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What have Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Cambridge Analytica clients got in common?...

They deserve and need investigating...but Aaron Banks' wallet says otherwise


Link Here 21st July 2019
The businessman Arron Banks and the unofficial Brexit campaign Leave.EU have issued a legal threat against streaming giant Netflix in relation to The Great Hack, a new documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the abuse of personal data.

The threat comes as press freedom campaigners and charity groups warn the government in an open letter that UK courts are being used to intimidate and silence journalists working in the public interest.

In a joint letter to key cabinet members, they call for new legislation to stop vexatious lawsuits, highlighting one filed last week by Banks against campaigning journalist Carole Cadwalladr. The letter says:

Following the recent global conference on media freedom held in London by the UK government, we write to draw your attention to what appears to be a growing trend to use strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPP) lawsuits as a means of intimidating and silencing journalists working in the public interest.

Such legal threats are designed to inhibit ongoing investigations, and prevent legitimate public interest reporting. Abuse of defamation law, including through SLAPP lawsuits, has become a serious threat to press freedom and advocacy rights in a number of countries, including the UK.

Fears have been expressed in the UK and abroad, and by the European parliament that this legal tactic was being deployed against the murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who at the time of her death in October 2017 was subject to 42 civil libel suits against her, many of which were brought through UK-based law firms, acting for foreign banks and wealthy individuals. Twenty-seven of these vexatious lawsuits remain open more than 21 months after her assassination. A range of other Maltese media have faced threats of similar suits, including investigative outlet the Shift News.

Numerous legal and online threats have been made against Carole Cadwalladr, whose journalism for the Observer and a range of other publications has stimulated a global debate about the power of online platforms to influence the behaviour of citizens, and raised important questions about the regulation of digital technology.

The legal claim against Ms Cadwalladr, issued on 12 July by lawyers acting for Arron Banks, is another example of a wealthy individual appearing to abuse the law in an attempt to silence a journalist and distract from these issues being discussed by politicians, the media and the public at a critical time in the life of our democracy.

The increasing deployment of what appear to be SLAPP lawsuits in the UK poses a threat to media freedom and public interest advocacy, and demands a robust response. We believe that new legislation should be considered to prevent the abuse of defamation law to silence public interest investigative reporting. We also urge you to take a clear public stance condemning such practices and supporting investigative journalism and independent media.

We urge you to address this issue as a matter of priority. Action has been discussed within the institutions of the European Union, but it is important that the government makes clear that the UK remains a country that welcomes and celebrates the role and value of independent public interest reporting.

Paul Webster, editor, the Observer, Rebecca Vincent, UK bureau director, Reporters Without Borders, Jodie Ginsberg, CEO, Index on Censorship, John Sauven, executive director, Greenpeace UK, Thomas Hughes, executive director, Article 19, Carles Torner, executive director, PEN International, Carl MacDougall, president, Scottish PEN, Summer Lopez, senior director of Free Expression Programs, PEN America, Tom Gibson, EU representative, Committee to Protect Journalists, Flutura Kusari, legal adviser, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, Scott Griffen, deputy director, International Press Institute, Caroline Muscat, co-founder and editor, the Shift News, Dr Justin Borg-Barthet, senior lecturer, University of Aberdeen School of Law, Matthew Caruana Galizia, director, Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Paul Caruana Galizia, finance editor, Tortoise, Corinne Vella, sister of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Andrew Caruana Galizia, son of Daphne Caruana Galizia

See details of The Great Hack from theguardian.com

 

 

Updated: Not so incognito as you may expect...

Porn sites are tracking and snooping on users, and for some, their browsing may be classified as contrary to their public life.


Link Here 20th July 2019

Elena Maris of Microsoft Research, Timothy Libert Carnegie Mellon University, and Jennifer Henrichsen University of Pennsylvania have penned a study examining tracking technologies from the likes of Google and Facebook that are incorporated into re world's porn websites. They write:

This paper explores tracking and privacy risks on pornography websites. Our analysis of 22,484 pornography websites indicated that 93% leak user data to a third party. Tracking on these sites is highly concentrated by a handful of major companies, which we identify [Google and Facebook].

