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Dragonfly Eyes...

China demands cuts to translated Chinese novel being published in German


Link Here25th October 2020
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
Dragonfly Eyes is a novel written by Cao Wenxuan, a well-known Chinese author of children's and young adult books. The book was licensed for translation into German, but the original Chinese publisher was not happy with the translation and is demanding small cuts and edits to show Chinese characters in the book in a better light.

The Chinese publisher told Nora Frisch, the German publisher of the translation, to take the book off the market pending edits.

Dragonfly Eyes tells the story of a French woman married to a Shanghai entrepreneur. During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the woman - by then a grandmother -- is accused of being a spy. She is captured by the Red Guards paramilitary movement, who shave off her hair and parade her through the streets. When infighting breaks out between various factions, she is able to escape.

The corrections which the Chinese publisher demanded from Frisch concerned a few passages in the last chapter. In the original version, the French woman asks one of the Red Guards, an 18-year-old girl, to lend her a scarf so she can cover her head. In the revised version, it's the girl who offers the scarf to the old woman.

As Chinese authorities have begun paying more attention to how China is perceived abroad in recent years, censorship has increased. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that he expects Chinese media and publishers to contribute to the country's soft power by telling China's story well.

The impact of this policy recently became apparent in Germany, when Thalia, a large chain of bookstores, suddenly designated an unusual amount of shelf space to Chinese literature in some of its stores. Clients quickly noticed that the shelves lacked any literature critical of the Communist Party. Instead, speeches by Xi Jinping were front and center.

Thalia later admitted that the display had been curated by China Book Trading, a German subsidiary of China International Publishing Group, which is owned by the ruling Communist Party.

 

 

Filtering out unwanted laws...

Utah State lawmakers abandon the idea of pre-loading porn blocking software on computers and phones


Link Here24th October 2020
Full story: US politicans and porn harms...US states claim porn to be a public health hazard
Moralist campaigners in the US have been pushing for computers and smart phones to be pre-loaded before sale with unspecified porn blocking software that can only be removed once users pay an unblocking fee.

But the campaigners haven't really done much to specify how this idea could be implemented in practice. Now the proposal introduced by representative Susan Pulsipher has run into a wall of dissent in the Utah legislature at an interim committee hearing, and the idea was rejected without a vote.

Pulsipher said the goal of her effort was to create another wall of defense to help protect children from the damaging impact of pornography and empower parents and legal guardians to limit a minor's exposure to such online harmful material.

But committee members balked at Pulsipher's approach, noting that it would be extremely difficult to identify which entity in the consumer electronics supply chain should be held liable for ensuring that software was activated.

Senator Curt Bramble, R-Provo, pointed out that Pulsipher's proposal failed to identify whether the responsible party was the manufacturer, the company that distributed the product, or the store or reseller that sold the product to the consumer.

Pulsipher said she appreciated the opportunity to field the concerns of committee members and promised to work on revising the bill in time for further consideration in the next interim session. But Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert said he was unlikely to end up a supporter of the effort, regardless of what changes Pulsipher came back with.

 

 

The e-Commerce Directive...

The EU's next round of strangulation of European internet businesses via red tape and censorship


Link Here23rd October 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

The European Union has made the first step towards a significant overhaul of its core platform regulation, the e-Commerce Directive .

In order to inspire the European Commission, which is currently preparing a proposal for a Digital Services Act Package , the EU Parliament has voted on three related Reports ( IMCO , JURI , and LIBE reports), which address the legal responsibilities of platforms regarding user content, include measures to keep users safe online, and set out special rules for very large platforms that dominate users' lives.

Clear EFF's Footprint

Ahead of the votes, together with our allies , we argued to preserve what works for a free Internet and innovation, such as to retain the E-Commerce directive's approach of limiting platforms' liability over user content and banning Member States from imposing obligations to track and monitor users' content. We also stressed that it is time to fix what is broken: to imagine a version of the Internet where users have a right to remain anonymous, enjoy substantial procedural rights in the context of content moderation, can have more control over how they interact with content, and have a true choice over the services they use through interoperability obligations .

