Melon Farmers Original Version

UK Internet Censorship


2022: April-June

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Throwing free speech to the wolves of the internet Goliaths and the easily offended...

The Christian Institute realises that religious voices will be readily silenced under the Online Censorship Bill


Link Here30th June 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
The Christian Institute has been reading a report by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and has realised that the Christians will be first against the wall when the UK government empowers US internet Goliaths partnering with the easily offended to control what people are allowed to say.

The Christian Institute explains:

A report titled An Unsafe Bill , published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), outlines the Online Safety Bill's impact on free speech, privacy and innovation

The Bill gives strong incentives for social media companies and search engines to restrict content which is legal but harmful to adults and empowers Government ministers to decide what this covers.

The IEA warns this will give the Secretary of State for Culture and watchdog Ofcom unprecedented powers to define and limit speech, with limited parliamentary or judicial oversight.

The report highlights that because tech companies could be fined up to ten per cent of their annual global turnover if they fail to uphold their new duties, platforms may use automated tools in a precautionary and censorious manner.

The briefing also warns that the Bill's free speech protections appear wholly inadequate, with the risk that those claiming distress will request the removal of speech with which they disagree.

Writing in The Times, its co-author Matthew Lesh called the Bill a recipe for automated over-removal of speech on an industrial scale, to ensure compliance and placate the most easily offended. He commented:

Is the government trying to out-compete Russia and China in online censorship?

 

An Unsafe Bill

29th June 2022. See full report [pdf] from iea.org.uk

Here is the summery of the quoted report.

An Unsafe Bill: How the Online Safety Bill threaten s free speech , innovation and privacy

By Matthew Lesh, Head of Public Policy, Institute of Economic Affairs, and Victoria Hewson , Head of Regulatory Affairs , Institute of Economic Affairs

Summary

  • - The Online Safety Bill establishes a new regulatory regime for digital platforms intended to improve online safety.

  • - The Bill raises significant issues for freedom of expression, privacy and innovation.

  • - There is a lack of evidence to justify the legislation, with respect to both the alleged prevalence of what the Bill treats as ' harm ' and the link between the proposed measures and the desired objectives.

Freedom of expression

  • - The duties in the Bill, in respect of illegal content and legal content that is harmful to adults, combine d with the threat of large fines and criminal liability, risks platforms using automated tools in a precautionary and censorious manner .

  • - The Bill appears designed to discourage platforms from hosting speech that the Secretary of State considers to be harmf ul, even if that speech is legal. The Bill allows for the expansion of the category of ' legal but harmful ' content with limited parliamentary scrutiny .

  • - The Secretary of State and Ofcom will have unprecedented powers to define and limit speech, with limited parliamentary or judicial oversight.

  • - The introduction of age assurance requirements will force search engines and social media to withhold potentially harmful information by default, making it difficultforadults to access information without logging int o services, and entirely forbidding children from content even if it could be educationally valuable.

  • - Some small to mid - sized overseas platforms could block access for UK users to limit their regulatory costs and risks, thereby reducing British users ' acce ss to online content .

  • - Safeguards designed to protect free expression are comparatively weak and could backfire by requiring application in a ' consistent ' manner, leading to the removal of more content.

Privacy

  • - The safety duties will lead platforms to profi le users and monitor their content and interactions including by using technologies mandated by Ofcom .

  • - The inclusion of private messaging in the duties risks undermining encryption .

  • - The child safety duties will infringe the privacy of adult users by requir ing them to verify their age, through an identity verification or age assurance process, to access content that is judged unsuitable for children.

  • - The user empowerment duties will further necessitate many users verifying their identities to platforms.

Innovation

  • - The Bill imposes byzantine requirements on businesses of all sizes. Platforms face large regulatory costs and criminal liability for violations, which could discourage investment and research and development in the United Kingdom.

  • - The Bill ' s regulatory costs will be more burdensome for start - ups and small and medium - sized businesses, which lack the resources to invest in legal and regulatory compliance and automated systems, and therefore the Bill could entrench the market position of ' Big Tech ' companies.

  • - The likely result of the additional regulatory and cost burdens on digital businesses will be the slower and more cautious introduction of new innovative products or features , and fewer companies entering the sector. This will lead to less competition and less incentive to innovate, with resulting losses to consumer welfare

 

 

Holy gaslighting...

The clergy with such an appalling record of child abuse presumes to pontificate to everybody else about porn


Link Here26th June 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
The Guildford Diocesan Synod has submitted a motion to the General Synod, the Church of England's legislative body, seeking to prevent children and young people from online exposure to pornography. The General Synod, which takes place in York next month, will consider the motion.