Our content analysis of the sample's domains indicated 44.97% of them expose or suggest a specific gender/sexual identity or interest likely to be linked to the user. We identify three core implications of the quantitative results:

  • 1) the unique/elevated risks of porn data leakage versus other types of data,

  • 2) the particular risks/impact for vulnerable populations, and

  • 3) the complications of providing consent for porn site users and the need for affirmative consent in these online sexual interactions

The authors describe the problem:

One evening, Jack decides to view porn on his laptop. He enables incognito mode in his browser, assuming his actions are now private. He pulls up a site and scrolls past a small link to a privacy policy. Assuming a site with a privacy policy will protect his personal information, Jack clicks on a video. What Jack does not know is that incognito mode only ensures his browsing history is not stored on his computer. The sites he visits, as well as any third-party trackers, may observe and record his online actions. These third-parties may even infer Jack's sexual interests from the URLs of the sites he accesses. They might also use what they have decided about these interests for marketing or building a consumer profile. They may even sell the data. Jack has no idea these third-party data transfers are occurring as he browses videos.

The Authors are a bit PC and seem obsessed about trying to relate cookie consent with sexual consent but finally cnclude:

Through our results and connections to past porn site privacy and security breaches and controversies, we demonstrate that the singularity of porn data and the characteristics of typical porn websites' lax security measures mean this leakiness poses a unique and elevated threat. We have argued everyone is at risk when such data is accessible without users' consent, and thus can potentially be leveraged against them by malicious agents acting on moralistic claims of normative gender or sexuality. These risks are heightened for vulnerable populations whose porn usage might be classified as non-normative or contrary to their public life.

The authors seemed to think the porn sites are somehow ethical and should be doing the 'right' thing.  But in reality they are just trying to make money like everyone else and as they say, if the product is free the your data is the payment. But as the report points out, that price may be a prove a little higher than expected.

Update: An unconvincing denial from Google

20th July 2019. See article from avn.com

AVN notes that Google responded to the claims in a rather obtuse way. Google on Thursday attempted to deny the study's findings, as quoted by The Daily Mail newspaper.

We don't allow Google Ads on websites with adult content and we prohibit personalized advertising and advertising profiles based on a user's sexual interests or related activities online, the company said. Additionally, tags for our ad services are never allowed to transmit personally identifiable information.

The study, however, did not allege that Google had placed actual advertisements from its GoogleAds network on porn sites, and in its elliptical statement, Google did not specifically deny that its tracking code is embedded on thousands of adult sites.

In related news Google has also announced changes to incognito mode on its Chrome browser to make it just a little more incognito.

Chrome's Incognito Mode is based on the principle that you should have the choice to browse the web privately. At the end of July, Chrome will remedy a loophole that has allowed sites to detect people who are browsing in Incognito Mode.

People choose to browse the web privately for many reasons. Some wish to protect their privacy on shared or borrowed devices, or to exclude certain activities from their browsing histories. In situations such as political oppression or domestic abuse, people may have important safety reasons for concealing their web activity and their use of private browsing features.

We want you to be able to access the web privately, with the assurance that your choice to do so is private as well.

Google also noted a useful bit of info on evading article count restrictions imposed by some publishers with metered access policies

Today, some sites use an unintended loophole to detect when people are browsing in Incognito Mode. Chrome's FileSystem API is disabled in Incognito Mode to avoid leaving traces of activity on someone's device. Sites can check for the availability of the FileSystem API and, if they receive an error message, determine that a private session is occurring and give the user a different [more restricted] experience.

With the release of Chrome 76 scheduled for July 30, the behavior of the FileSystem API will be modified to remedy this method of Incognito Mode detection.

The change will affect sites that use the FileSystem API to intercept Incognito Mode sessions and require people to log in or switch to normal browsing mode, on the assumption that these individuals are attempting to circumvent metered paywalls.

Unlike hard paywalls or registration walls, which require people to log in to view any content, meters offer a number of free articles before you must log in. This model is inherently porous, as it relies on a site's ability to track the number of free articles someone has viewed, typically using cookies. Private browsing modes are one of several tactics people use to manage their cookies and thereby reset the meter count.

Of course it is probably a bit easier to find an addon that lets you block or delete the cookies for specific websites or else to try just turning javascript off.

