must follow these guidelines:

  • Sellers must be pre-approved.

  • Items must be new and in the original packaging

  • Listings must not offer international postage

  • Listings must not include images of nudity or sexual content

Nude art listings must include the item specifics attribute Subject: Nudes , and can only be listed in the Art categories, or the following Collectibles categories:

  • Photographs > Contemporary (1991-Now)

  • Photographs > Modern (1940-1990)

Activity that doesn't follow eBay policy could result in a range of actions including for example: administratively ending or cancelling listings, hiding or demoting all listings from search results, lowering seller rating, buying or selling restrictions, and account suspension. All fees paid or payable in relation to listings or accounts on which we take any action will not be refunded or otherwise credited to your account.

Why does eBay have this policy?

We want to make adult items available to those who wish to purchase them and can do so legally, while preventing those who do not wish to view or purchase these items from easily accessing them.

 

 

Throttled into submission...

Twitter censors enough posts to keep Russia's internet censor happy


Link Here17th May 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia 2020s...Russia and its repressive state control of media
Russia's internet censor Roskomnadzor has decided against completely blocking Twitter. The censor reports that after 2 months of having Twitter traffic throttled, Twitter has taken down 91% of posts notified by Roskomnadzor.

Roskomnadzor said that Twitter traffic will no longer be slowed down on fixed networks and associated Wi-Fi networks. The social network's traffic will still be throttled on mobile devices, however.

In addition, RKN said it has identified illegal materials posted on other platforms, including Facebook and YouTube. In the event that these platforms don't take the appropriate measures, similar sanctions may be applied to them, the censorship agency warned.

 

 

Core censorship...

Parler social media app returns to Apple's app store after promising to censor anything that offends Apple


Link Here17th May 2021
Full story: Parler Censporship...An alt-right version of Twitter
The right leaning Parler social media app has returned to the iOS App Store after months of negotiation with Apple, with a solution including censoring any content that offends Apple's morality.

Parler's interim CEO, Mark Meckler, said that the company has worked to address Apple's concerns without compromising our core mission. He said:

Anything allowed on the Parler network but not in the iOS app will remain accessible through our web-based and Android versions. This is a win-win for Parler, its users, and free speech.

Parler positions itself as a free speech-focused alternative to Twitter or other social media sites. The platform was banned by Apple, Google, and other web platforms after they all decided to censor Donald Trump.

 

 

Extract: Driving towards international ID cards...

American Civil Liberties Union speaks of plans for an international digital ID card


Link Here17th May 2021
Full story: Internet ID in USA...Snooping made easy

A secretive international standards committee (which won't reveal its members but which appears to be made up exclusively of corporate and government representatives) is currently putting the finishing touches on a proposed interoperable global standard for what it calls mobile driver's licenses, or mDLs. The association representing U.S. DMVs is moving to implement that standard, as are federal agencies such as DHS and the TSA.

But the licenses we would get under this standard are not built to include airtight privacy protections using the latest cryptographic techniques. They are not built primarily to give individuals greater control over their information, but to advance the interests of major companies and government agencies in inescapably binding people to identity documents so they can be definitively identified online and off. It's vital that we only accept a system with the strongest possible privacy protections, given all the potential ways that mDLs could expand.

 

 

Sales pitch...

BBFC seems to be pushing for its ratings to be somehow mandatory for UK streaming services


Link Here13th May 2021

A new survey by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has shown that parents expect British age ratings to be displayed on streaming services accessible by UK families. Many are concerned and angry at the prospect of platforms displaying generic global or European ratings which do not reflect their expectations of how issues including sex, drug misuse, eating disorders, sexual violence and injury detail should be classified.

The research, conducted by YouGov, (presumably commissioned by the BBFC) shows that 82% of parents want BBFC age ratings that reflect (the BBFC's view of ) UK sensitivities to be displayed on streaming services. The survey asked about subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Disney+, and excluded TV on-demand services like the BBC iPlayer, All4 or ITV Hub.

