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Not yet the last resort...

French court rejects request to force ISP blocking of major porn websites


Link Here25th May 2022
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
A Paris appeals court has rejected requests to block the most popular adult tube sites in the country.

Following months of statements and threats pressuring tube sites to implement undefined age verification schemes, French media censor ARCOM went to court in March and April to demand that French ISPs block Pornhub, xHamster, xVideos, Cliphunter and Xnxx.

Meanwhile 2 morality campaign groups are also pushing for ISP blocking via the courts, and their blocking requests add YouPorn, RedTube and Tukif to the list.

ARCOM had  sent formal notices to tube site operators demanding they find a more robust solution than the simple declaration of age. The porn sites did not comply, seemingly because ARCOM had not defined what age verification methods would be acceptable.

French reports now reveal that the Council of State, an appeals court, issued a ruling rejecting the ARCOM blocking requests. The reasons for the rejection are not wholly clear so far but the most plausible is that recourse to blocking should be the last resort rather than the first call. It seems that ARCOM should be doing more work to define what age verification measures the porn websites should be taking.

 

 

Ringing off...

The censor for premium rate phone services will disband in 2023 and hand over censorship duties to Ofcom


Link Here25th May 2022
The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA), the censor for premium rate services (PRS) in the UK is to hand its responsibilities over to telecoms censor Ofcom by late 2023.

Subject to approval from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) , the PSA will then cease to operate as an independent body. The PSA says that it anticipates Ofcom will assume responsibility for regulation in the second half of 2023, with PSA staff transferring to Ofcom. Ofcom will look to retain the key components of Code 15 to continue regulation in the consumer interest. PSA rules and Code 15 will remain in place until the transfer.

The PSA Chairman, David Edmonds said:

The work of the PSA in recent years has reduced risks to consumer to historically low levels. We introduced in April this year a new set of regulations which further protect consumers. And the industry -- both phone companies and service providers -- is increasingly conscious of its own responsibility to ensure dubious services are not operated. Complaints to the PSA are down by over 90%. We are also conscious of market trends and as a result the Board decided that future regulation of an industry increasingly dominated by larger players would be better served by an organisation with the capacity and breadth of Ofcom rather than a free-standing body. We already work closely with Ofcom who designate the PSA to deliver the day-to-day regulation of the market, by approving our Code of Practice. We look forward to working with them on this transition.

This proposed transfer of responsibilities has already been approved by the Ofcom board.

 

 

Contrarian views...

Florida's new law banning the censorship of right leaning views on social media is declare unconstitutional


Link Here25th May 2022
Full story: Biased Internet Censorship in US...Left leaning media companies cancel the right
The US state of Florida responded to social media's silencing of Donald Trump by enacting a new law to ban social media from censoring users for political reasons. The law was challenged in the courts and it has now been judged to be mostly unconstitutional.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Florida's social media regulation law is unconstitutional.

The Appeals Court ruled against most of the provisions in Florida's social media regulation law. However, it said some of the provisions, including one that requires platforms to allow banned individuals to access their data for at least 60 days, were constitutional.

The ruling said that the law violated social media companies' First Amendment rights:

We conclude that social media platforms' content-moderation activities -- permitting, removing, prioritizing, and deprioritizing users and posts -- constitute 'speech' within the meaning of the First Amendment.

Most notably, the court rejected the argument that social media companies should be defined as common carriers, saying:

Neither law nor logic recognizes government authority to strip an entity of its First Amendment rights merely by labeling it a common carrier.

Earlier this month, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a similar law in Texas to be enforced. The Texas law prohibits social media companies from censoring content or banning users based on political viewpoints. Tech companies have appealed the ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and have submitted the ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to support their case.

 

 

Petition: Don't electronically tag innocent people for attending protests...

Big Brother Watch spots a nasty in the Government's new Public Order Bill


Link Here 22nd May 2022

The Government's new Public Order Bill would allow police to put innocent people on electronic ankle tags and ban them from attending marches and demonstrations.

Campaigners and people who want to attend a protest need not have ever committed any offence in order to be given a so-called protest banning order by the police.

Under this new anti-protest law, the police will be given powers to monitor campaigners using electronic GPS tags, restrict their internet activities and prevent them from attending protests. These are some of the most disturbing and anti-democratic police powers introduced in the UK for decades.

After the shocking police behaviour towards grieving women at the Clapham vigil for Sarah Everard, we fear these ankle tags could entail serious abuse. There is no place for police monitoring and oppression of people simply campaigning for change.

