Archive for the ‘BBFC’ Category

Read more bw.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

BBFC logo The BBFC has launched an innovative new industry collaboration with Netflix to move towards classifying all content on the service using BBFC age ratings.

Netflix will produce BBFC age ratings for content using a manual tagging system along with an automated rating algorithm, with the BBFC taking up an auditing role. Netflix and the BBFC will work together to make sure Netflix’s classification process produces ratings which are consistent with the BBFC’s Classification Guidelines for the UK.

It comes as new research by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the Video Standards Council Rating Board (VSC) has revealed that almost 80% of parents are concerned about children seeing inappropriate content on video on demand or online games platforms.

The BBFC and the VSC have joined forces to respond to calls from parents and are publishing a joint set of Best Practice Guidelines to help online services deliver what UK consumers want.

The Best Practice Guidelines will help online platforms work towards greater and more consistent use of trusted age ratings online. The move is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Government’s strategy to make the UK the safest place to be online.

This includes recommending the use of consistent and more comprehensive use of BBFC age labelling symbols across all Video On Demand (VOD) services, and PEGI symbols across online games services, including additional ratings info and mapping parental controls to BBFC age ratings and PEGI ratings.

The voluntary Guidelines are aimed at VOD services offering video content to UK consumers via subscription, purchase and rental, but exclude pure catch-up TV services like iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My 5 and UKTV Player.

The research also shows that 90% of parents believe that it is important to display age ratings when downloading or streaming a film online, and 92% of parents think it’s important for video on demand platforms to show the same type of age ratings they would expect at the cinema or on DVD and Blu-ray 203 confirmed by 94% of parents saying it’s important to have consistent ratings across all video on demand platforms, rather than a variety of bespoke ratings systems.

With nine in 10 (94%) parents believing it is important to have consistent ratings across all online game platforms rather than a variety of bespoke systems, the VSC is encouraging services to join the likes of Microsoft, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo and Google in providing consumers with the nationally recognised PEGI ratings on games – bringing consistency between the offline and online worlds.

The Video Recordings Act requires that the majority of video works and video games released on physical media must be classified by the BBFC or the VSC prior to release. While there is no equivalent legal requirement that online releases must be classified, the BBFC has been working with VOD services since 2008, and the VSC has been working with online games platforms since 2003. The Best Practice Guidelines aim to build on the good work that is already happening, and both authorities are now calling for the online industry to work with them in 2019 and beyond to better protect children.

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said:

Our research clearly shows a desire from the public to see the same trusted ratings they expect at the cinema, on DVD and on Blu-ray when they choose to watch material online. We know that it’s not just parents who want age ratings, teenagers want them too. We want to work with the industry to ensure that families are able to make the right decisions for them when watching content online.

Ian Rice, Director General of the VSC, said:

We have always believed that consumers wanted a clear, consistent and readily recognisable rating system for online video games and this research has certainly confirmed that view. While the vast majority of online game providers are compliant and apply PEGI ratings to their product, it is clear that more can be done to help consumers make an informed purchasing decision. To this end, the best practice recommendations will certainly make a valuable contribution in achieving this aim.

Digital Minister Margot James said:

Our ambition is for the UK to be the safest place to be online, which means having age ratings parents know and trust applied to all online films and video games. I welcome the innovative collaboration announced today by Netflix and the BBFC, but more needs to be done.

It is important that more of the industry takes this opportunity for voluntary action, and I encourage all video on demand and games platforms to adopt the new best practice standards set out by the BBFC and Video Standards Council.

The BBFC is looking at innovative ways to open up access to its classifications to ensure that more online video content goes live with a trusted age rating. Today the BBFC and Netflix announce a year-long self-ratings pilot which will see the online streaming service move towards in-house classification using BBFC age ratings, under licence.

Netflix will use an algorithm to apply BBFC Guideline standards to their own content, with the BBFC setting those standards and auditing ratings to ensure consistency. The goal is to work towards 100% coverage of BBFC age ratings across the platform.

