Archive for the ‘BBFC’ Category

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dcmd guidance age verification A few extracts from the documentIntroduction

  1. A person contravenes Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 if they make
    pornographic material available on the internet on a commercial basis to
    persons in the United Kingdom without ensuring that the material is not
    normally accessible to persons under the age of 18. Contravention could lead
    to a range of measures being taken by the age-verification regulator in
    relation to that person, including blocking by internet service providers (ISPs).
  2. Part 3 also gives the age-verification regulator powers to act where a person
    makes extreme pornographic material (as defined in section 22 of the Digital
    Economy Act 2017) available on the internet to persons in the United
    Kingdom.

Purpose

This guidance has been written to provide the framework for the operation of
the age-verification regulatory regime in the following areas:

● Regulator’s approach to the exercise of its powers;
● Age-verification arrangements;
● Appeals;
● Payment-services Providers and Ancillary Service Providers;
● Internet Service Provider blocking; and
● Reporting.

Enforcement principles

This guidance balances two overarching principles in the regulator’s application of its powers under sections 19, 21 and 23 – that it should apply its powers in the way which it thinks will be most effective in ensuring compliance on a case-by-case basis and that it should take a proportionate approach.

As set out in this guidance, it is expected that the regulator, in taking a proportionate approach, will first seek to engage with the non-compliant person to encourage them to comply, before considering issuing a notice under section 19, 21 or 23, unless there are reasons as to why the regulator does not think that is appropriate in a given case

Regulator’s approach to the exercise of its powers

The age-verification consultation Child Safety Online: Age verification for pornography identified that an extremely large number of websites contain pornographic content – circa 5 million sites or parts of sites. All providers of online pornography, who are making available pornographic material to persons in the United Kingdom on a commercial basis, will be required to comply with the age-verification requirement .

In exercising its powers, the regulator should take a proportionate approach. Section 26(1) specifically provides that the regulator may, if it thinks fit, choose to exercise its powers principally in relation to persons who, in the age-verification regulator’s opinion:

  • (a) make pornographic material or extreme pornographic material available on the internet on a commercial basis to a large number of persons, or a large number of persons under the age of 18, in the United Kingdom; or
  • (b) generate a large amount of turnover by doing so.

In taking a proportionate approach, the regulator should have regard to the following:

a. As set out in section 19, before making a determination that a person is contravening section 14(1), the regulator must allow that person an opportunity to make representations about why the determination should not be made. To ensure clarity and discourage evasion, the regulator should specify a prompt timeframe for compliance and, if it considers it appropriate, set out the steps that it considers that the person needs to take to comply.

b. When considering whether to exercise its powers (whether under section 19, 21 or 23), including considering what type of notice to issue, the regulator should consider, in any given case, which intervention will be most effective in encouraging compliance, while balancing this against the need to act in a proportionate manner.

c. Before issuing a notice to require internet service providers to block access to material, the regulator must always first consider whether issuing civil proceedings or giving notice to ancillary service providers and payment-services providers might have a sufficient effect on the non-complying person’s behaviour.

To help ensure transparency, the regulator should publish on its website details of any notices under sections 19, 21 and 23.

Age-verification arrangements

Section 25(1) provides that the regulator must publish guidance about the types of arrangements for making pornographic material available that the regulator will treat as complying with section 14(1). This guidance is subject to a Parliamentary procedure

A person making pornographic material available on a commercial basis to persons in the United Kingdom must have an effective process in place to verify a user is 18 or over. There are various methods for verifying whether someone is 18 or over (and it is expected that new age-verification technologies will develop over time). As such, the Secretary of State considers that rather than setting out a closed list of age-verification arrangements, the regulator’s guidance should specify the criteria by which it will assess, in any given case, that a person has met with this requirement. The regulator’s guidance should also outline good practice in relation to age verification to encourage consumer choice and the use of mechanisms which confirm age, rather than identity.

The regulator is not required to approve individual age-verification solutions. There are various ways to age verify online and the industry is developing at pace. Providers are innovating and providing choice to consumers.

The process of verifying age for adults should be concerned only with the need to establish that the user is aged 18 or above. The privacy of adult users of pornographic sites should be maintained and the potential for fraud or misuse of personal data should be safeguarded. The key focus of many age-verification providers is on privacy and specifically providing verification, rather than identification of the individual.

Payment-services providers and ancillary service providers

There is no requirement in the Digital Economy Act for payment-services providers or ancillary service providers to take any action on receipt of such a notice. However, Government expects that responsible companies will wish to withdraw services from those who are in breach of UK legislation by making pornographic material accessible online to children or by making extreme pornographic material available.