 

 

Offsite Article: UK YouTube head hypocritically speaks out against proposed government censorship...


Link Here 20th July 2019
Full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
YouTube does not want government censors to silence people the government doesn't like, whilst YouTube actively censors people it does not like, especially those on the right

See article from reclaimthenet.org

 

 

Offsite Article: Don't Let Encrypted Messaging Become a Hollow Promise...


Link Here 20th July 2019
Full story: Internet Encryption...Encryption, essential for security but givernments don't see it that way
The EFF publishes a technical discussion on how the authorities are circumventing encryption used by messaging services

See article from eff.org

 

 

Brexit has its upsides...

The EU seeks to extend and centralise internet censorship across the EU


Link Here 19th July 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
According to a leaked EU internet censorship document obtained by Netzpolitik, a German blog, the European Commission (EC) is now preparing a new Digital Services Act to unify and extend internet censorship across the EU.

The proposals are partially to address eCommerce controls required to keep up with technological changes, but it also addresses more traditional censorship to control 'fake news' political ideas it does not like and 'hate speech'.

The new rules cover a wider remit of internet companies covering all digital services, and that means anything from ISPs, cloud hosting, social media, search engines, ad services, to collaborative economy services (Uber, AirBnB etc).

The censorship regime envisaged does not quite extend to a general obligation for companies to censor everything being uploaded, but it goes way beyond current censorship processes. Much of the report is about unifying the rules for takedown of content.

The paper takes some of the ideas from the UK Online Harms whitepaper and sees requirements to extend censorship from illegal content to legal-but-harmful content.

The authors perceive that unifying censorship rules for all EU countries as some sort of simplification for EU companies, but as always ever more rules just advantages the biggest companies, which are unfortunately for the EU, American. Eg requiring AI filtering of content is a technology very much in the control of the richest and most advanced companies, ie the likes of Google.

Actually the EU paper does acknowledge that EU policies have in the past advantaged US companies. The paper also notes unease at the way that European censorship decisions, eg the right to be forgotten, have become something implemented by the American giants.

 

 

Instacensor...

Instagram adds another reason to ban users but promises better warnings of impending censorship and also a better appeal process


Link Here 19th July 2019
Full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo sharing website gets heavy on the censorship
Instagram explains in a blog post:

Under our existing policy, we disable accounts that have a certain percentage of violating content. We are now rolling out a new policy where, in addition to removing accounts with a certain percentage of violating content, we will also remove accounts with a certain number of violations within a window of time. Similarly to how policies are enforced on Facebook , this change will allow us to enforce our policies more consistently and hold people accountable for what they post on Instagram.

We are also introducing a new notification process to help people understand if their account is at risk of being disabled. This notification will also offer the opportunity to appeal content deleted. To start, appeals will be available for content deleted for violations of our nudity and pornography, bullying and harassment, hate speech, drug sales, and counter-terrorism policies, but we'll be expanding appeals in the coming months. If content is found to be removed in error, we will restore the post and remove the violation from the account's record. We've always given people the option to appeal disabled accounts through our Help Center , and in the next few months, we'll bring this experience directly within Instagram.

 

 

Negligent UK lawmakers devised an age verification scheme with no data protection for porn users...

Now it appears that users who try to protect themselves with VPNs may be unknowingly handing their browsing data over to the Chinese government


Link Here 17th July 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

ICO's Data Protection Training
The Pavlov Method
 
nodding dog
 ☑  Yes I won't read this message. and yes you can do what the fuck you like with my porn browsing data
 ☑  Yes please do, I waiver all my GDPR rights
 ☑  Yes I won't read this message. and yes, feel free to blackmail me
 ☑  Yes you can do anything you like 'to make my viewing experience better'
 ☑  Yes, no need to ask, I'll tick anything
With callous disregard for the safety of porn users, negligent lawmakers devised an age verification scheme with no effective protection of porn users' identity and porn browsing history.

The Government considered that GDPR requirements, where internet users are trainer to blindly tick a box to give consent to the internet companies doing what the fuck they like with your data. Now internet users are well conditioned like Pavlov's dog to tick the hundreds of tick boxes they are presented with daily. And of course nobody ever reads what they are consenting to, life's too short.

