Posts Tagged ‘BBFC’

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 uk_internet_censors.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

DCMS logo Sky News has learned that the government has delayed setting a date for when age verification rules will come into force due to concerns regarding the security and human rights issues posed by the rules. A DCMS representative said:

This is a world-leading step forward to protect our children from adult content which is currently far too easy to access online.

The government, and the BBFC as the regulator, have taken the time to get this right and we will announce a commencement date shortly.

Previously the government indicated that age verification would start from about Easter but the law states that 3 months notice must be given for the start date. Official notice has yet to be published so the earliest it could start is already June 2019.

The basic issue is that the Digital Economy Act underpinning age verification does not mandate that identity data and browsing provided of porn users should be protected by law. The law makers thought that GDPR would be sufficient for data protection, but in fact it only requires that user consent is required for use of that data. All it requires is for users to tick the consent box, probably without reading the deliberately verbose or vague terms and conditions provided. After getting the box ticked the age verifier can then do more or less what they want to do with the data.

Realising that this voluntary system is hardly ideal, and that the world’s largest internet porn company Mindgeek is likely to become the monopoly gatekeeper of the scheme, the government has moved on to considering some sort of voluntary kitemark scheme to try and convince porn users that an age verification company can be trusted with the data. The kitemark scheme would appoint an audit company to investigate the age verification implementations and to approve those that use good practises.

I would guess that this scheme is difficult to set up as it would be a major risk for audit companies to approve age verification systems based upon voluntary data protection rules. If an ‘approved’ company were later found to be selling, misusing data or even getting hacked, then the auditor could be sued for negligent advice, whilst the age verification company could get off scot-free.

Read more uk_internet_censors.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

open rights group 2016 logo We met to discuss BBFC’s voluntary age verification privacy scheme, but BBFC did not attend. Open Rights Group met a number of age verification providers to discuss the privacy standards that they will be meeting when the scheme launches, slated for April. Up to 20 million UK adults are expected to sign up to these products.

We invited all the AV providers we know about, and most importantly, the BBFC, at the start of February. BBFC are about to launch a voluntary privacy standard which some of the providers will sign up to. Unfortunately, BBFC have not committed to any public consultation about the scheme, relying instead on a commercial provider to draft the contents with providers, but without wider feedback from privacy experts and people who are concerned about users.

We held the offices close to the BBFC’s offices in order that it would be convenient for them to send someone that might be able to discuss this with us. We have been asking for meetings with BBFC about the privacy issues in the new code since October 2018: but have not received any reply or acknowledgement of our requests, until this morning, when BBFC said they would be unable to attend today’s roundtable. This is very disappointing.

BBFC’s failure to consult the public about this standard, or even to meet us to discuss our concerns, is alarming. We can understand that BBFC is cautious and does not wish to overstep its relationship with its new masters at DCMS. BBFC may be worried about ORG’s attitude towards the scheme: and we certainly are critical. However, it is not responsible for a regulator to fail to talk to its potential critics.

We are very clear about our objectives. We are acting to do our best to ensure the risk to adult users of age verification technologies are minimised. We do not pose a threat to the scheme as a whole: listening to us can only result in making the pornographic age verification scheme more likely to succeed, and for instance, to avoid catastrophic failures.

Privacy concerns appear to have been recognised by BBFC and DCMS as a result of consultation responses from ORG supporters and others, which resulted in the voluntary privacy standard. These concerns have also been highlighted by Parliament, whose regulatory committee expressed surprise that the Digital Economy Act 2017 had contained no provision to deal with the privacy implications of pornographic age verification.

Today’s meeting was held to discuss:

  • What the scheme is likely to cover; and what it ideally should cover;

  • Whether there is any prospect of making the scheme compulsory;

  • What should be done about non-compliant services;

  • What the governance of the scheme should be in the long tern, for instance whether it might be suitable to become an ICO backed code, or complement such as code

As we communicated to BBFC in December 2018, we have considerable worries about the lack of consultation over the standard they are writing, which appears to be truncated in order to meet the artificial deadline of April this year. This is what we explained to BBFC in our email:

  • Security requires as many perspectives to be considered as possible.

