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 Updated: Better safe than sorry...

Twitter bosses consider expanding the scope of material to be censored


Link Here 22nd October 2017  full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs
twitter 2015 logoThere was plenty of strong language flying around on Twitter in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Twitter got a bit confused about who was harassing who, and ended up suspending Weinstein critic Rose McGowan for harassment. Twitter ended up being boycotted over its wrong call, and so Twitter bosses have been banging their heads together to do something.

Wired has got hold of an email outline an expansion of content liable to Twitter censorship and also for more severe sanctions for errant tweeters. Twitter's head of safety policy wrote of new measures to rolled out in the coming weeks:

Non-consensual nudity

Our definition of "non-consensual nudity" is expanding to more broadly include content like upskirt imagery, "creep shots," and hidden camera content. Given that people appearing in this content often do not know the material exists, we will not require a report from a target in order to remove it.

While we recognize there's an entire genre of pornography dedicated to this type of content, it's nearly impossible for us to distinguish when this content may/may not have been produced and distributed consensually. We would rather error on the side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it.

Unwanted sexual advances

Pornographic content is generally permitted on Twitter, and it's challenging to know whether or not sexually charged conversations and/or the exchange of sexual media may be wanted. To help infer whether or not a conversation is consensual, we currently rely on and take enforcement action only if/when we receive a report from a participant in the conversation.

We are going to update the Twitter Rules to make it clear that this type of behavior is unacceptable. We will continue taking enforcement action when we receive a report from someone directly involved in the conversation.

Hate symbols and imagery (new)

We are still defining the exact scope of what will be covered by this policy. At a high level, hateful imagery, hate symbols, etc will now be considered sensitive media (similar to how we handle and enforce adult content and graphic violence). More details to come.

Violent groups (new)

We are still defining the exact scope of what will be covered by this policy. At a high level, we will take enforcement action against organizations that use/have historically used violence as a means to advance their cause. More details to come here as well

Tweets that glorify violence (new)

We already take enforcement action against direct violent threats ("I'm going to kill you"), vague violent threats ("Someone should kill you") and wishes/hopes of serious physical harm, death, or disease ("I hope someone kills you"). Moving forward, we will also take action against content that glorifies ("Praise be to for shooting up. He's a hero!") and/or condones ("Murdering makes sense. That way they won't be a drain on social services"). More details to come.

Offsite Article: Changes to the way that 'sensitive' content is defined and blocked from Twitter search

22nd October 2017. See  article from avn.com

 

  Logo censors...

Australian Government Wants to Give Satire The Boot


Link Here 21st October 2017

honest government satire video The National Symbols Officer of Australia recently wrote to Juice Media , producers of Rap News and Honest Government Adverts , suggesting that its "use" of Australia's coat of arms violated various Australian laws. This threat came despite the fact that Juice Media's videos are clearly satire and no reasonable viewer could mistake them for official publications. Indeed, the coat of arms that appeared in the Honest Government Adverts series does not even spell "Australian" correctly.

It is unfortunate that the Australian government cannot distinguish between impersonation and satire . But it is especially worrying because the government has proposed legislation that would impose jail terms for impersonation of a government agency. Some laws against impersonating government officials can be appropriate (Australia, like the U.S., is seeing telephone scams from fraudsters claiming to be tax officials). But the proposed legislation in Australia lacks sufficient safeguards. Moreover, the recent letter to Juice Media shows that the government may lack the judgment needed to apply the law fairly.

In a submission to Parliament, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights explains that the proposed legislation is too broad. For example, the provision that imposes a 2 year sentence for impersonation of a government agency does not require any intent to deceive. Similarly, it does not require that any actual harm was caused by the impersonation. Thus, the law could sweep in conduct outside the kind of fraud that motivates the bill.

The proposed legislation does include an exemption for "conduct engaged in solely for genuine satirical, academic or artistic purposes." But, as critics have noted , this gives the government leeway to attack satire that it does not consider "genuine." Similarly, the limitation that conduct be "solely" for the purpose of satire could chill speech. Is a video produced for satirical purposes unprotected because it was also created for the purpose of supporting advertising revenue?

In its own style, Juice Media has responded to the proposed legislation with an "honest" government advert .

 

 Offsite article: Fuck yeah!...


Link Here 21st October 2017
star trek discovery Should Star Trek use the F word? For the very first time this week, Star Trek: Discovery broke a linguistic taboo.

See article from denofgeek.com

 

  Tom Watson attacks witty adverts for Russian propaganda channel RT...

Politicians need to face up to their own failure to look after the jobs and prospects of people and not blame their unpopularity on silly distractions like Russian propaganda


Link Here 20th October 2017
rtt question moreAdverts for the Russian propagander channel RT that tell London commuters to watch to find out who we are planning to hack next show it is the Russian government's mouthpiece, Labour has said.

Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson called on TV censor Ofcom to investigate RT, formerly known as Russia Today, over the advert running on the bus and Tube network, saying it is not funny and caused significant alarm. Watson wrote in a letter to Ofcom chief executive Sharon White:

This has caused significant alarm in light of the fact the Russian state has been linked to a series of cyberattacks across the world. I appreciate the RT advert in question may have been intended as ironic or humorous but it isn't funny.

At a time when there are grave international and domestic concerns following hacking by the Russian state, this provocative advert is a tacit admission that RT is the mouthpiece of that state.

Watson's intervention comes after Boris Johnson condemned Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn, for appearing on the channel for interview, despite the fact many Tories, including his own father, had done the same.

The hacking advert is one of a series of provocative ads running on London buses and on the Tube, in which the channel mocks accusations of bias and cites them as a reason to watch it. Another advert ironically notes:

Missed the Train?
Lost a vote?
Blame it on us!

An Ofcom spokesman said: We have received Mr Watson's letter and we'll respond shortly.

The Advertising Standards Agency told HuffPost it had received a complaint, which accused the advert of being offensive as it likely to cause fear or distress (by suggesting a foreign power can disrupt a democratic system). A spokesman added it was still being assessed to see whether there was grounds for an investigation.

 

  US politicians take aim at Russian social media adverts...

Politicians need to face up to their own failure to look after the jobs and prospects of people and not blame their unpopularity on silly distractions like Russian propaganda


Link Here 20th October 2017

US SenateFacebook and Google, along with other online publishers, may soon be required in the US to disclose funding for paid political ads.

Two US senators, Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner, proposed a bill called The Honest Ads Act to extend the funding disclosure requirements for political ads on TV, radio, and in print, to online ads. Similar legislation is expected to be introduced in the US House of Representatives.

Under these disclosure requirements, traditional media has to produce and reveal lists identifying organizations that have bought political adverts. If the Honest Ads Act is passed into law, top online sites, from Facebook to Twitter, will fall under these requirements, too.

The bill is an attempt to respond to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 Presidential Election through social media.

Facebook , Google , and Twitter have all said they sold politically-oriented ads to accounts linked to Russia. Facebook has characterized the ads it sold as amplifying divisive social and political messages.

If the bill becomes law, the rules would require digital platforms averaging 50 million monthly viewers to maintain a public list of political ads purchased by a person or organization spending more than $500 cumulatively on such ads, on a per-platform basis. And it would direct digital platforms to make all reasonable efforts to prevent foreign individuals and organizations from purchasing domestic political ads.

 

 Offsite Article: Millennials don't fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring...


Link Here 20th October 2017
be careful what you wish for By stifling free speech, the young oppress their future selves. By Lionel Shriver

See article from spectator.co.uk

 

  Call of Duty WWII...

Games distributors in Australia made cuts to delete reference to sexual threat from the games censor's advice


Link Here 19th October 2017
Call of Duty®: WWII + Animated Zombies Weapon Camo + Zombies Prima Strategy Guide Call of Duty: WWII is a 2017 US combat simulation game from Activision.

On the first submission to the Australian Censorship Board the game was passed R18 uncut for high impact violence and threat of sexual violence.

The distributors didn't want the reference to sexual violence so made cuts to the game and resubmitted it. The game was then duly passed R18+ this time for high impact violence.

kotaku.com.au asked the censor board about the original classification and the cuts.

[ Spoilers! hover or click text below]

According to the Classification Board, the original version contained a reference to sexual violence:

In one section of the game, the player controls Rosseau, a female spy, as she infiltrates a German building. While inside, she witnesses a woman as she is dragged by a Nazi soldier into a closet, against her will, screaming, You're all pigs!

Rosseau opes the closet door, as the soldier says, Leave. This is none of your business. The player is then given the option to kill the soldier or leave.

If the player chooses to leave, the player closes the door, as the soldier is heard unziping his fly and viewed advancing towards the woman. She screams, Ah! Get away from me! as Rosseau leaves.

It is implied that the soldier is going to sexually assault the woman, but at no time is the assault depicted.

The board then described how the cuts made a difference:

In the Board's opinion, the modifications to this game - which include the change of dress for the female prisoner (was in a skirt and top, now in a pants and top) and the removal of audio that implies a soldier is unzipping his pants - do not contain any classifiable elements that alter this classification or exceed a R18+ impact level.

In the Board's opinion, the removal of the audio track means that consumer advice of threat of sexual violence is not required. Therefore, this modified computer game warrants an R18+ classification with consumer advice of high impact violence [and] online interactivity.

 

  Censorship body...

League of Legends video game censored in South Korea


Link Here 18th October 2017
league of legends
  
 Before and censored
 

The Korean version of the League of Legends has been censored after a software update on the Korean server for the game.