The regulator should consider on a case-by-case basis the effectiveness of notifying different ancillary service providers (and payment-services providers).

There are a wide-range of providers whose services may be used by pornography providers to enable or facilitate making pornography available online and who may therefore fall under the definition of ancillary service provider in section 21(5)(a) . Such a service is not limited to where a direct financial relationship is in place between the service and the pornography provider. Section 21(5)(b) identifies those who advertise commercially on such sites as ancillary service providers. In addition, others include, but are not limited to:

  • a. Platforms which enable pornographic content or extreme pornographic material to be uploaded;
  • b. Search engines which facilitate access to pornographic content or extreme pornographic material;
  • c. Discussion for a and communities in which users post links;
  • d. Cyberlockers’ and cloud storage services on which pornographic content or extreme pornographic material may be stored;
  • e. Services including websites and App marketplaces that enable users to download Apps;
  • f. Hosting services which enable access to websites, Apps or App marketplaces; that enable users to download apps
  • g. Domain name registrars.
  • h. Set-top boxes, mobile applications and other devices that can connect directly to streaming servers

Internet Service Provider blocking

The regulator should only issue a notice to an internet service provider having had regard to Chapter 2 of this guidance. The regulator should take a proportionate approach and consider all actions (Chapter 2.4) before issuing a notice to internet service providers.

In determining those ISPs that will be subject to notification, the regulator should take into consideration the number and the nature of customers, with a focus on suppliers of home and mobile broadband services. The regulator should consider any ISP that promotes its services on the basis of pornography being accessible without age verification irrespective of other considerations.

The regulator should take into account the child safety impact that will be achieved by notifying a supplier with a small number of subscribers and ensure a proportionate approach. Additionally, it is not anticipated that ISPs will be expected to block services to business customers, unless a specific need is identified.

Reporting

In order to assist with the ongoing review of the effectiveness of the new regime and the regulator’s functions, the Secretary of State considers that it would be good practice for the regulator to submit to the Secretary of State an annual report on the exercise of its functions and their effectiveness.

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DCMS logoThe Government has formally proposed that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) be designated as the regulator for the age verification of online pornography in the UK.

Age verification will mean anyone who makes pornography available online on a commercial basis must ensure under 18s in the UK cannot access it. This is part of the Government’s continuing work to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

The BBFC has unparalleled expertise in classifying content and has a proven track record of interpreting and implementing legislation as the statutory authority for age rating videos under the Video Recordings Act.

This, along with its work with industry on the film classification system and more recently classifying material for mobile network operators, makes them the preferred choice for regulator.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock said:

One of the missions of age verification is to harness the freedom of the internet while mitigating its harms. Offline, as a society we protect children from viewing inappropriate adult material by ensuring pornography is sold responsibly using appropriate age checks. It is now time that the online world follows suit. The BBFC are the best placed in the world to do this important and delicate task.

David Austin, Chief Executive Officer at BBFC said:

The BBFC’s primary aim is to protect children and other vulnerable groups from harmful content and we are therefore pleased to accept the Government’s proposed designation.

Age-verification barriers will help to prevent children accessing or stumbling across pornographic content online. The UK is leading the way with this age-verification regime and will set an international precedent in child protection.

The government’s proposal must be approved by Parliament before the BBFC is officially designated as the age-verification regulator.

The regulator will notify non-compliant pornographic providers, and be able to direct internet service providers to prevent customers accessing these sites. It will also notify payment-services providers and other ancillary service providers of these sites, with the intention that they can withdraw their services.

The Government will shortly also publish guidance on how the regulator should fulfil its duties in relation to age verification.

Response: The BBFC will struggle to ensure that Age Verification is safe, secure and anonymous

15th December 2017 See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com

open rights group 2016 logo Responding to the news that the BBFC are in line to be appointed Age Verification regulator, Jim Killock Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

The BBFC will struggle to ensure that Age Verification is safe, secure and anonymous. They are powerless to ensure people’s privacy.

The major publisher, MindGeek, looks like it will dominate the AV market. We are very worried about their product, AgeID, which could track people’s porn use. The way this product develops is completely out of BBFC’s hands.

Users will not be able to choose how to access websites. They’ll be at the mercy of porn companies. And the blame lies squarely with Theresa May’s government for pushing incomplete legislation.

