The Open Rights Group, Myles Jackman and Pandora Blake have done a magnificent job in highlighting the dangers of mandating that porn companies verify the age of their customers.
Worst case scenario
In the worst case scenario, foreign porn companies will demand official ID from porn viewers and then be able to maintain a database of the complete browsing history of those officially identified viewers.
And surely much to the alarm of the government and the newly appointed internet porn censors at the BBFC, then this worst case scenario seems to be the clear favourite to get implemented. In particular Mindgeek, with a near monopoly on free porn
tube sites, is taking the lead with its Age ID scheme.
Now for some bizarre reason, the government saw no need for its age verification to offer any specific protection for porn viewers, beyond that offered by existing and upcoming data protection laws. Given some of the things that Google and
Facebook do with personal data then it suggests that these laws are woefully inadequate for the context of porn viewing. For safety and national security reasons, data identifying porn users should be kept under total lock and key, and not
used for any commercial reason whatsoever.
A big flaw
But there in lies the flaw of the law. The government is mandating that all websites, including those based abroad, should verify their users without specifying any data protection requirements beyond the law of the land. The flaw is that foreign
websites are simply not obliged to respect British data protection laws.
So as a topical example, there would be nothing to prevent a Russian porn site (maybe not identifying itself as Russian) from requiring ID and then passing the ID and subsequent porn browsing history straight over to its dirty tricks department.
Anyway the government has made a total pigs ear of the concept with its conservative 'leave it to industry to find a solution' approach'. The porn industry simply does not have the safety and security of its customers at heart. Perhaps the
government should have invested in its own solution first, at least the national security implications may have pushed it into at least considering user safety and security.
Where we are at
As mentioned above campaigners have done a fine job in identifying the dangers of the government plan and these have been picked up by practically all newspapers. These seem to have chimed with readers and the entire idea seems to be accepted as
dangerous. In fact I haven't spotted anyone, not even 'the think of the children' charities pushing for 'let's just get on with it'. And so now its over to the authorities to try and convince people that they have a safe solution somewhere.
The Digital Policy Alliance
Perhaps as part of a propaganda campaign to win over the people, parliament's Digital Policy
Alliance are just about to publish guidance on age verification policies. The alliance is a cross party group that includes, Merlin Hay, the Earl of Erroll, who made some good points about privacy concerns whilst the bill was being forced through
the House of Lords.
He said that a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) numbered 1296 is due to be published on 19 March. This will set out for the age check providers what they should do and what records they keep.
The document is expected to include a discussion on the background to age verification, set out the rules in accordance with the Digital Economy Act, and give a detailed look at the technology, with annexes on anonymity and how the system should
However the document will carry no authority and is not set to become an official British standard. He explained:
We can't put rules about data protection into the PAS... That is in the Data Protection Bill, he said. So we refer to them, but we can't mandate them inside this PAS -- but it's in there as 'you must obey the law'...
But of course Hay did not mention that Russian websites don't have to obey British data protection law.
And next the BBFC will have a crack at reducing people's fears
Elsewhere in the discussion, Hay suggested the British Board of Film and Internet Censorship could mandate that each site had to offer more than one age-verification provider, which would give consumers more choice.
Next the BBFC will have a crack at minimising people's fears about age verification. It will publish its own guidance document towards the end of the month, and launch a public consultation about it.
The convenience store 7-Eleven is rolling out artificial intelligence at its 11,000 stores across Thailand.
7-Eleven will use facial-recognition and behavior-analysis technologies for multiple purposes. The ones it has decided to reveal to the public are to identify loyalty members, analyze in-store traffic, monitor product levels, suggest products to
customers, and even measure the emotions of customers as they walk around.
The company announced it will be using technology developed by US-based Remark Holdings, which says its facial-recognition technology has an accuracy rate of more than 96%. Remark, which has data partnerships with Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu, has
a significant presence in China.
The rollout at Thailand's 7-Eleven stores remains unique in scope. It could potentially be the largest number of facial-recognition cameras to be adopted by one company. No corporate entity is so entrenched in Thai lives, according to a report
from Public Radio International. And that may be crucial not only to the success of facial recognition in 7-Eleven stores in Thailand, but across the region.
Fans Against Criminalisation campaigner Paul Quigley is celebrating momentous
victory for the group which has lobbied for the repeal of the disgraceful Offensive Behaviour at Football Act for the last seven years.
The act was a knee jerk reaction to Celtic vs Rangers game where Celtic manager Neil Lennon was attacked on field and letter bombs were later sent to Lennon, Paul McBride QC and Trish Godman MSP.
