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Identified as repressive...

The Austrian government introduces a bill requiring large websites to obtain the real identity of users


Link Here 21st April 2019
It's not only China and the UK that want to identify internet users, Austria also wants to demand that forum contributors submit their ID before being able to post.

Austria's government has introduced a bill that would require larger social media websites and forums to obtain the identity of its users prior to them being able to post comments. Users will have to provide their name and address to websites but nicknames are still allowed and the identity data will not be made public.

Punishments for non complying websites will be up to 500,000 euros and double that for repeat offences.

It would only affect sites with more than 100,000 registered users, bring in revenues above 500,000 euros per year or receive press subsidies larger than 50,000 euros.

There would also be exemptions for retail sites as well as those that don't earn money from either ads or the content itself.

If passed and cleared by the EU, the law would take effect in 2020. The immediate issues noted are that some of the websites most offending the sensitivities of the government are often smaller than the trigger condition. The law may also step on the toes of the EU in rules governing which EU states has regulatory control over websites.

 

 

Inevitably asking the impossible of small EU companies and further advantaging US giants...

European Parliament removes requirement for internet companies to pre-censor user posts for terrorist content but approves a one hour deadline for content removal when asked by national authorities


Link Here 18th April 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
The European Parliament has approved a draft version of new EU internet censorship law targeting terrorist content.

In particular the MEPs approved the imposition of a one-hour deadline to remove content marked for censorship by various national organisations. However the MEPs did not approve a key section of the law requiring internet companies to pre-process and censor terrorsit content prior to upload.

A European Commission official told the BBC changes made to the text by parliament made the law ineffective. The Commission will now try to restore the pre-censorship requirement with the new parliament when it is elected.

The law would affect social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which could face fines of up to 4% of their annual global turnover. What does the law say?

In amendments, the European Parliament said websites would not be forced to monitor the information they transmit or store, nor have to actively seek facts indicating illegal activity.  It said the competent authority should give the website information on the procedures and deadlines 12 hours before the agreed one-hour deadline the first time an order is issued.

In February, German MEP Julia Reda of the European Pirate Party said the legislation risked the surrender of our fundamental freedoms [and] undermines our liberal democracy. Ms Reda welcomed the changes brought by the European Parliament but said the one-hour deadline was unworkable for platforms run by individual or small providers.

 

 

European livelihoods laid to waste...

Link taxes and censorship machines pass the final stage of European legislation


Link Here 16th April 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
The EU Council of Ministers has approved the Copyright Directive, which includes the link tax and censorship machines. The legislation was voted through by a majority of EU ministers despite noble opposition from Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland, and Sweden.

As explained by Julia Reda MEP, a majority of 55% of Member States, representing 65% of the population, was required to adopt the legislation. That was easily achieved with 71.26% in favor, so the Copyright Directive will now pass into law.

As the image above shows, several countries voted against adoption, including Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland, and Sweden. Belgium, Estonia, and Slovenia absta ined.

But in the final picture that just wasn't enough, with both Germany and the UK voting in favor, the Copyright Directive is now adopted.

EU member states will now have two years to implement the law, which requires platforms like YouTube to sign licensing agreements with creators in order to use their content. If that is not possible, they will have to ensure that infringing content uploaded by users is taken down and not re-uploaded to their services.

The entertainment lobby will not stop here, over the next two years, they will push for national implementations that ignore users' fundamental rights, comments Julia Reda:

It will be more important than ever for civil society to keep up the pressure in the Member States!

 

 

Mid90s...

Irish cinema distributors successfully appeal against an 18 rating for a skateboard themed film


Link Here 13th April 2019
Mid90s is a 2018 USA comedy drama by Jonah Hill.
Starring Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston and Lucas Hedges. BBFC link IMDb

The movie follows a teenager named Stevie growing up in Los Angeles. He's struggling with his family, including his co-dependent single mom and his abusive older brother, and at school, where his richer friends seem to overlook him. When Stevie befriends a crew of skateboarders, he learns some tough lessons about class, race, and privilege.

Mid90s was originally given an 18 rated by the Irish Film Classification Office. However the film's distributors successfully appealed the decision and the rating was reduced to 16. Probably a good job as an adults only skateboard movie may have had a limited appeal.

For comparison:

  • US: MPAA R rated for pervasive language, sexual content, drug and alcohol use, some violent behavior/disturbing images - all involving minors
  • UK: Passed 15 uncut for strong language, drug misuse, self-harm, violence

 

 

The Internet Archive reports on shoddy EU identification of terrorist content...

EU Agencies Falsely Report More Than 550 Archive.org URLs as Terrorist Content


Link Here 11th April 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

The European Parliament is set to vote on legislation that would require websites that host user-generated content to take down material reported as terrorist content within one hour. We have some examples of current notices sent to the Internet Archive that we think illustrate very well why this requirement would be harmful to the free sharing of information and freedom of speech that the European Union pledges to safeguard.

