Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Read more uk_internet_censors.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

UKCCIS logo The Government has announced the organisations that will sit on the Executive Board of a new national body to tackle online harms in the UK. The UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) is the successor to the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), with an expanded scope to improve online safety for everyone in the UK.

The Executive Board brings together expertise from a range of organisations in the tech industry, civil society and public sector.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries said:

Only through collaborative action will the UK be the safest place to be online. By bringing together a wealth of expertise from a wide range of fields, UKCIS can be an example to the world on how we can work together to face the challenges of the digital revolution in an effective and responsible way.

UKCIS has been established to allow these organisations to collaborate and coordinate a UK-wide approach to online safety.

It will contribute to the Government’s commitment to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online, and will help to inform the development of the forthcoming Online Harms White Paper.

Priority areas of focus will include online harms experienced by children such as cyberbullying and sexual exploitation; radicalisation and extremism; violence against women and girls; hate crime and hate speech; and forms of discrimination against groups protected under the Equality Act, for example on the basis of disability or race.

CEO of Internet Matters Carolyn Bunting said:

We are delighted to sit on the Executive Board of UKCIS where we are able to represent parents needs in keeping their children safe online.

Online safety demands a collaborative approach and by bringing industry together we hope we can bring about real change and help everyone benefit from the opportunities the digital world has to offer.

The UKCIS Executive Board consists of the following organisations:

  • Apple
  • BBC
  • Childnet
  • Children’s Commissioner
  • Commission for Countering Extremism
  • End Violence Against Women Coalition
  • Facebook
  • GCHQ
  • Google
  • ICO
  • Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime
  • Internet Matters
  • Internet Watch Foundation
  • Internet Service Providers and Mobile Operators (rotating between BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Three, Virgin Media, Vodafone)
  • Microsoft
  • National Police Chiefs’ Council
  • National Crime Agency – CEOP Command
  • Northern Ireland Executive
  • NSPCC
  • Ofcom
  • Parentzone
  • Scottish Government
  • TechUK
  • Twitter
  • UKCIS Evidence Group Chair
  • UKIE
  • Welsh Assembly

The UKCIS Executive Board is jointly chaired by Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport); Victoria Atkins, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability (Home Office); and Nadeem Zahawi, Minister for Children and Families (Department for Education). It also includes representatives from the Devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Board membership will be kept under periodic review, to ensure it represents the full range of online harms that the government seeks to tackle.

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Read more uk_internet_censors.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

DCMS logoBritain has some ludicrous and dated prohibitions on aspects of porn that are commonplace in international porn sites. For example the government requires that the BBFC cut fisting, squirting, gagging on blow jobs, dialogue references to incest or underage sex.It would be ludicrous to expect all of the worlds websites to remove such commonplace scene from all its films and videos. The originally proposed porn censorship law would require the BBFC to identify sites with this commonplace material, and ISPs would have then been forced to block these sites. Of course this would have meant that more or less all websites would have had to be banned.

Someone has obviously pointed this out to the government, perhaps the Lords had spotted this in their scrutiny.

The Daily Mail is now reporting that this censorship power will be dropped form the Digital Economy Bill. The age verification requirement will stand but foreign websites complying with age verification will not then be blocked for material transgressing some of the stupid UK prohibitions.

A source at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has acknowledged that the proposals were imperfect , but said the Obscene Publications Act 1959, which covers sex shops, was too outdated to be used to regulate the internet.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport actually went further and said extreme material, including violent pornography and cartoons depicting child sex abuse, will be allowed to stay online as long as distributors put in place checks to ensure it cannot be viewed by children. (But note that downloading films including what is defined as extreme pornography and cartoon child porn would still be illegal). There will be no change to the capability of the IWF to block child porn (and occasionally, illegal adult porn).

Of course pro-censorship campaigners are not impressed by the lost opportunity for total porn censorship. Helen Lewington, of the morality campaign group Mediawatch-UK, claimed that the decision to allow extreme sites to operate behind the age verification barrier risked giving them a veneer of respectability .  She called on peers to reject the amendments this evening. She added:

We are deeply concerned by the Government’s apparent change of direction. These proposals will permit some forms of violent pornography to be viewed behind age verification checks.

