Archive for the ‘EU’ Category

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spd cdu logoLeading German MPs have called for online ‘fake news’ campaigns to be made a crime. Patrick Sensburg, a senior MP in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, said:

Targeted disinformation to destabilise a state should be a criminal offence. We need to consider whether there should be some sort of ‘test site’ that reveals and identifies propaganda pages.

The call was backed by his party colleague Ansgar Heveling, the chairman of the German parliament’s influential internal affairs committee aying:

We last saw disinformation campaigns during the Cold War, now they have clearly been revived with new media opportunities. The law already offers options, such as a slander or defamation. But I think a criminal sentence is more appropriate when it is a targeted campaign.

German intelligence has warned that Russia is seeking to influence next year’s German elections via propaganda distributed via the internet, partcularly social media. Russia has been accused of deliberately using socialbots , automated software masqueraring as real people, to promote ‘fake news’ stories on social media.

Mrs Merkel’s current coalition partners and main rival in next year’s elections, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), have also called for a cross-party alliance against ‘fake news’ stories. Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD leader called for

Democratic solidarity against manipulative socialbots and an alliance against ‘fake news’.

Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel of the SPD added:

If there is any doubt about the authenticity of any information, we should refrain from attacking our political opponents with it.

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kodi fully loadedSelling media players with pirate add-ons violates EU law, according to a recommendation from Advocate General Campos S31nchez-Bordona.He issued the advice in a landmark case over the legality of pre-loaded XBMC/Kodi devices, which are widely sold across Europe. Whether users of these players also liable depends on whether they know that the content is infringing. While Kodi itself is a neutral platform, there are lots of add-ons available that turn it into a pirate’s heaven.

In Europe, the European Court of Justice is currently handling a landmark case that should provide more clarity on the legality of set-top boxes that are sold with links to infringing content.

The issue was raised in a case between Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN and the Filmspeler.nl store, which sells piracy configured media players. While these devices don’t host any infringing content, they ship with add-ons that make it very easy to watch infringing content.

The Dutch District Court referred the case to the EU Court of Justice, and the Advocate General (AG) Campos S31nchez-Bordona issued his recommendation to the Court. The AG concluded that selling a media player with the knowledge that it links to infringing material, constitutes a communication to the public, which makes it copyright infringing.

Whether the users of these devices are also acting unlawfully is a different question. According to the AG it would be logical to conclude that, when offering devices with pirate add-ons is illegal, using them would be too:

In my opinion, if the key factor, in the case of a person who inserts a hyperlink without pursuing a profit, is knowledge [206] that the protected work is available on the internet unlawfully, it would be difficult not to extend that criterion to a person who merely makes use of that hyperlink, also without pursuing a profit.

The Advocate General’s advice is often crucial, but not binding. It is expected that the EU Court of Justice will issue its final verdict in this case early next year.

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european commission logoThe European Commission has called on tech companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and other major names to implement more aggressively measures in order to censor online hate speech. The alternative is to face new EU legislation that would force the tech companies to censor more quickly.The Financial Times reports that a study commissioned by the EU justice commissioner, Vera Jourova, found that YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook have struggled to comply with the hate speech voluntary code of conduct that was announced earlier this year. Amid national security concerns and heightened racial tensions, mostly resulting from unpopular EU refugee policies.

In Germany, the government-led effort has been particularly aggressive. Germany is one of the European nations where the ongoing refugee crisis has reinvigorated the far-right and sparked a backlash against government policy. Reuter reports that Heiko Maas, the German Justice Minister, recently said that Facebook should be made liable for any hate speech published on its social media platform and it should be treated as a media company.

According to The Verge, Google, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft agreed in a code of conduct announced in May to review and respond within 24 hours to the majority of hate speech complaints. However, only 40% of the recorded incidents have been reviewed within 24 hours, according to the commission’s report. That figure rose to 80% after 48 hours.

According to PCMag, two advocacy groups have criticized those efforts in France. In May, the two rights groups announced their plans to sue Google, Twitter, and Facebook for failing to remove from their platforms homophobic, racist and other hateful posts. News articles have so far failed to point out that maybe some of these groups are making some false claims about  material being censorable. Perhaps the media companies were right to not remove all of the posts reported.

On Thursday, Dec. 8, EU justice ministers will meet to discuss the report’s findings. H

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computer says noThe European Commission says Internet hosts should pre-censor everything we upload to the Internet for copyright violations. The UK agrees.

Tell the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) we don’t want rights holders to monitor and filter the Internet!