It's a great first step in the right direction that all three EU Parliament reports have considered EFF suggestions. There is an overall agreement that platform intermediaries have a pivotal role to play in ensuring the availability of content and the development of the Internet. Platforms should not be held responsible for ideas, images, videos, or speech that users post or share online. They should not be forced to monitor and censor users' content and communication--for example, using upload filters. The Reports also makes a strong call to preserve users' privacy online and to address the problem of targeted advertising. Another important aspect of what made the E-Commerce Directive a success is the "country or origin" principle. It states that within the European Union, companies must adhere to the law of their domicile rather than that of the recipient of the service. There is no appetite from the side of the Parliament to change this principle.

Even better, the reports echo EFF's call to stop ignoring the walled gardens big platforms have become. Large Internet companies should no longer nudge users to stay on a platform that disregards their privacy or jeopardizes their security, but enable users to communicate with friends across platform boundaries. Unfair trading, preferential display of platforms' own downstream services and transparency of how users' data are collected and shared: the EU Parliament seeks to tackle these and other issues that have become the new "normal" for users when browsing the Internet and communicating with their friends. The reports also echo EFF's concerns about automated content moderation, which is incapable of understanding context. In the future, users should receive meaningful information about algorithmic decision-making and learn if terms of service change. Also, the EU Parliament supports procedural justice for users who see their content removed or their accounts disabled.

Concerns Remain

The focus on fundamental rights protection and user control is a good starting point for the ongoing reform of Internet legislation in Europe. However, there are also a number of pitfalls and risks. There is a suggestion that platforms should report illegal content to enforcement authorities and there are open questions about public electronic identity systems. Also, the general focus of consumer shopping issues, such as liability provision for online marketplaces, may clash with digital rights principles: the Commission itself acknowledged in a recent internal document that "speech can also be reflected in goods, such as books, clothing items or symbols, and restrictive measures on the sale of such artefacts can affect freedom of expression." Then, the general idea to also include digital services providers established outside the EU could turn out to be a problem to the extent that platforms are held responsible to remove illegal content. Recent cases ( Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook ) have demonstrated the perils of worldwide content takedown orders.

It's Your Turn Now @EU_Commission

The EU Commission is expected to present a legislative package on 2 December. During the public consultation process, we urged the Commission to protect freedom of expression and to give control to users rather than the big platforms. We are hopeful that the EU will work on a free and interoperable Internet and not follow the footsteps of harmful Internet bills such as the German law NetzDG or the French Avia Bill, which EFF helped to strike down . It's time to make it right. To preserve what works and to fix what is broken.

 

 

Verified as unsafe...

Australia's eSafety Commissioner notes that strict identity verification for social media users would be impractical


Link Here22nd October 2020
Full story: Age Verification for Porn...Endangering porn users for the sake of the children

Australia's eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant has rejected the practicality of a know your customer-type ID verification requirement for social media companies to ensure the age of their users.

Addressing Senate Inman-Grant said such a regime works in the banking industry as it has been heavily regulated for many years, particularly around anti-money laundering:

It would be very challenging, I would think, for Facebook for example to re-identify -- or identify -- its 2.7 billion users, she said. How do they practically go back and do that and part of this has to do with how the internet is architected.

While she admitted it was not impossible, she said it would create a range of other issues and that removing the ability for anonymity or to use a pseudonym is unlikely to deter cyberbullying and the like. Similarly, she said, if the social media sites were to implement a real names policy, it wouldn't be effective given the way the systems are set up. She added:

I would also suspect there would be huge civil libertarian pushback in the US.

I think there are incremental steps we could make, I think totally getting rid of anonymity or even [the use of] pseudonyms on the internet is going to be a very hard thing to achieve.

I want to be pragmatic here about what's in the realm of the possible, it would be great if everyone had a name tag online so they couldn't do things without [consequence].

 

 

Shared burdens...

Ofcom publishes its censorship guidelines to be applied to UK based video sharing platforms


Link Here21st October 2020
Full story: Online Harms White Paper...UK Government seeks to censor social media
Ofcom has published its burdensome censorship rules that will apply to video sharing platforms that are stupid enough to be based in the UK. In particular the rules are quite vague about age verification requirements for the two adult video sharing sites that remain in the UK. Maybe Ofcom is a bit shy about requiring onerous and unviable red tape of British companies trying to compete with large numbers of foreign companies that operate with a massive commercial advantage of not having age verification.