Artwork for the character Evelynn has been changed to cover up her bare midriff and also to reduce her cleavage (in visibility rather than size).

The game is 12 rated in South Korea, and has a Teen T rating from the ESRB in the US.

The South Korean Game Rating & Administration Committee has a recent history of censorship of games in regards to artwork, especially in mobile games.

The change to Evelynn's artwork has sparked another round of debate about game ratings in Korea and what should be deemed appropriate or not.

 

 Update: Unacceptable...

56 European human rights groups call on the EU to abandon its disgraceful law proposal requiring the pre-censorship of content as it is being uploaded to the internet


Link Here 17th October 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

EU flagArticle 13: Monitoring and filtering of internet content is unacceptable. Index on Censorship joined with 56 other NGOs to call for the deletion of Article 13 from the proposal on the Digital Single Market, which includes obligations on internet companies that would be impossible to respect without the imposition of excessive restrictions on citizens' fundamental rights.

Dear President Juncker,
Dear President Tajani,
Dear President Tusk,
Dear Prime Minister Ratas,
Dear Prime Minister Borissov,
Dear Ministers,
Dear MEP Voss, MEP Boni

The undersigned stakeholders represent fundamental rights organisations.

Fundamental rights, justice and the rule of law are intrinsically linked and constitute core values on which the EU is founded. Any attempt to disregard these values undermines the mutual trust between member states required for the EU to function. Any such attempt would also undermine the commitments made by the European Union and national governments to their citizens.

Article 13 of the proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market include obligations on internet companies that would be impossible to respect without the imposition of excessive restrictions on citizens' fundamental rights.

Article 13 introduces new obligations on internet service providers that share and store user-generated content, such as video or photo-sharing platforms or even creative writing websites, including obligations to filter uploads to their services. Article 13 appears to provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens' communications if they are to have any chance of staying in business.

Article 13 contradicts existing rules and the case law of the Court of Justice. The Directive of Electronic Commerce ( 2000/31/EC) regulates the liability for those internet companies that host content on behalf of their users. According to the existing rules, there is an obligation to remove any content that breaches copyright rules, once this has been notified to the provider.

Article 13 would force these companies to actively monitor their users' content, which contradicts the 'no general obligation to monitor' rules in the Electronic Commerce Directive. The requirement to install a system for filtering electronic communications has twice been rejected by the Court of Justice, in the cases Scarlet Extended ( C 70/10) and Netlog/Sabam (C 360/10). Therefore, a legislative provision that requires internet companies to install a filtering system would almost certainly be rejected by the Court of Justice because it would contravene the requirement that a fair balance be struck between the right to intellectual property on the one hand, and the freedom to conduct business and the right to freedom of expression, such as to receive or impart information, on the other.

In particular, the requirement to filter content in this way would violate the freedom of expression set out in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. If internet companies are required to apply filtering mechanisms in order to avoid possible liability, they will. This will lead to excessive filtering and deletion of content and limit the freedom to impart information on the one hand, and the freedom to receive information on the other.

If EU legislation conflicts with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, national constitutional courts are likely to be tempted to disapply it and we can expect such a rule to be annulled by the Court of Justice. This is what happened with the Data Retention Directive (2006/24/EC), when EU legislators ignored compatibility problems with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In 2014, the Court of Justice declared the Data Retention Directive invalid because it violated the Charter.

Taking into consideration these arguments, we ask the relevant policy-makers to delete Article 13.

European Digital Rights (EDRi)
Access Info
ActiveWatch
Article 19
Associação D3 -- Defesa dos Direitos Digitais
Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL)
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI)
Association of the Defence of Human Rights in Romania (APADOR)
Associazione Antigone
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)
Bits of Freedom (BoF)
BlueLink Foundation
Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)
Centre for Peace Studies
Centrum Cyfrowe
Coalizione Italiana Liberta@ e Diritti Civili (CILD)
Code for Croatia
COMMUNIA
Culture Action Europe
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
epicenter.works
Estonian Human Rights Centre
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Frënn vun der Ënn
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights
Human Rights Monitoring Institute
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Without Frontiers
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
Index on Censorship
International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Internautas
JUMEN
Justice & Peace
La Quadrature du Net
Media Development Centre
Miklos Haraszti (Former OSCE Media Representative)
Modern Poland Foundation
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
One World Platform
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
Open Rights Group (ORG)
OpenMedia
Panoptykon
Plataforma en Defensa de la Libertad de Información (PDLI)
Reporters without Borders (RSF)
Rights International Spain
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM)
Statewatch
The Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia (RTKNS)
Xnet

 

  North Korea censors Channel 4 drama...

In a contest of who's got the biggest rocket, Kim Jung Un betters a few scaredy cat TV investors


Link Here 17th October 2017
north korea misslleChannel 4 has scrapped a planned drama based in North Korea after Kim Jong-un's regime hacked into its systems and 'scared investors into withdrawing their funding.