Parents were shown five short clips from films, and were asked blind whether they agreed with two alternative age ratings (one assigned by the BBFC and the other by a European regulator) without being told which regulator had assigned the rating. In every case, the overwhelming majority (between 74% and 94%) of British parents agreed with the BBFC rating - and were able to identify the reasons why the BBFC has classified the content more restrictively than the alternative lower European rating, including depictions of eating disorders, sexual violence and drug misuse.

Parents reacted unfavourably at the prospect of platforms applying ratings that do not reflect UK classification standards and therefore potentially allowed children to access age inappropriate content. A majority said they felt concerned (54%), while others felt angry (21%), nervous (16%) and confused (15%).

Parents also want greater consistency online and offline, with 90% saying that they want to see the same age ratings on streaming services that they see in the cinema and on DVD and Blu-ray packaging.

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said:

It's very clear from this research that parents in the UK want BBFC age ratings on streaming services to reflect standards that they know and trust. The UK public without prior knowledge instinctively agreed with the BBFC ratings in our research rather than those of another European regulator - be that because of concerns about sexual violence, content around anorexia or drug misuse. This result is predictable and understandable and reflects the fact BBFC ratings are based on UK public attitudes to harm and offence which inevitably differ to those in other countries. People trust and understand our ratings, which is important for child protection - and for parents' peace of mind. But as cinema, DVD and streaming services increasingly converge it is important that the standards on which ratings are based are applied as consistently and comprehensively online as they are offline.

The research also demonstrated that parents find generic age labels such as caution or guidance confusing and unhelpful when used on subscription streaming services. There was no consensus on what age content labelled guidance was suitable for, with 12% saying over 12s, 13% saying over 15s, 4% saying adults only, and one in ten saying they didn't know. When it came to caution, 20% thought this meant the content was suitable for over 12s, 28% for over 15s, 13% for adults only, and 11% said they didn't know.

There is a growing body of evidence that parents want to see BBFC age ratings online, with previous BBFC research showing that 83% of parents trust BBFC ratings, and 97% of people saying they benefit from age ratings being in place. Nearly nine in ten (88%) parents find BBFC ratings on Netflix useful.

David Austin added:

Parents have told us time and time again that generic age labels on subscription streaming services - like 'caution' and 'guidance' - are just not good enough, and that online ratings must align with the ratings they know and trust in cinemas and on DVD. We are calling on streaming platforms to give their UK customers what they want - BBFC age ratings on all content available. We are ready and willing to work with them.

 

 

Short lived stories...

44 US states call for an end to Instagram's idea to introduce a version for under 13s


Link Here13th May 2021
Full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo sharing website gets heavy on the censorship
44 US states have come out against Instagram's idea for version of the social networking site for under 13s.

In an open letter, the National Association of Attorneys General called on Facebook to abandon plans for an Instagram platform focused on children under the age of 13. The letter is signed by 44 different state-level attorneys generals. The attourneys said:

It appears that Facebook is not responding to a need, but instead creating one, as this platform appeals primarily to children who otherwise do not or would not have an Instagram account, the letter reads. The attorneys general urge Facebook to abandon its plans to launch this new platform.

While the letter has no formal legal power, it emphasizes the significant legal risk Facebook will face in undertaking the project. In the US, children under 13 are subject to enhanced legal protections under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (or COPPA), which places particularly stringent rules against data collection.

Facebook said it would not sell ads on any Instagram app targeted at young children but did not back off on its interest in developing the app.

 

 

Democracy Abuse...

Facebook censors London mayoral candidate on election day for political reasons


Link Here13th May 2021
Full story: Facebook Censorship since 2020...Left wing bias, prudery and multiple 'mistakes'
Facebook suspended London's mayoral candidate David Kurten on the day of election. Kurten and his Heritage Party have been strong opponents of lockdown measures, and have challenged the idea of vaccine passports.