Ofcom do however note that these censorship rules are a stop gap until a wider scoped 'online harms' censorship regime which will start up in the next couple of years.

Ofcom writes:

Video-sharing platforms (VSPs) are a type of online video service which allows users to upload and share videos with members of the public.

From 1 November 2020, UK-established VSPs will be required to comply with new rules around protecting users from harmful content.

The main purpose of the new regulatory regime is to protect consumers who engage with VSPs from the risk of viewing harmful content. Providers must have appropriate measures in place to protect minors from content which might impair their physical, mental or moral development; and to protect the general public from criminal content and material likely to incite violence or hatred.

Ofcom has published a short guide outlining the new statutory requirements on providers. The guide is intended to assist platforms to determine whether they fall in scope of the new regime and to understand what providers need to do to ensure their services are compliant.

The guide also explains how Ofcom expects to approach its new duties in the period leading up to the publication of further guidance on the risk of harms and appropriate measures, which we will consult on in early 2021.

Ofcom will also be consulting on guidance on scope and jurisdiction later in 2020. VSP providers will be required to notify their services to Ofcom from 6 April 2021 and we expect to have the final guidance in place ahead of this time.

 

 

Offsite Article: Don't let the state tell you how to spend your money...


Link Here 21st October 2020
Proposals for a monthly cap on gambling are hideously illiberal. By Jon Bryan

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Updated: Anti-democracy...

Thailand's military rulers turn to censorship to counter pro-democracy protests


Link Here20th October 2020
The Prime Minister of Thailand has now banned political gatherings comprising five people or more. He has also banned publishing news or online information that can is deemed to threaten national security.

Starting from the BBC to local Thai television stations, several outlets were blatantly censored during transmission. NHK Premium, a Japanese media outlet, for instance, had to interrupt covering the protests that took place on the night of 14th October. What's more, this act of censorship was committed even before the Prime Minister announced the decree about political gatherings.

BBCWorld's producer, Thanyarat Doksone posted an image of a white screen that showed: Program will resume shortly . Doksone said that their Southeast Asia's correspondent's show covering the protests was also interrupted. Twitter users also pointed out that a Thai cable channel had also stopped showing CNN's coverage of the protests and showed a white screen, which said: Program will resume shortly.

Prime Minister Prayuth said on Friday he would not resign as anti-government protesters continue. Prayuth held a cabinet meeting on Friday morning after tens of thousands of citizens gathered in central Bangkok on Thursday night, calling for the PM's resignation.

The student-led demonstrations began in July, aimed not only at Prayuth, the leader of the 2014 military coup, but King Maha Vajiralongkorn, in the biggest challenge for several years to an establishment that has long been dominated by the army and palace.

 

Update: Telegram set for censorship

20th October 2020. See article from smh.com.au

A top official with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has confirmed reports that the agency had been ordered to block access to the messaging app Telegram.

Suthisak Tantayothin said it was talking with internet service providers about doing so, but the encrypted messaging app favoured by many demonstrators around the world was still available in the country at the time of writing.

Telegram proved very hard to block in Russia as Telegram was hosted by Amazon cloud services and it is difficult to block Amazon hosted websites and apps without blocking all services hosted by Amazon.

 

 

 

Taking the biscuit...

One Million Moms takes issue with woke advertising for Oreos


Link Here20th October 2020
Full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
The Christian moralist campaign group One Million Moms has taken issue with woke advertising for Oreo biscuits. The group writes:

Oreo and parent company, Mondelez International, have begun airing a gay pride commercial which has absolutely nothing to do with selling cookies. Mondelez International is attempting to normalize the LGBTQ lifestyle by using their commercials, such as the most recent Oreo ad featuring a lesbian couple, to brainwash children and adults alike by desensitizing audiences.

The ad has a daughter going home to see her family and brings her lesbian lover with her. The commercial focuses on the mother approving of her daughter's girlfriend, but the father is hesitant and has reservations. He later has a change of heart and even displays his acceptance of her lifestyle by painting his picket fence in rainbow colors to further show his approval. The advertisement ends with: A loving world starts with a loving home. Followed by: Show you're a proud parent #PROUDPARENT. And the final statement: In collaboration with PFLAG. Oreoproudparent.com.

