In November of 2019, Tobias Schmid began a crusade to regulate some of porn's biggest players. Schmid , the director of the State Media Authority (LMA) of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia, wanted to enforce existing mandatory age laws on porn
sites like Pornhub, YouPorn, and xHamster. In practice, this would mean that all visitors to the sites would have to upload pictures of official IDs and risk the data falling into the hands of moralists and blackmailers.
Now, after an almost year long
legal scramble and porn sites refusing to back down, it looks like Schmid could get his way. After telecommunication providers like Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom refusing to voluntarily implement DNS blocks against a number of sites, including Pornhub,
YouPorn, and MyDirtyHobby, German authorities are now in the process of legally enforcing the bans.
Instagram has announced it will be introducing a new nudity policy this week, which will now allow pictures of women holding, cupping or wrapping their arms around their breasts.
Instagram said the change was prompted by a campaign by Nyome
Nicholas-Williams, a Black British plus-sized model, who had accused the Facebook-owned company of removing images showing her covering her breasts with her arms due to racial biases in its algorithm.
According to Thomson Reuters, Instagram
apologized last month to Nicholas-Williams and said it would update its policy, amid global concern over racism in technology following the global Black Lives Matter protests this year.
The Telegraph has reported on the current government thinking about its news internet censorship bill that it refers to as the Online Harms Bill.
Another update will be published after the US elections suggesting that the government's plans for
internet censorship are abound up in negotiations for a US trade deal and the amount of scope for censorship will depend on whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden is in charge.
The Online Harms Bill is set to require websites and apps with user
interaction to agree legally-binding terms and conditions that lock them into a rather vaguely define 'duty of care'.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden -- who has presented the plan to Number 10 with Home Secretary Priti Patel -- has pledged the
firms' codes to tackle content such as self-harm and eating disorders will have to be meaningful and vetted by the new internet censor Ofcom to ensure they are proper and effective.
The current proposals are thought to stop short of criminal
sanctions against the firms for breaches over legal but harmful content like self-harm videos, but named executives will be held accountable for companies' policies and face fines and disqualification for breaches. Criminal sanctions will be reserved for
illegal online material such as child abuse and terrorism.
The proposals, set out as a response to the consultation on last year's white paper , are expected to be published after the US elections, once agreed by the Prime Minister.
is expected to draft a tight duty of care bill early next year that will lay down the sanctions and investigative powers of the new regulator but leave the scope of the duty of care on legal harms to secondary legislation to be voted on by MPs.
Dragonfly Eyes is a novel written by Cao Wenxuan, a well-known Chinese author of children's and young adult books. The book was licensed for translation into German, but the original Chinese publisher was not happy with the translation and is
demanding small cuts and edits to show Chinese characters in the book in a better light.
The Chinese publisher told Nora Frisch, the German publisher of the translation, to take the book off the market pending edits.
Dragonfly Eyes tells the story
of a French woman married to a Shanghai entrepreneur. During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the woman - by then a grandmother -- is accused of being a spy. She is captured by the Red Guards paramilitary movement, who shave off her hair and parade
her through the streets. When infighting breaks out between various factions, she is able to escape.
The corrections which the Chinese publisher demanded from Frisch concerned a few passages in the last chapter. In the original version, the French
woman asks one of the Red Guards, an 18-year-old girl, to lend her a scarf so she can cover her head. In the revised version, it's the girl who offers the scarf to the old woman.
As Chinese authorities have begun paying more attention to how China
is perceived abroad in recent years, censorship has increased. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that he expects Chinese media and publishers to contribute to the country's soft power by telling China's story well.
The impact of this
policy recently became apparent in Germany, when Thalia, a large chain of bookstores, suddenly designated an unusual amount of shelf space to Chinese literature in some of its stores. Clients quickly noticed that the shelves lacked any literature
critical of the Communist Party. Instead, speeches by Xi Jinping were front and center.
Thalia later admitted that the display had been curated by China Book Trading, a German subsidiary of China International Publishing Group, which is owned by
the ruling Communist Party.
Moralist campaigners in the US have been pushing for computers and smart phones to be pre-loaded before sale with unspecified porn blocking software that can only be removed once users pay an unblocking fee.
But the campaigners haven't really done
much to specify how this idea could be implemented in practice. Now the proposal introduced by representative Susan Pulsipher has run into a wall of dissent in the Utah legislature at an interim committee hearing, and the idea was rejected without a
Pulsipher said the goal of her effort was to create another wall of defense to help protect children from the damaging impact of pornography and empower parents and legal guardians to limit a minor's exposure to such online harmful material.