In the papers published last week, the Rev Charleen Hollington, a member of the Leatherhead Deanery Synod, Guildford, wrote:

Access to pornography means that a distorted and harmful view of what constitutes normal sexual relations is being absorbed by each new generation of children and young people.

This is placing pressure on young boys and girls to conform to stereotypes of domination on the one hand and submission and degradation on the other, and is creating a wider culture of abusive attitudes towards girls and women.

A law requiring age verification for access to commercial porn sites was meant to come into effect in 2018, but it never did for reasons having to do with bureaucratic delay and then a changed approach by the Government. 'Increase awareness of harms of pornography'

Hollington also criticised the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's Bill, saying:

If passed, the proposed legislation will go some way to addressing the problems. However, legislation introduced in 2018 which was designed to require age verification for access to commercial porn sites never came into effect.

Therefore, the need for the motion to be passed by General Synod now remains as strong as it has always been. The motion acknowledges the current problem, asks the Government to take action and recommends programmes to increase awareness of the harms of pornography.

 

 

Offsite Article: The Online Unsafety Bill...


Link Here26th June 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
Sex work could become 10 times more dangerous due to online safety bill, says sex work group

See article from mancunianmatters.co.uk

 

 

Offsite Article: More online censorship...


Link Here2nd June 2022
The British Government turns its attentions to making app stores 'safer'

See article from gov.uk

 

 

Prime censorship...

Government publishers white paper outling the extension of suffocating TV state censorship to the major streaming services


Link Here30th April 2022
Full story: UK Internet TV censorship ...UK catch-up and US internet streaming

Rapid changes in technology, viewing habits and the emergence of global media giants have brought new challenges for UK broadcasters. More people are watching programmes on their phones, laptops, tablets, games consoles and on smart TVs. Competition for viewers and advertising revenue has intensified.

According to Ofcom, the share of total viewing for 'linear' TV channels such as ITV and the BBC fell by more than ten per cent between 2017 and 2020. The share for subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video rose from 6% to 19% over the same period.

Proposals include measures to protect audiences from a wider range of harmful material - such as unchallenged health claims - while watching programmes on video-on-demand services (VoDs). These services will be brought under UK jurisdiction and subject to a Video-on-Demand Code similar to the Broadcasting Code, enforced by Ofcom. Fines for breaches could be up to 250,000 or five per cent of annual turnover.

Requiring it to continue to meet the obligations placed on PSBs, the government will move ahead with plans to move Channel 4 out of public ownership to become a privately-owned public service broadcaster like ITV and Channel 5.

The government intends to legislate as soon as the parliamentary timetable allows.

Regulation of video-on-demand services

Ofcom estimates three in four UK households use a subscription video-on-demand (VoD) service. But services like Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video are not regulated in the UK to the same extent as UK linear TV channels. Netflix and Apple TV+ are not regulated in the UK at all.

Except for BBC iPlayer, on-demand services are not subject to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code which sets standards for content including harmful or offensive material, accuracy, fairness and privacy. There are some protections for under-18s but minimal rules exist to protect audiences from, for example, misleading health advice or pseudoscience documentaries.

The government will give Ofcom powers to draft and enforce a new Video-on-Demand Code, similar to the Broadcasting Code and in line with its standards, to make sure VoD services, which target and profit from UK audiences, are subject to stricter rules protecting UK audiences from harmful material. This will primarily be aimed at larger 'TV-like' video-on-demand services such as Netflix, ITV Hub and NOW TV and level the rules between VoD services and traditional broadcasters.

UK viewers will be given new powers to complain to Ofcom if they see something concerning and will be better protected from harmful material. Ofcom will be given a strengthened duty to assess on-demand providers' audience protection measures such as age ratings and viewer guidance, with powers to force changes if necessary.

The maximum fine for regulated VoD services will be 250,000 or an amount up to five per cent of an organisation's revenue, whichever is higher.

Offsite comment: We don't need to be protected from Netflix

30th April 2022. See article from spiked-online.com by Matthew Lesh

 

 

Offsite Article: The Burdensome costs of the Online Censorship Bill...


Link Here 30th April 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
Bill compliance costs will hit smaller companies the most

See article from verdict.co.uk

 

 

Queueing up to call for more censorship to be added to the Online Censorship Bill...

Anti sex trade MP calls for Ofcom to monitor consent in porn films


Link Here27th April 2022
Diana Johnson is an MP known for her campaigning against the sex trade. She has called for the Online Censorship Bill to include new powers for internet censor Ofcom to investigate whether adult entertainers have properly consented to appear in pornographic films. She said she wants to see Ofcom be more proactive in investigating issues around consent in the online pornography industry, rather than wait for complaints to be made.