PFLAG is the United States' first and largest organization uniting parents, families, and allies with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. PFLAG National is the national organization, which provides support to the PFLAG network of over 400 local chapters. Founded in New York City, New York, with their headquarters based in Washington, D.C., PFLAG is the most visible group showing support for LGBTQ youth and acceptance of this lifestyle.

When we purchase Mondelez International products then we are helping fund and support PFLAG. In 2011, the popular snack-food company Nabisco became known as Mondelez International. Its most popular brands in the United States are Oreo, belVita, Chips Ahoy!, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Honey Maid, Halls, Philadelphia, Ritz, Sour Patch Kids, Triscuit, Trident gum, and Wheat Thins.

 

 

Offsite Article: I was an ordinary 20-year-old. Now I'm a target of the Chinese state...


Link Here 19th October 2020
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
Australian student Drew Pavlou says he's been assaulted, suspended from university and harassed online for speaking out against the Chinese regime. By Paddy Hannam

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Commented: So many damn censors...

Police harass Darren Grimes over the opinions of an interviewee


Link Here17th October 2020
Scotland Yard are continuing to harass YouTuber Darren Grimes despite the investigation being widely considered as an abuse of free speech.

Politicians and free speech campaigners have questioned the police response to a YouTube video of Grimes interviewing historian David Starkey on racial issues.

During the interview, on Grimes's YouTube channel called Reason, Dr Starkey said slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn't be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there?

It has now emerged that Grimes has been asked to attend a police interview under caution to respond to accusations of stirring up racial hatred.

Sajid Javid and Tim Farron lead backlash against Met Police whilst Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted:

Decisions of the police to investigate particular cases are clearly an operational matter... but as a general principle, it's important the law protects freedom of speech.

Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid wrote on Twitter:

David Starkey's comments were appalling. But, the idea that it's appropriate to go after journalists for the remarks of their interviewees is plainly absurd. For the sake of our cherished free press, I hope the Metropolitan Police reconsider.

Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said:

Grimes is not responsible for Starkey's appalling comments. In a free society, we surely don't do things like this?

The case will be raised at the Commons home affairs committee this week by Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who said Met Commissioner Cressida Dick should be questioned over a vexatious investigation.

Update: Police review

15th October 2020. See article from dailymail.co.uk

Police are set to review a race hate investigation against journalist Darren Grimes and David Starkey to ensure it is proportionate, after the historian made a damn blacks remark during a YouTube interview.

The Metropolitan Police's decision to probe Grimes sparked a freedom of speech backlash from politicians and journalists. In addition to the comments from Priti Patel, Sajid Javid and Tim Farron, Lord Macdonald, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, called the police probe sinister and foolish and described the investigation as a political stunt.

Now Grimes has tweeted saying that the Met Police was reviewing its investigation, and that he would not be interviewed by an officer. He said:

The police have cancelled my interview with them on Friday and announced a 'senior officer has been appointed to conduct a review into the investigation to ensure it remains proportionate. They say they'll update me in due course.

Offsite Comment: The persecution of Darren Grimes

17th October 2020. See article from spiked-online.com by Brendan O'Neill

The police investigation of Darren Grimes for interviewing David Starkey is a disgraceful attack on press freedom.

 

 

Offsite Article: Showcasing Google News...


Link Here17th October 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
Google won't let Australia have a new news service unless it backs off from search engine licensing fees

See article from theregister.com

 

 

Updated: Social media influence...

Facebook and Twitter censors an expose of Hunter Biden seemingly in support of Joe Biden's election campaign


Link Here16th October 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
Facebook and Twitter censored a controversial New York Post article critical of Joe Biden, sparking debate over social media platforms and their role in influencing the US presidential election.

In an unprecedented step against a major news publication, Twitter blocked users from posting links to the Post story or photos from the unconfirmed report. Users attempting to share the story were shown a notice saying:

We can't complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful.

Users clicking or retweeting a link already posted to Twitter are shown a warning the link may be unsafe.

Twitter claimed it was limiting the article's spread due to questions about the origins of the materials included in the article. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, said the company's communication about the decision to limit the article's spread was not great, saying the team should have shared more context publicly.