These extreme police powers would be controversial in Russia and China -- we cannot allow them in a democratic country like the UK.

Sign petition from you.38degrees.org.uk

 

 

Extract: The EU Wants Big Tech to Scan Your Private Chats...

Europe's proposed laws could undermine end-to-end encryption for billions of people.


Link Here11th May 2022
Full story: Mass snooping in the EU...The EU calls for member states to implement internet snooping with response to police requests in 6 hours
An upcoming EU law has been leaked that requires big tech companies to scan the private messages of all their users regardless of any end to end encryption technolgy being used. Of course the EU cites child porn and grooming as the nominal justification but when messages have been scanned I am sure that governments will demand that the tech companies hand over the messages for a much wider range of reasons than that claimed.

Under the plans, tech companies -- ranging from web hosting services to messaging platforms - can be ordered to detect both new and previously discovered child sexual abuse material (CSAM) as well as potential instances of grooming. The detection could take place in chat messages, files uploaded to online services, or on websites that host abusive material. The plans echo an effort by Apple last year to scan photos on people's iPhones for abusive content before it was uploaded to iCloud. Apple paused its efforts after a widespread backlash.

If passed, the European legislation would require tech companies to conduct risk assessments for their services to assess the levels of CSAM on their platforms and their existing prevention measures. If necessary, regulators or courts may then issue detection orders that say tech companies must start installing and operating technologies to detect CSAM. The draft legislation doesn't specify what technologies must be installed or how they will operate -- these will be vetted by the new EU Centre -- but says they should be used even when end-to-end encryption is in place.

Read the full details in article from wired.com

 

 

Widespread offence...

ASA bans Adidas bra advert highlighting differing breast types


Link Here11th May 2022

A tweet and two poster ads for sports bras, seen in February 2022:

  • a. A tweet on Adidas' own account showed, in a grid format, the bare breasts of 20 women of various skin colours, shapes and sizes. The pictures were identically cropped to show only the torso from below the shoulders to above the navel. It stated, We believe women's breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort. Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them. Explore the new adidas sports bra collection at LINK. #SupportIsEverything.

  • b. A poster showed the same cropped images of the bare breasts of 62 women and stated, The reasons we didn't make just one new sports bra.

  • c. A poster showed the same text and cropped images of 64 women, but their nipples were obscured by pixelation.

The ASA received 24 complaints.

  1. Some complainants, who considered the ads' use of nudity was gratuitous, objectified women by sexualising them and reducing them to body parts, challenged whether they were harmful and offensive; and

  2. Some complainants also challenged whether ads (b) and (c) were appropriate for display where it could be seen by children. Response

1. Adidas UK Ltd believed the images in the ads were not gratuitous; they were intended to reflect and celebrate different shapes and sizes, illustrate diversity and demonstrate why tailored support bras were important. They said the images had been cropped to protect the identity of the models and to ensure their safety. All the models shown had volunteered to be in the ad and were supportive of its aims. They did not consider the ad to be sexual; they intended to show breasts simply as a part of a woman's body.

2. Adidas said that the pictures were intended to reflect and celebrate different shapes and sizes and they did not believe they would cause harm or distress to children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the intention of the ads was to show that women's breasts differed in shape and size, which was relevant to the sports bras being advertised. Although we did not consider that the way the women were portrayed was sexually explicit or objectified them, we considered that the depiction of naked breasts was likely to be seen as explicit nudity. We noted the breasts were the main focus in the ads, and there was less emphasis on the bras themselves, which were only referred to in the accompanying text.

We acknowledged that in ad (c) the women's nipples had been obscured by pixelation. Although the image was less immediately explicit, we considered that the breasts were still visible and recognisably naked, and therefore the effect of the image would be the same as in the ads (a) and (b).

As the ads contained explicit nudity, we considered that they required careful targeting to avoid causing offence to those who viewed them.

Ads (b) and (c), which were large posters, appeared in untargeted media and were therefore likely to be seen by people of all ages, including children. We considered that the image was not suitable for use in untargeted media, particularly where it could be seen by children. We concluded that ads (b) and (c) were inappropriately targeted, and were likely to cause widespread offence.

We noted the content typically featured on the Adidas Twitter feed promoted their sportswear for women and considered explicit nudity was not in keeping with their usual content. Because ad (a) featured explicit nudity, we concluded it was likely to cause widespread offence in that media.

We therefore concluded that the ads breached the Code.

The ads must not appear again in the forms complained of. We told Adidas UK Ltd to ensure their ads did not cause offence and were targeted responsibly.



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