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pc shipThe Royal Navy has banned posters of glamour models so as not to offend women sailors after some complained of feeling intimidated by the soft porn.

Perhaps the banning of public space pin ups is understandable in these PC times but the Navy’s rules go further and effectively ban sailors from all but a tiny portion of available porn.

Sailors were told about the ban when they were given an amended version of the Royal Navy’s Queen Regulations. A new section titled Pin-ups and Pornography reads:

Possession of films/videos and all forms of digital media (e.g DvDs, or downloads from the internet) that have been certified by the British Board of Film Censors is permitted.  All other pornographic material is prohibited.

A Naval source told The Sun about these miserable rules:

To be fair, this is part of the service coming into the 21st Century, being more inclusive and not offending women.

But a lot of the lads are moaning about this because porn has been rife across the fleet for generations, and this is the result of a few people complaining.

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twitter 2015 logoTwitter has introduced a new censorship system with the unlikely sounding capability to detect abusive tweets and suspend accounts without waiting for complaints to be flagged. Transgressions results in the senders receiving half-day suspensions.The company has refused to provide details on specifically how the new system works, but using a combination of behavioral and keyword indicators, the filter flags posts it deems to be violations of Twitter’s acceptable speech policy and issues users suspensions of half a day during which they cannot post new globally accessible tweets and their existing tweets are visible only to followers.

From the platform that once called itself the free speech wing of the free speech party, these new tools mark an incredible turn of events. The anti-censorship ethic seems to have been lost in a failed attempt to sell the company after prospective buyers were unhappy with the lack of censorship control over the platform.

Inevitably Twiiter has refused to provide even outline ideas of the indicators it is using, especially when it comes to the particular linguistic cues it is concerned with. While offering too much detail might give the upper hand to those who would try to work around the new system, it is important for the broader community to have at least some understanding of the kinds of language flagged by Twitter’s new tool so that they can try and stay within the rules.

It is also unclear why Twitter chose not to permit users to contest what they believe to be a wrongful suspension. Given that the feature is brand-new and bound to encounter plenty of unforeseen contexts where it could yield a wrong result, it is surprising that Twitter chose not to provide a recovery mechanism where it could catch these before they become news.

And the first example of censorship was quick to follow. Many outlets this morning picked up on a frightening instance of the Twitter algorithm’s new power to police not only the language we use but the thoughts we express. In this case a user allegedly tweeted a response to a news report about comments made by Senator John McCain and argued that it was his belief that the senator was a traitor who had committed formal treason against the nation. Twitter did not respond to a request for more information about what occurred in this case and if this was indeed the tweet that caused the user to be suspended, but did not dispute that the user had been suspended or that his use of the word traitor had factored heavily into that suspension.

See  article from forbes.com

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European Parliament logoThe European Parliament has officially adopted the EU Directive on Combatting Terrorism , which is designed to give police and prosecutors across the EU the ability to fight and counter terrorism more effectively and ensure a common response to the evolving terrorist threat. The Directive includes measures against public provocation online , which state that Member States must ensure the prompt removal of online content constituting a public provocation to commit a terrorist offence that is hosted in their territory, and must also endeavour to obtain the removal of such content hosted outside of their territory. If removing the content is not feasible, Member States may block access to the content for internet users within their territory (but only after first attempting to remove the content at source).

The Directive states that such measures of removal and blocking must be set by transparent procedures and provide adequate safeguards, in particular to ensure that the restriction is limited to what is necessary and proportionate, and that users are informed of the reason for the restriction. These safeguards must also include the possibility of judicial redress.

Importantly, the Directive also states that removal or blocking of terrorist content should be without prejudice to service providers’ protections under the EU e-Commerce Directive. This means that no general obligation can be imposed on service providers to monitor the information which they transmit or store, nor can they be obliged to actively seek facts or circumstances indicating the presence of terrorist content. Furthermore, hosting service providers will not be held liable for hosting terrorist content as long as they do not have actual knowledge of illegal activity or information and are not aware of the facts or circumstances from which the activity or information is apparent. This will be of great relief to Internet intermediaries.

The Directive must now be transposed into national law by Member States within 18 months. However, it will not apply to the UK, Ireland and Denmark who have opted out of such measures.

Is it politically correct to censor the language of the American African community?…Moonlight has been significantly cut by the Indian film censors for an Adults only ‘A’ rating

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Poster Moonlight 2016 Barry Jenkins Moonlight is a 2016 USA drama by Barry Jenkins.
Starring Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp and Duan Sanderson. BBFC link IMDb

Three time periods – young adolescence, mid-teen and young adult – in the life of black-American Chiron is presented.

The Indian film censors of the CBFC have cut the film for Indian cinema release. Two sex scenes have been excised and strong language has been cut for an adults only ‘A’ rating. For comparison the BBFC passed the film 15 uncut for strong language, sex, sex references, drugs misuse Further details of the cuts are as follows:

[ Spoilers! hover or click text ]

The BBFC provide a good description of the sex scenes and strong language in the BBFC Insight:

There is occasional use of strong language (‘fuck’, motherfucker’), and frequent racial language (‘nigga’) used informally between black characters. There is also use of homophobic language in a scene in which an adult explains to a young boy that ‘faggot is an offensive term.