After a while the government realised that the total lack of data protection for porn users may actually prevent their scheme form getting off the ground, as porn users simply would refuse to get age verified. This would result in bankrupt AV companies and perverse disinsentives for porn websites. Those that implement AV would then experience a devastating drop off in traffic and those that refuse age verification would be advantaged.

So the government commissioned a voluntary kitemark scheme for AV companies to try and demonstrate to auditors that they keep porn identity and browsing history safely. But really the government couldn't let go of its own surveillance requirements to keep the browsing history of porn users. Eventually some AV companies won the right to have a scheme that did not log people's browsing history, but most still do maintain a log (justified as 'fraud protection' in the BBFC kitemark scheme description).

well Now it appears that those that try to avoid the dangers of AV via VPNs may be not s safe as they would hope. The Henry Jackson Society has been researching the VPN industry and has found that 30% of VPNs are owned by Chinese companies that have direct data paths to the Chinese government.

Surely this will have extreme security issues as privately porn using people could then be set up for blackmail or pressure from the Chinese authorities.

The government needs to put an end to the current AV scheme and go back to the drawing board. It needs to try again, this time with absolute legal requirements to immediately delete porn users identity data and to totally ban the retention of browsing logs.

Anyway, the Henry Jackson Society explains its latest revelations:

Chinese spies could exploit Government's new porn laws to gather compromising material on businessmen, civil servants and public figures, say think tanks.

They say Chinese firms have quietly cornered the market in technology that enables people to access porn sites without having to register their personal details with age verification firms or buy an age ID card in a newsagent.

The new law require those accessing porn sites to prove they are 18 but the checks and registration can be by-passed by signing up to a Virtual Private Network (VPNs). These anonymise the location of a computer by routing its traffic through a server based at remote locations.

It has now emerged through an investigation by security experts that many of the VPNs are secretly controlled by Chinese owned firms 203 as many as 30% of the networks worldwide.

It means that a VPN users' viewing habits and data can not only be legally requested by the Chinese Government under its lax privacy laws but the VPNs could themselves also be state-controlled, according to the Adam Smith Institute and Henry Jackson Society.

Sam Armstrong, spokesman for the Henry Jackson Society, said:

A list of billions of late-night website visits of civil servants, diplomats, and politicians could 203 in the wrong hands -- amount to the largest-ever kompromat file compiled on British individuals.

Those in sensitive jobs are precisely the types of individuals who would seek to use a VPN to circumvent the trip to the newsagent to buy a porn pass.

Yet, the opaque ownership of these VPNs by Chinese firms means there is a real likelihood any browsing going through them could fall into the hands of Chinese intelligence.

 

 

Switch to Swtich...

Another example of game censored by Sony but uncensored by Nintendo


Link Here 16th July 2019
Nintendo has made it very clear that they won't be stepping in to ask developers/publishers to censor content on their platforms. They'll leave the content monitoring to game rating organizations, as Nintendo believes those organizations will do their job and rate games appropriately.

The latest example of Nintendo's hands-off approach is Raspberry Cube in Japan. The PS4 version of the game is cut has been rated CERO C, while the Switch version is uncut had has a higher CERO D rating (17+)

 

 

Updated: Devotion to censorship...

Extreme punishment for a Taiwan games company that included the Winnie the Pooh meme in a game


Link Here 16th July 2019
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
Back in February Kotaku UK reported on a game called Devotion disappearing from Steam , following the discovery of a piece of in-game art that mocked Chinese president Xi Jinping. We checked back in May, and the game had not reappeared .

The Chinese Communist Party, world-famous for its sense of humour, has now decided that merely disappearing this game was not enough. Now it has revoked the business license of one of the game's publishers, Indievent.

Without a business license, you cannot legally operate in China. So that's that for Indievent. worldwide. Devotion was developed by the Taiwanese studio Red Candle, but of course the Chinese market is essential for its economic viability.

And of course another point of this extreme censorship is that it sends a message to game publishers worldwide. Now doubt most of them have an eye on the possibility of sales to China.