The ten-part thriller, Opposite Number , was to be about a mission to rescue a British nuclear scientist who had been taken prisoner in North Korea.

North Korea's most senior military body, the National Defence Commission, initially said British authorities should punish those behind the project, which they branded a slanderous farce. Shortly afterwards, security agencies discovered that hackers had breached Channel 4's systems.

They did not manage to inflict any great damage immediately, so David Abraham, Channel 4's chief executive, vowed to keep on filming, according to the New York Times. However, he was forced to backtrack when the full scale of the damage the hackers could cause became clear.

But while Channel 4 was still willing to run Opposite Number, the Sony scandal made the TV series' other financial backers nervous. International broadcasters that had promised to help pay for the project pulled out -- leaving the project short of funding. Despite the potential fallout, Channel 4 insiders said yesterday the series could still go ahead if it secured new backing.

 

  A bit of a lucky dip...

Games censors and the UK parliament considers whether loot boxes in video games need to be regulated as gambling


Link Here 17th October 2017
loot boxLoot boxes are a revenue creating facility where gamers are assisted in their quests by the real money purchase of loot boxes that contain a random collections of goodies that help game progress. loot boxes are found in many commercially successful games, such as Overwatch, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Halo 5: Guardians, Battlefield 1, Paragon, Gears of War 4, and FIFA 17.

The pros and cons of this method of revenue raising has been passionately debated in games forums and teh debate seems to have widened out to more regulatory spheres.

Last week the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), who rate games for North America declared that loot boxes, despite their inherent randomness, do not constitute a form of gambling. The reason, simply put, is that while you don't know what you're going to get out of them, you know you're going to get something -- unlike a lottery ticket, say, where the great likelihood is that your money is just going up in smoke.

The same opinion is reflected by PEGI who rate games for Europe. PEGI operations director Dirk Bosmans told Wccftech:

In short, our approach is similar to that of ESRB. The main reason for this is that we cannot define what constitutes gambling, That is the responsibility of a national gambling commission. Our gambling content descriptor is given to games that simulate or teach gambling as it's done in real life in casinos, racetracks, etc. If a gambling commission would state that loot boxes are a form of gambling, then we would have to adjust our criteria to that.

And for solidarity the UK games trade group Ukie agreed. Dr. Jo Twist of Ukie said

Loot boxes are already covered by and fully compliant with existing relevant UK regulations. The games sector has a history of open and constructive dialogue with regulators, ensuring that games fully comply with UK law and has already discussed similar issues as part of last year's Gambling Commission paper on virtual currencies, esports and social gaming.

Not everyone agrees though, a British parliamentarian gave a little push to the UK government by submitting the questions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she plans to take to help protect vulnerable adults and children from illegal gambling, in-game gambling and loot boxes within computer games.

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the effectiveness of the Isle of Man's enhanced protections against illegal and in-game gambling and loot boxes; and what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on adopting such protections in the UK.

It seems that the Isle of Mann already sees loot boxes as being liable to gambling controls.

Tracey Crouch, from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport responded in a statement, pointing out that definitions and protections already exist regarding loot boxes and other in-game currencies, referencing a paper published by the UK Gambling Commission earlier this year. She said:

Where items obtained in a computer game can be traded or exchanged outside the game platform they acquire a monetary value, and where facilities for gambling with such items are offered to consumers located in Britain a Gambling Commission licence is required. If no licence is held, the Commission uses a wide range of regulatory powers to take action.

So for the moment it seems that for the moment the status quo will be maintained, but in this age of cotton wool and snowflakes, I wouldn't bet on it.

 

  Impure thoughts...

TorrentFreak explains that VPN providers who log the IP addresses used by their customers leave their customers unprotected from the authorities


Link Here 17th October 2017
purevpn logoAfter several days of radio silence, VPN provider PureVPN has responded to criticism that it provided information which helped the FBI catch a cyberstalker. In a fairly lengthy post, the company reiterates that it never logs user activity. What it does do, however, is log both the real and assigned 'anonymous' IP addresses of users accessing its service.

In a fairly lengthy statement, PureVPN begins by confirming that it definitely doesn't log what websites a user views or what content he or she downloads. However, that's only half the problem. While it doesn't log user activity (what sites people visit or content they download), it does log the IP addresses that customers use to access the PureVPN service. These, given the right circumstances, can be matched to external activities thanks to logs carried by other web companies.

If for instance a user accesses a website of interest to the authorities, then that website, or various ISPs involved in the route can see the IP address doing the accessing. And if they look it up, they will find that it belongs to PureVPN. They would then ask PureVPN to identify the real IP address of the user who was assigned the observed PureVPN IP address at the time it was observed.

