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20th January

 Offsite Article: Beauty is only skin deep, it's what underneath that counts...

Link Here
meitu A Chinese selfie app from Meitu installs a privacy horror show

See article from cnet.com

 

19th January

 Offsite Article: Clearing Out the App Stores...

Link Here
new york times app logo App store gatekeepers have the monopoly power to make themselves fabulously rich, they also provide an attractive pinch point for government censors. By Farhad Manjoo.

See article from nytimes.com

 

14th January

 Offsite Article: WhatsApp vulnerability allows snooping on encrypted messages...

Link Here
whatsapp 2016 logo Privacy campaigners criticise WhatsApp vulnerability as a huge threat to freedom of speech and warn it could be exploited by government agencies

See article from theguardian.com

 

9th January

  Censorshit...

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BBFC decides that the Urban Dictionary website should be adults only
Link Here
urban dictionary logo The mobile phone companies use an algorithmic approach to the blocking of websites for mobile device users who are under 18 or else adults who have not got themselves verified as adults.

The BBFC acts to decide appeals against the phone company decisions. Note that the only options available to the BBFC are for websites to made available to all or else restricted to verified adults.

The BBFC commendably publish these appeal decisions.

From the latest batch of two appeals in the preceding 3 months, the BBFC have considered

Urban Dictionary

The Urban Dictionary provides factual definitions of slang terms which often involves string language and sex references. For Example:

Censorshit

the idea that censorship is bullshit....nothing needs to be censored.....if you don't want to watch swearing, violence, or sexual content, DON'T WATCH IT! simple as that.....nobody is making you watch it.....they have disclaimers for a reason....and if you don't want your kids watching that shit, tell your kids what they can and cannot watch.....and if they don't listen to you then you are a bad parent for not teaching your kids to do what you say.

every time i watch tv there's nothing but censorshit everywhere.

that movie sucked because of the censorshit.

The BBFC advised that the website should be blocked to under 18s, explaining:

We noted that it was an online dictionary of slang words and phrases. While a broad range of terms were explained (with definitions from a broad range of contributors), we found that very strong language and sex references were present in a significant minority of these explanations. Sex references included crude descriptions of activities including masturbation, oral sex, and urination and defecation during sex. In addition, there were references to rape and paedophilia, and definitions of discriminatory terms, which were delivered in an irreverent tone intended to shock or amuse. Given the crude and potentially offensive nature of this content, and the lackof context that accompanied it, we did not consider the website suitable for people under the age of 18.

It seems bizarre that teenagers should be blocked from a dictionary explaining their own terms, but there you go, that's censorshit for you.

 

5th January

 Update: Western subversion blocked...


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Chinese Government orders the censorship of the New York Times Apple app
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in China...State control and sensitive news
new york times logo On December 23, Apple removed the Chinese versions of the newspaper's apps as well as their English counterparts in an act of compliance with a censorship order from the Chinese government.

An Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz issued this statement to TechCrunch:

For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and we have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations. As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store.

Though it's hardly alone in reporting critically on the Chinese government, the New York Times did publish a critical look at a " a seven-and-a-half-minute phantasmagoria of the Communist Party's nightmares of Western subversion " one day prior to when the apps were pulled.

 

3rd January

  Clash of Civilisations...

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Iran blocks mobile game Clash of Clans
Link Here
clash of clansIran has blocked the popular Clash of Clans mobile game app.

Government internet censors called for restrictions citing a report from psychologists, who said it encouraged violence and tribal conflict. The censors claim that the app could also negatively affect family life if teenagers got addicted to the game.

In a statement, Iran's deputy attorney general Dr Abdolsamad Khoramabadi said the vast majority of the committee backed the call to limit who could play the app.

Some Iran-based players said local reports had suggested that an age limit would be imposed, but for now the game is blocked for everybody, (bar those using VPNs and the like).

 

22nd December

 Update: Opening a new front in the war against internet censorship...

Signal encrypted messaging app acts to counter blocking by internet censors in Egypt and UAE
Link Here  full story: Internet Encryption...Encryption, essential for security but givernments don't see it that way
signal app logoSignal, an encrypted messaging apt for mobile devices had its service blocked in Egypt and UAE.

Now Signal have responded by making a new release available to those territories that should make the censors thinks twice before reaching for the block option.

The new Signal release uses a technique known as domain fronting. Many popular services and CDNs, such as Google, Amazon Cloudfront, Amazon S3, Azure, CloudFlare, Fastly, and Akamai can be used to access Signal in ways that look indistinguishable from other uncensored traffic. The idea is that to block the target traffic, the censor would also have to block those entire services. With enough large scale services acting as domain fronts, disabling Signal starts to look like disabling the internet. When users in the two countries send a Signal message, it will look like a normal HTTPS request to www.google.com. To block Signal messages, these countries would also have to block all of google.com.

Update: Cuba and Oman

1st January 2017 See  article from engadget.com

Signal , the messaging app that prides itself on circumventing government censorship, has a few new places where its flagship feature works. Last week it was Egypt, and now users in Cuba and Oman can send messages without fear of them being intercepted and altered by lawmakers.

 

15th December

  Tassle Hassle...

Apple and Android ban photo app that allows nudity to be censored with images vaguely resembling nipples and pubes
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone
nood nippleGoogle Play and Apple have banned an app designed to help women obscure nudity when posting images online.

Model Melina DiMarco has designed an app called Nood to provide simple stylised lady parts to post over your own, to get round censorship rules on nudity. She claims other options for censoring photos, for example black bars and crosses, encourage the sexualisation of the female form. DiMarco said:

It's a photo editing app where you can upload a photo and put illustrated nipples over your nipples and an illustrated vagina over your vagina.

As a woman and as a model I don't quite understand why my male counterpart can post freely on social media but I cannot. Nipples are nipples, there's no difference. Female nipples, male nipples, they're all the same.

However the App Store and Google Play Store claim her app promotes explicit content Apple claimed the app includes content that many users would find objectionable and offensive , while Google says we don't allow apps that contain or promote sexually explicit content .