Posts Tagged ‘Internet Blocking’

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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that the proposals were imperfect , but said the Obscene Publications Act 1959, which covers sex shops, was too outdated to be used to regulate the internet.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

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Raynic X The Premier League has secured a court order to help tackle rights-infringing video streams of football matches via Kodi set-top boxes. The order gives the league the means to have computer servers used to power the streams blocked.Until now, it could only go after individual video streams which were relatively easy to re-establish at different links.

There have been several arrests of people selling set-top boxes pre-installed with both Kodi software and additional third-party add-ons that make it possible to watch copyright-infringing film and TV streams.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the security firm Irdeto, Kodi boxes are particularly prevalent in the UK.

It reported that 11% of Brits that admitted to watching pirated streams in a survey said they did so via a Kodi box. Doing so is not thought to be illegal. Derbyshire County Council trading standards officers recently explained:

Accessing premium paid-for content without a subscription is considered by the industry as unlawful access, although streaming something online, rather than downloading a file, is likely to be exempt from copyright laws,

That might seem a surprising position for an enforcement department to take, but support for it comes from an authoritative quarter. The European Commission doesn’t believe that consumers who watch pirate streams are infringing. From the user’s perspective they equate streaming to watching, which is legitimate. The European Commission gave its view during the hearing of an important case currently before Europe’s highest court involving the Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, which wrote in its summary of the hearing:

The case concerns the sale of a mediaplayer on which the trader has loaded add-ons that link to evidently illegal websites that link to content. For a user such a player is plug & play . This king of pre-programmed player usually are offered with slogans like never pay again for the newest films and series and completely legal, downloading from illegal sources is prohibited but streaming is allowed . In summary the pre-judicial questions concern whether the seller of such a mediaplayer infringes copyright and whether streaming from an illegal source is legitimate use.

It has also been reported that the UK government is considering new laws against streaming pirated content, but discussions are at an early stage

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california block warning Several porn websites are alerting their viewers living in California that they could be blocked from the state should Proposition 60 be accepted in a public ballot next month.Proposition 60 is measure proposed by anti-porn campaigners that would require adult performers to use condoms for all videos made in the state. If they don’t, the law would allow any citizen in the state to sue producers and distributors of prophylactic-lacking porn.

In protest, popular sites Vivid, Evil Angel and Kink, among others, have pop-ups urging visitors with California IP addresses to vote no on the proposition come election day. If it passes, some are considering blocking those users entirely to protect themselves from litigation.

Prop 60 is sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and operates much like Los Angeles’ Measure B initiative passed in 2012, but would apply to the entire state.

The adult industry is opposed to it as there exists considerable customer resistance to condom protected porn. The existing adult trade policy of continuous testing of performers has kept AIDS infections to extraordinarily low numbers in the last few years and so the new law proposal is only of benefit to anti-porn activists. Performers would be placed in more danger by such a new law as commercial pressures will surely drive sections of the industry underground and outside of the testing regime.

The proposed law also has a nasty requirement for performers to be identified with real world names so exposing studios and actors/actresses to harassment by stalkers, trolls and anti-porn activists.

Read more Internet News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

censorship for dummies One of the biggest web censorship services in the world has announced they are scrapping blocks on gay and lesbian content.Symantec, the online security firm behind Norton, has routinely been censorsing out LGBTI websites offering news, charity and support. The lifestyle-sexual orientation category will now be removed from its databases. Fran Rosch, executive vice president for Norton products said:

Making this change was not only the right thing to do, it was a good business decision. Having a category in place that could be used to filter out all LGBT-oriented sites was inconsistent with Symantec’s values and the mission of our software.

While Symantec will allow customers to set their search to block adult oriented websites, there will no longer be an option to block websites just because they have LGBTI content.

Read more ATVOD Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

DCMS logoATVOD has published brief minutes from its May 2014 board meeting. This includes a short report on what the government is up to in its plans to censor adult porn on the internet in the name of child protection.ATVOD board meeting minutes report:

Public policy on R18 and unclassified material

An updating report was tabled and the Board DISCUSSED the issue at length.