But committee members balked at Pulsipher's approach, noting that it would be extremely difficult to identify which entity in the consumer electronics supply chain should be held liable for ensuring that software was activated.
Bramble, R-Provo, pointed out that Pulsipher's proposal failed to identify whether the responsible party was the manufacturer, the company that distributed the product, or the store or reseller that sold the product to the consumer.
she appreciated the opportunity to field the concerns of committee members and promised to work on revising the bill in time for further consideration in the next interim session. But Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert said he was unlikely to end up a
supporter of the effort, regardless of what changes Pulsipher came back with.
Australia's eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant has rejected the practicality of a know your customer-type ID verification requirement for social media companies to ensure the age of their users.
Addressing Senate Inman-Grant said such a regime
works in the banking industry as it has been heavily regulated for many years, particularly around anti-money laundering:
It would be very challenging, I would think, for Facebook for example to re-identify -- or
identify -- its 2.7 billion users, she said. How do they practically go back and do that and part of this has to do with how the internet is architected.
While she admitted it was not impossible, she said it would create a range of
other issues and that removing the ability for anonymity or to use a pseudonym is unlikely to deter cyberbullying and the like. Similarly, she said, if the social media sites were to implement a real names policy, it wouldn't be effective given the way
the systems are set up. She added:
I would also suspect there would be huge civil libertarian pushback in the US.
I think there are incremental steps we could make, I think totally getting rid
of anonymity or even [the use of] pseudonyms on the internet is going to be a very hard thing to achieve.
I want to be pragmatic here about what's in the realm of the possible, it would be great if everyone had a name tag online
so they couldn't do things without [consequence].
Ofcom has published its burdensome censorship rules that will apply to video sharing platforms that are stupid enough to be based in the UK. In particular the rules are quite vague about age verification requirements for the two adult video sharing sites
that remain in the UK. Maybe Ofcom is a bit shy about requiring onerous and unviable red tape of British companies trying to compete with large numbers of foreign companies that operate with a massive commercial advantage of not having age verification.
Ofcom do however note that these censorship rules are a stop gap until a wider scoped 'online harms' censorship regime which will start up in the next couple of years.
(VSPs) are a type of online video service which allows users to upload and share videos with members of the public.
From 1 November 2020, UK-established VSPs will be required to comply with new rules around protecting users from
The main purpose of the new regulatory regime is to protect consumers who engage with VSPs from the risk of viewing harmful content. Providers must have appropriate measures in place to protect minors from content
which might impair their physical, mental or moral development; and to protect the general public from criminal content and material likely to incite violence or hatred.
Ofcom has published a short guide outlining the new
statutory requirements on providers. The guide is intended to assist platforms to determine whether they fall in scope of the new regime and to understand what providers need to do to ensure their services are compliant.
also explains how Ofcom expects to approach its new duties in the period leading up to the publication of further guidance on the risk of harms and appropriate measures, which we will consult on in early 2021.
Ofcom will also be
consulting on guidance on scope and jurisdiction later in 2020. VSP providers will be required to notify their services to Ofcom from 6 April 2021 and we expect to have the final guidance in place ahead of this time.
The Christian moralist campaign group One Million Moms has taken issue with woke advertising for Oreo biscuits. The group writes:
Oreo and parent company, Mondelez International, have begun airing a gay pride commercial which has
absolutely nothing to do with selling cookies. Mondelez International is attempting to normalize the LGBTQ lifestyle by using their commercials, such as the most recent Oreo ad featuring a lesbian couple, to brainwash children and adults alike by
The ad has a daughter going home to see her family and brings her lesbian lover with her. The commercial focuses on the mother approving of her daughter's girlfriend, but the father is hesitant and has
reservations. He later has a change of heart and even displays his acceptance of her lifestyle by painting his picket fence in rainbow colors to further show his approval. The advertisement ends with: A loving world starts with a loving home. Followed
by: Show you're a proud parent #PROUDPARENT. And the final statement: In collaboration with PFLAG. Oreoproudparent.com.
PFLAG is the United States' first and largest organization uniting parents, families, and allies with people
who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. PFLAG National is the national organization, which provides support to the PFLAG network of over 400 local chapters. Founded in New York City, New York, with their headquarters based in Washington,
D.C., PFLAG is the most visible group showing support for LGBTQ youth and acceptance of this lifestyle.
When we purchase Mondelez International products then we are helping fund and support PFLAG. In 2011, the popular snack-food
company Nabisco became known as Mondelez International. Its most popular brands in the United States are Oreo, belVita, Chips Ahoy!, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Honey Maid, Halls, Philadelphia, Ritz, Sour Patch Kids, Triscuit, Trident gum, and Wheat Thins.