On the day of the mayoral and assembly elections in London, Facebook suspended Kurten for seven days. The social media network cited five posts dating back to October 2020. One of 2 posts on election day expressed Kurten and his party's strong opposition to the vaccine passport and lockdowns. The other one claimed that vaccine manufacturers are not liable for the COVID-19 jabs.

He took to Twitter to blast Facebook for the 7-day suspension, calling it an outrage and an attack on free speech and democracy.

 

 

Unsafe legislation...

The Government publishes its draft Internet Censorship Bill


Link Here11th May 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media

New internet laws will be published today in the draft Online Safety Bill to protect children online and tackle some of the worst abuses on social media, including racist hate crimes.

Ministers have added landmark new measures to the Bill to safeguard freedom of expression and democracy, ensuring necessary online protections do not lead to unnecessary censorship.

The draft Bill marks a milestone in the Government's fight to make the internet safe. Despite the fact that we are now using the internet more than ever, over three quarters of UK adults are concerned about going online, and fewer parents feel the benefits outweigh the risks of their children being online -- falling from 65 per cent in 2015 to 50 per cent in 2019.

The draft Bill includes changes to put an end to harmful practices, while ushering in a new era of accountability and protections for democratic debate, including:

  • New additions to strengthen people's rights to express themselves freely online, while protecting journalism and democratic political debate in the UK.

  • Further provisions to tackle prolific online scams such as romance fraud, which have seen people manipulated into sending money to fake identities on dating apps.

  • Social media sites, websites, apps and other services hosting user-generated content or allowing people to talk to others online must remove and limit the spread of illegal and harmful content such as child sexual abuse, terrorist material and suicide content.

  • Ofcom will be given the power to fine companies failing in a new duty of care up to £18 million or ten per cent of annual global turnover, whichever is higher, and have the power to block access to sites.

  • A new criminal offence for senior managers has been included as a deferred power. This could be introduced at a later date if tech firms don't step up their efforts to improve safety.

The draft Bill will be scrutinised by a joint committee of MPs before a final version is formally introduced to Parliament.

The following elements of the Bill aim to create the most progressive, fair and accountable system in the world. This comes only weeks after a boycott of social media by sports professionals and governing bodies in protest at the racist abuse of footballers online, while at the same time concerns continue to be raised at social media platforms arbitrarily removing content and blocking users.

Duty of care

In line with the government's response to the Online Harms White Paper , all companies in scope will have a duty of care towards their users so that what is unacceptable offline will also be unacceptable online.

They will need to consider the risks their sites may pose to the youngest and most vulnerable people and act to protect children from inappropriate content and harmful activity.

They will need to take robust action to tackle illegal abuse, including swift and effective action against hate crimes, harassment and threats directed at individuals and keep their promises to users about their standards.

The largest and most popular social media sites (Category 1 services) will need to act on content that is lawful but still harmful such as abuse that falls below the threshold of a criminal offence, encouragement of self-harm and mis/disinformation. Category 1 platforms will need to state explicitly in their terms and conditions how they will address these legal harms and Ofcom will hold them to account.

The draft Bill contains reserved powers for Ofcom to pursue criminal action against named senior managers whose companies do not comply with Ofcom's requests for information. These will be introduced if tech companies fail to live up to their new responsibilities. A review will take place at least two years after the new regulatory regime is fully operational.

The final legislation, when introduced to Parliament, will contain provisions that require companies to report child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) content identified on their services. This will ensure companies provide law enforcement with the high-quality information they need to safeguard victims and investigate offenders.

Freedom of expression

The Bill will ensure people in the UK can express themselves freely online and participate in pluralistic and robust debate.

All in-scope companies will need to consider and put in place safeguards for freedom of expression when fulfilling their duties. These safeguards will be set out by Ofcom in codes of practice but, for example, might include having human moderators take decisions in complex cases where context is important.