The resulting legislation was nominally about tackling sectarianism but in reality gave the police carte-blanche powers to arrest fans for whatever they wished under the catch-all guise of offensiveness.
Paul Quigley explained:
A decision was taken to form a campaign to fight this, partly due to a deeply held collective ideological belief in the right to freedom of expression and equality before law, and partly due to the simple notion of self defence.
Fans of all clubs would be welcome to join our organisation and that we would help and campaign for all football fans who we deemed to be the subject of unjust treatment.
Fans Against Criminalisation was able to count on the support of thousands of passionate supporters of the campaign, as was evidenced by a demonstration at George Square which drew thousands of people in late 2011. In spite of this, the
government seemed to assume that this would all die down in due course, and that the fan campaign would not have the capability or endurance required to give them real cause to reconsider their position.
The treatment that football fans have had to endure ever since has been appalling. The human cost of this legislation is often lost amid the political rabble rousing, among the doctored statistics and the nauseatingly disingenuous moral
grandstanding. The reality of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act is this; it has ruined lives and caused serious damage in our communities.
In the face of all of this, football fans endured. In the years that followed, an incredible campaign challenged this treatment of supporters and lobbied for the repeal of this ill advised and illiberal piece of legislation. Today, the Scottish
Parliament finally voted on this very question.
The Repeal Bill has passed, and this is the first time in the history of devolution that the Scottish Parliament has repealed its own legislation. This victory is historic not just for football fans, but for the country.
As a follow up. James Dornan, the MSP for Glasgow Cathcart and a candidate for deputy leader of the Scottish National Party, has decided to quit Twitter. He describes it as a cesspit of hate and bile, saying he has received abuse from football
fans over his defence of the Offence Behaviour at Football Act (OBFA). His disgraceful 'defence' of the legislation was to try and suggest that the campaign was some sort Labour party political effort. The fans were not impressed and clearly gave
him the slagging off he deserved. See more on this in article from spiked-online.com
The EU is considering a copyright proposal that would require code-sharing platforms to monitor all content that users upload for
potential copyright infringement (see the EU Commission's proposed Article 13 of the Copyright Directive ). The proposal is aimed at music and videos on streaming platforms, based on a theory of a "value gap" between the profits those
platforms make from uploaded works and what copyright holders of some uploaded works receive. However, the way it's written captures many other types of content, including code.
We'd like to make sure developers in the EU who understand that automated filtering of code would make software less reliable and more expensive--and can explain this to EU policymakers--participate in the conversation.
Why you should care about upload filters
Upload filters (" censorship machines ") are one of the most controversial elements of the copyright proposal, raising a number of concerns, including:
Privacy : Upload filters are a form of surveillance, effectively a "general monitoring obligation" prohibited by EU law
Free speech : Requiring platforms to monitor content contradicts intermediary liability protections in EU law and creates incentives to remove content
Ineffectiveness : Content detection tools are flawed (generate false positives, don't fit all kinds of content) and overly burdensome, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that might not be able to afford
them or the resulting litigation
Upload filters are especially concerning for software developers given that:
Software developers create copyrightable works--their code--and those who choose an open source license want to allow that code to be shared
False positives (and negatives) are especially likely for software code because code often has many contributors and layers, often with different licensing for different components
Requiring code-hosting platforms to scan and automatically remove content could drastically impact software developers when their dependencies are removed due to false positives
The Video Standards Council is responsible for UK video games censorship. Normally the group rubber stamps European PEGI ratings but it retains the power to ban games. And in a rare example of usage of such powers, the group has joined Australian
in banning Omega Labyrinth Z.
Omega Labyrinth Z is 2017 Japanese console game by Matrix Software
Banned in Australia and the UK in 2018.
Omega Labyrinth Z is a dungeon crawler game for the PS4 and Playstation Vita. It was submitted with a provisional PEGI 16 rating for depictions of erotic or sexual nudity. The game is set at the Anberyl Girls Academy and legend has it that a holy
grail exists that can grant any wish. It is hidden in one of the ancient caves that is located somewhere in the school grounds. A group of female students set out to explore the caves with the aim of finding the grail.
UK: Banned in March 2018 by the Video Standards Council
The VSC Rating Board has ruled that the video game, Omega Labyrinth Z, will not be issued a UK Certificate of Classification.