Killock also warned that censorship of porn sites could quickly spiral into hundreds or thousands of sites:

While BBFC say they will only block a few large sites that don’t use AV, there are tens of thousands of porn sites. Once MPs work out that AV is failing to make porn inaccessible, some will demand that more and more sites are blocked. BBFC will be pushed to block ever larger numbers of websites.

Response: How to easily get around the UK’s porn censorship

15th December 2017 See  article from vpncompare.co.uk

vpn compare logoOf course, in putting together this hugely draconian piece of legislation, the British Government has overlooked one rather glaring point. Any efforts to censor online content in the UK can be easily circumvented by anyone using a VPN.

British-based subscribers to a VPN service such as IPVanish or ExpressVPN will be able to get around any blocked sites simply by connecting to a server in another democratic country which hasn’t chosen to block websites with adult content.

As much as Governments try to censor online content, so VPN will offer continue to offer people access to the free and uncontrolled internet they are legally entitled to enjoy.

…Read the full  article from vpncompare.co.uk

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BBFC logo BBFC fees will increase from 1 January 2018.

In 2015, having frozen fees for the previous seven years, and following consultation with the DCMS and industry, we introduced an annual fee formula of RPI minus 1% to ensure our long term income was on a sustainable footing. This sub-inflation formula also carried a built-in need to make annual cost savings in our business while still delivering an efficient service to industry.

In October 2017, the Office for National Statistics announced that September RPI was 3.9% which is higher than recent years. In light of this, and the fact BBFC fees have only increased by 2.3% over the last ten years, although we are keen to retain the RPI minus 1% formula going forward, for 2018, as a one-off good will offering to customers, we propose to deviate from the formula and clip the increase from 2.9% to 2%

We are therefore increasing the fees for our statutory services by 2%, as follows:

  • Theatrical submissions: £7.30 per minute and 2£104.57 submission fee

  • Video Recordings Act submissions: £6.26 per minute and £78.30 submission fee

See other fees in article from bbfc.co.uk

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Poster Access All Areas 2017 Bryn Higgins Access All Areas is a 2017 UK comedy music drama by Bryn Higgins.
Starring Ella Purnell, Georgie Henley and Nigel Lindsay. BBFC link IMDb

An unlikely gang of teens go on the run to an island music festival, leaving behind their dysfunctional parents and the rules of the real world.

The film was originally for cinema and VoD and was passed 15 uncut for strong sex references, nudity, drug misuse.

A few days later the film was cut and resubmitted by the distributor. This time the film was passed 15 for strong sex references, drug misuse.

So presumably the nudity was cut so to avoid it being mentioned in the BBFC aconsumer dvice.

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Complaints to the BBFC have been  outlined in the BBFC Annual Report covering 2016:

Deadpool DVD The film Deadpool generated the largest amount of public feedback in2016, with 51 complaints.

Some viewers were concerned about the level of violence in the film. The BBFC responded that the violence is strong and frequently bloody, this often occurs during fast-paced action sequences with little focus on detail. There is also a comic tone to the violence, and the film’s fantastical setting further distances it from reality.

The BBFC also received complaints about sex references and strong language in Deadpool. The BBFC responded that though strong sex references do occur throughout the film, most of these are in the form of comic verbal quips or innuendo. Deadpool contains frequent use of strong language (‘fuck’, ‘motherfucker’). However, there is no upper limit on the number of uses of strong language at 15.The sex references and language are therefore acceptable at the classification.

The BBFC received 30 complaints about Suicide Squad .

Most of the feedback was from children under the age of fifteen, or their parents, who had hoped that the film would achieve a lower classification. The sustained threat and moderate violence in Suicide Squad were too strong to warrant a 12A.

The BBFC received 20 complaints regarding Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Some members of the public believed the film to be too scary for a 12A classification. Te BBFC responded that scenes of horror in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children involve some monster characters known as Hollows which feast on eyeballs. These scenes are infrequent and the fantasy setting of the film as a whole reduces the intensity of these moments.

Nineteen members of the public wrote to the BBFC regarding the level of violence in Jason Bourne , classified 12A.

Some complaints focussed on the term moderate violence and argued that this did not reflect the level of detail depicted. The BBFC responded that although there are some heavy blows, little is shown in terms of injury detail, with the focus instead placed on action.

Sausage Party attracted 19 complaints.

Sausage Party DVD Some of the feedback concerned the film’s sex references. A scene in Sausage Party shows food products taking part in an orgy, during which various sexual activities are depicted, but in an unrealistic manner. Given the animated nature of the film and the comic context, this scene is acceptable at 15.