Update: Snuffed out

16th July 2019. See article from dailydot.com

It seems that Devotion has been totally sunk by the Winnie the Pooh incident. Red Candle Gamessaid in a statement:

For the past four months, the art asset incident related to Devotion has caused immeasurable harm to Red Candle Games and our partner, (Chinese publisher Indievent),

While mediation is still in progress, Red Candle's co-founders have reached a unanimous decision to not re-release 'Devotion' in the near term, including but not limited to obtaining profit from sales, revision, IP authorization, etc. to prevent unnecessary misconception.

The studio extended its apologies to all impacted teams and personnel, and is taking full responsibility for any and all losses.

 

 

Commented: YouTube speaks out against the censorship proposed in the Online Harms white paper...

YouTube is reluctant to censor drill music videos


Link Here 16th July 2019
Full story: Drill Music...Drill music videos banned by UK police
Ben McOwen Wilson the head of YouTube UK said that the website not remove drill music videos from the platform saying that they provide a place for those too often without a voice.

He Said that YouTube must work with government and regulators to find a balance on removing content.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, McOwen Wilson had a knock at the vague government internet censorship plan outline in the Online Harms white paper. He said it was right that anything which is illegal offline should not be permitted online, but added that deciding when to remove videos which were legal but could be considered potentially harmful was a greater issue facing the tech industry.  He said:

Drawing a line on content that should be removed isn't always clear. For example, as communities are working to address the issue of gang violence, we too find ourselves developing the right way to play our part.

While some have argued there is no place for drill music on YouTube, we believe we can help provide a place for those too often without a voice.

To strike this balance, we work with the Metropolitan Police, community groups and experts to understand local context and take action where needed.

Offsite Comment: YouTube is right to defend drill

The British state's war on rappers is authoritarian and racist.

16th July 2019. See article from spiked-online.com by Jason Reed

 

 

Today's the day when porn internet censorship was to have begun...

Margot James apologises for the delay whilst the Open Rights Group points out the scheme is still not safe for porn viewers


Link Here 15th July 2019
Full story: BBFC Internet Porn Censors...BBFC: Age Verification We Don't Trust

ICO's Data Protection Training
The Pavlov Method
 
nodding dog
 ☑  Yes I won't read this message. and yes you can do what the fuck you like with my porn browsing data
 ☑  Yes please do, I waiver all my GDPR rights
 ☑  Yes I won't read this message. and yes, feel free to blackmail me
 ☑  Yes you can do anything you like 'to make my viewing experience better'
 ☑  Yes, no need to ask, I'll tick anything

Digital Minister Margot James has apologised for the six-month delay on the so-called porn block, which had been due to take effect today (16th July). It is designed to force pornography websites to verify users are over 18.

But the law has been delayed twice - most recently because the UK government failed to properly notify European regulators. James told the BBC:

I'm extremely sorry that there has been a delay. I know it sounds incompetent. Mistakes do happen, and I'm terribly sorry that it happened in such an important area,

Of course the fundamental mistake is that the incompetent lawmakers cared only about 'protecting the children' and gave bugger all consideration to the resulting endangerment of the adults visiting porn sites.

It took the government months, but it finally started to dawn on them that perhaps they should do something to protect the identity data that they are forcing porn users to hand over that can then be pinned to their porn browsing history. They probably still didn't care about porn users but perhaps realised that the scheme would not get of the ground if it proved so toxic that no one would ever sign up for age verification at all.

Well as a belated after thought the government, BBFC and ICO went away to dream up a few standards that perhaps the age verifiers ought to be sticking to try and ensure that data is being kept safe.

So then the whole law ended up as a bag of worms. The authorities now realise that there should be level of data protection, but unfortunately this is not actually backed up by the law that was actually passed. So now the data protection standards suggested by the government/BBFC/ICO are only voluntary and there remains nothing in law to require the data actually be kept safe. And there is no recourse against anyone who ends up exploiting people's data.

The Open Rights Group have just written an open letter to the government to ask that government to change their flawed law and actually require that porn users' data is kept properly safe:

The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Re: BBFC Age Verification Privacy Certification Scheme

Dear Secretary of State,

We write to ask you to legislate without delay to place a statutory requirement on the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to make their privacy certification scheme for age verification providers mandatory. Legislation is also needed to grant the BBFC powers to require compliance reports and penalise non-compliant providers.