This refusal is relevant to physical product only (disc, cartridge, etc.) Under the terms of the Video Recordings Act (1984), the VSC Rating Board is required to consider the likelihood of any game causing harm to the user and, subsequently, to
wider society by the way in which the game deals with and portrays images of criminal, violent or horrific behaviour, illegal drugs and human sexual activity. The grounds for this decision are as follows: - The likely harm being caused to a
viewer or potential viewer, e.g. children or young people.
The game is explicit in its setting within a school environment and the majority of the characters are young girls - one child is referred to as being a first year student and is seen holding a teddy bear. The game clearly promotes the
sexualisation of children via the sexual interaction between the game player and the female characters. The style of the game is such that it will attract an audience below the age of 18.
There is a serious danger that impressionable people, i.e. children and young people viewing the game would conclude that the sexual activity represented normal sexual behaviour. There is a constant theme of sexual innuendo and activity
throughout the game that suggests behaviour likely to normalise sexual activity towards children. As a means of reward gained by successfully navigating the game, the player has the means to sexually stimulate the female characters by using
either a hand held remote device or touch screen software.
The VSC Rating Board believes this content in a game, which would have strong appeal to non-adult players, is an issue which would be unacceptable to the majority of UK consumers and, more importantly, has the potential to be significantly
harmful in terms of the social and moral development of younger people in particular.
Update: Banned in Germany, New Zealand and Ireland
In a tweet, distributor PQube said its appeal against the UK ban had been rejected. The game has also been refused a rating in Australia and Germany. PQube said it would also not be available in New Zealand and Ireland.
EFF and 23 other civil liberties organizations sent a letter to Congress urging Members and Senators to oppose the CLOUD Act and any efforts to attach
it to other legislation.
The CLOUD Act ( S. 2383
and H.R. 4943
) is a dangerous bill that would tear away global privacy protections by allowing police in the United States and abroad to grab cross-border data without following the privacy rules of where the data is stored. Currently, law enforcement requests
for cross-border data often use a legal system called the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, or MLATs. This system ensures that, for example, should a foreign government wish to seize communications stored in the United States, that data is
properly secured by the Fourth Amendment requirement for a search warrant.
The other groups signing the new coalition letter against the CLOUD Act are Access Now, Advocacy for Principled Action in Government, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
(AALDEF), Campaign for Liberty, Center for Democracy & Technology, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Constitutional Alliance, Defending Rights & Dissent, Demand Progress Action, Equality California, Free Press Action Fund,
Government Accountability Project, Government Information Watch, Human Rights Watch, Liberty Coalition, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Black Justice Coalition, New America's Open Technology Institute, OpenMedia, People
For the American Way, and Restore The Fourth.
The CLOUD Act allows police to bypass the MLAT system, removing vital U.S. and foreign country privacy protections. As we explained in our earlier letter to Congress, the CLOUD Act would:
Allow foreign governments to wiretap on U.S. soil under standards that do not comply with U.S. law;
Give the executive branch the power to enter into foreign agreements without Congressional approval or judicial review, including foreign nations with a well-known record of human rights abuses;
Possibly facilitate foreign government access to information that is used to commit human rights abuses, like torture; and
Allow foreign governments to obtain information that could pertain to individuals in the U.S. without meeting constitutional standards.
You can read more about EFF's opposition to the CLOUD Act here
The CLOUD Act creates a new channel for foreign governments seeking data about non-U.S. persons who are outside the United States. This new data channel is not governed by the laws of where the data is stored. Instead, the foreign police may
demand the data directly from the company that handles it. Under the CLOUD Act, should a foreign government request data from a U.S. company, the U.S. Department of Justice would not need to be involved at any stage. Also, such requests for data
would not need to receive individualized, prior judicial review before the data request is made.
The CLOUD Act's new data delivery method lacks not just meaningful judicial oversight, but also meaningful Congressional oversight, too. Should the U.S. executive branch enter a data exchange agreement--known as an "executive
agreement"--with foreign countries, Congress would have little time and power to stop them. As we wrote in our letter:
"[T]he CLOUD Act would allow the executive branch to enter into agreements with foreign governments--without congressional approval. The bill stipulates that any agreement negotiated would go into effect 90 days after Congress was notified
of the certification, unless Congress enacts a joint resolution of disapproval, which would require presidential approval or sufficient votes to overcome a presidential veto."
And under the bill, the president could agree to enter executive agreements with countries that are known human rights abusers.