Now, if PureVPN carried no logs -- literally no logs -- it would not be able to help with this kind of inquiry. That was the case last year when the FBI approached Private Internet Access for information and the company was unable to assist .

But in this case, PureVPN does keep the records of who was assigned each IP address and when, and so the user can be readily identified (albeit with the help of the user's ISP too).

See the full explanation in the article from torrentfreak.com

TorrentFreak sums up:

It is for this reason that in TorrentFreak's annual summary of no-logging VPN providers , the very first question we ask every single company reads as follows:

Do you keep ANY logs which would allow you to match an IP-address and a time stamp to a user/users of your service? If so, what information do you hold and for how long?

Clearly, if a company says yes we log incoming IP addresses and associated timestamps, any claim to total user anonymity is ended right there and then.

While not completely useless (a logging service will still stop the prying eyes of ISPs and similar surveillance, while also defeating throttling and site-blocking), if you're a whistle-blower with a job or even your life to protect, this level of protection is entirely inadequate.

 

  Subtle progress...

Vietnam's first officially sanctioned nude photography exhibition


Link Here 16th October 2017
hao nhien exhibitVietnam's first ever licensed nude photography exhibition took place last month in Ho Chi Minh City. A collection of portraits was exhibited with the title Tao Tac , which translates loosely to subtle pieces making a whole when put together.

Hosted by the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association Headquarters, the show collated over four years of shoots, editing and planning by Vietnamese photographer Hao Nhien.

The most difficult step in organizing the exhibition, he says, was the process of preparing the bare content, but for many of his contemporaries the fact that he was able to lift the curtain on such content was an even greater achievement in Vietnam's highly censored context.

This is a sign that the door might be opening wider for similar events to be permitted, Hao Nhien's fellow photographer Nguyen A told local media. What makes me even happier is that Ho Chi Minh City [authorities] have taken the lead with such an open-minded decision.

 

  Cambodia bans Kingsman: The Golden Circle...

Denying Cambodia 'as a place where villains are based who make trouble for the world'...conveniently forgetting about Pol Pot


Link Here 13th October 2017
Poster Kingsman the Golden Circle 2017 Matthew Vaughn Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a 2017 UK / USA action comedy adventure by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth and Mark Strong. IMDb

When the Kingsman headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents' strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that's becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy...

Cambodia has banned the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle over its alleged negative portrayal of the country. Bok Borak, from the Ministry of Censorship Culture told The Phnom Penh Post that the film's clear reference to Cambodia as a place where villains are based and make trouble for the world as a major point of concern.

The film chronicles British and American spy organisations teaming up in search of the secret base of a drug lord. Once they find the base, which is a temple surrounded by jungles in Cambodia, a showdown between the two sides ensues.

 

  Copyright Isn't a Tool for Removing Negative Reviews...

EFF reports on a US court case an attempt to misuse copyright law to silence free speech and bad reviews


Link Here 13th October 2017

Electronic Frontier Foundation At EFF, we see endless attempts to misuse copyright law in order to silence content that a person dislikes. Copyright law is sadly less protective of speech than other speech regulations like defamation, so plaintiffs are motivated to find ways to turn many kinds of disputes into issues of copyright law. Yesterday, a federal appeals court rejected one such ploy: an attempt to use copyright to get rid of a negative review.

The website Ripoff Report hosts criticism of a variety of professionals and companies, who doubtless would prefer that those critiques not exist. In order to protect platforms for speech like Ripoff Report, federal law sets a very high bar for private litigants to collect damages or obtain censorship orders against them. The gaping exception to this protection is intellectual property claims, including copyright, for which a lesser protection applies.

One aggrieved professional named Goren (and his company) went to court to get a negative review taken down from Ripoff Report. If Goren had relied on a defamation claim alone, the strong protection of CDA 230 would protect Ripoff Report. But Goren sought to circumvent that protection by getting a court order seizing ownership of the copyright from its author for himself, then suing Ripoff Report's owner for copyright infringement. We filed a brief explaining several reasons why his claims should fail, and urging the court to prevent the use of copyright as a pretense for suppressing speech.

Fortunately, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit agreed that Ripoff Report is not liable. It ruled on a narrow basis, pointing out that the person who originally posted the review on Ripoff Report gave the site's owners irrevocable permission to host that content. Therefore, continuing to host it could not be an infringement, even if Goren did own the copyright.

Goren paid the price for his improper assertion of copyright here: the appeals court upheld an award of over $100,000 in attorneys' fees. The award of fees in a case like this is important both because it deters improper assertion of copyright, and because it helps compensate defendants who choose to litigate rather than settling for nuisance value simply to avoid the expense of defending their rights.

We're glad the First Circuit acted to limit the ways that private entities can censor speech online.

 

 Update: Virtually useless...