Mike Hastings, Director of Editorial Creative at Netflix, said:

The BBFC is a trusted resource in the UK for providing classification information to parents and consumers and we are excited to expand our partnership with them. Our work with the BBFC allows us to ensure our members always press play on content that is right for them and their families.

David Austin added:

We are fully committed to helping families chose content that is right for them, and this partnership with Netflix will help us in our goal to do just that. By partnering with the biggest streaming service, we hope that others will follow Netflix’s lead and provide comprehensive, trusted, well understood age ratings and ratings info, consistent with film and DVD, on their UK platforms. The partnership shows how the industry are working with us to find new and innovative ways to deliver 100% age ratings for families.

Advertisements
Read more bw.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

slogan 2019 The BBFC has changed its slogan from: “Age ratings you trust” , to the rather bizarre: ” View what’s right for you” The new slogan seems a little strange to me, as it rather misses the point as to what age ratings are about. Surely the essence of age ratings is something more along the lines Avoid what’s not right for children in your care. But the BBFC is addressing their slogan directly to your viewing rather than your children’s, as if they know better than you, what is right for you.

Presumably the BBFC is trying to avoid a negative concept, and has tried to make it a more positive message. The BBFC is probably thinking that its detailed consumer advice provides enough details to help viewers decide whether they want to watch for themselves. But the slogan does not make this clear, and it seems likely to be read as if it is the BBFC that decides what is right for you. Then being ‘right’ comes across as presumptive, nannyish, or even Orwellian.

It is also interesting to speculate why the BBFC ditched its old slogan: “Age ratings you trust”. It’s surely a little awkward as it would come across as a proven lie to any reader who disagrees with BBFC decisions.

Also as the BBFC moves into internet censorship, the concept of ‘trust’ is a little dangerous. The BBFC will be forcing porn users to ‘trust’ age verifiers without any real protection in law to ensure that age verifiers keep the ID and browsing history of porn viewers secret. It is only a matter of time before data is found being sold to advertisers or worse, or else data is hacked, stolen or misused. The Government have already paid for insurance should the BBFC get sued by people whose lives get trashed by such data getting into the wrong hands. It is simply not wise for the BBFC to suggest ‘trust’ when this may be used in court against them.

Read more bw.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Sausage Party DVD Reports from the launch meeting for the recent publication of updated BBFC guidelines reveals some of the politically correct nonsense underpinning the changes. thetelegraphandargus.co.uk reports that film censors have hit back at what has been deemed the pornification of culture. The BBFC has announced that the creeping-in of pornographic themes to popular culture is of major concern to the British viewing public.

The animated comedy Sausage Party was singled out as an example of where cinema has borrowed from the world of porn. The new guidelines prescribe higher age ratings for works with sexual violence, darkly realistic themes, and films steeped in the language of pornography.

Speaking at their launch in London, BBFC head of compliance Craig Lapper said:

I think there’s a tendency for people to assume that everything must be increasingly more liberal. It always has that possibility of reaching a point and going the other way.

Public views are changing. This partly comes from the pornification of culture and whether almost borrowing from porn, cruder, stronger and harder sexual references are making their way into mainstream entertainment.

I think it’s about the borrowing of themes and images from porn, and the visuals of pornography. It’s all more available than it used to be when you had to go into a sex shop.

One film was Sausage Party. We had a lot of feedback. We heard from all sort of people about that, including teenagers. Of course they had watched it.

There is a scene in the film where animated vegetables engage in an orgy. It’s crude.

Actually perhaps they (the public) feel that we need to rein it in. I think it’s just the because it’s so widespread and available.

Read more bw.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

bbfc guidelines 2019 BBFC launches new Classification Guidelines and calls for greater age rating consistency across online channels

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has published new Classification Guidelines, and in response to public demand is calling for greater consistency for age ratings across different platforms.

The BBFC’s public consultation – involving more than 10,000 people — showed that young people and parents want to see an increase in classification guidance, particularly around online content, as well as more consistency across all platforms.