The bill now stipulates that commercial pornography websites must implement age/identity verification checks to ensure all its users are aged 18 and over. However, Johnson told PoliticsHome that the legislation does not go far enough on the matter of protecting women's bodies from sexual exploitation. She wants the government to crack down on ensuring adult entertainers are of age and have properly consented to appear in online videos.

Others also personal advantage from this idea of consent. Jason Domino, an adult performer and representative with the United Sex Workers union, believes trade unions should be responsible for overseeing consent in the industry. He said:

Why are the voices of the trade union of sex workers not involved in this policy currently?

Ofcom has no experience at this point of dealing with this topic, and there are many politicians who also have no experience at all, particularly when it comes to matters of people's privacy.

 

 

Offsite Comment: The Online Safety Bill would treat us all like children...


Link Here 25th April 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
The UK government is actively encouraging Big Tech censorship. By Matthew Lesh

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Perhaps drug dealers will find a new sideline in selling memory sticks full of porn...

Surveyed porn users indicate that they will be unlikely to hand over their identity documents to for age verification


Link Here22nd April 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
So what will porn users do should their favourite porn site succumb to age verification. Will they decide to use a VPN, or else try Tor, or perhaps exchange porn with their friends, or perhaps their will be an opportunity for a black market to spring up. Another option would be to seek out lesser known foreign porn sites that van fly under the radar.

All of these options seem more likely than users dangerously handing over identity documents to any porn website that asks.

According to a new survey from YouGov, 78% of the 2,000 adults surveyed would not be willing to verify their age to access adult websites by uploading a document linked to their identity such as a driver's license, passport or other ID card.

Of the participants who believe that visiting adult websites can be part of a healthy sexual lifestyle, just 17% are willing to upload their ID.

The main reasons for their decisions were analysed. 64% just don't trust the companies to keep their data safe while 63% are scared their information could end up in the wrong hands. 49% are concerned about adult websites suffering data breaches which could expose their personal information.

Director of the privacy campaigner Open Rights Group, Jim Killock explained in a press release that those who want to access adult websites anonymously will just use a VPN if the UK's Online Safety legislation passes, saying:

The government assumes that people will actually upload their ID to access adult content. The data shows that this is a naive assumption. Instead, adults will simply use a VPN (as many already do) to avoid the step, or they'll go to smaller, unmoderated sites which exist outside the law. Smaller adult sites tend to be harder to regulate and could potentially expose users204including minors204to more extreme or illegal content.

 

 

Censorship monstrosity...

The UK govenment's Online Censorship Bill will get a 2nd reading debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 19th April


Link Here18th April 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
Repressive new censorship laws return to Parliament for their second reading this week.

Online censorship legislation will be debated in the Commons Comes as new plans to support some people and fight  deemed falsities online are launched Funding boost will help people's critical thinking online through a new expert Media Literacy Taskforce alongside proposals to pay for training for teachers and library workers

Parliamentarians will debate the government's groundbreaking Online Censorship Bill which requires social media platforms, search engines and other apps and websites allowing people to post content to censor 'wrong think' content.

Ofcom, the official state censor, will have the power to fine companies failing to comply with the laws up to ten per cent of their annual global turnover, force them to improve their practices and block non-compliant sites. Crucially, the laws have strong measures to safeguard children from harmful content such as pornography and child sexual abuse.

 

 

Online Censorship Bill...

Sex workers speak out against the upcoming censorship of their trade


Link Here16th April 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media

The Online Safety Bil l was published on 12 May 2021 with the stated aim of cracking down on harmful content online. A clause has now been added to the bill to include the offence of inciting or controlling prostitution for gain as one of the priority offences that tech companies have to look out for -- firms would then be obliged to remove any content from their platforms that could be construed as committing this offence.

This would be disastrous for sex workers as it would undoubtably lead to advertising platforms clamping down on sex workers' advertisements.in order to avoid any chance of being prosecuted -- essentially criminalising the online advertising of sex work.

Controlling prostitution for gain is interpreted very widely in the criminal courts. Some women in the ECP have been prosecuted under this offence just for helping a friend build a website or place an advert. Our experience shows that in any crackdown like this, migrant and women of colour are particularly targeted.

Research shows that online advertising has enabled sex workers to work more safely and independently from exploitative bosses, to screen clients and have more control over our working conditions. Preventing sex workers from advertising will increase violence and the risk of attack. Similar legislation (SESTA/FOSTA) was passed into law by Trump in the US in 2018 resulting in an increase in poverty, insecure housing, suicide, murder, isolation, and the deterioration of physical and mental health for sex workers.

 

 

Offsite Article: A legal analysis...


Link Here2nd April 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
Online Safety Bill: What issues does the Bill pose for UK businesses operating online?

See article from lexology.com


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