People using their services will need to have access to effective routes of appeal for content removed without good reason and companies must reinstate that content if it has been removed unfairly. Users will also be able to appeal to Ofcom and these complaints will form an essential part of Ofcom's horizon-scanning, research and enforcement activity.

Category 1 services will have additional duties. They will need to conduct and publish up-to-date assessments of their impact on freedom of expression and demonstrate they have taken steps to mitigate any adverse effects.

These measures remove the risk that online companies adopt restrictive measures or over-remove content in their efforts to meet their new online safety duties. An example of this could be AI moderation technologies falsely flagging innocuous content as harmful, such as satire.

Democratic content

Ministers have added new and specific duties to the Bill for Category 1 services to protect content defined as 'democratically important'. This will include content promoting or opposing government policy or a political party ahead of a vote in Parliament, election or referendum, or campaigning on a live political issue.

Companies will also be forbidden from discriminating against particular political viewpoints and will need to apply protections equally to a range of political opinions, no matter their affiliation. Policies to protect such content will need to be set out in clear and accessible terms and conditions and firms will need to stick to them or face enforcement action from Ofcom.

When moderating content, companies will need to take into account the political context around why the content is being shared and give it a high level of protection if it is democratically important.

For example, a major social media company may choose to prohibit all deadly or graphic violence. A campaign group could release violent footage to raise awareness about violence against a specific group. Given its importance to democratic debate, the company might choose to keep that content up, subject to warnings, but it would need to be upfront about the policy and ensure it is applied consistently.

Journalistic content

Content on news publishers' websites is not in scope. This includes both their own articles and user comments on these articles.

Articles by recognised news publishers shared on in-scope services will be exempted and Category 1 companies will now have a statutory duty to safeguard UK users' access to journalistic content shared on their platforms.

This means they will have to consider the importance of journalism when undertaking content moderation, have a fast-track appeals process for journalists' removed content, and will be held to account by Ofcom for the arbitrary removal of journalistic content. Citizen journalists' content will have the same protections as professional journalists' content.

Online fraud

Measures to tackle user-generated fraud will be included in the Bill. It will mean online companies will, for the first time, have to take responsibility for tackling fraudulent user-generated content, such as posts on social media, on their platforms. This includes romance scams and fake investment opportunities posted by users on Facebook groups or sent via Snapchat.

Romance fraud occurs when a victim is tricked into thinking that they are striking up a relationship with someone, often through an online dating website or app, when in fact this is a fraudster who will seek money or personal information.

Analysis by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau found in 2019/20 there were 5,727 instances of romance fraud in the UK (up 18 per cent year on year). Losses totalled more than £60 million.

Fraud via advertising, emails or cloned websites will not be in scope because the Bill focuses on harm committed through user-generated content.

The Government is working closely with industry, regulators and consumer groups to consider additional legislative and non-legislative solutions. The Home Office will publish a Fraud Action Plan after the 2021 spending review and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will consult on online advertising, including the role it can play in enabling online fraud, later this year.

 

 

Comment: Vague rules defined so that the censors can then arbitrarily dictate what we are allowed to say...

Ofcom's vague censorship rules will encroach on free speech says the National Secular Society


Link Here9th May 2021
Full story: Online Harms White Paper...UK Government seeks to censor social media

Proposed rules which would protect users from material likely to incite hatred on video sharing platforms (VSPs) risk unduly encroaching on freedom of expression, the National Secular Society has said.

The internet censor Ofcom is currently consulting on draft guidance for VSP providers, which is designed to protect consumers from viewing harmful content.

The NSS has responded to the consultation to express concern that Ofcom has not ensured adequate protection for freedom of expression.

The guidance says providers must ensure appropriate measures are in place to protect children from material that might impair their development; and to protect the public from criminal content and material likely to incite hatred.

The NSS said it was reasonable for Ofcom to require VSPs to moderate restricted material, but warned that rules around material likely to incite hatred were too vague.

The guidance requires moderation of material likely to incite hatred on various grounds, including religion or belief and political or any other opinion. It only defines incitement to hatred by saying it should be understood as having its usual meaning in everyday language.