Facebook, meanwhile, placed restrictions on linking to the article, claiming there were questions about its validity.

The social media censorship drew swift backlash from figures on the political right, who accused Facebook and Twitter of protecting Biden, who is leading Trump in national polls.

Update: Censors caught red handed

16th October 2020. See article from bbc.co.uk

Twitter has updated a censorship policy which led it to block people from sharing a link to a story from the New York Post about Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

The article contained screenshots of emails allegedly sent and received by Hunter Biden, presidential candidate Joe Biden's son. It also contained personal photos of Hunter Biden, allegedly removed from a laptop computer while it was undergoing repairs at a store.

Twitter's Vijaya Gadde has now said posts will be flagged as containing hacked material, rather than blocked. She tweeted:

We tried to find the right balance between people's privacy and the right of free expression, but we can do better.

Empowering people to assess content for themselves was a better alternative for the public.

 

 

Offsite Article: Speak up and make UK data protection stronger...


Link Here 15th October 2020
The Open Rights Group reminds of a government consultation on reworking the EU's GDPR data protection law into post Brexit British law

See article from openrightsgroup.org

 

 

The Chinese Empire...

China censors French Museum over wrong think about Genghis Khan


Link Here14th October 2020
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
A history museum in western France has postponed an exhibition about the Mongol emperor Genghis Khan for three years, citing censorial interference by the Chinese government.

The Château des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes says that it decided to pause the production after Chinese authorities asked that names and terms like "Genghis Khan," "empire," and "Mongol" not be used in the exhibition. The museum also alleges that the Chinese government asked to oversee the exhibition's brochures, legends, and maps.

The museum further detailed that the collaboration was hampered by the interference of the Chinese Bureau of Cultural Heritage, which requested changes that included notably elements of biased rewriting of Mongol culture in favour of a new national narrative.   The museum noted that censorship underscored the hardening ... of the position of the Chinese government against the Mongolian minority.

 

 

Offsite Article: The complex cruelty of comedy...


Link Here13th October 2020
With comedians coming under pressure to only perform ideologically pure material, can comedy and satire survive? By Andrew Doyle

See article from standpointmag.co.uk

 

 

Big guns vs big tech...

EU arms up against US internet giants


Link Here12th October 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
The European Commission is beefing up its weapons to take on Big Tech.

Under Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, the commission is planning to merge two major legislative initiatives on competition into a single text.

One is the so-called New Competition Tool, a market investigation tool that would allow competition enforcers to act more swiftly and forcefully. The other is a part of the Digital Services Act , a new set of rules due to be unveiled in December for companies like Google, Apple and Amazon. Combined, the new powers would be known as the Digital Markets Act.

The act will include a list of do's and don'ts for so-called gatekeeping platforms -- or those who are indispensable for other companies to reach consumers online -- to curb what it sees as anti-competitive behavior.

 

 

Offsite Article: Why has Google censored the Great Barrington Declaration?...


Link Here 12th October 2020
Full story: Coronavirus...Internet censorship and surveillance
Big Tech now treats any opposition to lockdown as misinformation -- even if it's from eminent scientists. By Fraser Myers

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Keyword fishing...


Link Here11th October 2020
Google is identifying people to the police who search for information relating to a crime

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: Challenging UK state snooping...


Link Here11th October 2020
The CJEU has ruled to prevent national legislation from ordering telecommunication companies to transfer data in a general and indiscriminate manner to security agencies, even for purposes of national security

See article from ukhumanrightsblog.com

 

 

Diary: Unfurloughed...

Monday 5th October Channel 4's Adult Material programme


Link Here10th October 2020
A four-part TV series set inside the British porn industry is now expected to see its premiere in October.

Adult Material, had originally been set to debut on Britain's commercial Channel 4 network in March. However it seems that viewers at that time were more interested in watching coronavirus news than late night erotic fare, so the programme was postponed.

The series stars British actress Hayley Squires as Jolene Dollar, who is a mother of three and seasoned pro in the sex movie industry.

According to The Sun , the series reveals that due to an abundance of free sex content now found on the internet, the creators of the films need to deliver increasingly extreme images to persuade people to pay. And Adult Material does not shy away from depicting such graphic images.

Adult Material begins Monday 5th October at 10pm on Channel 4.



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