Some members of the public complained about the film’s three uses of very strong language (‘cunt’). The comic and non aggressive delivery of the very strong language in Sausage Party means that it is acceptable at 15.

Other complaints about Sausage Party focussed on drug use. Drug references in the film are either unrealistic (for example, food products smoking joints) or involve non-existent drugs (for example, bath salts). As such, they are permissible at 15, where drug taking may be shown but the work as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse.

Eighteen members of the public wrote to the BBFC about the violence in 10 Cloverfield Lane (12A).

There is a scene where a character is shot; however, this takes place off screen, and no impact or detail is shown. Another scene shows the antagonist being injured by a barrel of acid, his face visibly burnt. However, there is no significant focus on the injury detail. There are several scenes of moderate threat in the film which create a dark tone that the BBFC recognised as being at the upper end of the 12A level. At 12A,moderate physical and psychological threat is permitted as long as horror sequences are not too frequent or sustained, and the overall tone is not disturbing.

The BBFC received ten complaints about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice regarding threat, violence and the dark tone of the film.

Moments of threat include characters being held at gunpoint, and some nightmarish dream sequences. The BBFC responded that the violence and tone sit within a known fantasy context consistent with both BBFC Classification Guidelines and past instalments of the Batman series at the 12A classification. There is limited detail of injury in the film and, in the few moments where injury is seen, there is no emphasis on either injuries or blood.

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bbfc 2016 In 2016 the BBFC age rated 1,075 films for cinema release, the most since 1957, proving that Britain continues to be a nation of film enthusiasts. In a year where almost twice as many films were released in cinemas compared to 2009, more films were rated 15 (401) than any other age rating. Every film age rated by the BBFC comes with detailed BBFCinsight information to help people make informed viewing choices for themselves and their family.

Away from the cinema the popularity of digital content continued to rise. In line with this, the BBFC charted an 85% increase in the number of minutes of digital content submitted to it compared to 2015, with Netflix sending more titles to the BBFC than any other customer. In 2016 the BBFC also age rated a virtual reality (VR) film for the first time as ABE VR, a short horror VR film, was rated 15 for bloody violence and threat.

David Austin, BBFC Chief Executive, said:

The BBFC’s key aim is to help families make viewing decisions that work for them at the cinema and at home, where an increasing amount of content is available online, as well as on DVD and Blu-ray. We were also named by Government as, subject to designation, the preferred regulator for the age verification of pornographic content online under the Digital Economy Act, a further endorsement of our expertise as a regulator that has the ability to help protect children from unsuitable content online. The BBFC will continue to adapt to innovations in technology and shape its Classification Guidelines in line with the attitudes of people living across the UK, including parents with young children, regular film viewers and teenagers.

In addition to providing the latest age rating information on its website and free app, the BBFC continues to publish resources for students, including a regular podcast. In 2016 the BBFC’s education team also held 151 teaching sessions for over 9,000 people, talking to them about the history of the BBFC, what the age ratings mean, and how they can check what the key issues are in a film, DVD/Blu-ray or VOD release, before they watch it.

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david milesAs Policy Director David Miles is the principal adviser on policy and public affairs to the Chief Executive. He is responsible for coordinating the BBFC’s policy work and managing and leading on its public affairs effort. The role is also responsible for managing the BBFC’s research, communications and education programmes.

David Miles, BBFC Policy Director said: The BBFC is an intelligent and innovative organisation with a growing remit online, as well as an important legacy as a British institution and one of the most respected film and video regulators in the world. I am very pleased to join the BBFC as its Policy Director and look forward to working with all BBFC staff to ensure the BBFC’s Classification Guidelines continue to adapt shifting public opinion and the BBFC provides the best possible, transparent and accessible guidance for anyone making a film, DVD/Blu-ray or VOD viewing decision for themselves or on behalf of children.

I also look forward to the opportunity to work on the BBFC’s proposed role as the age verification regulator for pornography online, a significant and vital step in reducing children’s exposure to online pornography available in the UK, and a role I believe the BBFC is well equipped to fulfil.

David joined the BBFC as a consultant in February 2017, before his appointment as Policy Director in June 2017. Prior to this David held a wide range of executive leadership roles in the technology and charitable sector, including IBM and the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI). He is currently a member of UNICEF’s Expert Panel for the Global Fund to End Violence against Children, as well as former Executive Board member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and chair of several key working groups. David is a Freeman of the City of London and a member of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT), one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Company received its Royal Charter in 2010.