The NSS said hatred was a largely subjective term and different individuals would have different interpretations of its meaning. The society raised concerns that the guidance would enable religious censorship, and highlighted examples of religious groups attempting to use claims of inciting hatred to censor critical or satirical material .

The NSS also said platforms would be incentivised to err on the side of censorship. The guidance includes significant penalties for permitting content that violates the rules, while there are no equivalent penalties for failing to uphold freedom of expression.

The NSS also said the guidance could unreasonably curb religious groups' freedom of expression.

The society said the guidance should include clearer instruction on VSPs' duty to have due regard for freedom of speech and freedom of religion or belief. It added that it should include more comprehensive explanations about what does not constitute material that is considered likely to incite hatred with regard to religion or belief.

 

 

BBC political bias...

BBC misleadingly describes man criticising the government over failed age verification for porn as a concerned father when in fact he is a religious pastor


Link Here9th May 2021
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust
The BBC published a report advocating government censorship of adult material in the name of preventing access by under 18s.

The BBC highlighted criticism of the government's failed age verification law by a concerned father and a student. The BBC misleadingly failed to mention that the concerned father was also a campaigning clergyman.

The BBC chose to foreground two people for their slanted reporting, one of them a man named Ioannis Dekas, only described as a father of four sons who allegedly became concerned after he found one of his boys had accessed pornography.

The report however, completely neglected to mention the fact that Dekas is a clergyman, which seems material to his participation in her piece. Dekas is listed online as Campus Pastor of Doxa Deo Community Church in London. His Twitter biography reads, Passionate about God, my family, the local Church, worship, music and Chelsea FC.

The BBC reporter also quoted another supposed authority who turns out to be the mouthpiece for a religiously-inspired nonprofit. Vanessa Morse is only identified as the head of the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation. The group is not further characterized by the BBC in any manner that would be relevant to their opinions on the subject. In fact CEASE UK is a religiously-inspired sex work abolitionist group with an avowed mission to eradicate all pornography.

 

 

More BBC political bias...

BBC admits attempting to censor Trump supporting Twitter account by reporting it


Link Here9th May 2021
The BBC has admitted flagging several Twitter accounts posting President Trump's statements. Some would say it is rather weird for a supposedly politically neutral global media house to take it upon itself to flag Twitter accounts for merely sharing what Trump said instead of just reporting the news.

In a recent report, covering the removal of the @DJTDesk account, which claimed to have been posting Trump's statement on behalf of his office, the BBC said that a spokesperson for Twitter said that the account was banned for posting content affiliated with a banned account. However, as noted in BBC's report, Trump adviser Jason Miller told NBC News that the @DJTDesk account was not set up by, or with permission of, anyone affiliated with the former president, meaning that it was just Trump supporters wanting to share what the former President said.

The report further claimed that the BBC had flagged four other accounts posting similar content.

 

 

Streaming repression...

Turkey warns Spotify about hosting podcasts that Turkey does not like


Link Here9th May 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's internet censor has warned online audio streaming giant Spotify to censor its content in line with Turkish legislation or risk critical items being removed or cut.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) said that it will consider removing or cutting all content found inappropriate.

Spotify has gained a wide audience recently as one of the last remaining outlets for free speech in Turkey, especially with its podcasts providing critical reporting and commentary on Turkish domestic politics.

Cathryn Grothe, research associate at Freedom House, commented that the move is part of a long decline in internet freedom, characterized by restrictive regulations such as the social media law, blocked websites, and heavy-handed crackdowns on independent media and journalists. She said:

Streaming services such as Spotify create a unique space where people can express themselves, relate to loved ones and friends over shared music or podcasts, and engage on a range of important issues, including human rights and politics.

 

 

Restricting Facebook...