The Board NOTED the current position on the initiative to reduce children’s access to pornography online, with:

  • the introduction of legislation for UK based services to keep adult material out of reach of children;

  • the EU Commission encouraged to tighten up the AVMS Directive to have age verification measures for European based adult services; and

  • consideration of legislation which would enable the payments industry to prevent payments to services outside Europe which allowed under 18s to view R18 equivalent material.

Recommendations for further actions had been presented to DCMS and ATVOD had had received undertakings from the Creative Industries Minister immediately prior to the publication of the ATVOD research report For Adults Only? . Since publication of ATVOD’s research, DCMS had followed up on the undertakings given. In particular, the draft Statutory Instrument relating to UK based services had been developed and it was hoped that it would be in force by the end of 2014. It would put beyond doubt that R18 material can only be provided on an ODPS if persons under 18 will not usually see or access it.

As the Statutory Instrument would define material according to standards set by the BBFC, it was anticipated that Ofcom, BBFC and ATVOD would agree a Memorandum of Understanding. Any additional activity for ATVOD as a result of these changes will be reflected in revisions to ATVOD’s Rules and Guidance, which will require consultation.

The position on overseas providers based outside the EU had been discussed at a meeting between ATVOD, DCMS, Home Office, Ministry Of Justice, Crown Prosecution Service and the payments industry. As a result of that meeting, DCMS had agreed to consider the feasibility of introducing a licensing regime for foreign pornographic websites (similar to that being introduced for foreign gambling websites). A timetable had not been provided.

The Board AGREED that ATVOD should offer assistance to DCMS in its efforts.

The Board NOTED that the proposal had been taken up by a number of high profile third parties and that the Opposition had tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill which would establish a licensing regime for foreign porn services.

Note that the licensing provisions in Lords amendment of Criminal Justice and Courts Bill were in fact withdrawn but it is interesting to note the devious plan being hatched by the government.

It sounds ludicrous to expect foreign companies to submit to UK licensing when it would be very unlikely that the provisions could be enforced by prosecutions launched from Britain. However this is clearly not the point of the licensing. It is so that unlicensed foreign companies can deemed to be nominally breaking UK law (even if this can’t be enforced) so as to give the banks and payment services a legal excuse to deny payment services for at least the UK portion of the website’s trade.

Read more UK Internet Censorship at MelonFarmers.co.uk

TalkTalk HomeSafe logo Broadband ISPTalkTalk has come under fire for blocking access to the women’s rights website sherights.com.One TalkTalk customer quipped via Twitter:

TalkTalk_UK blocks me from sherights article on ‘dude feminism.’ Reason: ‘Pornography.’

Turns out the whole sherights.com site is blocked. Heaven forbid kids learn about gender equality, right?

The efficacy of censorship through website blocking has been brought under scrutiny in recent times, as rather than block porn as advertised, the algorithms block more or less anything with a few adult terms.

When the negativity got too much, TalkTalk predictably unblocked the website but no doubt there are millions more that have not achieved the necessary outrage and are quietly being suffocated by the blocking.

It would be interesting to see if the crap blocking is affecting take up. If parent’s favourite websites get blocked then surely they will be likely to turn it off entirely.

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Listen to Podcast 19 from bbfc.co.uk

mbg logoIn this episode of the BBFC podcast, we talk to David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC and Hamish MacLeod, chair of the Mobile Broadband Group about how the BBFC Mobile Classification Framework works.

An interesting but rather ludicrous episode with participants patting themselves on the back for providing a well though out framework for determining an 18 rating and then the mobile companies earnestly trying to following it.All this while in reality sites are blocked for trivial automated reasons that appear to have nothing to do with following guidelines. I bet no one has ever read the BBFC guidelines, let alone trying to tailoring a blocking algorithm to meet them.

However it is good of the BBFC to publish their decisions when they are called into adjudicate claims against the ISP blocking. See the first batch at adjudications of blocking disputes [pdf] .