As presently constituted, the BBFC certification scheme will be a disaster. Our analysis report, attached, shows that rather than setting out objective privacy safeguards to which companies must adhere, the scheme allows companies to set their own rules and then demonstrate that these are being followed. There are no penalties for providers which sign up to the standard and then fail to meet its requirements.

The broadly-drafted, voluntary scheme encourages a race to the bottom on privacy protection. It provides no consistent guarantees for consumers about how their personal data will be safeguarded and puts millions of British citizens at serious risk of fraud, blackmail or devastating sexual exposure.

The BBFC standard was only published in April. Some age verification providers have admitted that they are not ready. Others have stated that for commercial reasons they will not engage with the scheme. This means that the bureaucratic delay to age verification's roll-out can now be turned to advantage. The Government needs to use this delay to introduce legislation, or at the least issue guidance under section 27 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, that will ensure the privacy and security of online users is protected.

We welcome the opportunity to bring this issue to your attention and await your response.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Killock Executive Director Open Rights Group

 

 

Nationalists call for a ban on anti-national messaging...

India's ruling party resurrects its call to ban the short video app TikTok


Link Here 15th July 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
Short video-sharing app TikTok came into the spotlight in India in the spring of this year. The app was accused of facilitating the distribution of pornography.

The app was banned for a while but was restored after it introduced a minimum age of at least 13 for new accounts. It also implemented automatic censorship tools that detected and blocked nudity.

Now the app has reappeared in the spotlight. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of the Indian ruling party Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has again called for video sharing site TikTok to be banned in India. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the SJM said:

To prevent such applications from operating in India, we would humbly request the creation of a new law that requires testing and also regulation to protect our national security as well as the privacy of Indian users from countries with inimical interests to India. Until such a law is notified, all such Chinese applications, including TikTok and Helo should be banned by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In recent weeks, TikTok has become a hub for anti-national content that is being shared extensively on the application. We have been notified of videos advocating views that promote religious violence, anti-Harijan sentiments, and mistreatment of women. There have also been various instances of deaths being caused due to TikTok across India.

The essence seems to be that if people are going to communicate with anti state ideas then they could at least use an Indian app rather than a Chinese one.

 

 

Harmless fun...

Anti-smoking campaigners persuade video game developer to drop all smoking from Gears 5


Link Here 14th July 2019
Full story: Smoking in the Media...Ludicrous calls fo an adult rating for films with smoking
Gears 5 , the forthcoming installment in the Gears of Wars third-person shooter game franchise, will be set in a smoking free environment.

The game, set for Sept. 10 release, comes from Xbox Game Studios and game developer The Coalition. The decision to remove all smoking references from Gears 5 came after the anti-smoking campaigners from Truth Initiative approached media company Turner has broadcast rights to the title, about making the change. Turner collaborated with The Coalition to strip out smoking from the game.

Past Gears of War titles have included occasional scenes with tobacco use, with certain characters holding cigarettes or cigars.

Of course, Gears 5 still includes a ton of shooting and, arguably, glorifies violence. The game is rated M (for audiences 17+) for blood and gore, strong language and intense violence.

 

 

Offsite Article: Revealed: Top-Secret User Manual for Cops' surveillance and tracking database app...


Link Here 14th July 2019
Motherboard obtained a Palantir user manual through a public records request, and it gives unprecedented insight into how the company logs and tracks individuals.

See article from vice.com

 

 

Jordan is addicted to censorship...

Jordan's game censors ban PlayerUnknown's Battleground and six other games are set to follow


Link Here 12th July 2019
PlayerUnknown's Battleground is a 2017 South Korea Battle Royale by PUBG Corporation

Jordan's game censors at the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) have banned PUBG.

A statement claimed that the action came after a wave of complaints from citizens and authorities alike. However, the TRC said one of its main reasons for implementing the ban was a World Health Organization study that classified PUBG as a violent game leading to addiction and social isolation, further stating that children who play violent games are more violent than their peers.

Director of Beneficiaries Affairs at the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), Eng. Mohammad AlWathiq Shaqrah, revealed that after PUBG game was banned in Jordan, the TRC is planning to ban six other video games. He said that Fortnite is one of the games expected to be banned.

 

 

Offsite Article: An always on home microphone is always going to be too tempting for snoops and spooks...