Given a clear choice, 96% of Apple users opt out of apps being given the ability to snoop on website browsing history


Link Here9th May 2021
Full story: Behavioural Advertising...Serving adverts according to internet snooping
When Apple released iOS 14.5 late last month, it began enforcing a policy called App Tracking Transparency. iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV apps are now required to request users' permission to use techniques like IDFA (ID for Advertisers) to track those users' activity across multiple apps for data collection and ad targeting purposes.

The change met fierce resistance from companies like Facebook, whose revenue streams are built on leveraging users' data to target advertising. Facebook went so far as to take out full-page newspaper ads claiming that the change would not just hurt Facebook but would destroy small businesses around the world.

Nonetheless, Facebook and others have complied with Apple's new rule to avoid being rejected from the iPhone's App Store.

A company called Flurry Analytics, which claims to be used in more than one million mobile apps, has reported that US Apple users agree to be tracked only 4% of the time. The global number is significantly higher at 12%, but that's well below the hopes of advertising companies who were rather hoping that 40% of users would allow snooping.

 

 

Expensive friends...

Uganda's tax on social media fails


Link Here7th May 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Uganda...Banning VPNs and taxing social media
A few years ago African countries dreamt up a new, and quite onerous, tax on viewing blogs and social media.  The government considered it a good way to raise money -- and to muzzle inconvenient voices.

A year later, Techdirt was reporting on a sudden boom in VPN use among Ugandans keen to avoid the tax. The authorities turned to pressuring ISPs to ban the use of VPNs.

Inevitably after three years, the tax has failed. It has neither helped the government raise significant revenue nor curtailed lively online discussions by young Ugandans.

So the Ugandan government has come up with a pan B. On April 29, the government replaced the social media tax with a 12% excise duty on internet data that will likely hike the cost of internet access in the landlocked country that already has some of the highest and most unaffordable internet costs in the region.

 

 

An undemocratic lack of oversight...

Facebook's continuing censorship of Donald Trump's account confirmed by the Oversight Board


Link Here6th May 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
Facebook's ban of Donald Trump has been upheld by Facebook's Oversight Board.

Though the board did criticise the permanent nature of the ban as beyond the scope of Facebook's normal penalties.  The board said the initial decision to permanently suspend Trump was indeterminate and standardless, and that the correct response should be consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform. Facebook must respond within six months, it said.

The former president was banned from both sites in January following the Capitol Hill riots.

Meanwhile Trump has launched a new website to update supporters with his thoughts. In a post published following the Facebook ruling, he claimed there had been fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election, and encouraged his supporters to never give up. What did the Board say?

The Oversight Board criticised Facebook for offloading the question of political censorship to the board. The Board argued that Facebook had essentially issued a vague, standardless penalty and then [referred] this case to the Board to resolve. It said doing so meant Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities - and sent the decision back to Facebook.

 

 

No privacy in the EU...

The EU is to re-enable companies to snoop into emails in the name of scanning for child abuse


Link Here6th May 2021
Full story: Mass snooping in the EU...The EU calls for member states to implement internet snooping with response to police requests in 6 hours

The EU Commission has welcomed a political agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on the proposed interim legislation regarding the detection of child sexual abuse online by communications services. This legal adjustment was urgently needed to give certain online communications services such as webmail and messaging services legal certainty in their voluntary measures to detect and report child sexual abuse online and to remove child sexual abuse material, as such services fell under the e-Privacy Directive as of 21 December 2020. The new Regulation will provide guarantees to safeguard privacy and protection of personal data. The voluntary measures play an important role in enabling the identification and rescue of victims and reducing the further dissemination of child sexual abuse material, and contribute to the identification and investigation of offenders as well as the prevention of offences.

The rules agreed today have a narrow scope: they will create a temporary and strictly limited derogation concerning the voluntary detection activities of the online communication services. The main elements of today's agreement include:

  • A definition of child sexual abuse online in line with the existing EU rules on child sexual abuse , including content constituting child sexual abuse material and solicitation of children.

  • Complaint mechanisms so that content that has been removed erroneously can be reinstated as soon as possible.

