Posts Tagged ‘Law’

Read more aw_privacy.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

FBI logo A US federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that Google’s non-consensual use of facial recognition technology violated users’ privacy rights, allowing the tech giant to continue to scan and store their biometric data.The lawsuit, filed in 2016, alleged that Google violated Illinois state law by collecting biometric data without their consent. The data was harvested from their pictures stored on Google Photos.

The plaintiffs wanted more than $5 million in damages for hundreds of thousands of users affected, arguing that the unauthorized scanning of their faces was a violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which completely outlaws the gathering of biometric information without consent.

Google countered claiming that the plaintiffs were not entitled to any compensation, as they had not been harmed by the data collection. On Saturday, US District Judge Edmond E. Chang sided with the tech giant, ruling that the plaintiffs had not suffered any concrete harm, and dismissing the suit.

As well as allowing Google to continue the practice, the ruling could have implications for other cases pending against Facebook and Snapchat. Both companies are currently being sued for violating the Illinois act.

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Read more uk_internet_censors.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Crown Prosecution ServiceThe Crown Prosecution Service has just published proposals to end obscenity prosecutions of images and videos of fisting, golden showers, squirting and bondage.The key proposed prosecution policy update:

When considering whether the content of an article is “obscene”, prosecutors
should distinguish between:

  • Content showing or realistically depicting criminal conduct (whether
    non-consensual activity, or consensual activity where serious harm is
    caused), which is likely to be obscene;
  • Content showing or realistically depicting other conduct which is lawful,
    which is unlikely to be obscene.

And there is a consultation question to ask about this new policy

Question 2 Do consultees agree or disagree with the guidance that prosecutors must exercise real caution when dealing with the moral nature of acts not criminalized by law, and that the showing or realistic depiction of sexual activity / pornography which does not constitute acts or conduct contrary to the criminal law is unlikely to be obscene?

16. The following conduct (notwithstanding previous guidance indicating otherwise) will not likely fall to be prosecuted under the Act:

  • Fisting
  • Activity involving bodily substances (including urine, vomit, blood and faeces)
  • Infliction of pain / torture
  • Bondage / restraint
  • Placing objects into the urethra
  • Any other sexual activity not prohibited by law

provided that:

  • It is consensual;
  • No serious harm is caused;
  • It is not otherwise inextricably linked with other criminality; and
  • The likely audience is not under 18 or otherwise vulnerable.

More to follow after reading the document but the new policy seems to expand on the concept of obscenity to incorporate modern issues such as revenge porn, or non consensual publications eg upskirting.

Maybe this change of heart is related to a delay in age verification guidelines for the new BBFC internet porn censorship regime. It would seem very closely related.

Read more US Sex Sells News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Mississippi seal In 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas in struck down laws prohibiting anal and oral sex. However this has not prevented the state of Mississippi from disgracefully continuing to persecute those who partake in anal and oral sex.Although anal and oral sex is no longer illegal, Mississippi still has laws on its books requiring transgressors to register as sex offenders. And f you think that this is just some weird anachronism, that couldn’t possibly still be enforced, then think again. Five victims of this law have filed a class action against Mississippi.

They are suing Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and others in the state’s administration and investigatory agencies for:

Continu[ing] to enforce its criminal statute prohibiting sodomy, titled Unnatural Intercourse, Miss. Code Ann. §97-29-59, by requiring people convicted of Unnatural Intercourse to register as sex offenders and follow myriad, onerous prescriptions on their everyday life pursuant to Mississippi’s sex offender registry law, Miss. Code Ann. §45-33-21 et seq … Mississippi also requires individuals convicted of violating sodomy prohibitions in other jurisdictions (whether or not those prohibitions are registerable offenses in the original jurisdiction) to comply with Mississippi’s registration law.

The suit goes on to detail the indignities those branded as sodomites must go through to comply with Mississippi’s criminal code, including having their photos and personal information displayed on publicly accessible sex offender websites, file changes of address with the state, being forced to disclose all online user names and identities not only to the state but to potential employers, as well as the names and addresses of employers and schools attended–and being barred from certain areas such as campgrounds and beaches where young children may be present.

The reason the five plaintiffs have filed their suit as a class action is, according to the Complaint, that:

The putative class is so numerous as to render joinder impractical. There are dozens of individuals statewise who must register as sex offenders solely or in part because of a conviction for Unnatural Intercourse or a conviction considered to be an out-of-state equivalent.

Read more UK Government Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

arms of the british governmentjpg logo The European Audio Visual Media Services Directive provides a justification for censorship thatwas implemented in UK law in the Communications Act 2003:

If an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it.

Unfortunately for the censorial government, there is no particular evidence that hardcore porn seriously impairs children. In fact all the kids are already watching porn and they don’t seem to be ending up being seriously harmed, any more than any other generation.

So the legal underpinning for ATVOD’s onerous suffocating age verification rules for British adult websites seems somewhat shaky and open to challenge. Therefore the government are changing the law so as to explicitly make age verification a requirement without having to rely on mythical serious harm. The government has introduced the following statutory instrument which means that it will not be debated in parliament, just nodded through.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014

These Regulations may be cited as the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 and come into force on 1st December 2014.

