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Politically defined free speech...

How the Online Safety Bill lets politicians define free speech


Link Here17th September 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media

The Joint Pre-Legislative Scrutiny committee has opened its work into the draft Online Safety Bill. Over the course of their enquiry, one area they must cover -- perhaps as their highest priority -- is the potential for the Bill to be abused as a means of politicising free speech, and your ability to exercise it.

As it has been drafted, the Bill gives sweeping powers to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, and potentially to the Home Secretary, to make unilateral decisions, at any time they please, as to what forms of subjectively harmful content must be brought into the scope of the bill's content moderation requirements. Shockingly, it allows them to make those decisions for political reasons.

These risks come in Part 2, Chapter 5, Section 33 of the draft, which states (emphasis our own):

(1) The Secretary of State may direct OFCOM to modify a code of practice submitted under section 32(1) where the Secretary of State believes that modifications are required--
(a) to ensure that the code of practice reflects government policy , or
(b) in the case of a code of practice under section 29(1) or (2), for reasons of national security or public safety.(nb this refers to terrorism and csea content)
(2) A direction given under this section--
(a) may not require OFCOM to include in a code of practice provisiion about a particular step recommended to be taken by providers of regulated services, and
(b) must set out the Secretary of State's reasons for requiring modifications (except in a case where the Secretary of State considers that doing so would be against the interests of national security or against the interests of relations with the government of a country outside the United Kingdom).
(3) Where the Secretary of State gives a direction to OFCOM, OFCOM must, as soon as reasonably practicable--
(a) comply with the direction,
(b) submit to the Secretary of State the code of practice modified in accordance with the direction,
(c) submit to the Secretary of State a document containing-- (i) (except in a case mentioned in subsection (2)(b)) details of the direction, and (ii) details about how the code of practice has been revised in response to the direction, and
(d) inform the Secretary of State about modifications that OFCOM have made to the code of practice that are not in response to the direction (if there are any).
(4) The Secretary of State may give OFCOM one or more further directions requiring OFCOM to modify the code of practice for the reasons mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1), and subsections (2) and (3) apply again in relation to any such further direction.

In other words, a government minister will have the authority to direct an (allegedly) independent regulator to modify the rules of content moderation on topics which are entirely subjective, entirely legal, and entirely political, and to order that regulator to enforce those new rules.

Online services, whether the biggest platform or the smallest startup, in turn, will have no choice but to follow those rules, lest they face potential penalties, fines, and even service blocking.

You don't have to be a policy expert, or a lawyer, to see how these illiberal powers could be misused and abused. We've already provided an example of how this blatant politicisation of the boundaries of free speech could be used to silence public debate on legal topics which the government of the day finds unacceptable, for example, migration . You may have strong opinions on that topic yourself, and you have every right to do so. However, your own ability to discuss that topic is on the table here too.

And as political currents shift and parties trade power, we risk a never-ending war of attrition where the government of the day simply silences topics, opinions, and opposition voices it does not want you to hear.

The political powers over free speech contained in the draft Bill are a rare area where the consensus is universal. Other groups, even those who are strongly in favour of the Bill, are equally uncomfortable with the level of government control over an allegedly independent regulator that has been placed on the table. These voices also include groups outside the UK who are alarmed by the potential these powers have to lower the UK's international standing as a free and democratic nation which upholds the right to freedom of expression.

This chorus should not be ignored. The clauses allowing government to politicise the boundaries of legal free speech have no place in this Bill, or indeed, in any Bill. As the pre-legislative scrutiny committee draws its conclusions, and as the draft Bill approaches its final form, these clauses must be deleted and left in the bin where they belong.

 

 

No support...

Malaysia's film censors ban bra adverts from TV


Link Here11th September 2021
Full story: Censored Films in Malaysia...Film censors and censorship
Malaysia's Film Censorship Board (LPF) had sent a notice to two local TV stations instructing them that undergarments should not be shown regardless of it being worn by a model or a mannequin. The reason given was that any indecent visual displays, including advertising 'undergarments' will still offend the community.

A letter from the censors said:

The home ministry is of the view that the aforementioned content advertising innerwear is inappropriate to be shown for general viewing... and all broadcasts similar like this should be discontinued immediately.

Anna Har, co-founder of the Freedom Film Network, said the decision was unfortunate and yet another example of needless censorship in Malaysia. She said:

Since when are undergarments such an offensive item? They've been sold in pasar malams and supermarkets for years, this isn't pornography we're talking about.

 

 

Shrivelled nuts in North Carolina...

US drinks censors ludicrously ban abstract cartoon beer label for nudity


Link Here11th September 2021
Maryland-based Flying Dog Brewery is suing the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission for ludicrously rejecting its seasonal winter beer label depicting a naked cartoon claiming it's in bad taste.

The Freezin' Season Winter Ale features artwork designed by famed British illustrator Ralph Steadman of a stylized person standing naked by a campfire. The ABC Commission ruled that Flying Dog Brewery could not use the label under state laws that forbid undignified, immodest marketing.

In a federal lawsuit, the brewery accused the alcohol board of infringing on its constitutional right to free speech.