  • Human oversight for any processing of personal data including, where necessary, human confirmation before reporting to law enforcement authorities or organisations acting in the public interest.

  • Guarantees to protect privacy : Service providers will have to ensure that the technologies they use to detect child sexual abuse online are the least privacy-intrusive.

  • Data protection safeguards: Service providers will have to consult with data protection authorities on their processing to detect and report child sexual abuse online and remove child sexual abuse material. The European Data Protection Board will also be asked to publish guidelines to assist the relevant authorities in assessing compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation of the processing in scope of the agreed Regulation.

  • The Commission will have to establish a public register of organisations acting in the public interest against child sexual abuse, with which providers of online communications services can share personal data resulting from the voluntary measures.

  • Transparency and accountability to be supported by annual transparency reports.

  • A 3-year limit on the application of the Regulation, allowing time for the adoption of long-term legislation in this area.

The Regulation must now be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.

This interim Regulation will cease to apply at the latest 3 years from its application. As announced in the EU Strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse and in the Commission Work Programme for 2021 , the Commission will propose later this year new comprehensive legislation with detailed safeguards to fight child sexual abuse online and offline. These long-term rules will be intended to replace the interim legislation agreed today.

 

 

Stop Spotify Surveillance...

Spotify takes out a patent to use AI to analyse snooping data from users' microphones


Link Here6th May 2021
The music streaming service Spotify has files a disgraceful patent to use artificial intelligence for emotional surveillance and manipulation, spying on our conversations and using the sound of our voices to target you with ads and music to keep you on the platform.

Imagine telling a friend that you're feeling depressed and having Spotify hear that and algorithmically recommend music that matches your mood to keep you depressed and listening to the music they want you to hear.

Digital rights organization Access Now sent a letter to Spotify explaining that such a practice would be deeply invasive and could expose Spotify users to security threats from stalkers or government surveillance. It could also disproportionately harm trans people and be used to emotionally manipulate all of us. Emotion recognition software is largely seen as racist pseudoscience , it's disgusting that Spotify is even considering using such a technology to extract data and profit from music listeners. And it's horrifying to think about what kind of impact this could have on independent artists and creators, when music is promoted based on surveillance rather than artistry.

 

 

Offsite Article: In an age where one can share a year's worth of porn on a single memory stick...


Link Here6th May 2021
Full story: Online Harms White Paper...UK Government seeks to censor social media
German academic publishes a survey confirming that 16 and 17 year olds are keen porn viewers and suggests that they will surely find ways to work around age verification

See article from onlinelibrary.wiley.com

 

 

Opening a book on surveillance...

The US government is considering using 3rd party firms for surveillance of private Facebook groups to work around legal restrictions on snooping


Link Here4th May 2021
Full story: US Internet Snooping Post Snowden...Internet snooping continues in the US
The Biden administration is considering using outside firms to track social media chatter by Americans online, an effort that would expand the government's ability to gather intelligence but could draw criticism over surveillance of US citizens.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is legally limited in how it can monitor citizens online without justification and is banned from activities like assuming false identities to gain access to private messaging apps used by extremist groups. Instead, federal authorities can only browse through unprotected information on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and other open online platforms. A source familiar with the effort said it is not about decrypting data but rather using outside entities who can legally access these private groups to gather large amounts of information that could help DHS identify key narratives as they emerge.

The plan being discussed inside DHS, according to multiple sources, would, in effect, allow the department to circumvent those limits. The DHS has denied the claim saying it is not partnering with private firms to surveil suspected domestic terrorists online and it is blatantly false to suggest that the department is using outside firms to circumvent its legal limits.

However the DHS statement  said that the department has considered partnering with research firms who have more visibility in this space, though it has not done so to this point. If that ultimately happens, DHS could produce information that would likely be beneficial to both it and the FBI, which can't monitor US citizens in this way without first getting a warrant or having the pretext of an ongoing investigation.