Amendment of section 368E of the 2003 Act (harmful material) .

In section 368E(4) of the 2003 Act (harmful material), for subsection (2) substitute:

(2) An on-demand programme service must not contain any prohibited material.

(3) Prohibited material means:

  • (a) a video work which the video works authority has determined for the purposes of the 1984 Act not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it, or
  • (b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would determine for those purposes that the video work was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.

(4) An on-demand programme service must not contain any specially restricted material unless the material is made available in a manner which secures that persons under the age of 18 will not normally see or hear it.

(5) Specially restricted material means:

  • (a) a video work in respect of which the video works authority has issued a R18classification certificate,
  • (b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would issue a R18classification certificate, or
  • (c) other material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of 18.

(6) In determining whether any material falls within subsection (3)(b) or (5)(b), regard must be had to any guidelines issued by the video works authority as to its policy in relation to the issue of classification certificates.

(7) In this section:

  • the 1984 Act means the Video Recordings Act 1984;
  • classification certificate has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act (see section 7 of that Act);
  • R18 classification certificate means a classification certificate containing the statement mentioned in section 7(2)(c) of the 1984 Act that no video recording containing the video work is to be supplied other than in a licensed sex shop;
  • the video works authority [BBFC] means the person or persons designated under section 4(1)of the 1984 Act as the authority responsible for making arrangements in respect of video works other than video games; video work has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act (see section 1(2) of that Act).

Amendment of section 368B of the 2003 Act (supply of information)

Insert:

(d) OFCOM may supply information to the video works authority, within the meaning of section 368E, for use by the video works authority in connection with functions of OFCOM as the appropriate regulatory authority;

(e) a designated body may supply information to the video works authority, within the meaning of section 368E, for use by the video works authority in connection with functions of the designated body as the appropriate regulatory authority.

[This looks like a measure to stop the BBFC effectively changing the law by changing its own guidelines. It looks like Ofcom and ATVOD will be able to step in should the BBFC change its rules].

BBFC R18 Guidelines

For reference the current BBFC guidelines for R18 takes the form of a list of material prohibited from R18:

The following is a list of prohibited material:

  • material which is in breach of the criminal law, including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959
  • material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults
  • the portrayal of sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent
  • the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive, consensual activity
  • penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm
  • sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game.
  • Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable

These Guidelines will be applied to the same standard regardless of sexual orientation of the activity portrayed

The Guidelines are insufficient for VoD providers to judge the legality of their catalogue

Of course the guidelines don’t define what is ‘judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959’, so perhaps someone needs to publish the unpublished CPS censorship rules under which the BBFC operates.

The most immediate issue with the new law is how commonplace ‘rough sex’ will be treated. There are many films that suffer a few cuts for hair pulling, gagging, retching, spitting etc. Will a film that would be R18 after a few cuts now become illegal? If so, there are thousands of them. It is not clear how these cuts correlate to the guidelines. The guidelines are clearly produced for interpretation by the BBFC rather than the public and will effectively leave VoD service providers unable to judge the legality of films without a BBFC certificate. Perhaps that is the idea. But then again it will leave British websites with a tiny fraction of the range of choice to that of foreign competitors.

Read more Legislating Extreme Porn at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from backlash-uk.org.uk

pouncing tiger
About to be fucked by a tiger

The sexual civil liberties organisation Backlash have assisted in averting a miscarriage of justice.

Andrew Holland was charged with one count of possessing extreme pornography under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 at the Mold Crown Court. He stood to be sentenced for the offence, having pleaded guilty mid trial under advice from his local legal team in Wrexham. Backlash contacted Holland to offer advice to discover that he may have been misadvised by his local legal team; and that he did in fact have a defence to the charge. Backlash provided funds for provisional legal advice and research to be performed. We put Holland in contact with our legal adviser, who is a solicitor specialising in extreme pornography offences, Myles Jackman of Audu and Co in King’s Cross, London.

Holland transferred representation to the specialist solicitors and was given leave on Friday the 28th May 2010 by His Honour Judge Rogers sitting at the Mold Crown Court to vacate his plea from Guilty back to Not Guilty. That means that he will stand trial again; this time in the knowledge that he has a defence. However, had he not contacted Backlash in the first place he would have been sentenced for an offence which he may have been misadvised that he did not have a defence for.

Holland’s case gained notoriety as he had previously been charged with a second, separate extreme pornography charge relating to a video clip purportedly depicting a sexual act between a human and a tiger. This charge was withdrawn when it was discovered that the prosecutor had failed to listen to the video’s soundtrack, whererin one of the actors made a comment about Tony the Tiger from the Frosties commercials, proving the video was an elaborate joke and the tiger was not real; leaving the prosecution deeply embarrassed. [And of course the Director of Public Prosecutions, who personally approved the prosecution]

Myles Jackman commented that: it is ridiculous and dangerous that the CPS are trying to criminalise the posession of dirty jokes.