Demand for age classification has never been higher, with 97% of people saying they benefit from age ratings being in place. 91% of people (and 95% of teenagers) want consistent age ratings that they recognise from the cinema and DVD to apply to content accessed through streaming services.

David Austin, Chief Executive Officer at the BBFC, said: Over the last five years the way we consume film and video has changed beyond all recognition. That’s why it’s so important that there is consistency between what people watch on and offline. The research shows that parents and teenagers want us to give them the information and guidance that they need to view what’s right for them.

The BBFC’s consultation confirms that people feel a heightened sense of anxiety when it comes to depictions of real world scenarios, in which audiences — especially young people — are likely to be concerned that it could happen to them. For example, realistic contemporary scenarios showing terrorism, self-harm, suicide and discriminatory behaviour. This research confirms that the BBFC’s current category standards are reflecting the public mood.

The large scale research also found that attitudes towards sexual threat and sexual violence have moved on since 2013/14. Although the BBFC already classifies such content restrictively, people told us that certain depictions of rape in particular should receive a higher rating. The BBFC has therefore adjusted its Classification Guidelines in these areas.

People also told us that they expect the strongest sex references, in particular those that use the language of pornography, to be classified at 18. The new guidelines reflect this demand.

David Austin added:

We’re here to listen to what people want, which is why they trust our age ratings. So it’s encouraging to know that we’ve been classifying content in line with what people want and expect when it comes to difficult themes around credible real life scenarios. We also know that people are more comfortable with issues such as action violence, if it’s in a way that they are expecting — such as a Bond or Bourne film. We are updating our standards around depictions of sexual violence and very strong sex references to reflect changes in public attitudes.

The BBFC found film classification checking is most evident among parents of children under the age of 12, finding that 87% check all or most of the time, and a further 9% check occasionally. Interestingly, there has been a marked increase in the level of claimed classification checking by parents of children aged 12-14 years — up from 90% ever checking in 2013 to 97% in 2018.

The new guidelines will come into effect on 28 February 2019.

Read more uk_internet_censors.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

House of Commons logo The government has published Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations 2019 which defines which websites get caught up in upcoming internet porn censorship requirements and how social media websites are excused from the censorship.These new laws will come into force on the day that subsection (1) of section 14 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 comes fully into force. This is the section that introduces porn censorship and age verification requirements. This date has not yet been announced but the government has promised to give at least 3 months notice.

So now websites which are more than one-third pornographic content or else those that promote themselves as pornographic will be obliged to verify the age of UK visitors under. However the law does not provide any specific protection for porn viewers’ data beyond the GDPR requirements to obtain nominal consent before using the data obtained for any purpose the websites may desire.

The BBFC and ICO will initiate a voluntary kitemark scheme so that porn websites and age verification providers can be audited as holding porn browsing data and identity details responsibly. This scheme has not yet produced any audited providers so it seems a little unfair to demand that websites choose age verification technology before service providers are checked out.

It all seems extraordinarily dangerous for porn users to submit their identity to adult websites or age verification providers without any protection under law. The BBFC has offered worthless calls for these companies to handle data responsibly, but so many of the world’s major website companies have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, and hackers, spammers, scammers, blackmailers and identity thieves are hardly likely to take note of the BBFC’s fine words eg suggesting ‘best practice’ when implementing age verification.

Neil Brown, the MD of law firm decoded.legal told Sky News:

It is not clear how this age verification will be done, and whether it can be done without also have to prove identity, and there are concerns about the lack of specific privacy and security safeguards.

Even though this legislation has received quite a lot of attention, I doubt most internet users will be aware of what looks like an imminent requirement to obtain a ‘porn licence’ before watching pornography online.

The government’s own impact assessment recognises that it is not guaranteed to succeed, and I suspect we will see an increase in advertising from providers in the near future.

It would seem particularly stupid to open one up to the dangers of have browsing and identity tracked, so surely it is time to get oneself protected with a VPN, which enables one to continue accessing porn without having to hand over identity details.