  • The best security standards eg PCI DSS are developed in the open and iterated

  • The standards will be best if those with most to lose are involved in the design.

    • For PCI DSS, the banks and their customers have more to lose than the processors

    • For Age Verification, site users have more to lose than the processors, however only the processors seem likely to be involved in setting the standard

We look forward to BBFC agreeing to meet us to discuss the outcome of the roundtable we held about their scheme, and to discuss our concerns about the new voluntary privacy standard. Meanwhile, we will produce a note from the meeting, which we believe was useful. It covered the concerns above, and issues around timing, as well as strategies for getting government to adjust their view of the absence of compulsory standards, which many of the providers want. In this, BBFC are a critical actor. ORG also intends as a result of the meeting to start to produce a note explaining what an effective privacy scheme would cover, in terms of scope, risks to mitigate, governance and enforcement for participants.

Read more latest.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Poster Lords of Chaos 2018 Jonas Kerlund Lords of Chaos is a UK / Sweden thriller by Jonas Åkerlund.
Starring Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen and Sky Ferreira. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

A teenager’s quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the 1980s Members of the Norwegian death metal band perform a series of increasingly shocking publicity stunts leading to a very violent outcome.

It is based on real-life band Mayhem, and includes scenes of murder including the brutal killing of a homosexual man – and the burning of churches by satanists.

The latest most controversial film ever has been passed 18 uncut by the BBFC for s trong bloody violence, gore, suicide. According to the Telegraph the BBFC are understood to have been so concerned about the film that it was reviewed at the highest levels and suicide prevention experts were consulted before it was approved for an 18 certificate.

The Telegraph suggests the US film censors at the MPAA were similarly concerned before rating it R for strong brutal violence, disturbing behavior, grisly images, strong sexuality, nudity, and pervasive language.

The BBFC said the film did not glamorise self-harm and that there was no reason to think the film would have a damaging effect on adults who chose to view it – although some might find it distressing.

Church groups have, however, have called for it to be banned. Speaking to The Telegraph, Simon Calvert, deputy director of The Christian Institute, said he was surprised the film had not been banned given the recent discussion about self-harm. He said:

In the current climate of concern over self-harm and suicide, you would have thought there might have been more consideration of the risk that vulnerable people might imitate what they see. The distributors ought to be asking themselves if it is worth this risk.’

The film is being distributed in the United Kingdom by Arrow Films and will be released in cinemas on 29th March.

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 uk_internet_censors.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

dirty boyz logo gaystarnews.com has published an article outlining the dangers of porn viewers submitting their identity data and browsing history to age verifiers and their websites. The article explains that the dangers for gay porn viewers are even mor pronounced that for straight viewers. The artisle illustrates this with an example:

David Bridle, the publisher of Dirty Boyz , announced in October that last month’s issue of the magazine would be its last. He said:

Following the Conservative government’s decision … to press ahead with new regulations forcing websites which make money from adult content to carry an age verification system … Dirtyboyz and its website dirtyboyz.xxx have made the decision to close.

The new age verification system will be mostly run by large adult content companies which themselves host major “Tube” style porn sites. ‘It would force online readers of Dirtyboyz to publicly declare themselves.

Open Rights Group executive director, Jim Killock, told GSN the privacy of users needs protecting:

The issue with age verification systems is that they need to know it’s you. This means there’s a strong likelihood that it will basically track you and know what you’re watching. And that’s data that could be very harmful to people.

It could cause issues in relationships. Or it could see children outed to their parents. It could mean people are subjected to scams and blackmail if that data falls into criminal hands. Government response

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told Gay Star News:

Pornographic websites and age verification services will be subject to the UK’s existing high standard of data protection legislation. The Data Protection Act 2018 provides a comprehensive and modern framework for data protection, with strong sanctions for malpractice and enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

But this is bollox, the likes of Facebook and Google are allowed to sell browsing data for eg targeted advertising within the remit of GDPR. And targeted advertising could be enough in itself to out porn viewers.