 

 

European businesses suffer another attack from the EU...

The EU demands that internet platforms take down terrorist content with an hour of being told


Link Here 2nd May 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
The EU has dreamed up another impossible to comply with piece of internet legislation that places onerous, if not impossible, requirements on small internet businesses that will have to relocate user forums and the likes onto the platforms of the US internet giants that are able to deal with the ludicrously short timescales demanded by the EU.

The EU describes its latest attack on business in a press release:

A new law to address the dissemination of terrorist content online was approved by the EU Parliament:

The new regulation will target content such as texts, images, sound recordings or videos, including live transmissions, that incite, solicit or contribute to terrorist offences, provide instructions for such offences or solicit people to participate in a terrorist group. In line with the definitions of offences included in the Directive on combating terrorism , it will also cover material that provides guidance on how to make and use explosives, firearms and other weapons for terrorist purposes.

Terrorist content must be removed within one hour

Hosting service providers will have to remove or disable access to flagged terrorist content in all member states within one hour of receiving a removal order from the competent authority. Member states will adopt rules on penalties, the degree of which will take into account the nature of the breach and the size of company responsible.

Protection of educational, artistic, research and journalistic material

Content uploaded for educational, journalistic, artistic or research purposes, or used for awareness-raising purposes, will not be considered terrorist content under these new rules.

No general obligation to monitor or filter content

Internet platforms will not have a general obligation to monitor or filter content. However, when competent national authorities have established a hosting service provider is exposed to terrorist content, the company will have to take specific measures to prevent its propagation. It will then be up to the service provider to decide what specific measures to take to prevent this from happening, and there will be no obligation to use automated tools. Companies should publish annual transparency reports on what action they have taken to stop the dissemination of terrorist content.

Next steps

The Regulation will enter into force on the twentieth day following publication in the Official Journal. It will start applying 12 months after its entry into force.

 

 

21st Century Free Speech Act,...

The latest US move on legislation for internet cenorship


Link Here2nd May 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
US Senator Bill Hagerty proposes bill to make platforms with over 100 million users common carriers and so end their powers to censor speech on grounds of wrong think political opinion.

Hagerty's bill draws from a recommendation by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas , who said the censorship on Big Tech platforms could be ended if they were treated as common carriers.

In an article published by the Wall Street Journal, Hagerty argued that, like phone networks and trains, online platforms are essential to everyday goings-on, therefore, should be treated as common carriers, which are subject to special regulations, including a general requirement to serve all comers without discrimination.

The bill, called the 21st Century Free Speech Act , will apply to online platforms that have more than 100 million monthly active users. It would remove the protections online platforms enjoy under Section 230, which allows platforms to avoid liability for the content of their users.

For platforms to continue being family-friendly, some content moderation would be allowed. Online platforms would also have to make public their content moderation techniques. Additionally, users would have a private right action against tech corporations, so that they would be able to sue if they feel a company has unfairly censored them.

 

 

Offsite Article: Unappealing censorship...


Link Here2nd May 2021
Full story: Facebook Censorship since 2020...Left wing bias, prudery and multiple 'mistakes'
Facebook's Oversight Board overturns Facebook decision to censor Global Punjab TV and criticises a lack of human interaction to deal with an appeal

See article from oversightboard.com


 2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   2015   2016   2017   2018   2019   2020   2021   Latest 
Jan   Feb   Mar   April   May    


 


 
TV  

Movies

Games

Internet
 
Advertising

Technology

Gambling

Food+Drink
Books

Music

Art

Stage

melonfarmers icon

Home

Top

Index

Links

Search
 

UK

World

Media

Liberty

Info
 

Film Index

Film Cuts

Film Shop

Sex News

Sex Sells
 


Adult Store Reviews

Adult DVD & VoD

Adult Online Stores

New Releases/Offers

Latest Reviews

FAQ: Porn Legality
 

Sex Shops List

Lap Dancing List

Satellite X List

Sex Machines List

John Thomas Toys