Archive for the ‘world’ Category

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naih hungary data censor logo Hungary’s Data Protection Chief has proposed new legislation which would enable social media platforms to ban people from their services only with a compelling reason, while also granting the right to Hungarian authorities to review the decisions.The head of the Hungarian Data Protection Authority (NAIH), requested a regulation on social media at a meeting of the Digital Freedom Working Group, according to which community profiles can only be suspended for compelling reasons. Also, according to Attila Péterfalvi, Hungarian authorities should have the right to review these decisions.

The justice ministry’s digital freedom committee aimed at improving the transparency of tech firms has penned a letter to the regional director of Facebook asking whether the company’s supervisory board complied with the requirements of political neutrality and transparency in its procedures, Justice Minister Judit Varga said:Péterfalvi said:

I made the suggestion of establishing a Hungarian authority procedure in which the Hungarian authorities would oblige Facebook to review unjustified suspensions so that freedom of expression would remain free indeed.

Surely just a matter of time before Britain follows suit.

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china flag The Chinese government has begun rolling out its real-name identification system for video games nationwide, while also removing over 15,000 unlicensed games from the Chinese App store.The law includes the extension of an existing social media real-name requirement, where everybody has to provide a form of valid identity information. Both Tencent and NetEase reportedly begun using their own verification systems.

The authentication system aims to be rolled out in September.

Chinese developers were further compounded by 15,000 unlicensed games being removed from the Chinese App Store since July 1st, in preparation of an August 1st deadline. This was due to those games lacking permission from the Chinese National Press and Publication Administration.

One of the drivers behind the latest moves is that in-game messaging and voice systems in more obscure have enabled people to evade the country’s repressive censorship stranglehold on communications.

So how will notorious censors respond to being censored themselves?

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cgtn logo China 24, News Hour
CCTV News, 27 August 2013, 12:00 and 14 July 2014, 21:002

CCTV News broadcast China 24, a news programme which reported on the arrest of Peter Humphrey and included footage of him appearing to confess to a criminal offence. It then broadcast a follow up report during News Hour, which reported on Mr Humphrey’s subsequent conviction and included footage of him apologising for having committed the offence. He was named in both programmes, although his face was blurred.

Ofcom found that:

  • The programmes included footage of Mr Humphrey which had the potential materially and adversely to affect viewers’ perception of him. The Licensee did not take sufficient steps to ensure that material facts had not been presented, omitted or disregarded in a way that was unfair to Mr Humphrey.

  • The Licensee had not provided Mr Humphrey with an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to the allegations of wrongdoing being made about him in the programmes as broadcast.

  • Mr Humphrey had a legitimate expectation of privacy in relation to the filming and subsequent broadcast of the footage of him without his consent. In the circumstances, Mr Humphrey’s legitimate expectation of privacy was not outweighed by the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression and the audience’s right to receive information and ideas without interference. The Licensee had therefore unwarrantably infringed Mr Humphrey’s privacy in respect of the obtaining of the material included in the programmes and in the programmes as broadcast.

Ofcom also considers that the breach of Rules 7.1 and 8.1 of the Code is serious. We are therefore putting the Licensee on notice that we intend to consider the breach for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

Books vanish from Hong Kong book libraries in fear of new security law imposed by China.

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Unfree Speech by Joshua Wong Paperback -- 6 Feb. 2020 Books written by prominent Hong Kong democracy activists have started to disappear from the city’s libraries after Beijing imposed a repressive new national security law.Among the authors whose titles are no longer available are Joshua Wong, one of the city’s most prominent young activists, and Tanya Chan, a well known pro-democracy lawmaker.

Wong said he believed the removal of the books was sparked by the security law. He wrote on Facebook:

White terror continues to spread, the national security law is fundamentally a tool to incriminate speech, using a phrase that refers to political persecution.

Searches on the public library website showed at least three titles by Wong, Chan and local scholar Chin Wan are no longer available for lending at any of dozens of outlets across the city.

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cgtn logo It seems strange that a TV censor should get involved in a very tense global situation with China vs the western world. One would have thought that this should be better handled by diplomats and the Foreign Office. Perhaps Ofcom have been working with the government behind the scenes.Anyway Ofcom has published a series of decisions against news reports from China’s propaganda channel CGTN. Ofcom said that news reports broke thier rules with biased coverage of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Ofcom said it was minded to formally sanction CGTN, the English-language rolling news channel owned by the Chinese government, for a serious failure of compliance after it failed to represent anti-Beijing viewpoints as protests raged across Hong Kong in late 2019.

Ofcom noted that CGTN often focused on violence by protesters against police officers, while downplaying attacks by the authorities on the public. Its output also parroted the views of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong government without giving sufficient airtime to people with alternative views, while focusing on economic disruption to businesses rather than the reason they were being disrupted.

It remains to be seen how China will respond to the sanctions. In March, Beijing revoked the visas of many American journalists after Donald Trump restricted the activities of CGTN and other Chinese outlets in the US.

CGTN said viewers understood it was representing a different view and the channel was simply serving its purpose to inform our international audiences of the Chinese perspective, which is often alternative to the mainstream western media.

Live censorship…New Zealand government introduces a bill to empower the country’s chief censor to take emergency decisions to ban content pending a full consideration later.