Jim Caruso, CEO of Flying Dog, said the lawsuit is about defending the First Amendment against petty bureaucrats who want to censor whatever they personally dislike.

The label has been approved in every other state within its 24-state distribution network, according to Flying Dog Brewery.

 

 

Roy Chubby Brown cancelled in Sheffield...

By moralists whose belief system is based upon censorship, bullying and intolerance


Link Here5th September 2021
A campaign has been growing in support of comic Roy Chubby Brown performing following the news that a planned gig in Sheffield has been cancelled.

Following complaints from a number of people, Sheffield City Trust decided to censor Roy Chubby Brown's show and remove it from the City Hall's programme of upcoming events.

A statement from Chief executive of Sheffield City Trust, Andrew Snelling, said:

We have decided to remove the rescheduled show by comedian Roy Chubby Brown at Sheffield City Hall on January 29, 2022.

We don't believe this show reflects Sheffield City Trust values, particularly our ambition that our leisure, culture and entertainment venues are inclusive for all in Sheffield.

Roy Chubby Brown responded on Facebook:

Hi all, you may have heard by now that the Sheffield city trust/council have banned me from appearing at the City Hall Sheffield in January 2022 due to the nature of my show, so I just wanted to put my view on the record -- At first I had a sense of anger and disbelief, but on reflection I now feel just disappointment and sadness with the decision and the way things are going generally.

I have been performing at the City Hall annually for the last 30+ years and have always had great nights there and a wonderful working relationship with the management and staff at the City Hall, and my fans have always come along and supported me in their thousands through the years.

Now in these strange times of snowflakes and political correctness it has been decided that I am no longer welcome.

Why Now! is my question, WHY NOW! is my show unsuitable after 30 years at the City Hall??

Nothing has changed, the show is performed behind closed doors, and it clearly states on all advertising that IF EASILY OFFENDED! PLEASE STAY AWAY!We don't allow children in! It is strictly 18+ and people who come to the show know exactly what they are coming for206. A GOOD LAUGH! it's an act with one sole purpose, and that is to put a smile on people's faces, certainly not to offend, which I'm sure all will agree is much needed in these present times. I understand the content of my show isn't to everyone's taste, and hand on heart I totally respect that, so as the posters and advertising clearly states.. IF EASILY OFFENDED, PLEASE STAY AWAY!

That quite simply means don't buy a ticket to see me if the show is not for you! It's not difficult! I dont buy tickets for things which aren't my cup of tea, but I certainly don't demonstrate to get them cancelled, and spoil things for people who do want to see it! You have a choice!! But the show obviously does appeal to thousands of people or I wouldn't have had to put pen to paper to write this.. as Chubby Brown wouldn't exist if no one came to see him, and I've been going for 50 years..??!!!

Love Roy

A petition in support of Brown has gathered about 29,000 signatures.

 

 

e-infancy...

Children's campaigners take legal action to force French ISPs to block major porn sites


Link Here4th September 2021
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
Two French campaign groups are suing the main ISPs in France, demanding the total block of several adult sites that they consider too accessible to minors.

The groups suing top French ISPs SFR, Orange, Bouygues TÚlÚcom, Free, Colt Technologies Services and Outre mer TÚlÚcomare are called e-Enfance (e-Infancy) and La Voix de l'Enfant (The Voice of the Child).

The ISPs were asked to appear next Thursday, September 9 in front of the Paris Judicial Court.

The lawsuit is proof that the French anti-porn groups intend to restrict access to adult content in that European market. Earlier this year, supporters of France's controversial age-verification law had claimed that they knew it was impractical and considered the passage of the measure as "symbolic."

ISP Orange told Le Figaro that they will "abide by the decision of the court and would shut down these sites speedily if that's what we are asked to do. But in the absence of a judicial decision, we apply the rules of net neutrality and freedom of expression"

 

 

Blocking democracy...

Russian internet censors ban 6 VPNs in an attempt to silence the opposition in the run up to elections


Link Here4th September 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia 2020s...Russia and its repressive state control of media
Russia's internet censor Roskomnadzor has blocked six providers of virtual private networks (VPNs), which people can use to circumvent government website blocking.

The targeted VPN providers, include the widely used Nord VPN and Express VPN.

The move, announced on September 3, comes as Russian authorities tighten control of the Internet, blocking access to dozens of websites ahead of parliamentary elections this month.

The Russian censor justified the new restrictions by saying that VPNs allow access to blocked content created conditions for illegal activities, including those related to the distribution of drugs, child pornography, extremism, and suicidal tendencies.

 

 

Recognising a bad image...

Apple announces a delay on implementing image snooping software


Link Here2nd September 2021
Full story: Apple Snooping...Apple scans users' images for sexual content and child abuse
Apple has announced on its website that it will delay it implementation of device software that snoops on users' images nominally in the name of child protection, but could used be for anything that authorities demand. Apple said:

Update as of September 3, 2021: Previously we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them and to help limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material. Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers, and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.

 

 

Offsite Article: Naked Fury...


Link Here2nd September 2021
The Moral Panic Over Naked Attraction's Cheeky Advertising

See article from reprobatepress.com



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