Troublingly, the bill also fails to protect U.S. persons from the predictable, non-targeted collection of their data. When foreign governments request data from U.S. companies about specific "targets" who are non-U.S. persons not living
in the United States, these governments will also inevitably collect data belonging to U.S. persons who communicate with the targeted individuals. Much of that data can then be shared with U.S. authorities, who can then use the information to
charge U.S. persons with crimes. That data sharing, and potential criminal prosecution, requires no probable cause warrant as required by the Fourth Amendment, violating our constitutional rights.
The CLOUD Act is a bad bill. We urge Congress to stop it, and any attempts to attach it to must-pass spending legislation.
Donald Trump organised a private meeting with video games makers and their critics as a diversionary tactic to avoid the
debate about gun control.
Republican lawmakers and moralist campaigners pressed the president at his meeting on Thursday to explore new restrictions on the video-game industry.
Some participants urged Trump to consider new regulations that would make it harder for young children to purchase those games. Others asked the president to expand his inquiry to focus on violent movies and TV shows too.
Trump himself opened the meeting by showing a montage of clips of various violent video games.
Video-game executives who attended the meeting Thursday included Robert Altman, the CEO of ZeniMax, the parent company for games such as Fallout; Strauss Zelnick, the chief executive of Take Two Interactive, which is known for Grand Theft Auto,
and Michael Gallagher, the leader of the Entertainment Software Association, a Washington-focused lobbying organisation for the industry.
We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry's rating system effectively helps parents make informed
entertainment choices, ESA said in a statement.
The Parents Television Council Program Director Melissa Henson participated in the meeting and commented in a post-meeting statement:
Stop Media Violence What I heard in today's meeting is that the entertainment industry is still fighting to maintain the status quo and is not ready or willing to confront the impact that media violence has on our children. But time is up for the
entertainment industry to put a stop to marketing graphic, explicit, and age-inappropriate content to our children.
The video game representatives pulled out their same old talking points that have long been refuted. During the meeting, I was able to interject and say just how untrue their excuses are.
Representative Vicky Hartzler, a Republican from Missouri, said she was open to crafting legislation that would make it harder for youngsters to buy violent games. She said:
Even though I know there are studies that have said there is no causal link, as a mom and a former high school teacher, it just intuitively seems that prolonged viewing of violent nature would desensitise a young person.
The White House already has hinted at sustained, broader scrutiny still to come. A day before the meeting, a spokeswoman for Trump said the sit-down with video-game executives and their critics is the first of many with industry leaders to discuss
this important issue.
In a press release the DCMS describes its digital strategy including a delayed introduction of internet porn censorship. The press release states:
The Strategy also reflects the Government's ambition to make the internet safer for children by requiring age verification for access to commercial pornographic websites in the UK. In February, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) was
formally designated as the age verification regulator.
Our priority is to make the internet safer for children and we believe this is best achieved by taking time to get the implementation of the policy right. We will therefore allow time for the BBFC as regulator to undertake a public consultation
on its draft guidance which will be launched later this month.
For the public and the industry to prepare for and comply with age verification, the Government will also ensure a period of up to three months after the BBFC guidance has been cleared by Parliament before the law comes into force. It is
anticipated age verification will be enforceable by the end of the year.
Hooded thugs have stormed a free speech event King's College London, throwing smoke bombs and attacking
Believed to be part of the anti-facist movement, violent protesters forced their way into a lecture hall before setting off smoke bombs and smashing windows. Thugs grabbed the speaker's microphone, while several security guards were punched
during the melee.
A threatening note was also left for the compere.
Ten to 15 people dressed all in black, with black hoods and black face masks, leapt over the barriers and instantly engaged in a fight with two or three security guards, said witness Tristan Teller:
They tried to stop them but they just started punching them in the face. One guard, a grey-haired gentleman who looked to be in around 60, received several punches.
The event, which was organised by KCL Libertarian Society, saw YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad, real name Carl Benjamin, invited to speak alongside Ayn Rand Institute director Dr Yaron Brook.
The group were had dispersed by the time police arrived. There have been no reported injuries. No arrests. Enquiries continue.
Update: Antifa: the militant wing of authoritarianism
A German law requiring social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to remove reported hate speech without
enough time to consider the merits of the report is set to be revised following criticism that too much online content is being blocked.
The law, called NetzDG for short, is an international test case and how it plays out is being closely watched by other countries considering similar measures.
German politicians forming a new government told Reuters they want to add an amendment to help web users get incorrectly deleted material restored online.