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OFLC New Zealand logo The New Zealand government has introduced a Bill that proposes to empower the country’s chief censor to make immediate decisions about ‘objectionable’ material that should be banned or blocked.The objective of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Urgent Interim Classification of Publications and Prevention of Online Harm) Amendment Bill is to update the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 to allow for urgent prevention and mitigation of harms caused by objectionable publications.

The Bill is responding to the live streaming of mosque murders in Christchurch. It is primarily aimed at such live streaming but also applies to offline media.

Once legislated, the live-streaming of objectionable content will be a criminal offence. As any digital reproduction of a livestream is considered a recording, publications hosting a non-real-time video are already subject to existing provisions in the Act. The criminal offence of livestreaming objectionable content only applies to the individual or group livestreaming the content. The Bill notes it does not apply to the online content hosts that provide the online infrastructure or platform for the livestream.Under the Bill, a chief censor will be given powers to make immediate interim classification assessments of any publication in situations where the sudden appearance and viral distribution of objectionable content is injurious to the public good. The interim decision will be in place for a maximum of 20 business days, allowing the chief censor to roll the classification back.

The Bill also authorises an Inspector of Publications to issue a take-down notice for objectionable online content. They will be issued to an online content host and will direct the removal of a specific link to make it no longer viewable in New Zealand. Failure to comply could see an online content host subject to civil pecuniary penalties.

A coronavirus check will include, facial recognition, providing personal information, a check against criminal records, a check on the car, and an app with location tracking to keep tabs on your whereabouts in Phuket.

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phuket smart checkpoint Phuket is a holiday island in Thailand that is accessed by road via a single bridge to the mainland. In the name of coronavirus monitoring the Phuket authorities have introduced an horribly invasive computerised checkpoint on the bridge.The check on people crossing the bridge will include a temperature check with a facial recognition detection system connected with the public health database. In the case detection of a traveller has contracted the Covid-19 virus, police will be alerted at the checkpoints along with National Emergency Notification Center staff.

But that is just the beginning of it. The Phuket Smart Check Point will also include scanning for suspect vehicles involved in crimes, and checking the traveller’s criminal record.

The Check Point will also require travellers to register and supply personal information. This will be kept on record for subsequent crossings and will be used for unspecified analysis by the authorities, including for the suppression of crime.

The system comes with an app that can be used as a tracking device allowing authorities to see where your current location is in the province.

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UN logo The UN secretary-general António Guterres has said the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering, and appealed for an all-out effort to end hate speech globally.He said anti-foreigner sentiment has surged online and on the streets, and highlighted the spread of antisemitic conspiracy theories and Covid-19-related anti-Muslim attacks.

Guterres called on the media, especially social media, to remove racist, misogynist and other harmful content, on civil society to strengthen their outreach to vulnerable people, and on religious figures to serve as models of mutual respect. He added somewhat hopefully:

And I ask everyone, everywhere, to stand up against hate, treat each other with dignity and take every opportunity to spread kindness.

US internet giants threaten total boycott of Pakistan over its extreme internet censorship law just enacted

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pakistan government logo Earlier this month, the government of Pakistan enacted some of the most authoritarian and restrictive online censorship laws outside Communist China. The laws seems to be based on European and UK laws to hold the internet companies responsible for whatever users post.Although the likes of Google and Facebook usually bow down to local law, this new law was a step too far. Google, Twitter, and Facebook have surprised many by taking a stand against the Pakistani government’s censorship plans and threatening to pull out of the country if the plans aren’t changed. And remarkably, it seems to be working.

Pakistan’s new law is misleadingly titled the Citizen Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020. It gives the country’s censors the power to shut down a huge range of online content. It would require tech companies to remove this content within 24 hours of it being posted.

Tech companies would also be duty-bound to stop post of various types of content from becoming accessible to Pakistani users in real-time and appears to make them responsible for the content of posts put up by users.

Tech companies would also be required to store user data on local servers and open headquarters in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

The main internet companies have now got together under the banner of the Asia Internet Coalition and have written a frank and critical letter to  Prime Minister, Imran Khan. It explains that if the law isn’t changed all the companies will withdraw from the Pakistani market altogether.

In response Pakistani officials have duly committed to review the regulations this week and have said they will now conduct a comprehensive and broad consultation process with all relevant segments of civil society and technology companies.Perhaps the cooperative stand taken by the internet giants may be something for the UK to consider in its own plans for a repressive new ‘online harms censorship law. It would seem entirely reasonable for the companies to take a stand against being held responsible for all the world’s ills.

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Australian Film Classification Board An Australian film industry coalition is calling for new classification between PG and M (which is a PG-15 rating).Major and independent film distributors and exhibitors are urging the federal government to adopt a new PG13 classification which they say would benefit family-friendly Australian and international films that get M ratings.

Echoing calls by Screen Producers Australia and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, the Film Industry Associations (FIA) also advocates a uniform classification system across all delivery platforms, with self-classification by the industry, overseen by a government regulator.

The say the  current review system is no longer fit-for-purpose. It is expensive and unfeasibly time-consuming in an environment where digital distribution has minimised the time between the delivery of a film and its release date, the FIA says in its submission to the government classification review.