In the past week, the Internet Archive has received a series of email notices from Europol's European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) falsely identifying hundreds of URLs on archive.org as terrorist propaganda. At least one of these mistaken URLs was also identified as terrorist content in a separate take down notice from the French government's L'Office Central de Lutte contre la Criminalit39 li39e aux Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication (OCLCTIC).

The Internet Archive has a few staff members that process takedown notices from law enforcement who operate in the Pacific time zone. Most of the falsely identified URLs mentioned here (including the report from the French government) were sent to us in the middle of the night 203 between midnight and 3am Pacific 203 and all of the reports were sent outside of the business hours of the Internet Archive.

The one-hour requirement essentially means that we would need to take reported URLs down automatically and do our best to review them after the fact.

It would be bad enough if the mistaken URLs in these examples were for a set of relatively obscure items on our site, but the EU IRU's lists include some of the most visited pages on archive.org and materials that obviously have high scholarly and research value. See a summary below with specific examples.

See example falsely reported URLs at article from blog.archive.org

 

 

More bad censorship legislation from the EU...

Big names of the internet explain how the EU's Terrorist Content laws will be ineffective and will damage the non terrorist internet in the process


Link Here 1st April 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
A group of some of the best known internet pioneers have written an open letter explaining how the EU's censorship law nominally targeting  terrorism will both chill the non terrorist internet whilst simultaneously advantaging US internet giants over smaller European businesses. The group writes:

EU Terrorist Content regulation will damage the internet in Europe without meaningfully
contributing to the fight against terrorism

Dear MEP Dalton,
Dear MEP Ward,
Dear MEP Reda,

As a group of pioneers, technologists, and innovators who have helped create and sustain todayís internet,
we write to you to voice our concern at proposals under consideration in the EU Terrorist Content
regulation.

Tackling terrorism and the criminal actors who perpetrate it is a necessary public policy objective, and the internet plays an important role in achieving this end. The tragic and harrowing incident in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this month has underscored the continued threat terrorism poses to our fundamental freedoms, and the need to confront it in all its forms. However, the fight against terrorism does not preclude lawmakers from their responsibility to implement evidence-based law that is proportionate, justified, and supportive of its stated aim.

The EU Terrorist Content regulation, if adopted as proposed, will restrict the basic rights of European internet users and undercut innovation on the internet without meaningfully contributing to the fight against terrorism. We are particularly concerned by the following aspects of the proposed Regulation:

  • ¬Unclear definition of terrorist content: The definition of 'terrorist content' is extremely broad, and includes no clear exemption for educational, journalistic, or research purposes. This creates the risk of over-removal of lawful and important public interest speech.
  • Lack of proportionality: The regulation applies equally to all internet hosting services, bringing thousands of services into scope that have no relevance to terrorist content. By not taking any account of the different types and sizes of online services, nor their exposure to such illegal content, the new rules would be far out of proportion with the stated aim of the proposal.
  • Unworkable takedown timeframes: The obligation to remove content within a mere 60 minutes of notification will likely lead to significant over-removal of lawful content and place a catastrophic compliance burden on micro, small, and medium-sized companies offering services within Europe. At the same time, it will greatly favour large multinational platforms that have already developed highly sophisticated content moderation operations
  • Reliance on upload filters and other ;proactive measures': The draft regulation frames automated upload filters as ¬Āethe¬Āf solution for terrorist content moderation at scale, and provides government agencies with the power to mandate how such upload filters and other proactive measures are designed and implemented. But upload filtering of 'terrorist content' is fraught with challenges and risks, and only a handful of online services have the resources and capacity to build or license such technology. As such, the proposal is setting a benchmark that only the largest platforms can meet. Moreover, upload filtering and related proactive measures risks suppressing important public interest content, such as news reports about terrorist incidents and dispatches from warzones

We fully support efforts to combat dangerous and illegal information on the internet, including through new legislation where appropriate. Yet as currently drafted, this Regulation risks inflicting harm on free expression and due process, competition and the possibility to innovate online5.

Given these likely ramifications we urge you to undertake a proper assessment of the proposal and make the necessary changes to ensure that the perverse outcomes described above are not realised. At the very least, any legislation of this nature must include far greater rights protection and be built around a proportionality criterion that ensures companies of all sizes and types can comply and compete in Europe.

Citizens in Europe look to you for leadership in developing progressive policy that protects their rights, ensures their companies can compete, and protects their public interest. This legislation in its current form runs contrary to those ambitions. We urge you to amend it, for the sake of European citizens and for the sake of the internet. Yours sincerely,

 Mitchell Baker Executive Chairwoman, The Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation Tim Berners-Lee Inventor of the World Wide Web and Founder of the Web Foundation Vint Cerf Internet Pioneer Brewster Kahle Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive Jimmy Wales Founder of Wikipedia and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation Markus Beckedahl Founder, Netzpolitik; Co-founder, re:publica Brian Behlendorf Member of the EFF Board of Directors; Executive Director of Hyperledger at the Linux Foundation Cindy Cohn Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation Cory Doctorow Author; Co-Founder of Open Rights Group; Visiting Professor at Open University (UK) Rebecca MacKinnon Co-founder, Global Voices; Director, Ranking Digital Rights Katherine Maher Chief Executive Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation Bruce Schneier Public-interest technologist; Fellow, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School

 

 

Commented: Maybe the Brexiteers are right...