The lawmakers are also pushing for social media firms to set up an independent body to review and respond to reports of offensive content from the public, rather than leaving to the social media companies who by definition care more about profits
than supporting free speech.
Such a system, similar to how video games are policed in Germany, could allow a more considered approach to complex decisions about whether to block content, legal experts say.
Facebook, which says it has 1,200 people in Germany working on reviewing posts out of 14,000 globally responsible for moderating content and account security, said it was not pursuing a strategy to delete more than necessary. Richard Allan,
Facebook's vice president for EMEA public policy said:
People think deleting illegal content is easy but it's not. Facebook reviews every NetzDG report carefully and with legal expertise, where appropriate. When our legal experts advise us, we follow their assessment so we can meet our obligations
under the law.
Johannes Ferchner, spokesman on justice and consumer protection for the Social Democrats and one of the architects of the law said:
We will add a provision so that users have a legal possibility to have unjustly deleted content restored.
Thomas Jarzombek, a Christian Democrat who helped refine the law, said the separate body to review complaints should be established, adding that social media companies were deleting too much online content. NetzDG already allows for such a
self-regulatory body, but companies have chosen to go their own way instead. According to the coalition agreement, both parties want to develop the law to encourage the establishment of such a body.
Sony has blocked the publication of a video game based upon chat up lines and seduction techniques.
Super Seducer was scheduled for release on the PlayStation 4 on Tuesday. But feminists have taken issue with the themes of the game.
Sony has confirmed that the game has been banned bit has not explained the reasoning behind its censorship.
Super Seducer has, however, been released for PCs and Macs via Valve's Steam platform.
The Motherboard news site was among the first to notice that the PlayStation version had not been released. Seth Barton, editor of MCV, a trade publication commented:
While it's an unappealing title, I'm uncertain whether PS4 owners would be happy with Sony censoring the games they can play, especially as they can't go elsewhere to buy software.
Super Seducer does not feature nudity, but does show women in their underwear sitting next to its British creator, Richard La Ruina, as he delivers advice. Live-action sequences show the author grabbing parts of a date's body and attempting to
kiss a woman he has just met to illustrate actions the player should avoid.
South Afric's Film and Publications Amendment Bill will apply traditional pre-vetting style censorship t everything posted on the internet in
The National Assembly has approved the bill in a vote of 189 in favour, with 35 against and no abstentions. The bill must now come before the National Council of Provinces for its approval before it can be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa to be
signed into law.
Opposition parties say the Film and Publications Amendment Bill amounts to censorship - and may be unconstitutional. The Inkatha Freedom Party's Liezl van der Merwe said:
This bill through the Films and Publications Board, seeks to take wholesale control of the internet. Among some of the provisions, this bill requires everyone who generates some type of revenue from distributing content online to register, pay a
fee and have their content approved and classified before they can post it.
The party's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says the red berets are prepared to challenge it in the Constitutional Court if necessary.
Speaking to BusinessTech, legal expert and long time opponent of the bill, Nicholas Hall, explained some of the details of the censorship provisions. Hall said that the FPB now has the power to classify and potentially ban films, games and 'other
Other publications are defined as:
Any newspaper, book, periodical, pamphlet, poster or other printed matter;
Any writing or typescript which has in any manner been duplicated;
Any drawing, picture, illustration or painting;
Any print, photograph, engraving or lithograph;
Any record, magnetic tape, soundtrack or any other object in or on which sound has been recorded for reproduction;
Computer software which is not a film;
The cover or packaging of a film;
Any figure, carving, statue or model; and
Any message or communication, including a visual presentation, placed on any distributed network including, but not confined to, the internet.
Hall said that YouTubers and streamers are most likely to be affected by the new laws:
While the amendment bill will give the FPB the power to potentially classify any content uploaded online, including private communications, they generally will only have this power if someone complains to them about the specific content.
Films and games are treated differently, however. Under the bill, a distinction is made between 'commercial distributors' and 'non-commercial distributors'. Non-commercial distributors of films and games are treated much like the creators of
'other publications', their content can only be classified if someone complains.
However, commercial distributors are required to have their content classified prior to distribution or face criminal prosecution.
Hall added that this distinction was particularly problematic as it is unclear what is defined as a 'commercial purpose', and that this could be as simple as enabling advertising on uploaded videos.
All content platforms (Youtube, Netflix, Steam etc) will now also be required to register as distributors and pay an annual fee, based on the number titles they have in their library.
The other concern is that they have built in provisions to allow them to enforce this system, one of which is to force ISPs (eg Telkom, Mweb, and Afrihost) to block access to content platforms that do not comply.