Egyptian ISPs block VPN traffic using deep packet inspection


Link Here 13th October 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Egypt...Egypt blocks political and porn websites
openvpn logoThis summer, the Egyptian government started to block access to news websites. At last count, it had blocked more than 400 websites. Realising that citizens are using Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to bypass such censorship, the government also started to block access to VPN websites.

In addition to this, ISPs have started using deep packet inspection (DPI) techniques in order to identify and block VPN traffic. Egypt blocked the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) VPN protocols in August. However, until now OpenVPN, worked fine. This allowed ordinary Egyptians to access the uncensored internet.

On 3 October, however, the situation changed. It was reported on reddit that Egypt has now blocked OpenVPN as well. It seems that ISPs are using DPI techniques to detect OpenVPN packets.

For more about circumventing this latest censorship see excellent article from bestvpn.com

 

 Extract: To those who lead a double life on social media, eg to keep a bar life separate to a family life...

Facebook seems to have developed a nasty capability to connect across their two lives, no matter how careful they are


Link Here 13th October 2017

Facebook logoLeila has two identities, but Facebook is only supposed to know about one of them.

Leila is a sex worker. She goes to great lengths to keep separate identities for ordinary life and for sex work, to avoid stigma, arrest, professional blowback, or clients who might be stalkers (or worse).

Her "real identity"--the public one, who lives in California, uses an academic email address, and posts about politics--joined Facebook in 2011. Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name. Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook's "People You May Know" recommendations, Leila (a name I'm using using in place of either of the names she uses) was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.

Despite the fact that she'd only given Facebook information from her vanilla identity, the company had somehow discerned her real-world connection to these people--and, even more horrifyingly, her account was potentially being presented to them as a friend suggestion too, outing her regular identity to them.

Because Facebook insists on concealing the methods and data it uses to link one user to another, Leila is not able to find out how the network exposed her or take steps to prevent it from happening again.

See the full article from gizmodo.com

Facebook denies it, but maybe the most obvious explanation is that Facebook is somehow inferring connections from the proximity of people's phones.

 

 Updated: If only people could be force fed with official propaganda news, all would be right with the world...

Karen Bradley proposes that social media companies should pay a new tax to fund a new propaganda education unit to warn of the dangers of non government approved internet content


Link Here 12th October 2017
karen bradleySocial media companies look set to be hit with a new tax to pay for schemes to raise people's awareness of the dangers of the internet and to tackle what the government considers their worst effects.

Web firms will have a chance to give their views on the levy being proposed by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley in a public consultation.

Among the options proposed in Bradley's internet safety green paper is an industry-wide levy so social media companies and service providers fund schemes that raise awareness and counter internet harms.

The Independent understands that the Government is interested to see what action the private sector takes first -- with a voluntary funded approach possible -- before imposing any new levy on firms.

Offsite Analysis: For the forthcoming 'Digital Charter'

12th October 2017 See  article from ispreview.co.uk

Broadly speaking the new paper , which will help to form a foundation for the Government's forthcoming Digital Charter , doesn't include much that would concern internet access (broadband) providers. Instead it appears to be predominantly focused upon internet content providers (e.g. social networks like Facebook).

For a good analysis of the Government's green paper See  article from ispreview.co.uk

 

  If only people could be force fed with official propaganda news, all would be right with the world...

Ofcom's Patricia Hodgson angles for powers to censor and control internet news distribution by the likes of Facebook and Google


Link Here 11th October 2017
patricia hodgsonThe chairman of the media censor Ofcom has said she believes internet businesses such as Google and Facebook are publishers, and so should be regulated by the state.

Patricia Hodgson also revealed that the board of Ofcom discussed how the internet could be regulated in the future at a strategy day last week, although she said this was ultimately a matter for the government.

Hodgson was speaking to MPs at a hearing of the digital, culture, media and sport committee. Asked about the rise of fake news and whether internet companies should face greater regulation, Hodgson said:

Those particular distribution systems [Facebook, Google, Twitter etc] are not within Ofcom's responsibility but we feel very strongly about the integrity of news in this country and we are totally supportive of steps that should and need to be taken to improve matters.

My personal view is I see this as an issue that is finally being grasped -- certainly within the EU, certainly within this country -- and to my amazement and interest, being asked in the United States as a result of the potential Russian scandals. My personal view is that they are publishers but that is only my personal view, that is not an Ofcom view. As I said, Ofcom is simply concerned about the integrity of news and very supportive of the debate and the steps that are being taken.

Theresa May's spokesman said Hodgson's comments were a matter for her as an independent regulator, but indicated that ministers were sympathetic.

Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, said she was wary of regulating internet companies. We feel strongly that the platforms as publishers have got more responsibility to ensure the right content, she said. I don't think it's a question of regulation, which I think has a fuzzy boundary with censorship, but I think we feel strongly that the platforms ought to be doing more to ensure their content can be trusted.