The European Commission has published plans to force Internet companies to filter everything we upload in case it infringes copyright laws. The UK’s Intellectual Property Office wants our views on the European Commission’s plans. The UK Government is minded to support the plans if they can get them to work.

This could block Downfall parodies, campaign videos, TV clips, memes, profile pics — anything that appears to reuse copyright content, even if it is legal to do so.

We need to stop this censorious, privacy-invading, anti-innovation proposal. Users of social media, photo, music and video sharing sites would all be hit hard.

Any company that lets you upload content to the Internet would check everything you upload against a database of copyright works – a massive violation of privacy in order to create this censorship regime.

If you want to insist on your right to publish, you’d have to supply your name and address and agree that you can be prosecuted by the rightsholder. That will put most people off taking the risk, even if they are within their rights to do so. And if rightsholder think that websites aren’t monitoring their users’ uploads closely enough, they can take those websites to court too.

Sign the  petition from action.openrightsgroup.org

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Sausage Party DVD Greg TiernanSausage Party is a 2016 USA animation comedy adventure by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon.
Starring Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd. BBFC link IMDb

An animated fable about the delusion of religion. It is set in an American supermarket, its characters are horny and often blasphemous foodstuffs who at one point engage in a mass sex party.

Catholic and right-wing have whinged about a Seth Rogen cartoon featuring lots of strong language and a foodstuffs orgy scene.

France’s film certification board,  (Centre National de la Cinematographie: Commission de Classification, CNC) has now come under renewed censorship pressure by conservative organisations angry at what they perceive as an overlenient rating given to a Hollywood cartoon.

In the US, the film was rated R for strong crude sexual content, pervasive language, and drug use. The film was cut in the US to avoid an NC-17 rating, with the censors asking for the deletion of the hairy scrotum of a pita bread. This cut version has been distributed worldwide. In the UK, it had 15 for very strong language, strong sex references . In France it has been given a 12 certificate.

Jean-Frédéric Poisson, president of France’s Christian Democratic party whinged:

An orgy scene for 12-year-olds! Everything remains to be done to combat early exposure to pornography.

La Manif Pour Tours, which has campaigned against same-sex marriage fired of an angry tweet:

Hello CNC, explain how you can authorise the screening of a giant orgy for the whole family?

The Association of Catholic Families warned parents:

[The movie gives] the appearance of being intended for young people and children. its content is not only coarse, but also clearly pornographic, under cover of being ‘politically incorrect’.

The French ratings board has traditionally been more lenient than its UK and US equivalents, but is not entirely out on a limb in Europe as Sweden awarded an even lower rating, 11A.

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tisa logoThe Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is another reprehensible trade agreement seeking to put big corporations ahead of the people when it comes to the law of the land.Tisa’s latest wheeze is to suggest that censorship procedures adopted by social networks should be granted impunity from criticism, reproach or even legal control via the law of the land.

Under leaked proposals from TiSA, social networks and other online services could be granted legal immunity when censoring any content, as long as it’s deemed harmful or objectionable.

The measure is one of several internet-related proposals being advanced by TiSA, according to a leaked section of the agreement published by Greenpeace and the German digital rights blog Netzpolitik .

The draft proposal, which is dated September 16, 2013, effectively guarantees online services’ ability to censor such content in Europe without needing to accept any legal liability or public accountability–whether that curation is done by a human or an algorithm.

At a time when there is so much debate about whether Facebook over censors or under censors, or that it somehow controls the thought of zombie masses, gullible to a few lies, enabling the subversion of western democracy, it seems strange to consider granting the orgnisation impunity from law.

Of course our politicians rather prove how easy it is to overrule rational thinking with a few bullshit claims about how granting big corporations immense power, will magically right all the wrongs of our failing economies.

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mariano rajoySpain’s ruling Popular Party (PP) has presented a censorship proposal to Congress that could result in the banning of memes, social network users’ way of gaining comic revenge on the politicians that rule our lives.The censorship law will target the spreading of images that infringe the honour of a person , by demanding that the butt of the joke gives permission for their images to be used in that way

The proposal is a disgraceful attack against the sometimes irreverent humour and political expression in memes, many of which have poked fun at the PP’s leader and conservative prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.

Sources from the PP haves said that the proposal is merely an idea at this stage, and tries to deflect criticism by noting that it does not censor memes that are non-insulting.

So far the only impact of the reform proposal is to have sparked a fresh wave of memes aimed at Rajoy and the PP government, with dozens of social network users posting new gags accompanied by the hashtag #SinMemesNoHayDemocracia – no democracy without memes.