US President Donald Trump is to meet video games company representatives on Thursday to discuss violent content. The meeting comes in the wake of last month's shooting at a school in Florida in which 17 people died.
The Electronic Software Association (ESA), which represents the games industry in the US, said it would be attending. It said in a statement:
The upcoming meeting at the White House will provide the opportunity to have a fact-based conversation about video game ratings, our industry's commitment to parents, and the tools we provide to make informed entertainment choices,
Also at the meeting will be the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the organisation responsible for offering age and content guidance for games.
A report from the Washington Post suggested some games developers had also been invited to attend, including Take Two Interactive, the publisher of the controversial Grand Theft Auto series. The company did not return the BBC's request for
comment on the meeting. The Post also said key critics of the games industry would be at the table, including Brent Bozell, founder of the Parents Television Council.
On several occasions, President Trump has pointed to video game violence as being a problem potentially affecting American youths. He wrote on Twitter in December 2012:
Video game violence & glorification must be stopped. It is creating monsters!
The games industry has routinely and robustly defended itself against claims its products provoke real-life violence. The ESA explained in a statement:
Video games are enjoyed around the world and numerous authorities and reputable scientific studies have found no connection between games and real-life violence,
Like all Americans, we are deeply concerned about the level of gun violence in the United States. Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially higher level of gun
violence than any other nation.
Social media giants have been ramping up internet censorship to prevent or take down terrorist posts. However the police are now
complaining that the companies are not proactively reporting such posters to the police.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the outgoing chief of UK counter-terror policing, said they are threatening public safety to maximise profit and customer satisfaction. Speaking at a counter-terror conference in London, Mr
Rowley said social media firms should work with police in the same way banks had been made to co-operate on tracing dirty money. He said:
The online extremists seem able to act with impunity, occupying spaces owned and managed by legitimate and very wealthy corporations.
I am disappointed that in the UK as a police service we are yet to receive a direct referral from them when they have identified such behaviour.
They are effectively private tenants to their communication service provider landlords. In the real world if a landlord knew their property was being used to plan or inspire terrorist attacks you would expect them to show corporate
responsibility by informing the authorities and evicting them forthwith. We want to see those same standards applied in the virtual world.
So how come the BBFC are saying virtually nothing about internet porn censorship and seem happy for newspapers to point out the incredibly dangerous privacy concerns of letting porn websites hold browsing records
The BBC seems to have done a good job voicing the privacy concerns of the Open Rights Group as the article has been picked up by most of the British
The Open Rights Group says it fears a data breach is inevitable as the deadline approaches for a controversial change in the way people in the UK access online pornography.
Myles Jackman, legal director of the Open Rights Group, said while MindGeek had said it would not hold or store data, it was not clear who would - and by signing in people would be revealing their sexual preferences.
If the age verification process continues in its current fashion, it's a once-in-a-lifetime treasure trove of private information, he said. If it gets hacked, can British citizens ever trust the government again with their data?
The big issues here are privacy and security.
Jackman said it would drive more people to use virtual private networks (VPNs) - which mask a device's geographical location to circumvent local restrictions - or the anonymous web browser Tor. He commented:
It is brutally ironic that when the government is trying to break all encryption in order to combat extremism, it is now forcing people to turn towards the dark web.
MindGeek, which runs sites including PornHub, YouPorn and RedTube, said its AgeID age verification tool had been in use in Germany since 2015. It said its software would use third-party age-verification companies to authenticate the age of those
AgeID spokesman James Clark told the BBC there were multiple verification methods that could be used - including credit card, mobile SMS, passport and driving licence - but that it was not yet clear which would be compliant with the law.
For something that is supposed to be coming in April, and requires software update by websites, it is surely about time that the government and/or the BBFC actually told people about the detailed rules for when age verification is required and
what methods will be acceptable to the censors.
The start date has not actually been confirmed yet and the BBFC haven't even acknowledged that they have accepted the job as the UK porn censor..
The BBFC boss David Austin, spouted some nonsense to the BBC claiming that age verification was already in place for other services, including some video-on-demand sites. In fact 'other' services such as gambling sites have got totally different
privacy issues and aren't really relevant to porn. The only method in place so far is to demand credit cards to access porn, the only thing that this has proved is that it is totally unviable for the businesses involved, and is hardy relevant to
how the dominant tube sites work.