Read more uk_censorship_history.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

major Newly-released government papers reveal that prime minister John Major considered abrogating from the European Convention on Human Rights if it ruled against Britain in a case involving the film Visions of Ecstasy being banned for blasphemy — Visions of Ecstasy. Documents also revealed that Major was an admirer of Mary Whitehouse.Nigel Wingrove’s 18-minute film depicted Carmelite nun St Teresa’s sexual fantasies about Jesus on the cross, and it was banned by the BBFC, making it the first and only film to be banned in the UK for blasphemy.

When film director Wingrove applied to challenge the ban at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), arguing it breached his freedom of expression, Major responded in a document dated August 1994 sent to senior government figures. Major wrote:

I must make it clear that I would not tolerate a position which required the Government or the BBFC to grant a certificate to this film or to others of a similar type.

This is a matter on which I feel sufficiently strongly to be prepared to consider a derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights if that were to be necessary in the final analysis. I must say I find the position in which we find ourselves wholly unacceptable.

In a reply, then Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd warned about doing anything likely to weaken the fabric of the convention, adding that:

We cannot, in practice, derogate from it except in cases of war or threats to the life of the nation.

Actually it turned out that the UK’s blasphemy laws were backed by the ECHR when it threw out Wingate’s challenge two years later.

Visions of Ecstacy was finally given an 18-rated certificate in 2012 after the common law offence of blasphemous libel was abolished in England and Wales in 2008.

Read more uk_internet_censors.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

house of lords red logo On Tuesday the House of Lords approved the BBFC’s scheme to implement internet porn censorship in the UK. Approval will now be sought from the House of Commons.

The debate in the Lords mentioned a few issues in passing but they seemed to be avoiding taking about some of the horrors of the scheme.

The Digital Economy Act defining the law behind the scheme offers no legal requirement for age verification providers to restrict how they can use porn viewers data. Lords mentioned that it is protected under the GDPR rules but these rules still let companies do whatever they like with data, just with the proviso that they ask for consent. But of course the consent is pretty mandatory to sign up for age verification, and some of the biggest internet companies in the world have set the precedent they can explain wide ranging usage of the data claiming it will be used say to improve customer experience.

Even if the lords didn’t push very hard, people at the DCMS or BBFC have been considering this deficiency, and have come up with the idea that data use should be voluntarily restricted according to a kite mark scheme. Age verification schemes will have their privacy protections audited by some independent group and if they pass they can display a gold star. Porn viewers are then expected to trust age verification schemes with a gold star. But unfortunately it sounds a little like the sort of process that decided that cladding was safe for high rise blocks of flats.

The lords were much more concerned about the age verification requirements for social media and search engines, notably Twitter and Google Images. Clearly age verification schemes required for checking that users are 13 or 18 will be very different from an 18 only check, and will be technically very different. So the Government explained that these wider issues will be addressed in a new censorship white paper to be published in 2019.

The lords were also a bit perturbed that the definition of banned material wasn’t wide enough for their own preferences. Under the current scheme the BBFC will be expected to ban totally any websites with child porn or extreme porn. The lords wondered why this wasn’t extended to cartoon porn and beyond R18 porn, presumably thinking of fisting, golden showers and the like. However in reality if the definition of bannable porn was extended, then every major porn website in the word would have to be banned by the BBFC. And anyway the government is changing its censorship rules such that fisting and golden showers are, or will soon be, allowable at R18 anyway.

The debate revealed that the banks and payment providers have already agreed to ban payments to websites banned by the BBFC. The government also confirmed its intention to get the scheme up and running by April. Saying that, it would seem a little unfair for the website’s 3 month implementation period to be set running before their age verification options are accredited with their gold stars. Otherwise some websites would waste time and money implementing schemes that may later be declared unacceptable.

Next a motion to approve draft legislation over the UK’s age-verification regulations will be debated in the House of Commons. Stephen Winyard, AVSecure s chief marketing officer, told XBIZ:

We are particularly pleased that the prime minister is set to approve the draft guidance for the age-verification law on Monday. From this, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will issue the effective start date and that will be around Easter.

But maybe the prime minister has a few more urgent issues on her mind at the moment.