Scenes of sexual activity include implied masturbation and penetration, and in one scene a character wakes up following a wet dream . Strong verbal references are made to oral sex and intercourse.

Meanwhile the CBFC cut entirely two of the film’s love-making sequences, one homosexual and the other heterosexua

Noting that gay sex cannot be shown in an Indian film since homosexuality is still not legalised, the cuts to the sensitively designed sequence showing the film’s young teenage protagonist gets a hand-job from his best friend, seems a bit harsh. A source said:

The censor board has ordered the entire hand-job to go. We only hear the protagonist say he is sorry for what happened. Indian audiences will not get what he’s feeling sorry for.

Also, ordered out of the film is a dream sequence showing the protagonist’s best friend making out with a girl.

Besides these two cuts the soundtrack has been cleared of all expletives included bitch , dick , fuck and motherfucker .

The source added:

The CBFC has done a sanskari job [seems to mean politically correct cleanup] on the language of the American African community.

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queens solitaire gamesA banner ad for a solitaire game, seen on the lock screen of a phone that was running the AVG Cleaner app in October 2016, featured three women in bikinis posing in a suggestive manner.

A complainant challenged whether the ad had been inappropriately and irresponsibly placed, as it had appeared untargeted on a device used by children.

Queens Solitaire Games, whose product was promoted by the ad, did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.

AVG Technologies UK Ltd, in whose app the ad appeared, stated that, in order to prevent improper ads from appearing in their apps, their ad providers automatically blocked ads referencing several categories, including sex and sexuality. However, on rare occasions, inappropriate ads could bypass this screening. They said that this usually happened when the advertiser categorised or named the ad in a misleading manner. When made aware of such an incident, they immediately blocked the ad manually on all ad networks and sent it to their ad providers for investigation.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA was concerned by Queens Solitaire Games’ lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.

We considered that the sexualised nature of the images meant that they should not appear in media that might be seen by children. While the app was unlikely to appeal to children, we considered that, if installed on a device used by children, it could easily be seen by them. Furthermore, we noted that the ad had appeared on the screen of a phone while it was locked, increasing the chance of it being seen by children. We considered that Queens Solitaire Games held primary responsibility for ensuring that the content and placement of the ad complied with the CAP Code, and that they should have correctly flagged the content of the ad to the publisher. However, we considered that AVG Technologies was also responsible for ensuring that ads in their apps were targeted appropriately. We acknowledged that they had systems in place to prevent ads with sexual content from appearing in their apps, and welcomed their prompt action to remove inappropriate ads. However, we were concerned that their procedures had not been adequate to prevent the ad from appearing in an inappropriate medium in this case. We therefore concluded that the ad had been placed irresponsibly.

The ad must not appear again in media that might be seen by children. We told Queens Solitaire Games to ensure that ads were appropriately targeted. We referred Queens Solitaire Games to CAP’s Compliance team.

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facebook loginSecretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told Congress this week that the Department of Homeland Security is exploring the possibility of asking visa applicants not only for an accounting of what they do online, but for full access to their online accounts. In a hearing in the House of Representatives, Kelly said:

We want to say for instance, What sites do you visit? And give us your passwords. So that we can see what they do on the internet. And this might be a week, might be a month. They may wait some time for us to vet. If they don’t want to give us that information then they don’t come. We may look at their204we want to get on their social media with passwords. What do you do? What do you say? If they don’t want to cooperate, then they don’t come in.

TechCrunch’ s Devin Coldewey pointed out, asking people to surrender passwords would raise “obvious” privacy and security problems. But beyond privacy and security, the proposed probing of online accounts204including social media and other communications platforms204would, if implemented, be a major threat to free expression.

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Blood Diner Blu ray Rick Burks Blood Diner is a 1987 USA comedy horror by Jackie Kong.
Starring Rick Burks, Carl Crew and Roger Dauer. BBFC link IMDb

Two cannibals/health food diner owners are on a wacky quest to restore life to the five million year old goddess Shitaar. Aided by their uncle’s brain and penis, the two set about getting the required parts – virgins, assorted body parts from whores, and the ingredients for a “blood buffet”. Their adversaries are the police: the chief with a Russian accent, the “player” detective, and the new Yorker with an Australian accent.

The BBFC has just passed the film 18 uncut for strong gory violence, sexualised nudity after all previous BBFC cuts were waived for Lionsgate Video release in 2017.

Presumably Lionsgate will repeat the recent US hit by releasing it on the Vestron Video label made famous during the video nasty period.

UK Censorship History

Substantially cut by the BBFC for 18 rated 1989 VHS. Later rated 18 uncut for 2017 home video. Uncut and MPAA Unrated in the the US.