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UK Internet Censorship


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Offsite Article: Government GitHub...


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

See article from decoded.legal

 

 

Offsite Article: The War on Porn: Cancel Culture on Steroids...


Link Here 5th September 2021
How the recent threat to OnlyFans falls in with a history of censorship and control by banks and payment providers. By Jerry Barnett

See article from quillette.com

 

 

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Comment: A push for age verification...

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


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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes to Editors

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

 

 

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


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

See article from techmonitor.ai


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