Link Here 12th July 2019
Belgian researchers reveal recordings from Google's home assistant that are clearly not activated by an 'OK Google'

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 

Twitter bans the clergy from tweeting about their flock...

Twitter has updated its rules and will now ban tweets dehumanising religious groups to animals


Link Here 11th July 2019
Twitter has blogged about its recent censorship rules update:

Our primary focus is on addressing the risks of offline harm, and research shows that dehumanizing language increases that risk. As a result, after months of conversations and feedback from the public, external experts and our own teams, we're expanding our rules against hateful conduct to include language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion.

Starting today, we will require Tweets like these to be removed from Twitter when they're reported to us:

Religious groups are viruses. They are making this country sick.

It is always one of the unintended consequences of censorship is that it often applies most to those that are supposed to be in need of protection. Eg religious groups are the ones that are most likely to be pulled up for hate directed at other religious groups.

So will Twitter ban such bible quotes as:

But [Moses] made his own people go out like sheep -- Distinguishing between them and the Egyptians, as a shepherd divideth between the sheep and the goats, having set his own mark upon these sheep, by the blood of the Lamb sprinkled on their door-posts. And they went forth as sheep, not knowing whither they went. And guided them in the wilderness -- As a shepherd guides his flock.

(Psalm 78:52-54)

 

 

Ethical censorship...

Danish education minister proposes the establishment of a censor board for influencers on social media


Link Here 11th July 2019

Denmark is considering the censorship of social media after an Instagram influencer's suicide note kicked off a controversy.

Instagram personality Fie Laursen posted a suicide note which received 30,000 comments and 8,000 likes. The public suicide note remained online for two days before Laursen herself took it down, having received treatment in a local hospital for an attempted overdose.

In the aftermath, Danish Minister of Children and Education Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil has proposed that influencers and bloggers must adhere to press based rules to avoid 'harm' to the wider public. Rosenkrantz-Theil said:

All journalists are familiar with the press ethics rules that, for example, that one must be careful about talking about suicide in the public space. When managing popular blogs with hundreds of thousands of followers, I think we can make the same demands.

Rosenkrantz-Theil proposes the formation of a governmental censorship board to enforce such rules which would be granted the authority to remove material in breach of whatever guidelines were created. The politician also outlined a scenario whereby the influencers would have to designate three people to have the password for their accounts. These people can then remove a post if they believe it violates the press ethics.

The proposed Press Board would be afforded the right to criticize and ultimately, to censor, offending posts that broke any potential ethical guidelines. The censor's remit would be limited to those influencers with more than 5,000 followers.

 

 

Offsite Article: Who Has the Most Censored Internet?...


Link Here 9th July 2019
After China and North Korea...obviously...

See article from gizmodo.com

 

 

Die Kasseler Liste...

Canadian professor compiles an international database of banned books


Link Here 8th July 2019
A list of banned books is over 118,000 titles long and it's constantly growing, according to a professor from the University of British Collumbia.

Professor Florian Gassner is the co-leader of a project to compile a digital list of censored books that is publicly available and searchable.

The project is called Die Kasseler Liste and it was inspired by an art installation in Germany that recreated the Parthenon using banned books.

Gassner says the first hurdle he and his team of students team had to overcome was deciding what constitutes censorship. They decided to include titles banned by governments as well as books that were taken off the shelves of public institutions -- like schools and libraries -- after public pressure.

Gassner says government censorship is still a reality in countries like China, Russia, and Nigeria. He doesn't mention the current trend for banning books in the west on grounds of political correctness.

Gassner also wants people to understand that censorship goes beyond book-banning; it limits what can be written in the first place.

 

 

Vice nannies join the intimacy supervisors at Netflix...

Netflix vows to stub out smoking in its productions


Link Here 8th July 2019
Full story: Smoking in the Media...Ludicrous calls fo an adult rating for films with smoking
From chain-smoking time traveller Nadia in Russian Doll , to frazzled single mom Joyce Byers rarely seen without a pack in her shaking hands in Stranger Things , Netflix's characters love to smoke. But that looks set to change.

Anti smoking campaigners, the Truth Initiative, published campaign material noting that Stranger Things was among the programs that showed most smoking on screen. Other series that featured were Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Orange Is The New Black.