 

  The End Game for European Upload Filtering Approaches...

The EU is considering forcing websites to vet uploaded content for pirated material. Of course only the media giants have the capability to do this and so the smaller players would be killed (probably as intended)


Link Here 11th October 2017

european commission logoIf you've been following the slow progress of the European Commission's proposal to introduce new upload filtering mandates for Internet platforms , or its equally misguided plans to impose a new link tax on those who publish snippets from news stories, you should know that the end game is close at hand. The LIBE (Civil Liberties) Committee is the last committee of the European Parliament that is due to vote on its opinion on the so-called "Digital Single Market" proposals this Thursday October 5, before the proposals return to their home committee of the Parliament (the JURI or Legal Affairs Committee) for the preparation of a final draft.

The Confused Thinking Behind the Upload Filtering Mandate

The Commission's rationale for the upload filtering mandate seems to be that in order to address unwelcome behavior online (in this case, copyright infringement), you have to not only make that behavior illegal, but you also have to make it impossible . The same rationale also underpins other similar notice and stay-down schemes, such as one that already exists in Italy ; they are meant to stop would-be copyright infringement in its tracks by preventing presumptively-infringing material from being uploaded to begin with, thereby preventing it from being downloaded by anyone else.

But this kind of prior restraint on speech or behavior isn't commonly applied to citizens in any other area of their lives. You car isn't speed-limited so that it's impossible for you to exceed the speed limit. Neither does your telephone contain a bugging device that makes it impossible for you to slander your neighbor. Why is copyright treated so differently, that it requires not only that actual infringements be dealt with (Europe's existing DMCA-like notice and takedown system already provides for this), but that predicted future infringements also be prevented?

More importantly, what about the rights of those whose uploaded content is flagged as being copyright-infringing, when it really isn't? The European Commission's own research, in a commissioned report that they attempted to bury , suggests that the harm to copyright holders from copyright infringement is much less than has been often assumed. At the very least, this has to give us pause before adopting new extreme copyright enforcement measures that will impact users' human rights.

Even leaving aside the human impact of the upload filter, European policymakers should also be concerned about the impact of the mandate on small businesses and startups. A market-leading tool required to implement upload filtering just for audio files would cost a medium-sized file hosting company between $10,000 to $25,000 per month in license fees alone. In the name of copyright enforcement, European policymakers would give a market advantage to entrenched large companies at the expense of smaller local companies and startups.

The Link Tax Proposal is Also Confused

The link tax proposal is also based on a false premise. But if you are expecting some kind of doctrinally sound legal argument for why a new link-tax ought to inhere in news publishers, you will be sorely disappointed. Purely and simply, the proposal is founded on the premise that because news organizations are struggling to maintain their revenues in the post-millennial digital media space, and because Internet platforms are doing comparatively better, it is politically expedient that the latter industry be made to subsidize the former. There's nothing more coherent behind this proposal than that kind of base realpolitik.

But the proposal doesn't even work on that level. In fact, we agree that news publishers are struggling. We just don't think that taxing those who publish snippets of news articles will do anything to help them. Indeed, the fact that small news publishers have rejected the link tax proposal , and that previous implementations of the link tax in Spain and Germany were dismal failures , tells you all that you need to know about whether taxing links would really be good for journalism.

So as these two misguided and harmful proposals make their way through the LIBE committee this week, it's time to call an end to this nonsense. Digital rights group OpenMedia has launched a click-to-call tool that you can use, available in English , French , German , Spanish , and Polish . If you're a European citizen, the tool will call your representative on the LIBE committee, and if you don't have an MEP, it calls the committee chair, Claude Moraes. As the counter clicks closer to midnight on these regressive and cynical copyright measures, it's more important than ever for individual users like you to be heard.

Update: Delayed

11th October 2017. From OpenMedia

openmedia logo With only 48 hours notice we received word that the vote had been delayed. Why? The content censorship measures have become so controversial that MEPs decided that they needed more work to improve them, before they would be ready to go vote.

There's never been a better time to call your MEP about these rules. This week they are back in their offices and ready to start thinking with a fresh head. The delay means we have even more time to say no to content censorship, and no to the Link Tax. With so many people speaking up, it's clear our opponents are rattled. Now we must keep up the pressure.

Call your MEP now

 

  Score to settle? Give us a call...we'll send the boys round...

An online hate crime reporting centre is being set up so that easily offended people can order police action against their critics and mockers


Link Here 10th October 2017

police npcc logoHome Secretary Amber Rudd has announced a new national hub to tackle online hate crime.

It will be run by police officers for the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) with the aim of ensuring that online cases are managed effectively and efficiently.

The hub will receive complaints through Truevision, the police website for reporting hate crime, following which they will be assessed and assigned to the local force for investigation. Specialist officers will provide case management and support and advice to victims of online hate crime.