In fact a total absence of input from the BBFC is already leading to some alarming takes on the privacy issues of handing over people's porn viewing records to porn companies. Surely the BBFC would be expected to provide official state propaganda
trying to convince the worried masses that they have noting fear and that porn websites have people's best interests at heart.
Incoming age verification checks for people who watch pornography online are at risk of their sexual tastes being exposed, a privacy expert has
The Government has given the all clear for one of the largest pornography companies to organise the arrangements for verification but experts claim that handing this power to the porn industry could put more people at risk.
Those viewing porn will no longer be anonymous and their sexual tastes may be easily revealed through a cache of the websites they have visited, according to Jim Killock, director of Open Rights Group. He warned:
These are the most sensitive, embarrassing viewing habits that have potentially life-changing consequences if they become public.
In order for it to work, the company will end up with a list of every webpage of all of the big pornographic products someone has visited. Just like Google and Facebook, companies want to profile you and send you advertisements based on what you
are searching for.
So what are AgeID going to do now that they have been given unparalleled access to people's pornographic tastes? They are going to decide what people's sexual tastes are and the logic of that is impossible to resist. Even if they give
reassurances, I just cannot see why they wouldn't.
A database with someone's sexual preferences , highlighted by the web pages visited and geographically traceable through the IP address, would be a target for hackers who could use them for blackmail or simply to cause humiliation.
Imagine if you are a teacher and the pornography that you looked at - completely legally - became public? It would be devastating for someone's career.
Authorities in Germany said they have received far fewer complaints from citizens than expected since the
country's social network censorship law (NetzDG) went into effect 01 January, reported Heise Online.
Germany's Federal Office for Justice (BfJ), the division of Germany's Federal Minister of Justice responsible for enforcing the law said they have received only 205 complaints since January, less than 1% of the amount predicted. The German
government had assumed that citizens would file roughly 25,000 complaints with the BfJ .
Google and Facebook accused of supposedly profiting from pop-up brothels and sex clubs
Ministers are reportedly considering new laws to make internet giants liable when sex workers use their sites to organise business.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) are supporting the propaganda and claim Google and Facebook are making profits from sex trafficking, according to the Times.
Pop up sex clubs have been discovered in Cornwall, Cambridge, Swindon and holiday cottages in the Peak District. Will Kerr, the NCA's 'head of vulnerabilities', claimed:
People are using the internet and social media sites to enable sexual exploitation and trafficking. It is clear that the internet platforms which host and make a profit out of this type of material need to do more to identify and stop these forms
Government figures want internet giants like Facebook to be held accountable, eying new US laws that are set to overturn more than 20 years of blanket immunity for sites for content posted by users. It will make firms liable if they knowingly
assist, support or facilitate content that leads to trafficking.
Downing Street and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said they are looking at whether and how to replicate the action in the UK.
The European Union has given Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other internet companies three months to show that
they are removing extremist content more rapidly or face legislation forcing them to do so.
The European Commission said on Thursday that internet firms should be ready to remove extremist content within an hour of being notified and recommended measures they should take to stop its proliferation. Digital commissioner Andrus Ansip said:
While several platforms have been removing more illegal content than ever before ... we still need to react faster against terrorist propaganda and other illegal content which is a serious threat to our citizens' security, safety and fundamental
The EC said that it would assess the need for legislation of technology firms within three months if demonstrable improvement is not made on what it describes as terrorist content. For all other types of 'illegal' content the EC will assess the
technology firms' censorship progress within six months.
It also urged the predominantly US-dominated technology sector to adopt a more proactive approach, with automated systems to detect and censor 'illegal' content.
The Australian Federal Police Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) is seeking rulings from the
country's Film Classification Board that will help it ban the import and supply of magazines that promote Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.
Since August 2017 the JCTT has made several applications to the board asking it to determine that materials from ISIS and Al-Qaeda should be refused classification in Australia. The Classification Board has upheld applications on 22 different
pieces of material.
The list of materials now banned in Australia includes magazines produced by ISIS from 2014 to 2016 called Dabiq that were used as a recruitment tool by the organisation. Material that is listed as refused classification in Australia cannot be
imported into, or exported out of, the country, and there are substantial restrictions on their dissemination.
Idaho lawmakers on Friday approved a proposal declaring pornography a public health risk.
The resolution, sent to the House floor for debate by the House State Affairs Committee, does not call for a ban but rather is a symbolic gesture that urges state agencies and local officials to recognize the need for education, research and
possible policy changes to protect Idahoans -- particularly teenagers -- from pornography.