Netflix is now vowing to curtail the appearance of cigarettes on screen in all its new projects. In a statement to Variety, Netflix pledged to make all their programming aimed at young people -- anything with a rating below PG-13 or TV-14 -- smoking and e-cigarette free, except for reasons of historical and factual accuracy. Meanwhile, for their content aimed at older viewers, there will be no smoking or e-cigarette use unless it's either essential or character-defining.

 

 

Offsite Article: Drawing a straight line...


Link Here 8th July 2019
Amazon removes books about gay conversion therapy and videos about anti-vaxx. Where should we draw the line between censorship and fraud prevention?

See article from dailywire.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Why TikTok social media app is facing greater scrutiny...


Link Here 8th July 2019
Because adults don't get it and they aren't policing the children's playground

See article from theguardian.com

 

 

Updated: In a strange parallel universe across the channel...

France proposes draconian law with extreme punishments for politically incorrect insults posted on social media


Link Here 7th July 2019
Laetitia Avia was hailed as a symbol of French diversity when she entered parliament for Emmanuel Macron' s centrist party in 2017. But the daily racist abuse against her on social networks pushed her to draw up an extreme censorship law to put a stop to her critics.

It states that hateful comments reported by users must be removed within 24 hours by platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. This includes any hateful attack on someone's dignity on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. If the social media platforms and tech companies do not comply, they will face huge fines of up to 4% of their global revenue. Penalties could reach tens of millions of euros. There will also be a new judiciary body to focus on online hate.

The online hatred bill will be debated by the French parliament next week and could be fast-tracked into force in the autumn.

The bill is part of Macron's drive to internet censorship. He announced the planned crackdown on online hate at a dinner for Jewish groups last year, amid a rise of antisemitic acts in France, saying that hateful content online must be taken down fast and all possible techniques put in place to find the identities of those behind it.

Last month, after meetings with Macron, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg agreed to hand over to judges the identification data on its French users suspected of hate speech.

Update: Passed by the National Assembly

7th July 2019. See article from indianexpress.com

The French law to censor politically incorrect insults on social media websites by the National Assembly on Friday.

Under the French draft law, social media groups would have to put in place tools to allow users to alert them to clearly illicit content related to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

In the event a network fails to react in due course and/or offer the necessary means to report such content, they could face fines up to 4 per cent of their global revenues.

France's broadcasting censor, CSA, would be responsible for imposing the sanctions and a dedicated prosecutor's office would be created.

Several internet and freedom of speech advocacy groups have pointed out that bill paves the way for state censorship because it does not clearly define illicit content.

Imposing a 24-hour limit to remove clearly unlawful content is likely to result in significant restrictions on freedoms, such as the overblocking of lawful comments or the misuse of the measure for political censorship purposes, said Quadrature du Net, a group that advocates free speech on the internet.

The group also highlighted that a law adopted in 2004 already demanded the removal of hateful content, but in a responsive way, leaving enough time to platforms for assessing the seriousness of the content under review.

The bill now passes to the French Senate for further debate.

 

 

Aborting right wing views...

Given that Google are clearly censoring right wing commentators, then it seems entirely plausible that they are similarly interfering on other political issues, including abortion in Ireland


Link Here 7th July 2019
Full story: Google Censorship...Google censors adult material froms its websites

Google has been accused of blacklisting pro-life YouTube search entries ahead of last year's vote in Ireland on legalizing abortion. Pundits call it a deliberate manipulation and demand that the company be held accountable.

Allegations that Google's manual interference with YouTube search results may have played a role in the 2018 referendum on abortion in Ireland surfaced last week, when Project Veritas website published an insider-based article on the matter. Blocked terms reportedly included abortion is murder, Irish Catholic, pro-life and other terms.

Google responded, saying that there was no distinction between pro-life or pro-choice queries on YouTube at the time and that their whole procedure was transparent.

This is hardly a credible response from Google, their processes are never transparent, so how can one believe the other half of the statement?

 

 

Offsite Article: Cold Fear of Cold Fire...


Link Here 7th July 2019
Brave Thai band who criticised their government now living in exile fear for their lives after a string of disappearances and murders

See article from abc.net.au

 


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