Its functions will include combining duplicate reports, trying to identify perpetrators, referring appropriate cases to online platforms hosting relevant content, providing evidence for local recording and response, and updating the complainant on progress. It will also provide intelligence to the National Intelligence Model, the police database that gathers intelligence on a range of crimes.

The Home Office said the hub will ensure all online cases are properly investigated and will help to increase prosecutions for online hate crimes. It should also simplify processes and help to prevent any duplication in investigations.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

The national online hate crime hub that we are funding is an important step to ensure more victims have the confidence to come forward and report the vile abuse to which they are being subjected.

The hub will also improve our understanding of the scale and nature of this despicable form of abuse. With the police, we will use this new intelligence to adapt our response so that even more victims are safeguarded and perpetrators punished.

The hub is expected to be operational before the end of the year.

 

 Update: An unbalanced complaint...

Ofcom clears an Al Jazeera documentary which revealed political plotting at the Israeli Embassy in London


Link Here 10th October 2017  full story: Al Jazeera censored in the Middle East...The Middle East doesn't like the balanced reportng of Al Jazeera
Ofcom logoQatar is under the cosh in the Middle East caught in a deadly pincer movement of a Saudi led coalition of Arab countries on one side and Israel on the other. All these countries object to Qatar's funding of the Al Jazeera news channel which provides seeming well balanced reporting across the region in both Arabic and English. Its seems that Qatar's neighbours would prefer the news to be dominated by their own, not quite so balanced, news networks, that are a little bit more sycophantic to their own interests.

So perhaps it was hardly surprising that an Al Jazeera documentary investigating the Isreali Embassy in London would be reported to Ofcom for supposed bias.

The UK TV censor Ofcom investigated Al Jazeera after receiving complaints about The Lobby , a four-part documentary investigating the political influence of the Israeli embassy in Britain.

The programme showed Shai Masot, an official in the Israeli embassy in London, saying he would take down MPs including Sir Alan Duncan , the Foreign Office minister who is an outspoken supporter of a Palestinian state. The Israeli ambassador subsequently apologised for the comments and Masot resigned.

Ofcom cleared al-Jazeera after concluding it did not make allegations in the documentary that were based on the grounds of individuals being Jewish and that it had included the view of the Israeli government in the programme. It ruled that al-Jazeera had not breached rule 2.3, which relates to offensive matter, and rule 5.5 with regards to impartiality. Ofcom said:

It was the view of some complainants that The Lobby fuelled harmful stereotypes about Jewish people controlling or seeking to control powerful organisations. These complainants considered this was antisemitic and offensive.

We considered that the allegations in the programme were not made on the grounds that any of the particular individuals concerned were Jewish and noted that no claims were made relating to their faith. We did not consider that the programme portrayed any negative stereotypes of Jewish people as controlling or seeking to control the media or governments. Rather, it was our view that these individuals featured in the programme in the context of its investigation into the alleged activities of a foreign state -- the state of Israel acting through its UK embassy -- and their association with it.

An al-Jazeera source welcomed the ruling, saying:

This goes to show that no matter what al-Jazeera's critics say, its journalism meets and exceeds the highest standards of objectivity and balance. We feel vindicated by the rulings and ever more committed to exposing human rights violations by anyone -- regardless of geography, religion, or the power of their lobbies.

 

  Inappropriate pasting...

Image of assassinated Russian diplomat cut from Batman: The Enemy Within video game


Link Here 10th October 2017
Telltale - Batman: The Enemy Within A photograph of assassinated Russian diplomat Andrei Karlov has been removed from the video game Batman: The Enemy Within , made by Telltale.

batman andrei karlovTelltale said it regretted the inclusion of the image of Karlov, who was shot dead at an art exhibition in Ankara in December 2016.

Telltale apologised in a statement and said the game had been updated to remove the picture across all platforms. The company said:

We regret this incident occurred, and we are taking appropriate action internally to ensure that we continue to maintain our high standards in production and quality assurance.

 

  The Propaganda Curtain...

As pressure on the Russian propaganda channel RT mounts, Russians speak of banning the US fake news channel, CNN


Link Here 9th October 2017
russia today international logoMoscow has warning the US that it may restrict US media in Russia. Russian officials have accused Washington of putting unwarranted pressure on the U.S. operations of Russia Today. A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said Russia was within its rights to restrict operations of U.S. media outlets in the country

A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said the full weight of the U.S. authorities was being brought to bear against RT's operations in the United States, and that Moscow had the right to respond.

 She did not identify any specific U.S. media outlets that would be targeted. She said it made no difference from the Russian government's point of view if those outlets were backed by the U.S. state, or privately-funded. However late last month, Russia's state TV censor accused U.S. TV channel CNN International of violating its license to broadcast in Russia and said it had summoned the broadcaster's representatives in connection with the matter.

 


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