EU parliament gives final approval to internet copyright law that will destroy European livelihoods and give unprecedented censorship control to US internet and media giants


Link Here 31st March 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
The European Parliament has backed disgraceful copyright laws which will change the nature of the net.

The new rules include holding technology companies responsible for material posted without proper copyright permission. This will destroy the livelihoods of European people making their living from generating content.

The Copyright Directive was backed by 348 MEPs, with 278 against.

It is now up to member states to approve the decision. If they do, they will have two years to implement it once it is officially published.

The two clauses causing the most controversy are known as Article 11 and Article 13.

Article 11 states that websites will either have to pay to use links from news websites or else be banned from linking to or quoting news services.

Article 13 holds larger technology companies responsible for material posted without a copyright licence.

It means they would need to pre-censor content before it is uploaded. Only the biggest US internet companies will have the technology to achieve this automatically, even then technical difficulties in recognising content will results in inevitable over censorship from having to err on the side f caution.

The campaign group Open Knowledge International described it as a massive blow for the internet.

We now risk the creation of a more closed society at the very time we should be using digital advances to build a more open world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few, said chief executive Catherine Stihler. Skip Twitter post by @Senficon

Dark day for internet freedom: The @Europarl_EN has rubber-stamped copyright reform including #Article13 and #Article11. MEPs refused to even consider amendments. The results of the final vote: 348 in favor, 274 against #SaveYourInternet pic.twitter.com/8bHaPEEUk3 204 Julia Reda (@Senficon) March 26, 2019.

Update: Europe's efforts to curb the internet giants only make them stronger

31st March 2019. See  article from theguardian.com by Kenan Malik

New legislation on copyright will hurt small users and boost tech titans' influence

 

 

Offsite Article: No Brexit does not have the copyright on mass protest...


Link Here 24th March 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
Tens of thousands of people across Europe staged protests on Saturday against the upcoming EU internet censorship in the name of copyright law

See article from dw.com

 

 

Dark Days...

Wikipedia protests against the EU's disgraceful new copyright laws favouring US conglomerates over European people


Link Here 21st March 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
Websites and businesses across Europe went dark yesterday in protest of disgraceful changes to copyright law being introduced by the European Union.

Ahead of a final vote on the legislation next Tuesday, March 26th, a number of European Wikipedia sites are going dark for the day, blocking all access and directing users to contact their local EU representative to protest the laws. Other major sites, such as Twitch and PornHub, are showing protest banners on their homepages and social media. Meanwhile, any users uploading content to Reddit will be shown this notice: Critics of the Copyright Directive say it could lead to messages like this.

The law in question is the EU Copyright Directive, a long-awaited update to copyright law. Two provisions have been singled out by critics as dangerous to European people's freedom and livehoods.

These are Article 11, which lets publishers charge platforms if they link to their stories (the link tax'), and Article 13, which makes platforms legally responsible for users uploading copyrighted material (the so-called 'upload filter').

Article 13 is particularly dangerous, say critics. It will make all platforms hosting user-generated content legally responsible for users uploading copyrighted content. The only way to stop these uploads, say critics, will be to scan content before its uploaded, leading to the creation of filters that will err on the side of censorship and will be abused by copyright trolls.

Wikipedia said the rules would be a "net loss for free knowledge." Volunteer editors for the German, Czech, Danish, and Slovak Wikipedias have all blacked out their sites for the day.

As well as the website blackouts , more than five million internet users have signed a petition protesting Article 13 . Marches and demonstrations are also planned in European cities across the weekend and on Monday and Tuesday before the final vote.

Update: The latest from MEP Julia Reda

21st March 2019. See tweets from twitter.com

The official version of the #copyright trilogue agreement is online now, translations will follow shortly. Don't get a heart attack when you see #Article13 has been renumbered #Article17, both the old and the new numbers will show up on MEPs' voting lists. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2018-0245-AM-271-271_EN.pdf

Our efforts to defeat #Article13 just got a huge boost! Polish @Platforma_org will vote AGAINST the #copyright directive unless #Article13 is deleted! They're the second largest single political party in EPP after @CDU. Thanks @MichalBoni https://twitter.com/MichalBoni/status/1109057398566764544 #SaveYourInternet

At a press conference in Berlin, @AxelVossMdEP confirmed rumours that some press publishers have threatened parliamentarians with bad election coverage if they vote against the #copyright reform. Voss does not consider this problematic. #Article11 #Article13 #SaveYourInternet

Update: Anti censorship hub

22nd March 2019. See  article from avn.com

Pornhub posted a banner at the top of the European version of its site on Thursday, as seen in the image at the top of this page. The discussion forum Reddit204the self-described front page of the internet204and the sprawling online encyclopedia Wikipedia also protested the planned new law, according to a Business Insider report .

 

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