This will unhelpfully allow what is illegal offline to be legally viewed online, and may in the long term lead to some regarding such material as acceptable.’

Pro censorship campaigner John Carr revealed that the government will now be reviewing the rules on what is currently prohibited from UK adult porn. He set out his pro-censorship stall by claiming that reducing censorship for adults would somehow endanger children. He claimed:

In his speech on the Digital Economy Bill, last Monday night in the House of Lords, Lord Ashton referred to the Secretary of State’s announcement in the context of there being a need for a wider discussion about the effects of pornography in society as a whole, not solely in respect of children. I would hope there will be an opportunity to contribute to that aspect of the review. I accept it was never envisaged that the Digital Economy Bill was to be a trigger for a wider debate about what sorts of pornography are more or less acceptable, whether being viewed by children or not. However, just because children cannot view certain types of material that have been put behind an age verification wall, it does not mean that its continued availability to adults does not constitute a threat to children. Such material might encourage, promote or appear to legitimize or condone harmful behaviours which either directly or indirectly put children at risk.

Offsite Comment: Lib Dems lay into the governments censorship efforts

19th March 2017 See  article from libdemvoice.org by Brian Paddick

Lib Dems logoTo add to the list of obnoxious new laws such as the new offence of driving while being a suspected illegal immigrant and giving the police unfettered access to innocent people’s web histories, the Tories have waded into the swamp of online pornography and they are completely out of their depth.

The Digital Economy Bill, another universal answer to everything they couldn’t get through when we had one hand on the reins of power, professes to protect children from online pornography.

Nonetheless, if we are to prohibit access to online adult material unless there is an age-verification solution in place, the privacy of those who are being forced to part with their sensitive personal information in order to verify their age, must be protected. We have already seen user databases for a couple of major porn sites, containing sensitive personal information, being hacked and the details traded on the dark web. When details of users of the Ashley Madison site were leaked, it reportedly led to two suicides.

…read the full  article from libdemvoice.org

Read more UK Government Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Sit on my face protest

Protest against internet porn censorship law
12th December 2014, at noon
Old Palace Yard, Parliament, London

To meet outside parliament and protest against the new sexist laws – This is not supporting sexual equality and something needs to be done! Pornography produced in the UK was quietly censored today through an amendment to the 2003 Communications Act, and the measures appear to take aim at female pleasure.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 requires that video-on-demand (VoD) online porn now adhere to the same guidelines laid out for DVD sex shop-type porn by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC).

Seemingly arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex, the board’s ruling on content that is not acceptable (p.23) effectively bans legal and consensual acts from being depicted by British pornography producers.

The theme of the protest is the Monty Python classic song, Sit On My Face. And couples will be doing as the song suggests, one the ludicrous prohibitions contained in the government censorship decree.

Protest Against The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations

See article from caan.org.uk

The Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN) fully support the protest organised outside parliament this Friday against the government’s latest ludicrous and hypocritical attempts to clamp down on porn that falls outside a narrow cultural definition of normal sexuality.

According to Jane Fae, co-convenor of CAAN England and Wales:

far from protecting anyone, this is the usual badly thought-out mishmash of irrelevant measures and middle-aged male prejudice. What they mostly dislike are women and individuals from outside the charmed circle of sexuality(*) having any place to explore what turns them on.

Dennis Queen, also co-convenor, seconded this view. She said:

Yet again, the official censors are reinforcing regulations that prevent people from expressing themselves safely while politicians such as David Cameron reward their friends in big porn by making it ever more difficult for anyone else to be involved in creating erotic film.

Equally this prevents a very large constituency of people, both straight and otherwise from accessing material that is fundamentally harmless.