Representative Lance Clow, a Republican who is backing the resolution spouted:
Pornography has and does have adverse impacts on all members of society. It leads to the abuse men, women and children, destroys marriages and has impacts on young and old Families are being torn apart by this epidemic.
Facebook has revealed just how shoddy its 'fake news' and censorship process is when it censored an obvious joke after it passed through the censorship system without anyone at Facebook noticing how stupid they were being.
The Babylon Bee set off Facebook's alarm bells by publishing a satirical piece stating that CNN had purchased an industrial-size washing machine to spin news before publication. This is obviously a joke and is clearly marked satire and is
published on a site entirely devoted to satire.
But the uptight jerks over at Snopes decided to fact check the Bee's claim, to ensure that no one actually thought that CNN made a significant investment in heavy machinery.
The article was duly confirmed as fake news resulting in Facebook saying that it would censor The Babylon Bee by denying them monetisation.
And as per the normal procedure, when alerted about stupid censorship, Facebook admitted it was a ghastly mistake and apologised profusely. Fair enough, but in passing it still shows exactly how shoddy the process is behind the scenes.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the absurd provisions of a bill unveiled this week in Singapore that would prohibit photo and video
reporting from the scene of a terrorist attack.
A ban on media coverage is the main aim of the Public Order and Safety Bill presented by Singapore's home affairs ministry , which would allow the police to enforce a communications stop order.
Journalists and members of the public would face up to two years in prison or a fine of 20,000 Singaporean dollars (15,000 US dollars) if they took photos or video of a terrorist attack or communicated text or audio messages about the ensuing
Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF's Asia-Pacific desk said:
No one disputes the need for special measures in the event of a terrorist attack, but it is not the interior ministry's job to decided what journalists can broadcast or publish.
By depriving the public of coverage of such grave events, this ban would put the public in danger. This proposed law would be completely counter-productive if the aim of the authorities is to protect the population. But it would be very
effective if their aim is to gag independent media.
A controversial Polish law censoring certain claims regarding the Holocaust and banning the use of the phrase Polish death camps went into
Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the bill into law, after it passed by wide margins in both chambers of the Polish legislature.
The law bans the phrase Polish death camps, and outlaws claims of collusion by the Polish nation with the Holocaust. Anyone found guilty of ascribing responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the
German Third Reich could be sentenced to as much as three years in prison under the new law.
In the meantime the phrase "Polish death camps' has never been heard quite so often as in the last couple of months.
US President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with members of the video game industry next week to discuss violence in games. The announcement comes a week after Trump suggested a link between violent video games and youth violence.
Likely comapnies that will be involved are Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, Activision, Ubisoft.
Trump said recently:
I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts, said Trump last week, after a mass shooting left 17 people dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida. And then you go the
further step, and that's the movies. You see these movies, and they're so violent, and yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn't involved, but killing is involved, and maybe they have to put a rating system for that.
Of course the idea is to deflect blame for frequent killing sprees from guns to games. But if Trump is right and people are readily corrupted by video games, then surely games players need to banned from owning guns, and that's pretty much the
The National Secular Society has called Facebook's decision to remove the page of a satirist who mocks Islamist preachers a very
poor reflection on its attitude to free expression.
Waleed Wain, a British comedian who goes by the name Veedu Vidz online, makes videos satirising well-known Islamist preachers, Islamic extremism and anti-Muslim bigotry.
In a video published on 23 February Wain said Facebook had removed his page indefinitely. The page was previously banned for one month after offended viewers repeatedly reported the videos.
When the ban was lifted in February, the Veedu Vidz Facebook page shared the video Halal Movie Review: The Lion King . The video parodies Zakir Naik, an Islamist preacher who has been banned in the UK and other countries for promoting
terrorism. Within 24 hours of sharing the video, the Veedu Vidz page was unpublished.
Wain has appealed against Facebook's decision to unpublish his page. On Tuesday Facebook said it had reviewed his appeal and the page could once again be viewed publicly. Wain said:
I did not realise posting videos of Zakir Naik or Dawah Man [another Islamist preacher parodied on Veedu Vidz] could get you banned, especially when they can post their own videos talking about their own beliefs pretty frequently, pretty
And they should be allowed to express their opinions, and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that, but when I express my opinion on them, I get banned.
The current situation is that while preachers such as Zakir Naik, who support terrorism and the death penalty for LGBT people and apostates, are given a platform on Facebook, those who challenge or mock these views are censored. This is a very
poor reflection on Facebook and its attitudes to liberal values and to free expression.