Fae added:

If politicians had even a smidgeon of concern for individuals involved in porn, they would be talking to those already working in the industry and identifying what THEY want to make their workplace safer. As it is, Cameron’s enforced introduction of filters has made it far harder for young people — especially LGBTQ youth — to obtain vital information and to explore their personal sexuality.

The principal beneficiaries of the government’s initiatives in this area have been large US and China based filtering businesses. The government have made no-one safer: they have almost certainly done harm to vulnerable people.

(*) The charmed circle is the idea, proposed by Professor Gayle Rubin, that sexuality can be divided into that which is privileged by society, and is located inside the circle, while all other non-privileged sexually was located outside, and in opposition to it. Within the circle, broadly, are to be found straight, monogamous, vanilla, sex without the use of any aids.

Read more UK Parliament Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

House of Commons logo Early day motion 605

That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 (S.I., 2014, No. 2916), dated 4 November 2014, a copy of which was laid before this House on 6 November, be annulled.

Primary sponsor: Julian Huppert
Sponsors: John Leech and Mike Hancock

Read more ATVOD Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

7th July 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

jeremy huntThe government has asked the Leveson inquiry to consider giving the new press regulation body responsibility for web TV services ranging from Channel 4’s catch-up service, 4oD, to adult content such as Playboy.

Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, has written to the inquiry into press ethics to suggest that the successor body to the Press Complaints Commission could become a one-stop shop for all news output by newspaper groups.

In his letter to Leveson, Hunt said he was keen that a regulatory framework be developed that would stand the test of time and avoid the risk of obsolescence .

He believes ATVOD should be folded into the new press regulatory body, arguing this would encourage newspapers to diversify into new types of audio-visual content because it would simplify regulatory requirements significantly .

He believes that the current situation acts as an inhibitor to newspapers which want to expand video production. A recent Ofcom test case involving Sun Video placed all newspaper content outside ATVOD regulation. Hunt claimed some newspapers have curtailed their video production in order to remain free of the TV-on-demand regulator.

Update: Not So Fast

11th July 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk . Thanks to edboal

The Guardian article was amended on 7 July 2012 to explain that the new press regulator’s powers would only apply to web TV news rather than to all content, and to clarify that ATVOD would not be replaced by the new regulatory body.

Read more UK Government Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See stalking consultation from homeoffice.gov.uk

consultation on stalkingThe Home Office has started a consultation on amending laws applying to stalking. There is particular emphasis on ensuring that laws stay up to date with cyberstalking as communication technologies evolve.

Hopefully not so relevant to Melon Farming causes, but widely defined laws targeted at stalking could well intrude on censorship issues. Particularly those drawing the lines of acceptable levels of insults, trolling etc.

Read more Internet Video X News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Thanks to Nick
See article from guardian.co.uk

Ofcom logoIt has emerged that the government has not acted on a recommendation from the TV and internet  censor Ofcom, which said last year that the law should be changed so that sexually explicit content on video-on-demand websites could not be seen by children.

The government asked Ofcom last year to examine whether the law should be changed to protect children from pornographic material that was easily available on some adult sites, including Playboy.tv, which allowed paying members to download a wide range of pornographic material.

Many of them also offer some sexual material as try before you buy content that can be easily viewed without a credit card or account number.

Ofcom recommended in a report passed to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) nine months ago that the government should pass legislation forcing those sites to protect their free trial content with a pin number. But the coalition has not published Ofcom’s report or acted on its recommendations.

Predictably Labour has tried to claim a few morality votes from this technically infeasible Ofcom suggestion.

Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, said: David Cameron’s commitment to act on Bailey’s recommendations rings hollow now we know his government has suppressed this important report. It is either incompetence or a deliberate attempt to keep the public and parliament in the dark. Ofcom’s report should be published without delay so we can consider its findings and take the necessary action.

The DCMS said the report was still being considered by ministers. It said: The government is committed to protecting children from accessing harmful material and DCMS has requested advice from Ofcom and others regarding regulation of video-on-demand services. There is a range of views on whether new measures are required and we are currently considering options.

The proposals would only affect UK websites that are monitored by ATVOD, the internet video on demand censor.